Species biodiversity under threat from the velocity of climate change

Scientists have been able to calculate the velocity of climate change on land and ocean environments using temperature records to determine isotherms and their change in a fifty year period from 1960 to 2009. So how fast are climate envelopes moving? The general median answer is 27.3 km/decade on land, and 21.7 km/decade in the ocean. This equates to a speed needed to outrun climate change on land (2.7 kilometers per year) and in the oceans (2.2 kilometers per year). This rate of movement of thermal climate envelopes poses problems for species facing a high speed migration, or a difficult and abrupt adaptation or extinction.

Related: Indybay - Climate change and habitat loss threaten biodiversity, extinction rate underestimated | Science Network WA - Rare frog population sent to the South-West

Here is how scientists measured the velocity of climate change ocurring:

We used global surface temperatures over 50 years (1960-2009) to calculate the distribution of the velocity and seasonal shifts of isotherm migration over land and ocean on a 1°-by-1° grid. The velocity of climate change (in km/year) was calculated as the ratio of the long-term temperature trend (in °C/year) to the two-dimensional spatial gradient in temperature (in °C/km, calculated over a 3°-by-3° grid), oriented along the spatial gradient. We introduced the seasonal climate shift (in days/decade) as the ratio of the long-term temperature trend (°C/year) to the seasonal rate of change in temperature (°C/day). We present seasonal shifts for spring and fall globally using April and October temperatures.

For terrestrial species this involves migration polewards or to a greater altitude. For species that live on the top of mountains, ecosystem islands in the sky, they face a grim future of adapting to a warmer environment or extinction as they compete with species moving up from lower altitudes.

But even for those species with the ability to migrate further north in the northern hemisphere, or south in the southern hemisphere, there are often large and substantial obstacles to hinder and prevent migration. Our cites and towns with criss-crossing patterns of railways and roads, our farms and mastery of agricultural land has cornered many species in isolated reserves and nature parks with remnant ecosystems often with no congruent ecosytem links to related ecosystem areas to allow species to migrate to follow their climate envelope. These species face a grim future of crossing hostile man-made landscapes to stay within their climate envelope or adapt to the changing climate in their island reserves with a high risk of extinction.

Birds with their agile mobility will probably fair better at migration than ground dwelling creatures, but plants will face enormous difficulties in relocating with the changed climate conditions. In mountainous areas some plants may survive by migrating further up the mountain, but for flora on plains it may prove extremely difficult to match the pace of climate change.

If there are Ents in this world, as there were in JRR Tolkien's fantasy of Middle-Earth, now is the time we need them to awake and shepherd the forests and plant communities to match the velocity of climate change.

Velocity of climate change imperiling ocean diversity

The problems are just as severe for marine organisms. As temperatures change in the oceans, the creatures of the sea will tend to migrate towards the Arctic and Antarctic poles. A few creatures may also be able to adapt by going to slightly greater ocean depths.

The scientists also discovered that organisms tended to move to the poles with a displacement of a tilt of 12 degrees, if they were not otherwise obstructed.

"Most scientific and public attention regarding the impacts of climate change on our planet have paid attention to how biodiversity and people are being affected on land," Benjamin Halpern, research scientist at NCEAS and a co-author of the paper, said in a media release. "Yet most of our planet is ocean, and people depend on and benefit from the ocean for all sorts of things, such as seafood to eat or wildlife to watch (like whales).

"Our study looks at how climate change is affecting the oceans, focusing on the velocity of change that shifts where species exist, how well they can persist, and whether or not species will be able to keep up with that change," said Halpern, who is also director of University of California Santa Barbara's Center for Marine Assessment and Planning. "Our results provide a road map of sorts on where species need to move to adapt, and how fast."

The paper says "depth changes have been reported for only a few marine organisms, such as fish and hydroids. For species that cannot adjust their depth, range shifts may be limited by the availability of suitable habitat. Where such habitat is not aligned with the velocity of climate change, as happens on east-west coastlines, the velocity along the axis of the habitat could be much faster."

Sea surface temperatures have increased at a much slower rate to land temperatures, due to currents tending to reduce small-scale variability in ocean surface temperatures. The resulting "median velocity of isotherms across the ocean (21.7 km/decade) is 79% of that on land (27.3 km/decade), but when comparing only those latitudes where both land and ocean are present (50°S to 80°N), velocities in the ocean (27.5 km/decade) are similar to those on land (27.4 km/decade)." This equates to a speed needed to outrun climate change on land (2.7 kilometers per year) and in the oceans (2.2 kilometers per year).

"Not a lot of marine critters have been able to keep up with that," said paper co-author John Bruno, a marine ecologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Being stuck in a warming environment can cause reductions in the growth, reproduction, and survival of ecologically and economically important ocean life such as fish, corals, and sea birds."

There are also cooling areas like in the Southern Ocean and Eastern Boundary Current regions with increased upwelling. "With climate change we often assume that populations simply need to move poleward to escape warming, but our study shows that in the ocean, the escape routes are more complex," said ecologist Lauren Buckley of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also a co-author of the paper. "For example, marine life off the California coast would need to move south to remain in its preferred environment due to increased upwelling."

In the sub-Arctic and within 15° of the equator the velocity of climate change two to seven times faster in the ocean than on land, while ocean and land velocities are similar at most other latitudes (20° to 50°S and 15° to 45°N).

"Some of the areas where organisms would need to relocate the fastest to stay ahead of climate change are important biodiversity hot spots, such as the coral triangle region in southeastern Asia," said lead author Michael Burrows of the Scottish Association of Marine Science.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) commissioned a report in 2008 on the Coral Triangle and Climate change. The research was lead by Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and identified that Coral reefs could disappear entirely from the Coral Triangle region of the Pacific Ocean by the end of the century, threatening the food supply and livelihoods for about 100 million people in the region.

The Coral Triangle is home to more than one third of all the world's coral reefs, including over 600 different species of reef-building coral and 3,000 species of reef fish.

The paper concludes

"Despite slower ocean warming, the velocity of climate change and seasonal shift in the ocean are as high as on land and often deviate from simple expectations of poleward migration and earlier springs/later falls. Direct effects of climate warming are therefore likely to be as great in the oceans as on land at comparable latitudes and greater around the equator. Maps of the velocity of climate change and seasonal shift show the areas where the threat to biodiversity from organisms' need to rapidly track thermal conditions by shifting distributions and retiming seasonal thermal events may be greatest; these areas may coincide with high biodiversity, especially in the oceans."

Faster velocities off Western Australia coast

University of Western Australia Oceans Institute director Professor Carlos Duarte who worked on the climate velocity study said that Western Australia (WA) has a velocity of climate change much higher than average - in the order of 50-70km per year.

Across the globe there is an enormous range in the velocity, "from almost nil in some areas to 200km per year in others". said Professor Duarte. "It is possible that some organisms have already been left behind,"

Slow moving or sessile organisms such as coral or sponges must adapt to the warming temperature or face the threat of extinction.

Organisms that can match the speed of climate change may also be blocked by landmasses as they try to move towards the poles. "For instance, organisms in the coral triangle off the coast of Australia (in the waters of New Guinea, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands) encounter the Australian land mass as they head for Antarctica." said Professor Duarte.

Australian Seaweed species being pushed to the brink

A study published in Current Biology on November 8, 2011 - Seaweed Communities in Retreat from Ocean Warming - examined the impact of warming ocean on seaweed communities in southern Australian waters.

According to research led by Assistant Professor Thomas Wernberg from The University of Western Australia's Ocean's Institute, modern seaweed communities to the south are becoming more similar to past communities in the north, with several temperate species moving poleward (south). The results predict that up to one quarter of species in southern Australian waters might retract towards extinction.

The researchers found changes in seaweed communities in both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, consistent with rapid warming over the past decades.

"We found that continued warming might drive potentially hundreds of species towards the edge of the Australian continent beyond which there is no refuge," Assistant Professor Wernberg said.

The researchers believe while some species may be able to make some adjustments to cope with natural cooling and warming cycles, the predicted rate and strength of warming in the coming decades is likely to force many retreating species further south and beyond the limits of available habitat.

"The potential for global extinctions is concerning because one quarter of all macroalgal species in the world are found off Australia and these marine habitats support equally unique fish and invertebrate communities," Assistant Professor Wernberg said.

The velocity of climate change points to Oceans at high risk of unprecedented Marine extinction as scientists warn with Coral Reefs and Ocean Biodiversity threatened by Climate Change.

Marine scientists have also consistently warned of another high profile marine chemistry problem: Ocean Acidification Accelerating; Severe Damages Imminent. You can watch 2 videos on ocean acidification: Acid Test and a presentation by marine chemist Andrew Dickson. Marine scientists also appealed to climate negotiators at Durban in December 2011 to act on reducing CO2 emissions to reduce Ocean Acidification.




So all the wild life will have to move south, the most southern tip of Australia's main land is Wilsons Prom in Victoria, the temperature there for the last three days has been around 40 degrees I hope the little fuckers can swim.Fuck you can talk shit takver if 40 degrees won;t kill them cant see another 2 degrees worrying them, they have been getting this type of climate for the last 10,000 years.Tell me this what animals in Australia can't handle temperature's in the range of -2degrees to +46 degrees because if there is any I think they would be dead by now LOL

Kev clearly has little or no understanding of biology or science. The facts discussed in this article are not the authors imaginings, but the result of science, the combined efforts of perhaps hundreds of people with expertise doing research to measure these things. The research is reality tested against the knowledge of hundreds, even thousands, of their scientific peers. Your common sense attitude that because a few roos survive the occassional heatwave is not the same as whether a few million roos will survive ongoing heatwaves for decades, facts that are not observable by one person in their lifetime or from the ancedotal evidence of one life.

As for biology, the cells of animals and plants start to breakdown at high temperatures. While we currently have heatwaves (and yes, they do kill many animals, but it doesn't get on the news like human deaths do), a heatwave of a few days to a week is not the same as a permanent change in the climate. Weather is changable day to day, climate is relatively stable over long periods of time (when measured against a human lifespan)and the long term effects of heat will cause water sources to dry out, the water table to drop and flora to die. Food sources including many plant species (and some animal species like koalas eat just one kind of thing) will decline and may disappear. Declining food and water = more competition for scarcer resources = suffering and deaths. Once one or two key species disappear, the whole ecosystem starts to collapse. While some species may be able to migrate, many won't. As with animals so too with humans. Food will become increasingly hard to grow and expensive. While the rich can buffer themselves from the effects of heat with pools and aircon and pay more for food, the poor will suffer and more conflicts will result.

Changing climate affects everyone and everything. A cavalier attitude to the deaths of other species indicates your ignorance of your own interests.

Science major you say"The facts discussed in this article are not the authors imaginings"There is one big fact you left out and that is the world has not warmed since 1998 I would say the author is imagining the world is heating up that makes every thing he has said just pure and simple crap but I don't expect you to believe what I say, lets see what your Alarmist mates have to say on the topic (not my mates but yours).In early 2008 why did the World Meteorological Organisation’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud, tell the BBC average global temperatures have not risen since 1998? Has he changed sides or is he stating the facts?and lets not forget the climate gate e-mails which said"The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't,"Funny that statement I would have thought that the lack of global warming was a good thing not a travesty!or why would 31,487 American scientists have signed a petition,including 9,029 with PhDs saying that "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide,methane or other Green house gasses is causing or will,in the foreseeable future,cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.Moreover,there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produces many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth"
What are the Qualifications of Signers you may ask,
Signatories are approved for inclusion in the Petition Project list if they have obtained formal educational degrees at the level of Bachelor of Science or higher in appropriate scientific fields. The petition has been circulated only in the United States.

The current list of petition signers includes 9,029 PhD; 7,157 MS; 2,586 MD and DVM; and 12,715 BS or equivalent academic degrees. Most of the MD and DVM signers also have underlying degrees in basic science.

All of the listed signers have formal educations in fields of specialization that suitably qualify them to evaluate the research data related to the petition statement. Many of the signers currently work in climatological, meteorological, atmospheric, environmental, geophysical, astronomical, and biological fields directly involved in the climate change controversy.
Read more

Remember Professor Jones(that's your man not mine)he has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that sceptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.
Professor Jones conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon(there goes the hockey stick graph).And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Aston...

Lets see what more of your mates have to say on the topic

“We're not scientifically there yet. Despite what you may have heard in the media, there is nothing like a consensus of scientific opinion that this is a problem. Because there is natural variability in the weather, you cannot statistically know for another 150 years.” -- UN IPCC's Tom Tripp, a member of the UN IPCC since 2004 and listed as one of the lead authors and serves as the Director of Technical Services & Development for U.S. Magnesium.
“Any reasonable scientific analysis must conclude the basic theory wrong!!” -- NASA Scientist Dr. Leonard Weinstein who worked 35 years at the NASA Langley Research Center and finished his career there as a Senior Research Scientist. Weinstein is presently a Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute of Aerospace.
“Please remain calm: The Earth will heal itself -- Climate is beyond our power to control...Earth doesn't care about governments or their legislation. You can't find much actual global warming in present-day weather observations. Climate change is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone's permission or explaining itself.” -- Nobel Prize-Winning Stanford University Physicist Dr. Robert B. Laughlin, who won the Nobel Prize for physics in 1998, and was formerly a research scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
“In essence, the jig is up. The whole thing is a fraud. And even the fraudsters that fudged data are admitting to temperature history that they used to say didn't happen...Perhaps what has doomed the Climategate fraudsters the most was their brazenness in fudging the data” -- Dr. Christopher J. Kobus, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University, specializes in alternative energy, thermal transport phenomena, two-phase flow and fluid and thermal energy systems.
“The energy mankind generates is so small compared to that overall energy budget that it simply cannot affect the climate...The planet's climate is doing its own thing, but we cannot pinpoint significant trends in changes to it because it dates back millions of years while the study of it began only recently. We are children of the Sun; we simply lack data to draw the proper conclusions.” -- Russian Scientist Dr. Anatoly Levitin, the head of geomagnetic variations laboratory at the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radiowave Propagation of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“Hundreds of billion dollars have been wasted with the attempt of imposing a Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory that is not supported by physical world evidences...AGW has been forcefully imposed by means of a barrage of scare stories and indoctrination that begins in the elementary school textbooks.” -- Brazilian Geologist Geraldo Luís Lino, who authored the 2009 book “The Global Warming Fraud: How a Natural Phenomenon Was Converted into a False World Emergency.”
"I am an environmentalist,” but “I must disagree with Mr. Gore” -- Chemistry Professor Dr. Mary Mumper, the chair of the Chemistry Department at Frostburg State University in Maryland, during her presentation titled “Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming, the Skeptic's View.”
“I am ashamed of what climate science has become today.” The science “community is relying on an inadequate model to blame CO2 and innocent citizens for global warming in order to generate funding and to gain attention. If this is what 'science' has become today, I, as a scientist, am ashamed.” -- Research Chemist William C. Gilbert published a study in August 2010 in the journal Energy & Environment titled “The thermodynamic relationship between surface temperature and water vapor concentration in the troposphere” and he published a paper in August 2009 titled “Atmospheric Temperature Distribution in a Gravitational Field.” [Update December 9, 2010]
“The dysfunctional nature of the climate sciences is nothing short of a scandal. Science is too important for our society to be misused in the way it has been done within the Climate Science Community.” The global warming establishment “has actively suppressed research results presented by researchers that do not comply with the dogma of the IPCC.” -- Swedish Climatologist Dr. Hans Jelbring, of the Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics Unit at Stockholm University. [Updated December 9, 2010. Corrects Jelbring's quote.]
“Those who call themselves 'Green planet advocates' should be arguing for a CO2- fertilized atmosphere, not a CO2-starved atmosphere...Diversity increases when the planet was warm AND had high CO2 atmospheric content...Al Gore's personal behavior supports a green planet - his enormous energy use with his 4 homes and his bizjet, does indeed help make the planet greener. Kudos, Al for doing your part to save the planet.” -- Renowned engineer and aviation/space pioneer Burt Rutan, who was named "100 most influential people in the world, 2004" by Time Magazine and Newsweek called him "the man responsible for more innovations in modern aviation than any living engineer."
“Global warming is the central tenet of this new belief system in much the same way that the Resurrection is the central tenet of Christianity. Al Gore has taken a role corresponding to that of St Paul in proselytizing the new faith...My skepticism about AGW arises from the fact that as a physicist who has worked in closely related areas, I know how poor the underlying science is. In effect the scientific method has been abandoned in this field.” -- Atmospheric Physicist Dr. John Reid, who worked with Australia's CSIRO's (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) Division of Oceanography and worked in surface gravity waves (ocean waves) research.
“We maintain there is no reason whatsoever to worry about man-made climate change, because there is no evidence whatsoever that such a thing is happening.” -- Greek Earth scientists Antonis Christofides and Nikos Mamassis of the National Technical University of Athens' Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering.
“There are clear cycles during which both temperature and salinity rise and fall. These cycles are related to solar activity...In my opinion and that of our institute, the problems connected to the current stage of warming are being exaggerated. What we are dealing with is not a global warming of the atmosphere or of the oceans.” -- Biologist Pavel Makarevich of the Biological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“Because the greenhouse effect is temporary rather than permanent, predictions of significant global warming in the 21st century by IPCC are not supported by the data.” -- Hebrew University Professor Dr. Michael Beenstock an honorary fellow with Institute for Economic Affairs who published a study challenging man-made global warming claims titled “Polynomial Cointegration Tests of the Anthropogenic Theory of Global Warming.”
“The whole idea of anthropogenic global warming is completely unfounded. There appears to have been money gained by Michael Mann, Al Gore and UN IPCC's Rajendra Pachauri as a consequence of this deception, so it's fraud.” -- South African astrophysicist Hilton Ratcliffe, a member of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa (ASSA) and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and a Fellow of the British Institute of Physics.

Science major as you see there are many scientist that think Global warming is a scam a fraud a hoax and many of them were Alarmists.

I will leave you with "My Country" - Dorothea Mackellar 1908 and not much has changed since then

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins --
Strong love of grey-blue distance
Brown streams and soft dim skies...
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains
Of ragged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror --
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ringbarked forests
All tragic 'neath the moon
The sapphire-misted mountains
The hot gold rush of noon --
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil
And orchid-laden tree-ferns
Smother the crimson soil.

Core of my heart, my country --
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die...
And then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again,
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country,
Young Land of Rainbow Gold --
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back three-fold...
Over the thirsty paddocks
Watch, after many days
A filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as you gaze...

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land --
Ah, you who have not loved her
You cannot understand...
...The world is fair and splendid
But whensoe'er I die
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly!

Get the point takver and science major?