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Nat Commun ; 15(1): 549, 2024 Jan 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38263406


Temperature is a fundamental driver of species distribution and ecosystem functioning. Yet, our knowledge of the microclimatic conditions experienced by organisms inside tropical forests remains limited. This is because ecological studies often rely on coarse-gridded temperature estimates representing the conditions at 2 m height in an open-air environment (i.e., macroclimate). In this study, we present a high-resolution pantropical estimate of near-ground (15 cm above the surface) temperatures inside forests. We quantify diurnal and seasonal variability, thus revealing both spatial and temporal microclimate patterns. We find that on average, understory near-ground temperatures are 1.6 °C cooler than the open-air temperatures. The diurnal temperature range is on average 1.7 °C lower inside the forests, in comparison to open-air conditions. More importantly, we demonstrate a substantial spatial variability in the microclimate characteristics of tropical forests. This variability is regulated by a combination of large-scale climate conditions, vegetation structure and topography, and hence could not be captured by existing macroclimate grids. Our results thus contribute to quantifying the actual thermal ranges experienced by organisms inside tropical forests and provide new insights into how these limits may be affected by climate change and ecosystem disturbances.

Ecossistema , Florestas , Temperatura , Mudança Climática , Sistemas Computacionais