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How Climate Change Impacts Environmental Ecosystems

Reported by:
Benjamin Ragen

Presented by:

The New York Academy of Sciences


Climate change has had catastrophic effects on ecosystems throughout the world and has created long lasting and potentially irreversible damage. In this eBriefing, experts discuss how rising temperatures have increased the number and intensity of forest fires and expedited global ice sheet melting.

In this eBriefing, You’ll Learn:

  • How climate change can cause an increase in droughts and forest fires while also accelerating ice sheet melting and sea level rise;
  • How climate change affects tree physiology, which may contribute to droughts and forest fires;
  • The latest technological advances in measuring climate change impact on ice sheet melting and sea level rise
  • Potential solutions to improve forest health and reduce forest fire damage
  • The public’s changing views on climate change, scientific trust, and environmental racism.


William Anderegg, PhD
The University of Utah

Eric Rignot, PhD
University of California, Irvine

Fire and Ice: The Impact of Climate Change on Environmental Ecosystems

Eric Rignot, PhD

University of California, Irvine

Eric Rignot, PhD, combines satellite remote sensing, geophysical surveys, and numerical modeling to understand the impact of climate change on ice sheets and its repercussions on global sea levels. Dr. Rignot is a Donald Bren Professor at University of California, Irvine, a Senior Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences. He received his Engineer Degree at Ecole Centrale Paris and PhD at University of Southern California. He joined University of California, Irvine in 2007.

William Anderegg, PhD

The University of Utah 

William Anderegg, PhD, centers his research around the intersection of ecosystems and climate change. In particular, his research focuses on how drought and climate change affect forest ecosystems, including tree physiology, species interactions, carbon cycling, and biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah.  He received his BA and PhD at Stanford University and his postdoc at Princeton University.  He joined the University of Utah in 2016.

Further Readings


Anderegg WRL, Trugman AT, Badgley G, et al.

Climate-driven risks to the climate mitigation potential of forests

Science. 2020 Jun 19;368(497):eaaz7005

Yu K, Smith WK, Trugman AT, et al

Pervasive decreases in living vegetation carbon turnover time across forest climate zones

PNAS. 2019 Dec 3;116(49):24662-24667

Schwalm CR, Anderegg WRL, Michalak AM, et al

Global patterns of drought recovery

Nature. 2017 Aug 10;548:202-205.


Rignot E, Mouginot J, Scheuchl B, et al

Four decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet Mass Balance: 1979-2017

PNAS. 2019 Jan 22;116(4):1095-1103

Morlighem M, Wood M, Seroussi H, et al

Modeling the response of Northwest Greenland to enhanced ocean thermal forcing and subglacial discharge

The Cryosphere. 2019 Mar 1;13(2):723-734

Weatherhead EC, Wielicki BA, Ramaswamy V, et al

Designing the Climate Observing System of the Future

Earth’s Future. 2017 Nov 2;6(1):80-102

Millan, R., Mouginot, J., & Rignot, E. (2017)

Mass budget of the glaciers and ice caps of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Canada, from 1991 to 2015

Environmental Research Letters. 2017 Feb;12(2):024016