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Phenological responsiveness to climate differs among four species of Quercus in North America

1 , 2 , 3 , 3

Journal of Ecology

Wiley

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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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        Warming and earlier spring increase western U.S. forest wildfire activity.

        Western United States forest wildfire activity is widely thought to have increased in recent decades, yet neither the extent of recent changes nor the degree to which climate may be driving regional changes in wildfire has been systematically documented. Much of the public and scientific discussion of changes in western United States wildfire has focused instead on the effects of 19th- and 20th-century land-use history. We compiled a comprehensive database of large wildfires in western United States forests since 1970 and compared it with hydroclimatic and land-surface data. Here, we show that large wildfire activity increased suddenly and markedly in the mid-1980s, with higher large-wildfire frequency, longer wildfire durations, and longer wildfire seasons. The greatest increases occurred in mid-elevation, Northern Rockies forests, where land-use histories have relatively little effect on fire risks and are strongly associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snowmelt.
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          Rapid changes in flowering time in British plants.

          The average first flowering date of 385 British plant species has advanced by 4.5 days during the past decade compared with the previous four decades: 16% of species flowered significantly earlier in the 1990s than previously, with an average advancement of 15 days in a decade. Ten species (3%) flowered significantly later in the 1990s than previously. These data reveal the strongest biological signal yet of climatic change. Flowering is especially sensitive to the temperature in the previous month, and spring-flowering species are most responsive. However, large interspecific differences in this response will affect both the structure of plant communities and gene flow between species as climate warms. Annuals are more likely to flower early than congeneric perennials, and insect-pollinated species more than wind-pollinated ones.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]National Coordinating Office; USA National Phenology Network; Tucson AZ 85721 USA
            [2 ]School of Natural Resources and the Environment; University of Arizona; Tucson AZ 85721 USA
            [3 ]Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology; University of California, Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara CA 93106 USA
            Journal
            Journal of Ecology
            J Ecol
            Wiley
            00220477
            November 2017
            November 2017
            May 02 2017
            : 105
            : 6
            : 1610-1622
            10.1111/1365-2745.12774
            (Editor)
            © 2017

            http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#am

            http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor

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