This is a great example of a new wave of ambitious environmental experiments - in this case an experiment to assess the impact of climate change on natural grassland ecosystems.

More than $200,000 is being spent to set up an experimental glasshouse experiment where 6-tonne intact samples of steppe vegetation and soil will be exposed to various temperature and drought regimes. The aim is to assess the impact of climate change on grassland ecosystems - for example changes in growth, carbon storage (in vegetation and soils) or plant communities.

Crucially, the experiment has been set up with the aim of providing data to scientists who model the response of vegetation to climate change - an attempt to bridge the gap between modelling and field-based scientists.