Introduction to climate change adaptation and mitigation management optionsThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Climate is a critical factor shaping the structure and function of forest ecosystems in the Southern United States. Human induced changes in climate systems have resulted in an increase in the global average air temperature of about 0.8°C since the 1900s (Pachuri and Reisinger 2007). Data from long-term weather stations show that overall, the continental United States has warmed during the past century, but that the magnitude and direction of change vary by geographic area (Backlund et al. 2008). The primary driving force behind this overall warming is an increase in carbon dioxide (C02) and other greenhouse gas emissions, a trend that is likely to continue over the next century (Karl et al. 2009). For example, by 2100, further warming in the United States is expected to range from 2.5°C to 5.3°C relative to the 1971 to 2000 time period (Kunkel et al. 2011).