Research Challenges in Managed and Natural Ecosystem Responses to Climate Change

Friday, 14 February 2014
Grand Ballroom B (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Noah S. Diffenbaugh , Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Chris Field , Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Terrestrial ecosystems have encountered substantial warming over the last century, with temperatures over land increasing about twice as rapidly as those over the oceans. Earth’s land areas will likely warm dramatically over the 21st century, should emissions continue to grow at the high rates that have occurred in recent decades.  The potential global warming is comparable in magnitude to the largest changes in the last 65 million years, but is one to several orders of magnitude more rapid. The rate of warming implies a velocity of climate change and required range shifts of up to several km/yr, raising the prospect of daunting challenges for ecosystems, especially in the context extensive land-use and degradation, changes in the frequency and severity of extreme events, and interactions with other stresses.