November 21, 2006
|Global Warming Killing Off Species Faster Than Expected||Environment|
Global warming is forcing adaptations and extinctions among plant and animal species at a much faster rate than anyone anticipated. AP:
Animal and plant species have begun dying off or changing sooner than predicted because of global warming, a review of hundreds of research studies contends.
These fast-moving adaptations come as a surprise even to biologists and ecologists because they are occurring so rapidly.
At least 70 species of frogs, mostly mountain-dwellers that had nowhere to go to escape the creeping heat, have gone extinct because of climate change, the analysis says. It also reports that between 100 and 200 other cold-dependent animal species, such as penguins and polar bears are in deep trouble.
"We are finally seeing species going extinct," said University of Texas biologist Camille Parmesan, author of the study. "Now we've got the evidence. It's here. It's real. This is not just biologists' intuition. It's what's happening." [...]
Parmesan reports seeing trends of animal populations moving northward if they can, of species adapting slightly because of climate change, of plants blooming earlier, and of an increase in pests and parasites.
Parmesan and others have been predicting such changes for years, but even she was surprised to find evidence that it's already happening; she figured it would be another decade away.
Just five years ago biologists, though not complacent, figured the harmful biological effects of global warming were much farther down the road, said Douglas Futuyma, professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York in Stony Brook.
"I feel as though we are staring crisis in the face," Futuyma said. "It's not just down the road somewhere. It is just hurtling toward us. Anyone who is 10 years old right now is going to be facing a very different and frightening world by the time that they are 50 or 60." [Emphasis added]
Every study that comes out shows it's all happening faster than anyone expected. It seems likely, therefore, that there's a corollary: the endgame is going to be a lot more severe than anyone expected.
Down here in the real world, not all stories have happy endings.
Proof that anyone who creates a child these days is a sadist or a fool.
Posted by: Derek at November 22, 2006 02:32 PM