Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Colorado State Atmospheric Scientist Believes Number Of Influences Are Overlooked In U.S. National And International Climate Assessments

Date:
January 12, 2000
Source:
Colorado State University
Summary:
A researcher at Colorado State University believes that regional assessments of climate change in the United States and one prepared by a United Nations panel overlook factors that are critically important to the realism of models of global climate change.

FORT COLLINS -- A researcher at Colorado State University believes that regional assessments of climate change in the United States and one prepared by a United Nations panel overlook factors that are critically important to the realism of models of global climate change.

Roger Pielke Sr., professor of atmospheric science, and colleagues have shown in their research that the effect of landscape and human-caused land-use changes can have a profound effect on climate variability and change. This work calls into question the realism of the climate predictions used in the U.S. regional, national and international assessments because these factors have not been included in the model.

"If land-use change is as important on the climate system as our results suggest, there is a large uncertainty in the future climate, since there is no evidence that we can accurately predict the future landscape," Pielke said.

He maintains that the General Circulation Models used by regional and national U.S. efforts and the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change only investigate a subset of the effects of greenhouse gases and aerosols. They do not, he said, incorporate other important effects--such as land-use change and the biological effect of increased carbon dioxide--on climate. As a result, the range of possible climate futures that have been predicted for the 21st century is almost certainly larger than commonly presented.

"This does not mean that we should not worry about future changes in climate," Pielke said. "Rather, it should raise serious questions as to our ability to reliably predict such changes."

Pielke addressed the 11th Symposium on Global Change at 2:45 p.m. Jan. 10 during the American Meteorological Society annual meeting in Long Beach, Calif., where a presentation on the U.S. assessment immediately followed. Pielke discussed how landscape--plants, or lack of them-- influences the earth's energy budget, directly and otherwise, through a variety of effects.

For example, as carbon dioxide concentrations increase, a corresponding increase in plant coverage could increase "transpiration," which is the release of water vapor into the atmosphere as a result of plant metabolism. While this water could cool the region's atmosphere directly or through cloud formation, it also could increase the amount of water vapor, a radiatively active greenhouse gas.

"This is an example of a complex feedback between vegetation and the atmosphere that we do not completely understand," Pielke said.

Pielke's hypothesis that landscape affects the global energy budget (such as the absorption and reflection of sunlight) also is affected by land-use change. Cutting tropical forests, increasing urban sprawl and converting forest or grasslands to agriculture can alter the amount of sunlight absorbed or reflected and the amount of water vapor released into the atmosphere by transpiration.

"Since landscape and other atmosphere-surface interactions involve complex, non-linear feedbacks, it becomes impossible to predict accurately future climate," Pielke said. "This suggests that the scientific community might be overstating the certainty in the predictive information that is currently being provided to other researchers and to policy makers."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Colorado State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Colorado State University. "Colorado State Atmospheric Scientist Believes Number Of Influences Are Overlooked In U.S. National And International Climate Assessments." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112075202.htm>.
Colorado State University. (2000, January 12). Colorado State Atmospheric Scientist Believes Number Of Influences Are Overlooked In U.S. National And International Climate Assessments. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112075202.htm
Colorado State University. "Colorado State Atmospheric Scientist Believes Number Of Influences Are Overlooked In U.S. National And International Climate Assessments." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/01/000112075202.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

Hundreds of Thousands Hit NYC Streets to Protest Climate Change

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) Celebrities, political leaders and the masses rallied in New York and across the globe demanding urgent action on climate change, with organizers saying 600,000 people hit the streets. Duration: 01:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

French FM Urges 'powerful' Response to Global Warming

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday warned about the potential "catastrophe" if global warming was not dealt with in a "powerful" way. Duration: 01:08 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

Ongoing Drought, Fighting Put Somalia at Risk of Famine

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) After a year of poor rains and heavy fighting Somalia is again at risk of famine, just three years after food shortages killed 260,000 people. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Rockefeller Oil Heirs Switching To Clean Energy

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) The Rockefellers — heirs to an oil fortune that made the family name a symbol of American wealth — are switching from fossil fuels to clean energy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins