Special Issue "Ecological Impacts of Climate Change"

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A special issue of Climate (ISSN 2225-1154).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Nir Y. Krakauer (Website)

Department of Civil Engineering, 193 Steinman Hall, City College of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
Interests: climate change; water resources planning; groundwater; land-atmosphere interaction; sustainable agriculture; urban ecological design; carbon cycle monitoring; renewable energy resource assessment; probabilistic forecasting; data assimilation; model uncertainty assessment
Guest Editor
Dr. Tarendra Lakhankar (Website)

NOAA-Cooperative Remote Sensing & Technology (CREST) Center, The City College of the City University of New York ST-103, Steinman Hall, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031, USA
Phone: 2126505815
Fax: +1 212 650 8097
Interests: utilization of satellite data, Geographical Information System, information technologies to study the impact of climate change and variability on water resource availability and hydrologic responses of both urban and natural watersheds, land use / land cover monitoring, environmental monitoring and assessment, and their sustainable development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Climate change is shifting species and biome boundaries in complex ways. There is concern that, when combined with directly human-caused loss of habitat, climate change may contribute to mass extinction. There is a pressing need to identify the most vulnerable taxa and ecosystems so as to develop management strategies that promote ecological resilience amid change.

Potential topics include: quantifying causes and impacts of climate change in particular ecosystems; spatiotemporal variability (including seasonal dynamics and microclimates) and biodiversity; modeling and forecasting coupled climate and biological dynamics; ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles; ecosystem management that balances human needs with those of other species; ecosystem conservation and restoration under climate change; and approaches for decision making involving many stakeholders and pervasive uncertainty.

Dr. Nir Y. Krakauer
Dr. Tarendra Lakhankar
Guest Editors

Submission

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • biodiversity, carbon cycle
  • climate change impacts
  • invasive species
  • land cover and land use change
  • life zones
  • microclimate
  • nutrient cycles
  • phenology

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Potential Vegetation and Carbon Redistribution in Northern North America from Climate Change
Climate 2016, 4(1), 2; doi:10.3390/cli4010002
Received: 1 September 2015 / Revised: 21 November 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 6 January 2016
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Abstract
There are strong relationships between climate and ecosystems. With the prospect of anthropogenic forcing accelerating climate change, there is a need to understand how terrestrial vegetation responds to this change as it influences the carbon balance. Previous studies have primarily addressed this [...] Read more.
There are strong relationships between climate and ecosystems. With the prospect of anthropogenic forcing accelerating climate change, there is a need to understand how terrestrial vegetation responds to this change as it influences the carbon balance. Previous studies have primarily addressed this question using empirically based models relating the observed pattern of vegetation and climate, together with scenarios of potential future climate change, to predict how vegetation may redistribute. Unlike previous studies, here we use an advanced mechanistic, individually based, ecosystem model to predict the terrestrial vegetation response from future climate change. The use of such a model opens up opportunities to test with remote sensing data, and the possibility of simulating the transient response to climate change over large domains. The model was first run with a current climatology at half-degree resolution and compared to remote sensing data on dominant plant functional types for northern North America for validation. Future climate data were then used as inputs to predict the equilibrium response of vegetation in terms of dominant plant functional type and carbon redistribution. At the domain scale, total forest cover changed by ~2% and total carbon storage increased by ~8% in response to climate change. These domain level changes were the result of much larger gross changes within the domain. Evergreen forest cover decreased 48% and deciduous forest cover increased 77%. The dominant plant functional type changed on 58% of the sites, while total carbon in deciduous vegetation increased 107% and evergreen vegetation decreased 31%. The percent of terrestrial carbon from deciduous and evergreen plant functional types changed from 27%/73% under current climate conditions, to 54%/46% under future climate conditions. These large predicted changes in vegetation and carbon in response to future climate change are comparable to previous empirically based estimates, and motivate the need for future development with this mechanistic model to estimate the transient response to future climate changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Impacts of Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Variabilities in Rainfall Onset, Cessation and Length of Rainy Season for the Various Agro-Ecological Zones of Ghana
Climate 2015, 3(2), 416-434; doi:10.3390/cli3020416
Received: 5 February 2015 / Accepted: 5 June 2015 / Published: 15 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the onset and cessation dates of the rainy season over Ghana using rain gauge data from the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) over the period of 1970–2012. The onset and cessation dates were determined from cumulative curves using the number [...] Read more.
This paper examines the onset and cessation dates of the rainy season over Ghana using rain gauge data from the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) over the period of 1970–2012. The onset and cessation dates were determined from cumulative curves using the number of rainy days and rainfall amount. In addition, the inter-annual variability of the onset and cessation dates for each climatic zone was assessed using wavelet analysis. A clear distinction between the rainfall characteristics and the length of the rainy season in the various climatic zones is discussed. The forest and coastal zones in the south had their rainfall onset from the second and third dekads of March. The onset dates of the transition zone were from the second dekad of March to the third dekad of April. Late onset, which starts from the second dekad of April to the first dekad of May, was associated with the savannah zone. The rainfall cessation dates in the forest zone were in the third dekad of October to the first dekad of November, and the length of the rainy season was within 225–240 days. The cessation dates of the coastal zone were within the second and third dekad of October, and the length of rainy season was within 210–220 days. Furthermore, the transition zone had cessation dates in the second to third dekad of October, and the length of the rainy season was within 170–225 days. Lastly, the savannah zone had cessation dates within the third dekad of September to the first dekad of October, and the length of rainy season was within 140–180 days. The bias in the rainfall onset, cessation and length of the rainy season was less than 10 days across the entire country, and the root mean square error (RMSE) was in the range of 5–25 days. These findings demonstrate that the onset derived from the cumulative rainfall amount and the rainy days are in consistent agreement. The wavelet power spectrum and its significant peaks showed evidence of variability in the rainfall onset and cessation dates across the country. The coastal and forest zones showed 2–8- and 2–4-year band variability in the onsets and cessations, whereas the onset and cessation variability of the transition and savannah zones were within 2–4 and 4–8 years. This result has adverse effects on rain-fed agricultural practices, disease control, water resource management, socio-economic activities and food security in Ghana. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Impacts of Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Land Use/Cover Response to Rainfall Variability: A Comparing Analysis between NDVI and EVI in the Southwest of Burkina Faso
Climate 2015, 3(1), 63-77; doi:10.3390/cli3010063
Received: 8 October 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 24 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (856 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A comparative analysis of the sensitivity of NDVI and EVI to rainfall indicators has been carried out for different land use/covers in the Southwest of Burkina Faso. Three classified land use/covers maps for 1999, 2006 and 2011 were produced and change detection [...] Read more.
A comparative analysis of the sensitivity of NDVI and EVI to rainfall indicators has been carried out for different land use/covers in the Southwest of Burkina Faso. Three classified land use/covers maps for 1999, 2006 and 2011 were produced and change detection was applied to locate persistent areas. Thereafter monthly vegetation indices of plots of 750 × 750 m2 were extracted from 2001 to 2011 for persistent woodland, mixed vegetation, and agricultural area within 5 km radius around four rain gauges. Furthermore, correlation analysis to measure the relationship between vegetation indices and rainfall indicators was performed. The results indicate some similarities between NDVI and EVI. Both indices, for all land use/covers, showed significant and strong positive correlation with the rainfall indicators. In general, NDVI was more sensitive to rainfall than EVI in the study area, but the difference between the Pearson’s coefficient values of both vegetation indices was insignificant. The findings of this work agree with some previous studies, but contrasting conclusions were also noted in literature. Hence wider spatial investigation will be necessary to confirm the results of this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Impacts of Climate Change)

Other

Jump to: Research

Open AccessLetter Grassland Growth in Response to Climate Variability in the Upper Indus Basin, Pakistan
Climate 2015, 3(3), 697-714; doi:10.3390/cli3030697
Received: 29 May 2015 / Revised: 7 July 2015 / Accepted: 21 July 2015 / Published: 25 August 2015
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Abstract
Grasslands in the upper Indus basin provide a resource base for nomadic livestock grazing which is one of the major traditional livelihood practices in the area. The study presents climate patterns, grassland phenology, productivity and spatio-temporal climate controls on grassland growth using [...] Read more.
Grasslands in the upper Indus basin provide a resource base for nomadic livestock grazing which is one of the major traditional livelihood practices in the area. The study presents climate patterns, grassland phenology, productivity and spatio-temporal climate controls on grassland growth using satellite data over the upper Indus basin of the Himalayan region, Pakistan. Phenology and productivity metrics of the grasses were estimated using a combination of derivative and threshold methods applied on fitted seasonal vegetation indices data over the period of 2001–2011. Satellite based rainfall and land surface temperature data are considered as representative explanatory variables to climate variability. The results showed distinct phenology and productivity patterns across four bioclimatic regions: (i) humid subtropical region (HSR)—late start and early end of season with short length of season and low productivity (ii) temperate region (TR)—early start and late end of season with higher length of season and moderate productivity (iii) sub alpine region (SAR)—late start and late end of season with very high length of season and the most productive grasses, and (iv) alpine region (AR)—late start and early end of season with small length of season and least productive grasses. Grassland productivity is constrained by temperature in the alpine region and by rainfall in the humid sub-tropical region. Spring temperature, winter and summer rainfall has shown significant and varied impact on phenology across different altitudes. The productivity is being influenced by summer and annual rainfall in humid subtropical regions, spring temperature in alpine and sub-alpine regions and both temperature and rainfall are contributing in temperate regions. The results revealing a strong relationship between grassland dynamics and climate variability put forth strong signals for drawing more scientific management of rangelands in the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Impacts of Climate Change)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title:
Ecological impacts of climate change in Brazil and opportunities for ecosystem-based adaptation: the case of the unique Amazon and Caatinga biomes
Authors:
Martin Obermaier, Roger R. Torres, Patricia F. Pinho, and David M. Lapola
Affiliation:
Centro Latino-Americano de estudos de violência e saúde Jorge Careli
Abstract:
Two important ecological consequences of climate change relate to shifts in species' ranges ('i.e. where species can live and reproduce'), and shifts in phenology of biological processes ('related to timing of seasonal biological activities') . In Brazil's highly endemic Caatinga (dry forest) and Amazon tropical rainforest these pressures coincide with ongoing environmental degradation and human socioeconomic adaptation needs. This paper has two objectives: (1) using an updated set of AR5 climate scenarios in this paper we identify ecological hotspots in terms of shifts in range and phenology; (2) we identify and discuss successful cases of ecosystem-based adaptation in both biomes that contribute to building ecological resilience and reducing social vulnerability to climate change. A discussion of future research and policy planning needs closes this paper.

Type of Paper: Article
Title:
Plant migrations role on carbon balance from climate change in northern North America
Authors:
Steve Flanagan
Affiliation:
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, 2181 Samuel J. LeFrak Hall, College Park, MD 20742
Abstract:
The paper initializes a dynamic ecosystem with remote sensing data on plant functional type (evergreen and deciduous) in northern North America.  Climate change scenarios are then run to get a potential range of plant functional type boundary shifts and their associate carbon impacts on above ground biomass.  Migration is pseudo-spatially parameterized in the model which allows for simulation of the entire domain.  A model experimental design with and without climate change, migration and disturbance rates is used to determine the impact of migration on future carbon balance.

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