Climate Change and American Bullfrog Invasion: What Could We Expect in South America?

PLoS ONEPLoS ONE 6(10), Published 03 October 2011

Javier Nori, J. Nicolás Urbina-Cardona, Rafael D. Loyola, Julián N. Lescano, and Gerardo C. Leynaud

“Background: Biological invasion and climate change pose challenges to biodiversity conservation in the 21st century. Invasive species modify ecosystem structure and functioning and climatic changes are likely to produce invasive species’ range shifts pushing some populations into protected areas. The American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) is one of the hundred worst invasive species in the world. Native from the southeast of USA, it has colonized more than 75% of South America where it has been reported as a highly effective predator, competitor and vector of amphibian diseases.

“Methodology/Principal Findings: We modeled the potential distribution of the bullfrog in its native range based on different climate models and green-house gases emission scenarios, and projected the results onto South America for the years of 2050 and 2080. We also overlaid projected models onto the South American network of protected areas. Our results indicate a slight decrease in potential suitable area for bullfrog invasion, although protected areas will become more climatically suitable. Therefore, invasion of these sites is forecasted.

Comparison between results of projections at present and 2080.

Comparison between results of projections at present and 2080.

“Conclusion/Significance: We provide new evidence supporting the vulnerability of the Atlantic Forest Biodiversity Hotspot to bullfrog invasion and call attention to optimal future climatic conditions of the Andean-Patagonian forest, eastern Paraguay, and northwestern Bolivia, where invasive populations have not been found yet. We recommend several management and policy strategies to control bullfrog invasion and argue that these would be possible if based on appropriate articulation among government agencies, NGOs, research institutions and civil society.”

Climate Change and Human Health: Spatial Modeling of Water Availability, Malnutrition, and Livelihoods in Mali, Africa

Applied GeographyApplied Geography, Volume 33, April 2012

Marta M. Jankowska, David Lopez-Carr, Chris Funk, Gregory J. Husak, and Zoë A. Chafe


  • Trend and sigma analysis of climate change in the Sahel is performed.
  • DHS malnutrition of children in Mali is modeled with climate and livelihood zones.
  • Both climate and livelihoods are significant for malnutrition.
  • Climate and demographic trends are projected to 2025 and future impacts are assessed.
  • A moving climatically driven vulnerability front-line is identified.

“This study develops a novel approach for projecting climate trends in the Sahel in relation to shifting livelihood zones and health outcomes. Focusing on Mali, we explore baseline relationships between temperature, precipitation, livelihood, and malnutrition in 407 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) clusters with a total of 14,238 children, resulting in a thorough spatial analysis of coupled climate-health dynamics. Results suggest links between livelihoods and each measure of malnutrition, as well as a link between climate and stunting. A ‘front-line’ of vulnerability, related to the transition between agricultural and pastoral livelihoods, is identified as an area where mitigation efforts might be usefully targeted. Additionally, climate is projected to 2025 for the Sahel, and demographic trends are introduced to explore how the intersection of climate and demographics may shift the vulnerability ‘front-line’, potentially exposing an additional 6 million people in Mali, up to a million of them children, to heightened risk of malnutrition from climate and livelihood changes. Results indicate that, holding constant morbidity levels, approximately one quarter of a million children will suffer stunting, nearly two hundred thousand will be malnourished, and over one hundred thousand will become anemic in this expanding arid zone by 2025. Climate and health research conducted at finer spatial scales and within shorter projected time lines can identify vulnerability hot spots that are of the highest priority for adaptation interventions; such an analysis can also identify areas with similar characteristics that may be at heightened risk. Such meso-scale coupled human-environment research may facilitate appropriate policy interventions strategically located beyond today’s vulnerability front-line.”

Climate Change-related Vulnerabilities and Local Environmental Public Health Tracking through GEMSS: A Web-based Visualization Tool

Applied GeographyApplied Geography, Volume 33, April 2012

Adele Houghton, Natasha Prudent, James E. Scott III, Richard Wade, and George Luber


  • Platform for tracking local climate change environmental public health indicators.
  • Visualization of potential health, vulnerability impacts of climate change policy.
  • Vulnerability indicators primarily used existing, freely available data sources.

“Climate change will impact health through a variety of pathways – both direct and indirect. Identifying the specific link between climate-related hazards and vulnerability will require the integration of socio-environmental, meteorological, and health data. An enhanced monitoring and tracking system is critical for public health efforts to identify and reach populations vulnerable to climate-related hazards, mobilize resources, and inform local climate action policy to reduce climate-related health risks.

“In this paper we present a novel application of a geospatial tool that integrates multiple data sources, allowing for the streamlined visualization of environmental risk, socio-economic and demographic vulnerability, baseline mortality, and policy intervention measures. GEMSS (Geospatial Emergency Management Support System) is a browser-based application that is designed to assemble geospatial information from multiple local or remote sources in a common operating environment, allowing for multi-data visualization. Using vulnerability to extreme heat and heavy rainfall-induced flooding as climate impacts on health, we tested GEMSS’s capability as a multi-data platform to visually analyze spatial patterns of climate change environmental public health indicators at the local level. The selected indicators relied on socio-environmental and demographic vulnerability, health, policy, and weather data.

“The GEMSS system has the potential to support multiple goals including: a) the ongoing monitoring and assessment of climate-related vulnerability through visualization; b) providing policymakers with an open-source tool for understanding how vulnerable populations and the environment could be impacted by proposed climate action policies; c) tracking the ongoing status of climate change policies in reducing socio-environmental vulnerability; d) raising awareness among the general public about the links between climate change and public health; and, e) providing a basis for epidemiologic research (i.e., identifying gaps between climate and human vulnerability leading to hypotheses and hypotheses-testing).”

A Land-use and Land-cover Modeling Strategy to Support a National Assessment of Carbon Stocks and Fluxes

Applied Geography

Applied Geography, Volume 34, May 2012

Terry L. Sohl, Benjamin M. Sleeter, Zhiliang Zhu, Kristi L. Sayler, Stacie Bennett, Michelle Bouchard, Ryan Reker, Todd Hawbaker, Anne Wein, Shuguang Liu, Ronald Kanengieter, William Acevedo


  • The USGS is analyzing scenarios of land-cover change and resultant effects on carbon.
  • A unique land-cover modeling framework was developed to support this work.
  • Downscaled scenarios consistent with IPCC scenarios were developed.
  • The FORE-SCE model was used to create spatially explicit land-cover projections.
  • The methodology is demonstrated for the first completed U.S. ecoregion.

“Changes in land use, land cover, disturbance regimes, and land management have considerable influence on carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes within ecosystems. Through targeted land-use and land-management activities, ecosystems can be managed to enhance carbon sequestration and mitigate fluxes of other GHGs. National-scale, comprehensive analyses of carbon sequestration potential by ecosystem are needed, with a consistent, nationally applicable land-use and land-cover (LULC) modeling framework a key component of such analyses. The U.S. Geological Survey has initiated a project to analyze current and projected future GHG fluxes by ecosystem and quantify potential mitigation strategies. We have developed a unique LULC modeling framework to support this work. Downscaled scenarios consistent with IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) were constructed for U.S. ecoregions, and the FORE-SCE model was used to spatially map the scenarios. Results for a prototype demonstrate our ability to model LULC change and inform a biogeochemical modeling framework for analysis of subsequent GHG fluxes. The methodology was then successfully used to model LULC change for four IPCC SRES scenarios for an ecoregion in the Great Plains. The scenario-based LULC projections are now being used to analyze potential GHG impacts of LULC change across the U.S.”

GIS Cloud to be Featured at Eye on Earth Summit

Esri logoEsri Platform Supports Collaborative Environmental Problem Solving

At the Eye on Earth Summit Esri will describe how cloud GIS is positioned to create an international geospatial platform for sharing environmental data and designing solutions. Also former US president Bill Clinton, Esri president Jack Dangermond, and European Environment Agency (EEA) director Jacquelyn McGlade will join other renowned speakers to present the value of accessible data for international collaboration and decision making.

The Eye on Earth network will be featured at the summit in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates, on December 12–15, 2011. Esri, Microsoft, and EEA have pooled their expertise to retool EEA’s Eye on Earth with a cloud-based geospatial content management system modeled after ArcGIS Online. The Eye on Earth network now provides tools for creating maps, accessing thousands of readily available maps and datasets, and managing geospatial content. People can use the network to share content with the public and among groups or to use privately. Governments, research organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and the public can use the network to work together to understand problems, develop policy, design plans, and take action. Furthermore, the cloud-configured network provides the foundation for other regions to create similar environmental platforms.

“People truly care about their environment, but they can be at a loss as to how to participate in policy and make a difference,” said Dangermond. “By putting environmental and social information into the hands of many people, the Eye on Earth network will become a catalyst for conversation. We think this is going to bring people to their feet by empowering them to understand problems and be part of the solutions.”

Esri’s ArcGIS Online technology, coupled with Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure, allows EEA to host and maintain the platform, create database and business process management systems, and integrate security constraints. GIS web apps help user groups create and share map-based services, perform analysis, and publish geospatial products.

In the summit’s pavilion, experts will demonstrate the Eye on Earth network’s capabilities such as citizen engagement and collaborative environmental problem solving.

[Source: Esri press release]

Jack Dangermond Invites Discussion on Climate Change Adaptation

Spatial RoundtableSpatial Roundtable Conversation Coincides with COP17 in Durban, South Africa

Esri president Jack Dangermond opened a discussion, known as the Spatial Roundtable, about the value of geographic information system (GIS) technology and GeoDesign in responding to the effects of climate change. The conversation runs concurrently with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) in Durban, South Africa. Esri’s hosted Spatial Roundtable provides an engaging online venue for environmental professionals who wish to weigh in on their visions for geospatial technologies’ role in addressing the challenges of climate change adaptation.

“GeoDesign is a framework for understanding the complex relationships between human-designed settlements and the changing environment,” said Dangermond. “I invite environmental professionals who use GIS in their work to visit the Spatial Roundtable to discuss how organizations and businesses should use this technology to respond to climate change.”

Dangermond began the climate change adaptation conversation by asking, “How can GeoDesign best be applied to climate adaptation in the next 15 years?” A number of thought leaders have already joined the conversation.

  • Dr. Wim Bastiaanssen, scientist and cofounder of eLEAF
  • Dr. Elena Bennett from McGill University
  • Dr. Nguyen Huu Ninh, environmental researcher and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize
  • Andrea Feunekes, founding partner and co-CEO of Remsoft, Inc.

What do you think? Visit and join the conversation. The climate change topic discussion will be active through January 31, 2012, and will remain accessible for review in the Spatial Roundtable archive through 2013.

[Source: Esri press release]

Expanding Geographical Distribution of the Mosquito, Culex pipiens, in Canada under Climate Change

Applied GeographyApplied Geography, Volume 33, April 2012

V. Hongoh, L. Berrang-Ford, M.E. Scott, and L.R. Lindsay


  • We model the distribution of Cx. pipiens under current and future climate.
  • Suitable climatic conditions currently found for parts of eastern Canada.
  • Models predict a northward and westward range expansion of Cx. pipiens into 2100.

“An important first step in assessing the possible effects of climate change on the risk of mosquito-borne disease in Canada requires an understanding of the potential shifts in the geographic range of mosquito populations under projected future climate. Risk maps of potential habitat suitability of the mosquito Culex pipiens, an important vector of West Nile and other arboviruses, were created using logistic regression models under conditions of current and projected climate. Current predictions for Culex pipiens distribution are that suitable climatic conditions for the species can be found in southern Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and southern parts of Newfoundland and Labrador. Projected ranges of the mosquito were obtained using output from models of the Coupled Global Climate Model of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis and the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Model. Using both models, predictions of Culex pipiens range expansion were found for areas further north of the current estimated distribution in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador as well as increasing potential habitat suitability in parts of the prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) from the 2020s through to 2080s. The degree of range expansion varied according to the greenhouse gas emissions scenario (‘A2’ – high emissions scenario and ‘B1’ – low emissions scenario) used in calibrating the climate models. These findings suggest that through its effects on Culex pipiens survival and geographic range, climate change may broaden the range of some mosquito-borne pathogens and as a result expose new human populations to these disease-causing agents.”

Some Like It Hot: The Influence and Implications of Climate Change on Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei) and Coffee Production in East Africa

PLoS ONEPLoS ONE 6(9), Published 14 September 2011

Juliana Jaramillo, Eric Muchugu, Fernando E. Vega, Aaron Davi, Christian Borgemeister, and Adenirin Chabi-Olaye

“The negative effects of climate change are already evident for many of the 25 million coffee farmers across the tropics and the 90 billion dollar (US) coffee industry. The coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei), the most important pest of coffee worldwide, has already benefited from the temperature rise in East Africa: increased damage to coffee crops and expansion in its distribution range have been reported. In order to anticipate threats and prioritize management actions for H. hampei we present here, maps on future distributions of H. hampei in coffee producing areas of East Africa. Using the CLIMEX model we relate present-day insect distributions to current climate and then project the fitted climatic envelopes under future scenarios A2A and B2B (for HADCM3 model).

 Distribution of the coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) illustrating species range shifts in Eastern Africa under climate change scenario A2A*.

Distribution of the coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) illustrating species range shifts in Eastern Africa under climate change scenario A2A*.

“In both scenarios, the situation with H. hampei is forecasted to worsen in the current Coffea arabica producing areas of Ethiopia, the Ugandan part of the Lake Victoria and Mt. Elgon regions, Mt. Kenya and the Kenyan side of Mt. Elgon, and most of Rwanda and Burundi. The calculated hypothetical number of generations per year of H. hampei is predicted to increase in all C. arabica-producing areas from five to ten. These outcomes will have serious implications for C. arabica production and livelihoods in East Africa. We suggest that the best way to adapt to a rise of temperatures in coffee plantations could be via the introduction of shade trees in sun grown plantations. The aims of this study are to fill knowledge gaps existing in the coffee industry, and to draft an outline for the development of an adaptation strategy package for climate change on coffee production. An abstract in Spanish is provided here.”

Spatio-temporal Analysis of Melting Onset Dates of Sea-ice in the Arctic

Indian Journal of Geo-Marine SciencesIndian Journal of Geo-Marine Sciences, Vol.40(4), August 2011

Oza, S R; Singh, R K K; Vyas, N K; and Sarkar, Abhijit

“Present study aims at the investigation of long-term satellite derived images of Earliest Melting Onset Date (EMOD) and Latest Melting Onset Date (LMOD) to study the sea ice variability in the Arctic. By applying cluster classification technique on the images of EMOD and LMOD, clusters having similar tendency were retrieved. The locations of centroids of the clusters revealed a distinct pattern showing tendency of clusters towards the early/delayed onset of melting.

Clusters showing similar tendency of earliest and latest melt onset dates

Clusters showing similar tendency of earliest and latest melt onset dates.

“It was observed that the clusters having larger differences between EMOD and LMOD fell within the ocean area that became ice-free in September 2007. This study indicates that similar analysis using information on the onset of melting over the recent past (1998-2009) may help to predict the ice-free vulnerable zones in the coming 6-8 years.”

Exposure of Developing Countries to Sea-level Rise and Storm Surges

Climatic ChangeClimatic Change, Volume 106, Number 4, 2011

Susmita Dasgupta, Benoit Laplante, Siobhan Murray and David Wheeler

“An increase in sea surface temperature is strongly evident at all latitudes and in all oceans. The scientific evidence to date suggests that increased sea surface temperature will intensify cyclone activity and heighten storm surges. The paper assesses the exposure of (coastal) developing countries to sea-level rise and the intensification of storm surges. Geographic Information System (GIS) software is used to overlay the best available, spatially-disaggregated global data on critical exposed elements (land, population, GDP, agricultural extent and wetlands) with the inundation zones projected with heightened storm surges and a 1 m sea-level rise. Country-level results indicate a significant increase in exposure of developing countries to these climate-induced changes. ”

Impact zones for 1 meter sea level rise and intensification of storm surges, and likely changes in unprotected shorelines – illustrative cases: Bangladesh and Vietnam.

Impact zones for 1 meter sea level rise and intensification of storm surges, and likely changes in unprotected shorelines – illustrative cases: Bangladesh and Vietnam.