Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Public lecture/debate/seminar/presentation › Industry
Spatial analysis of climate metrics to locate potential climate change refuges
With the planet projected to warm by 1.1 – 4.8°C this century, anthropogenic climate change is widely recognised as accelerating habitat loss. Active management and preservation of climate change refuges is a potential adaptation strategy, whereby locations more likely to maintain habitable conditions are located and protected. Recent research to identify climate refuge habitats has involved the quantification and mapping of favourable elements of climate, specifically, temperature extremes, climate stability, climatic isolation and climate heterogeneity. In this study, we investigated the spatial characteristics of these climate refuge components to investigate how best to aggregate them into a single climate refuge index map. We produced raster maps describing climate refuge components from spatially interpolated climate data, a digital terrain model and land use information for a case study region. An examination of the component metrics was then performed by comparing their spatial pattern characteristics. Large variations in the frequency distributions of the metrics, resulted in many refuge map cells being dominated by one of the four metrics. The frequency of spatial variation also varied significantly between the refuge metric components. This study’s key implication is that frequency distributions and spatial autocorrelation of climate refuge metric components should be considered when aggregating them into single climate refuge index maps. There is also a need to consider each metric’s importance in the spatial scale context of the ecosystem for which refuges are sought. The outcomes of this study have potential significance for similar studies that involve raster data layers being combined to produce index maps.