This is a brief description of studies that exemplify the methods and approaches that have been developed and used by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers in conducting integrated assessments. See the complete list of Integrated Assessment Briefs to find out more about ORNL's efforts in integrated assessment. Contact Mike Farrell ( for more information.

Continental Scale Assessments of Climate Change

Simulated response of plant productivity in five regional ecosystems to hypothetical climatic change.

Is it feasible to make broad, continental scale assessments of climate change?

In assessing the impact of a supersonic transport fleet, predicted climate changes were imposed on five models representing the major ecosystem types across the continent.

The simulation models predicted that primary production will increase linearly with temperature increase over the range tested, except in extreme deserts where the effect is reversed. As temperature increases, water stress also increases and accounts for the decreased desert productivity.

Cooper, C. F., T. J. Blasing, H. C. Fritts, Oak Ridge Systems Ecology Group, F. M. Smith, W. J. Parton, G. F. Schreuder, P. Sollins, J. Zich, and W. Stoner. 1974. Simulation models of the effects of climatic change on natural ecosystems. pp. 550-562. In Proceedings of the Third Conference on the Climatic Impact Assessment Program. U.S. Department of Transportation, Cambridge, Mass.

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Integrated Assessment Briefs. 1995. ORNL/M-4227. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN.