Wednesday, April 5, 2017 — Plants are currently removing more CO2 from the air than they did 200 years ago, according to new work from Carnegie’s Joe Berry and led by J. Elliott Campbell of UC Merced. The team’s findings, which are published in Nature, affirm estimates used in models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The phenomenon of plants pulling carbon dioxide out of the air has been included in climate change models for many years,” Berry explained, “but it has always been difficult to know whether the strength of this effect is being modeled in a realistic way. Our new results affirm that the range of models used in the last IPCC assessment did, in fact, include realistic estimates of the sensitivity of global photosynthesis to CO2.” more »
Friday, January 27, 2017 —New remote sensing maps of the forest canopy in Peru test the strength of current forest protections and identify new regions for conservation effort, according to a report led by Carnegie’s Greg Asner published in Science.
Asner and his Carnegie Airborne Observatory team used their signature technique, called airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy, to identify preservation targets by undertaking a new approach to study global ecology—one that links a forest’s variety of species to the strategies for survival and growth employed by canopy trees and other plants. Or, to put it in scientist-speak, their approach connects biodiversity and functional diversity. more »
Monday, November 14, 2016 —New research from two Carnegie scientists has serious implications for the development of management strategies to reduce nutrient runoff in waterways and coastal areas.
Human activities, including agriculture and fossil fuel use, have completely altered the biochemical cycle of nitrogen. In this cycle, nitrogen circulates in various forms through terrestrial, aquatic, and atmospheric systems. In the United States, the amount of nitrogen originating from human sources, particularly fertilizer, is four times the amount that comes from natural sources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 28 percent of streams and 20 percent of lakes around the country experience high nitrogen levels. more »
Tuesday, October 4, 2016 — What would we do differently if sea level were to rise one foot per century versus one foot per decade? Until now, most policy and research has focused on adapting to specific amounts of climate change and not on how fast that climate change might happen. Using sea-level rise as a case study, researchers at DGE have developed a quantitative model that considers different rates of sea-level rise, in addition to economic factors, and shows how consideration of rates of change affect optimal adaptation strategies. If the sea level will rise slowly, it could still make sense to build near the shoreline, but if the sea level is going to rise quickly, then a buffer zone along the shoreline might make more sense. more »
Tuesday, September 13,, 2016 — Using software tools developed by Near Zero, a research group hosted by the
DGE, a team of researchers has completed the largest expert survey yet on any energy technology, in this case wind energy.
Near Zero conducts research and assessment of energy and climate issues, focusing on integrating quantitative analysis with expert judgment. In this way, they inform decision-making to accelerate the global transition to a near-zero emission energy system. To support this work, Near Zero has developed open-source software tools to examine where experts agree and disagree and why. more »