Skip to comments.Effects of Climate Warming Already in Evidence
Posted on 04/03/2002 9:57:45 AM PST by cogitator
Effects of Climate Warming Already in Evidence
WASHINGTON, DC, March 29, 2002 (ENS) - Ecosystems around the globe are showing the effects of climate warming. Earlier arrival of migrant birds, earlier appearance of butterflies, earlier spawning in amphibians, earlier flowering of plants - spring has been coming sooner every year since the 1960s, researchers reported Wednesday.
The report from German scientists investigates all regions of the globe. They predict some species will vanish because they cannot expand into new areas when their native climate heats up.
"Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological responses to recent climate change are already clearly visible," write Gian-Reto Walther of the University of Hanover, Germany, and colleagues in this week's issue of the journal "Nature."
After reviewing changes in various animal and plant populations over the past 30 years of warming at the end of the 20th century, the authors found "a coherent pattern of ecological change across systems" from the poles to the equatorial seas.
"There is now ample evidence that these recent climatic changes have affected a broad range of organisms with diverse geographical distributions," Walther and his team report.
"The implications of such large scale, consistent responses to relatively low average rates of climate change are large," the researchers warn, adding that, "the projected warming for the coming decades raises even more concern about its ecological and socio-economic consequences."
The Earth's climate has warmed by about 0.6 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years, the researchers note. Starting around 1976, the rate of global warming more than doubled, changing faster than at any other time during the last 1,000 years.
However, average global climate has far less effect on local ecosystems than do local and regional climate changes.
The reproduction of amphibians and reptiles is disrupted by changes in temperature and humidity. In painted turtles, the ration of male to female offspring is related to the mean July temperature, said Walther, and the production of male offspring could be compromised even by modest temperature increases.
In the polar regions, winter freezes are now occurring later and ending earlier, leading to a 10 percent decrease in snow and ice cover since the late 1960s.
These dramatic local changes are having equally dramatic effects on cold weather species such as penguins, seals and polar bears, the researchers found.
Miniscule Southern Ocean crustaceans called krill, a key food source for higher predators such as penguins and other seabirds, whales, seals, as well as a fishery target, are being influenced by climate change. Walther's team found the warming climate is affecting the reproductive grounds of krill by reducing the area of sea ice formed near the Antarctic Peninsula, which leads to both food web and human economic consequences.
Rapid environmental warming has been reported over the last 30 to 50 years at a number of stations in the Antarctic, particularly in the Antarctic Peninsula region and on sub-Antarctic islands, along with changes in precipitation patterns.
Likewise, tropical oceans have increased in temperature by up to eight degrees Celsius over the past 100 years, the research team has found, triggering widespread coral bleaching.
Climate linked invasions of warm weather species into traditionally colder areas includes the immigration of unwanted neighbors - epidemic diseases. "There is much evidence that a steady rise in annual temperatures has been associated with expanding mosquito borne diseases in the highlands of Asia, East Africa and Latin America," the study says.
Geographical differences are evident for both plants and birds, with delayed rather than earlier onset of spring phases in southeastern Europe, including later bird arrival in the Slovak Republic, and a later start of the growing season in the Balkan region, the team has found.
Later onset of autumn changes were recorded, too, but these shifts are less pronounced and show a more variable pattern. In Europe, for example, the length of the growing season has increased in some areas by up to 3.6 days per decade over the past 50 years.
Overall, Walther's team reports, "trends of range changes show remarkable internal consistency between studies relating to glaciers, plant and insect ranges and shifting isotherms," which are lines of constant temperature.
The study concludes that based on the evidence "only 30 years of warmer temperatures at the end of the 20th century have affected the phenology [timing of seasonal activities] of organisms, the range and distribution of species, and the composition and dynamics of communities."
Abstract: There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change, from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The responses of both flora and fauna span an array of ecosystems and organizational hierarchies, from the species to the community levels. Despite continued uncertainty as to community and ecosystem trajectories under global change, our review exposes a coherent pattern of ecological change across systems. Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological responses to recent climate change are already clearly visible.
(It's got 97 references. Holy cow.)
Here in Central Ohio, we had a very mild winter.
I love it!
What ever we're doing, Lets do more!!!!
Not everyone buys into the enviromentalist groupthink. And those who don't, get vilified.
The climate fluctuates, this happens, one year doesn't necessarily predict the next, one area doesn't necessarily reflect another. The only thing we know for sure is that ice ages last longer than temperate times so we should count ourselves lucky.
In New York too! Its been so mild. Its already 72 degrees. The only thing we need is rain.
watch out 51,
Yesterday it was 70
Today it's 39 - and headed your way....
all in all, alot nicer than when I was a kid.
we'll send you some rain!
"This temperature update presents the NASA satellite measurements of monthly temperature anomalies-the difference between the observed values and the 19791998 mean values. Global satellite measurements are made from a series of orbiting platforms that sense the average temperature in various atmospheric layers. Here, we present the lowest level, which matches nearly perfectly with the mean temperatures measured by weather balloons in the layer between 5,000 and 28,000 feet. The satellite measurements are considered accurate to within 0.01 deg C and provide more uniform coverage of the entire globe than surface measurements, which tend to concentrate over land.
"February 2002: The average global temperature departure was 0.206 deg C, with a Northern Hemisphere departure of 0.307 deg C and a Southern Hemisphere departure of 0.106 deg C.
"Below: Monthly satellite temperatures for the Northern Hemisphere (top) and Southern Hemisphere (bottom). Trend lines indicate statistically significant changes only."
Not only is the "increase" in the northern hemisphere much less than the rate predicted by the global-warming doomsters, it is (partially) offset by a distinct cooling of the southern hemisphere. In any event, nothing in this report or anywhere else can demonstrate that any warming trend--or cooling trend--is of human origin.
Much more likely to be of natural origin; e.g., changes in the solar "constant."
But these people are pursuing a hidden agenda, which is socialist and Luddite. They want to cause a precipitous rash of bad decisions based on panic--decisions which would never be adopted if cool reason held sway.
In sum, my response: Get back to us when you have a few millennia of solid, corroborrated data...then we might begin to decide if there's a problem.
Typical liberal environmental science. It is all anecdotal with no firm statistical analysis
But I'll never live in the snow belt. It takes about 5 minutes to recover from heat once you get in air conditioning, compared to the hour or so it takes to warm up again coming in out of the cold (I used to live in Chicago, I know cold).
It has been funny watching the global warming arguement from here though. Since that vicsious spike in 1990 things here have been definitely cooler. We went from snow every 5 years to snow every year (not "real" snow, it never sticks here, just white crap falling from the sky and screwing up traffic for a couple of hours), and the last couple years we've had multiple snow or near snow (melts before hitting the ground but if you work in a tall building you can see it) days. Meanwhile the last few summers have been comparitively mild.
Those Freepers not used to seeing the raw data from which these "scientists" make their predictions should take a close look at these plots. Do any of you in the lay public see any consitent trend in the data over the last several decades? The "signal to noise ratio" is very high.
Should America be volunteering to gut our economy and send our money to the developing world based on these data?
HELLO!?!?!?! Have not 99.9% of all thr species of plant and animal life that have existed on the Planet Earth become extinct before man existed?
Since we know the earth goes through natural warming and cooling cycles, and that we are currently in an interglacial period when one would expect natural warming, why does global warming carry a more ominous tone than a study confirming that the sun will rise, winter will arrive, and the tides will indeed come in?
Good! Spring is life. Only a moron would want more dead winter.
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