Integration of Physical + Social Sciences

Accomplishing NCAR’s mission of producing science in service to society requires rigorous, integrated science investigating the physical, engineering and social dimensions of resource use and weather and climate risks.

RAL scientists leverage expertise in diverse social science methodologies to investigate the social dimensions of weather and climate risks, and the use and management of climate-sensitive resources, using tools grounded in economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, and geography, among other disciplines.

This work involves applying quantitative and qualitative social science methodologies that follow the scientific method:

  • Generating theories, hypotheses, and research questions about the social dimensions of resource use and weather and climate risks
  • Collecting and analyzing data to test hypotheses and understand decisionmaking processes and needs
  • Engaging with decision-makers, stakeholders, and researchers to build knowledge and support informed decision-making
Integration of Physical & Social Sciences
Integration of Physical & Social Sciences

RAL’s cross-disciplinary integrated science fosters improved understanding of how physical, social and engineered systems interact, and supports informed decision-making at multiple scales. For example:

  • International negotiations over mitigation and adaptation targets and pathways
  • Multilevel policies and governance to manage short- and long-term climate impacts
  • Usability and communication of information
  • Local adaptation, mitigation and resilience planning
  • Behavior related to resource use and vulnerability to hazards and extremes
  • Socio-economic impacts of weather and value of weather and climate information