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

Ecology and Evolution
By: , and 

Links

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.

Study Area

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.
First page 3471
Last page 3482
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Prairie Pothole Region
Google Analytics Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details