global warming and biodiversity pdf

Global warming and biodiversity pdf

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Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity



The effects of climate change span the physical environment , ecosystems and human societies. It also includes the economic and social changes which stem from living in a warmer world. Human-caused climate change is one of the threats to sustainability.

Many physical impacts of climate change are already visible, including extreme weather events, glacier retreat , [7] changes in the timing of seasonal events e.

Climate change has already impacted ecosystems and humans. This, in combination with extreme weather events, leads to negative effects on human health. Climate change has also contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions of the world.

The future impact of climate change depends on the extent to which nations implement prevention efforts , reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt to unavoidable climate change effects. The focus on a limited time window obscures some of the problems associated with climate change. Policy decisions made in the next few decades will have profound impacts on the global climate, ecosystems and human societies, not just for this century, but for the next millennia, as near-term climate change policies significantly affect long-term climate change impacts.

Global warming refers to the long-term rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system. Individual consumers, corporate decision makers, the fossil fuel industries, government responses and the extent to which different countries agree to cooperate all have a profound impact on how much greenhouse gases the worlds emits.

As the crisis and modelling techniques have evolved, the IPCC and other climate scientists have tried a number of different tools to estimate likely greenhouse gas emissions in the future. Representative Concentration Pathways RCPs were based on possible differences in radiative forcing occurring in the next years but do not include socioeconomic "narratives" to go alongside them.

The SSPs describe five different trajectories which describe future climactic developments in the absence of new environmental policies beyond those in place today. They also explore the implications of different climate change mitigation scenarios. The range in temperature projections partly reflects the choice of emissions scenario , and the degree of " climate sensitivity ".

The IPCC's Fifth Report , states that relative to the average from year to , global surface temperature change by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1. The pathway with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, RCP8. Mitigation policies currently in place will result in about 3. However, if current plans are not actually implemented, global warming is expected to reach 4. There is a substantial gap between national plans and commitments and actual actions so far taken by governments around the world.

One of the methods scientists use to predict the effects of human-caused climate change, is to investigate past natural changes in climate.

By the end of the 21st century, temperatures may increase to a level not experienced since the mid- Pliocene , around 3 million years ago. A broad range of evidence shows that the climate system has warmed. Some of the graphs show a positive trend , e. Other graphs show a negative trend, such as decreased snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere , and declining Arctic sea ice , both of which are indicative of global warming. Evidence of warming is also apparent in living biological systems such as changes in distribution of flora and fauna towards the poles.

Global warming leads to an increase in extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, cyclones, blizzards and rainstorms. Higher temperatures lead to increased evaporation and surface drying. As the air warms, its water-holding capacity also increases, particularly over the oceans. Widespread increases in heavy precipitation have occurred even in places where total rain amounts have decreased.

Projections of future changes in precipitation show overall increases in the global average, but with substantial shifts in where and how precipitation falls. In other words, regions which are dry at present will in general become even drier, while regions that are currently wet will in general become even wetter.

Future climate change will include more very hot days and fewer very cold days. In the last 30—40 years, heat waves with high humidity have become more frequent and severe. Extremely hot nights have doubled in frequency. The area in which extremely hot summers are observed has increased 50— fold. These changes are not explained by natural variability, and are attributed by climate scientists to the influence of anthropogenic climate change. Heat waves with high humidity pose a big risk to human health while heat waves with low humidity lead to dry conditions that increase wildfires.

The mortality from extreme heat is larger than the mortality from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes together. Global warming not only causes changes in tropical cyclones, it may also make some impacts from them worse via sea level rise. The intensity of tropical cyclones hurricanes, typhoons, etc. Furthermore, the rate of rainfall is projected to increase, but trends in the future frequency on a global scale are not yet clear.

The main statements of the report include:. Climate change will also cause soils to warm. Warmer conditions would favor growth of certain bacteria species, shifting the bacterial community composition. Elevated carbon dioxide would increase the growth rates of plants and soil microbes, slowing the soil carbon cycle and favoring oligotrophs , which are slower-growing and more resource efficient than copiotrophs. Warmer air holds more water vapor. When this turns to rain, it tends to come in heavy downpours potentially leading to more floods.

Over time that would submerge many of the world's coastal cities including low-lying islands, especially combined with storm surges and high tides. Climate change affects multiple factors associated with droughts , such as how much rain falls and how fast the rain evaporates again. It is set to increase the severity and frequency of droughts around much of the world. Some areas however, such as the Mediterranean and California , already show a clear human signature.

Prolonged periods of warmer temperatures typically cause soil and underbrush to be drier for longer periods, increasing the risk of wildfires. Hot, dry conditions increase the likelihood that wildfires will be more intense and burn for longer once they start.

As a result, since the s, both the size and ferocity of fires in California have increased. Since the s, the size of the area burned has increased fivefold. The country has always had bushfires but in , the extent and ferocity of these fires increased dramatically. The cryosphere is made up of those parts of the planet which are so cold, they are frozen and covered by snow or ice. This includes ice and snow on land such as the continental ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as glaciers and areas of snow and permafrost; and ice found on water including frozen parts of the ocean, such as the waters surrounding Antarctica and the Arctic.

According to the report climate change caused a massive melting of glaciers, ice sheets, snow and permafrost with generally negative effects on ecosystems and humans. Indigenous knowledge helped to adapt to those effects. Arctic sea ice began to decline at the beginning of the twentieth century but the rate is accelerating. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, there has also been a widespread retreat of alpine glaciers , [97] and snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere.

Global warming is projected to have a number of effects on the oceans. Ongoing effects include rising sea levels due to thermal expansion and melting of glaciers and ice sheets, and warming of the ocean surface, leading to increased temperature stratification. The oceans also serve as a sink for carbon dioxide, taking up much that would otherwise remain in the atmosphere, but increased levels of CO 2 have led to ocean acidification.

Furthermore, as the temperature of the oceans increases, they become less able to absorb excess CO 2. The oceans have also acted as a sink in absorbing extra heat from the atmosphere.

According to a Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , climate change has different impacts on the oceans, including an increase in marine heatwaves , shift in species distribution, ocean deoxygenation. The decline in mixing of the ocean layers piles up warm water near the surface while reducing cold, deep water circulation. The reduced up and down mixing enhanced global warming. Furthermore, energy available for tropical cyclones and other storms is expected to increase, nutrients for fish in the upper ocean layers are set to decrease, as well as the capacity of the oceans to store carbon.

With less solar energy, the sea ice absorbs and holds the surface colder, which can be a positive feedback toward climate change. Warmer water cannot contain as much oxygen as cold water, so heating is expected to lead to less oxygen in the ocean. Other processes also play a role: stratification may lead to increases in respiration rates of organic matter, further decreasing oxygen content.

The ocean has already lost oxygen, throughout the entire water column and oxygen minimum zones are expanding worldwide. As well as having effects on ecosystems e.

Global sea level rise is accelerating, rising 2. The first is thermal expansion : as ocean water warms, it expands. The second is from the melting of land-based ice in glaciers and ice sheets due to global warming. Even if emission of greenhouse gases stops overnight, sea level rise will continue for centuries to come. Recent warming has strongly affected natural biological systems.

On land, species move to higher elevations, whereas marine species find colder water at greater depths. The impacts of climate change in nature and nature's contributions to humans are projected to become more pronounced in the next few decades. The stresses caused by climate change, added to other stresses on ecological systems e. Climate change has been estimated to be a major driver of biodiversity loss in cool conifer forests, savannas , mediterranean-climate systems, tropical forests , and the Arctic tundra.

Interacting with these pressures, climate change increases extinction risk for a large fraction of terrestrial and freshwater species. Warm water coral reefs are very sensitive to global warming and ocean acidification. Coral reefs provide a habitat for thousands of species and ecosystem services such as coastal protection and food.

The resilience of reefs can be improved by curbing local pollution and overfishing, but most warm water coral reefs will disappear even if warming is kept to 1. This acidification poses a serious threat to aquatic life, particularly creatures such as oysters, clams, and coral with calcified shells or skeletons.

Regional effects of global warming vary in nature. Some are the result of a generalised global change, such as rising temperature, resulting in local effects, such as melting ice. In other cases, a change may be related to a change in a particular ocean current or weather system.

In such cases, the regional effect may be disproportionate and will not necessarily follow the global trend. There are three major ways in which global warming will make changes to regional climate: melting or forming ice, changing the hydrological cycle of evaporation and precipitation and changing currents in the oceans and air flows in the atmosphere.

The coast can also be considered a region, and will suffer severe impacts from sea level rise.

Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity

In present scenario, increase in temperature is majorly due to human activities Eichenlaub et al. It is mainly caused when there is increase in the carbon dioxide level, greenhouse gases when fossil fuels are burned as also due to deforestation. When these gases increase without any change in the other gases in the atmosphere will result in increase in temperature of the planet Ahrens, There is increase in concentration of the atmospheric gases as recorded. The concentration of methane in the atmosphere is per cent and the concentration of carbon dioxide is 31 per cent. During last few centuries there is a rapid increase in the temperature mainly due to the gases which evolve from industries. The results of increase in gases have shown increase in the sea level Geiger et al.

Climate change is happening — the extensive and critically accepted reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC have removed any remaining doubt. One particularly visible sight that brings climate change to the attention of the public is the series of large tracts of bleached coral on the Great Barrier Reef resulting from unusually warm summers. The Great Barrier Reef is an Australian icon, symbolic of the wealth of Australia's biological diversity. It is the nursery to fishing industries and is visited by thousands of tourists each year, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into our community. While the high visibility of coral bleaching has made us aware of this impact of climate change we should be equally concerned about the many other, less obvious but perhaps equally damaging impacts of climate change on biological assets and ecosystem processes.

climate change and consequent biodiversity loss in the whole of Africa - the accessed online at


Handbook of Climate Change Mitigation pp Cite as. Maintaining biodiversity provides greater food security, opportunities for economic development, and provides a foundation for new pharmaceuticals and other medical advances. Extinction rates in the future are very difficult to predict. Such losses will drastically lower the quality of life for humans and will take millions of years to reverse.

Effects of climate change on biodiversity: a review and identification of key research issues

Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. Sarkar Published Environmental Science.

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Current knowledge of effects of climate change on biodiversity is briefly reviewed, and results are presented of a survey of biological research groups in the Netherlands, aimed at identifying key research issues in this field. In many areas of the world, biodiversity is being reduced by humankind through changes in land cover and use, pollution, invasions of exotic species and possibly climate change. Assessing the impact of climate change on biodiversity is difficult, because changes occur slowly and effects of climate change interact with other stress factors already imposed on the environment. Research issues identified by Dutch scientists can be grouped into: i spatial and temporal distributions of taxa; ii migration and dispersal potentials of taxa; iii genetic diversity and viability of meta populations of species; iv physiological tolerance of species; v disturbance of functional interactions between species; and vi ecosystem processes. Additional research should be done on direct effects of greenhouse gases, and on interactions between effects of climate change and habitat fragmentation. There are still many gaps in our knowledge of effects of climate change on biodiversity. An interdisciplinary research programme could possibly focus only on one or few of the identified research issues, and should generate input data for predictive models based on climate change scenarios.

Thank you for visiting nature. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer. In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. To the Editor — The international community is failing to fulfil multiple policies that aim to mitigate the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss 1. For instance, the biodiversity targets set out by the Convention on Biological Diversity CBD for , will not be fully met 1.

Consequences of global climate change for geographic distributions of cerrado tree species. CEP: Campinas, SP, Brasil. University of Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas USA.

Urgent need for an integrated policy framework for biodiversity loss and climate change

The effects of climate change span the physical environment , ecosystems and human societies. It also includes the economic and social changes which stem from living in a warmer world. Human-caused climate change is one of the threats to sustainability.


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