Spatial scale affects bioclimate model projections of climate change impacts on mountain plants

M.R. Trivedi, P.M. Berry, M.D. Morecroft, T.P. Dawson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    155 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Plant species have responded to recent increases in global temperatures by shifting their geographical ranges poleward and to higher altitudes. Bioclimate models project future range contractions of montane species as suitable climate space shifts uphill. The species-climate relationships underlying such models are calibrated using data at either 'macro' scales (coarse resolution, e.g. 50 km × 50 km, and large spatial extent) or 'local' scales (fine resolution, e.g. 50 m × 50 m, and small spatial extent), but the two approaches have not been compared. This study projected macro (European) and local models for vascular plants at a mountain range in Scotland, UK, under low (+1.7 °C) and high (+3.3°C) climate change scenarios for the 2080s. Depending on scenario, the local models projected that seven or eight out of 10 focal montane species would lose all suitable climate space at the site. However, the European models projected such a loss for only one species. The cause of this divergence was investigated by cross-scale comparisons of estimated temperatures at montane species' warm range edges. The results indicate that European models overestimated species' thermal tolerances because the input coarse resolution climate data were biased against the cold, high-altitude habitats of montane plants. Although tests at other mountain ranges are required, these results indicate that recent large-scale modelling studies may have overestimated montane species' ability to cope with increasing temperatures, thereby underestimating the potential impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the results suggest that montane species persistence in microclimatic refugia might not be as widespread as previously speculated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1089-1103
    Number of pages15
    JournalGlobal Change Biology
    Volume14
    Issue number5
    Early online date31 Jan 2008
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 2008

    Fingerprint

    Climate change
    climate change
    mountain
    Macros
    climate
    Temperature
    temperature
    refugium
    vascular plant
    contraction
    persistence
    tolerance
    divergence
    habitat
    modeling

    Cite this

    Trivedi, M.R. ; Berry, P.M. ; Morecroft, M.D. ; Dawson, T.P. / Spatial scale affects bioclimate model projections of climate change impacts on mountain plants. In: Global Change Biology. 2008 ; Vol. 14, No. 5. pp. 1089-1103.
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    abstract = "Plant species have responded to recent increases in global temperatures by shifting their geographical ranges poleward and to higher altitudes. Bioclimate models project future range contractions of montane species as suitable climate space shifts uphill. The species-climate relationships underlying such models are calibrated using data at either 'macro' scales (coarse resolution, e.g. 50 km × 50 km, and large spatial extent) or 'local' scales (fine resolution, e.g. 50 m × 50 m, and small spatial extent), but the two approaches have not been compared. This study projected macro (European) and local models for vascular plants at a mountain range in Scotland, UK, under low (+1.7 °C) and high (+3.3°C) climate change scenarios for the 2080s. Depending on scenario, the local models projected that seven or eight out of 10 focal montane species would lose all suitable climate space at the site. However, the European models projected such a loss for only one species. The cause of this divergence was investigated by cross-scale comparisons of estimated temperatures at montane species' warm range edges. The results indicate that European models overestimated species' thermal tolerances because the input coarse resolution climate data were biased against the cold, high-altitude habitats of montane plants. Although tests at other mountain ranges are required, these results indicate that recent large-scale modelling studies may have overestimated montane species' ability to cope with increasing temperatures, thereby underestimating the potential impacts of climate change. Furthermore, the results suggest that montane species persistence in microclimatic refugia might not be as widespread as previously speculated.",
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    Spatial scale affects bioclimate model projections of climate change impacts on mountain plants. / Trivedi, M.R.; Berry, P.M.; Morecroft, M.D.; Dawson, T.P.

    In: Global Change Biology, Vol. 14, No. 5, 05.2008, p. 1089-1103.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    AU - Berry, P.M.

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