In simultaneous press conferences in seven northeastern cities, the team of independent experts, in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists, presented analyses of the impact of climate change on key sectors in the northeastern United States. By providing the best available science on the issue, they hope to persuade opinion leaders, policy-makers and the public to make informed choices about climate-change mitigation and adaptation.
"Today's energy and emissions choices lead to starkly different pictures of what the future holds for our farms, gardens and natural landscapes in terms of climate change impacts," said Wolfe, Cornell professor of horticulture and lead author of the NECIA agriculture chapter.
While a warmer climate will trigger a longer growing season and the opportunity to experiment with new crops, "it will also open the door to invasion by new and aggressive crop pests, damaging summer heat stress and serious challenges with water management," said Wolfe. "Adapting to change will add economic stress to family farms already stretched to the limit."
The Northeast can also expect more frequent summer heat waves that could compromise the health of crops, livestock and humans, said Wolfe. What will happen in the future, he said, depends "on whether we as a society follow the business as usual [higher] emissions scenario or begin taking action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
For example, he added, "Our analysis found that under the higher emissions scenario, parts of New York are projected to reach temperatures by late century that would reduce milk production up to 15 percent during summer months." Although farmers can better cool dairy barns, the extra costs involved could squeeze out small family farmers.
The apple industry also could be threatened as winters become so warm that the "winter chilling" period required for maximum flowering and yield is no longer met. "With a lower emissions scenario, apple and other affected tree fruit crop industries would have several more decades to adapt, possibly switching to different varieties or crops," he said.
Of perhaps greatest concern in the next few decades, he stressed, is increased pressure from aggressive, invasive insect, disease and weed pests. Many of the most aggressive weeds, research shows, grow faster with more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
"On top of this, our study found that, at the higher emissions scenario, weed species currently constrained to southern states by our cold winter temperatures could encroach throughout the southern half of New York by mid-century," said Wolfe.
His recommendations to farmers and gardeners included plowing and tilling less to reduce the burn off of stored soil carbon that releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and using less nitrogen fertilizer, which produces nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas.
The full reports are available at http://www.climatechoices.org. Wolfe's specific study also will be published in a forthcoming issue of Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change.
Crop achilles' heel costs farmers 10 percent of potential yield
24.01.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine