, Volume 118, Issue 3-4, pp 565-577

The regional nature of global challenges: a need and strategy for integrated regional modeling

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Abstract

In this paper, we explore the regional nature of global environmental challenges. We take a broad approach by examining the scientific foundation that is needed to support policy and decision making and identifying some of the most important barriers to progress that are truly scale-dependent. In so doing, we hope to show that understanding global environmental changes requires understanding a number of intrinsically regional phenomena, and that successful decision making likewise requires an integrated approach that accounts for a variety of regional Earth system processes—which we define to include both human activities and environmental systems that operate or interact primarily at sub-continental scales. Understanding regional processes and phenomena, including regional decision-making processes and information needs, should thus be an integral part of the global change research agenda. To address some of the key issues and challenges, we propose an integrated regional modeling approach that accounts for the dynamic interactions among physical, ecological, biogeochemical, and human processes and provides relevant information to regional decision makers and stakeholders.