Climate Change Velocity Data Used for Conservation Lands Purchases
Professor Solomon Dobrowski published research in 2013 describing the climate change velocity of the US - how quickly and in what direction plants and animals would need to move in order to keep pace with changes in climate that occurred during the 20th century. Dobrowski and coauthors counter previous expectations that plants and animals would simply need to move north to keep pace with ongoing climate change. Instead their results suggest that the rates and directions of movement vary between climate variables such as temperature and water availability, by region, and through time. For example, trees might need to shift north to find similar temperatures but in many instances would need to move a different direction to find similar water availability. Read the 2013 paper, published in Global Change Biology, online at http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_other/rmrs_2012_dobrowski_s001.pdf? (pdf file) and view the climatic water balance data model Dobrowkski and co-authors developed http://adaptwest.databasin.org/pages/adaptwest-waterbalance.
Recently, these measures of climate change velocity have been used by The Nature Conservancy to assess the "climate resilience" of prospective conservation purchases. A new online portal displays return on investment metrics on properties TNC is considering acquiring. For each prospective property, the climate velocity data shows, in kilometers per year, the rate a species would have to move under recent climate change, to maintain its current climatic conditions. TNC’s online product is still in beta form and can be viewed at http://nascience.us/roi/public/