A Land of Flowers on a Latitude of Deserts: Aiding Conservation and Management of Florida's Biodiversity by Using Predictions from "Down-Scaled" AOGCM Climate Scenarios in Combination with Ecological ModelingEntry ID: USGS_SOFIA_la_florida
Abstract: The objectives of this project are to develop the knowledge necessary to make accurate predictions of the response of species and their ecosystems to climate change.
We propose to down-scale predictions from a suite of coupled Atmosphere-Ocean General Circulation Models (AOGCMs) to make regional scale predictions for the southeastern United States. For the time being the hydrologic and biologic ... models are confined to Florida. Climate outputs will then be used as inputs to a suite of species / habitat / ecosystem models that are currently being used in two key areas: the Greater Everglades and Suwannee River-Big Bend as a proof of concept that down-scaled climate results can work in ecological forecast models. We will run three scenarios of Land Use/Land Cover (LULC): past (circa 1900), present, and future (2041-2070). Additional climate model runs will address the contribution of green house gasses to climate variability and change over the Florida peninsula. Model perturbation experiments will be performed to address sources of variability and their contribution to the output regional climate change scenarios. We will develop scenarios that specifically address potential changes in temperature (land and near sea surface) and rainfall fields over the peninsula. We will then provide these scenarios and modeling results to resource management groups (NGOs, state and federal) via workshops in which the scenarios will be used to predict responses of additional selected species, habitats and ecosystems.
Our approach is to develop regional climate predictions and subsequent ecological predictions for two 30-year long time periods as well as for the present. The first 30-year period is the recent past, spanning the period from 1971-2000. This will be used as a control, with copious observations of both climate variables (e.g. rainfall, ET) and species (e.g. densities, ranges) to verify both climate and ecology model outputs and to serve as a baseline to systematically judge the impacts of an altered climate. The second 30-year time period will begin 30 years in the future and extend for the thirty years from 2041-2070. This is a time horizon that is immediately relevant to habitat management.
Purpose: La Florida, the "Land of Flowers" straddles the latitudes that form the northern hemisphere’s desert belt. Florida’s uniqueness lies in the fact it is a long narrow peninsula surrounded on three sides by warm water. How will Florida’s biodiversity respond to a changing climate? Which species and habitats will increase and which will decrease? What role does human induced land use / land cover ... (LULC) change play? Before these questions can be answered, accurate regional climate change scenarios must be developed.
The Florida peninsula is long and narrow (700 x 150 km) and separates the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico from those of the southeast Atlantic Ocean. This juxtaposition results in an incredibly variable, heterogeneous climate, with mean annual rainfall exceeding 150 cm in most parts of the state, but also includes frequent regional droughts. Peninsular Florida is unique in that it spans the temperate/sub-tropical boundary, and will be a key region to monitor as the freeze line shifts due to climate change. A comprehensive evaluation of the uncertainties in the regional climate projections for peninsular Florida is necessary to plan for future risk mitigation strategies and adapt to any changes from anthropogenic influence of climate. Such a comprehensive regional climate change study has not been conducted, and could be used for initiating policies and planning activities for conserving Florida’s biodiversity and resource management (Scott, 2008).
Florida has been highly impacted by land use and land cover change (LULC) since the turn of the century. Given such evidence from observations and previous modeling studies (Marshall, C. H., Jr, et al, 2004; Pielke, R.A. Et al, 1999; and Zhao, M. et al, 2001), there is motivation to understand the impact of LULC on regional climate projections in addition to changes that result of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations.
This project is designed to examine two areas of Florida that are particularly vulnerable to climate change: the Greater Everglades of south Florida and the Suwannee River / Big Bend region on the west coast. These two ecosystems provide an opportunity to compare the effects of climate change on a highly impacted/tropical system and a relatively unimpacted/subtropical system. The Florida Everglades have been heavily impacted by urban development, a large network of drainage canals that resulted in drastic changes to water flow, altered wetland plant communities, and spread of non-native plants and animals. The Suwannee River is the largest river in the eastern US with no dams or water control structures. It is a relatively pristine aquatic ecosystem with comparatively natural hydrology, aquatic plant composition, and relatively few non-native species. The system is also located near the freeze line and thus is likely to be impacted by small changes in temperature.
This project has been expanded to cover the southeastern United States including Florida, Alababma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia
Data Set Citation
Dataset Originator/Creator: Thomas J. Smith, III, Ann Tihansky, Don DeAngelis, Wiley Kitchens, Franklin Percival, Susan Walls, Dan Slone, Ann Foster, Eric Swain, David Sumner, Hal Davis, and Nathaniel Plant
Dataset Title: A Land of Flowers on a Latitude of Deserts: Aiding Conservation and Management of Florida's Biodiversity by using Predictions from "Down-Scaled" AOGCM Climate Scenarios in Combination with Ecological Modeling
Start Date: 1970-01-01Stop Date: 2000-12-31
Access Constraints None
Use Constraints None
Data Set Progress
Phone: 727-803-8747 ext. 3130
Email: tom_j_smith at usgs.gov
U.S. Geological Survey 600 Fourth Street South
City: St. Petersburg
Province or State: FL
Postal Code: 33701
Extended Metadata Properties
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Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2013-09-24
Last DIF Revision Date: 2013-09-26