Bioclimatic envelope model of climate change impacts on blanket peatland distribution in Great Britain

Angela V. Gallego-Sala*, Joanna M. Clark, Joanna I. House, Harriet G. Orr, I. Colin Prentice, Pete Smith, Timothy Farewell, Stephen J. Chapman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Blanket peatlands are rain-fed mires that cover the landscape almost regardless of topog- raphy. The geographical extent of this type of peatland is highly sensitive to climate. We applied a global process-based bioclimatic envelope model, PeatStash, to predict the distribution of British blanket peat- lands. The model captures the present areal extent (Kappa = 0.77) and is highly sensitive to both tem- perature and precipitation changes. When the model is run using the UKCIP02 climate projections for the time periods 2011–2040, 2041–2070 and 2071–2100, the geographical distribution of blanket peat- lands gradually retreats towards the north and the west. In the UKCIP02 high emissions scenario for 2071–2100, the blanket peatland bioclimatic space is ~84% smaller than contemporary conditions (1961–1990); only parts of the west of Scotland remain inside this space. Increasing summer tempera- ture is the main driver of the projected changes in areal extent. Simulations using 7 climate model out- puts resulted in generally similar patterns of declining aereal extent of the bioclimatic space, although differing in degree. The results presented in this study should be viewed as a first step towards under- standing the trends likely to affect the blanket peatland distribution in Great Britain. The eventual fate of existing blanket peatlands left outside their bioclimatic space remains uncertain.
Translated title of the contributionBioclimatic envelope model of climate change impacts on blanket peatland distribution in Great Britain
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151 - 162
Number of pages12
JournalClimate Research
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010

Keywords

  • Bioclimatic envelope
  • Model
  • Blanket peatlands
  • Peat
  • Climate change
  • Great Britain
  • EXTINCTION RISK
  • ORGANIC-CARBON
  • FUTURE
  • UK
  • ENGLAND
  • SOILS
  • WALES
  • CONSERVATION
  • SENSITIVITY
  • LANDSCAPES

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