Impacts of biodiversity of climate change & geo-engineering
The Earth’s climate is rapidly entering a state without recent historical precedent with potentially major consequences for human society and ecosystems. The capacity for species and ecosystems to adapt will depend critically on the timeframe over which novel climates are set to emerge. First, I will present results on the timing, abruptness and magnitude of the switch to novel climates for biological communities globally. Second, given slow progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, solar geoengineering is receiving increased policy attention as a potential tool to offset climate warming. While climate responses to geoengineering have been studied in detail, the potential biodiversity consequences are largely unknown. To avoid extinction, species must either adapt or move to track shifting climates. I will present results assessing the effects of the rapid implementation, continuation and sudden termination of geoengineering on climate velocities—the speeds and directions that species would need to move to track changes in climate. A sudden termination of geoengineering increases both ocean and land temperature velocities to unprecedented speeds. Furthermore, as climate velocities more than double in speed, rapid climate fragmentation occurs in biomes such as temperate grasslands and forests where temperature and precipitation velocity vectors diverge spatially by >90°. Rapid geoengineering termination would significantly increase the threats to biodiversity from climate change.