GLOBE-Net, August 27, 2013 – The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute has completed a report for the CCEMC that examines the impact climate change is likely to have on Alberta’s ecosystems.
The adaptation report, Alberta’s Natural Subregions under a Changing Climate: Past, Present and Future, was prepared by Dr. Rick Schneider with collaborators from the University of Alberta. It includes detailed maps and outlines how a changing climate could affect ecology and biodiversity in Alberta over time.
“This study offers a wealth of information and is a vital step in efforts to address the impact environmental changes will have on Alberta’s plants and wildlife,” said CCEMC Chair Eric Newell. “It offers a solid basis for future adaptation planning in Alberta.”
The research, part of the Biodiversity Management and Climate Change Adaptation project, examines Alberta’s Natural Regions and Subregions under the most current climate models and forecasts ecological impacts as the average temperature in the province potentially increases between 2°C and 4°C.
“The report is unique in level of detail it offers,” said Dr. Schneider. “We used spatially detailed climate projections to determine the stages of change that are likely to occur as Alberta’s ecosystems transition over time.”
Projections indicate that the province will generally see an earlier spring and an increase in growing degree days. While there will likely be increased precipitation, warmer temperatures would also increase the rate of evaporation, resulting in a climate that will be drier overall.
Key regions of the province will see different plants, tree species, animals and bird life as the province’s climate continues to change over time. Based on Dr. Schneider’s projections, the Foothills will see an increase in ecological diversity, while the average water level in wetlands will decline. In Alberta’s boreal forest pine and spruce may decline significantly as the region transitions to aspen forest and grassland in the next century.
The study is part of three adaptation projects the CCEMC is funding. The CCEMC consulted with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development to identify adaptation priorities and then invited organizations, leading related efforts, to come forward with proposals.
All three CCEMC adaptation projects are underway and reports are posted on ccemc.ca as they are finalized. More details on the ABMI project and related reports are available online through abmi.ca and at ccemc.ca.
The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) is an arm’s-length, not-for-profit scientific organization. The ABMI’s core business is to monitor and report on the status and trends of Alberta’s species, native habitat, and human footprint. ABMI provides relevant, timely, and credible scientific information to support natural resource and land use decision-making in Alberta. More on ABMI is available at abmi.ca
The CCEMC is a not-for-profit corporation that operates independently of government. It provides ongoing, dedicated funds to support the discovery, development and deployment of innovative clean technology and to help Alberta adapt to climate change.
Funding for the CCEMC is collected from industry. Alberta’s large industrial emitters are required to achieve specified reductions in GHG emissions. Paying into the Climate Change and Emissions Management Fund is one compliance option for facilities that are unable to meet their compliance target. More on CCEMC is available on ccemc.ca.