Climate projections for ecologists

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Harris, Rebecca Mary B., Grose, Michael R., Lee, Greg, Bindoff, Nathaniel L., Porfirio, Luciana L., and Fox-Hughes, Paul
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Climate projections are essential for studying ecological responses to climate
change, and their use is now common in ecology. However, the lack of integration
between ecology and climate science has restricted understanding of the available
climate data and their appropriate use. We provide an overview of climate model
outputs and issues that need to be considered when applying projections of future
climate in ecological studies. We outline the strengths and weaknesses of available
climate projections, the uncertainty associated with future projections at different
spatial and temporal scales, the differences between available downscaling meth-
ods (dynamical, statistical downscaling, and simple scaling of global circulation
model output), and the implications these have for ecological models. We describe
some of the changes in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the new representative concentration
pathways. We highlight some of the challenges in using model projections in eco-
logical studies and suggest how to effectively address them.


Harris, R. M. B., M. R. Grose, G. Lee, N. L. Bindoff, L. L. Porfirio, and P. Fox-Hughes. 2014. Climate projections for ecologists. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 5:621–637.