New Map Reveals Which Parts of the World are More Sensitive to Climate Change

First Posted: Feb 18, 2016 05:06 PM EST

Different areas of the world are more and less sensitive to climate change. Now, scientists have used satellites to map which areas are most sensitive to climate variability on a global scale.

"Based on the satellite data gathered, we can identify areas that, over the past 14 years, have shown high sensitivity to climate variability," said Alistair Seddon, one of the researchers, in a news release.

In this latest study, the researchers identified climate drivers of vegetation productivity on monthly timescales. This, in particular, revealed the climate ecosystem in ecosystems around the world. Called the Vegetation Sensitivity Index (SV), the metric allows a more quantifiable response to climate change challenges and how sensitive different ecosystems are to short-term climate anomalies.

"We have found ecologically sensitive regions with amplified responses to climate variability in the Arctic tundra, parts of the boreal forest belt, the tropical rainforest, alpine regions worldwide, steppe and prairie regions of central Asia and North and South America, forests in South America, and eastern areas of Australia," said Seddon.

The findings could be huge for assessing the responses of different ecosystems to climate changes. More specifically, it could allow researchers to continue to monitor climate change in different areas of the world.

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

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