Infra-red thermometry in alpine terrain

Scherrer, Daniel. Infra-red thermometry in alpine terrain. 2011, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_9465

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Rough alpine terrain offers climatic conditions (niches) to plants poorly represented by conventional climate station data. Here we used high resolution infra-red thermometry and small data loggers to assess the spatial and temporal variation of plant-surface and ground-temperature as well as snow melt patterns for 889 test plots, distributed across three alpine slopes. These environmental data were than correlated with Landolt indicator values for temperature preferences of different vegetation units.
The observed micro-habitat variation in seasonal mean soil temperature (ΔT=7.2 K), surface temperature (ΔT=10.5 K) and season length (>32 days) strongly correlated with the mean indicator values for temperature of plant communities. Cold demanding plant species grew in significantly colder micro-habitats than plants with higher indicator values found on the same slope.
Our results demonstrate that the topography induced mosaics of micro-climatic conditions in an alpine landscape are associated with plant species distribution. Local thermal contrasts significantly exceed IPCC warming projections for the next hundred years, a warning against over simplistic applications of average warming scenarios in models of the fate of alpine biota. Due to their rich topography and micro-habitat diversity, alpine landscapes are likely to be safer places in a warming world for most species than lowland terrain.
Advisors:Körner, Christian
Committee Members:Guisan, Antoine
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Umweltwissenschaften > Pflanzenökologie (Körner)
UniBasel Contributors:Scherrer, Daniel and Körner, Christian
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:9465
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:67 S.
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:22 Apr 2018 04:31
Deposited On:27 May 2011 13:06

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