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Climate Change

The concept of the current experiment is to study carbon storage and possible cycling in soils which alternate between saturation and nonsaturated conditions on an annual basis. To allow the data to be considered robust, or applicable to numerous locations and soil types it will be necessary to have multiple years of data, but to also have data that 'repeats' or replicates itself.

The causes of climate change are global, but the impacts are experienced locally. Communities across the New England region and the country are facing challenges from climate change including more extreme storms, hotter and longer-lasting heat waves, more rain in winter and less in summer, as well as the slower but significant effects of sea level rise. Given the incremental development and long lives of the built environment, changes in municipal regulations take years to significantly change the buildings and infrastructure that make up our cities and towns.

As the global human population continues to grow and climate change alters weather patterns and intensifies stress on agricultural systems, we need to find new ways to sustainably increase production agriculture. We focus on grasslands because they are important for global food stability and as a vast ecosystem (66% of agricultural areas are grass lands) have serious global climate implications.

We are testing how plant viral infection impacts the effect of cover crops on soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, and soilnutrient status. We expect that the virus impact will vary with cover crop species and soil type. Our results are expected toinform how virus infections of cover crops may impact soil health. To quantify changes in soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, and nutrient status of soils subjected to virus infected covercrops, we are using a combination of field trials and pot experiments as well as basic and advanced soil characterizationtechniques.

Global climate change affects every aspect of our life. Global warming increases the intensity of drought, which leads to the increase in frequency and severity of forest fires. Beyond being a source of soot and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), severe wildfires/forest fires can damage soils, water quality and quantity, fisheries, plant communities, wildlife habitat, and endangered species; result in economic and property loss; and cause harms to the environment and public health. Forest thinning or prescribed burns reduce the accumulation of hazardous fuels and restore forest health.

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