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    Author(s): Rhonda Mazza
    Date: 2008
    Source: Science Update 17. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 12 p
    Publication Series: Science Update
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (2.0 MB)

    Description

    Carbon is a naturally occurring compound, essential to life on this planet. We exhale it, while plants absorb it as part of the photosynthetic process. Human activities have altered the carbon balance, however, and as a result have triggered changes in climates around the world. By extracting and burning oil, coal, and natural gas, carbon that was locked in long-term storage underground has been released into the atmosphere. The associated greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide trap heat that would otherwise radiate back into space. Changes to the global climate have significant repercussions and will affect nearly all the Earth's species in some way. A large source of uncertainty lies in the social changes that may or may not occur. As we grapple with what these changes mean for ecosystems, and how the output of critical services provided by these ecosystems will be affected, two broad-based strategies are at our disposal: adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation strategies aim to prepare the landscape and its habitants for the new climate, whereas mitigation strategies attempt to slow down the process of climate change. This issue of Science Update highlights research by scientists from the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Southwest Research Stations that addresses climate change in this context.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Mazza, Rhonda. 2008. Changing with the climate. Science Update 17. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 12 p

    Keywords

    Climate change research, ecosystem services

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