Diaz H. F., R. Villalba, G. Greenwood and R. S. Bradley (August 2006): The impact of climate change in the American Cordillera. EOS Trans. AGU, 87 (32), 315-316. doi:10.1029/2006EO320007

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Abstract

The mountain regions comprising the western American Cordillera (from Alaska to southern Argentina and Chile) are especially vulnerable to changes in climate and to the ensuing changes in snowpack, streamflow, ecosystem functioning, and a host of other impacts on human and nonhuman systems. The effect of elevation on temperature and precipitation induces a compression of the typical meridional climatic gradients, causing changes in life zones—geographic regions or areas defined by their characteristic life forms, e.g., alpine, sub-alpine, coniferous forests, and so forth—over relatively short distances. In mountain regions, relatively small perturbations in global processes can operate through the system to produce large local changes. Because mountains provide life-sustaining water for people living there as well as in adjacent lowland regions, climatic and other environmental changes in the American Cordillera will have a large impact on the future well-being of an area far larger than the mountain region itself.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: PSD Publications
Divisions: Physical Sciences Division
DOI: 10.1029/2006EO320007
URI: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/pubs/id/eprint/118