EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Climate extremes and ecosystem resilience in a future world

Michael Bahn
Michael Bahn
  • Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria (

The ability of ecosystems to resist and recover from climate extremes is of fundamental societal importance given the critical role of ecosystems in supplying ecosystem services such as food and fiber production, or water and climate regulation. To date there is a lack of understanding of how the projected increases in the frequency and intensity of climate extremes will affect ecosystems in a future world. Will the legacy of past extreme climatic events alter ecosystem responses to subsequent extreme events? What are the thresholds of severity altering ecosystem recovery from extreme events or causing irreversible shifts in ecosystem functioning? How do ecosystems respond to climate extremes in the context of multiple co-occurring environmental changes, including climate warming, elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and interacting other climate extremes (i.e. ‚compound events‘)? In what ways do biodiversity and the composition of species and their traits affect ecosystem resilience? How do land management and land-use changes alter ecosystem responses to climate extremes? In this talk I will show some recent insights on these questions and will illustrate how observations can be placed in a framework permitting a comparable quantification of resilience across different ecosystems, ecosystem functions and services. Finally, I will discuss implications for enhancing the adapaptive capacity of social-ecological systems to absorb climate extremes.

How to cite: Bahn, M.: Climate extremes and ecosystem resilience in a future world, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-14050,, 2020


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