Climate change scenario for Costa Rican montane forests
Tropical montane cloud forests are characterized by persistent immersion in clouds, an important source of moisture during the dry season. Future changes in temperature and precipitation could alter cloud cover at the vegetation level and seriously affect mountain ecosystems. A regional climate modeling study that focuses on changes in the distributions of temperature and precipitation in Costa Rica shows, in general, an increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation under the A2 scenario. At high elevations, warming is amplified and future temperature distribution lies outside the range of present-day distribution. Compared to the Caribbean side, temperature changes are greater at high elevations on the Pacific side. Model results also show significant changes in precipitation amounts and variability and an increase in the altitude of cloud formation on the Pacific side that may have serious implications for mountain ecosystems in and around Costa Rica.