Future Climate Scenarios (future + climate_scenario)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Climate-driven decrease in erosion in extant Mediterranean badlands

Michèle L. Clarke
Abstract Badland areas provide some of the highest erosion rates globally. Most studies of erosion have insufficient lengths of record to interrogate the impacts of decadal-scale changes in precipitation on rates of badland erosion in regions such as the Mediterranean, which are known to be sensitive to land degradation and desertification. Erosion measurements, derived from field monitoring using erosion pins, in southern Italy during the period 1974,2004 are used to explore the impacts of changing precipitation patterns on badland erosion. Erosion on badland inter-rill areas is strongly correlated with cumulative rainfall over each monitoring period. Annual precipitation has a substantial dynamic range, but both annual and winter (December, January, February) rainfall amounts in southern Italy show a steady decrease over the period 1970,2000. The persistence of positive values of the winter North Atlantic Oscillation index in the period 1980,2000 is correlated with a reduction in the winter rainfall amounts. Future climate scenarios show a reduction in annual rainfall across the western and central Mediterranean which is likely to result in a further reduction in erosion rates in existing badlands. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Regeneration patterns and persistence of the fog-dependent Fray Jorge forest in semiarid Chile during the past two centuries

Abstract The persistence of rainforest patches at Fray Jorge National Park (FJNP) in semiarid Chile (30°40,S), a region receiving approximately 147 mm of annual rainfall, has been a source of concern among forest managers. These forests are likely dependent on water inputs from oceanic fog and their persistence seems uncertain in the face of climate change. Here, we assessed tree radial growth and establishment during the last two centuries and their relation to trends in climate and canopy disturbance. Such evaluation is critical to understanding the dynamics of these semiarid ecosystems in response to climate change. We analyzed forest structure of six forest patches (0.2,22 ha) in FJNP based on sampling within 0.1 ha permanent plots. For the main canopy species, the endemic Aextoxicon punctatum (Aextoxicaceae), we used tree-ring analysis to assess establishment periods, tree ages, growing trends and their relation to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), rainfall, and disturbance. The population dynamics of A. punctatum can be described by a continuous regeneration mode. Regeneration of A. punctatum was sensitive to different canopy structures. Growth release patterns suggest the absence of large scale human impact. Radial growth and establishment of A. punctatum were weakly correlated with rainfall and ENSO. If water limits forests patch persistence, patches are likely dependent on the combination of fog and rain water inputs. Forest patches have regenerated continuously for at least 250 years, despite large fluctuations in rainfall driven by ENSO and a regional decline in rainfall during the last century. Because of the positive influence on fog interception, forest structure should be preserved under any future climate scenario. Future research in FJNP should prioritize quantifying the long-term trends of fog water deposition on forests patches. Fog modeling is crucial for understanding the interplay among physical drivers of water inputs under climate change. [source]

NeuralEnsembles: a neural network based ensemble forecasting program for habitat and bioclimatic suitability analysis

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 1 2009
Jesse R. O'Hanley
NeuralEnsembles is an integrated modeling and assessment tool for predicting areas of species habitat/bioclimatic suitability based on presence/absence data. This free, Windows based program, which comes with a friendly graphical user interface, generates predictions using ensembles of artificial neural networks. Models can quickly and easily be produced for multiple species and subsequently be extrapolated either to new regions or under different future climate scenarios. An array of options is provided for optimizing the construction and training of ensemble models. Main outputs of the program include text files of suitability predictions, maps and various statistical measures of model performance and accuracy. [source]

Modelling species distributions without using species distributions: the cane toad in Australia under current and future climates

ECOGRAPHY, Issue 4 2008
Michael Kearney
Accurate predictions of the potential distribution of range-shifting species are required for effective management of invasive species, and for assessments of the impact of climate change on native species. Range-shifting species pose a challenge for traditional correlative approaches to range prediction, often requiring the extrapolation of complex statistical associations into novel environmental space. Here we take an alternative approach that does not use species occurrence data, but instead captures the fundamental niche of a species by mechanistically linking key organismal traits with spatial data using biophysical models. We demonstrate this approach with a major invasive species, the cane toad Bufo marinus in Australia, assessing the direct climatic constraints on its ability to move, survive, and reproduce. We show that the current range can be explained by thermal constraints on the locomotor potential of the adult stage together with limitations on the availability of water for the larval stage. Our analysis provides a framework for biologically grounded predictions of the potential for cane toads to expand their range under current and future climate scenarios. More generally, by quantifying spatial variation in physiological constraints on an organism, trait-based approaches can be used to investigate the range-limits of any species. Assessments of spatial variation in the physiological constraints on an organism may also provide a mechanistic basis for forecasting the rate of range expansion and for understanding a species' potential to evolve at range-edges. Mechanistic approaches thus have broad application to process-based ecological and evolutionary models of range-shift. [source]

Why is the choice of future climate scenarios for species distribution modelling important?

ECOLOGY LETTERS, Issue 11 2008
Linda J. Beaumont
Abstract Species distribution models (SDMs) are common tools for assessing the potential impact of climate change on species ranges. Uncertainty in SDM output occurs due to differences among alternate models, species characteristics and scenarios of future climate. While considerable effort is being devoted to identifying and quantifying the first two sources of variation, a greater understanding of climate scenarios and how they affect SDM output is also needed. Climate models are complex tools: variability occurs among alternate simulations, and no single ,best' model exists. The selection of climate scenarios for impacts assessments should not be undertaken arbitrarily - strengths and weakness of different climate models should be considered. In this paper, we provide bioclimatic modellers with an overview of emissions scenarios and climate models, discuss uncertainty surrounding projections of future climate and suggest steps that can be taken to reduce and communicate climate scenario-related uncertainty in assessments of future species responses to climate change. [source]

Modeling the effects of fire and climate change on carbon and nitrogen storage in lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stands

Abstract The interaction between disturbance and climate change and resultant effects on ecosystem carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) fluxes are poorly understood. Here, we model (using CENTURY version 4.5) how climate change may affect C and N fluxes among mature and regenerating lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia Engelm. ex S. Wats.) stands that vary in postfire tree density following stand-replacing fire. Both young (postfire) and mature stands had elevated forest production and net N mineralization under future climate scenarios relative to current climate. Forest production increased 25% [Hadley (HAD)] to 36% [Canadian Climate Center (CCC)], compared with 2% under current climate, among stands that varied in stand age and postfire density. Net N mineralization increased under both climate scenarios, e.g., +19% to 37% (HAD) and +11% to 23% (CCC), with greatest increases for young stands with sparse tree regeneration. By 2100, total ecosystem carbon (live+dead+soils) in mature stands was higher than prefire levels, e.g., +16% to 19% (HAD) and +24% to 28% (CCC). For stands regenerating following fire in 1988, total C storage was 0,9% higher under the CCC climate model, but 5,6% lower under the HAD model and 20,37% lower under the Control. These patterns, which reflect variation in stand age, postfire tree density, and climate model, suggest that although there were strong positive responses of lodgepole pine productivity to future changes in climate, C flux over the next century will reflect complex relationships between climate, age structure, and disturbance-recovery patterns of the landscape. [source]

Global potential distribution of an invasive species, the yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) under climate change

Youhua CHEN
Abstract Changes to the Earth's climate may affect the distribution of countless species. Understanding the potential distribution of known invasive species under an altered climate is vital to predicting impacts and developing management policy. The present study employs ecological niche modeling to construct the global potential distribution range of the yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) using past, current and future climate scenarios. Three modeling algorithms, GARP, BioClim and Environmental Distance, were used in a comparative analysis. Output from the models suggest firstly that this insect originated from south Asia, expanded into Europe and then into Afrotropical regions, after which it formed its current distribution. Second, the invasive risk of A. gracilipes under future climatic change scenarios will become greater because of an extension of suitable environmental conditions in higher latitudes. Third, when compared to the GARP model, BioClim and Environmental Distance models were better at modeling a species' ancestral distribution. These findings are discussed in light of the predictive accuracy of these models. [source]

Assessing the impact of deforestation and climate change on the range size and environmental niche of bird species in the Atlantic forests, Brazil

Bette A. Loiselle
Abstract Aim, Habitat loss and climate change are two major drivers of biological diversity. Here we quantify how deforestation has already changed, and how future climate scenarios may change, environmental conditions within the highly disturbed Atlantic forests of Brazil. We also examine how environmental conditions have been altered within the range of selected bird species. Location, Atlantic forests of south-eastern Brazil. Methods, The historical distribution of 21 bird species was estimated using Maxent. After superimposing the present-day forest cover, we examined the environmental niches hypothesized to be occupied by these birds pre- and post-deforestation using environmental niche factor analysis (ENFA). ENFA was also used to compare conditions in the entire Atlantic forest ecosystem pre- and post-deforestation. The relative influence of land use and climate change on environmental conditions was examined using analysis of similarity and principal components analysis. Results, Deforestation in the region has resulted in a decrease in suitable habitat of between 78% and 93% for the Atlantic forest birds included here. Further, Atlantic forest birds today experience generally wetter and less seasonal forest environments than they did historically. Models of future environmental conditions within forest remnants suggest generally warmer conditions and lower annual variation in rainfall due to greater precipitation in the driest quarter of the year. We found that deforestation resulted in a greater divergence of environmental conditions within Atlantic forests than that predicted by climate change. Main conclusions, The changes in environmental conditions that have occurred with large-scale deforestation suggest that selective regimes may have shifted and, as a consequence, spatial patterns of intra-specific variation in morphology, behaviour and genes have probably been altered. Although the observed shifts in available environmental conditions resulting from deforestation are greater than those predicted by climate change, the latter will result in novel environments that exceed temperatures in any present-day climates and may lead to biotic attrition unless organisms can adapt to these warmer conditions. Conserving intra-specific diversity over the long term will require considering both how changes in the recent past have influenced contemporary populations and the impact of future environmental change. [source]

Dry spots and wet spots in the Andean hotspot

Timothy J. Killeen
Abstract Aim, To explain the relationship between topography, prevailing winds and precipitation in order to identify regions with contrasting precipitation regimes and then compare floristic similarity among regions in the context of climate change. Location, Eastern slope of the tropical Andes, South America. Methods, We used information sources in the public domain to identify the relationship between geology, topography, prevailing wind patterns and precipitation. Areas with contrasting precipitation regimes were identified and compared for their floristic similarity. Results, We identify spatially separate super-humid, humid and relatively dry regions on the eastern slope of the Andes and show how they are formed by the interaction of prevailing winds, diurnally varying atmospheric circulations and the local topography of the Andes. One key aspect related to the formation of these climatically distinct regions is the South American low-level jet (SALLJ), a relatively steady wind gyre that flows pole-ward along the eastern slopes of the Andes and is part of the gyre associated with the Atlantic trade winds that cross the Amazon Basin. The strongest winds of the SALLJ occur near the ,elbow of the Andes' at 18° S. Super-humid regions with mean annual precipitation greater than 3500 mm, are associated with a ,favourable' combination of topography, wind-flow orientation and local air circulation that favours ascent at certain hours of the day. Much drier regions, with mean annual precipitation less than 1500 mm, are associated with ,unfavourable' topographic orientation with respect to the mean winds and areas of reduced cloudiness produced by local breezes that moderate the cloudiness. We show the distribution of satellite-estimated frequency of cloudiness and offer hypotheses to explain the occurrence of these patterns and to explain regions of anomalously low precipitation in Bolivia and northern Peru. Floristic analysis shows that overall similarity among all circumscribed regions of this study is low; however, similarity among super-humid and humid regions is greater when compared with similarity among dry regions. Spatially separate areas with humid and super-humid precipitation regimes show similarity gradients that are correlated with latitude (proximity) and precipitation. Main conclusions, The distribution of precipitation on the eastern slope of the Andes is not simply correlated with latitude, as is often assumed, but is the result of the interplay between wind and topography. Understanding the phenomena responsible for producing the observed precipitation patterns is important for mapping and modelling biodiversity, as well as for interpreting both past and future climate scenarios and the impact of climate change on biodiversity. Super-humid and dry regions have topographic characteristics that contribute to local climatic stability and may represent ancestral refugia for biodiversity; these regions are a conservation priority due to their unique climatic characteristics and the biodiversity associated with those characteristics. [source]