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Climatic Change

, Volume 106, Issue 2, pp 141–177 | Cite as

Increasing impacts of climate change upon ecosystems with increasing global mean temperature rise

  • Rachel Warren
  • Jeff Price
  • Andreas Fischlin
  • Santiago de la Nava Santos
  • Guy Midgley
Article

Abstract

In a meta-analysis we integrate peer-reviewed studies that provide quantified estimates of future projected ecosystem changes related to quantified projected local or global climate changes. In an advance on previous analyses, we reference all studies to a common pre-industrial base-line for temperature, employing up-scaling techniques where necessary, detailing how impacts have been projected on every continent, in the oceans, and for the globe, for a wide range of ecosystem types and taxa. Dramatic and substantive projected increases of climate change impacts upon ecosystems are revealed with increasing annual global mean temperature rise above the pre-industrial mean (ΔTg). Substantial negative impacts are commonly projected as ΔTg reaches and exceeds 2°C, especially in biodiversity hotspots. Compliance with the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Article 2) requires that greenhouse gas concentrations be stabilized within a time frame “sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change”. Unless ΔTg is constrained to below 2°C at most, results here imply that it will be difficult to achieve compliance. This underscores the need to limit greenhouse gas emissions by accelerating mitigation efforts and by protecting existing ecosystems from greenhouse-gas producing land use change processes such as deforestation.

Keywords

Climate Change General Circulation Model Climate Change Impact Upscaling Ocean Acidification 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Warren
    • 1
  • Jeff Price
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andreas Fischlin
    • 4
  • Santiago de la Nava Santos
    • 1
  • Guy Midgley
    • 5
  1. 1.Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  2. 2.WorldWildlife Fund U.S.WashingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Geological and Environmental SciencesCalifornia State UniversityChicoUSA
  4. 4.Systems Ecology, Institute of Integrative Biology: Ecology, Evolution, and Disease, Department of Environmental SciencesETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  5. 5.Global Change and Biodiversity ProgramSouth African National Biodiversity InstituteClaremontSouth Africa

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