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The Arctic has undergone dramatic change during the past decade. The
observed changes include atmospheric sea-level pressure, wind fields, seaice drift, ice cover, length of melt season, change in precipitation patterns,
change in hydrology and change in ocean currents and watermass
distribution. It is likely that these primary changes have altered the carbon
cycle and biological systems, but the difficulty of observing these together
with sporadic, incomplete time series makes it difficult to evaluate what the
changes have been. Because contaminants enter global systems and
transport through air and water, the changes listed above will clearly alter
contaminant pathways. Here, we review what is known about recent changes
using the Arctic Oscillation as a proxy to help us understand the forms under
which global change will be manifest in the Arctic. For Pb, Cd and Zn, the
Arctic is likely to become a more effective trap because precipitation is likely
to increase. In the case of Cd, the natural cycle in the ocean appears to have
a much greater potential to alter exposure than do human releases of this
metal. Mercury has an especially complex cycle in the Arctic including a
unique scavenging process (mercury depletion events), biomagnifying
foodwebs, and chemical transformations such as methylation. The
observation that mercury seems to be increasing in a number of aquatic
species whereas atmospheric gaseous mercury shows little sign of change
suggests that factors related to change in the physical system (ice cover,
permafrost degradation, organic carbon cycling) may be more important than
human activities.
Organochlorine contaminants offer a surprising array of possibilities for
changed pathways. To change in precipitation patterns can be added change
in ice cover (airwater exchange), change in food webs either from the top
down or from the bottom up (biomagnification), change in the organic carbon
cycle and change in diets. Perhaps the most interesting possibility, presently
difficult to predict, is combination of immune suppression together with
expanding ranges of disease vectors. Finally, biotransport through migratory
species is exceptionally vulnerable to changes in migration strength or in
migration pathwayin the Arctic, change in the distribution of ice and
temperature may already have caused such changes.
Hydrocarbons, which tend to impact surfaces, will be mostly affected by
change in the ice climate (distribution and drift tracks). Perhaps the most
dramatic changes will occur because our view of the Arctic Ocean will change
as it becomes more amenable to transport, tourism and mineral exploration
on the shelves. Radionuclides have tended not to produce a radiological
problem in the Arctic; nevertheless one pathway, the ice, remains a risk

because it can accrue, concentrate and transport radio-contaminated

sediments. This pathway is sensitive to where ice is produced, what the
transport pathways of ice are, and where ice is finally meltedall strong
candidates for change during the coming century.
The impact of anthropogenic climate change on terrestrial organisms is often
predicted to increase with latitude, in parallel with the rate of warming. Yet
the biological impact of rising temperatures also depends on the
physiological sensitivity of organisms to temperature change. We integrate
empirical fitness curves describing the thermal tolerance of terrestrial insects
from around the world with the projected geographic distribution of climate
change for the next century to estimate the direct impact of warming on
insect fitness across latitude. The results show that warming in the tropics,
although relatively small in magnitude, is likely to have the most deleterious
consequences because tropical insects are relatively sensitive to temperature
change and are currently living very close to their optimal temperature. In
contrast, species at higher latitudes have broader thermal tolerance and are
living in climates that are currently cooler than their physiological optima, so
that warming may even enhance their fitness. Available thermal tolerance
data for several vertebrate taxa exhibit similar patterns, suggesting that
these results are general for terrestrial ectotherms. Our analyses imply that,
in the absence of ameliorating factors such as migration and adaptation, the
greatest extinction risks from global warming may be in the tropics, where
biological diversity is also greatest.

biodiversity fitness global warming physiology tropical
Global warming in this century may be the largest anthropogenic disturbance
ever placed on natural systems (1, 2). Its impact on species is likely to vary
geographically (24), but a mechanistic framework to predict its magnitude
and global distribution has not yet been developed (5). One important
determinant of biological responses to climate change will be the degree of
warming itself, which will continue to be greater at high latitudes (6). Also
relevant, however, is the physiological sensitivity of organisms to changes in
the temperature of their environment (7, 8). The thermal tolerance of many
organisms has been shown to be proportional to the magnitude of
temperature variation they experience (911), a characteristic of climate that
also increases with latitude. Evaluating the impacts of rapidly changing
climates on population fitness and survival thus requires linking geographic
patterns of the magnitude of temperature change with the physiological
sensitivity of organisms to that change (12).

Ectotherms constitute the vast majority of terrestrial biodiversity (13) and are
especially likely to be vulnerable to climate warming because their basic
physiological functions such as locomotion, growth, and reproduction are
strongly influenced by environmental temperature. The ability of ectotherms
to perform such functions at different temperatures is described by a thermal
performance curve (14), which rises gradually with temperature from a
minimum critical temperature, CTmin, to an optimum temperature, Topt, and
then drops rapidly to a critical thermal maximum, CTmax (Fig. 1). Critical
temperatures CTmin and CTmax, operationally defined by the limits of
organism performance, have been measured for diverse ectotherms (1518)
and usually covary with latitude, reflecting at least partial adaptation of
ectotherms to their climate (911). Thermal performance curves index the
direct effect of temperature on organism fitness (1415), and thus provide a
physiological framework for elucidating a fundamental component of the
impact of global climate change in a spatially explicit and empirically
constrained way.

Rationale the problem

This article presents a systematic framework to identify barriers that
may impede the process of adaptation to climate change. The
framework targets the process of planned adaptation and focuses on
potentially challenging but malleable barriers. Three key sets of
components create the architecture for the framework. First, a staged
depiction of an idealized, rational approach to adaptation decisionmaking makes up the process component. Second, a set of
interconnected structural elements includes the actors, the larger
context in which they function (e.g., governance), and the object on
which they act (the system of concern that is exposed to climate
change). At each of these stages, we ask (i) what could impede the
adaptation process and (ii) how do the actors, context, and system of
concern contribute to the barrier. To facilitate the identification of
barriers, we provide a series of diagnostic questions. Third, the
framework is completed by a simple matrix to help locate points of
intervention to overcome a given barrier. It provides a systematic
starting point for answering critical questions about how to support
climate change adaptation at all levels of decision-making.


Climate envelope models (CEMs) have been used to predict the

distribution of species under current, past, and future climatic
conditions by inferring a species' environmental requirements from
localities where it is currently known to occur. CEMs can be evaluated
for their ability to predict current species distributions but it is unclear
whether models that are successful in predicting current distributions
are equally successful in predicting distributions under different
climates (i.e. different regions or time periods). We evaluated the
ability of CEMs to predict species distributions under different climates
by comparing their predictions with those obtained with a mechanistic
model (MM). In an MM the distribution of a species is modeled based
on knowledge of a species' physiology. The potential distributions of
100 plant species were modeled with an MM for current conditions, a
past climate reconstruction (21 000 years before present) and a future
climate projection (double preindustrial CO2 conditions). Point localities
extracted from the currently suitable area according to the MM were
used to predict current, future, and past distributions with four CEMs
covering a broad range of statistical approaches: Bioclim (percentile
distributions), Domain (distance metric), GAM (general additive
modeling), and Maxent (maximum entropy). Domain performed very
poorly, strongly underestimating range sizes for past or future
conditions. Maxent and GAM performed as well under current climates
as under past and future climates. Bioclim slightly underestimated
range sizes but the predicted ranges overlapped more with the ranges
predicted with the MM than those predicted with GAM did. Ranges
predicted with Maxent overlapped most with those produced with the
MMs, but compared with the ranges predicted with GAM they were
more variable and sometimes much too large. Our results suggest that
some CEMs can indeed be used to predict species distributions under
climate change, but individual modeling approaches should be
validated for this purpose, and model choice could be made dependent
on the purpose of a particular study.