Bioclimatic envelope model of climate change impacts on blanket peatland distribution in Great Britain
Gallego-Sala, Angela V.
Orr, Harriet G.
Prentice, I. Colin
Open Access under the Creative Commons by Attribution Licence (CC-BY)
Blanket peatlands are rain-fed mires that cover the landscape almost regardless of topography. 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 peatlands. The model captures the present areal extent (Kappa = 0.77) and is highly sensitive to both temperature 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 peatlands 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 temperature is the main driver of the projected changes in areal extent. Simulations using 7 climate model outputs 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 understanding 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. © Inter-Research 2010 .
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Copyright © 2010 Inter-Research.
Publisher's version of record available via: doi: 10.3354/cr00911
Vol. 45, pp. 151 - 162