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Climate Change and Grassland Ecosystem Services
September 20, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Climate change is upon us here and now. The evidence of causation by human-induced alterations in greenhouse gas concentrations is overwhelming and irrefutable. Every region of the globe is feeling implications of anthropogenic climate change. The decision not to mitigate future change will have dire consequences for all ecosystems on earth. This presentation will focus specifically on future climate change scenarios for grassland ecosystems of the U.S. Great Plains. The region lies in an area that will experience a warming in the annual average temperature of 3°C in thirty years. End of century conditions are a much worse 7°C, assuming no mitigative action is taken. Precipitation projections are more uncertain, relative to temperature projections. The most likely scenario is for a slight increase in annual precipitation. However, the manner in which the precipitation is received will differ than our current climate conditions. Seasonality will alter such that wetter conditions will prevail during the colder months of the year. Summers will dry significantly. Individual precipitation events will become more intense, yielding greater runoff and erosion. Drought events will increase in severity. Furthermore, there will be greater variability in weather conditions. Current management practices should be reviewed as they may not be viable under future climate conditions.
Martha Shulski is a professor of applied climate science in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She serves as the Director of the Nebraska State Climate Office and State Climatologist for Nebraska. The goal of the State Climate Office is to deliver science-based weather and climate information to inform decisions. The office runs the Nebraska Mesonet, a statewide automated weather network of 65 real-time stations. Martha joined the faculty at UNL in August 2009. Her research interests are in the areas of climate variability and change and climate impacts. She also has a strong interest in understanding information needs and often works closely with users of weather and climate information to deliver decision support tools.
This is an in-person and live stream even. See website for details.