Spatial and temporal variation in climate change: A bird’s eye view

Climatic Change
By: , and 



Recent changes in global climate have dramatically altered worldwide temperatures and the corresponding timing of seasonal climate conditions. Recognizing the degree to which species respond to changing climates is therefore an area of increasing conservation concern as species that are unable to respond face increased risk of extinction. Here we examine spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the rate of climate change across western North America and discuss the potential for conditions to arise that may limit the ability of western migratory birds to adapt to changing climates. Based on 52 years of climate data, we show that changes in temperature and precipitation differ significantly between spring migration habitats in the desert southwest and breeding habitats throughout western North America. Such differences may ultimately increase costs to individual birds and thereby threaten the long-term population viability of many species.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Spatial and temporal variation in climate change: A bird’s eye view
Series title Climatic Change
DOI 10.1007/s10584-009-9644-9
Volume 97
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 305
Last page 311
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