Re: Study report: Climate change adaptation strategies for Australian bi

Subject: Re: Study report: Climate change adaptation strategies for Australian birds
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Mon, 27 May 2013 22:57:05 +1000
>In the first continental analysis of the effects of climate change on
>a faunal group, we identified that the climate space of 101
>Australian terrestrial and inland water bird taxa is likely to be
>entirely gone by 2085, 16 marine taxa have breeding sites that are
>predicted to be at least 10% less productive than today, and 55
>terrestrial taxa are likely
>to be exposed to more frequent or intense fires.
>Birds confined to Cape York Peninsula, the Wet Tropics, the Top
>End of the Northern Territory (particularly the Tiwi Islands), the
>arid zone, King Island and southern South Australia (particularly
>Kangaroo Island) are most likely to lose climate space. 

While climate change will negatively affect many Australian bird taxa &
this report seems to have some interesting analysis, I think some of
the numbers above are nonsense - and I hope they don't get reported in
the popular media.

The modelling done infers the climatic needs of Australian bird taxa
from their distributions.  This may be interesting in many cases but
the authors have lost sight of reality and reported cases where its
a nonsense.  They've modelled the climatic needs of subspecies based
on the distribution of that subspecies alone.  So subspecies limited to
Kangaroo Island are assumed to need the climate of Kangaroo Island.

Kangaroo island is forecast to be 1-2 degress warmer and perhaps a
little drier by 2085.  Kangaroo Island 2085 climate doesn't "overlap"
with its current climate so the 18 subspecies endemic to Kangaroo island
are apparently among the 101 species whose "climate space" will be gone
by 2085.
But if you look at the endemic Kangaroo Island subspecies, almost all are
subspecies of species, e.g Crimson Rosella,  found here in Sydney and even
further north - places warmer now than Kangaroo Island is forecast to be.

While its possible these subspecies have adapted to Kangaroo Island
climate - I suspect Stephen Garnett et al. don't really believe  the
modelling reported above.

For example Southern Boobook occupies  a large climatic range from
Tasmania to Alice Springs to Timor - but the Garnett et al. modelling
indicates a 1-2 degree rise in temperture will make  Kangaroo Island
unsuitable for the boobooks there.  If Garnett et al. did believe this
I'd ask them to back their prediction with cash  but sadly 2085 is
rather too long to wait to collect a bet.

Andrew Taylor

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