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Projected climate change impacts on upland heaths in Ireland

Coll, J and Bourke, DO and Hodd, RL and Sheehy Skeffington, M and Gormally, M and Sweeney, J (2016) Projected climate change impacts on upland heaths in Ireland. CLIMATE RESEARCH, 69 (2). pp. 177-191. ISSN 0936-577X

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Abstract

Heathland habitats in Ireland occur primarily in an oceanic setting which is strongly influenced by changes in the climate. As a consequence of the oceanic environment, Ireland has a high proportion of the northern Atlantic wet and alpine and boreal heaths of high conservation value within Europe. Future climate change is widely expected to place additional pressure on these systems. Seven bioclimatic envelope modelling techniques implemented in the BIOMOD modelling framework were used to model Wet and Alpine and Boreal heath distributions in Ireland. The 1961 to 1990 baseline models closely matched the observed distribution, and emphasise the strong dependency on climate. Mean winter precipitation, mean winter temperature and elevation were found to be important model components. The fitted models discrimination ability was assessed using the area under the curve (range 0.874 to 0.929, Wet heath; 0.858 to 0.936, Alpine and Boreal heath) of a receiver operating characteristic plot; the true skill statistic (range 0.648 to 0.713, Wet heath; 0.666 to 0.737, Alpine and Boreal heath); and Cohen’s kappa (range 0.652 to 0.714, Wet heath; 0.641 to 0.738, Alpine and Boreal heath). A BIOMOD ensemble prediction from all the models was used to project changes based on a climate change scenario for 2031 to 2060 dynamically downscaled from the Hadley Centre HadCM3-Q16 global climate model. The climate change projections for the individual models change markedly from the consistent baseline predictions. Projected climate space losses (gains) from the BIOMOD consensus model are -40.84% (limited expansion) and -10.38% (full expansion) for Wet heath; and -18.31% (limited expansion) and +28.17% (full expansion) for Alpine and Boreal heath. Although the consensus models project gains in climate space for both habitats in other parts of the country, new habitat formation in these areas is unlikely as current (and hence near future) land use and other conditions are not likely to favour expansion.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0401 Atmospheric Sciences
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Inter Research
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2016 10:46
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2017 13:42
DOI or Identification number: 10.3354/cr01408
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4208

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