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Melissa Allen-Dumas & Breaking Down Climate Change One Neighborhood At A Time


ORNL’s Melissa Allen-Dumas examines the ways global and regional climate models can shed light on local climate effects and inform equitable solutions. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy The world is full of “huge, gnarly problems,” as Oak Ridge National Laboratory research scientist and musician Melissa Allen-Dumas puts it — no matter what line of work you’re in. That was certainly the case when she would wrestle with a tough piece of music.

“There are passages in music that are much harder than other passages, and that require much more practice,” said Allen-Dumas, who performed and taught the violin and viola professionally for much of her life. “It’s important to take those and break them down into easier bites for yourself, and to solve smaller problems.”

Chopping big problems into manageable pieces, as it turns out, is also the crux of her work now as a computational scientist in ORNL’s Computational Sciences and Engineering Division. There, she tackles global climate change by developing methodologies that scale that big, gnarly problem down to the level of cities — even specific neighborhoods. Pulling together different kinds of data — on weather, building size and shape, migration patterns and demographics, for example — […]

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