The Land-Atmosphere and Resilience Initiative

A network for research aimed at helping to prevent famine and slow global warming in the next 10-50 years

A third way to tackle global warming

Many sections of society are focussed on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the means to tackle global warming. It is clear that reductions are vital. However, this approach has limitations:

A second approach to global warming is large-scale, radical geoengineering. A variety of schemes have been proposed: many look promising, and could bring rapid reductions in global temperatures. However, schemes can suffer from limitations such as:

A third approach is the use of local- and regional-scale earth restoration techniques, which seek to mimic and enhance natural processes. The techniques are applied at a local scale, but the cumulative effect over a wide area can be significant. The benefits include:

LARI seeks to stimulate the scientific research for and practical application of techniques in this third category.

We do not intend to try to initiate another Kyoto/COP/IPCC process, but rather work directly with academics, NGOs, single governments, regions and communties on a landscape scale.

Time for "Plan C"

On Friday 2 January 2009 The Independent published an article titled: "Climate scientists: it's time for 'Plan B'". The article reports a poll of international scientists, who believe that our failure to cut CO2 emissions now means that we will instead need to adopt "Plan B": geoengineering solutions.

The Land-Atmosphere and Resilience Initiative (LARI) proposes a third way, an alternative to radical geoengineering, which can be implemented much sooner. In fact, it already is being implemented, for perfectly good eco-restoration and community well-being reasons.

The Land-Atmosphere and Resilience Initiative (LARI) brings together researchers with an interest in land-atmosphere meteorology, climate resilience and famine prevention.

LARI seeks participation from academics in fields such as:

We especially want academics interested in focusing their work to support field implementation that brings specific benefits to vulnerable communities within the time frame 2020-2060.

Current LARI Activities

Proposed LARI Activities

Why the emphasis on 2020-2060?

  1. Global population is predicted to peak in 2050. Phosphate production (for fertiliser) peaked in 1989, which is why fertiliser and food prices have been rising steadily. With economic recovery, petroleum prices are likely to start rising again. This combination of factors, plus other stressors such as war, climate change and extreme weather events, is very likely to produce global famine in the 2020-2060 period if we don't work actively to prevent it.
  2. The IPCC and media focus on consequences in 2100 tends to distance people from the reality of what is happening now and real consequences. (Most of us will be dead in 2100.)
  3. 2020 is a longer view than the electoral cycle, and 2020-2060 is long enough for researchers, NGOs, communities and regional actors to work on envisioning and implementing transformative strategies, and see the results of their work and better prospects for their children.

Background to LARI

Land-atmosphere science has taken off since Randy Koster at NASA coordinated 12 teams around the world looking at the effect of soil moisture on rainfall in GLACE - the global land-atmosphere coupling experiment. Work on land surface impacts and the water cycle has been somewhat overshadowed by work on ocean-atmosphere interactions and greenhouse gases. By some estimates, a third of warming on any particular region in the 20th century is due to changes of land-use and the impact on water/cloud, rather than greenhouse warming. An excellent study by Roger Pielke Snr demonstrated that warming and reduced rainfall in Florida was mainly due to removal of forest in the 20th century.

Michal Kravcik, a hydrologist from Slovakia and winner of the Goldmann Environment Prize, proposed that rather than simply accept this, we do something about it: restore the water cycle and cloud formation, especially in semi-arid regions.

LARI collates information on meteorlogy and other disciplines in order to support and guide those who want to realistically apply this principle over the next 20 years. ie. not wait for governments to save us.

LARI and The Global Cooling Project

In order to encourage, support and coordinate implementation and attract support, we have created The Global Cooling Project.

We realise that for some researchers the phrase "global cooling" is itself a source of concern. Howver we use it for the following reason:

In an era where many are increasingly worried about eco-catastrophe, we find that the phrase "Global Cooling" provides a helpful positive and practical focus, and a useful antidote to the hopelessness and denialism that can arise when people feel disempowered by media hype about immenent catastrophe, and the very real prospect of global famine in the period 2020-2060.

So, LARI informs; The Global Cooling Project supports implementation, clarifies what additional resarch would help improve implementation and raises funds for implementation and scoping studies, monitoring or small pilot resarch projects. Sadly we are not able to fund large research projects so we hope that LARI will mainly use exisiting research budgets and help to focus research activities on what will help communities in the real world in the critical 2020-2060 period.

Getting involved

If you'd like to get involved with, or find out more about LARI, please contact us. And please tell any colleagues who you think may be interested.

Visit the LARI Wiki, hosted by the Open University, and share your ideas:

Further information