Incorporating Climate Change Refugia Into Climate Adaptation in the Acadia National Park Region

Jennifer Smetzer, Smith College
Toni Lyn Morelli, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Authors submitted manuscript.

This is a draft project report.


Climate change is predicted to have significant impacts on New England’s biodiversity. If emissions continue unabated, mean global temperature is predicted to rise by 3-5 ºC by the end of the century, and well beyond the range of natural variability. Changes are already evident in Acadia National Park (ACAD). Between 1895 and 2010, annual precipitation significantly increased in ACAD by 16% and temperatures by 0.8 ºC; the rate of temperature increase in the park is expected to be 3-6 times greater by 2100, particularly in inland portions. Identifying climate change refugia for representative species can provide valuable information for adapting to climate change. Climate change refugia are areas relatively buffered from contemporary climate change over time that enable persistence of valued physical, ecological, and socio-cultural resources. Many of the physical characteristics and microclimatic gradients that can create climate change refugia – such as high spatial heterogeneity in topography and habitat, proximity to large water bodies, and regular inland diffusion of coastal fog – are present in ACAD.