Beyond climate change attribution in conservation and ecological research

Parmesan, Camille, Burrows, Michael T., Duarte, Carlos M., Poloczanska, Elvira S., Richardson, Anthony J., Schoeman, David S. and Singer, Michael C. (2013) Beyond climate change attribution in conservation and ecological research. Ecology Letters, 16 Supp. s1: 58-71. doi:10.1111/ele.12098

Author Parmesan, Camille
Burrows, Michael T.
Duarte, Carlos M.
Poloczanska, Elvira S.
Richardson, Anthony J.
Schoeman, David S.
Singer, Michael C.
Title Beyond climate change attribution in conservation and ecological research
Journal name Ecology Letters   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1461-023X
Publication date 2013-05-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/ele.12098
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 16
Issue Supp. s1
Start page 58
End page 71
Total pages 14
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
There is increasing pressure from policymakers for ecologists to generate more detailed ‘attribution’ analyses aimed at quantitatively estimating relative contributions of different driving forces, including anthropogenic climate change (ACC), to observed biological changes. Here, we argue that this approach is not productive for ecological studies. Global meta-analyses of diverse species, regions and ecosystems have already given us ‘very high confidence’ [sensu Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)] that ACC has impacted wild species in a general sense. Further, for well-studied species or systems, synthesis of experiments and models with long-term observations has given us similarly high confidence that they have been impacted by regional climate change (regardless of its cause). However, the role of greenhouse gases in driving these impacts has not been estimated quantitatively. Should this be an ecological research priority? We argue that development of quantitative ecological models for this purpose faces several impediments, particularly the existence of strong, non-additive interactions among different external factors. However, even with current understanding of impacts of global warming, there are myriad climate change adaptation options already developed in the literature that could be, and in fact are being, implemented now.
Keyword Anthropogenic climate change
Biological projections
Climate change
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID 1049208
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mathematics and Physics
Official 2014 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 80 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 83 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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