By Geena Fowles
4 May 2015
(America Herald) – A massive 16 percent of our planet’s species may be facing extinction by 2100 as a result of the havoc that climate change is wreaking, a recent study published in Science states.
According to a team of researchers, the ever-increasing temperatures will contribute to the wipe-out of one in six animal species on Earth. In the following 100 years, Earth temperatures will rise by 4.3 degrees Celsius, bringing the overall temperatures well over those of the pre-industrial era.
This conclusion is the result of a meta-analysis (a comprehensive study comparing the body of evidence approaching a particular issue). Researchers evaluated the results of 131 current studies on the matter of temperature rise and its repercussions on biodiversity.
Since temperature increases represent the major effects of climate change, a 2 degree increase in worldwide temperatures are enough to significantly alter weather patterns as well as floral patterns. Consequently, the fauna inhabiting specific areas will suffer the direct consequences.
Bird populations may begin flocking towards colder areas while other species could die-out altogether as a result of massive shifts in their ideal food choices.
Reptiles and amphibians seem to be facing the highest risk of extinction, with New Zealand, South America, and Australia being the most probable targets of the aforementioned extinctions.
Researchers explain that, because of a limited land mass where animal populations can relocate, certain inhabitants won’t be able to move in the face of a crisis. While the 2 degree increase is correlated with a 5.2 percent population drop, the 4.3 degree increase is believed to extinguish approximately 16 percent of the masses. [more]
ABSTRACT: Current predictions of extinction risks from climate change vary widely depending on the specific assumptions and geographic and taxonomic focus of each study. I synthesized published studies in order to estimate a global mean extinction rate and determine which factors contribute the greatest uncertainty to climate change–induced extinction risks. Results suggest that extinction risks will accelerate with future global temperatures, threatening up to one in six species under current policies. Extinction risks were highest in South America, Australia, and New Zealand, and risks did not vary by taxonomic group. Realistic assumptions about extinction debt and dispersal capacity substantially increased extinction risks. We urgently need to adopt strategies that limit further climate change if we are to avoid an acceleration of global extinctions.