Land Cover

How Much CO2 Can the Amazon Absorb?

Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide would be much higher today if not for the world’s forests, which generally act as “carbon sinks,” absorbing and storing large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions which have been rising steadily since the start of the industrial revolution.  A persistent question for climate change scientists is how much carbon dioxide can forests absorb? A recent analysis of the dynamics of the Amazon ecosystem, one of the largest forests in the world, suggests that we may be approaching the limit of how much…

Depopulation and Greenhouse Gas Drops, Professor Bill Ruddiman, UVA

The Thursday talk – first of two in Professor Bill Ruddiman’s visit to Yale – is called “Depopulation and greenhouse-gas drops”. It summarizes evidence for drops in CO2 and CH4 concentrations during historical time prior to the industrial era. Then it reviews two possible causes: natural climate changes, and depopulation events that reduced anthropogenic gas emissions. For the largest CO2 decrease (between 1525-1610), natural causes were not the major factor. The main cause was the huge depopulation of the Americas because of disease brought in by Europeans.

Habitat Corridors: Saving Species. Storing Carbon

One way species adapt to changing climatic conditions is by moving their geographic ranges in the direction of changing climatic niches, usually to either higher latitude or elevations. Successful range shifts, however, are contingent upon the ability of a species to migrate to the new, climatically suitable locations. For example, species might be unable to migrate due to their intrinsic characteristics (e.g., sedentary life style or short dispersal distances) or because of lack of suitable habitats between its current…

Predicting the Cascading Effects of Climate Change on Ecosystems: "Staggeringly Complex"

Predicting the effects of climate change on the structure and function of ecosystems is difficult because most ecosystems are staggeringly complex, with many directly and indirectly interacting animal and plant species. A recent study by Christenson and colleagues attempts to track the effects of climate change through a forest ecosystem in the northeastern US to understand how one climatic alteration might affect the plant community through multiple pathways…

The Importance of Model Resolution in Global Change Biology

Biologists increasingly realize that understanding the impact of global change on biological processes requires accounting for fine-grain environmental variability (Potter, Arthur Woods, & Pincebourde, 2013). Similarly, climatologists have found that increasing the resolution of climate models typically produces better simulations of climate and precipitation…

New York City's Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resilience: Strengths and Limitations of Climate Model-Based Approaches

Radley Horton from Columbia University Earth Institute will speak on climate projections for New York City.  The $20 billion Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) Plan for New York is grounded upon climate risk information provided by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC). This expert panel, tasked with advising the City on climate-related issues, completed a ‘rapid response’ climate assessment with updated climate projections.

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