Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center

Climate Change Impacts

Science plays an essential role in helping communities and resource managers understand the implications of climate change, anticipate the effects of change, and prepare for projected changes. GECSC scientists conduct research critical to understanding the physical, chemical, and biological components of the Earth system, the causes and consequences of natural and anthropogenic climate change, and the vulnerability and resilience of the Earth system to such changes.

Filter Total Items: 12
Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Burned Area Essential Climate Variable

Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) track critical attributes of the atmosphere, oceanic, and terrestrial systems over time-scales appropriate for analyzing their relationships with climate change. As part of a larger Climate Data Record (CDR) and ECV project, scientists at GECSC are leading the development and validation of the Burned Area ECV algorithm. This algorithm automatically extracts...

Contacts: Todd Hawbaker
Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Ecosystem Services Assessment and Valuation

Ecosystem services are the benefits that nature provides to human well-being: clean air and water, protection from natural disasters, fisheries, crop pollination and control of pests and disease, and outdoor places for recreation, solitude, and renewal. Ecosystem services underlie the functioning of our entire economy. They are neither worthless nor priceless, and by integrating the physical...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Exploring Future Flora, Environments, and Climates Through Simulations (EFFECTS)

Climate changes can significantly affect species and ecosystems. Historical and paleoenvironmental data record species and ecosystem responses to past climate changes, but these records become sparse as one goes further back in time. Model simulations can be used fill the spatial and temporal gaps in observed records to improve our understanding of the potential magnitude, rate, and spatial...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Geologic Records of High Sea Levels

This project studies past high sea levels on coastlines that preserve fossil coral reefs or marine terraces. We ascertain the magnitudes of sea-level high stands by field mapping, stratigraphic measurements, and precise elevation measurements. Geochronology is accomplished by radiocarbon dating of mollusks (for Holocene-to-last-glacial deposits), uranium-series dating of corals (for high-sea...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Global Ecosystems

The Earth contains an astonishing variety of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, which provide biological resources and services that are essential to our survival. A high resolution, data-derived, global ecosystems map will improve our ability to manage, conserve, and restore ecosystems that are increasingly threatened by fragmentation, alteration, loss, invasive species, fire,...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Holocene Hydroclimate of Western North America

The objectives of this project are to reconstruct detailed histories of Holocene hydroclimate and corresponding environmental change from geological archives such as lake sediment, peat, and wood to more fully understand past, ongoing, and future change and its impacts.

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Mountain Pine Beetle Impacts on Carbon Cycling

In the Southern Rocky Mountains, an epidemic outbreak of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae; MPB) has caused forest mortality on a scale unprecedented in recorded history. The impacts of insect-induced mortality have only recently received attention, although other disturbances such as fires and land-use change have a strong influence on carbon sequestration and can result in a net...

Contacts: Todd Hawbaker
Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Paleohydrology of Desert Wetlands

Springs and wetlands are among the most highly threatened ecosystems on Earth. Although geographically limited, they support more than 20% of all the threatened and endangered species in the United States. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey are examining the rock record to determine how springs and wetlands responded to abrupt climate change during prehistoric times and the recent...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Sources, compositions, and effects of atmospheric dust from American Drylands

The Drylands Project undertakes studies to measure past and ongoing changes in dust sources, flux, and composition in the American West, and strives to understand the effects of atmospheric dust on pressing national and global issues of snowmelt acceleration, air quality, and human health. The project develops the capability to forecast future dust emission/deposition and effects on the basis...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Sustainable Landscapes

Evidence of the loss and fragmentation of forest, wetland, shrubland, grassland and other natural and semi-natural cover to human activities is pervasive. In response, this study focuses on the trajectory of land use and development coupled with the capacity for landscape conservation and recovery of natural and semi-natural land cover across a diversity of U.S. landscapes.

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Terrestrial Rates and Amplitudes of Changes in Ecoclimate Systems (TRACES)

Vegetation changes caused by climatic variations and/or land use may have large impacts on forests, agriculture, rangelands, natural ecosystems, and endangered species. Climate modeling studies indicate that vegetation cover, in turn, has a strong influence on regional climates, and this must be better understood before models can estimate future environmental conditions. To address these...

Contacts: Bob Thompson
Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Terrestrial Records of Holocene Climate Change: Fire, climate and humans

Large wildfires have raged across the western Americas in the past decade including the Las Conchas, New Mexico fire that burned 44,000 acres in a single day in 2011 (Orem and Pelletier, 2015, Geomorphology 232: 224-238, and references therein), the 2016 Fort McMurray, Alberta fire that required evacuating an entire city, and the...