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  1. 1. Confronting climate change – considering potential impacts and feedbacks Global Roundtable on Climate Change at Columbia University 11-12 May, 2005 Jerry M. Melillo The Ecosystems Center Marine Biological Laboratory Woods Hole, MA
  2. 2. Human Health Agriculture Forests Water Resources Species and Natural Areas Temperature Precipitation Sea Level Rise Coastal Areas Energy Demands Transportation POTENTIAL IMPACTS Climate Changes
  3. 3. Health Impacts <ul><li>Weather-related mortality </li></ul><ul><li>Air quality – respiratory illness </li></ul><ul><li>Vector-borne diseases </li></ul>
  4. 4. Agricultural Impacts <ul><li>Changes in crop yields </li></ul><ul><li>Increased spread of pests and vector-borne diseases </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in irrigation demands </li></ul>
  5. 6. Forest Impacts <ul><li>Forest health and productivity </li></ul><ul><li>Forest composition </li></ul><ul><li>Geographic range </li></ul>
  6. 7. Water Resources Impacts <ul><li>Water supply </li></ul><ul><li>Water quality </li></ul><ul><li>Competition for water </li></ul>
  7. 9. Impacts on Coastal Areas <ul><li>Erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Inundation of coastal lands </li></ul><ul><li>Additional costs to protect coastal communities </li></ul>
  8. 10. Hurricane categories Vulnerable coastal areas for Manhattan based on about a 6 meter high flooding zone for the year 2100- simulation of Klaus Jacob, Lamont-Doherty Potential urban impacts of coastal flooding
  9. 11. Species and Natural Areas <ul><li>Species migrations </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of habitats and their species </li></ul>
  10. 12. Energy demands <ul><li>Heating demands reduced in some regions </li></ul><ul><li>Cooling demands increased in other regions </li></ul>
  11. 13. Transportation <ul><li>Damage to infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>New opportunities </li></ul>
  12. 14. IGSM diagram Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change MIT Integrated Global System Model (IGSM) M ASSACHUSETTS I NSTITUTE OF T ECHNOLOGY Ref : R. Prinn et al ., Climatic Change , 41: 469-546, 1999 Contact rprinn @ mit . edu for citation permission
  13. 15. Ref : J. Melillo et al ., Nature 363:234-240, 1993 CH 4
  14. 17. Current 2090s w CO 2 fert. 2090s High-latitude annual carbon budget that considers both carbon dioxide and methane -200 -100 0 100 200 ( g CO 2 –eq. m -2 yr -1 )
  15. 18. Conclusions <ul><li>Climate change will affect people and the ecosystems that support them throughout the world </li></ul><ul><li>The impacts will be a mix of positives and negatives </li></ul><ul><li>The magnitude of both beneficial and harmful impacts grows as the focus shifts to smaller regions, individual communities and specific activities or resources </li></ul>
  16. 19. Conclusions ( continued ) <ul><li>Some of the most negative impacts are likely to be in regions that can least afford adaptation strategies – e.g., small island nations, sub-Saharan Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Many ecosystems are vulnerable to the projected rate and magnitude of climate change. Ecosystems such as alpine tundra and barrier islands are likely to disappear entirely in some areas. Other ecosystems may fragment. </li></ul><ul><li>The goods and services lost through the disappearance or fragmentation of certain ecosystems are likely to be costly or impossible to replace. </li></ul>
  17. 20. Conclusions ( continued ) <ul><li>Climate change is likely to promote the release of carbon as CO 2 and CH 4 from the biosphere into the atmosphere, thereby accelerating the rate of warming and the intensification of the hydrologic cycle. </li></ul>