MEDIA: EXPERTS CONFERENCE CALLProfessors Harvell and Wolfe will be available to talk with the media by conference call at 10:30 a.m. EDT today. To participate, call 1-866-502-8312, passcode is 458475.

Today, the White House will announce the findings of the U.S. National Climate Assessment report. The report is meant to be the definitive account of the effects of climate change on the United States.

Climate change experts and authors of two chapters of the upcoming report (“Northeast" and “Oceans and Marine Resources”) are available to explain the report’s findings, implications and predictions future climate change impacts. Professors Harvell and Wolfe will be available to talk with the media by conference call at 10:30 a.m. EDT today. To participate, call 1-866-502-8312, passcode is 458475.

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Drew Harvell: Lead author of the “Oceans and Marine Resources” chapter

Harvell is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and Associate Director of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. In addition to her groundbreaking coral research, Harvell is leading the international research team now examining climate change and sea star wasting disease.

Harvell says:

“The addition of a separate oceans chapter reflects the importance of the oceans as a sink for carbon dioxide and also the level of impacts in the oceans and on ocean resources.

“Warming ocean waters and ocean acidification across the globe are broadly affecting marine life. Warmer and more acidic waters are changing the distribution of fish and other mobile sea life, and stressing those, such as corals, that cannot move. Warmer and more acidic ocean waters combine with other stresses, such as overfishing and coastal and marine pollution, to negatively affect marine-based food production and fishing communities.

“Significant habitat loss will continue to occur due to climate change, in particular for Arctic and coral reef ecosystems, while expansions of habitat in other areas and for other species will occur. These changes will consequently alter the distribution, abundance, and productivity of many marine species.

“Rising sea surface temperatures have been linked with increasing levels and ranges of diseases of humans and marine life, such as corals, abalones, oysters, fishes, and marine mammals.”


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David Wolfe: Lead author of the “Northeast” chapter

Wolfe is a professor of plant and soil ecology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and chair of the Climate Change Focus Group at Cornell’s Atkinson Center.

Wolfe says:

“A lot has changed since the U.S. government released their last report in 2008. Many climate impacts that were once projected for the future are are happening now. Some examples are: increased flooding events from heavy rainfall, more coastal storm damage due to sea level rise, summer heat stress, increased summer drought and forest fire risks in some parts of the nation.

“As the American people roll up their sleeves and get to work on this challenge, we will not only benefit our own economic development and national security, but will mobilize global action for a healthier and more prosperous environment for future generations.

“Agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised by climate change impacts, including both too much and too little water, and expanding ranges of crop pests and invasive species. Farmers can explore new crop options with longer growing seasons, but adaptations will not be cost- or risk-free.


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Francis J. DiSalvo: Climate change and new energy sources expert

DiSalvo is director of Cornell University’s Atkinson Center, professor of physical science and an expert in climate change. His DiSalvo Research Group synthesizes and tests nanoscale materials for possible application to new energy systems – with implications for fuel cells, batteries and energy sustainability.

DiSalvo says:

“The report covers risks to eight different geographical regions in the U.S. as well as more than a dozen economic sectors, including transportation, agriculture, energy and water resources. “What’s notable about this new report – the most up-to-date consolidation of the best American science – shows there is no region of the country, nor sector of the economy, unaffected by climate change.

“The searing question now is how we will deal with it. Will it be in piecemeal ways that address problems as they arise, often in crisis? Or, can we summon the national courage to meet climate change head-on, and show the world what the US is made of? This is a time for striking leadership if there ever was one.”


Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.