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New Research Supports California's Effort to Curb Greenhouse Gases Using Soils Management

August 27, 2018

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the release of new science and planning tools to support California’s continued leadership on actions to address climate change and safeguard the state’s people, economy and resources.

California rangelands
Rangelands include land on which vegetation is predominantly grasses, grass-like plants, forbs or shrubs and include natural grasslands, oak-tree savannas, shrub lands, many deserts, alpine communities, marshes and meadows. Pictured: Coyote Ridge, Santa Clara Valley, Calif. Photo Credit: Stuart B. Weiss.

The compilation of original climate research known as California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment includes 44 technical reports and 13 summary reports on climate change impacts to help ready the state for a future punctuated by severe wildfires, more frequent and longer droughts, rising sea levels, increased flooding, coastal erosion and extreme heat events. This new body of work translates global models into scaled-down, regionally-relevant reports to fill information gaps and support decisions at the local, regional and state levels.

California has completed three prior Climate Change Assessments. Since the release of California’s Third Climate Change Assessment in 2012, the state has experienced several of the most extreme natural events in its recorded history, including a severe five-year drought, an unprecedented tree mortality crisis, damaging floods driven by atmospheric rivers, and increasingly large and destructive wildfires.

The Fourth Assessment suggests these events will worsen in the future and offers various adaptation measures for consideration. Among the key findings are those in one of the summary reports by Lorraine Flint and others from the U.S. Geological Survey, in collaboration with U.C. Berkeley, the Carbon Cycle Institute, and The Nature Conservancy. Scientists studied how increasing the organic carbon content in soil in California’s rangelands and croplands can sequester greenhouse gases and increase hydrologic resiliency to climate change:

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