Future Climate Change (future + climate_change)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts

Effects of Future Climate Change on Cross-Border Migration in North Africa and India

Article first published online: 16 JUN 2010
First page of article [source]

Regional assessment of the impact of climatic change on the distribution of a tropical conifer in the lowlands of South America

Marie-Pierre Ledru
Abstract For decades, palynologists working in tropical South America are using the genus Podocarpus as a climate indicator although without referring to any modern data concerning its distribution and limiting factors. With the aim to characterize the modern and past distribution of the southern conifer Podocarpus in Brazil and to obtain new information on the distribution of the Atlantic rainforest during the Quaternary, we examined herbarium data to locate the populations of three Brazilian endemic Podocarpus species: P. sellowii, P. lambertii, and P. brasiliensis, and extracted DNA from fresh leaves from 26 populations. Our conclusions are drawn in the light of the combination of these three disciplines: botany, palynology, and genetics. We find that the modern distribution of endemic Podocarpus populations shows that they are widely dispersed in eastern Brazil, from north to south and reveals that the expansion of Podocarpus recorded in single Amazonian pollen records may have come from either western or eastern populations. Genetic analysis enabled us to delimit regional expansion: between 5° and 15° S grouping northern and central populations of P. sellowii expanded c. 16,000 years ago; between 15° and 23° S populations of either P. lambertii or sellowii expanded at different times since at least the last glaciation; and between 23° and 30° S, P. lambertii appeared during the recent expansion of the Araucaria forest. The combination of botany, pollen, and molecular analysis proved to be a rapid tool for inferring distribution borders for sparse populations and their regional evolution within tropical ecosystems. Today the refugia of rainforest communities we identified are crucial hotspots to allow the Atlantic forest to survive under unfavourable climatic conditions and, as such, offer the only possible opportunity for this type of forest to expand in the event of a future climate change. [source]

A simulation approach to determine statistical significance of species turnover peaks in a species-rich tropical cloud forest

K. Bach
ABSTRACT Use of ,-diversity indices in the study of spatial distribution of species diversity is hampered by the difficulty of applying significance tests. To overcome this problem we used a simulation approach in a study of species turnover of ferns, aroids, bromeliads, and melastomes along an elevational gradient from 1700 m to 3400 m in a species-rich tropical cloud forest of Bolivia. Three parameters of species turnover (number of upper/lower elevational species limits per elevational step, Wilson,Shmida similarity index between adjacent steps) were analysed. Significant species turnover limits were detected at 2000 (± 50) m and 3050 m, which roughly coincided with the elevational limits of the main vegetation types recognized in the study area. The taxon specificity of elevational distributions implies that no single plant group can be used as a reliable surrogate for overall plant diversity and that the response to future climate change will be taxon-specific, potentially leading to the formation of plant communities lacking modern analogues. Mean elevational range size of plant species was 490 m (± 369). Elevational range sizes of terrestrial species were shorter than those of epiphytes. We conclude that our simulation approach provides an alternative approach for assessing the statistical significance of levels of species turnover along ecological gradient without the limitations imposed by traditional statistical approaches. [source]

Climatic influence on the inter-annual variability of late-Holocene minerogenic sediment supply in a boreal forest catchment

Gunilla Petterson
Abstract Processes controlling sediment yield vary over a range of timescales, although most process-based observations are extremely short. Lake sediments, however, can be used to extend the observational timescale and are particularly useful when annually laminated (varved) sediment is present. The sediment record at Kassjön (N. Sweden) consists of ,6400 varves, each 0·5,1 mm thick. Image analysis was used to determine grey-scale variation and varve thickness from which annual minerogenic accumulation rate (MinAR) (mg cm,2 year,1) was inferred for the period 4486 BC , AD 1900. MinAR varies on annual to centennial scales and mainly reflects channel bank erosion by the inflow streams. The mineral input reflects the intensity of the spring run-off, which is dependent on the amount of snow accumulated during the winter, and hence MinAR is a long-term record of variability in past winter climate; other factors will be a variable response to catchment uplift, vegetation succession and pedogenesis. A major shift from low to high MinAR occurred ,250 BC, and peaks occurred around AD 250, 600, 1000, 1350 and 1650. Wavelet power spectrum analysis (confirmed by Fourier analyses) indicated significantly different periodicities throughout the period 4000 BC , AD 1700, including 275 years for the period 4000 BC , 2900 BC, 567 years for the period 2901 BC , 1201 BC, and 350 and 725 years for the period 1200 BC , AD 1700. The long-term, centennial scale variability (,350 years) may reflect solar forcing (cf the 385-year peak in tree-ring calibrated 14C activity) but interestingly, there is no obvious link to high frequency forcing, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation. The high resolution component of the record highlights the relevance of varved lake sediment records for understanding erosion dynamics in undisturbed forested catchments and their link to long-term climate dynamics and future climate change. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Antagonistic effects of seed dispersal and herbivory on plant migration

Mark Vellend
Abstract The two factors that determine plant migration rates , seed dispersal and population growth , are generally treated independently, despite the fact that many animals simultaneously enhance plant migration rate via seed dispersal, and decrease it via negative effects of herbivory on population growth. Using extensive empirical data, we modelled the antagonistic effects of seed dispersal and herbivory by white-tailed deer on potential migration rates of Trillium grandiflorum, a forest herb in eastern North America. This novel antagonistic interaction is illustrated by maximum migration rates occurring at intermediate, but low herbivory (< 15%). Assuming herbivory < 20% and favourable conditions for population growth during post-glacial migration, seed dispersal by deer can explain rates of migration achieved in the past, in contrast to previous models of forest herb migration. However, relatively unfavourable conditions for population growth and increasingly intense herbivory by deer may compromise plant migration in the face of present and future climate change. [source]

Running to stand still: adaptation and the response of plants to rapid climate change

Alistair S. Jump
Abstract Climate is a potent selective force in natural populations, yet the importance of adaptation in the response of plant species to past climate change has been questioned. As many species are unlikely to migrate fast enough to track the rapidly changing climate of the future, adaptation must play an increasingly important role in their response. In this paper we review recent work that has documented climate-related genetic diversity within populations or on the microgeographical scale. We then describe studies that have looked at the potential evolutionary responses of plant populations to future climate change. We argue that in fragmented landscapes, rapid climate change has the potential to overwhelm the capacity for adaptation in many plant populations and dramatically alter their genetic composition. The consequences are likely to include unpredictable changes in the presence and abundance of species within communities and a reduction in their ability to resist and recover from further environmental perturbations, such as pest and disease outbreaks and extreme climatic events. Overall, a range-wide increase in extinction risk is likely to result. We call for further research into understanding the causes and consequences of the maintenance and loss of climate-related genetic diversity within populations. [source]

On the climate and weather of mountain and sub-arctic lakes in Europe and their susceptibility to future climate change

Summary 1.,The complex terrain and heterogeneous nature of the mountain environment coupled with remoteness from major centres of human activity makes mountains challenging locations for meteorological investigations. Mountainous areas tend to have more varied and more extreme weather than lowlands. 2.,The EMERGE program has the primary aim of assessing the status of remote mountain and sub-arctic lakes throughout Europe for the first time. In this study, we describe the main features of the climate, ice-cover durations and recent temperature trends of these areas. The main weather characteristics of European mountain and sub-arctic lakes are their cold temperatures and year-round precipitation. Mean annual temperatures are generally close to 0 °C, and maximum summer temperatures reasonably close to 10 °C. 3.,Maritime versus continental settings determine the main differences in annual-temperature range among lake districts (10.5 °C in Scotland to 26.7 °C in Northern Finland), and a similar factor for ice-cover duration. Radiation ranges from low (120 W m,2) in the high latitude sub-arctic and high (237 W m,2) in the southern ranges of the Pyrenees and Rila. Similarly, precipitation is high in the main Alpine chain (250 cm year,1 in the Central Southern Alps) and low in the continental sub-arctic (65 cm year,1 in Northern Finland). 4.,The main temporal patterns in air temperature follow those of the adjacent lowlands. All the lake districts warmed during the last century. Spring temperature trends were highest in Finland; summer trends were weak everywhere; autumn trends were strongest in the west, in the Pyrenees and western Alps; while winter trends varied markedly, being high in the Pyrenees and Alps, low in Scotland and Norway and negative in Finland. 5.,Two new, limnological case studies on Lake Redon, in the Pyrenees, highlight the sensitivity of remote lakes to projected changes in the global climate. These two case studies involve close linkages between extreme chemical-precipitation events and synoptic wind-patterns, and between thermocline behaviour and features of the large-scale circulation. 6.,Individual lakes can be ultra-responsive to climate change. Even modest changes in future air temperatures will lead to major changes in lake temperatures and ice-cover duration and hence probably affect their ecological status. [source]

Decadal change in wetland,woodland boundaries during the late 20th century reflects climatic trends

Abstract Wetlands are important and restricted habitats for dependent biota and play vital roles in landscape function, hydrology and carbon sequestration. They are also likely to be one of the most sensitive components of the terrestrial biosphere to global climate change. An understanding of relationships between wetland persistence and climate is imperative for predicting, mitigating and adapting to the impacts of future climate change on wetland extent and function. We investigated whether mire wetlands had contracted, expanded or remained stable during 1960,2000. We chose a study area encompassing a regional climatic gradient in southeastern Australia, specifically to avoid confounding effects of water extraction on wetland hydrology and extent. We first characterized trends in climate by examining data from local weather stations, which showed a slight increase in precipitation and marked decline in pan evaporation over the relevant period. Remote sensing of vegetation boundaries showed a marked lateral expansion of mires during 1961,1998, and a corresponding contraction of woodland. The spatial patterns in vegetation change were consistent with the regional climatic gradient and showed a weaker co-relationship to fire history. Resource exploitation, wildland fires and autogenic mire development failed to explain the observed expansion of mire vegetation in the absence of climate change. We therefore conclude that the extent of mire wetlands is likely to be sensitive to variation in climatic moisture over decadal time scales. Late 20th-century trends in climatic moisture may be related primarily to reduced irradiance and/or reduced wind speeds. In the 21st century, however, net climatic moisture in this region is projected to decline. As mires are apparently sensitive to hydrological change, we anticipate lateral contraction of mire boundaries in coming decades as projected climatic drying eventuates. This raises concerns about the future hydrological functions, carbon storage capacity and unique biodiversity of these important ecosystems. [source]

Genetic diversity increases regional variation in phenological dates in response to climate change

Abstract Climate change is inducing changes in the phenological timings of organisms. Genetic diversity could influence phenological responses to climate change, but empirical evidence is very limited. We estimated the regional variation across Japan in flowering and leaf budburst dates of plants based on a dataset of phenological timings from 1953 to 2005. The observed plants' genetic diversities varied according to human cultivation. The within-species variations of phenological response to temperature as well as regional variations were less in the plant populations with lower genetic diversity. Thus, genetic diversity influences the variation in phenological responses of plant populations. Under increased temperatures, low variation in phenological responses may allow drastic changes in the phenology of plant populations with synchronized phenological timings. Our findings indicate that we should pay attention to maintaining genetic diversity of populations to alleviate changes in phenology due to future climate change. [source]

Implications of CO2 fertilization for future climate change in a coupled climate,carbon model

H. DAMON MATTHEWSArticle first published online: 28 FEB 200
Abstract The terrestrial carbon cycle plays a critical role in determining levels of atmospheric CO2 that result from anthropogenic carbon emissions. Elevated atmospheric CO2 is thought to stimulate terrestrial carbon uptake, through the process of CO2 fertilization of vegetation productivity. This negative carbon cycle feedback results in reduced atmospheric CO2 growth, and has likely accounted for a substantial portion of the historical terrestrial carbon sink. However, the future strength of CO2 fertilization in response to continued carbon emissions and atmospheric CO2 rise is highly uncertain. In this paper, the ramifications of CO2 fertilization in simulations of future climate change are explored, using an intermediate complexity coupled climate,carbon model. It is shown that the absence of future CO2 fertilization results in substantially higher future CO2 levels in the atmosphere, as this removes the dominant contributor to future terrestrial carbon uptake in the model. As a result, climate changes are larger, though the radiative effect of higher CO2 on surface temperatures in the model is offset by about 30% due to reduced positive dynamic vegetation feedbacks; that is, the removal of CO2 fertilization results in less vegetation expansion in the model, which would otherwise constitute an important positive surface albedo-temperature feedback. However, the effect of larger climate changes has other important implications for the carbon cycle , notably to further weaken remaining carbon sinks in the model. As a result, positive climate,carbon cycle feedbacks are larger when CO2 fertilization is absent. This creates an interesting synergism of terrestrial carbon cycle feedbacks, whereby positive (climate,carbon cycle) feedbacks are amplified when a negative (CO2 fertilization) feedback is removed. [source]

Use and misuse of the IUCN Red List Criteria in projecting climate change impacts on biodiversity

Abstract Recent attempts at projecting climate change impacts on biodiversity have used the IUCN Red List Criteria to obtain estimates of extinction rates based on projected range shifts. In these studies, the Criteria are often misapplied, potentially introducing substantial bias and uncertainty. These misapplications include arbitrary changes to temporal and spatial scales; confusion of the spatial variables; and assume a linear relationship between abundance and range area. Using the IUCN Red List Criteria to identify which species are threatened by climate change presents special problems and uncertainties, especially for shorter-lived species. Responses of most species to future climate change are not understood well enough to estimate extinction risks based solely on climate change scenarios and projections of shifts and/or reductions in range areas. One way to further such understanding would be to analyze the interactions among habitat shifts, landscape structure and demography for a number of species, using a combination of models. Evaluating the patterns in the results might allow the development of guidelines for assigning species to threat categories, based on a combination of life history parameters, characteristics of the landscapes in which they live, and projected range changes. [source]

Downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) epidemics on grapevine under climate change

Abstract As climate is a key agro-ecosystem driving force, climate change could have a severe impact on agriculture. Many assessments have been carried out to date on the possible effects of climate change (temperature, precipitation and carbon dioxide concentration changes) on plant physiology. At present however, likely effects on plant pathogens have not been investigated deeply. The aim of this work was to simulate future scenarios of downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) epidemics on grape under climate change, by combining a disease model to output from two general circulation models (GCMs). Model runs corresponding to the SRES-A2 emissions scenario, characterized by high projections of both population and greenhouse gas emissions from present to 2100, were chosen in order to investigate impacts of worst-case scenarios, among those currently available from IPCC. Three future decades were simulated (2030, 2050, 2080), using as baseline historical series of meteorological data collected from 1955 to 2001 in Acqui Terme, an important grape-growing area in the north-west of Italy. Both GCMs predicted increase of temperature and decrease of precipitation in this region. The simulations obtained by combining the disease model to the two GCM outputs predicted an increase of the disease pressure in each decade: more severe epidemics were a direct consequence of more favourable temperature conditions during the months of May and June. These negative effects of increasing temperatures more than counterbalanced the effects of precipitation reductions, which alone would have diminished disease pressure. Results suggested that, as adaptation response to future climate change, more attention would have to be paid in the management of early downy mildew infections; two more fungicide sprays were necessary under the most negative climate scenario, compared with present management regimes. At the same time, increased knowledge on the effects of climate change on host,pathogen interactions will be necessary to improve current predictions. [source]

IHMS,Integrated Hydrological Modelling System.

Part 2.
Abstract The integrated hydrological modelling system, IHMS, has been described in detail in Part 1 of this paper. The system comprises three models: Distributed Catchment Scale Model (DiCaSM), MODFLOW (v96 and v2000) and SWI. The DiCaSM simulates different components of the unsaturated zone water balance, including groundwater recharge. The recharge output from DiCaSM is used as input to the saturated zone model MODFLOW, which subsequently calculates groundwater flows and head distributions. The main objectives of this paper are: (1) to show the way more accurate predictions of groundwater levels in two Cyprus catchments can be obtained using improved estimates of groundwater recharge from the catchment water balance, and (2) to demonstrate the interface utility that simulates communication between unsaturated and saturated zone models and allows the transmission of data between the two models at the required spatial and temporal scales. The linked models can be used to predict the impact of future climate change on surface and groundwater resources and to estimate the future water supply shortfall in the island up to 2050. The DiCaSM unsaturated zone model was successfully calibrated and validated against stream flows with reasonable values for goodness of fit as shown by the Nash-Sutcliffe criterion. Groundwater recharge obtained from the successful tests was applied at various spatial and temporal scales to the Kouris and Akrotiri catchments in Cyprus. These recharge values produced good estimates of groundwater levels in both catchments. Once calibrated, the model was run using a number of possible future climate change scenarios. The results showed that by 2050, groundwater and surface water supplies would decrease by 35% and 24% for Kouris and 20% and 17% for Akrotiri, respectively. The gap between water supply and demand showed a linear increase with time. The results suggest that IHMS can be used as an effective tool for water authorities and decision makers to help balance demand and supply on the island. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Wader recruitment indices suggest nesting success is temperature-dependent in Dunlin Calidris alpina

IBIS, Issue 3 2006
Measures of annual breeding success are an important component of species monitoring programmes. It has been suggested that effective monitoring of breeding productivity for arctic breeding waders may be achieved from an analysis of annual variation in the proportion of juveniles in winter flocks. Here, we attempt to generate a recruitment index for Dunlin Calidris alpina caught during the winter in north Wales. This index revealed significant annual variation and we show that this is strongly correlated with summer temperature (but not rainfall) on the breeding grounds. Years with high recruitment were also correlated with increases in the national winter population estimate. In years of intermediate summer temperature, the recruitment index was highest and we discuss the possible implications this has for Dunlin under scenarios of future climate change. We were unable to generate a significant index for Common Redshank Tringa totanus and discuss possible reasons for this. [source]

Ecometrics: The traits that bind the past and present together

Abstract We outline here an approach for understanding the biology of climate change, one that integrates data at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Taxon-free trait analysis, or "ecometrics," is based on the idea that the distribution in a community of ecomorphological traits such as tooth structure, limb proportions, body mass, leaf shape, incubation temperature, claw shape, any aspect of anatomy or physiology can be measured across some subset of the organisms in a community. Regardless of temporal or spatial scale, traits are the means by which organisms interact with their environment, biotic and abiotic. Ecometrics measures these interactions by focusing on traits which are easily measurable, whose structure is closely related to their function, and whose function interacts directly with local environment. Ecometric trait distributions are thus a comparatively universal metric for exploring systems dynamics at all scales. The main challenge now is to move beyond investigating how future climate change will affect the distribution of organisms and how it will impact ecosystem services and to shift the perspective to ask how biotic systems interact with changing climate in general, and how climate change affects the interactions within and between the components of the whole biotic-physical system. We believe that it is possible to provide believable, quantitative answers to these questions. Because of this we have initiated an IUBS program iCCB (integrative Climate Change Biology). [source]

An assessment of temperature and precipitation change projections over Italy from recent global and regional climate model simulations

Erika Coppola
Abstract We present an assessment of climate change projections over the Italian peninsula for the 21st century from the CMIP3 global and PRUDENCE regional model experiments. We consider the A2, A1B, B2 and B1 emission scenarios. The climate change signal over Italy varies seasonally, with maximum warming in summer (up to several °C) and minimum in winter, decreased precipitation over the entire peninsula in summer (locally up to ,40%) and a dipolar precipitation change pattern in winter (increase to the north and decrease to the south). Inter-annual variability increases in all seasons for precipitation and in summer for temperature, while it decreases for winter temperature. The seasonal temperature anomaly probability density functions (PDFs) show a shift as well as a broadening and flattening in future climate conditions, especially in summer. This implies larger increases for extreme hot seasons than mean summer temperatures. The seasonal precipitation anomaly PDFs are greatly affected in summer, with a strong increase of very dry seasons. Moreover, seasons with large precipitation amounts tend to increase in future climate conditions, i.e. we find an increase of very dry (drought prone) and very wet (flood prone) seasons. The magnitude of future climate change depends on the emission scenario and the temperature and precipitation change signals show substantial fine-scale structure in response to the topographical forcing of the Italian major mountain systems. In addition, the change signal is greater than the inter-model standard deviation for temperature in all seasons and for precipitation in the summer. Finally, the CMIP3 ensemble captures the observed 20th century trends of temperature and precipitation change over northern Italy. A broad agreement between the projections obtained with the CMIP3 and PRUDENCE ensembles is found, which adds robustness to the findings. Copyright © 2009 Royal Meteorological Society [source]

Simulated changes in active/break spells during the Indian summer monsoon due to enhanced CO2 concentrations: assessment from selected coupled atmosphere,ocean global climate models

Sujata K. Mandke
Abstract The simulations by ten coupled GCMs under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report-4 are used to study the implication of possible global climate change on active/break spells of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM). The validation of the mean daily cycle of the summer monsoon precipitation over the Indian core region and the spatial pattern of the ISM precipitation climatology with observation suggest that six models simulate fairly well, whereas four models differ from observation. Thus, the identification of active/break spells is confined to six models. The sensitivity to climate change has been assessed from two experiments, namely, 1% per year CO2 increase to doubling and 1% per year CO2 increase to quadrupling. The changes in the daily mean cycle and the standard deviation of precipitation, frequency, and duration of active/break spells in future climate change are uncertain among the models and at times among two experiments. The break composite precipitation anomalies strengthen and spread moderately (significantly) in the doubled (quadrupled) CO2 experiment. Copyright © 2006 Royal Meteorological Society [source]

Predictions of future climate change in the caribbean region using global general circulation models

Moises E. Angeles
Abstract Since the 1800s the global average CO2 mixing ratio has increased and has been related to increases in surface air temperature (0.6 ± 0.2 °C) and variations in precipitation patterns among other weather and climatic variables. The Small Island Developing States (SIDS), according to the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are likely to be among the most seriously impacted regions on Earth by global climate changes. In this work, three climate change scenarios are investigated using the Parallel Climate Model (PCM) to study the impact of the global anthropogenic CO2 concentration increases on the Caribbean climate. A climatological analysis of the Caribbean seasonal climate variation was conducted employing the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) reanalysis data, the Xie,Arkin precipitation and the Reynolds,Smith Sea Surface Temperature (SST) observed data. The PCM is first evaluated to determine its ability to predict the present time Caribbean climatology. The PCM tends to under predict the SSTs, which along with the cold advection controls the rainfall variability. This seems to be a main source of bias considering the low model performance to predict rainfall activity over the Central and southern Caribbean. Future predictions indicate that feedback processes involving evolution of SST, cloud formation, and solar radiative interactions affect the rainfall annual variability simulated by PCM from 1996 to 2098. At the same time two large-scale indices, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are strongly related with this rainfall annual variability. A future climatology from 2041 to 2058 is selected to observe the future Caribbean condition simulated by the PCM. It shows, during this climatology range, a future warming of approximately 1 °C (SSTs) along with an increase in the rain production during the Caribbean wet seasons (early and late rainfall seasons). Although the vertical wind shear is strengthened, it typically remains lower than 8 m/s, which along with SST > 26.5 °C provides favorable conditions for possible future increases in tropical storm frequency. Copyright © 2006 Royal Meteorological Society [source]

Assessing future changes in extreme precipitation over Britain using regional climate model integrations

P.D. Jones
Abstract In a changing climate it is important to understand how all components of the climate system may change. For many impact sectors, particularly those relating to flooding and water resources, changes in precipitation intensity and amount are much more important than changes in temperature. This study assesses possible changes in extreme precipitation intensities estimated through both quantile and return period analysis over Britain. Results using a regional climate model (with greenhouse gas changes following the IS92a scenario for 2080,2100) indicate dramatic increases in the heaviest precipitation events over Britain. The results provide information to alter design storm intensities to take future climate change into account, for structures/projects that have long life times. Copyright © 2001 Royal Meteorological Society [source]

The impacts of non-native species on UK biodiversity and the effectiveness of control

Sarah J. Manchester
1.,The introduction of non-native species continues to cause ecological concern globally, but there have been no published reviews of their effects in the UK. Impacts in the UK are therefore reviewed, along with current legislation and guidelines relating to the introduction and control of such species. 2.,A large number of non-native species have been introduced to the UK, both deliberately and accidentally, but only a small number of introduced non-native species have established and caused detrimental ecological impacts. However, general declines in UK biodiversity, and the potential effects of future climate change, may increase the susceptibility of ecosystems to invasions. 3.,Detrimental impacts of non-native species on native biota have occurred through competition, predation, herbivory, habitat alteration, disease and genetic effects (i.e. hybridization). There are potential effects on genetic biodiversity as well as species biodiversity. 4.,Several high profile examples highlight the technical difficulties, and financial implications, of removing an introduced species once it is established. Few UK control or eradication programmes have been successful. 5.,Control might be more feasible if ,problem' species could be identified at an earlier stage of establishment. However, the poor success of attempts to characterize invasive species and predict which will have negative impacts highlight the individual and unpredictable nature of invasions. The difficulties of making general predictions suggest that every proposed species introduction should be subject to rigorous ecological characterization and risk assessment prior to introduction. 6.,The plethora of UK legislation and guidelines developed to reduce impacts of non-native species only go part of the way towards ameliorating impact. Many species already established in the wild might cause future problems. Illegal releases and escapes of non-native species may augment feral populations or establish new colonies. While regulation of imports and releases is important, further enforcement of existing legislation and action against unlicensed releases is necessary. [source]

Organic mound-building ants: their impact on soil properties in temperate and boreal forests

M. F. Jurgensen
Abstract Ants are important components of most soil invertebrate communities, and can affect the flow of energy, nutrients and water through many terrestrial ecosystems. The vast majority of ant species build nests in the mineral soil, but a small group of ants in temperate and boreal forests of Eurasia and North America build large parts of their nests above-ground using organic materials collected from the surrounding soil. Many studies have shown that ants nesting in mineral soil can affect water infiltration rates, soil organic matter (OM) content, and nutrient cycling, but much less is known on how mound-building ants influence soil physical and chemical properties. In this paper we summarize what is known on the soil impacts of organic mound-building ants in temperate and boreal forests, and how these ants could be affected by ecosystem disturbance and future climate change. Much of this information comes from studies on Formica rufa group ants in Europe, which showed that CO2 emissions and concentrations of C, N, and P are usually higher in ant mounds than in the surrounding forest soil. However, ant mounds are a minor component of total soil C and nutrient pools, but they do increase spatial heterogeneity of soil water and available nutrients. Mound-building ants can also impact tree growth, which could change the quantity and quality of OM added to soil. Forest management, fire, and projected climate change, especially in boreal forests, could affect mound-building ant population dynamics, and indirectly, soil properties. [source]

Exploring climatic and biotic controls on Holocene vegetation change in Fennoscandia

Paul A. Miller
Summary 1We investigated the potential drivers of Holocene vegetation changes recorded at four Scandinavian pollen sites, two in Sweden and two in Finland, at a time when they were largely free of anthropogenic influence. 2We used the generalized dynamic vegetation model LPJ-GUESS forced with climate anomaly output from an atmospheric general circulation model to simulate tree species dynamics from 10 000 years ago to the present. The model results were compared to high-resolution pollen accumulation rates gathered at the sites. 3Our results indicate that both the observed northern distributional limits of temperate trees, and the limits of Pinus sylvestris and Alnus incana at the tree line, are a result of millennial variations in summer and winter temperatures. The simulation of several distinct trends in species occurrence observed in the pollen record indicates that a time lag due to the slow spreading of species need not be invoked for most species. 4Sensitivity studies indicate that competition, natural disturbance and the magnitude of interannual variability play key roles in determining the biomass, establishment and even the presence of species near their bioclimatic limits. However, neither disturbance due to fire nor limits on establishment due to drought were likely to have been major determinants of the observed trends on the timescales considered. 5We were unable to limit the modelled occurrence of Picea abies at the study sites to the periods at which it was observed in the pollen records, indicating that we have still not completely understood the driving or limiting factors for Holocene changes in Picea abies abundance. 6Synthesis. This study shows that by combining quantitative vegetation reconstructions with a modern, process-based dynamic vegetation model, we may gain new insights into the potential biotic and abiotic drivers of Holocene vegetation dynamics, and their relative importance. This knowledge will be crucial in enabling us to assess more confidently the response of northern European vegetation to future climate change. [source]

Effects of Climate Change and Shifts in Forest Composition on Forest Net Primary Production

Jyh-Min Chiang
Abstract Forests are dynamic in both structure and species composition, and these dynamics are strongly influenced by climate. However, the net effects of future tree species composition on net primary production (NPP) are not well understood. The objective of this work was to model the potential range shifts of tree species (DISTRIB Model) and predict their impacts on NPP (PnET-II Model) that will be associated with alterations in species composition. We selected four 200 × 200 km areas in Wisconsin, Maine, Arkansas, and the Ohio-West Virginia area, representing focal areas of potential species range shifts. PnET-II model simulations were carried out assuming that all forests achieved steady state, of which the species compositions were predicted by DISTRIB model with no migration limitation. The total NPP under the current climate ranged from 552 to 908 g C/m2 per year. The effects of potential species redistributions on NPP were moderate (,12% to +8%) compared with the influence of future climatic changes (,60% to +25%). The direction and magnitude of climate change effects on NPP were largely dependent on the degree of warming and water balance. Thus, the magnitude of future climate change can affect the feedback system between the atmosphere and biosphere. [source]

Sensitivity of Stream flow and Water Table Depth to Potential Climatic Variability in a Coastal Forested Watershed,

Zhaohua Dai
Dai, Zhaohua, Carl C. Trettin, Changsheng Li, Devendra M. Amatya, Ge Sun, and Harbin Li, 2010. Sensitivity of Streamflow and Water Table Depth to Potential Climatic Variability in a Coastal Forested Watershed. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 1,13. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2010.00474.x Abstract:, A physically based distributed hydrological model, MIKE SHE, was used to evaluate the effects of altered temperature and precipitation regimes on the streamflow and water table in a forested watershed on the southeastern Atlantic coastal plain. The model calibration and validation against both streamflow and water table depth showed that the MIKE SHE was applicable for predicting the streamflow and water table dynamics for this watershed with an acceptable model efficiency (E > 0.5 for daily streamflow and >0.75 for monthly streamflow). The simulation results from changing temperature and precipitation scenarios indicate that climate change influences both streamflow and water table in the forested watershed. Compared to current climate conditions, the annual average streamflow increased or decreased by 2.4% with one percentage increase or decrease in precipitation; a quadratic polynomial relationship between changes in water table depth (cm) and precipitation (%) was found. The annual average water table depth and annual average streamflow linearly decreased with an increase in temperature within the range of temperature change scenarios (0-6°C). The simulation results from the potential climate change scenarios indicate that future climate change will substantially impact the hydrological regime of upland and wetland forests on the coastal plain with corresponding implications to altered ecosystem functions that are dependent on water. [source]


Manoj Jha
ABSTRACT: The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was used to assess the effects of potential future climate change on the hydrology of the Upper Mississippi River Basin (UMRB). Calibration and validation of SWAT were performed using monthly stream flows for 1968,1987 and 1988,1997, respectively. The R2 and Nash-Sutcliffe simulation efficiency values computed for the monthly comparisons were 0.74 and 0.69 for the calibration period and 0.82 and 0.81 for the validation period. The effects of nine 30-year (1968 to 1997) sensitivity runs and six climate change scenarios were then analyzed, relative to a scenario baseline. A doubling of atmospheric CO2 to 660 ppmv (while holding other climate variables constant) resulted in a 36 percent increase in average annual streamflow while average annual flow changes of ,49, ,26, 28, and 58 percent were predicted for precipitation change scenarios of ,20, ,10, 10, and 20 percent, respectively. Mean annual streamflow changes of 51,10, 2, ,6, 38, and 27 percent were predicted by SWAT in response to climate change projections generated from the CISRO-RegCM2, CCC, CCSR, CISRO-Mk2, GFDL, and HadCMS general circulation model scenarios. High seasonal variability was also predicted within individual climate change scenarios and large variability was indicated between scenarios within specific months. Overall, the climate change scenarios reveal a large degree of uncertainty in current climate change forecasts for the region. The results also indicate that the simulated UMRB hydrology is very sensitive to current forecasted future climate changes. [source]


Edward L. Miles
ABSTRACT: The Pacific Northwest (PNW) regional assessment is an integrated examination of the consequences of natural climate variability and projected future climate change for the natural and human systems of the region. The assessment currently focuses on four sectors: hydrology/water resources, forests and forestry, aquatic ecosystems, and coastal activities. The assessment begins by identifying and elucidating the natural patterns of climate vanability in the PNW on interannual to decadal timescales. The pathways through which these climate variations are manifested and the resultant impacts on the natural and human systems of the region are investigated. Knowledge of these pathways allows an analysis of the potential impacts of future climate change, as defined by IPCC climate change scenarios. In this paper, we examine the sensitivity, adaptability and vulnerability of hydrology and water resources to climate variability and change. We focus on the Columbia River Basin, which covers approximately 75 percent of the PNW and is the basis for the dominant water resources system of the PNW. The water resources system of the Columbia River is sensitive to climate variability, especially with respect to drought. Management inertia and the lack of a centralized authority coordinating all uses of the resource impede adaptability to drought and optimization of water distribution. Climate change projections suggest exacerbated conditions of conflict between users as a result of low summertime streamfiow conditions. An understanding of the patterns and consequences of regional climate variability is crucial to developing an adequate response to future changes in climate. [source]

Inferring the past to predict the future: climate modelling predictions and phylogeography for the freshwater gastropod Radix balthica (Pulmonata, Basommatophora)

Abstract Understanding the impact of past climatic events on species may facilitate predictions of how species will respond to future climate change. To this end, we sampled populations of the common pond snail Radix balthica over the entire species range (northwestern Europe). Using a recently developed analytical framework that employs ecological niche modelling to obtain hypotheses that are subsequently tested with statistical phylogeography, we inferred the range dynamics of R. balthica over time. A Maxent modelling for present-day conditions was performed to infer the climate envelope for the species, and the modelled niche was used to hindcast climatically suitable range at the last glacial maximum (LGM) c. 21 000 years ago. Ecological niche modelling predicted two suitable areas at the LGM within the present species range. Phylogeographic model selection on a COI mitochondrial DNA data set confirmed that R. balthica most likely spread from these two disjunct refuges after the LGM. The match observed between the potential range of the species at the LGM given its present climatic requirements and the phylogeographically inferred refugial areas was a clear argument in favour of niche conservatism in R. balthica, thus allowing to predict the future range. The subsequent projection of the potential range under a global change scenario predicts a moderate pole-ward shift of the northern range limits, but a dramatic loss of areas currently occupied in France, western Great Britain and southern Germany. [source]


Abstract This study adds a cost analysis of the Eastern Baltic cod fishery to the existing model presented in Röckmann et al. [2007a]. As cost data on this international fishery do not exist, data from Denmark are extrapolated to the whole international fishery. Additionally, unit and total variable costs are simulated, and the sensitivity to a set of different cost,stock and cost,output elasticities is tested. The study supports preliminary conclusions that a temporary marine reserve policy, which focuses on protecting the Eastern Baltic cod spawning stock in the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) subdivision 25, is a valuable fisheries management tool to (i) rebuild the overexploited Eastern Baltic cod stock and (ii) increase operating profits. The negative effects of climate change can be postponed for at least 20 years,depending on the assumed rate of future climate change. Including costs in the economic analysis does not change the ranking of management policies as proposed in the previous study where costs were neglected. [source]

Double exposure in Mozambique's Limpopo River Basin

This paper examines how double exposure to economic and environmental stressors , and the interaction between the two , affect smallholder farmers in Mozambique's Limpopo River Basin. Studying two case study villages we find that people, in general, are resilient to environmental stressors. However, most households show less resilience to the socioeconomic stressors and shocks that have been introduced or intensified by economic globalisation. Our findings indicate that economic change brought about by structural adjustment policies pressures rural people to alter their approach to farming, which makes it more difficult for them to respond to environmental change. For example, smallholder farmers find it difficult to make a transition to commercial farming within the Limpopo Basin, in part because farming techniques that are well adapted to managing environmental variability in the region , such as seeding many small plots , are not well suited to the economies of scale needed for profitable commercial agriculture. People use a variety of strategies to cope with interactive environmental and economic stressors and shocks, but many face considerable constraints to profitably exploiting market-based opportunities. We conclude that economic stressors and shocks may now be causing small-scale agriculture to be less well adapted to ecological and climate variability, making smallholders more vulnerable to future climate change. Some local level policy interventions, including those that support and build on local environmental knowledge, could assist rural agricultural societies in adapting to future environmental change in the context of economic globalisation. [source]

Can we believe predictions of climate change?

John F. B. Mitchell
Abstract Methods used to evaluate the ability of climate models to produce reliable estimates of future climate change are examined and assessed. © Crown copyright, 2004. Royal Meteorological Society [source]