Thursday, May 29, 2008

Climate change may already be harming ecosystems

First, government-speak:

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) today released "Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3 (SAP 4.3): The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States The CCSP integrates the federal research efforts of 13 agencies on climate and global change. Today's report is one of the most extensive examinations of climate impacts on ecosystems.

Then a conclusion in plain language:

The report finds that climate change is already affecting water resources, agriculture, land resources, and biodiversity, and will continue to do so.

Plain and simple. Details include:
  • Grain and oilseed crops will mature more rapidly, but increasing temperatures will increase the risk of crop failures
  • Higher temperatures will negatively affect livestock
  • Forests are already being affected by climate change with increases in the size and frequency of forest fires, insect outbreaks and tree mortality
  • Weeds grow more rapidly under elevated atmospheric CO2
  • a trend toward reduced mountain snowpack and earlier spring snowmelt runoff
  • Invasion by exotic grass species into arid lands will result from climate change, causing an increased fire frequency
Not a pretty picture.

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