Our Changing Earth System

Climate, water, natural hazards and resources. Local, regional, and national communities face unique challenges from environmental change, but share a common need for transdisciplinary scholarship in creating workable solutions. Drought, flooding, and extreme weather are all threats in Texas, for example, while sea-level rise and freshwater resources are long-term concerns in Florida. While these specific regional patterns of change differ, both locations require scholarship aimed at understanding the physical and social dimensions of our relationship with the hydrologic cycle. The histories of thought and action that have led societies to this juncture will affect how the public and private sectors manage their environments and natural resources in the forthcoming decades. Yet, models still cannot predict how specific environments will change, let alone how society can prioritize and plan for these inevitable disruptions.

How will our local environments change? How can communities adapt? Scholars at Rice are working to improve climate and weather prediction, infrastructure resilience, decision-making, ecosystem conservation, energy and resource technologies, natural hazards, and community engagement to prepare our society for this uncertain future.

Research areas include:

  • Climate Change
  • Biodiversity
  • Water Resources
    • Freshwater and energy
  • Earth Hazards
    • Flooding, seismic, volcanic, extreme weather
  • Planetary Habitability