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Evidence for 20th century climate warming and wetland drying in the North American Prairie Pothole Region

Ecology and Evolution

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.731/

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Abstract

The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America is a globally important resource that provides abundant and valuable ecosystem goods and services in the form of biodiversity, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood attenuation, and water and forage for agriculture. Numerous studies have found these wetlands, which number in the millions, to be highly sensitive to climate variability. Here, we compare wetland conditions between two 30-year periods (1946–1975; 1976–2005) using a hindcast simulation approach to determine if recent climate warming in the region has already resulted in changes in wetland condition. Simulations using the WETLANDSCAPE model show that 20th century climate change may have been sufficient to have a significant impact on wetland cover cycling. Modeled wetlands in the PPR's western Canadian prairies show the most dramatic effects: a recent trend toward shorter hydroperiods and less dynamic vegetation cycles, which already may have reduced the productivity of hundreds of wetland-dependent species.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Evidence for 20th century climate warming and wetland drying in the North American Prairie Pothole Region
Series title:
Ecology and Evolution
DOI:
10.1002/ece3.731/
Volume
3
Issue:
10
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wiley
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
12 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Ecology and Evolution
First page:
3471
Last page:
3482