Global Climate Change

Adaptation of Conservation Priorities

Principal Investigator(s): 

M. Rebecca Shaw

Climate change is altering ecological systems throughout the world. Managing these systems in a way that ignores climate change will likely fail to meet management objectives. The uncertainty in projected climate-change impacts is one of the greatest challenges facing managers attempting to address global change. This working group will develop methods for the production of future climate projections at biologically-relevant scales (30m - 5km). Methods explored will include expert-driven and Baysian probability frameworks. The group will include expertise in taking information from multiple Global Climate Models (GCMs) and multiple climatologists to make informed estimates of local changes in temperature and precipitation.

The Central Valley of California, the headwaters of the Klamath River in Oregon, and the barrier islands and sounds of North Carolina each face a different set of challenges with respect to climate change. Using these three sites, we provide specific examples of how managers are already beginning to address the threat of climate change in the face of varying levels of uncertainty. The methods developed will allow use of information from GCMs and Regional Climate Models (RCMs) where they are in agreement, but use expert opinion where the climate models clearly do not capture local conditions well (e.g., fire weather, fog, snow pack). This method will be relevant to local changes in individual species and viable for individual management areas, such as individual parks and conservation areas.

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