Navigation Links
New facility expected to clarify ecosystem responses to climate change
Date:2/5/2010

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 5, 2010 -- Scientists hope to get a glimpse of the future with a proposed experiment facility in northern Minnesota that would allow them to adjust temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide across a broad range of possibilities projected by climate models.

Researchers believe that the experimental facility, proposed to be built in a high-carbon spruce bog within the Chippewa National Forest, would provide answers to key questions about the effects climate change could have on vegetation and ecosystems while addressing critical uncertainties related to the carbon cycle. Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, are hopeful that construction of the facility could begin in December 2011.

Scientists are calling the multi-year experiment SPRUCE, which stands for Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and Environmental change. The carefully selected 20-acre site is located in a representative black spruce bog forest about 25 miles from Grand Rapids in the Forest Service Northern Research Station's Marcell Experimental Forest.

"The experimental site includes an ecosystem considered especially vulnerable to climate change and thought to be near its tipping point with respect to logical projections of climate change," said Paul Hanson, a member of ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division and the lead researcher for the project.

Researchers expect responses to warming and interactions with increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to have important feedbacks on the atmosphere and climate because of the high carbon stocks harbored by such ecosystems.

"Our approach includes developing and performing experiments that expose critical ecosystems and their components to a broad range of temperature increases both above and below ground combined with atmospheric carbon dioxide enrichment," Hanson said.

To make this possible, ORNL and Forest Service researchers have proposed to design and build a system of open-top enclosures featuring recirculating forced-air heaters with internal air mixing to provide above-ground heating plus below-ground heating units. The facility would allow scientists to increase the temperature from ambient conditions to plus-9 degrees Celsius and boost carbon dioxide levels to between 800 parts per million and 900 ppm, which is at least two times ambient levels.

Hanson and colleagues are looking forward to gaining valuable insight from the experiment and a wide range of measurements that would be conducted over a 10-year period of manipulations.

"Recent workshops hosted or requested by the Department of Energy have emphasized that flagship experiments are needed to simultaneously address multiple science questions, engage a broad cross section of the scientific community and create a more visible and exciting presence to enhance DOE's important role in climate change research," Hanson said. "ORNL experiments will fill this role."

Hanson and colleagues see SPRUCE and similar facilities as being essential for the production of flexible scientific results covering a range of possible futures. This information is needed to allow scientists to develop ecological forecasting tools for policy makers to evaluate the consequences of greenhouse gases and their effects on global and regional climates. These objectives complement DOE's mandate to understand the consequences of atmospheric and climatic change for important ecosystems and the feedbacks between ecosystem response and climate.

Questions the project hopes to answer include:

How vulnerable are terrestrial ecosystems and their component organisms to atmospheric and climatic change?

What are the critical air and soil temperature response functions for ecosystem processes and their constituent organisms? Do those response functions for ecosystem processes depend on shifts in species interactions and composition?

Will full below-ground warming release unexpected amounts of carbon dioxide and methane from high-carbon-content northern forests?

To what degree will changes in plant physiology under elevated carbon dioxide impact a species' sensitivity to climate or competitive capacity within the community?

Will ecosystem services such as biogeochemical, hydrological or societal be compromised or enhanced by atmospheric and climatic change?

In preparation for the proposed research, a team from ORNL and the Forest Service will conduct the appropriate National Environmental Policy Act reviews to meet federal guidelines and inform the public about the nature of the experiment.

"We anticipate that the completed SPRUCE experimental facility will be a focus area for science conducted by investigators from the DOE national laboratories, Forest Service and independent universities," Hanson said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. NSF grant to launch worlds first open-source genetic parts production facility
2. Kornberg Associates
3. Architects Completes UC Riverside Stem Cell Core Facility Project
4. U. of I. business instructional facility achieves top green standard
5. CBS and OMD Partner to Provide the Agency With Access to the Networks Television City Research Facility in Las Vegas
6. University of Miami facility awarded prestigious LEED Green Building Certification
7. Plankton Power and RTDC announce proposed algae-to-biofuels pilot facility on Cape Cod
8. First fuel-handling facility in the Galapagos earns environmental certification
9. How global is the Global Biodiversity Information Facility?
10. Small animal imaging facility is big boon to research
11. Study reveals H1N1 unexpected weakness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/24/2017)... NEW YORK , Jan. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... market study of the laboratory use of nuclear ... of 363 experienced end-users and profiled current practices, ... three years, as well as growth and opportunities. ... NMR, Instrument suppliers, NMR instruments, needs and innovation ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... , Jan 20, 2017 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global voice recognition biometrics ... 2017-2021. The report covers the present scenario and ... 2017-2021. To calculate the market size, the report considers the revenue ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ROCKVILLE, Md. , Jan. 18, 2017  In ... with respect to mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and Kalorama ... reasons for such acquisitions have been shifting. Generally, uncertainty ... and the U.S. has changed the acquisitions ... situation has resulted in companies buying partners outside of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... FireflySci, Inc is an explosive small business that continues ... goal of bringing their powerful cuvette and spectrophotometer calibration to the spectroscopy ... is going on as they add yet another mark on the global map. , ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... and NEW YORK , Feb. ... Lumeon , a leading digital health company, and ... provider of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, announce ... telemedicine reimbursements.  DN Telehealth maximizes ... in real-time, extending consultations beyond a physical clinical ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , Feb. 23, 2017  MIODx announced today ... two key immunotherapy technologies from the University of ... a method to monitor a patient for response ... and CTLA-4.  The second license extends the technology ... is likely to have an immune-related adverse event ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 23, 2017 , ... ... (FDA) de novo clearance to begin marketing the SPEAC® System, the Brain Sentinel® ... adults at home or in healthcare facilities during periods of rest. A lightweight, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: