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Species will reach a sharp tipping point due to warming



Warming will push the species to a sharp tipping point.  / European Press.

Warming will push the species to a sharp tipping point. / European Press.

A new study from Nature Ecology & Evolution predicts when and where climate change could expose species around the world to potentially dangerous temperatures.

A team of researchers from UCL, the University of Cape Town, the University of Connecticut and the University of Buffalo analyzed data from more than 35,000 animal species, including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, corals, fish, cephalopods and plankton. Seagrass for all continents and ocean basins and climate projections to 2100.

The researchers found that areas within each geographic range exceeded the thermal exposure threshold, defined as the first five years of continuous excess of the most extreme monthly temperatures historically experienced by species within that geographic range. Analyzed the time. 2014).

Exceeding the thermal exposure threshold does not necessarily cause the animal to die, but there is no evidence that it can survive at higher temperatures, which could lead to abrupt loss of future habitat for many species. That’s what research projects mean. climate change.

The researchers found a consistent trend for many animals to exceed heat exposure thresholds in many of their geographic ranges within the same decade.

Lead author Dr. Alex Pigott (UCL Center for Biodiversity and Environmental Research, UCL Biosciences) said in a statement: “It is unlikely that climate change will make the environment progressively less viable for animals. In contrast, for many animals, large areas of geographic range are unlikely to be degraded.” Areas can experience abnormally high temperatures for short periods of time.

“While some animals can tolerate these high temperatures, many others will have to move to colder regions or evolve to adapt, which is probably not possible in such a short period of time. is.

“Our findings suggest that once a species begins to find itself suffering under unknown conditions, it may be a very short period before most of its range becomes uninhabitable. It is therefore important to identify early which species may be endangered for decades to come.

The researchers found that the degree of global warming makes a big difference. A global warming of 1.5°C would put 15% of the species studied at risk of encountering abnormally high temperatures over at least 30% of their existing geographic range. However, at 2.5°C warming, this doubles to 30% of species.

“Our study is another example of why carbon emissions need to be cut urgently to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on flora and fauna and avoid the threat of mass extinction,” said Dr Piggott. ,” he added.

The researchers hope the study will guide conservation efforts, as their data provides an early warning system that indicates when and where specific animals may be at risk. .

Co-author Dr Christopher Trissos (African Climate Development Initiative, University of Cape Town) said: “We used to have snapshots of the impacts of climate change, but here we present the data in a more cinematic way. You can see how changes play out over time. , shows that for many species, risk is something that happens everywhere, everywhere, at the same time.By encouraging this process, it is too late to reflect directly on conservation actions sooner. Climate change can have devastating consequences if left unchecked.”

The researchers say this sudden pattern of exposure could be an inevitable feature of living on a round planet. Due to the shape of the Earth, environments closer to the hot end, such as colder regions, have more surface area available than species are traditionally accustomed to. A lying region or near the equator.

A previous study by the same lead authors found that even if climate change were halted so that global temperatures peaked and began to decline, risks to biodiversity could persist for decades. bottom. Another analysis, similar to the present study, found that many species facing unknown temperatures coexisted with other animals experiencing similar heat shocks, posing significant risks to local ecosystem functioning. It turned out that it could cause

Source: Diario.Elmundo

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