Velocity of climate change in Alberta

An assessment of rare plant vulnerabilities to climate change & migration stresses in Alberta due to climate change velocities. From Barber, Nielsen & Hamann (2016).



This is a map of how species have to move to keep up with climate change in the next 80 years.

The vectors indicate the direction of movement, and the colours indicate the magnitude of the movement needed in km/year.

As environmental conditions for habitats change across Alberta in response to overarching climate change, former habitats become inhospitable and previously inhospitable habitats become viable. Populations have to migrate along with these changes in order to thrive and persist in areas of similar climatic conditions to what they are presently adapted to (their climate niche). This map indicates in what direction, and the minimum distances, that species have to move to stay within their shifting climate niche.

For some species assemblages, such as those in the foothills, minor shifts in elevation are sufficient, while for others, scuh as in the grasslands, much larger distances must be traversed lattitudinally in order to maintain climatic equilibrium.


Barber, Nielsen & Hamann (2016)  Assessing the vulnerability of rare plants using climate change velocity, habitat connectivity, and dispersal ability: a case study in Alberta, CanadaRegional Environmental Change [online early access].

Funded by:
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

Wilburforce Foundation