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Climate Change Atlas

Modelling Climate Change

As the reality of global climate change becomes increasingly apparent to the public and to many policymakers, scientists are being called on to provide information about possible outcomes. Dr. Louis Iverson and Anantha Prasad began modelling and mapping tree species from the eastern United States for their potential response to several scenarios of climate change around 1996. Their first climate change atlas for trees examined 80 tree species and was published in hardcopy and web. Then they joined with Stephen Matthews and Raymond O'Connor (now deceased) to produce a change atlas for 150 bird species. Now, along with Matthew Peters, they have expanded their analysis and loaded to the web 134 tree species and 147 bird species at 20 km resolution, using more accurate modelling tools and newer climate models (GCMs).

Climate Change Tree Atlas

[photo] Stand of shortleaf pineExamine current distributions and modelled future-climate habitats for 134 individual tree species or combined species by geographic areas.

Start using the Climate Change Tree Atlas



Climate Change Bird Atlas

[photo] Golden-cheeked warblerChanging forests mean changing habitat for the wildlife species that depends on them. The current and modelled distribution of 150 bird species is presented in the accompanying Climate Change Bird Atlas.

Start using the Climate Change Bird Atlas


About the Atlases

For this atlas, each species was modeled individually to show current and potential future distributions according to two emissions scenarios (A1fi-high emissions on current trajectory and B1-reasonable energy conservation energy implemented) and three climate models: the Parallel Climate Model (PCM), the Hadley CM3 model (Hadley), and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) model. In addition, they modeled both emission scenarios under an average future climate from all three models.

The three scenarios they used are the latest generation of numerical models that couple atmospheric, ocean, sea-ice, and land-surface components to represent historical climate variability and estimate projected long-term increased in global temperatures due to human-induced emissions. Tree data were obtained from more than 100,000 plots (from the USDA Forest Service's Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Programs) for the eastern U.S. The plots represent data for nearly 3 million trees.

Last Modified: 03/29/2012

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Featured Publication

Provides background and examples of use of the Climate Atlases.

Atlases of tree and bird species habitats for current and future climates. 2009. Prasad, Anantha; Iverson, Louis; S. Matthews, Stephen; Peters, Matt. Ecological Restoration. 27: 260-263.