A new climate modeling study forecasts the complete disappearance of several existing climates in tropical highlands and regions near the poles, while large swaths of the tropics and subtropics may develop new climates unlike any seen today.
In general, the models show that existing climate zones will shift toward higher latitudes and higher elevations, squeezing out the climates at the extremes--tropical mountaintops and the poles--and leaving room for unfamiliar climes and new ecological niches around the equator.
The work, by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wyoming, appears online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) during the week of March 26. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the research.
The most severely affected parts of the world span both heavily populated regions, including the southeastern United States, southeastern Asia, and parts of Africa, and known hotspots of biodiversity, such as the Amazonian rainforest and African and South American mountain ranges.
The patterns of change foreshadow significant impacts on ecosystems and conservation. "There is a close correspondence between disappearing climates and areas of biodiversity," says University of Wisconsin at Madison geographer Jack Williams, primary author of the paper, which could increase risk of extinction in the affected areas.
For example, the Andes, Central America, South Africa and the Indonesian Archipelago are all hotspots of biological diversity. The projected disappearance of the climates unique to these regions places some species at risk of extinction.
"As this research shows, studies integrating paleoclimate data, mathematical modeling and ecological principles provide insights into climate cause-and-effect that are of great practical consequence," says David Verardo, program director for paleoclimate at NSF,
Williams and his colleagues foresee the appearance of novel climate zones on up to 39 percent of the world's land surface area by 2100, if current rates of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions continue, and the global disappearance of up to 48 percent of current land climates.
The underlying effect is clear, Williams says. "More carbon dioxide in the air means more risk of entirely new climates or climates disappearing."
In an effort to keep up with climate change, plant and animal species already have begun to move away from the equator and toward the colder climates of the poles. In mountain ecosystems, many lower-mountain species are moving higher--to cooler spots. What will happen when they "run out of room" on a mountainside?
The question becomes not just whether a given climate will still exist, but "will a species be able to keep up with its climatic zone?" Williams says.
Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
27.04.2017 | Materials Sciences