Climate Projections for Ecologists

TitleClimate Projections for Ecologists
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsHarris R MB, Grose MR, Lee G, Bindoff NL, Porfirio LL, Fox-Hughes P
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Paginationn/a - n/a
Date Published05/2014
AbstractClimate projections are essential for studying ecological responses to climate change, and their use is now common in ecology. However, the lack of integration between ecology and climate science has restricted understanding of the available climate data and their appropriate use. The paper provides an overview of climate model outputs and issues that need to be considered when applying projections of future climate in ecological studies. We outline the strengths and weaknesses of available climate projections, the uncertainty associated with future projections at different spatial and temporal scales, the differences between available downscaling methods (dynamical, statistical downscaling and simple scaling of Global Circulation Model output), and the implications these have for ecological models. We describe some of the changes in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the new Representative Concentration Pathways. We highlight some of the challenges in using model projections in ecological studies and suggest how to effectively address them.This paper recommends that studies on the influence of future climate on species, communities and ecological processes should have the following features to accommodate the uncertainty associated with future projections: • The use of high and low emissions scenarios to frame the range of responses to unmitigated climate change. • The use of more than one Global Circulation Model, and justification why the particular models were selected. • The range or standard deviation in the results where the mean of multiple climate models is presented. • The use of a baseline appropriate to the subject of the study.
Short TitleWIREs Clim Change
Refereed DesignationRefereed
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