Jerry Melillo on scientists working to document U.S. climate impacts

Jerry Melillo: We have extensive documentation now of a variety of impacts of climate change in natural systems.

Jerry Melillo is an ecologist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He and his colleagues are working to document climate change impacts already occurring in the U.S.

Jerry Melillo: Everything from increases in fire frequency in the west, outbreaks of insect pests across the country, related to, very often, warmer winters, a combination of warmer weather and drier conditions.

At the March 2009 summit on America’s Climate Choices, Melillo said a primary impact will relate to water affecting already-stressed water supplies in many regions of the country. Or here’s a climate impact that’s not so obvious – the warming climate is now thought to be driving large-scale movements of fish off U.S. coasts.

Jerry Melillo: The warmer waters in the coastal northeast is reshaping the redistribution of some commercially fished species, such as the lobster and cod. It’s important that people understand that climate change is with us, we’re documenting those changes, and those changes are going to have effects on their lives.

Melillo and other scientists with the National Academy of Sciences have been asked by the U.S. Congress to help inform U.S. climate policy.

Our thanks to:
Jerry Melillo
Director, Senior Scientist
Ecosystem Center
Marine Biological Laboratory
Woods Hole, Massachusetts

April 20, 2009

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