Visualizing life zone boundary sensitivities across climate models and temporal spans

Robert Sisneros, Jian Huang, George Ostrouchov, Forrest Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Life zones are a convenient and quantifiable method for delineating areas with similar plant and animal communities based on bioclimatic conditions. Such ecoregionalization techniques have proved useful for defining habitats and for studying how these habitats may shift due to environmental change. The ecological impacts of climate change are of particular interest. Here we show that visualizations of the geographic projection of life zones may be applied to the investigation of potential ecological impacts of climate change using the results of global climate model simulations. Using a multi-factor classification scheme, we show how life zones change over time based on quantitative model results into the next century. Using two straightforward metrics, we identify regions of high sensitivity to climate changes from two global climate simulations under two different greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Finally, we identify how preferred human habitats may shift under these scenarios. We apply visualization methods developed for the purpose of displaying multivariate relationships within data, especially for situations that involve a large number of concurrent relationships. Our method is based on the concept of multivariate classification, and is implemented directly in VisIt, a production quality visualization package.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1582-1591
Number of pages10
JournalProcedia Computer Science
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event11th International Conference on Computational Science, ICCS 2011 - Singapore, Singapore
Duration: Jun 1 2011Jun 3 2011


  • Climate change
  • Climate modeling
  • Life zones
  • Multivariate classification
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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