Thursday, November 10, 2016

Climate change already dramatically disrupting all elements of nature

Public Release: 10-Nov-2016
Study: climate change already dramatically disrupting all elements of nature
Study in journal Science says every aspect of life on earth impacted -- from genes to entire ecosystems
Wildlife Conservation Society

Global changes in temperature due to human-induced climate change have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth from genes to entire ecosystems, with increasingly unpredictable consequences for humans -- according to a new study published in the journal Science.

The study found a staggering 80 percent of 94 ecological processes that form the foundation for healthy marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems already show signs of distress and response to climate change.

Impacts to humans include increased pests and disease outbreaks, reduced productivity in fisheries, and decreasing agriculture yields.

"There is now clear evidence that, with only a ~1oC of warming globally, very major impacts are already being felt," said study lead author Dr Brett Scheffers of the University of Florida. "Genes are changing, species' physiology and physical features such as body size are changing, species are rapidly moving to keep track of suitable climate space, and there are now signs of entire ecosystems under stress."

Said the study's senior author, Dr. James Watson from the Wildlife Conservation Society and University of Queensland: "The level of change we have observed is quite astonishing considering we have only experienced a relatively small amount of climate change to date. It is no longer sensible to consider this a concern for the future. Policy makers and politicians must accept that if we don't curb greenhouse gas emissions, an environmental catastrophe is likely."


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