Research on Forest Climate Change: Potential Effects of Global Warming on Forests and Plant Climate Relationships in Western North America and Mexico
Climate surfaces that can provide point estimates of climate measures are needed for studying forest plant-climate relationships (e.g. Rehfeldt et al. 2006) and for making predictions about how forests, plant communities and species distributions may change on natural landscapes. To meet those needs, Rehfeldt (2006) developed monthly climatic surfaces using Hutchinson's thin-plate splines from which were derived variables of demonstrated importance in biology. Analyses of data have shown that climate estimates produced using these methods are closely related to plant responses and should have a variety of uses in spatial biological research. This web page provides access to these climate data and surfaces, and to some of the predictions we have made using these data. For climate data, we build contemporary climate and future climate surfaces. The future climate surfaces are based on the same data used to build the contemporay surfaces after they are updated using information from General Circulation Models (GCM's). Plant-climate relationships are based on contemporary observations of species presence and absence and contemporary climate. Predictions using these relationships can be mapped for contemporary forests and future forest climates.