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Cockroaches, pigeons and weeds. Oh my!

10

December

Global warming already deadly threat
Across the planet, scientists are seeing species in trouble and becoming extinct.
Globalwarm126CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE

December 6, 2007. Associated Press

BALI, Indonesia — More than 3,000 flying foxes dropped dead, falling from trees in Australia. Giant squid migrated north to commercial fishing grounds off California, gobbling anchovy and hake. Butterflies have gone extinct in the Alps.

While humans debate at U.N. climate change talks in Bali, global warming is already wreaking havoc with nature. Most plants and animals are affected, and the change is occurring too quickly for them to evolve.

“A hell of a lot of species are in big trouble,” said Stephen E. Williams, the director of the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change at James Cook University in Australia. “I don’t think there is any doubt we will see a lot of (extinctions),” he said. “But even before a species goes extinct, there are a lot of impacts. Most of the species here in the wet tropics would be reduced to … 15 percent of their current habitat.”

Globally, 30 percent of the Earth’s species could disappear if temperatures rise 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit — and up to 70 percent, if they rise 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit, a U.N. network of scientists reported last month.

The hardest hit will include plants and animals in colder climates or at higher elevations and those with limited ranges or little tolerance for temperature change, said Wendy Foden, a conservation biologist with the World Conservation Union, which catalogs threatened species.

“In the long run, every species will be affected,” Foden said.

A few will benefit, chiefly those that breed quickly, already exist in varied climates and are able to adapt swiftly to changing conditions, scientists said. Think cockroaches, pigeons and weeds.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Species all over the world are being affected by global warming. Work is being done right here in Tampa Bay at the Lowry Zoo to combat this problem. Read more and comment at another blog post on this topic by clicking here.

Imagine it is 50 years in the future and you are officially "old." What does the world look like now? How has global warming changed your life? How has it changed the Tampa Bay area?

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:45am]

    

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