A new study says that global warming is on the move at the pace of a quarter of a mile each year, a seemingly minor shift that could have major consequences for plant and animal species that cannot easily adapt to rising temperatures. —JCL
Species that can tolerate only a narrow range of temperatures will need to move as quickly [as global warming’s move] if they are to survive. Wildlife in lowland tropics, mangroves and desert areas are at greater risk than species in mountainous areas, the study suggests.
“These are the conditions that will set the stage, whether species move or cope in place,” said Chris Field, director of the department of global ecology at the Carnegie Institution in the US, who worked on the project. “Expressed as velocities, climate change projections connect directly to survival prospects for plants and animals.”
The study, by scientists at the Carnegie Institution, Stanford University, the California Academy of Sciences, and the University of California, Berkeley, combined information on current and projected future climate to calculate a “temperature velocity” for different parts of the world.