worse than we thought – toll on plants and animals!

Human-enhanced climate change is taking its toll on the world’s plants, animals and physical environment much more quickly than previously thought, scientists have warned.

An international research team has found that many accounts of plants flowering early, birds changing their migration habits, and glaciers and mountain snow melting were most likely the result of rising greenhouses gases.

Climate change from greenhouse gases is not only affecting the temperature, David Karoly, a professor from the University of Melbourne’s school of earth sciences and a member of the research team, said yesterday.

“It is already affecting ecosystems, and other systems, like glaciers. It is happening earlier than previous studies would have indicated. When you look at the different signals across the globe, you can see that message very clearly.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 15 May 2008

worse than we thought – temperature!

If Earth’s past cycles of warming and cooling are any indication, temperatures by the end of the century will be even hotter than current climate models predict, according to a report by University of California, Berkeley, researchers.

Thus, while current models predict temperature increases of 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, the natural processes injecting more CO2 into the atmosphere will lead to temperature increases of 1.6 to 6 degrees Celsius (2.9 to 10.8 degrees Fahrenheit), with the higher temperatures more likely, the researchers said.

University of California, Berkeley, brightsurf.com, 25 May 2006 – screencopy held by this website

worse than we thought – animal extinctions 2

Life on Earth is facing an extinction crisis that could be far worse than previously thought, according to two leading ecologists who have studied the rate at which animal populations are being lost.

The scientists have found that the geographical ranges of 173 species of mammals have declined, collectively, by more than 50 per cent over several decades, indicating a severe constriction of the animals’ breeding territories.

Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University in California and Gerardo Ceballos of Mexico University believe that the loss of viable breeding populations is a critical factor that has often been overlooked. The loss of species diversity has correctly attracted much attention from the general public and decision makers.

“It is now the job of the community of environmental scientists to give equal prominence to the issue of the loss of population diversity,” Professor Ehrlich said. “We are talking about nothing less than the preservation of human life-support systems. We neglect the issue at our peril.”

Mysterium, 3 May 2002

worse than we thought – global food production 2

Climate change is set to do far worse damage to global food production than even the gloomiest of previous forecasts, according to studies presented at the Royal Society in London, UK, on Tuesday.

“We need to seriously re-examine our predictions of future global food production,” said Steve Long, a crop scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US. Output is “likely to be far lower than previously estimated”.

New Scientist, 26 Apr 2005

worse than we thought – oysters affected!

Sydney oyster lovers are in for an unpalatable surprise. A global conference in Monaco next week on the rising acidity of the world’s oceans will hear research that shows a detrimental effect on local oyster species.

A Sydney marine biologist, Laura Parker, will tell the conference that the Sydney rock oyster will be especially vulnerable to the rise in seawater acidity that is expected to take place over the next few decades.

“I thought they would have an impact but not as badly as the results showed,” Ms Parker told the Herald yesterday just before leaving for the world conference, which is supported by UNESCO.

Scientists from the Australian Antarctic Division and the University of Hobart who have led efforts at investigating acidification in the Southern Ocean will also be attending.

Scientists say the problem comes on top of global warming, which is also caused by rising emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Sydney Morning Herald, 4 Oct 2008