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MODELING HUMAN-INDUCED CLIMATIC-CHANGE - A SUMMARY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGERS

TitleMODELING HUMAN-INDUCED CLIMATIC-CHANGE - A SUMMARY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGERS
Publication TypeManual Entry
AuthorsSULZMAN, EW, KA POIANI, and TGF KITTEL
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
Volume19
Pagination197-224
Date PublishedMAR-APR
PublisherSPRINGER VERLAG
Place Published175 FIFTH AVE, NEW YORK, NY 10010
Type of ArticleReview
ISSN0364-152X
CLIMATE CHANGE, CLIMATE MODELS, ECOSYSTEMS, GREENHOUSE EFFECT, LAND SURFACE PROCESSES, UNCERTAINTY, VALIDATION, VARIABILITY, WATER RESOURCES
Abstract

The rapid increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases has caused concern because of their potential to alter the earth's radiation budget and disrupt current climate patterns. While there are many uncertainties associated with use of general circulation models (GCMs), GCMs are currently the best available technology to project changes in climate associated with elevated gas concentrations. Results indicate increases in global temperature and changes in global precipitation patterns are likely as a result of doubled CO2. GCMs are not reliable for use at the regional scale because local scale processes and geography are not taken into account. Comparison of results from five GCMs in three regions of the United States indicate high variability across regions and among models depending on season and climate variable. Statistical methods of scaling model output and nesting finer resolution models in global models are two techniques that may improve projections. Despite the many limitations in GCMs, they are useful tools to explore climate-earth system dynamics when used in conjunction with water resource and ecosystem models. A variety of water resource models showed significant alteration of regional hydrology when run with both GCM-generated and hypothetical climate scenarios, regardless of region or model complexity. Similarly, ecological models demonstrate the sensitivity of ecosystem production, nutrient dynamics, and distribution to changes in climate and CO2 levels. We recommend the use of GCM-based scenarios in conjunction with water resource and ecosystem models to guide environmental management and policy in a `'no-regrets'' framework or as part of a precautionary approach to natural resource protection.

DOI10.1007/BF02471991
Citation Key194
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