|TRACK:||Environment, Ecology, and Energy|
|TITLE:||Vital Organs in the Earth System: What Is the Prognosis?|
|DATE:||Sunday, February 19, 2006|
|TIME:||8:30 AM - 11:30 AM|
|ORGANIZERS:||Wendy Broadgate, International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, Sweden; Susannah Eliott, International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, Sweden; Mary Ann Willliams, IGBP Press Office|
|PARTICIPANTS: * = invited, not yet confirmed.|
|Kevin Noone (Moderator), International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, Sweden|
|John Schellnhuber (Speaker), Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, United Kingdom|
The Earth's Vital Organs: An Illustrative Journey
|Carlos Nobre (Speaker), Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, Brazil|
The Amazon and the Sahara: A Tale of Two Ecosystems
|Chris Rapley (Speaker), British Antarctic Survey, United Kingdom|
West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Waking the Sleeping Giant?
|John Foley (Speaker), Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin|
Eden Undone: Global Consequences of Earth's Changing Landscapes
|Stefan Rahmstorf (Speaker), Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany|
North Atlantic Current: A Risk of Breakdown?
|Katherine Richardson (Speaker), Aarhus University, Denmark|
The Oceans: Turning Sour?
|Berrien Moore III (Speaker), Institute for the Study of Earth Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire|
Through a Looking Glass Darkly: Earth System Models
|No available abstracts.|
|Growing awareness that the Earth operates as a system not unlike a human body has led to the concept of "vital organs "or "hotspots," i.e. components, processes or regions that regulate the functioning of the entire planet. A number of these elements have been located so far, including the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, the Amazon forest, the Sahara desert and the Asian Monsoon system. Many of them are sensitive to human pressure and all have the potential to reach critical thresholds that, once tipped, could lead to abrupt changes in Earth's climate and rainfall patterns. This symposium focuses on an unprecedented global effort to locate and monitor Earth's "vital organs." What are their main features? How are they connected and what is their current condition? What are the possible consequences if critical thresholds are reached? Is it possible that human activities could inadvertently push the Earth into another mode of operation? Finding answers to these questions involves monumental collaboration from scientists across a broad range of disciplines, crossing national, institutional, and political frontiers. It may well constitute one of the grandest challenges facing science today.|