Paleontologists report that our planet has experienced five mass extinctions. By most accounts we are living through one more (the subject of last year’s Pulitzer-prize winning The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert). With species estimated to be disappearing perhaps 1000 times faster than prior to the arrival of man, the Yale Climate and Energy Institute sponsors talks next week by scientists seeking to understand how global forces like habitat fragmentation and climate change interact to remake life on Earth.
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…
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.
Resiliency is the theme of Pace University’s upcoming 15th annual land use conference. Defined as “ how systems and settlements stand up to shock from the outside…”1, resiliency is an appropriate organizational concept for a panel discussion on how communities might respond to the potentially shocking discovery of rich stores of gas shale beneath their land.
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…
Since 1993, Pace University’s Land Use Law Center has fostered development of sustainable communities by promoting innovative land use strategies and techniques for dispute resolution. This year’s 13th annual Land Use and Sustainable Development Conference includes discussions involving local control of what many experts see as the inevitable development of New York State’s gas shale resources.
Rit Aggarwala is the former director of long-term planning and sustainability for New York City and currently special advisor to Michael Bloomberg in his role as chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
Steven Stoll of Fordham University studies the history of agrarian society in the United States because he’s found that “agriculture offers the ideal vantage from which to observe the intersection of ideas and practices, economies and landscapes.”
His presentation was videotaped and is presented below:
Respiration by plants and microorganisms is primarily responsible for mediating carbon exchanges between the biosphere and atmosphere. Climate warming has the potential to influence the activity of these organisms, altering the exchanges between carbon pools. Traditionally, the respiratory release of CO2 into the atmosphere is thought to be more temperature-sensitive than photosynthesis (carbon fixation), generating a positive climate-ecosystem carbon feedback with the potential to accelerate climate warming by up to 1.4 times.