Outstanding Climate Research is conducted in Brazil through IPNE and the Interdisciplinary Climate Investigation Center

Outstanding Climate Research is conducted in Brazil through IPNE and the Interdisciplinary Climate Investigation Center

Country specific climate research is critical for enabling adaptation and mitigation strategies, and to support decision making in general. In the case of Brazil, it is key to generating scientific advances in what particularly relates to the linkages between climate and Land-Uses and Land-Cover Changes (LULCC) (ie. deforestation) and the impacts on the ecosystems we depend on.

With many internationally recognized research institutes, Brazil already conducts cutting-edge science research towards achieving these aims. In particular, Brazil has notable competence in topics relating to the measurement and modeling of the biosphere/atmosphere interaction processes, and their connection with the Amazon, cerrado and caatinga forests. How these natural systems respond to climate variability and the potential impact of global warming are highly relevant areas of research not only for the country, but for the rest of the world.

Two of the most relevant research centers in the nation include:

1. INPE, in particular the Center for Weather Forecasting and Climate Studies (CPTEC) and the Earth System Science Center (CCST)

INPE, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, appeared in the early 1960s as a product of the Cold War. It has since evolved into a center that enables the use of satellite data as a stimulus for applied research in Brazil.

INPE’s involvement in environmental issues, in the form of the use of numerical modeling tools and data collection through satellites and terrestrial platforms, has grown markedly in recent years. Proof of this is the participation of scientists from their staff in the preparation of the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the leading position of the institute in the scientific committee of the International Geosphere Biosphere Program (IGBP), from 2006.

In 1987, INPE created the CPTEC-INPE. Planned to generate numerical weather forecasts, CPTEC also quickly started to provide seasonal climate forecasts. A few years later, the new center started to generate regional forecasts, covering South America with better resolution, and in the early 2000s, forecasts and environmental monitoring. In 2010, CTEC was designated as one of the twelve centers for global seasonal forecasts by the standards of the World Meteorological Organization – WMO in 2010. With the constant updating of its high-performance computing base, CPTEC has become an international reference center, with scientific and technological capacity that allows the continuous improvement of its forecasts for the country and South America. Apart from proving forecasts, CPTEC is responsible for monitoring the atmosphere and rainfall, adding environmental and weather and climate information to agribusiness activities, energy generation, transport, services and construction, tourism and leisure, etc.

Recently, INPE also expanded its research agenda to include the theme of Earth System Science, focusing on the impacts caused by human activity and climate change. Research and initiatives in international research projects on the Amazon, such as LBA, participation in the elaboration of IPCC reports, and leadership in the IGBP scientific committee (2006 to 2012), led INPE to create, in 2009, the Earth System Science Center (CCST). The objective of the CCST is to analyze Brazil’s sustainability paths in the face of global environmental changes, therefore contributing to the expansion INPE’s research agenda in the environmental area.

Any publication using Brazilian data in regards to deforestation, wildfires or other LULCC is generally conducting using INPE’s database, so it an extremely important institute for Brazil.

INPE is funded through the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

2. Interdisciplinary Climate Investigation Center (NAP/USP)

This center includes more than 58 researchers from different areas in the University of São Paulo and 90 external collaborators, which is important since research in climate is inherently multidisciplinary. The center is organized across sub-projects whose themes include:

  1. Detection, attribution and natural climate variability;
  2. Climate change and its effects on the Amazon environment;
  3. Biogeochemical cycles and water resources;
  4. Climate change and its impacts in the South Atlantic Ocean;
  5. Megacities / air pollution;
  6. Impacts of climate change in the South Atlantic on the physics, biology and biogeochemistry off the South and Southeastern Brazilian coastal zone;
  7. Paleoclimate;
  8. Past and future evolution of rainfall extremes;
  9. Technological innovation, bioenergy and sustainable productions systems and their contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases;
  10. Health – vulnerability and adaptation in the environmental health context;
  11. Human biometeorology: analysis of the environmental variables (meteorological, thermal comfort and air pollution) and climate change impacts on the elderly population in the city of São Paulo;
  12. Economics of climate change;
  13. Water resources and climate change;
  14. Land use change;
  15. Radiation, aerosols and clouds;
  16. Environmental governance;
  17. Impacts of climate/environmental change on the fauna: an integrative approach;
  18. The role of planning, urban and building design for climate adaptation in the microscale. Contributions to an interdisciplinary approach;
  19. Global learning and understanding for local solutions: reducing the vulnerability of marine dependent communities (GULLS);
  20. Cities, Vulnerabilities and Climate Change: an integrated and interdisciplinary approach for analysis of actions and adaptive capacity (CiAdapta).

NAP lists about 33 research projects submitted, approved, and running with very impressive total proceeds of approximately $ 65 million in the set, which is funded by the University of São Paulo.

Of recent publication by the center (including the use of a database on climate modelling that was created by NAP) it is worth highlighting:

  • Ambrizzi et al (2019), where the authors review the evolution of regional climate modeling, as well as present the studies developed for South America.
  • Llopart et al (2020), where the present (1970–2005) and the future (2006–2100) climate trends are analyzed. It is expected that such information could be useful for devising adaptation and mitigation policies due to climate change over the totality of South America.

It is worth noting that there are other institutions in Brazil that are responsible for continuing climate research, including the Brazilian Research Network on Global Climate Change (established in 2007) and the National Institute of Science and Technology for Climate Change. The Brazil Panel on Climate Change (PBMC) was also established in 2009 by the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Science and Technology to increase the participation of Brazilian scientists in the IPCC process. It provides information and offers technical and scientific support to development and implementation of public policies on climate change, including the PNMC (National Policy on Climate Change).

In addition, it is important to point out that there are some challenges to overcome to ensure the continuation of relevant climate research in Brazil, and the most pressing one has to do with politics. The interested reader may refer to this recent news article on the topic. Still, it is worth remembering one of the most commented issues that happened last year when a scientist who called out Brazil’s president Bolsonaro on Amazon deforestation was fired from working on INPE, and also wrongfully accused of having bad data.

Activity Rating: *** Right Direction

Brazil is a very relevant example of good and sound climate research being produced, with many centers having international recognition on different fields related to climate. Notably, there is still room for private institutes whiling to finance and encourage this type of research.

Take Action

Please send the following message to the policymaker(s) below.

Dear Mr. Darcton and Tércio,

As representatives of Brazilian research centers that are internationally acknowledge for Climate research, we thank you in the name of INPE and NAP for your contributions to Brazil’s climate agenda.


INPE’s current Director – Darcton Policarpo Damião & NAP’s general coordinator – Tércio Ambrizzi

Email: diretor@inpe.br  | incline.aca@iag.usp.br


  • Ambrizzi, T. M. S. Reboita; R. P. da Rocha; M. Llopart (2019): The state of the art and fundamental aspects of regional climate modeling in South America. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, v. 1436, p. 98-120. https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nyas.13932
  • Llopart, M.; M S. Reboita; R. P. da Rocha (2020): Assessment of multi-model climate projections of water resources over South America CORDEX domain. Clim Dyn 54, 99–116 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00382-019-04990-z

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Luiza Martins Karpavicius

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