Spatial Impacts of Climate Change

Standards Information Network (Verlag)
  • 1. Auflage
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  • erschienen am 29. März 2021
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  • 336 Seiten
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978-1-119-81790-1 (ISBN)
Climate change has been a central concern over recent years, with visible and highly publicized consequences such as melting Arctic ice and mountain glaciers, rising sea levels, and the submersion of low-lying coastal areas during mid-latitude and tropical cyclones. This book presents a review of the spatial impacts of contemporary climate change, with a focus on a systematic, multi-scalar approach. Beyond the facts rises in temperature, changes in the spatial distribution of precipitation, melting of the marine and terrestrial cryosphere, changes in hydrological regimes at high and medium latitudes, etc. it also analyzes the geopolitical consequences in the Arctic and Central Asia, changes to Mediterranean culture and to viticulture on a global scale, as well as impacts on the distribution of life, for example, in the Amazon rainforest, in large biomes on a global scale, and for birds.
1. Auflage
  • Englisch
  • USA
John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Für Beruf und Forschung
  • 10,39 MB
978-1-119-81790-1 (9781119817901)

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Denis Mercier is Professor of Geography at Sorbonne University and a member of the Laboratory of Physical Geography: Quaternary and Current Environments. His research focuses on the impacts of climate change on the polar environment and the risks of flooding and sea submergence.
Introduction xiii

Chapter 1. Climate Change at Different Temporal and Spatial Scales 1

1.1. Contemporary global climate change 1

1.2. Contemporary Arctic-wide climate change 6

1.3. Future global climate change 9

1.4. Future Arctic-wide climate change 11

1.5. The causes of climate change 13

1.5.1. Solar radiation 13

1.5.2. Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions 14

1.5.3. Volcanism 16

1.5.4. Albedo and the radiation balance 17

1.6. Conclusion 19

1.7. References 19

Chapter 2. Climate Change and the Melting Cryosphere 21

2.1. Introduction 21

2.2. The sensitivity of the cryosphere to climate change 22

2.3. Melting of the marine cryosphere 24

2.3.1. The melting of the Arctic sea ice 24

2.3.2. Antarctic sea ice 27

2.4. Melting of the Earth's cryosphere 28

2.4.1. Melting ice sheets 28

2.4.2. The melting of mountain glaciers 32

2.4.3. Decreasing permafrost 35

2.4.4. Melting snow 35

2.5. Consequences of the melting cryosphere 36

2.5.1. On a global scale: rising sea levels 36

2.5.2. Regionally: paraglacial risks 38

2.6. Conclusion 40

2.7. References 40

Chapter 3. Between Warming and Globalization: Rethinking the Arctic at the Heart of a Stakes System 43

3.1. Spatial impacts of climate change in the Arctic 43

3.1.1. Clarifying the terms of the subject in their polar contexts 44

3.2. The manufacture of polar issues, between global warming and globalization 52

3.2.1. Warming and space production, a decade of confusion off the Arctic coasts 53

3.2.2. Three interacting contexts 57

3.3. The production of polar doctrines: rhetoric and frameworks for action 59

3.3.1. Factors of convergence and consensus 60

3.3.2. Differentiation factors 61

3.3.3. The strategic dimensions of Arctic policies, the complex issue of polar militarization 62

3.4. Geography of a new system of stakeholder relations in the Arctic 65

3.5. Conclusion: polar metamorphisms 67

3.6. References 68

Chapter 4. Coastlines with Increased Vulnerability to Sea-level Rise 71

4.1. Introduction 71

4.2. Coastlines under the influence of sea-level rise 72

4.2.1. The pressures of climate change on coastlines 72

4.2.2. Consequences of sea-level rise on coastlines 76

4.3. Increasingly attractive coastlines for societies 78

4.3.1. The coastalization process 78

4.3.2. A densification of activities on the coastlines 79

4.3.3. A closer approach to the sea 81

4.4. Towards the necessary adaptation of coastal areas 83

4.4.1. The coastline, an area at risk 83

4.4.2. Possible coping strategies 84

4.4.3. The example of the Netherlands 86

4.5. Which coastline for tomorrow? 87

4.6. References 89

Chapter 5. The Consequences of Climate Change on the Paraglacial Sedimentary Cascade 93
Denis MERCIER and Etienne COSSART

5.1. The paraglacial sedimentary cascade: elements of definition 93

5.1.1. General principles of the concept of a paraglacial sedimentary cascade 93

5.1.2. Paraglacial spatial boundaries 98

5.1.3. The temporal limits of the paraglacial sedimentary cascade 99

5.2. Sediment inputs to the paraglacial sedimentary cascade 102

5.2.1. Landslides 102

5.2.2. Remobilization of slope deposits 105

5.3. Sediment fluxes within the paraglacial sedimentary cascade 108

5.3.1. The evolution of ice margins on a decadal scale 108

5.3.2. Paraglacial fluvial metamorphoses on a secular scale 109

5.4. Sedimentary stocks or the end of the paraglacial sedimentary cascade 110

5.4.1. Temporary storage areas on a secular scale 110

5.4.2. Interglacial-scale temporary storage areas 112

5.4.3. Final storage areas 115

5.5. Conclusion 115

5.6. References 116

Chapter 6. Spatial Impacts of Climate Change on Periglacial Environments 119
Denis MERCIER and Etienne COSSART

6.1. Introduction 119

6.1.1. Definition of periglacial 120

6.1.2. Present and past spatial extent of periglacial environments 121

6.2. Melting permafrost and paraperiglacial geomorphological crises 125

6.2.1. Definition of paraperiglacial 125

6.2.2. Paraperiglacial processes and forms 127

6.3. Periglacial coastal environments in high latitudes in the face of climate change 129

6.4. Periglacial environments at high altitudes in the face of climate change 131

6.4.1. Gravity dynamics and permafrost wall degradation 132

6.4.2. Gravity dynamics and permafrost degradation in loose formations 134

6.4.3. The impact of global warming on high-mountain practices 136

6.5. Conclusion 137

6.6. References 138

Chapter 7. The Impacts of Climate Change on the Hydrological Dynamics of High Latitude Periglacial Environments 143
Emmanuele GAUTIER

7.1. Periglacial regions strongly affected by recent climate change 143

7.1.1. Much warmer winters 143

7.1.2. Permafrost and its sensitivity to air temperatures 144

7.2. The influence of permafrost on hydrological functioning 146

7.2.1. Numerous wetlands in periglacial environments 147

7.2.2. The knock-on effects of climate change on slope hydrology 148

7.3. The response of Arctic fluvial hydrosystems to ongoing climate change 150

7.3.1. River ice 153

7.3.2. Increasing winter low water levels 155

7.3.3. Spring flooding and breakup 157

7.3.4. The rapid evolution of water discharge 159

7.4. Conclusion 163

7.5. References 163

Chapter 8. The Impacts of Climate Change on Watercourses in Temperate Environments 167

8.1. What is at stake? 167

8.1.1. Spatial dynamics of climate zoning and river regimes 167

8.1.2. Watercourses: resource, vector and living environment 169

8.1.3. The (dis)equilibrium between precipitation, evapotranspiration and flow in temperate environments 171

8.1.4. The study of past climate impacts 173

8.1.5. The study of future climate impacts 173

8.1.6. Summary 174

8.2. Hydrological changes already "observable" 176

8.2.1. The case of metropolitan France 176

8.2.2. Continental trends: Western Europe 179

8.3. Hydrological projections 180

8.3.1. For French rivers 180

8.3.2. For continental Europe 181

8.4. Conclusion 184

8.5. References 184

Chapter 9. Spatial Impacts of Melting Central Asian Glaciers: towards a "Water War"? 187

9.1. Societies and economies dependent on the cryosphere 187

9.1.1. The possibility of water scarcity and "water war"? 187

9.1.2. "Water tower" mountains for arid depressions 188

9.1.3. Tensions between riparian and rival states 194

9.2. The impact of climate change on water resources 198

9.2.1. Recession of the cryosphere 198

9.2.2. The consequences of cryosphere retreat on hydrology 200

9.2.3. Human societies facing the challenge of climate change 202

9.3. Conclusion 205

9.4. References 206

Chapter 10. Spatial Impact of Climate Change on Winter Droughts in the Mediterranean and Consequences on Agriculture 209
Florian RAYMOND and Albin ULLMANN

10.1. Climate variability and change in the Mediterranean basin 209

10.2. Droughts during rainy seasons 211

10.2.1. Rainfall drought: the absence of rain in time and space 211

10.2.2. Detection of very long dry events in the Mediterranean Sea 212

10.2.3. Spatial and temporal characteristics of the main event patterns of very long dry spells 213

10.3. Rainfall droughts in the Mediterranean: impacts on Spanish agrosystems 216

10.4. Rainfall droughts in the Mediterranean: projections for the future 218

10.5. Conclusion 221

10.6. References 222

Chapter 11. The Spatial Impacts of Climate Change on Viticulture Around the World 225
Herve QUENOL and Renan LE ROUX

11.1. Introduction 225

11.2. Recent climatic trends in the world's wine-growing regions 226

11.3. Climate zoning in viticulture 227

11.4. Impact of climate change: anticipating changes in the spatial distribution of vines 230

11.4.1. Towards climate change modeling in wine-growing regions 231

11.4.2. The need to take into account local factors 236

11.5. Conclusion 238

11.6. References 239

Chapter 12. Climate Change in the Amazon: A Multi-scalar Approach 243
Vincent DUBREUIL, Damien ARVOR, Beatriz FUNATSU, Vincent NEDELEC and Neli DE MELLO-THERY

12.1. Introduction 243

12.2. The Amazonian climate system 244

12.2.1. Heat, humidity and regional diversity 244

12.2.2. Radiation balance and general circulation 247

12.2.3. The forest-climate interaction issue 248

12.3. A changing system: deforestation, warming and drying? 250

12.3.1. Pioneering dynamics: rise and (provisory?) decline 250

12.3.2. Increase in temperature and decrease in rainfall 252

12.3.3. The dynamics of the start and end dates of the rainy season 252

12.3.4. Local effects of land-use changes 254

12.4. Uncertainties of future changes, perceptions and adaptations 257

12.4.1. Savanization and tipping points 257

12.4.2. An overall impact which is certain, but which remains to be specified 258

12.4.3. Perceptions and adaptations by local populations 259

12.5. Conclusion: a stake in the global negotiations 261

12.6. References 263

Chapter 13. The Impacts of Climate Change on the Distribution of Biomes 267
Delphine GRAMOND

13.1. Biomes, a representation of life on a global scale 268

13.1.1. The biome, an indicator of climatic context: what are the realities? 269

13.1.2. From the roots of a globalizing concept to the emergence of an operational scale 270

13.2. Structural and functional impacts of climate change on terrestrial biomes 274

13.2.1. From bioclimatic bathing to modification of ecological processes 274

13.2.2. Identifying changes: from global diagnosis to biological responses 275

13.3. Spatializing change: biome modeling 279

13.3.1. Observed and projected global impacts 279

13.3.2. Observed and projected impacts for the Arctic region 282

13.4. Conclusion 284

13.5. References 286

Chapter 14. Spatial Impacts of Climate Change on Birds 289
Laurent GODET

14.1. Introduction 289

14.2. Contemporary distributional changes 291

14.2.1. Latitudinal shifts 292

14.2.2. Altitudinal shifts 293

14.2.3. Spatial manifestations of range changes 295

14.3. Different responses for different species 297

14.3.1. Dispersion capabilities 297

14.3.2. Reproductive capacity 298

14.3.3. Generalist nature 299

14.4. Conservation implications 299

14.4.1. Ecological consequences 299

14.4.2. Conservation measures 300

14.5. Conclusion 302

14.6. References 303

List of Authors 311

Index 313

Climate Change at Different Temporal and Spatial Scales

Denis Mercier

Sorbonne University, Paris, France

1.1. Contemporary global climate change

Contemporary climate change refers to the period from 1850 to the present day and covers the period from the Industrial Revolution to the digital revolution. It also covers a period during which humanity experienced a population explosion, reaching 1 billion people for the first time in 1820. On January 1, 2020, the human population was estimated at 7.7 billion and is expected to reach 11 billion by 2100, according to the UN.

Through the use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) and increased agricultural production to feed the world's growing population, these elements contribute to increasing humanity's role in the climate machine.

Since the mid-19th Century, the average global air temperature has increased by 1.1 °C. This increase has not been linear over time and Figure 1.1 illustrates the stages of this evolution. Two warming sequences help to understand this increase: the first from 1910 to 1940 and the second from 1980 to the present day, during which the increase in temperature was 0.18°C per decade. According to the World Spatial Impacts of Climate Change, coordinated by Denis Mercier. © ISTE Ltd 2021.

Meteorological Organization1, the year 2019 was the second warmest year recorded since 1850. It comes after the year 2016, which experienced a particularly intense El Niño episode, with abnormally high ocean surface water temperatures in the eastern South Pacific. These two periods of warming are interspersed by temporal sequences of cooling (from 1880 to 1910, then from 1940 to 1980).

Figure 1.1. Annual mean surface temperature from 1880 to 2019 compared to the 1880-1920 mean

(source: Sato and Hansen, Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University Earth Institute, 2020). For a color version of this figure, see

This non-linear temperature evolution over time is not spatially homogeneous (see Figure 1.2). These maps illustrate general trends. Continental land areas record this contemporary global warming better than ocean surfaces; of these continental land surfaces, those with a hypercontinental climate such as Siberia are experiencing the greatest temperature increases.

Although the map projection is not very favorable, Figure 1.2 shows that high latitude regions, especially the Arctic basin and its surroundings, have experienced the greatest increases in temperature.

Figure 1.2. Average surface temperature per decade from 1910 to 2017 compared to the 1951-1980 average. For a color version of this figure, see

(source: 2018 NASA-GISS temperature data, downloaded from

Although the oceans are warming less than land areas, they are still warming and store 93% of the excess heat. The last 10 years are the warmest recorded for ocean surface waters since 1955 with a linearly increasing temperature trend since the 1980s (see Figure 1.3) (Cheng et al. 2020). For the first period, the warming was relatively constant of approximately 2.1 ± 0.5 Zetta Joules2 per year. However, the warming in the more recent period is greater than that of the previous warming (9.4 ± 0.2 Zetta Joules per year, or 0.58 watt per m2 on average on the Earth's surface), hence the significant increase in the rate of global climate change at the ocean scale (Cheng et al. 2020).

Figure 1.3. Ocean heat content (OHC) in the upper water section above 2,000 m from 1955 to 2019. For a color version of this figure, see

COMMENT ON FIGURE 1.3.- The histogram represents annual anomalies (ZJ: Zetta Joules, where 1 ZJ = 1021 Joules) where positive anomalies relative to a mean calculated between 1981 and 2010 are shown as red bars and negative anomalies are shown in blue. The two dashed black lines represent linear trends for the periods 1955-1986 and 1987-2019 (source: Cheng et al. 2020).

The increase in ocean surface temperatures affects all oceans. Although some ocean areas, such as the North Atlantic, experienced a decrease in temperature between 1960 and 2019 (Cheng et al. 2020), the penetration of heat into the deep ocean is clear in Figure 1.4, mainly in the Atlantic and Southern oceans (Cheng et al. 2020). These two ocean basins, especially near the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (40° 60° S) show greater warming than most other basins (Cheng et al. 2020).

Figure 1.4. Vertical cross-section of ocean temperature trends from 1960 to 2019 from the sea surface to 2,000 m (60-year ordinary least squares linear trend). For a color version of this figure, see

COMMENT ON FIGURE 1.4.- The zonal mid-sections of each ocean basin are organized around the Southern Ocean (south of 60° S) in the center. The black outlines show the associated mean temperature with 2°C intervals (in the Southern Ocean, 1°C intervals are shown as dashed lines) (source: Cheng et al. 2020).

This increase in global ocean surface temperatures leads, through thermal expansion, to a rise in sea level, as an increase in air temperature contributes to the melting of the Earth's cryosphere and thus to the increase in the amount of water in the global ocean (see Chapter 2 on melting of the cryosphere). Similarly, rising ocean temperatures reduce dissolved oxygen in the ocean and significantly affect marine life, especially corals and other organisms sensitive to temperature and water chemistry (IPCC 2019; see Chapter 4 on coasts). Increasing ocean surface water temperature promotes evaporation over the oceans and moisture in the atmosphere, which logically can promote heavy rainfall, and can be associated with more frequent and/or more intense cyclones, and can, depending on the case, lead to flooding (IPCC 2019). The consequence of this change in ocean temperatures is prolonged contemporary warming simply because of the thermal inertia of these gigantic ocean masses.

1.2. Contemporary Arctic-wide climate change

Global warming is not always visible to some, but it is most easily illustrated in the Arctic, particularly with the melting of the cryosphere (see Chapter 2). Indeed, the high latitudes of the boreal regions have recorded an increase in temperature of around 2.5°C since the beginning of the 20th Century, with temperature sequences comparable to those recorded on a global scale. Globally, this temperature increase is mainly due to the last few decades. Seasonally, the winter months (November to April) recorded the greatest temperature increases (see Figure 1.5), although the warmer months also experienced higher temperatures.

Figure 1.5. Spatial distribution of Arctic warming for the period 1961-2014 for the cold season (November to April) and the warm season (May to October)

(source: AMAP 2017). For a color version of this figure, see

In the Arctic Basin, the Svalbard Archipelago is located in the area with the greatest warming. The curves in Figure 1.6, showing the evolution of temperature since the end of the 19th Century, illustrate both this climate warming on all time scales (annual and seasonal, especially winter) and the increase in annual precipitation. The average temperature in Longyearbyen, (Svalbard archipelago) has increased by 4 to 5°C since the beginning of the 20th Century. Like all the meteorological stations of this archipelago, Longyearbyen, being in a coastal position, is all the more sensitive to the spatial retraction of the winter sea ice in recent years, which explains the more significant increase in winter temperatures in recent decades in particular. Temperature trends are not linear, and cycles of different lengths and amplitudes have been obtained by statistical analyses (Fourier and wavelet, see Humlum et al. 2011). The similarities between the thermal evolutions at the Longyearbyen station and the North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillations (AMO) underline the importance of the influence of ocean temperatures on that of the lower layers of the atmosphere (Humlum et al. 2011).

Figure 1.6. Temporal distribution of air temperature warming at Longyearbyen, 78° 25' N, 15° 47' E, capital of the Svalbard archipelago, for the period 1898-2019 at different time scales, annual in black, summer (June, July, August) in red, autumn (September, October, November) in purple, winter (December, January, February) in blue, spring (March, April, May) in green. For a color version of this figure, see

COMMENT ON FIGURE 1.6.- The baseline average is calculated for the period 1961-1990. Change in mean annual precipitation with a five-year sliding average (in pink) (source: based on data from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute3).

For the Ny-Alesund station, located on the northwestern coast of the Svalbard archipelago (78° 55' N, 11° 55' E), Figure 1.7 shows an...

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