The velocity of climate change

  title={The velocity of climate change},
  author={Scott Loarie and Philip B. Duffy and Healy Hamilton and Gregory P. Asner and Christopher B. Field and David D. Ackerly},
The ranges of plants and animals are moving in response to recent changes in climate. As temperatures rise, ecosystems with ‘nowhere to go’, such as mountains, are considered to be more threatened. However, species survival may depend as much on keeping pace with moving climates as the climate’s ultimate persistence. Here we present a new index of the velocity of temperature change (km yr-1), derived from spatial gradients (°C km-1) and multimodel ensemble forecasts of rates of temperature… 
The climate velocity of the contiguous United States during the 20th century
The results strain expectations of poleward and upslope migration over the past century due to warming and suggest that a more full understanding of changes in multiple climatic factors, in addition to temperature, may help explain unexpected or conflicting observational evidence of climate-driven species range shifts during the 20th century.
Geographical limits to species-range shifts are suggested by climate velocity
Using the velocity of climate change to derive spatial trajectories for climatic niches from 1960 to 2009 and from 2006 to 2100 is used to infer changes in species distributions and gives global and regional maps of the expected direction and rate of shifts of climate migrants, and suggests areas of potential loss of species richness.
Climate velocity in inland standing waters
Inland standing waters are particularly vulnerable to increasing water temperature. Here, using a high-resolution numerical model, we find that the velocity of climate change in the surface of inland
Millennial-Scale Temperature Change Velocity in the Continental Northern Neotropics
The results suggest that Quaternary tropical diversity was probably maintained by centennial-scale oscillatory climatic variability that forestalled competitive exclusion, and extinction risk for tropical species is higher than at any time in the last 86,000 years.
The Pace of Shifting Climate in Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems
Two measures of thermal shifts from analyses of global temperatures over the past 50 years are used to describe the pace of climate change that species should track: the velocity ofClimate change (geographic shifts of isotherms over time) and the shift in seasonal timing of temperatures.
Velocity of change in vegetation productivity over northern high latitudes
Compared changes in the spatial patterns of vegetation productivity and temperature are compared using the velocity of change concept, which expresses these two variables in the same unit of displacement per time to explore whether northward displacement of vegetation will keep pace with temperature under climate change.
The Influence of Late Quaternary Climate-Change Velocity on Species Endemism
It is shown that low-velocity areas are essential refuges for Earth’s many small-ranged species and the association between endemism and velocity was weakest in the highly vagile birds and strongest in the weakly dispersing amphibians, linking dispersal ability to extinction risk due to climate change.
Biotic and Climatic Velocity Identify Contrasting Areas of Vulnerability to Climate Change
Biotic and climatic velocity, a metric which uses data on projected species range shifts to estimate the velocity at which species must move to track their climatic niche, can inform conservation of species and locally-adapted populations, respectively, and in combination with backward velocity can facilitate conservation of diversity at multiple scales in the face of climate change.
Changes in plant community composition lag behind climate warming in lowland forests
There was a larger temperature lag (by 3.1 times) between the climate and plant community composition in lowland forests than in highland forests, and the explanation lies in the following properties of lowland, as compared to highland, forests: the higher proportion of species with greater ability for local persistence as the climate warms, the reduced opportunity for short-distance escapes, the greater habitat fragmentation.
The relative importance of deforestation, precipitation change, and temperature sensitivity in determining the future distributions and diversity of Amazonian plant species
Tropical forests are threatened by many human disturbances – two of the most important of which are deforestation and climate change. To mitigate the impacts of these disturbances, it is important to


Spatial scale affects bioclimate model projections of climate change impacts on mountain plants
Plant species have responded to recent increases in global temperatures by shifting their geographical ranges poleward and to higher altitudes. Bioclimate models project future range contractions of
Gradients, vegetation and climate: spatial and temporal dynamics in the Olympic Mountains, U.S.A.
The steep environmental gradients of mountains result in the juxtaposition of diverse vegetation associations with narrow ecotones because life zones are compressed. Variation in geologic substrate,
Rapid shifts in plant distribution with recent climate change
  • A. Kelly, M. Goulden
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2008
Compared surveys of plant cover that were made in 1977 and 2006–2007 along a 2,314-m elevation gradient in Southern California's Santa Rosa Mountains, it is found that the average elevation of the dominant plant species rose by ≈65 m between the surveys.
Climate Change and the Future of California's Endemic Flora
The flora of California, a global biodiversity hotspot, includes 2387 endemic plant taxa and it is projected that up to 66% will experience >80% reductions in range size within a century, comparable with other studies of fewer species or just samples of a region's endemics.
A Significant Upward Shift in Plant Species Optimum Elevation During the 20th Century
This study shows that climate warming has resulted in a significant upward shift in species optimum elevation averaging 29 meters per decade, which is larger for species restricted to mountain habitats and for grassy species, which are characterized by faster population turnover.
Ecological and Evolutionary Responses to Recent Climate Change
Range-restricted species, particularly polar and mountaintop species, show severe range contractions and have been the first groups in which entire species have gone extinct due to recent climate change.
Impact of a Century of Climate Change on Small-Mammal Communities in Yosemite National Park, USA
A century-scale view of small-mammal responses to global warming is provided by repeating Grinnell's early–20th century survey across a 3000-meter-elevation gradient that spans Yosemite National Park, California, USA.
A rapid upward shift of a forest ecotone during 40 years of warming in the Green Mountains of Vermont
The results indicate that high-elevation forests may be jeopardized by climate change sooner than anticipated and the rapid upward movement of the NBE indicates little inertia to climatically induced range shifts in montane forests.
Climate change and the migration capacity of species.
  • R. Pearson
  • Environmental Science
    Trends in ecology & evolution
  • 2006