February 28, 2007
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Global Climate Change Digest
A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 5, NUMBER 12, DECEMBER 1992
CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS: FORESTS AND ECOSYSTEMS
"Global Climate Change, Hurricanes and a Tropical Forest," S.T.
O'Brien (Dept. Environ. Sci., Univ. Virginia, Charlottesville VA 22903), B.P.
Hayden, S.H. Shugart, Clim. Change, 22(3), 175-190, Nov. 1992.
An individual tree, gap dynamics, forest ecosystem model simulated possible
hurricane disturbances with a doubled CO2 climate, for the Luquillo Experimental
Forest, Puerto Rico. Under different hurricane regimes, different forest types
result, from mature forests with large trees, to an area where trees never
"Climate Change in the Yellowstone National Park: Is the
Drought-Related Risk of Wildfires Increasing?" R.C. Balling Jr. (Off.
Climatol., Arizona State Univ., Tempe AZ 85287), G.A. Meyer, S.G. Wells, Clim.
Change, 22(1), 35-45, Sep. 1992.
Comparison of annual wildfire data to variations in historical climate
conditions shows that summer temperatures in the park are increasing,
January-June precipitation is decreasing, and variations in burn area are
related to climatic variations. GCM predictions of increasing aridity in the
park area under doubled CO2 are in general agreement with trends in the
historical climate records.
"Global Change and the Carbon Balance of Arctic Ecosystems,"
G.R. Shaver (Ecosyst. Ctr., Marine Biol. Lab., Woods Hole MA 02543), W.D.
Billings et al., BioSci., 42(6), 433-441, June 1992.
Discusses carbon-nutrient interactions and other factors relating to the
response of arctic carbon budgets to global warming. The potential for change in
carbon balance is tightly constrained by the effects of environmental change on
other element cycles. Although arctic ecosystems may be an extreme example of
the importance of carbon-nutrient interactions, they may represent the responses
of many other ecosystems to global change.
"Soil-Temperature, Nitrogen Mineralization and Carbon Source-Sink
Relationships in Boreal Forests," G.B. Bonan (NCAR, POB 3000, Boulder CO
80307), K. Van Cleve, Can. J. For. Res., 22(5), 629-639, May
Modeled belowground feedbacks of production and decomposition. In all
forests, decomposition increased with soil warming. This was offset by increased
nitrogen mineralization and tree growth (maintained for 25 years in black
spruce); however, the effect peaked at 10 years in the birch forest, then
"Temperature Effects on Seedling Emergence from Boreal Wetland
Soils--Implications for Climate Change," J.C. Hogenbirk (Dept. Bot., Univ.
Alberta, Edmonton AB T6G 2E9, Can.), R.W. Wein, Aquat. Bot., 42(4),
361-373, May 1992.
Tested the emergence of seedlings taken from soil seed banks in the
Peace-Athabaska delta. Certain introduced weedy species had up to a ten-fold
greater emergence at higher than at lower temperatures. Emergence of some native
weedy species was 1.3 to 3 times greater at lower temperatures, and some
emerged only at the lower temperature.
"Towards a Rule-Based Biome Model," R.P. Neilson (ERL, US EPA,
200 SW 35th St., Corvallis OR 97333), G.A. King, G. Koerper, Landscape Ecol.,
7(1), 27-43, Apr. 1992.
Global biosphere models currently cannot distinguish between two
displacement processes--competitive displacement of northern by southern
biomes, or drought-induced dieback. A rule-based, mechanistic model, in its
early stages of development, indicates that global warming would reduce the
supply of soil moisture over much of the U.S. and increase the potential
evapotranspiration, thus producing widespread drought-induced dieback.
"Responding to Potential Impacts of Climate Change on United States
Coastal Biodiversity," W.V. Reid (World Resour. Inst., 1709 New York Ave.
NW, Washington DC 20006), M.C. Trexler, Coastal Mgmt., 20(2),
117-142, Apr.-June 1992.
Coastal species, occupying a narrow habitat near sea level, will be
sandwiched between land development and rising sea levels. In just five states,
almost 500 rare and imperiled species utilize the coastal fringe below the
10-foot contour. Rising seas will stress or reduce the areas of wetlands,
barrier islands, coral reefs and mangroves. To insure coastal biodiversity,
global warming must be slowed, and coastal policies adopted that allow adaptive
responses to rising seas.
Two items from J. Biogeog., 19(2), Mar. 1992:
"A Global Biome Model Based on Plant Physiology and Dominance, Soil
Properties and Climate," I.C. Prentice (Dept. Plant Ecol., Univ. Lund,
Ostra Vallgatan 14, S-22361 Lund, Swed.), W. Cramer et al., 117-134. Primary
driving variables are mean coldest-month temperature, annual accumulated
temperature over 5° C, and a drought index. The model predicts which plant
types can occur in a given environment; biomes then arise from combinations of
potentially dominant types. Predictions of global vegetation patterns agree well
with mapped distribution of actual ecosystem complexes.
"Biogeographic Patterns, Environmental Correlates and Conservation of
Avifauna in the Northern Territory, Australia," P.J. Whitehead (Conserv.
Comm. N. Territory, POB 496, Palmerston, N. Terr. 0831, Australia), D.M.J.S.
Bowman, S.C. Tidemann, 151-161. A numerical analysis of avian distribution
revealed a close correlation of climate variables with avian species
composition, reflecting the generally unmodified condition of the region's
landscape. This relatively intact biological gradient offers unique
opportunities, including assessment of the impact of climate change on biota.
"Vertebrate Populations as Indicators of Environmental Change in
Southern Africa," I.A.W. MacDonald (Fitzpatrick Inst. African Ornithol.,
Univ. Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, S. Africa), Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Africa,
48, Part 1, 87-122, 1992.
Any long-term climate change that might have occurred over the last 200
years is not reflected by changes in vertebrate populations. Some vertebrate
changes do indicate a tendency for the savanna woody plant community to increase
in density, a trend consistent with the predicted response of these communities
to the observed global increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.
"Implications of Climate Change for Production and Decomposition in
Grasslands and Coniferous Forests," G. Esser (IIASA, A-2361 Laxenburg,
Austria), Ecol. Applic., 2(1), 47-54, Feb. 1992.
Used a geographical information system and a climate-driven carbon-budget
model to investigate climatic limitations of grassland and coniferous forest.
Assumed climate change will strongly affect both, but coniferous forests have
the stronger potential to influence the long-term carbon balance.
"Black Spruce Growth Forms as a Record of a Changing Winter
Environment at Treeline, Québec, Canada," C. Lavoie (Ctr. Études
Nord, Univ. Laval, St. Foy, Qué. G1K 7P4, Can.), S. Payette, Arctic &
Alpine Res., 24(1), 40-49, Feb. 1992.
Winter conditions at treeline in subarctic Quebec over the past 400 years
(including the Little Ice Age) have been reconstructed through comparative
analysis of tree rings and growth forms of black spruce. Increased tree height
and increased base level of abrasion from windblown snow indicate a trend toward
warmer and snowier conditions in the 20th century.
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