Another reason for concern: regional and global impacts on ecosystems for different levels of climate change

date: 2004-10-01

Abstract

This study assesses the impacts of climate change on species, ecosystems and landscapes over a range of increasing global mean temperatures and the corresponding temperature and precipitation patterns. Results from IMAGE, a so-called integrated assessment model, are used to link different ecological impacts to different levels of climate change. The analysis shows that, although there are large regional differences, even small increases in global mean temperatures will considerably impact many species, ecosystems and landscapes. Between 1°C and 2°C increases in global mean temperatures most species, ecosystems and landscapes will be impacted and adaptive capacity will become limited. With the already ongoing high rate of climate change, the decline in biodiversity will therefore accelerate and simultaneously many ecosystem services will become less abundant.

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