Ecological Impacts of Climate Change

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Transcript Ecological Impacts of Climate Change

National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The Role of Human Beings
Causes of Climate Change
• It is very likely that most of the
climate change in the current era is
the result of human activities.
– Human activities have increased
concentrations of greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere.
– These gases trap heat and cause
the Earth to warm.
Figure adapted from Climate Change 2007: The Physical
Science Basis. Working Group 1 Contribution to the 4th
Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change. Figure SPM.5. Cambridge University Press.
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The Role of Human Beings
Rate of Climate Change
• Climate change in the current era is expected to be extremely rapid
compared to transitions in and out of past ice ages.
• Ecosystems are more vulnerable to changes that happen rapidly.
A scientist holding an ice
core—a sample taken
from polar ice caps or
mountain glaciers.
Ice cores reveal clues
about climate changes in
Earth’s past.
Image courtesy USGS National Ice Core Laboratory.
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The Role of Human Beings
Compounding Factors
• Human activities have many other effects on ecosystems.
• These effects compound the effects of climate change, making it
more difficult for ecosystems to adapt.
– Pollution
– Habitat fragmentation
– Invasive species
– Overfishing
– Manipulation of water sources
– …and much more
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The Role of Human Beings
Improving the Outlook
• Changes in activities at the personal, community, and national
levels can affect the rate of future climate change and species’
abilities to adapt.
• Some of the areas where changes in human activities could help
species adapt include:
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Approaches to agriculture
Water management practices
Energy sources and use
Transportation
Pollution remediation
Biological conservation
…and much more
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
The climate challenge is large and complex.
But it is very likely that many people, working from many
angles, can help address climate change and its
ecological consequences.
Acknowledgments
National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Engineering
Institute of Medicine
National Research Council
This presentation was developed by the National
Academy of Sciences based on its report, Ecological
Impacts of Climate Change (2009). The report, its
companion booklet, and this presentation were
produced with support from the United States
Geological Survey. Ecological Impacts of Climate
Change was authored by the following National
Research Council committee:
CHRISTOPHER B. FIELD, Chair, Carnegie Institution for Science
DONALD F. BOESCH, U. of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
F. STUART (TERRY) CHAPIN III, University of Alaska
PETER H. GLEICK, Pacific Institute
ANTHONY C. JANETOS, University of Maryland
JANE LUBCHENCO, Oregon State University
JONATHAN T. OVERPECK, University of Arizona
CAMILLE PARMESAN, University of Texas
TERRY L. ROOT, Stanford University
STEVEN W. RUNNING, University of Montana
STEPHEN H. SCHNEIDER, Stanford University
For more information, visit
National Research Council Staff
ANN REID, Study Director
FRANCES E. SHARPLES, Director, Board on Life
Sciences
ANNE FRANCES JOHNSON, Communications Officer
AMANDA CLINE, Senior Program Assistant
www.nas.edu/climatechange
Unless otherwise noted, all images in this presentation are © JupiterImages, 2009. These images were
purchased for use in this presentation and may not be reproduced without permission from the owner.