Most species on this planet have been impacted by climate change in spite of doubting Thomases, all the president’s men and skeptical scientists. Recent studies have illustrated how widespread these climactic changes are in altering life on the planet and the animals that inhabit it.
A matter of a degree . . .
“It is reasonable to suggest that most species on Earth have been impacted by climate change in some way or another,” said Bret Scheffers who heads of research group with the University of Florida.
Scheffers' scientific study was the first to suggest that just the drop of “one degree Celsius” can leave a discernible mark. The proof is daunting. It’s been determined 77 of 94 different ecological processes have been affected, including species’ genetics, seasonal responses, overall distribution, and even morphology [animals' physical traits, including body size and shape.]
Darwin would be amazed
Examples of evolutionary change is pervasive globally. The population of woodland salamanders is diminishing in the Appalachian Mountains. The long-billed, Arctic-breeding red knot is producing smaller young with less impressive bills leading to survival difficulties.
The alpine chipmunks of Yellowstone National Park have actually experienced the shape of their skulls changing due to climate pressure.
Pink salmon genetics have evolved in a way, which is producing earlier migrations – with fewer salmon encoding their genes for earlier migrations.
In making its way north, the southern flying squirrel has begun hybridizing with the northern flying squirrels. The water flea has seen its genetics change over just a few decades to respond to higher water temperatures.
Where The Animals Go
"Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics" by Oliver Uberti and James Cheshire is a seminal work pertaining to animal behavior alterations due to climate change. The co-authors use stunning visuals and data-driven research to show how the migration patterns have been altered due to a changing temperatures.
The Zozu stork typically sojourns in southern Africa for the winter. Yet when researchers at Germany’s Max Plank Institute for Ornithology tracked the bird’s path using a GPS logger in 2016, they found that this species had skipped the global warming heat of the migration across the Sahara Desert.
Like jet-setters, this year, the birds did stop-overs in cities like Madrid, Spain, and Rabat, Morocco. Apparently, they had developed a taste for junk food — in particular the stuff that piles up in landfills along their new migration route.
Global Warming leads to extinction
John Wiens who leads a study on climate change at the University of Arizona warns: “If global warming continues, species that cannot change or move quickly enough may go globally extinct.”
Such global extinctions have already occurred. Scientists have recorded that the Bramble Cay melomys – an Australian rat-like rodent – went extinct recently (it was last seen in 2007) due to rising seas inundating its tiny coral island. It’s the first mammal confirmed to be pushed to extinction entirely due to climate change.
Ignoring Climate Change is dangerous . . .
“Wisdom comes from combining truth with beliefs. There is a global scientific consensus around climate change and its impacts on nature and humans. It is true that climate change will have devastating impacts on human health and quality of life,” Scheffers said, noting that the Trump Administration’s current flirtation with pulling out of the Paris Agreement “is not only an unwise decision but a dangerous decision.”
Today's political climate shouldn't be affecting our planet's climate, don't you think? Your thoughts, readers?
Primary Source: Where Animals Go