Climate change and Arctic ecosystems: 2. Modeling, paleodata-model comparisons, and future projections


Kaplan, J.O., Bigelow, N.H., Prentice, I.C., Harrison, S.P., Bartlein, P.J., Christensen, T.R., Cramer, W., Matveyeva, N.V., McGuire, A.D., Murray, D.F., Razzhivin, V.Y., Smith, B., Walker, D.A., Anderson, P.M., Andreev, A.A., Brubaker, L.B., Edwards, M.E. and Lozhkin, A.V. (2003) Climate change and Arctic ecosystems: 2. Modeling, paleodata-model comparisons, and future projections. Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, ( D19), 8171. (doi:10.1029/2002JD002559).

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Description/Abstract

Large variations in the composition, structure, and function of Arctic ecosystems are
determined by climatic gradients, especially of growing-season warmth, soil moisture, and
snow cover. A unified circumpolar classification recognizing five types of tundra was
developed. The geographic distributions of vegetation types north of 55N, including
the position of the forest limit and the distributions of the tundra types, could be predicted
from climatology using a small set of plant functional types embedded in the
biogeochemistry-biogeography model BIOME4. Several palaeoclimate simulations for
the last glacial maximum (LGM) and mid-Holocene were used to explore the possibility of
simulating past vegetation patterns, which are independently known based on pollen
data. The broad outlines of observed changes in vegetation were captured. LGM
simulations showed the major reduction of forest, the great extension of graminoid and
forb tundra, and the restriction of low- and high-shrub tundra (although not all models
produced sufficiently dry conditions to mimic the full observed change). Mid-Holocene
simulations reproduced the contrast between northward forest extension in western
and central Siberia and stability of the forest limit in Beringia. Projection of the effect of a
continued exponential increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, based on a transient
ocean-atmosphere simulation including sulfate aerosol effects, suggests a potential for
larger changes in Arctic ecosystems during the 21st century than have occurred
between mid-Holocene and present. Simulated physiological effects of the CO2 increase
(to >700 ppm) at high latitudes were slight compared with the effects of the change
in climate.

Item Type: Article
ISSNs: 0148-0227 (print)
Keywords: tundra, biome, vegetation modeling, biogeography, ice age, mammoths
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Geography > Environmental Processes and Change
ePrint ID: 55296
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:38
Contact Email Address: M.E.Edwards@soton.ac.uk
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/55296

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