Modelling the Implications of Climate Change for European Freshwater Wetland Distributions: A Review of Knowledge and Gaps

By Christine Schleupner.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This review contributes to a project promoted by the cluster of excellence “Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction (CliSAP)” to evaluate the preservation potentials of freshwater wetlands in Europe under consideration of climate change.
In Europe wetlands have been drained and converted for centuries. The remaining wetlands are fragmented and often in a degraded state. During the last years efforts have been made to restore and preserve wetlands for various purposes, because wetlands provide crucial services and functions. They affect the carbon, water, and nitrogen cycles, serve as habitat for many plant and animal species, and act both as sink and source of greenhouse gases. In this sense, wetlands, its functions, and spatial extension may also be of significance in global and regional climate modeling. A fully coupled wetland-climate model under consideration of land use has not yet been developed; and within earth system models, wetlands are included as static shape with fixed boundaries. Wetlands have also received little attention in large-scale economic models of land use. But with relatively high European political ambitions for climate change mitigation, biodiversity protection, energy, water, food, and civil security, the question arises how to optimally govern wetlands in order to maximize market and non-market benefits. Qualitative and quantitative data on wetland ecosystems, its functions and services are required as base input for such model approaches. But often these studies are hindered by a lack of knowledge on wetland ecosystem functions, processes, as well as its spatial and temporal distribution under changing conditions. This paper summarizes existing knowledge on European freshwater wetlands under changing climatic conditions and discusses research gaps needed to be filled. The paper further compares the results with research undertaken globally by indicating uncertainties and variations.

Keywords: Coupled Modeling, Systematic Wetland Conservation, Wetland Resource Management

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.37-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 735.248KB).

Dr. Christine Schleupner

Postdoctoral Researcher, Research Unit Sustainability and Global Change, Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences & Hamburg University, Hamburg, Germany

Christine Schleupner studied geography, biology, geology and ethnology at Westfalian Wilhelms-University in Münster and at Philipps-University Marburg in Germany. As a member of the Max Planck Research School on Earth System Modelling she did her PhD in meteorology at the Department Geosciences of the Hamburg University. Her thesis is entitled „GIS as integrating tool in sustainability and global change“. So far Christine has contributed to diverse EU-financed projects that deal with climate change and social-economic adaptation. Her special interest is the interaction between humans and the natural environment under changing conditions. She is specialized in integrated modelling and conducted several studies in ecotones, particularly wetlands and high mountain ecosystems.

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