Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Human impact on tropical forest ecosystems has reached a “tsunami” stage, say scientists, and will require a new generation of sophisticated remote-sensing technology to monitor the changes. Speaking at a Smithsonian symposium Gregory Asner of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology presented new estimates of the global human impact on rain forests, including not only deforestation but also the extent of selective logging and forest regeneration.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded Gregory Asner, of Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology, a $5.2-million grant to advance rain forest monitoring using High-fidelity Imaging Spectroscopy (HiFIS). It determines chemical and structural properties and species diversity of rain forest vegetation in unprecedented detail. It is part of the Carnegie Spectranomics Project, which uses the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, a unique airborne mapping system that can probe some 40,000 acres of rain forest per day.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Christopher B. Field, director of Carnegie's Department of Global Ecology, and Douglas E. Koshland, staff scientist at the Department of Embryology, have been elected AAAS Fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The announcement appears in the News & Notes section of the December19, 2008 issue of Science.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Researchers have discovered that the ocean’s chemical makeup is less stable and more greatly affected by climate change than previously believed. A study in the December 12, 2008 issue of Science reports that during a time of climate change 13 million years ago the chemistry of the oceans changed dramatically. The researchers warn that the chemical composition of the ocean today could be similarly affected by climate changes now underway – with potentially far-reaching consequences for marine ecosystems.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
A new and improved tool to monitor deforestation and degradation in tropical forests has just gotten a huge boost. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has awarded the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology with a $1.6-million grant to expand and improve the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System Lite. The technology will rapidly advance deforestation and degradation mapping in Latin America and will help even the smallest governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) better monitor carbon budgets.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Scientists, including Global Ecology’s Joe Berry, may have overcome a major hurdle to calculating how much carbon dioxide is absorbed and released by plants, vital information for determining the amount of carbon that can be safely emitted by human activities. The problem is that ecosystems simultaneously take up and release CO2. The key finding is that the compound carbonyl sulfide, which plants consume in tandem with CO2, can be used to quantify gas flow into the plants during photosynthesis.
Friday, November 7, 2008
In submitted testimony to the British Parliament, climate scientist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution said that while steep cuts in carbon emissions are essential to stabilizing global climate, there also needs to be a backup plan. Geoengineering solutions such as injecting dust into the atmosphere are risky, but may become necessary if emissions cuts are insufficient to stave off catastrophic warming. He urged that research into the pros and cons of geoengineering be made a high priority.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
How much carbon dioxide is too much? According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, greenhouse gases need to be stabilized at levels low enough to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” But scientists have come to realize that an even more acute danger than climate change is lurking in the world’s oceans—one likely to be triggered by CO2 levels that are modest by climate standards.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, Christopher Field, has been elected co-chair of Working Group 2 of the Nobel-Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He was formerly a coordinating lead author on the 2007 IPCC report, Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability to Climate Change and was one of two Americans to represent the IPCC at the 2007 Nobel Prize ceremonies.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Stanford, CA— It’s not just about climate change anymore. Besides loading the atmosphere with heat-trapping greenhouse gases, human emissions of carbon dioxide have also begun to alter the chemistry of the ocean—often called the cradle of life on Earth. The ecological and economic consequences are difficult to predict but possibly calamitous, warn a team of chemical oceanographers in the July 4 issue of Science, and halting the changes already underway will likely require even steeper cuts in carbon emissions than those currently proposed to curb climate change.