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SU professor Charles T. Driscoll, noted authority on effects of acid and mercury deposition on forest and aquatic ecosystems, co-authors new book on acid rain
SU professor Charles T. Driscoll, noted authority on effects of acid and mercury deposition on forest and aquatic ecosystems, co-authors new book on acid rainDecember 20, 2007Tricia Hopkinsthopkins@syr.edu
Acid rain has changed the face of the Adirondack Mountains, created political tensions between the Northeast and the Midwest, and has served as a sign of global climate change and a “fire drill” for public- and private-sector responses to environmental crises.
Syracuse University professor Charles T. Driscoll; Jerry Jenkins, a researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society; Karen Roy, a research scientist for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and Christopher Burekett, formerly of the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corp., have co-authored a new book, “Acid Rain in the Adirondacks: An Environmental History” (Cornell University Press), that looks at acid rain’s impact on the environment and public policy since the 1970s.
“This book is a synthesis and translation of 30 years of study of the impacts of acid rain on the forests and lakes of the Adirondack region of New York,” says Driscoll, University Professor of Environmental Systems Engineering and director of the Center for Environmental Systems Engineering at SU. “It should be of interest to people who are concerned with the northern forest and effects of air pollution on ecosystems.”
The history of acid rain research addresses this large-scale and long-term environmental problem in part through scientifically motivated changes in public policy. In the 1970s, acid rain was viewed as a simple problem that was limited in scope and characterized by “dead,” fishless lakes. Scientists now have broader insights into the processes by which acid rain sets off a range of negative effects in ecosystems as it moves through air, soil, vegetation and surface waters.
The book was written and designed to appeal to both scientists and lay readers. “One of the strengths of the book is the beautiful graphics that illustrate concepts and patterns,” Driscoll says. “This book is an example of scientific communication that provides a comprehensive scientific history of acid rain, from its discovery to the full understanding of the scope of its effects.”
A world-renowned researcher in the areas of acid rain and mercury pollution, and a member of the National Academy of Engineers, Driscoll is also editor of published works such as “Experimental Watershed Liming Study” (Springer, 1996) and co-author of “Acidic Deposition and Forest Soils: Context and Case Studies of the Southeastern U.S.” (Springer, 1989).
For more information on the new book, visit http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/cup_detail.taf?ti_id=4788.
For more on Driscoll, visit http://www.ecs.syr.edu/facultystaff.aspx?id=1911.