Spotlight: Climate Change

This page features a select group of annotated bibliographies from Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology and Oxford Bibliographies in Environmental Science addressing key topics related to climate change. 

  • The Earth's Climate

    “Climate science focuses on the behavior of the climate system, which consists of the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the cryosphere, the lithosphere, and the cryosphere. Climate variability results from changes within and among these components as well as changes in their interactions. As such, the climate system exhibits substantive internal variability across scales of time and space.”-Justin Schoof

  • Conservation Biology

    “Conservation biology is defined as a “mission-oriented crisis discipline” studying the nature and status of Earth’s biodiversity, with the aim to understand, protect, and perpetuate biological diversity at all scales and all levels of biological organization.”-L. Lens and H. Eggermont

  • Climate Change and Conflict in Northern Africa

    “Climate change is one of the key challenges the world is facing in the 21st century. Concerns are increasingly raised that climate change might not only undermine the livelihoods of millions of people across the globe but that it might actually act as a multiplier of risks and threats that could result in violent conflict. […] Intermediate variables between climate change and conflict may include altered availability of resources such as land and water, migration, displacement, decline or loss of livelihoods, and food insecurity. To have an overview of these linkages in northern Africa is particularly important as the region is characterized by both strong vulnerability to climate change and conflicts of varying intensities.”- Janpeter Schilling and Lisa Krause

  • Species Response to Climate Change

    “Species are being affected by shifts in both the mean and the variability of climate elements, including temperature, precipitation, and their interaction. Species that are effectively able to respond to climate change do so by distributional or phenological shifts, acclimating, or adapting. Evidence of these responses to recent climate change is rapidly accumulating across taxa and regions, compelling research aimed at predicting future ecological and evolutionary responses.” -Lauren B. Buckley

  • Species Exitinctions

    “The ecology of species extinctions is a topic that cuts through time to the earliest emergence of life on Earth, across space to the planet’s most remote corners, and over taxonomy from the world’s largest animals to teeming invertebrate diversity. Although extinction as a phenomenon has been recognized for centuries (above all, with awareness of dinosaur fossils), most characteristics of extinctions have been realized only since the early 1970s.”-Thomas Brooks

  • Plant Ecological Responses to Extreme Climatic Events

    “With the progression of climate change, there has been increasing recognition of climate extremes—such as droughts, deluges, and heat waves—as important drivers of contemporary and future ecosystem dynamics, leading to increases in manipulative experimental approaches.”-Andrew J. Felton and Melinda D. Smith

  • Land Use, Land Cover and Land Management Change: Definitions, Scenarios, and Role in the Climate System

    “Using land resources in fulfilment of their needs, humans have either altered land surface properties (land cover changes) or modified characteristics of the existing land cover (land management changes). Nowadays, over 70 percent of the world’s land surface is under direct human influence. […] Human land-use activities have also resulted in large changes to the biogeochemical and biogeophysical properties of the Earth surface, with profound implications for the climate system”-Wim Thiery, E.L. Davin, and S.I. Seneviratne

  • Sea Level Rise

    “Sea level is a very sensitive index of climate change and variability. For example, as the ocean warms in response to global warming, seawaters expand and thus sea level rises. When mountain glaciers melt in response to increasing air temperatures, sea level rises because of fresh water mass input to the oceans. Similarly, ice mass loss from the ice sheets causes sea level rise. A corresponding increase of fresh water into the oceans changes water salinity; hence, seawater density as well as ocean circulation affects sea level and its spatial variability. ”-Anny Cazenave

  • Water Resources and Climate Change

    “Natural and human-caused climate changes are strongly linked to the hydrologic cycle and freshwater resources. The hydrological cycle is a core part of climate dynamics involving all three common forms of water—ice, liquid, vapor—and the movement of water around the world. Changes in climate affect all aspects of the hydrologic cycle itself through alterations in temperature, precipitation patterns, storm frequency and intensity, snow and ice dynamics, the stocks and flows of water on land, and connections between sea levels and coastal wetlands and ecosystems. In addition, many of the social, economic, and political impacts of climate change are expected to be felt through changes in natural water resources and developed water systems and infrastructure. ”- Peter Gleick

  • Wildfire as a Catalyst for Hydrologic and Geomorphic Change

    “Wildfire has been a constant presence on the Earth since at least the Silurian period, and is a landscape-scale catalyst that results in a step-change perturbation for hydrologic systems, which ripples across burned terrain, shaping the geomorphic legacy of watersheds. Specifically, wildfire alters two key landscape properties: (1) overland flow, and (2) soil erodibility.”-Francis K. Rengers

  • North American Biomes

    “Connections with biome types on other continents on Earth can lead to invasion by exotic species including pests and pathogens, large climatic events such as hurricanes and drought, and changes in air quality through dust storms and volcanic eruptions. These tele-connections often occur infrequently, yet with large and surprising effects on ecosystem properties and dynamics. Directional changes in climate are expected to influence biome distributions and composition in novel ways. Increasing awareness of these broad-scale dynamics that connect biomes globally is leading to new avenues of research that intersect ecology with other disciplines.”-Debra P.C. Peters, Stacey L.P. Scroggs, and Jin Yao

Featured image credit: .Photo by Andy Brunner on Unsplash

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