Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate study projects major changes in vegetation distribution by 2100

Date:
January 30, 2014
Source:
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Summary:
An international research team has determined the distribution of species of vegetation over nearly half the world’s land area could be affected by predicted global warming.

Climate researchers have calculated that the spread of plant species in nearly half the world's land areas could be affected by predicted global warming by the end of the century.

An international research team led by Song Feng, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Arkansas, used a scenario projecting an annual 3- to 10-degree increase in Celsius temperatures by 2100 to calculate that climate types will change in 46.3 percent of the global land area.

That scenario is referred to by climate scientists, according to Song, as "business as usual" because it assumes that "what we continue to do today we will do in the future, meaning that there will be no significant measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that are warming the planet," he said.

The scenario has been adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and calls for moderate to strong warming in the middle and high latitudes of the northern hemisphere and weaker warming in the tropics and the southern hemisphere.

"Climates are associated with certain types of vegetation," Feng said. "If the surface continues to get warmer, certain native species may no longer grow well in their climate, especially in higher latitudes. They will give their territory to other species. That is the most likely scenario."

Feng and colleagues in the United States and Asia published their findings in the January issue of the journal Global and Planetary Change, in a study titled "Projected climate regime shift under future global warming from multi-model, multi-scenario CMIP5 simulations."

Their study examined shifts in climate regimes around the world using the Kφppen-Trewartha climate classification, which is based on the concept that native vegetation is the best expression of climate. The researchers analyzed observations made from 1900 to 2010, and simulations from 1900 to 2100 from 20 global climate models participating in a project of the World Climate Research Programme.

"Changes in precipitation played a slightly more important role in causing shifts of climate type during the 20th century. However, the projected warming plays an increasingly important role and dominates shifts in climate type when the warming becomes more pronounced in the 21st century," said Feng, an assistant professor of geosciences in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

"Those vast changes also imply that the global land area is experiencing vegetation-type conversions, with species distributions quite different from those that are familiar to us in modern civilization," he said.

Feng's study does not address exact changes to specific species, however. That area requires more research.

"This study is on the broad scale," he said. "It's showing the big picture."

Overall, the models consistently project increasing precipitation over the high latitudes of the northern hemisphere and reduced precipitation in southwestern North America, the Mediterranean, northern and southern Africa and all of Australia, according to the study.

Based on the projected changes in temperature and precipitation, the Kφppen-Trewartha climate types would shift toward warmer and drier climate types. Regions of temperate, tropical and dry climate types are projected to expand, while regions of polar, sub-polar and subtropical climate types are projected to contract.

In 2011, Feng's research team predicted a reorganization of Arctic climates by the end of the 21st century. Their predictions show the tundra in Alaska and Canada giving way to trees, shrubs and plants typical of more southerly climates, as well as other global landscape changes.

The 2011 study was one of the first to apply a specific climate classification system to a comprehensive examination of climate changes throughout the Arctic by using both observations and a collection of projected future climate changes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Song Feng et al. Projected climate regime shift under future global warming from multi-model, multi-scenario CMIP5 simulations. Global and Planetary Change, January 2014

Cite This Page:

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "Climate study projects major changes in vegetation distribution by 2100." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130121322.htm>.
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. (2014, January 30). Climate study projects major changes in vegetation distribution by 2100. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130121322.htm
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. "Climate study projects major changes in vegetation distribution by 2100." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130121322.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

Seismic Activity Halts Recovery at Japan Volcano

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) — Rescuers were forced to suspend plans to recover at least two dozen bodies from near the summit of Mount Ontake in central Japan on Tuesday after increased seismic activity raised concern about the possibility of another eruption. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins