Trajectories of climate change in British Columbia: Investigating climate variability, differentiation, and novelty using the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification

The Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) is widely-used knowledge base for forest management in British Columbia. Climate change represents both an opportunity and a threat for the BEC system.  The BEC climatic classification is a powerful tool for understanding and adapting to climate change. However, much work is required to adapt BEC to a changing climate.

The broad objectives of this project are to (1) use ClimateBC and other newly available climate data to better understand the BEC climate classification, and (2) use the BEC system to understand climate change in BC’s forests.

This project builds on past CFCG climate change research by incorporating historical climate variability into climate envelope models of BEC climate units. This approach allows us to pursue the following research questions:

  1. How does the historical climatic variability within BEC climate units compare to the climatic differences between BEC climate units?
  2. How does projected climate change compare to historical climate variability in various regions of the province?
  3. Do existing BEC climate units represent viable analogs for projected future climatic conditions, or are novel (no-analog) climates emerging?

We are currently investigating these questions on elevational and latitudinal transects in several regions of BC. Our future work will expand the research to the province as a whole.

Funding: NSERC CGS-M Scholarship 2012-13, NSERC TerreWEB Fellowship 2013-14

Primary participants: [ Mahony | Aitken ]