Richard Norby, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee

January 16, 2014  |  321 auditorium

About this Lecture

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How will the Amazon rainforest fare in a warming world? As we pump more carbon dioxide into the air, and the climate warms, will the Amazon get drier and shrivel up? Or will the forest grow even faster as the extra carbon dioxide spurs on photosynthesis and allows plants to use water more effectively? A dying forest could release billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere, speeding up climate change. A carbon-dioxide-fertilized forest, on the other hand, could do the opposite, sucking up carbon and putting the brakes on global warming. A new experiment will bathe part of the Amazon in carbon dioxide to try to answer these questions.

About Richard Norby

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Richard Norby is an expert in how trees and forests are affected by climate change, in particular by higher levels of carbon dioxide in the air. He has been doing experiments in this area since the 1980s, and is currently working on a new experiment to measure how peatlands in Minnesota will respond in the face of a warmer world with more carbon dioxide. He has a B.A. in chemistry (Carleton College) and a Ph.D. in forestry and botany (University of Wisconsin).