About the CWC Program

"The future of humanity and the quality of our daily lives necessitate a deeper understanding of Earth's climate system, which sustains all life and is now threatened and compromised by human activities."
—The Climate, Water and Carbon Program proposal, January 2006.

Fourth Annual Report of the CWC (June 30, 2010)

Third Annual Report of the CWC (April 17, 2009)

CWC Accomplishments as of April, 2009

  • Funded 42 faculty including their students, travel, equipment, etc.
  • Paid partial or full support to 41 graduate students, 12 undergraduate students, 16 post-graduate researchers, 20 visiting scientists, and 8 staff.
  • The total number of people receiving full or partial support from the CWC is 139. They are from 6 different colleges and the John Glenn School.
  • We have published 159 peer-reviewed papers or book chapters.
  • We have won $8.5M in grants and presently have in review $11M in grants.

Second Annual Report of the CWC (April 17, 2008)

Click on either of these two links to download the Second Annual Report

Great Videos with CWC Researchers

Founding Principles

The Climate, Water and Carbon Program (CWC) unites scientists from across a spectrum of research fields at The Ohio State University with the aim of expanding inquiry and research into the causes and effects of abrupt global climate change. The CWC is dedicated to a better understanding of the Earth's complex climate system, the future availability of fresh water and the affect that energy use is having on the planet's greenhouse gas cycles. Research findings can then be applied for society's benefit through an improved understanding of related policy implications.

The CWC is a unique approach toward developing science that will help answer the critical climate, water and carbon related questions that confront humanity. In deviation from a more traditional, singular approach, CWC's researchers from a variety of disciplines are linking their work to examine abrupt climate change, water resources and the carbon cycle from different points of view, a new way to scientifically explore common goals. Perhaps most uniquely, the CWC is bringing together science and policy researchers who are building an end-to-end approach toward understanding how the world's climate, water and carbon systems are changing and what our reactions should be.

To accomplish these tasks, CWC scientists will conduct field studies, use remote sensing devices including satellite radar technology and develop and study climate models for a better understanding of current conditions and to make future predictions. They will focus on three key questions that form the nucleus of the CWC:

  1. Are we causing an abrupt climate change today?
  2. How much water is available and how does it vary in space and time?
  3. What strategies can be implemented to offset the impact of fossil fuel combustion on the Earth's ecosystems and how do these affect climate change and water resources?


It's a critical time because Earth's climate is changing at a rapid clip. Finding out why and crafting solutions that will work on such a complicated system requires broad-based thinking and a sustained effort at sites both remote and local. To this end, the CWC established several core projects that directly address climate, water and carbon, for example CO2, a greenhouse gas.

View more information on our projects and seed grants


Ohio State's Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) supports the CWC through its Targeted Investment in Excellence (TIE) program with a $12 million investment. For CWC, "Targeted" is the focus of its three core questions, "Investment" will lead to the creation of non-university partnerships for continued research, and "Excellence" recognizes past, and the promise of future, successes of CWC's members.

Currently, more than 50 faculty members on the CWC come from:

The CWC intends to become the go-to resource for local, state, national and international questions on scientific and socially relevant issues regarding climate, water and carbon. Progress in that direction is well underway.

OAA Approves the CWC (June 2006)

The Climate, Water, and Carbon Program is a Targeted Investment in Excellence funded by OSU's Office of Academic Affairs (OAA). Learn more about OAA's TIEs. Important related documents:

CWC TIE Proposal (Jan. 2006)

This is the proposal that led to the formation of the CWC.

The Climate, Water, and Carbon Program is a coalition of several OSU colleges, schools, and centers designed to specifically address the following three questions: (1) are we causing an abrupt climate change today?, (2) do we have enough freshwater?, and (3) what adaptive strategies can be implemented to offset the impact of fossil fuel combustion on biogeochemical cycles affecting climate change and water resources?
Download the proposal submitted to OAA's TIE initiative.