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Title: Regional changes and global connections: monitoring climate variability and change in the western United States

Author: Diaz, Henry F.;

Date: 2004

Source: In: Murphy, Dennis D. and Stine, Peter A., editors. Proceedings of the Sierra Nevada Science Symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-193. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 37-42

Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Mountain ecosystems of the Western United States are complex and include cold desert biomes, such as those found in Nevada; subpolar biomes found in the upper treeline zone; and tundra ecosystems, occurring above timberline. Many studies (for example, Thompson 2000) suggest that high-elevation environments, comprising glaciers, snow, permafrost, water, and the uppermost limits of vegetation and other complex life forms, are among the most sensitive to climatic changes occurring on a global scale. The stratified, elevationally controlled vegetation belts found on mountain slopes represent an analog to the different latitudinally controlled climatic zones, but these condensed vertical gradients are capable of producing unique hotspots of biodiversity, such as those that serve as habitat for a variety of species ranging from butterflies, frogs, and toads to birds, trout, and salmon. High relief and concomitant environmental gradients make mountain ecosystems very vulnerable to slight changes of temperatures and extreme precipitation events.

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Diaz, Henry F. 2004. Regional changes and global connections: monitoring climate variability and change in the western United States. In: Murphy, Dennis D. and Stine, Peter A., editors. Proceedings of the Sierra Nevada Science Symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-193. Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 37-42

 


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