Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global warming capable of sparking mass species extinctions

12.04.2006


Joint study largely confirms earlier dire predictions of species loss from climate change



The Earth could see massive waves of species extinctions around the world if global warming continues unabated, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Conservation Biology.

Given its potential to damage areas far away from human habitation, the study finds that global warming represents one of the most pervasive threats to our planet’s biodiversity – in some areas rivaling and even surpassing deforestation as the main threat to biodiversity.


The study expands on a much-debated 2004 paper published in the journal Nature that suggested a quarter of the world’s species would be committed to extinction by 2050 as a result of global warming. This latest study picks up where the Nature paper left off, incorporating critiques and suggestions from other scientists while increasing the global scope of the research to include diverse hotspots around the world. The results reinforce the massive species extinction risks identified in the 2004 study.

"Climate change is rapidly becoming the most serious threats to the planet’s biodiversity," said lead author Dr. Jay Malcolm, an assistant forestry professor at the University of Toronto. "This study provides even stronger scientific evidence that global warming will result in catastrophic species loss across the planet."

Using vegetation models, the research is one of the first attempts to assess the potential effects of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity on a global scale rather than just looking at individual species. Scientists looked specifically at the effect that climate change would have on 25 of the 34 globally outstanding "biodiversity hotspots" – areas containing a large number of species unique to these regions alone, yet facing enormous threats.

"It isn’t just polar bears and penguins that we must worry about anymore," said Lee Hannah, co-author of the study and senior fellow for climate change at Conservation International. "The hotspots studied in this paper are essentially refugee camps for many of our planet’s most unique plant and animal species. If those areas are no longer habitable due to global warming then we will quite literally be destroying the last sanctuaries many of these species have left."

Since these biodiversity hotspots make up about one percent of the Earth’s surface, but contain 44 percent of all terrestrial vertebrate species and 35 percent of the world’s plant species, they are good indicators of the magnitude of global species that might be affected by rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

"These species lose their last options if we allow climate change to continue unchecked," said Dr. Lara Hansen, Chief Climate Scientist at global conservation group World Wildlife Fund. "Keeping the natural wealth of this planet means we must avoid dangerous climate change – and that means we have got to reduce carbon dioxide emissions."

Areas particularly vulnerable to climate change include the tropical Andes, the Cape Floristic region of South Africa, Southwest Australia, and the Atlantic forests of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.

These areas are particularly vulnerable because the species in these regions have restricted migration options due to geographical limitations.

Marshall Maher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.conservation.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>