CLIMA brings together scholars to catalyze transformative, integrated research on climate change, mitigation, adaptation, and decision making that transcends disciplinary boundaries and advances real-world climate risk management.


Climate uncertainty colors flood risk assessment


Understanding how climate change will affect the flooding of rivers may become easier with a new framework for assessing flood risk that’s been developed by an interdisciplinary team from Penn State. “New home builders want to know how high they have to put their buildings to be safe for the future,” said Alfonso Mejia, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. “They want to know how the flood zones are going to change in the future.”

Antarctic ice model shows unstoppable sea level rise if Paris target is not met


The world is currently on track to exceed 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) of global warming by the year 2100, and new research shows that such a scenario would drastically accelerate the pace of sea-level rise. If the rate of global warming continues on its current trajectory, we will reach a tipping point by 2060, past which these consequences would be “irreversible on multi-century timescales,” according to researchers.

Webinar Series: Science and Values in Climate Risk Management


The Science and Values in Climate Risk Management webinar series, invites speakers from across the STEM–humanities spectrum to present research that integrates the scientific and ethical sides of climate change research, policy analysis, and the management of climate risks.

When calculating the social cost of methane, equity matters


The social cost of methane — a greenhouse gas that is 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide in its ability to trap heat — varies by as much as an order of magnitude between industrialized and developing regions of the world, according to researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), UC Berkeley and Penn State. Policy makers use the “social costs of methane” to approximate the impacts of climate-warming gases like methane — which may be felt for years in rising sea levels, changes in agricultural productivity, or more extreme droughts, floods and heat waves.

Uncertainties key to balancing flood risk and cost in elevating houses


People who live in areas designated as river flood zones often seek to raise their homes. “Many houses located along rivers in Pennsylvania are in danger of being flooded,” said Klaus Keller, professor of geosciences. “Some houses are elevated high, some to intermediate levels, and some not at all. Why is this?” Penn State researchers investigated if they might improve on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s suggested elevation given uncertainties surrounding, for example, future flooding, the future value of money and the vulnerability of a house to flooding.