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  Mission Statement
       
 
Since the industrial revolution in 18th century, human activity has significantly altered the global carbon cycle, mostly by the use of fossilized energy sources and land-use changes such as deforestation. Because of these activities, there has been persistent and rapid increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), particularly in carbon dioxide and methane concentrations. Geological evidence suggests that changes in GHGs during the last 250 years are unprecedent and could not be observed in climate records for the last 100 million years. Changes in global carbon cycle has started to alter the Earth's climate as they have done in the past. A recent report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest that atmospheric GHG concentration will double by the end of current century. Numerous climate-modeling studies show an increase in global temperatures, which may particularly be severe in northern regions.

There are two major reservoirs for the ultimate storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the oceans and the terrestrial biosphere, particularly the forests. There is a large uncertainty about carbon uptake capacity and associated feedbacks from ocean and terrestrial biosphere. Determining the role of the terrestrial biosphere in the carbon sinks and sources is particularly difficult because of vegetation heterogeneity and land use changes.

The McMaster University, Climate Change Research Program is making important contributions to advance our knowledge of global carbon cycle by examining carbon and water balances of key Canadian forest ecosystems and by developing ecosystem models for coupled regional and global climate models. McMaster Univesity’s field research project to examine carbon uptake potential of afforested conifer forest in southern Ontario is pioneering. Information gathered through these filed experiments and modeling studies would significantly contribute towards Canadian policy development to manage its greenhouse gas emissions to meet international commitments and to adopt for future climate change.

       

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