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Local temperatures inferred from plant communities suggest strong spatial buffering of climate warming across Northern Europe
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2013 (English)In: Global Change Biology, ISSN 1354-1013, E-ISSN 1365-2486, Vol. 19, no 5, 1470-1481 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent studies from mountainous areas of small spatial extent (<2500km2) suggest that fine-grained thermal variability over tens or hundreds of metres exceeds much of the climate warming expected for the coming decades. Such variability in temperature provides buffering to mitigate climate-change impacts. Is this local spatial buffering restricted to topographically complex terrains? To answer this, we here study fine-grained thermal variability across a 2500-km wide latitudinal gradient in Northern Europe encompassing a large array of topographic complexities. We first combined plant community data, Ellenberg temperature indicator values, locally measured temperatures (LmT) and globally interpolated temperatures (GiT) in a modelling framework to infer biologically relevant temperature conditions from plant assemblages within <1000-m2 units (community-inferred temperatures: CiT). We then assessed: (1) CiT range (thermal variability) within 1-km2 units; (2) the relationship between CiT range and topographically and geographically derived predictors at 1-km resolution; and (3) whether spatial turnover in CiT is greater than spatial turnover in GiT within 100-km2 units. Ellenberg temperature indicator values in combination with plant assemblages explained 4672% of variation in LmT and 9296% of variation in GiT during the growing season (June, July, August). Growing-season CiT range within 1-km2 units peaked at 6065 degrees N and increased with terrain roughness, averaging 1.97 degrees C (SD=0.84 degrees C) and 2.68 degrees C (SD=1.26 degrees C) within the flattest and roughest units respectively. Complex interactions between topography-related variables and latitude explained 35% of variation in growing-season CiT range when accounting for sampling effort and residual spatial autocorrelation. Spatial turnover in growing-season CiT within 100-km2 units was, on average, 1.8 times greater (0.32 degrees Ckm1) than spatial turnover in growing-season GiT (0.18 degrees Ckm1). We conclude that thermal variability within 1-km2 units strongly increases local spatial buffering of future climate warming across Northern Europe, even in the flattest terrains.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2013. Vol. 19, no 5, 1470-1481 p.
Keyword [en]
climate change, climatic heterogeneity, community-inferred temperature, Ellenberg indicator value, plant community, spatial heterogeneity, spatial scale, temperature, topoclimate, topography
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-70335DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12129ISI: 000317284700012OAI: diva2:621347
Available from: 2013-05-14 Created: 2013-05-14 Last updated: 2016-06-21Bibliographically approved

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Dynesius, MatsMilbau, Ann
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Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
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