Seminar: Jim Randerson

Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 4:00pm

Jim Randerson

Professor, Department of Earth System Science, UC Irvine

Global Ecological Change Beyond the Year 2100

Most exploration of future climate has focused on changes to the year 2100 given the significant investments needed to develop effective plans for mitigation and adaptation. Decisions we make regarding resource use over the next few decades, however, will influence atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, biogeochemical cycles, and atmospheric and ocean dynamics over much longer time horizons, raising the question of whether there are unanticipated tipping points that we may cross further into the future. Here I will discuss several global ecological teleconnections that may emerge after the year 2100 that influence the habitability of the planet, drawing upon multi-century simulations from the Community Earth System Model. In my talk I will discuss the mechanisms by which climate-induced changes in "nutrient trapping" in the Southern Ocean may reduce ocean net primary production and fish stocks over the next millennium. On land I will discuss mechanisms regulating rainfall in the Amazon and the consequence of changing patterns of lightning for the stability of permafrost carbon in northern tundra. I will conclude by discussing the importance of land-ocean hydrologic coupling for marine net primary production in the Arctic Ocean. Further exploration of ecological change in deep future time is necessary, in my opinion, to provide stronger motivation for emissions reductions policy and to optimize targets for long-term planetary sustainability.

Reception to follow in DGE lobby.

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