Forecasts For Ecosystems (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)

Forecasts For Ecosystems (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.)

By NOAA’s definitionEcological forecasting” predicts changes in ecosystems and ecosystem components in response to an environmental driver such as climate variability, extreme weather conditions, pollution, or habitat change. It also provides information about how people, economies, and communities may be affected. 

The easy bit is that forecast and predictions allow us, humans, to make decisions, adopt measures and take the coat before getting out.

The real problem comes from getting the information into the ecosystems so they do not get fooled flowering and growing leafs just before a blast of polar air comes in their way. How can we make forecasts for ecosystems?

The last blast of cold air coming over Spain left most of the harvest for almond completely ruined. Trees were already flowering under a warmer than normal period of mild conditions when a sudden strong drop in temperature broke the process.

Just where I live in Ourense Spain, the 18th of Feb 2016 I took the following images from some trees within the outskirts of the city.

18th Feb 2016 Photo by Diego Fdez-Sevilla

Prunus cerasifera ‘Pisardii’. 18th Feb 2016 Ourense. Spain.

18th Feb 2016 Photo by Diego Fdez-Sevilla

Leaf from a Parrotia persica with marks from frost damage. 18th Feb 2016 Ourense. Spain. Parrotia persica: Oval to oblong leaves (to 4″ long) emerge reddish-purple in spring, mature to a lustrous, medium to dark green in summer and change to variable shades of yellow, orange and red in fall.

On the left we can see how trees were already growing leafs (green colour) when a previous drop in temp interrupted the process provoking damage (from red to brown colour). On the right side we can see trees already flowering under a contrast of temperatures moving from steadily warm to sudden drops.

Aemet. Daily Temp and climatic means.

365 days Temp variations at Braganca, Portugal. The nearest record offered by NOAA just over 200km from Ourense, Spain.

More to come

A new cold wave is expected for this weekend from 25thFeb 2016.

Late-week storm to unleash rain and chilly winds in Spain, Portugal and France.

Accuweather. By Eric Leister, Meteorologist February 25, 2016; 4:40 PM ET

A moisture-laden storm from the Atlantic Ocean will bring a variety of disruptive weather to the Iberian Peninsula and South of France Friday into Saturday.

The storm will arrive with a band of rain sweeping from west to east across Portugal and Spain during Friday and Friday evening.

The steadiest rain with pockets of heavier downpours will reach Santiago de Compostela, Porto and Lisbon in the morning before spreading to Seville, Cordoba and Madrid in the afternoon and then Murica and Barcelona at night.

The forecast by Accuweather is much milder than the one given by the Spanish Meteorological Agency which has already issued several warnings for snow at such low altitude levels as 400m, altogether with rain, wind and cold conditions.

Weather alerts Spain Feb 2016 Diego Fdez-Sevilla

Weather alerts for Spain over he period 25th, 26th and 27th Feb 2016

Such warnings are a combination of cold temperatures, precipitation and strong winds from the Polar Jet Stream coming over the Peninsula.

T2m Diego Fdez-Sevilla

GFS forecast T2m

850hPa Temp Diego fdez-Sevilla

850 hPa


500hPa Temp Diego Fdez-Sevilla

500 hPa

Jet Stream from 26Feb2016 Diego Fdez-Sevilla

Polar Jet Stream

One step beyond the news

Each time a weather event occurs makes the news. But in order to make the news has to be different, new.

Apart form the timing, it does not seem to be the case in many weather events occurring this winter, and I would say in the recent years. Same patterns seem to be repeating in the Pacific and Atlantic basins. What is intriguing is the zonification for the distribution of those. In North America the division is by longitude. In Europe, this year so far there was snow in low latitudes like Canary Islands meanwhile Sweden had to reduce the number of stages in the World rally event due to lack of snow. Even UK and Germany have enjoyed milder conditions than Spain, showing a division in latitude but no correlation with a distribution following latitudes. This weekend, 26thFeb2016, such circumstance is being happening again where UK will have milder weather conditions than Spain with no warnings being activated there.

The reason behind such contrasts can be assessed in different ways. We can claim that it is result of a weak Polar Jet Stream allowing polar masses of air breaking into low latitudes. We can also blame it to trans-longitudinal movements of polar masses of air coming from the West into the East which trigger pronounced Rossby Waves and the development of strong fronts and troughs bringing cold weather. One way or another, my assessment is that we have seen one after another displacements of cold air from the Arctic due convective forcing from warmer masses of air getting into high latitudes and altitudes.

It has happened before:

Eumetsat Natural Colour Diego FdezSevilla

It is happening again:

Eumetsat Natural Colour 25Feb2016 Diego FdezSevilla

And based on my previous assessments over the configuration of the Polar Jet Stream, Polar vortex, Pacific and Atlantic circulation combined altogether across the Arctic, I presume that these events of masses of air crossing latitudes will be prolonged in time through spring.

Diegto Fdez-Sevilla

SPSS Pearson’s correlation r=0,681**, P<0,01.

The nature of the problem

I have defended in other discussions that there is much attention over how variations in atmospheric dynamics might have an impact over the ecosystems. And yet, there is a big lack of understanding over the implications coming from the reaction triggered in those ecosystems under the pressure of anomalous conditions over the synergies existent with the climatic stability of the whole system. We have to remember that ecosystems are the result of the interaction between biotic and none biotic components. So unstable conditions in any of both sides affect the stability of the whole system.

From the field of Aerobiology studying the biological content of the atmosphere all the way across all other disciplines, we are looking at how thermodynamics affect biological systems but we are not getting into which mechanisms are getting activated in the biological system towards taming the weather.

The global system is a battle between thermodynamic interactions pushing towards entropy (system’s disorder) and the biological system trying to contain and organise the energy being introduced in such chaos.

I am not going to discuss here how human activities are helping one of both sides. You just have to think if  those activities are helping to contain the constant entering energy in our system in a stable state or if it is getting released wildly (more discussion here).

In any case, even if we would try to warn ecosystem about what it is coming for them to be prepared, I don´t think we have the “language skills” for it. Sort of speaking.

We can prepare for anything to come, but, is the health state of our ecosystems in good shape to cope with instability?

Last remark

This blog original idea has always been to bring forward discussions over topics which I believe deserve the appropriate attention.

Many times two particular postures come in place on debating climatic variability and anthropogenic forcing. One is about the fragility of nature and the other the limited power of anthropogenic action in comparison with the forces of nature.

The beauty of nature can be found in the surface of the Sun, Venus, Mars and the Moon. There is nothing which can be said about which expression of nature is healthier. We can only look at which is the most suitable for us to survive.

There are forces beyond our comprehension acting in any expression of nature. Gravity, planetary alignment, Atomic radiation from stars like our Sun, cosmic radiation from out space, rotation and translation and inner sources of energy like Earth’s core dynamics, magnetic shielding or tectonic pulses makes our environment full of variability and diversity. The state which allowed the development, growth and expansion of humans was defined by the characteristic balance between those forces and biological systems. So biological systems are the line of defence against changes in this balance which allow conditions suitable for our comfort. The state of this line of defence is what is coming into debate in the actual times. Not only to perform against changes but also to recover from them.

If the capacity that human activity has grown into for transforming the biological environment in our planet reach the point of limiting the capacity for this system to perform against those forces, the conditions we have enjoyed until now will change.

Can the specie adapt to those changes? It depends. Humans have demonstrated that they can adapt to any condition around the planet. The question is, how many resources will  be required? How further will the consumption of resources transform the biological environment? And for how long consumption and transformation can be a line of action to adapt?

In another side of things, it is a common practise to look at past climatic events to predict future changes. The line of thought applied is always considering that the health state of our ecosystems now and then are the same. One question remains.  Can we compare the capacity of our ecosystems to face and recover from fluctuations between past and present climatic times?

If I believe for real what I foresee as possible, don´t expect 30 years waiting to be in deep trouble. Signals from the Equator are coming to the North and signals from the Arctic are going to lower and lower latitudes.

Summer 2015

1st week monthly intervals Temp Anomaly Wester Europe 2015 by Diego Fdez-SevillaWinter 2015/16

Arctic Dynamics Outtake_Intake Diego Fdez-Sevilla I

Warm air moving North into Arctic latitudes and Polar Cold air moving South at the tropics.

That will redistribute biotopes and they are whom absorb climatic variations through evapotranspiration rates, which are specific for each biotope genetically. (see category Biological Productivity)

Redistribution will come from atmospheric conditions suitable for some species but restricted by soils underdeveloped to cope with their needs.

Water vapor_Temp and NDVI Anomalies North 60 N

I believe everything relies on diversity. If we want to accept the concept of variability in our climate we can not rely on Specialised holdings and intensive practices. Even GMOs are made to deliver in a defined scenario, not to cope with changes. (see category GMOs)

Barking up the wrong tree DiegoFdezSevillaThe GHGs issue

Heat is thermal energy. It can be transferred from one place to another by conduction, convection and radiation. Conduction and convection involve particles, radiation involves electromagnetic waves. Heat can only be transferred between “existent” molecules. Without them, like in out-space, there is not temperature or heat transference. Our atmosphere contains heat because it contains molecular compounds absorbing and transferring heat.

The case of GHGs is that they are among the most thermal conductive molecular compounds found in the atmosphere.

It is like cooking dry food. You need a substance to transfer the heat to cook aliments. Oil is good but water gets the heat inside the food cause its heat properties. There is no diffusion of heat in a vacuum or thermal flask.

Therefore it is important to understand the type and concentration of atmospheric gases since they are the ones holding the heat that we measure as temperature.

Image of a glowing aurora taken on Feb. 23, 2016, from the International Space Station. NASA image of the day. Expedition 46 crew member Tim Peake of the European Space Agency (ESA).


PerspectiveSince October 2013 I have been studying the behaviour of the Polar Jet Stream and the weather events associated as well as the implications derived into atmospheric dynamics and environmental synergies.

Many of the atmospheric configurations and weather and climate events we see these days are very similar with the progression followed since 2013. Please take a look at posts addressing those events from previous publications in this blog or look at the categories in the top menu. Also at research-gate. Feedback is always welcomed (d.fdezsevilla(at)


About Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD.

Citing This Site "Title", published online "Month"+"Year", retrieved on "Month""Day", "Year" from By Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD. More guidance on citing this web as a source can be found at NASA webpage:! DOIs can be generated on demand by request at email: d.fdezsevilla(at) for those publications missing at the ResearchGate profile vinculated with this project. **Author´s profile: Born in 1974. Bachelor in General Biology, Masters degree "Licenciado" in Environmental Sciences (2001, Spain). PhD in Aerobiology (2007, UK). Lived, acquired training and worked in Spain, UK, Germany and Poland. I have shared the outcome from my work previous to 2013 as scientific speaker in events held in those countries as well as in Switzerland and Finland. After 12 years performing research and working in institutions linked with environmental research and management, in 2013 I found myself in a period of transition searching for a new position or funding to support my own line of research. In the current competitive scenario, in order to demonstrate my capacities instead of just moving my cv waiting for my next opportunity to arrive, I decided to invest my energy and time in opening my own line of research sharing it in this blog. In March 2017 the budget reserved for this project has ended and its weekly basis time frame discontinued until new forms of economic and/or institutional support are incorporated into the project. The value of the data and the original nature of the research presented in this platform and at LinkedIn has proved to be worthy of consideration by the scientific community as well as for publication in scientific journals. However, without a position as member of an institution, it becomes very challenging to be published. I hope that this handicap do not overshadow the value of my achievements and that the Intellectual Property Rights generated with the license of attribution attached are respected and considered by the scientist involved in similar lines of research. **Any comment and feedback aimed to be constructive is welcome as well as any approach exploring professional opportunities to be part of.** In this blog I publish pieces of research focused on addressing relevant environmental questions. Furthermore, I try to break the barrier that academic publications very often offer isolating scientific findings from the general public. In that way I address those topics which I am familiar with, thanks to my training in environmental research, making them available throughout my posts. (see "Framework and Timeline" for a complete index). At this moment, 2017, I am living in Spain with no affiliation attachments. Free to relocate geographically worldwide. If you feel that I could be a contribution to your institution, team and projects don´t hesitate in contact me at d.fdezsevilla (at) or consult my profile at LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Also, I'd appreciate information about any opportunity that you might know and believe it could match with my aptitudes. The conclusions and ideas expressed in each post as part of my own creativity are part of my Intellectual Portfolio and are protected by Intellectual Property Laws. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial conditions. In citing my work from this website, be sure to include the date of access. (c)Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD, 2017. Filling in or Finding Out the gaps around. Publication accessed 20YY-MM-DD at
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