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Thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems

Description: This Report (SAP 4.2) focuses on the thresholds of Climate Change in Ecosystems. As defined in this Synthesis and Assessment Report, 'an ecological threshold is the point at which there is an abrupt change in an ecosystem quality, property, or phenomenon, or where small changes in one or more external conditions produce large and persistent responses in an ecosystem'.Ecological thresholds occur when external factors, positive feedbacks, or nonlinear instabilities in a system cause changes to propagate in a domino-like fashion that is potentially irreversible. This report reviews threshold changes in North American ecosystems that are potentially induced by climatic change and addresses the significant challenges these threshold crossings impose on resource and land managers. Sudden changes to ecosystems and the goods and services they provide are not well understood, but they are extremely important if natural resource managers are to succeed in developing adaptation strategies in a changing world. The report provides an overview of what is known about ecological thresholds and where they are likely to occur. It also identifies those areas where research is most needed to improve knowledge and understand the uncertainties regarding them. The report suggests a suite of potential actions that land and resource managers could use to improve the likelihood of success for the resources they manage, even under conditions of incomplete understanding of what drives thresholds of change and when changes will occur.
Date: January 2009
Creator: U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research
Partner: UNT Libraries

A U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan

Description: Report assessing the carbon cycle and providing guidance for U.S. researchers. It includes background on the history and context of the carbon cycle and previous science plan as well as chapters describing relevant fundamental science questions, science plan goals, the plan elements, interdisciplinary and international collaboration and cooperation, implementation and funding of the plan, and references with supplementary appendix information.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Michalak, Anna M.; Jackson, Robert B.; Marland, Gregg & Sabine, Christopher L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States: A State of Knowledge Report from the U.S. Global Change Research Program

Description: This book is the most comprehensive report to date on the wide range of impacts of climate change in the United States. It is written in plain language to better inform members of the public and policymakers. The report finds that global warming is unequivocal, primarily human-induced, and its impacts are already apparent in transportation, agriculture, health, and water and energy supplies. These impacts are expected to grow with continued climate change - the higher the levels of greenhouse gas emissions, the greater the impacts. The report illustrates how these impacts can be kept to a minimum if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. The choices we make now will determine the severity of climate change impacts in the future. This book will help citizens, business leaders, and policymakers at all levels to make informed decisions about responding to climate change and its impacts. Likely to set the policy agenda across the US for the next few years Features examples of actions currently being pursued in various regions to address climate change. Summarizes in one place the current and projected affects of climate change in the United States
Date: 2009
Creator: Karl, Thomas R.; Melillo, Jerry M.; Peterson, Thomas C. & Hassol, Susan Joy
Partner: UNT Libraries

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States: Highlights

Description: This booklet highlights key findings of Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, a state of knowledge report about the observed and projected consequences of climate change for our nation and people. It is an authoritative scientific report written in plain language, with the goal of better informing public and private decision making at all levels. The report draws from a large body of scientific information including the set of 21 synthesis and assessment products from the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and much more. It also includes new information published since these assessments were released. While the primary focus of the report is on the impacts of climate change in the United States, it also discusses some of the actions society is already taking or can take to respond to the climate challenge. These include limiting climate change by, for example, reducing emissions of heat-trapping gases or increasing their removal from the atmosphere. The importance of our current choices about heat-trapping emissions is underscored by comparing impacts resulting from higher versus lower emissions scenarios. Choices about emissions made now will have far-reaching consequences for climate change impacts, with lower emissions reducing the magnitude of climate change impacts and the rate at which they appear. The report also identifies examples of options currently being pursued to cope with or adapt to the impacts of climate change and/or other environmental issues. One example of adaptation is included in this booklet. There is generally insufficient information at present to evaluate the effectiveness, costs, and benefits of potential adaptation actions. This booklet includes a brief overview of the 10 key findings of the report, using examples from the report to illustrate each finding. References for material in this booklet, including figures, can be ...
Date: June 2009
Creator: Karl, Thomas R.; Melillo, Jerry M.; Peterson, Thomas C. & Hassol, Susan Joy
Partner: UNT Libraries