An evaluation of the ecological consequences of global climate changes

Environmental impact of agriculture

Shorter winters mean that ice roads used for oil exploration may no longer be practical. At the same time global warming causes polar ice sheets and glaciers to melt. These uncertainties, however, concern the details and not the core mechanisms that give scientists high confidence in their basic conclusions.

Aggressive action to adjust farming methods, planting dates, and the crops or varieties grown can play a large role in yields. In the open sea, seals can surface anywhere and the polar bears cannot catch them Laidre et al. The actual impact of climate change on crop yields in the future depends on a number of factors.

Ecosystems provide products directly consumed by people. If any or all of the other stressors were the major cause of ecosystem changes, plants and animals would move in many directions in addition to north, and to lower as well as higher elevations. Our supply and quality of fresh water also depends on ecosystems, as they play a critical role in circulating, cleaning, and replenishing water supplies.

Extreme Events The character of extreme weather and climate events is also changing on a global scale. Some involve relationships between animals and their prey. Page 35 Share Cite Suggested Citation: For example, some plants shade others or several animals compete for the same scarce food.

During the peak of the last ice age, approximately 21, years ago, most of Canada and the northern United States were under thousands of feet of ice Jansen et al. A combination of higher temperatures and lower rainfall could dry up potholes in a region covering six U.

How have plants, animals, and microorganisms coped with the climate changes that have already occurred, and how might they cope with future changes? In September sea-ice area hit a single-day minimum of 4.

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In general, the projections indicate that dry areas, especially in the latitude band just outside the tropics for example, the southwestern United Stateswill tend to get drier on average IPCC b; Kunkel et al.

In this way, deforestation exacerbates climate change. Since the late s, lobster populations in Long Island Sound have fallen rapidly, with harvests in only 20 to 30 percent of their earlier size. There are now four times as many wildfires exceeding 4 km2 1.

When a change exceeds those limits, or is coupled with other simultaneous changes that cause stress, the ecosystem undergoes a major change, often shifting to a fundamentally different ecosystem type.

This process, called coral bleaching, can be lethal to the coral if it lasts too long. Average temperatures will almost certainly be warmer in the future. Paleoecological records show that it lived in the lowlands during the last ice age. The epidemic is an example of the complicated interactions that characterize ecosystem dynamics: The longer, more intense spring-summer drought is stressing mountain forests Logan et al.

The following examples review just a few of the ecological changes that have been documented in regions across the United States. Other changes in species abundances that are consistent with expectations of climate change have been reported in this system Smith et al.

Consequently, humans are very likely causing changes in regional temperatures to which in turn the plants and animals are responding Root et al. All are influenced by climate, all depend on a wide variety of interactions, and all provide essential benefits to people.

A large number of experiments with climate models indicate that if the world continues to emphasize rapid economic development powered by fossil fuels, it will probably experience dramatic warming during the 21st century. Herd sizes have been observed to decrease during periods of frequent icing Griffith et al.

Ocean acidification has many impacts on marine ecosystems. There is, however, very limited understanding of how global climate change might affect whole ocean ecosystems.

Its ultimate cause is still under investigation, but three immediate causes have been documented, each of which is possibly linked to climate change. Another study concluded that the area with the potential to produce premium wines could decrease by up to 81 percent White et al.

But we are already certain about one thing. Honey comes from honeybees, but the bees depend on pollen and nectar from the plants they pollinate. From to the average thickness of Arctic sea ice decreased by 33 percent, from 3.

In climates with adequate summer rainfall, earlier springs mean a longer growing season, which may result in greater plant growth.Full-Text Paper (PDF): The ecological and economic consequences of global climate change.

Causes of climate change; Climate change consequences; Climate change consequences. Causes and Consequences of Climate Change.

Climate change affects all regions around the world. Polar ice shields are melting and the sea is rising. At the same time global. The core purpose of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) global-change research program is to develop scientific information that supports policy makers, stakeholders, and society at large as they respond to climate change and associated impacts on.

and life as a result of climate change Concerted global adapt to the effects of climate change that are happening now and will worsen in the future.

uncertainties about climate change. Warming of the climate system is now unequivocal. It is now clear that. 22 Examples of Ecological Impacts of Climate Change in the United States Climate change is global in scope, but ecological impacts are often quite localized.

Although most of the evidence of the ecological impacts of climate change stems from trends observed among hundreds of species rather than a particular species, there are compelling. Ecological Impacts of Climate Change. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: / and even species extinctions Climate change is happening on a global scale, but the ecological impacts are often local and vary from place to place.

To illuminate how climate change has affected specific species and ecosystems, this.

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An evaluation of the ecological consequences of global climate changes
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