/ Modified jan 2, 2024 2:53 p.m.

UA scientists uncover methodology problem in climate research

Correcting it could change investigative techniques in use for years.

Climate Method Ponderosa pine forest

A team of University of Arizona researchers has found problems with a method widely used to predict the impact of climate change.

UA tree ring analyst Daniel Parret co-authored a study focused on a technique climate scientists have used for decades.

"I think that the phenomenon might be really widespread across ecology, across biomes, and in different systems," he said. "I would love to explore that further and see how widespread this issue and problem is."

The method is called space-for-time substitution. It suggests if you put a species in a hotter climate it can be an example of how that same species would fare in a cooler location over time that has a warmer future. Parret says scientists make a mistake assuming that those species would react positively to changes in temperature.

The study appears in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences.

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