Dubai: Scarce water supplies in subtropical climates like the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region are only one predicted effect of climate change as the earth gets warmer.
Due to a rise in atmospheric temperatures, scientists predict the region will experience less rainfall and more water evaporation, which will result in dwindling water supplies.
Yet academics and scientists from New York University (NYU) are set to soon address this issue as they set up the Centre for Prototype Climate Modelling at the NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Institute.
The centre will be established as part of a new wave of Dh58.8 million grants awarded to four selected research initiatives funded by the Abu Dhabi government. Other research projects include initiatives on computer security, cloud computing and computational cosmology and astrophysics.
"When we talk about the Mena region the primary concern is a warming climate, which results in less rain and more water evaporation," said Dr Olivier Pauluis, associate professor at the centre for atmosphere ocean sciences at NYU. "My research is to understand how large-scale atmospheric ocean motion moves water in and out of the tropics, to try and find ways to bring in more water and keep things irrigated."
The Centre for Prototype Climate Modelling in Abu Dhabi will focus on a number of atmospheric and oceanographic studies aimed at bridging mathematical theory with practical application, through sophisticated technology. It is a collaborative effort by Dr Andrew Majda, Dr Katepalli Sreenivasan, Dr Shafer Smith and Dr Pauluis, who all teach at NYU.
"Climate modelling technologies are similar to what is used for weather forecasting," said Dr Pauluis. "We try to solve mathematical equations that describe the motion of the atmosphere on a large scale through the activity in oceans and clouds."
The technologies at the new centre, mainly larger and more sophisticated computers, he added, will allow for more accurate information on the effects of climate change on the atmosphere.
"Clouds are important for the climate because they reflect a lot of energy from the sun and prevent overheating and infrared radiation," he said. "A changing climate will affect clouds and the amount of energy the earth will receive and lose."