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      Plant phenology and climate change : Progress in methodological approaches and application

      , 1 , 2 , 1

      Progress in Physical Geography

      SAGE Publications

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          A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems.

          Causal attribution of recent biological trends to climate change is complicated because non-climatic influences dominate local, short-term biological changes. Any underlying signal from climate change is likely to be revealed by analyses that seek systematic trends across diverse species and geographic regions; however, debates within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reveal several definitions of a 'systematic trend'. Here, we explore these differences, apply diverse analyses to more than 1,700 species, and show that recent biological trends match climate change predictions. Global meta-analyses documented significant range shifts averaging 6.1 km per decade towards the poles (or metres per decade upward), and significant mean advancement of spring events by 2.3 days per decade. We define a diagnostic fingerprint of temporal and spatial 'sign-switching' responses uniquely predicted by twentieth century climate trends. Among appropriate long-term/large-scale/multi-species data sets, this diagnostic fingerprint was found for 279 species. This suite of analyses generates 'very high confidence' (as laid down by the IPCC) that climate change is already affecting living systems.
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            Ecological responses to recent climate change.

            There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change, from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The responses of both flora and fauna span an array of ecosystems and organizational hierarchies, from the species to the community levels. Despite continued uncertainty as to community and ecosystem trajectories under global change, our review exposes a coherent pattern of ecological change across systems. Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological responses to recent climate change are already clearly visible.
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              European phenological response to climate change matches the warming pattern

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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
                [2 ]South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON), South Africa
                Journal
                Progress in Physical Geography
                Progress in Physical Geography
                SAGE Publications
                0309-1333
                1477-0296
                May 06 2015
                April 26 2015
                August 2015
                : 39
                : 4
                : 460-482
                10.1177/0309133315578940
                © 2015

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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