Climate System Lab
Jong-Seong Kug (Division of Environmental Science & Engineering)
Responding to climate change is the imperative of our time. If we can succeed in this, we will better respond to the future. The single determining factor in successfully rising to this global challenge is identifying its causes and predicting its progress through science. It is undeniable, however, that this also represents the most significant scientific trial of our time. This is because climate change is the result of a number of complicated factors with moving pieces, and is affecting a wide range of components of the earth, including the atmosphere, oceans and ecosystems.
The Climate System Lab headed by professor Jong-Seong Kug at the Division of Environmental Science & Engineering, POSTECH, seeks to answer this seemingly insurmountable scientific problem. The Lab considers the atmosphere, oceans, the cryosphere and ecosystems as the building blocks of the climate system and takes a scientific approach to study climate change. The goal is to identify what causes climate change and understand how climate change will impact our society. Furthermore, researchers at the Lab are engaged in all types of science-based research that is required to predict the future trajectory of climate change and the resulting abnormal climate events.
The research team closely followed El Niño that occurs in the tropical Pacific to study how this phenomenon impacts the global climate system. The research findings were featured in the international journals of ‘Nature’ and ‘Science’, among others, and were compiled into a book titled ‘El Niño White Paper’.
The Climate System Lab is also working to elucidate on the impact that oceans and surfaces have on climate change – for instance, how forest fires affect climate change and how climate change further aggravates forest fires. The Lab is the first to quantifiably identify just how much the warming of the North Pole is accelerated by the physiological functions of phytoplankton from the ocean or from plants on the ground. In addition, the Lab leverages AI-enabled computer simulation to forecast climate change.
The ultimate goal of the Lab is to ‘predict the future with improved accuracy’. Recently, CO2 and other greenhouse gases have been gradually increasing. The climate reacts to such a change gradually for quite some time and then upon passing a certain threshold, may radically spiral into a completely new state. This threshold is called a ‘climate change tipping point’, and is perceived as the most challenging problem of climate change research. The Climate System Lab is wholeheartedly dedicated to resolving this challenge.
Head of Lab
Jigok Research Building 234