Global warming affects both habitats and the species that rely on them (Foden et al 2013). Vegetation zones are projected to shift northward, (e.g. tundra will turn into forests and polar deserts will turn into tundra (ACIA 2006) and it is predicted that forest will replace from half to two thirds of tundra. (University of Cambridge 2006). In Polar Regions, the sea ice is fundamental for species which rely on ice for resting, feeding and breeding. In a greenhouse future, the progressively earlier break-up of the Arctic sea ice, would increase starvation rates and decrease birth rates in marine mammals (CBD 2007). Mountain glaciers are expected to continue shrinking, causing habitat impacts for many species. Changes in rainfall and snowfall also affects streamflows and wetlands, affecting wildlife and possibly accelerating the invasion of non-native plants into streamside habitats (AMAP 2012). Projected sea level rise would inundate wetlands and lowlands and would increase the saltwater intrusion in marshes, estuaries and aquifers that would affect wildlife around the world (Pearce-Kelly et al 2013).
Find out more:
- AMAP, 2012. Arctic Climate Issues 2011: Changes in Arctic Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost. SWIPA 2011 Overview Report. AMAPs 2011 assessment of the Arctic Cryosphere (the SWIPA assessment) updates information presented in the 2004/5 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.
- BARNOSKY et al (2012): Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere. Nature 486: 52–58.
- FODEN, W. B., MACE, G. M., VIÉ, J.-C., ANGULO, A.,BUTCHART, S. H. M., DEVANTIER, L., DUBLIN, H. T., GUTSCHE, A., STUART, S. N. & TURAK, E. (2008): Species and case studies. Conservation Biology 24: 63–69
- Foden et al (2013) Identifying the World’s Most Climate Change Vulnerable Species: A Systematic Trait-Based Assessment of all Birds, Amphibians and Corals. PLoS ONE 8(6): e65427. doi:10.1371.
- HOEGH-GULDBERG, O. & BRUNO, J. F. (2010): The impact of climate change on the world’s marine ecosystems. Science 328: 1523–1528.
- PARMESAN, C. & YOHE, G. (2003): A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421: 37–42.
- Pearce-Kelly, P., Khela, S., Ferry, A.C. & Field, D. (2013) Climate-change impact considerations for freshwater-fish conservation, with special reference to the aquarium and zoo community. Int. Zoo Yb. (2013) 47: 81–92 DOI:10.1111/izy.12016
- Titus J. and Barth M. 1984. Greenhouse effect and sea level rise: a challenge for this generation. Ch 1. An overview of the causes and effects of the sea level rise. EPA. (Book)
- WALKER, B. (2001): Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems Nature 413: 591–596.