Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: March 13, 2006
Publication Date: March 19, 2006
Citation: Morgan, J.A. 2006. Global climate change research at the usda-ars high plains grasslands research station. Casper Star Tribune. March 19, 2006. Popular article. Technical Abstract: With each passing year bringing record warmer temperatures to the region, many folks are beginning to consider whether there really is something to the notion of global climate change. A growing consensus among the world’s atmospheric scientists suggests that we are facing unprecedented human-induced changes in Earth’s climate. Such changes could have serious consequences for Wyoming’s rangeland ecosystems. Responding to this concern, a group in Cheyenne, the Rangeland Resources Research Unit, part of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), along with scientists and graduate students from the University of Wyoming (UW), are embarking on a new long-term investigation to learn how combined warming and increased CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere might affect rangeland ecology and production. The new experiment, called the High Plains Global Change Experiment, will subject native mixed-grass prairie to elevated CO2 and warming to understand how this important Great Plains grassland will respond to global change over the next 50 years. Ten ARS and university scientists, several UW graduate students, and six technicians are now involved in this project, along with other collaborators from Arizona, North Carolina, and Italy. In April, CO2 will begin injecting over this prairie in southeastern Wyoming and the HPGCE experiment will commence. Information from the experiment will address concerns about the long-term effects of global climate change on plant production, forage quality and weed invasions, and will help agricultural scientists develop new management practices for adapting to a warmer, CO2-enriched future.