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A professor from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has contributed to a report on the state of climate. The report focuses on efforts aimed at addressing climate change.

The State of the Climate Report shows that greenhouse gas concentrations, heatwaves, Arctic melting, ocean heat, and sea levels are at record highs. This report is an international effort by scientists to inform communities and policymakers about climate change.

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Ademe Mekonnen, a climate scientist, studies climate variability and change in Africa and the Atlantic. He emphasizes that small climate changes have significant effects, especially in underserved communities.

The Climate Resiliency Center (CRC) is working to address these challenges through research, education, and outreach to the community.

The Climate Report has revealed that “Earth’s greenhouse gas concentrations were the highest on record, heatwaves shattered temperature records across the planet, the Arctic was warm and wet, and the ocean heat and global sea level were also the highest on record,” among other findings.

This report, released annually for 33 years, is an international, peer-reviewed effort scientists use to inform communities and policymakers about climate change.

The document is compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information and is published as a supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Mekonnen, a professor of physics in the College of Science and Technology at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, has served as the chapter editor of the African region for eight consecutive years.

According to N.C. A&T, Mekonnen studies climate variability and climate change with a focus on Africa and the Atlantic, and his efforts are supported by federal funding.

He is a principal investigator (PI) on the Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) Department of Energy-funded initiative.

He also serves as a co-PI on another DOE-funded Climate Resiliency Center (CRC) project led by his colleague Solomon Bililign, which further underscores N.C. A&T’s leadership and expertise in the area of climate change.

Mekonnen recalled the rainfall was below average overall in the year prior, and what this signals to the scientific community is small changes have significant effects.

He also noted when more developed countries like the United States experience droughts, bringing resources like food from one corner of the country to another is a feasible solution. However, scarcity of resources and systemic breakdowns are not challenges unique to Africa.

Scientists want to inform policymakers of the changes in climate on a larger scale and work directly with leaders and members of the general public to help address the challenges on a localized level – especially in underserved communities.

“The CRC is laying a foundation for the future of the Piedmont Triad area. It’s not just research and education, but outreach to the community that has been overlooked,” said Mekonnen. “Our objective is to bring community members and leaders on board and let them decide what they want to see since a changing climate affects different neighborhoods for different reasons.”

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