Ecology and Climate Forcing

Ecology is the scientific study of the interactions that govern organism distribution and abundance. The primary goals of natural resource management are to predict and maintain or change the distribution and abundance of various organisms; thus, effective management of natural ecosystems is dependent on ecological knowledge.

Climate forcing is the physical process of influencing the Earth's climate through a variety of forcing factors. These factors are referred to as forcings because they cause the climate to change, and it is important to note that these forcings exist independently of the existing climate system. The hydrosphere, land surface, cryosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere comprise the climate system. Examples of some of the most important types of forcings include variations in solar radiation levels, volcanic eruptions, changing albedo, and changing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Each of these are considered external forcings because these events change independently of the climate, perhaps as a result of changes in solar activity or human-caused fossil fuel combustion.