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Climate Change Seminar - Climate Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems

Monday, April 11, 2016 at 3:35pm to 4:35pm

Plant Science Building, 233

Led by: Christine Goodale (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology)


Abstract:  The terrestrial biosphere currently soaks up a quarter of current fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide, thus slowing the rate of climate change.  However, multiple processes drive this terrestrial carbon sink, and its future trajectory uncertain:  the uptake of CO2 by plant growth may increase in the future as the planet warms and atmospheric CO2 rises, but the availability of water and nutrients can limit that process; meanwhile, warming is likely increase decomposition and the release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, possibly turning the terrestrial sink to a net sources of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Tropical, temperate, and boreal ecosystems will respond differently as the planet warms, with diverging feedbacks to future climate. This seminar will introduce these key processes governing the response of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change and will explore their likely feedbacks to future climate.


The 2016 Cornell University Climate Change Seminar meets Monday afternoons through May 9. This university-wide seminar provides important views on the critical issue of climate change, drawing from many perspectives and disciplines. Experts from both Cornell University and other universities will present an overview of the science of climate change and climate change models, the implications for agriculture, ecosystems, and food systems, and provide important economic, ethical, and policy insights on the issue.

The seminar is free and open to the Cornell and Ithaca Community at large, and will be videotaped and available via Webex.

Organized and sponsored by the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, the Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

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Event Type



Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Sustainability



Christine Goodale

Speaker Affiliation

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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