Monday, July 9, 2012

Understanding and preparing for global climate change

If you're interested in more detail about the ecosystem response to climate change take a look at the website of the Berkeley Initiative in Global Change Biology. Focusing on changes in California, the Initiative is focused on two major research themes, both focused on increasing our understanding the biological response to climate change:
 * Developing baseline metrics of ecosystem change over time;
 * Understanding the impact of fire, watershed dynamics, and invasive species.
The work is coupled with an effort to develop the infrastructure needed to analyze the vast amount of data the project will generate. And it is using many available data sources, including museum specimens, that will allow it to test models by "hindcast."

Already, the project, established nearly three years ago, has warned that its work shows that population growth, widespread destruction of ecosystems, and climate change may be heading Earth toward a tipping point of destructive change. Here's a video showing Professor Anthony Barnosky explaining the prediction:
You can read the full article (behind a very steep paywall) in Nature.
(Information about BiGCB via James Fallows's great blog, here.)

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