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North Atlantic Oscillation signatures in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems—a meta-analysis

Authors

  • Thorsten Blenckner,

    Corresponding author
    1. Erken Laboratory, Department of Limnology, Evolution Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norr Malma 4200, S-76173 Norrtälje, Sweden
      Blenckner Thorsten, fax +46/176–229315, e-mail Thorsten.Blenckner@ebc.uu.se
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  • Helmut Hillebrand

    1. Erken Laboratory, Department of Limnology, Evolution Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norr Malma 4200, S-76173 Norrtälje, Sweden
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Blenckner Thorsten, fax +46/176–229315, e-mail Thorsten.Blenckner@ebc.uu.se

Abstract

Climate variations over the Northern Hemisphere are to a substantial proportion associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Recently, many studies revealed the impacts of the NAO on the dynamics of organisms in different ecosystems but the results in the single studies were inconsistent. Here, we used meta-analysis techniques for a quantitative synthesis of results. We tested the influence of the NAO on the timing of life history events, on biomass of organisms, and on biomass of different trophic levels. We found a clear NAO signature in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems. The response of life history events to the NAO was similar in all environments but less pronounced at higher latitudes. The magnitude of the biomass response was significantly related to the NAO, either positively in aquatic or negatively in terrestrial ecosystems. The response depended on longitude, the effect being less pronounced in Eastern Europe. The results stressed that a meta-analysis is a valuable tool in the field of climate-driven ecosystem responses and can identify more general ecological responses than single studies. We recommend the inclusion of nonsignificant results in order to archive an objective view of the strength of NAO and climate impacts in general.

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