CLIMATE AND LAND USE CHANGE IN PACIFIC MESOAMERICA. CHALLENGES FOR CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Content. The global picture Scenarios for Costa Rica and Central America What are the challenges for conservation? What are the opportunities for rational responses?.
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CLIMATE AND LAND USE CHANGE IN PACIFIC MESOAMERICA
CHALLENGES FOR CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The current concentrations of key greenhouse gases, and their rates of change, are unprecedented.
Temperature change C
• 85% of world’s glaciers are retreating.
• The majority of Greenland and Antarctica ice caps melting twice as fast as expected.
• 0.5 degree C rise in SST= 40% increase hurricane activity.
Changes in the mean (average)
…are both important for temperature and rainfall
June, July, August
Hot and Dry in Costa Rica
February typical hot and dry in Costa Rica
(northern Pacific side)
Sea surface temperatures (SST) of classic developing El Nino
High wind shear in Caribbean reduces formation of strong storms. A characteristic feature of El Nino years.
El Nino Modoki or Central Pacific El Nino
During an El Nino Modoki, the Pacific warm pool is further westward. Wind shear in the Caribbean is reduced and the formation of strong Atlantic storms may increase. Greater ocean productivity in the Costa Rica “dome”?
Will the Sahelian climate become drier or wetter…climate models give contradictory scenarios. But….
Overgrazing by goats is increasing dust storms in Africa.
Trace gases emitted by vegetation may also be important
Isoprene and monoterpense (volatile organic compounds) may make up as much as 6% of atmospheric carbon
Tropical forests emit the largest amounts of isoprene and monoterpenes
Organic aerosols, especially monoterpenes, contribute to cooling of the atmosphere.
They can form raindrop nuclei and increase rainfall. Important in coniferous forests where mostly monoterpenes are emitted.
However….in tropical forests both isoprene and monoterpenes are produced. And more are produced at higher temperatures.
Large air chamber experiments demonstrate that rain nuclei do not form from these aerosols when isoprene and monoterpene occur together.
Increasing amounts of isoprene plus monoterpene may therefore lead to drier and warmer conditions. Will this be true in the real tropical environment?
Forest composition will be important because some species emit mostly isoprene, e.g. Quercus, while others emit mostly monoterpenes, e.g., Eucalyptus, Anacardium.
Do clouds (red) above warm oceans act to cool or to warm the atmosphere?
Results of 55 year study of ship records recording ocean temperature and cloudiness suggest that low level “cooling” clouds are dissipated and there is an increase in high level clouds that allow more sunlight penetration.
Therefore, high level clouds forming over warm oceans may act as a positive feedback mechanism to enhance further warming.
What do the regional climate models tell us?
Regional climate models
Consider such local variables as mountains, proximity to ocean, land use, etc.
Regional Climate Model (CATHALAC 2008)
Future climate of Costa Rica…best guesses
Tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) distribution
Fig trees are pollinated by small wasps that fly short distances. Because fig trees reproduce asynchronously and are abundant there is usually a nearby fig to pollinate.
However, drier and hotter weather may reduce flight distances and affect fruiting patterns
Quetzal and Lauraceae distribution with climate change???Quetzal migrate up and down mountains following the fruiting pattern of several species of Lauraceae.
Resplendent Quetzal. Royal bird of the Maya.
Quetzals, toucans, and many other fruit-eating birds are major dispersers of tree seeds. Their ecosystem service maintains the forest. This Quetzal is holding a fruit of a wild relative of the avocado.
A key question…..
As climate change develops, how will the fruit yield of the lower elevation Lauraceae be affected?
Long distance connections
Shade-grown coffee and boreal spruce-fir forests
Vermivora peregrina “Cazadorcita”
Most important insectivore in shade-grown coffee in Costa Rica and major predator on spruce budworm pest in Canadian boreal forest.
Combretum fruticosum, example of an important nectar source for birds in the coffee zones
Bird species diversity is strongly dependent on available monthly energy from fruit in shade-coffee
Peters, Cooper, Carroll 2009
Impact on two key crops
coffee and rice….
Implications for conservation
Climate change is expected to greatly lower coffee yield in Central America…will Costa Rica have a relative advantage?
La broca del café is a major limiting pest in coffee worldwide. Costa Rica is relatively less affected.
Ojo de gallo disease is common in Costa Rice
Palo Verde Marsh
A template for studying the consequences and adaptive responses to land use and climate change in Pacific Mesoamerica
Tempisque basin rice fields