AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

New research – climate change impacts on biosphere (August 26, 2016)

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on August 26, 2016

Some of the latest papers on climate change impacts on biosphere are shown below. First a few highlighted papers with abstracts and then a list of some other papers. If this subject interests you, be sure to check also the other papers – they are by no means less interesting than the highlighted ones.


Climate change-associated trends in net biomass change are age dependent in western boreal forests of Canada (Chen et al. 2016)

Abstract: The impacts of climate change on forest net biomass change are poorly understood but critical for predicting forest’s contribution to the global carbon cycle. Recent studies show climate change-associated net biomass declines in mature forest plots. The representativeness of these plots for regional forests, however, remains uncertain because we lack an assessment of whether climate change impacts differ with forest age. Using data from plots of varying ages from 17 to 210 years, monitored from 1958 to 2011 in western Canada, we found that climate change has little effect on net biomass change in forests ≤ 40 years of age due to increased growth offsetting increased mortality, but has led to large decreases in older forests due to increased mortality accompanying little growth gain. Our analysis highlights the need to incorporate forest age profiles in examining past and projecting future forest responses to climate change.

Potential for adaptation to climate change in a coral reef fish (Munday et al. 2016)

Abstract: Predicting the impacts of climate change requires knowledge of the potential to adapt to rising temperatures, which is unknown for most species. Adaptive potential may be especially important in tropical species that have narrow thermal ranges and live close to their thermal optimum. We used the animal model to estimate heritability, genotype by environment interactions and nongenetic maternal components of phenotypic variation in fitness-related traits in the coral reef damselfish, Acanthochromis polyacanthus. Offspring of wild-caught breeding pairs were reared for two generations at current-day and two elevated temperature treatments (+1.5 and +3.0 °C) consistent with climate change projections. Length, weight, body condition and metabolic traits (resting and maximum metabolic rate and net aerobic scope) were measured at four stages of juvenile development. Additive genetic variation was low for length and weight at 0 and 15 days posthatching (dph), but increased significantly at 30 dph. By contrast, nongenetic maternal effects on length, weight and body condition were high at 0 and 15 dph and became weaker at 30 dph. Metabolic traits, including net aerobic scope, exhibited high heritability at 90 dph. Furthermore, significant genotype x environment interactions indicated potential for adaptation of maximum metabolic rate and net aerobic scope at higher temperatures. Net aerobic scope was negatively correlated with weight, indicating that any adaptation of metabolic traits at higher temperatures could be accompanied by a reduction in body size. Finally, estimated breeding values for metabolic traits in F2 offspring were significantly affected by the parental rearing environment. Breeding values at higher temperatures were highest for transgenerationally acclimated fish, suggesting a possible role for epigenetic mechanisms in adaptive responses of metabolic traits. These results indicate a high potential for adaptation of aerobic scope to higher temperatures, which could enable reef fish populations to maintain their performance as ocean temperatures rise.

Mapping gains and losses in woody vegetation across global tropical drylands (Tian et al. 2016)

Abstract: Woody vegetation in global tropical drylands is of significant importance for both the inter-annual variability of the carbon cycle and local livelihoods. Satellite observations over the past decades provide a unique way to assess the vegetation long-term dynamics across biomes worldwide. Yet, the actual changes in the woody vegetation are always hidden by inter-annual fluctuations of the leaf density, because the most widely used remote sensing data are primarily related to the photosynthetically active vegetation components. Here, we quantify the temporal trends of the non-photosynthetic woody components (i.e. stems and branches) in global tropical drylands during 2000–2012 using the vegetation optical depth (VOD), retrieved from passive microwave observations. This is achieved by a novel method focusing on the dry season period to minimize the influence of herbaceous vegetation, and using MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) data to remove the inter-annual fluctuation of the woody leaf component. We revealed significant trends (p < 0.05) in the woody component (VODwood) in 35% of the areas characterized by a non-significant trend in the leaf component (VODleaf modeled from NDVI), indicating pronounced gradual growth/decline in woody vegetation not captured by traditional assessments. The method is validated using a unique record of ground measurements from the semi-arid Sahel and shows a strong agreement between changes in VODwood and changes in ground observed woody cover (r2 = 0.78). Reliability of the obtained woody component trends is also supported by a review of relevant literatures for eight hot-spot regions of change. The proposed approach is expected to contribute to an improved assessment of e.g. changes in dryland carbon pools.

Projected changes of Antarctic krill habitat by the end of the 21st century (Piñones & Fedorov, 2016)

Abstract: Climate change is rapidly shaping the living environment of the most abundant keystone species of the Antarctic marine food web, Antarctic krill. Projected future changes for the krill habitat include a sustained increase in ocean temperature and changes in sea ice and chlorophyll a. Here we investigate how these factors affect the early life history of krill and identify the regions around Antarctica where the impact will be greatest. Our tool is a temperature-dependent krill growth model forced by data from comprehensive greenhouse warming simulations. We find that by the year 2100 localized regions along the western Weddell Sea, isolated areas of the Indian Antarctic , and the Amundsen/Bellingshausen Sea will support successful spawning habitats for krill. The failure of potentially successful spawning will have a strong impact on the already declining adult populations with consequences for the Antarctic marine food web, having both ecological and commercial ramifications.

‘Hearing’ alpine plants growing after snowmelt: ultrasonic snow sensors provide long-term series of alpine plant phenology (Vitasse et al. 2016)

Abstract: In alpine environments, the growing season is severely constrained by low temperature and snow. Here, we aim at determining the climatic factors that best explain the interannual variation in spring growth onset of alpine plants, and at examining whether photoperiod might limit their phenological response during exceptionally warm springs and early snowmelts. We analysed 17 years of data (1998–2014) from 35 automatic weather stations located in subalpine and alpine zones ranging from 1560 to 2450 m asl in the Swiss Alps. These stations are equipped with ultrasonic sensors for snow depth measurements that are also able to detect plant growth in spring and summer, giving a unique opportunity to analyse snow and climate effects on alpine plant phenology. Our analysis showed high phenological variation among years, with one exceptionally early and late spring, namely 2011 and 2013. Overall, the timing of snowmelt and the beginning of plant growth were tightly linked irrespective of the elevation of the station. Snowmelt date was the best predictor of plant growth onset with air temperature after snowmelt modulating the plants’ development rate. This multiple series of alpine plant phenology suggests that currently alpine plants are directly tracking climate change with no major photoperiod limitation.

Other papers

Ocean acidification decreases plankton respiration: evidence from a mesocosm experiment (Spilling et al. 2016)

Climate change is projected to reduce carrying capacity and redistribute species richness in North Pacific pelagic marine ecosystems (Woodworth-Jefcoats et al. 2016)

Braking effect of climate and topography on global change-induced upslope forest expansion (Alatalo & Ferrarini, 2016)

The temporal structure of the environment may influence range expansions during climate warming (Fey & Wieczynski, 2016)

Plant adaptation or acclimation to rising CO2? Insight from first multigenerational RNA-Seq transcriptome (Watson-Lazowski et al. 2016)

Local bumble bee decline linked to recovery of honey bees, drought effects on floral resources (Thomson, 2016)

Climate, history and life-history strategies interact in explaining differential macroecological patterns in freshwater zooplankton (Henriques-Silva et al. 2016)

Projected changes in area of the Sundarban mangrove forest in Bangladesh due to SLR by 2100 (Payo et al. 2016)

Sources of uncertainties in 21st century projections of potential ocean ecosystem stressors (Frölicher et al. 2016)

Effect of ocean acidification and elevated fCO2 on trace gas production by a Baltic Sea summer phytoplankton community (Webb et al. 2016)

Increased wetness confounds Landsat-derived NDVI trends in the central Alaska North Slope region, 1985–2011 (Raynolds & Walker, 2016)

Urban warming favours C4 plants in temperate European cities (Duffy & Chown, 2016)

Warming-related shifts in the distribution of two competing coastal wrasses (Milazzo et al. 2016)

Decadal changes in zooplankton abundance and phenology of Long Island Sound reflect interacting changes in temperature and community composition (Rice & Stewart, 2016)

Constraints of cold and shade on the phenology of spring ephemeral herb species (Aupspurger & Salk, 2016)

Characterizing land surface phenology and responses to rainfall in the Sahara Desert (Yan et al. 2016)

Predicted sea-level changes and evolutionary estimates for age of isolation in Central Mediterranean insular lizards (Raia et al. 2016)

Distribution of Arctic and Pacific copepods and their habitat in the northern Bering and Chukchi seas (Sasaki et al. 2016)

Ecosystem resilience to the Millennium drought in southeast Australia (2001–2009) (Sawada & Koike, 2016)

Incorporating climate change into ecosystem service assessments and decisions: A review (Runting et al. 2016)

Assessing approaches to determine the effect of ocean acidification on bacterial processes (Burrell et al. 2016)

Bacterial production in subarctic peatland lakes enriched by thawing permafrost (Deshpande et al. 2016)

Mechanistic variables can enhance predictive models of endotherm distributions: the American pika under current, past, and future climates (Mathewson et al. 2016)

Linkages between climate, seasonal wood formation and mycorrhizal mushroom yields (Primicia et al. 2016)

Ocean acidification has little effect on developmental thermal windows of echinoderms from Antarctica to the tropics (Karelitz et al. 2016)

Increased wetness confounds Landsat-derived NDVI trends in the central Alaska North Slope region, 1985–2011 (Raynolds & Walker, 2016)

Phytoplankton responses to temperature increases are constrained by abiotic conditions and community composition (Striebel et al. 2016)

Continuous, long-term, high-frequency thermal imaging of vegetation: Uncertainties and recommended best practices (Aubrecht et al. 2016)

A global classification of vegetation based on NDVI, rainfall and temperature (Zhang et al. 2016)

The carbon fertilization effect over a century of anthropogenic CO2 emissions: higher intracellular CO2 and more drought resistance among invasive and native grass species contrasts with increased water use efficiency for woody plants in the US Southwest (Drake et al. 2016)

A study of the impacts of climate change scenarios on the plant hardiness zones of Albania (Teqja et al. 2016)

Testing the apparent resistance of three dominant plants to chronic drought on the Colorado Plateau (Hoover et al. 2016)

Small global effect on terrestrial net primary production due to increased fossil fuel aerosol emissions from East Asia since the turn of the century (O’Sullivan et al. 2016)

Persistent and pervasive compositional shifts of western boreal forest plots in Canada (Searle & Chen, 2016)

Changes in growing season duration and productivity of northern vegetation inferred from long-term remote sensing data (Park et al. 2016)

Long-term CO2 fertilization increases vegetation productivity but has little effect on hydrological partitioning in tropical rainforests (Yang et al. 2016)

Early ice retreat and ocean warming may induce copepod biogeographic boundary shifts in the Arctic Ocean (Feng et al. 2016)

A productive role for science in assisted colonization policy (Neff & Carroll, 2016)

Drought-induced vegetation shifts in terrestrial ecosystems: The key role of regeneration dynamics (Martínez-Vilalta & Lloret, 2016)

Biotic nitrogen fixation in the bryosphere is inhibited more by drought than warming (Whiteley & Gonzalez, 2016)

Alpine bird distributions along elevation gradients: the consistency of climate and habitat effects across geographic regions (Chamberlain et al. 2016)

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