Recognition Of The Importance of Landscape Change

There is effective media recognition of the importance of landscape change on weather and climate. It is in a news article on March 15 2008 by Jim Konkoly in Highlands Today titled “Drained Wetlands Having Dramatic Effect On Our Area”. It reads

“Every day, the Archbold Biological Station’s weather station is providing data to help the federal National Climatic Data Center determine if, as weather data strongly suggests, south central Florida’s climate is getting hotter and drier during the summers while the winters have more deep freezes which are lasting longer and getting colder.

A recent study, which will be followed up by more research, suggests that the draining of the south central Florida wetlands may be responsible for the climate changes, which have huge implications on the water supply for agriculture and population growth and could threaten the citrus industry.

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases may not be the biggest problem causing climate change that threatens local economies, the study suggests.

Right here in south central Florida, the draining of wetlands may have a bigger impact, according to the 2004 study by Roger Pielke, one of his students, Curtis Marshall, and their colleagues Louis Steyaert and Debra Willard.

Their report, “Deep Freeze and Sea Breeze, Changing Land and Weather in Florida,” can be read online at NASA’s Earth Observatory link.

NASA’s introduction to their report states:

“Combining their diverse expertise in climatology, environmental modeling, ecology, geography, geology and remote sensing, the team ended up with an explanation for how land-cover change in central and southern Florida could simultaneously be responsible for hotter, drier summers and wintertime deep freezes that are longer lasting and more severe.”

NASA’s introduction to the study also says:

“Three decades of research have brought Pielke to the conclusion that when it comes to the kinds of climate change people experience where they live, land-surface changes like deforestation, urbanization, and the draining of wetlands are at least as important – and maybe more important – than increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases.”

Pielke’s report begins by saying the drainage canals, dams, dikes and reservoirs built throughout south central Florida converted a huge area that was completely covered with various types of wetlands into today’s landscape with “dramatically reduced” water flow and wetlands.

Hilary Swain, executive director of Archbold, said while the Pielke research report is scientific, it can be read and understood by lay people.

To see the entire report, as well as the charts and maps, go to:

www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Study/DeepFreeze/dee…

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