Nobody can be sure how the earth's climate will change over the coming decades. The world's leading climate scientists, grouped under the banner of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), believe that global average temperatures will rise between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees centigrade over the current century.
Climate is one of the key factors influencing the distribution of plants and animals. As our climate changes, the distribution patterns of species and the composition of habitats will change.
People, and rural communities in particular, are already experiencing the effects of climate change. Projects around the world are helping communities adapt to the impacts of climate change. See www.clim-ATIC.org to learn how some Northern countries are adapting. What has been done to predict future scenarios and their impacts on habitats and species, and to understand current distribution patterns and their relationship to climate?
United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) was established by the UK government in 1997, to provide a framework to assess climate change impacts.
Modelling Natural Resource Responses to Climatic Change (MONARCH) is a study to evaluate the impacts of climate change on wildlife and geomorphological features in Britain and Ireland. The study was commissioned by a consortium of nature conservation organisations (including Scottish Natural Heritage and Natural England ).