The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Departments of Energy and Agriculture are teaming up to predict region-specific effects of climate change. "Decadal and Regional Climate Prediction Using Earth System Models" is a $50 million-a-year computer modeling program that will illustrate regional effects of a changing climate, from disappearing coastlines to temperature changes to ocean acidification to severity of droughts.

The idea is that the more people—or industries—understand how they are likely to be affected, the better they can prepare themselves. Agricultural interests could benefit widely from the program, as crop failure and reduced harvest of crops such as wheat are already being seen.

Improved versions of the modeling program are expected in the next three years, and as development efforts continue, the number of ecological factors that can be accounted for in the model should increase, as well as how region-specific the predictions can get, potentially down to state-wide levels or even individual (large) cities.