Based on a recent review of 866 different scientific studies published in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics by University of Texas biologist Camille Parmesan, dozens of species have already done extinct due to global warming. And hundreds more are in deep piles of figurative mud made from dirt and water from melted icebergs.
At least 70 species of frogs, mostly mountain-dwellers that had nowhere to go to escape the creeping heat, have gone extinct because of climate change, the analysis says. It also reports that between 100 and 200 other cold-dependent animal species, such as penguins and polar bears are in deep trouble.
The scariest revelation from Parmesan’s summary is that the effects of global warming are being felt much faster than predicted only a few years ago.
Just five years ago biologists, though not complacent, figured the harmful biological effects of global warming were much farther down the road, said Douglas Futuyma, professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York in Stony Brook. “I feel as though we are staring crisis in the face,” Futuyma said. “It’s not just down the road somewhere. It is just hurtling toward us. Anyone who is 10 years old right now is going to be facing a very different and frightening world by the time that they are 50 or 60.”
The most severe change effecting species is the earlier spring being experienced in many climates.
The most noticeable changes in plants and animals have to do with earlier springs, Parmesan said. The best example can be seen in earlier cherry blossoms and grape harvests and in 65 British bird species that in general are laying their first eggs nearly nine days earlier than 35 years ago.
Nine days may not seem like a lot but the impact is quite dramatic.
Parmesan said she worries most about the cold-adapted species, such as emperor penguins that have dropped from 300 breeding pairs to just nine in the western Antarctic Peninsula, or polar bears, which are dropping in numbers and weight in the Arctic.
What should be taken from the article is this: global warming in undeniable and the effects are dramatic. Why wait to see who’s right about the timing of such ill effects? Let’s band together and curtail waste, promote sustainability and become one with our environment instead of raping it or turning it into a political bargaining chip. Anyone?