Research Spotlight


The MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

The Greenhouse Gamble™ wheels were developed by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change to better convey uncertainty in climate change prediction. The roulette-style spinning wheels depict the estimated probability, or likelihood, of potential temperature change (global average surface temperature) over the next 100 years. The face of each wheel is divided into colored slices, with the size of each slice representing the estimated probability of the temperature change in the year 2100 falling within that range.

Learn more about how to interpret the Greenhouse Gamble™ wheels here

Learn more about the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change here.

Research Spotlight

Hg negotiation

Mercury in the Atmosphere

Research in the Selin group addresses the challenge of atmospheric mercury, which is emitted from anthropogenic sources and travels globally to affect ecosystems as toxic methylmercury far from its release. Mercury is the subject of a global treaty, the Minamata Convention, which was finalized in 2013. We use a variety of tools, such as global chemical transport modeling, integrated assessment modeling, and policy analysis, to inform decision-making strategies. A key finding is that mercury deposition results from a combination of local and global sources, meaning that regulation on multiple political scales is necessary to fully address the problem. We engage with decision-makers at local, regional, and global scale to translate our research results.

Learn more about the Selin group’s research here.

Research Spotlight

Understanding Climate Variability and Linkages to Mitigation and Adaptation Policy

Research in the Solomon group includes a focus on identifying the signals of anthropogenic climate change that are emerging or will soon emerge from the noise of local variability in some locations, and to understand linkages with mitigation and adaptation policies.  Our own recent work and that of others has shown how the signal of human influence on warming is emerging from the noise of internal natural climate fluctuations at local scales.   We find the earliest emergence of warming in some parts of the tropics that are subject to low variability (Mahlstein et al., 2011).   Indeed, both observations and models suggest that the extremely low interannual variability of climate over much of the maritime tropics implies that even relatively modest human-induced warming emerges earlier there than in other parts of the globe.   Together with colleagues, we are currently examining how these may relate to issues such as rainfall availability, crop damage, and the design of effective policies.

Learn more about the Solomon group’s research here.