Warming Temperatures May Cause Loss of 30% of Species
An increase of 3.6 degrees does not sound like much to humans, but to small species, even the slightest increase could be catastrophic. Species typically respond to warming temperatures by moving to a colder climate by traveling north or to a higher elevation; however, some species may not be able to respond to climate change with this method warn scientists.
The New York Times explains:
Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel.
Polar bears have become the icons of this climate threat. But scientists say that tens of thousands of smaller species that live in the tropics or on or near mountaintops are equally, if not more, vulnerable...
"It's a really simple story that at some point you can't go further north or higher up, so there's no doubt that species will go extinct," said Walter Jetz, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale, whose research last year predicted that a third of the 1,000 mountain birds he studied, or 300 species, would be threatened because warming temperatures would decimate their habitats.
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Posted by Jennifer Lance at January 27, 2011 1:24 AM