Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Climate change is already shrinking animals and plants?

Climate change has already brought many animal and plant species at the very brink of extinction while other plants and animals are shrinking in size because of warmer temperatures.

Jennifer Sheridan and David Bickford at the National University of Singapore have studied climate-change episodes in the distant past as well as experiments and observations in recent history. Their conclusion was that climate change has already begun to shrink dozens of animal and plants species with many more likely to follow.

Fossil records from the past clearly show that past periods of rising temperatures had led both marine and land organisms to gradually shrink in size. During a warming event 55 million years ago many species such as beetles, bees, spiders, wasps and ants shrank by 50 to 75 percent in size over a period of several thousand years.

The most worrying fact is that the current warming trend is lot faster than the one of 55 million years ago. In the worst possible scenario if food crops and animals continue to shrink this will in years to come lead to severe food shortages and more hunger in the world.

The scientists have calculated that the each degree of warming reduces by 0.5 to 4 percent the body size of marine invertebrates and 6 to 22 percent of fish. Not only that, frequent droughts also lead to smaller offspring.

The additional problem in the whole climate change story is the fact that our planet is warming really fast which doesn't leave much room for plants and animals to adapt quickly enough.

And the carbon emissions still continue to grow…

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