Tuesday, August 3, 2010: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Blrm BC, David L Lawrence Convention Center
An increase in the magnitude and frequency of climate extremes has been recognized as a critical manifestation of climate change by the IPCC due to the potential for extreme events to have large and widespread impacts on organisms and ecosystems, as well as significant economic costs and consequences for human welfare. There is mounting evidence that the frequency and severity of extreme climatic events is already increasing in many regions, and global warming is only expected to further increase both the probability of occurrence and magnitude of these events over the next century.
While there have been numerous studies examining the effects of changes in climate means on ecological processes and ecosystems, research on extreme climatic events is less common perhaps because such research is much more challenging. Despite the difficulties of such research, efforts at increasing our understanding of this critical aspect of climate change have been made through paleo-, observational and experimental approaches. We believe that the time is now ripe to bring together this disparate research community to (1) assess and integrate our knowledge of the ecological role of extreme climatic events, (2) identify gaps in our understanding and (3) set a research agenda for the future that includes recommendations on the types of research approaches needed to further our understanding of ecosystem responses to this key aspect of climate change.
Our symposium is designed to accomplish these goals by bringing together speakers from meteorological and paleo-ecological disciplines, as well as ecologists who are actively studying the ecological impacts of climate extremes through observational and manipulative approaches from a broad range of perspectives. We will provide an integrative structure for each talk, and the symposium as a whole, by asking each speaker to not only synthesize their unique research efforts, but to also identify the critical knowledge gaps we face and the research approaches needed to better understand this pervasive component of climate change.