How far will species have to travel to escape climate change? Depends on where they live.
As climate changes, species will need to relocate to follow their ideal climate, generally by uphill or to higher latitudes. But how quickly will this change occur?
In a new study, researchers calculate that climates will shift about a third of a mile per year, on average, over the next century.
"When most people think about a rate of climate change, they're thinking about how much climate is changing in time," said study lead author Scott Loarie of the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University.
"But there's also a spatial gradient," he said. "How far do you have to go from a given point to change your climate? On a mountain, it's not very far. But if you're in the middle of the Amazon basin, you have to go very far to change your climate."
The researchers combined these two aspects -- how fast climate is predicted to change over time with how temperatures vary by location -- to create a global map of how climate will move across the landscape over the next 100 years. They published the research today in Nature.