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Forests and climate change focus of Frontiers in Science lectures

LANL researcher Nate McDowell will discuss climate change and its effects on forest systems.
March 31, 2014
Nathan McDowell measures photosynthesis at the SUrvival MOrtality project (SUMO) drought experiments site.

Nathan McDowell measures photosynthesis at the SUrvival MOrtality project (SUMO) drought experiments site.

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"The data we have suggests that forests of the Southwest and many other areas are in jeopardy of a massive die-off in the next few decades,” McDowell said.

It’s not easy staying green…

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., March 31, 2014—Los Alamos National Laboratory climate researcher Nate McDowell will discuss climate change and its effects on forest systems in a series of Frontiers in Science lectures beginning Wednesday, April 2 at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque.

“The data we have suggests that forests of the Southwest and many other areas are in jeopardy of a massive die-off in the next few decades,” McDowell said. “I was a doubter of these results until we generated more than three estimates, all independent, which came to the same conclusion.”

It's not easy staying green: Forests and climate change
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It's not easy staying green: Forests and climate change

The talk, titled “It's not easy staying green: Forests and climate change,” will focus on the increasing climate temperature and the imposing threat it poses to forests.

Because of climate warming, forests are facing threats unlike any other they have seen in thousands of years. Warming dries the forests so that, from the perspective of the trees, even short droughts are severe. No forests appear to be immune to this challenge.

In his talks, McDowell will explain the scientific basis for these conclusions and discuss the options for maintaining forests in the face of this threat.

All Frontiers in Science lectures begin at 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Wednesday, April 2, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain Road N.W., Albuquerque
  • Friday, April 4, James A. Little Theater, New Mexico School for the Deaf, 1060 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe.
  • Tuesday, April 8, Duane W. Smith Auditorium, Los Alamos High School, Los Alamos.

Sponsored by the Fellows of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Frontiers in Science lecture series is intended to increase local public awareness of the diversity of science and engineering research at the Laboratory.

All talks in the Frontiers in Science lecture series are free of charge. For more information, call (505) 665-9196 or email Linda Anderman at anderman@lanl.gov.

About the speaker

McDowell received a doctorate in tree physiology at Oregon State University and came to the Laboratory as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow in 2003. He became a staff scientist in the Laboratory’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, where he studies the interdependency of plant and ecosystem, water and carbon cycles and their response to climate and disturbance.  He serves on advisory committees for the National Science Foundation, the Department Of Energy, and the Laboratory, and is an associate editor for two international journals. He also has testified before Congress regarding DOE's climate change research.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.


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