Submitted to: Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/2/1994
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Arkin, G.F., Bartholic, J.F., Kanemasu, E.T., Kimball, B.A., Knapp, W.W., Marlatt, W.E., Post, B.W., Simmons, C.L., Verma, S., Waggoner, P.E. 1995. Agricultural experiment stations and global climate change. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 75(1-3):209-211.
Interpretive Summary: The increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has led to predictions of global warming and changes in patterns of precipitation. Moreover, the elevated levels of CO2 are also likely to have direct effects on the Earth's vegetation, including agricultural crops. Therefore, under the auspices of the agricultural Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP), an ad hoc Subcommittee on Agricultural Weather Issues, made up of distinguished scientists was convened to outline an appropriate research program for the U.S. Agricultural Experiment Stations in global change. Such research should benefit all mankind in preparing for and mitigating global environmental change and in assuring a sustainable supply of food in the future.
Technical Abstract: The issue of climate change will not go away. The contestable enrichment of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and their absorption of infrared radiation will continue nourishing the specter of global warming. Uncertainty about the nature of the climate change, especially changes of moisture, will encourage diverse, often fearful prophesies of the consequences for farming and landscape. The fears may trigger commands to emit less greenhouse gas. Then, because agriculture generates some CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide, the rules would regulate farming and forestry. Uncertainty whether the prophesied warming will benefit, destroy, or leave the planet scarcely altered, therefore prevents removal of climate change from the issues facing the state Agricultural Experiment Stations (Stations). Commissioned by The Experiment Station Committee on Policy as the Subcommittee on Agricultural Weather Issues, we wrote this guide to research for an agriculture anticipating global climate change. We sought to tell how the Stations could employ their capital to help the Nation anticipate how climate will change, whether mitigating the change makes sense, and how agriculture should prepare for any change. We concentrated on exchanges and relations among atmosphere, plants, and soils. Mainly our guide presents the questions about climate change that need answers and that Stations have a comparative advantage for answering. To relate the questions to the means for answering them, we organized them by the theses of the U.S. Global Change Research Program Budget.