Is Climate Still Important?
Stanley A. Changnon
Illinois Water Survey
Champaign, Illinois
October 5, 1993
Summary Notes to Inaugural Kuehnast Lecture

I want to make five points about what we understand and should do about climate.
First, there is greater awareness in all sectors about what climate is and its importance.
Second, applied climatology is not getting the attention nor understanding it needs and deserves if we are to bring climatic information to anywhere near its optimal use by society.
Third, the functions of climatologists have grown rapidly and significantly embrace description, prediction, and modification of climate.  There have been major advances in the field.
Fourth, the climate of the future will be different than today’s regime, with or without the greenhouse effect, and for many reasons, our vulnerable society and its complex climatically sensitive systems need to prepare for change.
Fifth, climatologists have done much to help today’s society develop and function, but there is much yet to be done to improve a) the delivery of climatic data and information, and b) to help potential users understand how to use our products.   The outstanding past contributions of climatologists stand on their merit.  The future contributions of climatologists will be ever more important to society and its quest for sustainable development.

In conclusion, my answer to the question, “Is climate still important?” is a resounding YES!

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