Climate change in the USA

The Earth's climate is changing, that is certain. A change in climate will have implications for both people and natural resources. As politicians worldwide evaluate various policy alternatives many scientists will be assembling to discuss this very same topic. On Monday, August 6, 2001 researchers will soon gather for a symposium entitled "Local Ecosystem Effects of Climate Change: The Interaction between Climate Change, Societal Decisions, and Ecosystems."

The session, to be held during the Ecological Society of America's 86th Annual Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, will examine the impacts of climate change and societal perceptions on ecosystems and resources in the United States.

Jerry Melillo of the Woods Hole Marine Biological Institute will open the session with his presentation "Climate Change and our Nation - Report of the US National Assessment." The National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change was created to synthesize, evaluate, and report on what is presently known about the potential consequences of climate variability and change for the US in the 21st century.

The report seeks to identify key climatic vulnerabilities of specific regions in the context of other changes in the nation's environment, resources, and economy. Melillo will discuss the ten key findings of the Overview Report of the Assessment, focusing on natural and managed ecosystems, and setting the overall context for the other presentations in the symposium.

The second presentation, "Impacts of climate change on elk population dynamics in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado," will examine the relationship between changing climate and elk populations. Presented by N. Thompson Hobbs of the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University, the study investigates historic weather data and information on elk populations in an effort to determine the potential impact of future climate change on these a

Contact: Nadine Lymn
Ecological Society of America

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