Working to understand and mitigate climate change impacts.
The science is unequivocal. Human activities – such as burning fossil fuels, cutting down forests, and modern agriculture – generate greenhouse gas emissions that are altering Earth’s climate. Nearly every ecosystem on the face of the planet is or will be altered. Climate change is one of the major drivers of ecosystem change.
The scale, impact, and escalation of climate change present major challenges for resource management, sustainable development, and public health.
Heat waves, floods, hurricanes, and other forms of extreme weather are increasing in frequency. Sea levels are rising, and cities are getting hotter, amplifying the vulnerability of coastal urban centers. Pests are moving into new regions altering ecosystem structure, and the spread of pathogens is posing direct threats to human health.
Cary scientists are working to understand these and other impacts of climate change and help identify future mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Our climate change research includes:
“Climate change is one of the factors causing Lyme disease to expand its range. It’s inducing the ticks and the pathogens they carry to move further north, into upper elevations, into the mountains in the East, up into Canada, and into Pennsylvania, where the climate is a little harsher than it is on the coast.” – Rick Ostfeld
Cary Institute Research Fellow Timon McPhearson is lead author of the ‘Cities’ chapter of the International Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Report, to be released in 2022.
Cary Institute is the home institution for the Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network, an international network of researchers, educators, and community groups working to understand the response of lakes to global change using high-resolution sensor data.
“Trees remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere; burning wood returns them. Recent evidence shows that the use of wood as fuel is likely to result in an increase in overall carbon emsissions and may endanger forest biodiversity.” – William Schlesinger