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article imageLink between climate change and species extinction

By Tim Sandle     May 16, 2015 in Environment
A loss of the world's species is expected to increase dramatically climatologists warn. This is tied to a build-up of greenhouse gases. A new study draws on computer models and argues that climate change will result in disappearing animals.
The position made in a new science paper is that if increases in greenhouse gases continue at the same rate then animals will become extinct at a faster pace. Various computer simulations have been run in new research. One of these, representing the most serious scenario, indicates that warming temperatures knock out over 10 percent of all species.
Over the years, scientists have tried various models on climate change and have tried to correlate these to species loss. These computations have led to very different outcomes. The new research aims to be more robust. In the study outlines, researchers looked at some 131 previous studies (what is termed meta-analysis) and these previous inquiries to construct what they call a “global mean extinction rate.” The New York Times explains, that the new model estimates that 8 percent of species vanish should global warming continue at the current trajectory. It is important to note that this figure changes based on the level of the temperature increase. In a scenario where the average increase rise in global temperatures is just 2°C, this eliminates 5 percent of species. If the increase is 4.3°C (the current trajectory for temperature rises), then this would wipe-out 16 percent of species.
Commenting on this stark and troublesome trend, lead researcher Mark Urban, a University of Connecticut ecologist told The Smithsonian: "Perhaps most surprising is that extinction risk does not just increase with temperature rise, but accelerates, curving upward as the Earth warms."
Dr. Urban also spoke with Vox and elaborated further: “This paper is only about extinction risk, which is the most extreme of the biotic risks of climate change. But that’s also just the tip of the iceberg. We’re also seeing substantial changes in abundances and ranges. So even if we didn’t have a single extinction, we’d be looking at a substantial reorganization of biodiversity around the world. And that will have many effects, some detrimental to other species and human interests.”
The findings have been published in the journal Science. The paper is titled "Accelerating extinction risk from climate change."
More about cimate change, Species, Extinction, Endangered species, Global warming
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