The drivers and effects of climate change are interconnected, crossing physical, ecological, economic, political and ethical boundaries. Advancing solutions and deeper understanding of climate variability requires similar connectivity, as well as collaboration among scholars across Woods’ centers and programs. We support interdisciplinary research assessing the impact of climate disruption on people and planet, focusing solutions and mitigation efforts on water supplies, agricultural production, biodiversity, ecosystem health, built infrastructure and economies at the local, regional and national levels. Stanford researchers are working across disciplines and sectors to assess climate risks, reduce vulnerabilities and mitigate and adapt to the effects of global warming. See a selection of highlights from our community’s cross-cutting climate research below.


Climate and the CA drought

A study led by Woods Senior Fellow Noah Diffenbaugh (Earth System Science) found that the extreme atmospheric conditions associated with California’s crippling drought are far more likely to occur under today’s global warming conditions than in the climate that existed before humans emitted large amounts of greenhouse gases. The Diffenbaugh Lab followed up with a related study linking climate change, warmer temperatures and drought conditions. Both papers were widely reported on by the media and led to Diffenbaugh’s invitation to Sacramento to brief state officials and agency staff. Read more.

Weather extremes

A 2015 study co-authored by Stanford and Princeton University researchers found that trends in atmospheric circulation patterns can partially explain Earth’s increasingly severe weather. While scientists had previously surmised that the link existed, robust empirical evidence was lacking. Read more.

United Nations report

Woods Senior Fellow Chris Field, the Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, spent five years leading a large team of international scientists as they prepared a major United Nations report on climate change impacts, observed vulnerabilities and opportunities for adaptation. The team ultimately produced a 2,000-page report as part of a massive, three-part U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report, which details a consensus view on the current state and fate of the world's climate. Read more or watch video.

Washington, D.C., dialogue

Stanford experts led a robust dialogue at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., during a panel discussion on climate change impacts and how to reduce them. The event drew a cross-sector audience of nearly 100 policy- and decision-makers from federal agencies, environmental nonprofits, development banks and other research institutions. Read more or watch video.

Agricultural impacts

A study by William Wrigley Senior Fellow David Lobell (earth system science) found U.S. corn yields are growing more sensitive to heat and drought. Farmers are faced with difficult tradeoffs in adapting to a changing climate in which unfavorable weather will become more common, the study found. Read more.

Clean energy roadmap

A study authored by Woods Senior Fellow Mark Z. Jacobsen (civil and environmental engineering) found that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy by 2050. Read more.

Stephen Schneider honored

In October 2014, renowned Stanford climate scientist Stephen H. Schneider, Woods Senior Fellow (in memorium), was posthumously inducted into the California Hall of Fame by Gov. Jerry Brown. Well-known for his emphasis on science communication and a world expert on interdisciplinary climate science, Schneider had consulted with federal agencies and/or White House staff in every U.S. presidential administration since the Nixon era. Read more.

On Camera

Stanford Earth scientists explain the state of California's drought

Woods Senior fellow Noah Diffenbaugh and School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences graduate student Daniel Swain explain the 'ridiculously resilient ridge' and its role in the California drought. More …

Climate Change Impacts: The Risks and How to Reduce Them

Stanford Woods Institute experts led a robust dialogue at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., during the panel discussion “Climate Change Impacts: The Risks and How to Reduce Them.” More …

In The News

'New Normal’: Scientists Predict Less Rain From Here on Out

The SF Chronicle goes behind the scenes with Senior Fellow Noah Diffenbaugh (Environmental Earth System Science) and his eclectic climate team at...
April 20, 2015 - By Kevin Fagan, SF Chronicle

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Drought, Heat and Ice: 2015 Could Be Tipping Point on Climate

Senior Fellow Chris Field (Humanities and Sciences) states that 2015 will be the year for climate solutions, and will include many local, state...
January 2, 2015 - By Miguel Llanos, NBC News

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Meet A Data Scientist Who's Helped Revolutionize Agriculture

Profile of Senior Fellow David Lobell
November 20, 2014 - By Alex Davidson, Forbes

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What Type of Climate Treaty Would People Around the World Support?

Op-ed featuring research and related animation co-authored by Kenneth Scheve, a Woods-affiliated professor of political science.
September 19, 2014 - By Michael M. Bechtel and Kenneth F. Scheve, Washington Post

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“Thoughtful approaches to adaptation and mitigation: they can be a drag on the economy, or they can be the next big thing.”

- Stanford climate scientist Chris Field

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