Research

IGSM Chart

The research of the Joint Program is designed to improve understanding of Earth systems and to inform decision makers and the public on issues of global change.

Our primary research tool is the MIT Integrated System Modeling framework (IGSM), which is a facility for

simulating global change and for assessing the effects of policy proposals. It also provides a platform for studies of components of the global-change issue.

The main research areas of the Program involve both the continuing development of the IGSM, to improve the individual component models and the linkages among them, and the application of the full system.

In our work to elucidate the key aspects of global change issues, we apply the IGSM framework to:

  • analyses of interactions among human and Earth systems;
  • objective assessments of economic and climate projections;
  • critical, quantitative analyses of policy proposals; and
  • investigations of connections to other public policy issues.

Current highlights of the Program's research include:

  • improved understanding of the climate system;
  • uncertainty analyses of the human-climate system;
  • analyses of alternative energy sources at large scale;
  • studies of climate and urban air pollution;
  • assessments of national policy proposals;
  • technology studies; and
  • studies of international negotiations on a future climate change regime.

Our goal is to develop analysis facilities as close to the frontier of these scientific disciplines as possible, while maintaining the ability to perform the types of multiple calculations that are needed in order to understand both uncertainties in the human-climate system and implications of proposed policies.