Ecosystems Impacts

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Monday, 18 January 2010: 2:00 PM
B215 (GWCC)
Anthony Janetos, Univ of Maryland, College Park, MD

The Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States report has listed 8 key messages related to the impacts that climate change is or will likely have on ecosystems in the United States. This presentation will discuss these key messages and their implications.

Ecosystem processes, such as those that control growth and decomposition, have been affected by climate change.

Large-scale shifts have occurred in the ranges of species and the timing of the seasons and animal migration, and are very likely to continue.

Fires, insect pests, disease pathogens, and invasive weed species have increased, and these trends are likely to continue.

Deserts and drylands are likely to become hotter and drier, feeding a self-reinforcing cycle of invasive plants, fire, and erosion.

Coastal and near-shore ecosystems are already under multiple stresses. Climate change and ocean acidification will exacerbate these stresses.

Arctic sea ice ecosystems are already being adversely affected by the loss of summer sea ice and further changes are expected.

The habitats of some mountain species and coldwater fish, such as salmon and trout, are very likely to contract in response to warming.

Some of the benefits ecosystems provide to society will be threatened by climate change, while others will be enhanced.