Scientists document rapid changes in animal, plant habitats

Global warming is reshuffling the ranges of animals and plants around the world with profound consequences for humanity, according to a major new analysis.  Rising temperatures on land and sea are increasingly forcing species to migrate to cooler climes, pushing disease-carrying insects into new areas, moving the pests that attack crops and shifting the pollinators that fertilise many of them. The mass migration of species now underway around the planet can also amplify climate change as, for example, darker vegetation grows to replace sun-reflecting snow fields in the Arctic.




Climate change is pushing species toward extinction
More than 700 mammals and birds currently threatened with extinction already appear to have been adversely affected by climate change. Primates and marsupials are believed to have the most individual species suffering as a result of global warming, according to a paper in the journal Nature Climate Change.  The figures are much higher than previously thought, making up 47 per cent of land mammals and 23 per cent of the birds on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of species threatened with extinction.




Rising temperatures force early bird migrations
Migrating birds are responding to the effects of climate change by arriving at their breeding grounds earlier as global temperatures rise, research has found.  The study, which looked at hundreds of species across five continents, found that birds are reaching their summer breeding grounds on average about one day earlier per degree of increasing global temperature.  Arriving at the wrong time, even by a few days, may cause them to miss out on vital resources such as food and nesting places. This in turn affects the timing of offspring hatching and their chances of survival.



Arctic warming shrinks and weakens reindeer
Reindeer are getting smaller and lighter as a result of climate change's disruption to their food supply. Scientists  have been measuring reindeer in the high Arctic every winter since 1994. According to their measurements, adult reindeer have shown a 12 percent decrease in overall body mass over the years—from 121 pounds in 1994 to 106 pounds in 2010. Researchers believe the stunted growth of reindeer is directly tied to increasing temperatures in the Arctic—a region particularly vulnerable to warming—over the past two decades.



Accu-Weather lists ecological impacts of warming
The majority of plants and animals live in habitats with specific climate conditions, so any change in the atmosphere can affect the plants and animals living there, as well as the makeup of the entire ecosystem. Climate change has been shown to affect animals and plants in a variety of different ways. The rise in global temperatures is affecting everything from animal metabolism to productivity, behavior and habitats. Global warming is expected to cause an irreversible change and alteration in the ecosystem.




Local extinctions are increasing as the warming progresses
As species struggle to move to adapt to climate change, many are disappearing from the warmest parts of their usual range. Hundreds of species around the world—plants, animals, marine life—are experiencing local extinctions due to climate change,  according to a new study. Researchers say it's likely to be just the beginning.  As the climate warms, these species, which range from types of chipmunks to grasses to sea snails, are no longer showing up in the places they used to call home. The phenomenon isn't isolated to one particular geographical region or temperature zone.



Warming Pacific triggers deaths of Tufted Puffins
The hundreds of dead Tufted Puffins add another mass mortality event to a string of recent seabird die-offs on the Pacific coast. Last year, around 8,000 Common Murres washed up in one of the largest dieo-ffs in Alaskan history. A year before that, thousands of Cassin’s Auklets were found dead on beaches from California to British Columbia. In a region that has seen back-to-back years of record-breaking high ocean temperatures, yet another case of seabird mortality is unsettling scientists. The emaciated seabird carcasses could point to ongoing changes in ocean ecosystems in response to climate change, they say.




Scientists shocked by northward migration of terns
n July, researchers in Cape Krusenstern national monument on the north-west coast of Alaska were startled to discover a nest containing Caspian terns on the gravelly beach of a lagoon. The birds were an incredible 1,000 miles further north than the species had been previously recorded.  While it remains to be seen whether Caspian terns will become ensconced long-term within the Arctic circle, the epic relocation is emblematic of how warming temperatures are causing a huge upheaval in the basic rhythms of Alaska’s environment.



Tens of thousands of Montana river fish die from warming-driven parasites

An outbreak of fish-killing disease along a 100-mile stretch of the Yellowstone River in Montana may be the latest sign that mountain stream ecosystems are being disrupted by climate change. Scientists point to warmer, slower rivers as a likely cause of the mass fish mortality.




Algae blooms spread through Florida waterways
Nearly 240 square miles of Lake Okeechobee, the largest freshwater lake in Florida, are covered in a scum of blue-green algae that has also traveled down nearby waterways and out to the coastline. The stinking sludge has impacted local ecosystems and the tourism industry. The algae bloom is the result of a combination of factors, including the abundant nutrients washed in from surrounding agricultural lands, heavy winter rains and hot, calm summer weather. In the future, such blooms could become more common as Earth’s rising temperature heats up lakes and oceans, providing a more favorable home for algae and other potentially toxic microorganisms in the water.




Massive Mangrove Die-Off Attributed to Warming

Climate change has triggered a massive die-off of mangroves along the northern coast of Australia. Mangrove swamps are important ecosystems - the forests and coastal wetlands absorb up to 50 times more carbon than tropical rainforests by area. The mangroves help marine life thrive. They are home to a wide variety of fish, crab and shrimp and serve as nurseries for many fish species.  The dense roots of the trees also help to protect the coastline by trapping sediments flowing down rivers and from the land. This helps to prevent coastal erosion, and by filtering out the sediments the forests also offer protection to coral reefs or seagrass meadows situated just off shore.




CO2 seen as promoting disappearance of bees

The goldenrod study, published last month, was the first to examine the effects of rising CO2 on the diet of bees, and its conclusions were unsettling: The adverse impact of rising CO2 concentrations on the protein levels in pollen may be playing a role in the global die-off of bee populations by undermining bee nutrition and reproductive success.




Mass coral bleaching decimates Great Barrier Reef

The damage off Kiritimati is part of a mass bleaching of coral reefs around the world, only the third on record and possibly the worst ever. Scientists believe that heat stress from multiple weather events including the latest severe El Niño, compounded by climate change, has threatened more than a third of Earth’s coral reefs. Many may not recover.




Heat increases the range of Zika-bearing mosquitoes
The global public health emergency involving deformed babies emerged in 2015, the hottest year in the historical record, with an outbreak in Brazil of a disease transmitted by heat-loving mosquitoes. Can that be a coincidence?  Scientists say other factors may have played a larger role in starting the crisis. But they same experts added that the Zika epidemic, as well as the related spread of a disease called dengue that is sickening as many as 100 million people a year and killing thousands, should be interpreted as warnings. Over the coming decades, global warming is likely to increase the range and speed the life cycle of the particular mosquitoes carrying these viruses, encouraging their spread deeper into temperate countries like the United States.




Starfish succumb to wasting disease in overheated Pacific

During the height of the sea star die-offs in 2014, millions of stars up and down the West Coast were wasting away. At the same time, sea surface temperatures in the northeast Pacific Ocean were the warmest recorded in decades.. In a study, scientists are confirming that warm temperatures played a part in what’s being called the single largest, most-geographically widespread marine disease that’s ever been recorded.

 




Warming is accelerating the race to the poles
Warming temperatures are pushing land and sea creatures closer to the north and south poles and to cooler altitudes at rates faster than first predicted, scientists say.  Professor Camille Parmesan said around the world animals and plants were moving towards the Earth's poles, and it is happening faster than scientists had originally predicted.  "For the species that we have really good data on where they've lived historically over the past 100 years, we're seeing about half of those have actually moved where they live, which is an astonishing number given we've only had one degree centigrade warming," she said.



Warming endangers North Atlantic fish
Over the coming decades, dozens of marine species from the Carolinas to New England will be threatened by the warming, changing currents and the increased acidity expected to alter the region’s waters, according to a new study by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Atlantic salmon, winter flounder, bay scallops, ocean quahogs, and other species may face the kind of trouble from climate change that has been linked in previous research to the decline of Atlantic cod, which has lost an estimated 90 percent of its population over the past three decades, the study found.




Warming is driving many bird species toward the poles
The world’s birds have begun flocking towards the earth’s north and south poles and upwards to higher ground as climate change begins to transform their habitats.One quarter of 570 bird species studied globally have been affected negatively by climate change, while 13% have responded positively, says the study by Birdlife International. An author of the paper said: “We are seeing a consistent pattern of birds moving towards the north and south poles in their respective hemispheres, and moving to higher altitudes on mountain slopes.” 



Warming is devastating North Atlantic cod population

The rapid warming of the waters off New England has contributed to the historic collapse of the region’s cod population and has hampered its ability to rebound, according to a study that for the first time links climate change to the iconic species’ plummeting numbers.  Between 2004 and 2013, the mean surface temperature of the Gulf of Maine — extending from Cape Cod to Cape Sable in Nova Scotia — rose a remarkable 4 degrees, which the researchers attributed to shifts in the ocean currents caused by global warming.




Warming is changing evolution of American bees

Global warming and evolution are reshaping the bodies of some American bumblebees.  The tongues of two Rocky Mountains species of bumblebees are about one-quarter shorter than they were 40 years ago, evolving that way because climate change altered the buffet of wildflowers they normally feed from, according to a study published in the journal Science.




Climate change will yield a new, very different, world

Climate change will be the end of the world as we know it. But it also will be the beginning of another. Mass extinctions will open ecological niches, and environmental changes will create new ones. New creatures will evolve to fill them, guided by unforeseen selection pressures. What this new world will look like, exactly, is impossible to predict, and humans aren’t guaranteed to survive in it. (unless civilization somehow manages to survive the climate disasters coming its way in the meantime, from superstorms to sea level rise to agriculture-destroying droughts). 




Warming is shrinking range of pollinating bees
Global warming is shrinking the terrain where bumblebees live in North America and Europe, with these vital pollinators departing the southernmost and hottest parts of their ranges while failing to move north into cooler climes, scientists say. Their study used records from 1901 to 2010 to track 67 bumblebee species, finding that the insects have surrendered about 185 miles (300 km) from the southern end of the regions they called home on both continents. The researchers found no evidence pesticide use or habitat destruction were to blame, instead implicating rising temperatures recorded since climate change began accelerating in the 1970s.




Warming-driven genetic mixing is yielding new animal hybrids

Warming is increasing many opportunities for gene mixing. “As we’ve developed genomic methodologies, we’re finding that organisms are exchanging genes with other species,” Arnold said. “Genetic exchange due to organisms coming together from climate change is the rule rather than the exception.” Animals have been interbreeding for millennia. But the rate at which species interbreed is accelerating because of climate change, researchers say. As habitats and animal ranges change and bleed into one another, species that never before would have encountered one another are now mating.




Climate change drives new bird migrations
Over the years, vast numbers of birds from Canada's boreal forests have migrated hundreds-of-thousands of miles south from their usual winter range. While previous studies have blamed these so-called irruptions on food shortages, it seems that climate also plays a role. Specifically, persistent shifts in rainfall and temperature drive boom-and-bust cycles in forest seed production, which in turn drive the mass migrations of pine siskins.




Warming is disrupting critical ecological timing
In nature, timing is everything. From the mass migration of monarch butterflies to the simultaneous seminal release of corals to the collective deaths of salmon and cicadas, many species stick to schedules so strict, their habits could be used to mark the seasons.
Unfortunately, more and more evidence suggests that climate change has already begun to cuss up these timetables. Some flowers, for example, seem to be adapting more quickly to global warming than the wild bumblebees they rely on for reproduction. The flowers bloom earlier, often before the bees have emerged to transport pollen between them. As a result, the plants produce fewer seeds. If the two can’t sync up, the lockstep dance of pollination that has developed over millennia may unravel over the relatively short course of centuries — or even decades.




Vanishing bees: another casualty of warming-disrupted ecological relationships
The dramatic demise of Britain’s bee population has been variously linked to everything from pesticides, habitat loss and even parasitic mites.Climate change can now be added to the list of threats, after new research revealed that an increase in global temperature could be disrupting the “synchronisation” that has evolved over millennia between bees and the plants they pollinate.
The changes in timing have affected orchids and the bees differently, putting them out of sync with each other, according to a new report by the University of East Anglia (UEA), which warns its findings could have widespread implications for bees – whose numbers have declined by 40 per cent in the UK in the past five decades – as well as plants and pollinators more broadly.



Annual Goose migration aborted by Alaskan warming
Scientists have documented that increasing numbers of black brant are skipping that far southern migration and staying in Alaska instead. Fewer than 3,000 wintered in Alaska before 1977. In recent years, however, more than 40,000 have remained north, with as many as 50,000 staying there last year, during the most ice-free winter that Izembek had seen in more than a decade.




Mountain goats shrink as temperature rises

Goats are shrinking as a result of climate change, researchers have claimed. They say Alpine goats now weigh about 25 per cent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s. Researchers say it is a stark indication of how quickly climate change can affect animals. They appear to be shrinking in size as they react to changes in climate, according to new research from Durham University.




Study: fish may never adapt to elevated CO2
Rising carbon dioxide levels in oceans adversely change the behavior of fish through generations, raising the possibility that marine species may never fully adapt to their changed environment, research has found. The study, published in Nature Climate Change, found that elevated CO2 levels affected fish regardless of whether their parents had also experienced the same environment.




Warming Arctic drives 35,000 walruses onto land

A mass of thousands of walruses were spotted hauled up on land in northwest Alaska during NOAA aerial surveys earlier this week. An estimated 35,000 occupied a single beach – a record number illustrating a trend in an unnatural behavior scientists say is due to global warming.  Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus)—iconic arctic mammals that are only distantly related to seals—traditionally use sea ice to rest, breed, and give birth, and as a vantage from which to spot mollusks and other food sources. However, as their habitat warms and sea ice melts, walruses are forced to come to land more often and in greater numbers.




Mediterranean birds, bugs invade southern Britain
This summer has certainly brought a touch of the Med to our shores. Britain’s usual wildlife has been joined by a host of new and unusual species, with many creatures staying on to breed.




Warming waters seen depleting Atlantic cod stocks

The level of codfish spawning in one of the most critical fisheries in the Northeast U.S. is at an all-time low, putting more pressure on a fishery already dealing with declining catch and dramatic quota cuts.  Scientists say the amount of cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is estimated to be 3 to 4 percent of its target level. That number declined from 13 to 18 percent three years ago. Investigating what might be driving down the numbers of cod, scientists  believe temperature change — which they have also linked to a declining Northern shrimp stock and northern migration of herring — may be one factor.




Climate-driven food shortage decimates Antarctic fur seals

A food shortage likely caused by climate change is shrinking a South Antarctic fur seal colony and changing the profile of its surviving members, researchers said. South Georgia island's Antarctic fur seal pups have a lower average birth weight, and there are fewer breeding adults who hold out longer to reproduce than in the past, according to study results published in the journal Nature. Only the biggest animals survive to adulthood and reproduce.




Pine beetle devastation spreads through mountain states

Beetles are obliterating forests throughout Colorado and the West, draining budgets as property values decline and threatening tourism at national parks, including the home of Mount Rushmore.  Voters in Colorado communities raised taxes to protect ski resorts that bring in $3 billion annually to the economy. The pine beetles, each the size of a rice grain, have devoured 25 percent of the woods in South Dakota's Black Hills, where the mountain with massive carvings of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt is the linchpin of a $2 billion-a-year tourism industry. The beetles, fueled by climate change, overstocked forests and drought, wiped out 38,000 square miles -- the size of Indiana and Rhode Island combined.




Climate found to determine gender of insects
A new study reveals that an insect will either have a male or female offspring depending on how hot or cold the climate happens to be. Iinsect offspring tend to be smaller when the weather is hotter - which is why females tend to use hosts found in hot areas to produce males and hosts found in colder areas to produce females.
 
 




Climate Forecast: A Repeat of 300 Million Years Ago

The emerging story of a global climate shift a third of a billion years ago seems to be a prequel to what climate scientists expect from the current trend in global warming. Models show that melting large to moderately-sized high latitude ice sheets resulted in a reversal of tropical trade winds and big expansions of low-latitude desert areas into what had been warm temperate forests.




Warming waters trigger largest marine migration in two million years

Warming ocean waters are causing the largest movement of marine species seen on Earth in more than two million years, according to scientists.  The discovery has sparked fears delicate marine food webs could be unbalanced and lead to some species becoming extinct.  A venomous warm-water species Pelagia noctiluca is now becoming increasingly common in the waters around Britain.The highly venomous Portuguese Man-of-War, which is normally found in subtropical waters, is also regularly been found in the northern Atlantic waters.




Warming makes salamanders smaller
Wild salamanders that live in the Appalachian Mountains are shrinking because they must burn more energy as the local climate gets hotter and drier, according to a new study. Researchers found that the salamanders they collected between 1980 and 2012 were 8 percent smaller than those collected in earlier decades, starting in 1957. The findings confirm predictions that some species will shrink in response to climate change. The climate where the salamanders live has gotten warmer and drier, researchers said.




Fish defense mechanisms compromised by acidic waters
Acidic ocean water blunts the sense of smell in fish, making them bolder – perhaps recklessly so, according to a new study offering a glimpse of the oceans of the future.  The findings suggest that, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, fish could suffer debilitating behavioral effects.  Compared to other fish, the fish in acidic waters were more attracted to their predator's smell and  didn't distinguish between different habitats' odors.




Warming is driving rapid moose die-offs: scientists
Across North America — in places as far-flung as Montana and British Columbia, New Hampshire and Minnesota — moose populations are in steep decline. And no one is sure why. Several factors are clearly at work. But a common thread in most hypotheses is climate change.



Warming waters shrink fish: study
Warming oceans aren’t just shifting the  migration patterns of some of our favorite fish; scientists say climate change may be stunting fish sizes too. Widely consumed North Sea species, including haddock, whiting, herring, and others, have shrunk in size by as much as 29 percent over nearly 40 years, as water temperatures have increased between one and two degrees Celsius, researchers from the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland, revealed in a study published in the April issue of Global Change Biology.




Ocean acidification killed 10 million scallops off Britiish Columbia
Ten million scallops that have died in the waters near Qualicum Beach due to rising ocean acidity are the latest victims in a series of marine die-offs that have plagued the West Coast for a decade. Human-caused carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere are being absorbed by the ocean and may have pushed local waters through a “tipping point” of acidity beyond which shellfish cannot survive, according to Chris Harley, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia.




"False springs" lethal to vulnerable plants, animals
Early warming, known as “false spring,” is becoming increasingly common as climate changes. But when warm temperatures awaken dormant plants and animals prematurely, they can alter the timing of seasonal events crucial to an entire ecological food web. The results can cause devastating harm to both wild and cultivated species. False spring events have caused enormous losses in U.S. fruit crops, damaged large swaths of forest and decimated sensitive California butterfly populations.




Penguins: newest casualties of climate change
Penguins are in peril because of extreme environmental conditions linked to climate change, research has shown. Two new studies highlight the plight of penguin colonies trying to cope with the effects of global warming in Argentina and Antarctica. At both locations, the birds face an uncertain future. Climate change  is killing chicks from the world's biggest colony of Magellanic penguins at Punta Tombo, Argentina, by increasing the rate of drenching rainstorms and heatwaves, say scientists. Meanwhile Adelie penguins on Ross Island, Antarctica, are finding it harder to feed as melting sea ice fragments to form giant icebergs.




Thousands of bats perish from extreme Australian heat wave
Thousands of bats have died across Queensland after extremely hot weather at the weekend. Dayboro resident Murray Paas found hundreds of dead flying foxes on the ground of his 1.5-hectare property. He  filmed the sight and uploaded it to YouTube, describing it as “massive carnage” from the extreme temperatures, which rose above 43C (109F) in Brisbane. Paas told Guardian Australia that he estimated more than 1,000 bats had died in the heat on his property alone.




Warming winters drive Florida mangroves northward
Much of the Florida shoreline was once too cold for the tropical trees called mangroves, but the plants are now spreading northward at a rapid clip, scientists reported. That finding is the latest indication that global warming, though still in its early stages, is already leading to ecological changes so large they can be seen from space. The hard winter freezes that once kept mangroves in check had essentially disappeared in that region, allowing the plants to displace marsh grasses that are more tolerant of cold weather.  Scientists have found that it is not the small rise in average temperatures that matters, nor the increase in heat waves. Rather, it is the disappearance of bitter winter nights that once controlled the growth of cold-sensitive organisms.




Ice melt strands 10,000 walruses
An estimated ten thousand Pacific walruses have huddled together on a remote island in the Chukchi Sea, an unusual phenomenon that's due to a lack of sea ice, experts say. The giant marine mammal is known to "haul out"—literally haul its body onto ice or land to rest or warm up—on various places along Alaska's coast. But with the Arctic warming up and melting much of its floating ice, there are limited areas for the walruses to gather. This forces them to cluster on land in huge aggregations rarely before seen.




Report: erratic climate depleting freshwater fish in NH, Maine
Freshwater fish are dying in New Hampshire and Maine due to extreme weather events coupled with rising water temperatures from climate change, creating environmental and economic hazards, fishing experts say. Freshwater fish are endangered nationwide due to factors arising from global warming, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Wildlife Federation.




Ocean warming speeds migrations of marine species

Marine species are shifting their geographic distribution toward the poles and doing so much faster than their land-based counterparts. The findings were published in Nature Climate Change. The three-year study shows that warming oceans are causing marine species to change breeding, feeding, and migration timing as well as shift where they live. Widespread systemic shifts in measures such as distribution of species and phenology—the timing of nature's calendar—are on a scale comparable to or greater than those observed on land.





Acidification cuts food intake for ocean organisms
Rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are having a catastrophic effect on microscopic marine life. Experiments by the University of St Andrews show microscopic organisms, called foraminifera ('forams'), suffer the equivalent of tooth-decay as seawater becomes more acidic.  Foraminifera are tiny single-celled organisms that build intricate shells to protect themselves. They feed on algal cells called diatoms, which they break open using tooth-like structures on their shells. Experiments suggest that as seawater increases in acidity (reduces pH), these 'teeth' are reduced in number and size, with many becoming deformed. These mutations are likely to make them much less effective at feeding.



Harp seal pups fall victims to Arctic Sea ice shrinkage
Warming temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean have lead to a decline in sea ice, which is leaving populations of young harp seals dead in the water, according to researchers at Duke University. Sizabile masses of sea ice play an important role in the lives of harp seals, which use the ice as platforms to birth and nurse young until they are big enough to swim, hunt and fend off predators for themselves. Johnson said that in years of extremely low ice cover, entire year-classes of seal pups may be wiped out.
 
 
 
 
 



Warming Mediterranean waters drive surge in toxic jellyfish
Scientists across the Mediterranean say a surge in the number of jellyfish this year threatens not just the biodiversity of one of the world's most overfished seas but also the health of tens of thousands of summer tourists. Global warming, overfishing and human intervention – especially breakwaters that protect sandy beaches but provide a home for larvae – are all blamed. As predators disappear, population surges are happening with greater frequency.




Scientists see warming decimating moose population
In a normal year, moose in New Hampshire have to deal with 30,000 ticks at a time, but recent warm years have increased the tick population, so moose have to cope with as many as 150,000 insects at a time, Inkley said in a blog post. Moose with this many blood-sucking ticks can die of anemia. After the unseasonably warm winter of 2011, New Hampshire researchers said it was possible that all moose calves born the previous year had died, in addition to 40 percent of adults. Ticks also keep moose from getting needed rest, and can push moose to rub against trees and other objects, creating hairless patches that can create cold stress in the winter, the non-profit National Wildlife Federation said.




Weather extremes drive synchronized population crashes among animals
A new study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has found that extreme climate events cause a synchronized population fluctuation among all vertebrate species in a relatively simple high arctic community. The findings, published in a recent issue of Science, may be a bellwether of the radical changes in ecosystem stability that could possibly result from anticipated future increases in extreme events.




Autumn arrives in US 10 days later than 25 years ago
If it feels or looks like autumn leaves are taking longer to change color, you’re not imagining things. Over the past 25 years, the onset of autumn has shifted throughout the lower 48 states, with leaves now staying on trees about 10 days longer than they did in the early 1980s.




Warming oceans will drastically reduce fish size

Fish are likely to get smaller on average by 2050 because global warming will cut the amount of oxygen in the oceans in a shift that may also mean dwindling catches, according to a study. Average maximum body weights for 600 types of marine fish, such as cod, plaice, halibut and flounder, would contract by 14-24 percent by 2050 from 2000 under a scenario of a quick rise in greenhouse gas emissions, it said. Researchers explained global warming, blamed on human burning of fossil fuels, will make life harder for fish in the oceans largely because warmer water can hold less dissolved oxygen, vital for respiration and growth.




Ocean warming drives tropical fish southward

Australian scientists said Friday there was now "striking evidence" of extensive southward migration of tropical fish and declines in other species due to climate change, in a major ocean report card.  Compiled by more than 80 of Australia's leading marine experts for the government science body CSIRO, the snapshot of global warming's effects on the island continent's oceans warned of "significant impacts".




Warming Is Turning Tundra into Forests

Tundra is by definition a cold, treeless landscape. But scientists have found that in a part of the Eurasian Arctic, willow and alder shrubs, once stunted by harsh weather, have been growing upward to the height of trees in recent decades.  The reason for the change:  the warming Arctic climate, they say.  Roughly 30 years ago, trees were nearly unknown there. Now, 10 percent to 15 percent of the land in the southern part of the northwestern Eurasian tundra, which stretches between Finland and western Siberia, is covered by new tree-size shrubs, which stand higher than 6.6 feet (2 meters), new research indicates.




Warming is Decimating the Moose population in Minnesota

If moose disappear from the boreal forest of northern Minnesota, as some biologists predict, they will not exit with a thunderous crash. Climate extinctions come quietly, even when they involve 1,000-pound herbivores. Experts who have studied the Northwestern moose -- Alces alces andersoni -- believe they are witnessing one of the most precipitous nonhunting declines of a major species in the modern era. Here, even healthy bulls -- whose size, strength and rutting prowess make them the undisputed kings of the North Woods -- are dying from what appear to be a combination of exhaustion, exposure, wasting disease triggered by parasites and other maladies.




Climate Change Will Outpace Animals' Ability to Find New Habitats
As the climate changes over the next century, the ranges of nearly 90 percent of mammal species will shrink — in many cases because animals won't be able to get to areas where the climate is going to become suitable for them, says new research. Across the Western Hemisphere, the study also found, nearly 10 percent of mammals will be unable to move fast enough to keep up with changes in climate. In some areas, such as the Amazon, that number will be as high as 40 percent.





Warmer temperatures produce twice as many tree-killing beetles
Long thought to produce only one generation of tree-killing offspring annually, some populations of mountain pine beetles now produce two generations per year, dramatically increasing the potential for the bugs to kill lodgepole and ponderosa pine trees, University of Colorado Boulder researchers have found. Because of the extra annual generation of beetles, there could be up to 60 times as many beetles attacking trees in any given year, their study found. And in response to warmer temperatures at high elevations, pine beetles also are better able to survive and attack trees that haven't previously developed defenses.




New climate timing: Spring Arrives Earlier, Stays Later
Scientific evidence for  shifts in timing among all kinds of plants and animals is abundant. For example, studies indicate lilacs in North America are leafing out and flowering earlier; in Japan, gingko trees are getting their first leaves earlier and losing them later; bee species in the northeastern North America are emerging earlier, keeping pace with the flowers upon which they feed; British butterflies are also showing up sooner; and birds appear to be shifting the timing of their migrations.




Australia Flood Generates Explosion of Spider Webs
Thousands of spiders have cast eerie webs over vast areas of flood-hit Australia after being forced to seek shelter by the rising waters. Experts said the spiders may be spinning the sticky webs to help them survive the deluge, which has forced thousands of people to leave their homes over the past week.



Warm US Winter, Texas Drought Confounds Migrating Birds
Endangered whooping cranes flew 2,500 miles from Canada to Texas, where they usually spend the whole winter. Instead, they pecked around for a short time and flew back. In Nebraska, other cranes never left.Some ducks just kept flying south — all the way to Belize in Central America. And a snowy owl was spotted near Dallas, only the sixth time that's ever happened. Throughout the winter, scientists have noticed these and other examples of bizarre bird migrations — a result, they believe, of flocks becoming desperate for food and habitat becoming increasingly scarce because of the stubborn drought in Texas. The unusually mild winter in the Northeast and Midwest has even persuaded some birds they could stay put, fly shorter distances or turn back north earlier than normal.



Warming North Atlantic Sees Increase in Toxic Algal Blooms
Warming oceans and increases in windiness could be causing of an abundance of harmful algal blooms in the North Atlantic Ocean and North Sea, according to new research. The study, published in Nature Climate Change found there has been a dramatic switch between the prevalence of dinoflagellates to diatoms – two groups which include many of the microscopic planktonic plants forming the base of the ocean’s food chain. The patterns show shifts in the distribution of species known to cause harmful effect through toxin poisoning.



Warming is Outpacing Bird Migrations in Europe
Birds are finding it increasingly difficult to adapt to Europe's warming climes. That is the warning from a pan-European group of researchers in a major new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Over the past two decades, Europe's climate has been getting steadily warmer, and set temperatures have shifted northwards by 250 km, making life unbearable for species of bird and butterfly which thrive in cool temperatures. Yet the study finds that the bird and butterfly communities have not moved at the same rate as the temperatures. 




NASA: Expect Profound Ecological Shifts

By 2100, global climate change will modify plant communities covering almost half of Earth's land surface and will drive the conversion of nearly 40 percent of land-based ecosystems from one major ecological community type – such as forest, grassland or tundra – toward another, according to a new NASA and university computer modeling study. The model projections paint a portrait of increasing ecological change and stress in Earth's biosphere, with many plant and animal species facing increasing competition for survival, as well as significant species turnover, as some species invade areas occupied by other species. Most of Earth's land that is not covered by ice or desert is projected to undergo at least a 30 percent change in plant cover – changes that will require humans and animals to adapt and often relocate. In addition to altering plant communities, the study predicts climate change will disrupt the ecological balance between interdependent and often endangered plant and animal species, reduce biodiversity and adversely affect Earth's water, energy, carbon and other element cycles.




Acidification Found to Threaten Survival of Young Fish
Ocean acidification — caused by climate change — looks likely to damage crucial fish stocks. Two studies published today in Nature Climate Change reveal that high carbon dioxide concentrations can cause death and organ damage in very young fish.
The work challenges the belief that fish, unlike organisms with shells or exoskeletons made of calcium carbonate, will be safe as marine CO2 levels rise.



Warming is Driving Polar Bears to Cannibalism
The photographer  had approached the adult bear in a boat. She could see through her telephoto lens that the animal had a meal, but it was only when she got up close that she realised it was a juvenile bear. The kill method used by the adult was exactly the same as polar bears use on seals - sharp bites to the head.



Warming Will Endanger Chocolate Supplies

Scientists say climate change will eventually claim many victims -– including, according to a new report, chocolate.  As temperatures increase and weather trends change, the main growing regions for cocoa could shrink drastically, according to new research from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. Ghana and the Ivory Coast –- which produce more than half of the global cocoa supply –- could take a major hit by 2050.




Warming is Displacing Food Fish in UK Waters

Global warming is leading to "profound" population changes in most common fish species in waters off the UK, according to the first "big picture" study of rising sea temperatures. Around three-quarters of the species affected have grown in numbers, the government-funded study  claims. While cold water-loving species such ascod and haddock fare badly, those that can do well in warmer conditions including hake, dab and red mullet are thriving.





To Flee the Heat, Animals Move North

 

A warming climate is driving animal species to higher latitudes and higher ground at a rate far faster than previously believed, researchers from Britain and Taiwan reported. The researchers found habitats for a variety of species -- from English songbirds to Malaysian moths -- had shifted either uphill or away from the equator by an average of 17 kilometers (nearly 11 miles) per decade since the 1970s. That's nearly three times as fast as had previously been believed.




Acidification Threatens Viability of Pacific Mussels
A recent study has found that the declining pH of oceans, a phenomenon called ocean acidification, could result in diminishing numbers of mussels throughout the northeastern Pacific. "Mussels are a foundation species," said Eric Sanford, a co-author of the study and associate professor at the UC Davis department of evolution and ecology. "They live on the outer coast of California and create habitat for other small organisms like a coral reef," he explained.  The report says that although most climate change research in the past has centered on global warming, scientists are now faced with the realization that similarly drastic changes have resulted from the absorption of carbon dioxide in seawater.




Texas Drought Drives Reclusive Bears into Cities
A historic Texas drought is driving bears into urban areas searching for food and water, the latest in a series of bizarre wildlife stories to come out of the deadly hot and dry weather across the nation. Authorities have reported wayward razorbacks in Arkansas digging through flower beds, and bats changing their nightly flight patterns in Austin, Texas. High temperatures and stifling humidity in the Midwest have killed thousands of cattle in the Dakotas and Nebraska. In far West Texas, the bears have been lumbering out of their normal habitats for more than one reason. With fires scorching black bear ranges in the mountains of Far West Texas and Northern Mexico, and extreme drought making it difficult to find water and food, the usually reclusive beasts have been on the move this summer -- making their way into towns and cities increasingly.



Melting Ice Fatal to More Polar Bear Cubs
Polar bear cubs forced to swim long distances with their mothers as their icy Arctic habitat melts appear to have a higher mortality rate than cubs that didn't have to swim as far, a new study reports.




Warming Waters Drive Marine Migrations Not Seen in 2 Million Years
Warming ocean waters are causing the largest movement of marine species seen on Earth in more than two million years, according to scientists. In the Arctic, melting sea ice during recent summers has allowed a passage to open up from the Pacific ocean into the North Atlantic, allowing plankton, fish and even whales to into the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific. The discovery has sparked fears delicate marine food webs could be unbalanced and lead to some species becoming extinct as competition for food between the native species and the invaders stretches resources.



Antarctic Penguin, Krill Populations in Freefall
Numbers of Chinstrap and Adélie penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula region have dropped by more than 50 percent in the last 30 years, driven mainly by dramatic declines in supplies of tiny, shrimp-like krill, their main prey. Krill have declined by 40 to 80 percent, due primarily to rapidly warming temperatures in the area. This is one of the fastest-warming places on the planet with winter mean temperatures some 10 degrees Fahrenheit warmer now than in pre-industrial times.




Thirty Percent of Species Could Go Extinct from Warming

The early effects of global warming and other climate changes have helped send the populations of many local mountain species into a steep downward spiral, from which many experts say they will never recover. Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel.




Arctic Plankton Blooming 50 Days Earlier than 14 Years Ago
A new report finds that the disappearing ice has apparently triggered a dramatic event that could disrupt the entire ecosystem of fish, shellfish, birds and marine mammals that thrive in the harsh northern climate. Each summer, an explosion of tiny ocean-dwelling plants and algae, called phytoplankton, anchors the Arctic food web. But these vital annual blooms of phytoplankton are now peaking up to 50 days earlier than they did 14 years ago, satellite data show.




Grizzlies Will Cope with Warming Better than Polar Bears

Polar bears are likely to lose out to grizzly bears in fierce competition for food as climate change drives the two species closer together into shared habitat, biologists concluded in a study.  The findings add to mounting signs of threats to polar bears from global warming that scientists attribute to excessive levels of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping "greenhouse gases" emitted by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels.




Acidification Is Decimating Clams' Shells
The number of shelled creatures in the ocean is truly dizzying. And we need them -- they are keystone species for everything from building coral reefs to anchoring the ocean food chain. But as carbon dioxide builds up in the atmosphere, ocean water becomes more acidic. And shellfish have trouble growing their shells. Scientists have worried for years about ocean acidification affecting shelled creatures in the future, but according to a new study, it's already happening, and has been for over a hundred years.



Warming Drives Massive Migration of Walruses
Scientists in the Arctic are reporting a rare mass migration of thousands of walrus from the ice floes to dry land along Alaska's coast. Researchers from the US Geological Survey who have been tracking walrus movements using satellite radio tags, say 10,000 to 20,000 of the animals, mainly mothers and calves, are now congregating in tightly packed herds on the Alaskan side of the Chukchi Sea, in the first such exodus of its kind. "It's something that we have never seen before in this area," said Geoff York, of the WWF's global Arctic programme. "As the ice decreases, the walrus are abandoning it earlier and earlier. They are having to swim ashore, or to linger on less suitable drift ice for long periods of time." The flight of the walrus has reinforced warnings from scientists that the lumbering animal may be headed for extinction because of climate change.




Study Suggest Warming May Contribute To Bee Population Decline
Climate change may be preventing bees from carrying out the vital job of pollination by upsetting their life cycles, a study has shown. Flowering times of mountain lilies in the US appear to be out of synch with their bumble bee pollinators, evidence suggests. As a result, fewer of the plants are being pollinated and bearing fruit. The findings point to a phenomenon that may only be local, or could be globally widespread.




Rapid Decline in Phytoplankton Population Stuns Scientists

Plankton found in the world's oceans are declining sharply. Worldwide phytoplankton levels are down 40 percent since the 1950s, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The likely cause is global warming, which makes it hard for the plant plankton to get vital nutrients, researchers say. The numbers are both staggering and disturbing, say the Canadian scientists who did the study and a top U.S. government scientist.




Lake Superior: A Microcosm of Warming Impacts
The Great Lakes are feeling the heat from climate change. As the world's largest freshwater system warms, it is poised to systematically alter life for local wildlife and the tribes that depend on it. And the warming could also provide a glimpse of what is happening on a more global level, they say. "The Great Lakes in a lot of ways have always been a canary in the coal mine," said an adviser to the U.S. EPA. "Not just for the region or this country, but for the rest of the world."  And it seems the canary's song is growing ever more halting.




Many Small Mammal Species at Risk from Warming

The biodiversity of small mammals in North America may already be close to a "tipping point" causing impacts "up and down the food chain" according to a new study by U.S. scientists. Examining fossils excavated from a cave in Northern California, biologists from Stanford University, California uncovered evidence that small mammal populations were severely depleted during the last episode of global warming around 12,000 years ago. 

 



Polar Bears Face Rapid Tipping Point
Climate change will trigger a dramatic and sudden decline in the number of polar bears, a new study has concluded. The research is the first to directly model how changing climate will affect polar bear reproduction and survival. Based on what is known of polar bear physiology, behaviour and ecology, it predicts pregnancy rates will fall and fewer bears will survive fasting during longer ice-free seasons. These changes will happen suddenly as bears pass a 'tipping point'.




Warming May Have Driven Lizards Beyond the Point of No Return
Lizard species worldwide may already have declined past the point of no return. The reason? Rising temperatures.By 2080, researchers estimate, as much as 40 percent of lizard species worldwide could be extinct. The problem is that temperatures in many regions where lizards live have changed too rapidly for the animals to keep pace.




Gray Whale Identified in the Mediterranean

A summering gray whale north of Alaska, swimming eastward along the Alaska coast, may have been able to take advantage of ice-free conditions to continue swimming eastward, all the way through the Canadian Archipelago and west of Greenland (or, perhaps more likely, westward, above Russia and Europe, via the Northeast Passage) until instinct instructed it to turn south and ultimately hang a left.

 




Earlier Spring Blooms Reflect Warming
One of the clearest measures of global warming is right outside your window: earlier blooming and budding plants in the spring.  Project BudBurst scientists are getting reports that common lilac, red maples, Virginia bluebells and other popular ornamental plants on their "10 Most Wanted" list are waking up earlier in the spring than ever -- a sign that the climate is heating up.




Warming is Shrinking U.S. Birds
Songbirds in the US are getting smaller, and climate change is suspected as the cause. A study of almost half a million birds, belonging to over 100 species, shows that many are gradually becoming lighter and growing shorter wings.This shrinkage has occurred within just half a century, with the birds thought to be evolving into a smaller size in response to warmer temperatures.




US Migratory Birds Stressed by Warming

Global climate change poses a significant threat to migratory bird populations, which are already stressed by the loss of habitat and environmental pollution.  U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined scientists and conservation organizers at an Austin news conference to release the study, "The State of the Birds: 2010 Report on Climate Change." The report says oceanic birds, such as petrels and albatrosses, are at particular risk from a rapidly changing marine ecosystem and rising sea levels.  Birds in arid regions and forests show less vulnerability, but many species struggling in arid regions now, including the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo in Texas, could be further imperiled by shifting climate conditions.




Middle East Drought Looses Flood of 'Water Refugees'
The Middle East is facing its worst water crisis in decades. For three summers, the annual rains have failed to come. Farmland has dried up across the region in Iraq, Syria, southeast Turkey and Lebanon. The climate is warming in the Fertile Crescent, the area of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, contributing to the water shortage and helping to create a new phenomenon — water refugees.




Ecosystems Migrating To Keep Pace With Warming

Earth's various ecosystems, with all their plants and animals, will need to shift about a quarter-mile per year on average to keep pace with global climate change, scientists said. For species in flatter, low-lying regions such as deserts, grasslands, and coastal areas, the pace of the retreat could exceed more than half a mile a year.




Drought Stressed Kangaroos Invade Northern Australia
Farmers in northern Australia say a plague of kangaroos is overrunning their properties, causing tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage. Recent heavy rainfall in parts of Queensland has prompted large numbers of marsupials to flock to the newly green countryside. Further south, however, a long-standing drought has forced authorities to suspend the culling of kangaroos in parts of New South Wales.



"Safe" Warming Will Threaten One-Fifth of All Species with Extinction

Up to a fifth of all species of animals and plants risk extinction even if the world manages to limit global warming to levels widely viewed as safe, the head of the Convention on Biological Diversity said.




Australian Town Overrun by Drought-Stricken Camels

Australian authorities plan to corral about 6,000 wild camels with helicopters and gun them down after they overran a small Outback town in search of water, trampling fences, smashing tanks and contaminating supplies. The camels, which are not native to Australia but were introduced in the 1840s, have smashed water tanks, approached houses to try to take water from air conditioning units, and knocked down fencing at the small airport runway, Knight s




Warming Expands Range of Jellyfish, Other Species

Scientists believe climate change — the warming of oceans — has allowed some of the almost 2,000 jellyfish species to expand their ranges, appear earlier in the year and increase overall numbers, much as warming has helped ticks, bark beetles and other pests to spread to new latitudes.




Drought Is Decimating Kenya's Wildlife

Elephant tusks litter dry river beds in parched southern Kenya. The country's wildlife, prized for the tourist dollars it brings, is dying due to a severe drought. But just as the sector was recovering from last year's post-election violence, it is at the mercy of the environment. Elephants, zebras, buffalo and hippos are all dying.




Black Flies Found at 15,000 feet on Mt. Everest

Climbers at Everest base found a big black house fly, something unimaginable just a few years ago when no insect could have survived at 5,360 metres -- the second this year.




Warming Is Driving Caribou Toward Extinction

From wildlife spectacle to wildlife mystery, the decline of the caribou — called reindeer in the Eurasian Arctic — has biologists searching for clues, and finding them. They believe the insidious impact of climate change, its tipping of natural balances and disruption of feeding habits, is decimating a species that has long numbered in the millions and supported human life in Earth's most inhuman climate.




Arctic Geese Skip Winter Migration as Planet Warms

In the Fall of 2007, tens of thousands of small arctic geese called Pacific brant (Branta bernicla nigricans) decided not to go south for the winter. These long-haul migratory birds usually spend the cold months munching their favorite eel grass in the waters off Mexico's Baja peninsula. But changes in Earth's climate have so affected them that the barren windswept lagoons of western Alaska are looking more and more appealing. The trend is likely to continue,  affecting not only geese but a host of migratory birds around the globe.




Drought May be Driving Coho Salmon Extinct

California's third year of drought has worsened the already dire outlook for endangered coho salmon, as coastal creeks used for spawning dwindle into disconnected pools where fish get trapped and die. This summer, fish rescuers in Marin County have found no coho, an ominous sign for a species struggling to survive on the West Coast.

 




Walruses Forced to Migrate by Arctic Sea Ice Melt

Thousands of walruses are congregating on Alaska's northwest coast, a sign that their Arctic sea ice environment has been altered by climate change. Walruses for years came ashore intermittently during their fall southward migration but not so early and not in such numbers. "This is actually all new," said USGS researcher Chad Jay. "They did this in 2007, and it's a result of the sea ice retreating off the continental shelf."




Warming Water "Dooms" North Sea Cod

Cod are doomed to disappear from the North Sea because of climate change and not just as a result of over-fishing, researchers have discovered. In the past 40 years the average temperature of the North Sea has increased by 1C with catastrophic effects on its delicate eco-systems. Species of plankton, on which cod larvae feed, have moved away in search of cooler waters.




"Code Red" for Great Barrier Reef: Report

Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living organism, is under grave threat from climate warming and coastal development, and its prospects of survival are "poor," a major new report found.




Warming Shrinks Fish Size and Fertility

Fish have lost half their average body mass and smaller species are making up a larger proportion of European fish stocks as a result of global warming, a study has found.




Iraq Drought Triggers a Plague of Snakes

Swarms of snakes are attacking people and cattle in southern Iraq as the Euphrates and Tigris rivers dry up and the reptiles lose their natural habitat among the reed beds.




Caribou Declining Around the World

Reindeer and caribou numbers are plummeting around the world.

The first global review of their status has found that populations are declining almost everywhere they live, from Alaska and Canada, to Greenland, Scandinavia and Russia.




Caribbean Reefs Fall Victim to Climate Change
Climate change has contributed to a flattening of the complex, multi-layered architecture of Caribbean coral reefs, compromising their role as a nursery for fish stocks and a buffer against tropical storms, a study shows.


North Atlantic Shrimp Decline Could Imperil Food Chain
A North Atlantic shrimp fishery may be vulnerable to climate change that could disrupt the crustaceans' life cycle and mislead them into hatching when food is scarce. Any damage to stocks of the northern shrimp -- a small, sweet-tasting variety popular in salads -- could have knock-on effects in the ocean food chain ranging from algae to cod.


Warming Driven Winds Alter Jellyfish Migration

Swept by westerly winds through the Gibraltar Strait from its north Atlantic habitat, Portuguese Men O' War jellyfish are set to colonise the Mediterannean and cause more pain to beleaguered holidaymakers.




Wet Summers Decimate UK Butterfly Population

The torrential rain of recent summers has hit the UK butterfly population hard. Numbers are at a new low and the miserable British weather is said to be a key factor. Wet conditions limit the insects' ability to fly and find food, and also hamper the creatures' breeding success.

 

 




Arctic Nations Declare Climate Change Greatest Threat to Polar Bears

Five countries that created a treaty nearly four decades ago to protect polar bears through limits on hunting issued a joint statement identifying climate change as "the most important long-term threat" to the bears.




Warming Impacts European Bird Populations

Climate change is already having an impact on European bird species, according to British scientists. While several species of birds benefitted from the warming some 75 percent of species studied by the researchers had declined in the same period.




Survival of Penguin Colony Threatened by Warming

One of the largest penguin colonies in the world is under threat because the birds are being forced to swim further to find food. Penguins living on the coast of Argentina are feeding 25 miles further from their nesting sites than they did only a decade ago. The extra distance spent searching for food during the breeding season reduces their chances of having young.




Warming Pushes Birds North in Winter

An Audubon Society study found that more than half of 305 bird species in North America, a hodgepodge that includes robins, gulls, chickadees and owls, are spending the winter about 35 miles farther north than they did 40 years ago.




Warming Threatens Food Fish Supply for Dozens of Countries
Climate change poses a grave threat to dozens of countries where people depend on fish for food, according to a study that said catches are imperiled by coastal storms and damage to coral reefs. The WorldFish research centre identified 33 countries as "highly vulnerable" to the effects of climate change because of their heavy reliance on fisheries and limited alternative sources of protein.



Warming Puts Emperor Penguins at Risk of Extinction

The Emperor penguins of Antarctica are at serious risk of extinction in parts of their range because of climate change, according to a new study published this week.  Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), predicting the effect climate change and resulting losses of sea ice will have on the penguins, found that disappearing habitat will have a profound impact on the species.

 

 




Arctic Ice Melt Triggers Surprise Bursts of Plankton Blooms

Record summer sea ice losses in the Arctic Ocean are now leading to unexpected bursts of ocean life in the newly open waters. Blooms of phytoplankton have been increasing as the summer sea ice shrinks further back every year. surprising scientists.




Change in Snow Patterns Imperil Norway Lemmings

Climate change is bringing wetter winters to southern Norway, a bleak prospect for the region's lemmings. Scientists found that numbers of the animals no longer vary over a regular cycle, as they did until a decade ago; there are no more bumper years. The snow is not stable enough, they think, to provide winter shelter.




Amphibians in Yellowstone Falling Victim to Climate Change

Despite being protected longer than anywhere else on Earth, Yellowstone's amphibians are declining fast. The culprit, say researchers: climate change.




One Quarter of Land Mammals Face Extinction

Nearly a quarter of the world's land mammal species are at risk of extinction, and many others may vanish before they are even known to science, according to a major annual survey of global wildlife.




Half of Europe's Amphibians Face Extinction in 40 Years

Half of Europe's amphibian species could be wiped out in the next 40 years. Scientists from the Zoological Society of London say that the combined force of climate change, pollution, disease and habitat loss and degradation has left many with "nowhere to run".




Bird Species Decline Around the Globe

The birds of the world are in serious trouble, and common species are in now decline all over the globe. Their falling populations are compelling evidence of a rapid deterioration in the global environment that is affecting all life on earth -- including human life. The report suggests that in the long term, human-induced climate change may be the most serious stress.




Warming Is Disrupting Corn Pollination

Iowa's farmers may look forward to a longer growing season as the climate warms, but an Iowa State University weather expert warned that warmer temperatures could interfere with corn pollination and, ultimately, yields. The period for pollination has dwindled from 10 days to five days or less in past decades, One expert noted warmer weather stresses the pollination process, adding, "We're talking about the danger of cobs with fewer kernels, or no kernels at all, if the weather is too warm for pollination."




Warming Is Outpacing Bird Migrations: Study

French birds are moving northwards in response to climate change, but not fast enough, scientists have found. Researchers found that 105 species of birds are lagging some 182km behind the increases in temperature.




Trees, Plants Migrate Northward into Canadian Arctic

Researchers are studing how climate change is prompting vegetation from southern Canada to creep into the tundra, possibly threatening the northern ecosystem. Areas that were normally occupied by herbs, for example, are becoming occupied by shrubs. The tree line is migrating northwards.




Pacific Shellfish to Migrate to Atlantic Ocean

As the Arctic Ocean warms this century, shellfish, snails and other animals from the Pacific Ocean will resume an invasion of the northern Atlantic that was interrupted by cooling conditions three million years ago, predict Geerat Vermeij, professor of  geology at the University of California, Davis, and Peter Roopnarine at the California Academy of Sciences.




Warmer Winters Boost Plant-Destroying Aphids

Milder winters caused by climate change are providing a boost to plant-damaging aphids, scientists have warned. Researchers revealed the familiar garden pest was flying earlier and in larger numbers because of warm conditions in winter and spring. As a result more aphids are on the wing and looking for food in spring and early summer when crops are at their most vulnerable.




Warming Implicated in Jellyfish Explosion

The explosion of jellyfish populations, scientists say, reflects a combination of severe overfishing of natural predators, like tuna, sharks and swordfish; rising sea temperatures caused in part by global warming; and pollution that has depleted oxygen levels in coastal shallows.




Warming is Driving Global Bird Migration
Birds have been moving north in Europe over the past 25 years because of climate change in the vanguard of likely huge shifts in the ranges of plants and animals, scientists said on Wednesday.


Two Polar Bears Spotted in Iceland

A polar bear has been discovered on Iceland, which is hundreds of miles from the threatened species' natural habitat, a local photographer said.




Antarctic Iceberg Suffocates Seals

Weeks after the controversial listing of polar bears as threatened species, new research graphically demonstrates how changes to polar ice can devastate local animals. The findings of a grim new study illustrate the direct, and often immediate, effects that  climate change can have on the physiology, behavior and survival of wild species.




Study Tracks Global Ecosystem Changes
Human-generated climate change made flowers bloom sooner and autumn leaves fall later, turned some polar bears into cannibals and some birds into early breeders, a vast global study reported.


Koalas May Fall Victim to Warming

Koalas are threatened by the rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere because it saps nutrients from the eucalyptus leaves they feed on, a researcher said.




Tropical Insects At Risk of Warming-Driven Extinction

Many tropical insects face extinction by the end of this century unless they adapt to the rising global temperatures predicted. Researchers said insects in the tropics were much more sensitive to temperature changes than those elsewhere. In contrast, higher latitudes could experience an insect population boom.

 




Warming of US West Triggers Ecosystem Changes
The West is heating up faster than any other region in the continental U.S. with more catastrophic wildfires among the consequences.


Earlier Springtimes Threaten Species

The fingerprints of man-made climate change are evident in seasonal timing changes for thousands of species on Earth. More than 30 scientists told The Associated Press how global warming is affecting plants and animals at springtime across the country, in nearly every state.




Pythons Predicted to Migrate to Midwestern US

Twenty-foot pythons could soon be on the march--or on the slither--to new parts of North America, thanks to global warming. Climate modeling for the year 2100 which shows the possible climate range for pythons moving northward and swallowing up northernmost parts of Texas and Arkansas, the southeast half of Kansas, the southern half of Missouri and parts of southern Illinois and Indiana. Further east the big snakes could comfortably creep through Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and southern New Jersey.




Sharks Move Toward Antarctica
Antarctica's marine life will be wiped out by an invasion of sharks, crabs and other predators if global warming continues, scientists have warned.


Thousands of Walruses Die in Warming-Driven Stampede
In what some scientists see as another alarming consequence of global warming, thousands of Pacific walruses above the Arctic Circle were killed in stampedes earlier this year after the disappearance of sea ice caused them to crowd onto the shoreline in extraordinary numbers.


Expanding Tropics Seen Altering Global Weather Patterns

The tropical belt that girdles the Earth is expanding north and south, which could have dire consequences for large regions of the world where the climate is likely to become more arid or more stormy. Climate change is having a dramatic impact on the tropics by pushing their boundaries towards the poles at an unprecedented rate not foreseen by computer models.




Fish Migrations in Northeast Reflect Warming
Once, natural events in Narragansett Bay occurred with the predictability of the tides: Thick ice clung to the shore in February. Giant phytoplankton blooms tinted the water green by March. Striped bass began to move to warmer waters by mid-October. No longer. Winter surfers off Narragansett Town Beach rarely have to slosh through frozen chunks anymore. Those blooms, which rained nutrients down to bottom-dwelling creatures, have all but disappeared. Fishermen regularly brag about catching striped bass in

mid-November. Narragansett Bay's natural timing is out of sync.




Fossil Record Ties Warming Seas to Mass Extinctions
Whenever the world's tropical seas warm several degrees, Earth has experienced mass extinctions over millions of years, according to a first-of-its-kind statistical study of fossil records. And scientists fear it may be about to happen again -- but in a matter of several decades, not tens of millions of years.


Great Lakes See Water Levels Drop to Record Lows
Drought and mild temperatures have pushed Lake Superior's water level to its lowest point on record for this time of year, continuing a downward spiral across the Great Lakes.


Warming Raises Extinction Threat to more than 16,000 species
More species are under threat than ever before according to the World Conservation Union. Its Red List, published on Wednesday September 12th, gives warning that 16,306 species are under threat of extinction, nearly 200 more than in 2005.


Polar Bears, a 40,000-year Presence, May Be Extinct in 2050
Two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be killed off by 2050  and the entire population gone from Alaska  because of thinning sea ice from global warming in the Arctic, government scientists forecast.


Warming Waters Leave Gray Whales Malnourished
Scientists are reporting an unusually high number of scrawny whales this year for the first time since malnourishment and disease claimed a third of the gray whale population in 1999 and 2000. They suspect it may be the same cause  that triggered the die-off eight years ago: rapid warming of Arctic waters where the whales feed.


Warming Empties Chilean Lake

Scientists in Chile have blamed climate change for the sudden disappearance of a lake in the south of the country. Experts say melting glaciers put pressure on an ice wall that acted as a dam, causing it to give way.




Adelie Penguins Fall Victim to Warming
These days Adelie penguins are being stalked by a threat they cannot see and cannot fight off: the weather. The birds, which have adapted over millions of years to the most extreme climate on Earth, are beginning to die off by the tens of thousands as a result of global warming.



Spring Comes Earlier to Arctic Greenland

Plants and animals in upper Greenland have adapted their lifecycles to the arrival of the Arctic spring several weeks earlier than a decade ago.




Caterpillars Devastate Trees After Warm, Dry Spring

Leaf-eating gypsy moth caterpillars are out in force in parts of the mid-Atlantic following a warm, dry spring  just the kind of weather that can make the insects thrive. Experts are predicting an especially bad year for trees, primarily oaks, which are the caterpillars' favorite snack. The moths will also munch on 475 types of foliage.




Three Species Go Extinct Every Hour

Human activities are wiping out three animal or plant species every hour and the world must do more to slow the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs by 2010, the United Nations said.




Warming Confuses Migratory Patterns of Many Species
Birds, whales and other migratory creatures are suffering from global warming that puts them in the wrong place at the wrong time. A warmer climate disrupts the biological clocks of migratory species including bats, dolphins, antelopes or turtles, said Lahcen el Kabiri, deputy head of the U.N.'s Convention on Migratory Species, adding: "They are the most visible warning signs -- indicators signalling the dramatic changes to our ecosystems caused in part by climate change,"


Butterflies Are Hatching Two Months Early in U.K.

The hottest April on record in Britain has meant butterflies are hatching up to two months early. The charity Butterfly Conservation said butterflies had been emerging an average of half a day earlier each year from the mid-Seventies until last year. But Richard Fox, of the charity, said: "This year has blown all that away. We have had lots of species coming out two weeks earlier than last year, some a month or two months early. It's really a very dramatic situation."




Florida Feels Real-Time Impacts of Climate Change

Florida, with 1,200 miles of vulnerable coastline, is feeling real-time c climatic effects that are foreshadowing bigger consequences:  Sea levels are rising twice as fast as once predicted, eroding shorelines.  Higher temperatures are shifting tropical conditions farther north.  Oceans are more acidic.  Seas are hotter. Droughts may be increasing, while periods of intense rainfall are farther apart.




Australian Sea Life Moves South

Global warming is starting to have a significant impact on Australian marine life, driving fish and seabirds south and threatening coral reefs. Already, nesting sea turtles, yellow-fin tuna, dugongs and stinging jellyfish are examples of marine life moving south as seas warm, said the report by the government-backed Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.




Arctic Ice Melt Prods Collapse of Cod Industry

A rush of cold fresh water from the Arctic contributed to the collapse of the northwest Atlantic cod industry and is fueling a boom of snow crab and shrimp in the waters off New England and eastern Canada. A reversal of wind direction with a record drop in Arctic air pressure pumped the water through the Canadian archipelago in the late 1980s and 1990s. The cold water helped spoil the cod habitat while improving conditions for snow crab and shrimp.




Warming Accelerates Evolution of Weeds

Fast-growing weeds have evolved over a few generations to adapt to climate change, which could signal the start of an "evolution explosion" in response to global warming.




India Bird Sanctuary Decimated by Drought

The world-famous Bharatpur bird sanctuary in western India is facing a shortage of birds because of severe water scarcity, officials say.

Migratory birds visiting the area in Rajasthan state are down to only about 100 compared to some 10,000 last year.




Spanish Bears Stop Hibernating

Bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain,  in what may be one of the strongest signals yet of how much climate change is affecting the natural world. Bears normally slumber throughout the winter, slowing their body rhythms to a minimum and drawing on stored resources, because frozen weather makes food too scarce to find.




Warm Winter Keeps Migrating Birds At Home

Some European birds have failed to fly south for the winter, apparently lured to stay by weeks of mild weather that experts widely link to global warming. Such birds as robins, thrushes and ducks that would normally fly south from Scandinavia have been seen in December -- long after snow usually drives them south. And Siberian swans have been late reaching western Europe.




Warming Is Drying Out Parts of Africa

A pair of orbiting satellites have surveyed the Earth's water in unprecedented detail, showing sharp decreases in parts of Africa over the past five years, scientists said.  Said Prof. Jay Famiglietti, of the University of California, Irvine, told the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. "It's a very sensitive indicator of climate change."




Researchers Find Huge Drop in Phytoplankton

New NASA satellite data find that the vital base of the ocean food web shrinks when the world's seas get hotter. And that discovery has scientists worried about how much food marine life will have as global warming progresses. The data show a significant link between warmer water  and reduced production of phytoplankton in the world's oceans.




Change in Seasons Seen in Alpine Areas

Flowers are blooming on the slopes of Alpine ski resorts and bears are having trouble hibernating in Siberia amid a late start to winter that may be a portent of global warming.




Study Finds Big Rise in Polar Bear Mortality

Polar bear cubs in Alaska's Beaufort Sea are much less likely to survive compared to about 20 years ago, probably due to melting sea ice caused by global warming, a study released on Wednesday by the US Geological Survey said.




Britain Sees Northward Migration of More than 200 Species

Across Britain, animals are on the march, moving northwards and going to higher ground as the climate warms, experts have told a major conference. Of some 300 species, about 80%  have extended the northern margin of their domains, with an average shift of 30-60km over the past 25 years.




Tropical Fish Flourish Off Rhode Island

An unusually large number of tropical fish have been spotted this summer in Rhode Island waters by divers, fishermen and environmentalists. Among the fish seen so far: juvenile orange filefish, snowy grouper and lookdowns.




Season Changes Are Forcing Evolutionary Changes

Some species of animals are changing genetically in order to adapt to rapid climate change within just a few generations. Smaller animals  that can breed quickly, such as squirrels, some birds and insects, are showing signs of evolving new patterns of behaviour to increase their chances of survival. Many of the genetic adaptations result from changes in the length of the seasons rather than the absolute increases in summer temperatures.




Poison Ivy Growth Spurred by CO2

Another reason to worry about global warming: more and itchier poison ivy. The noxious vine grows faster and bigger as carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise, researchers report.




Chesapeake Bay Ecosystems At Risk From Excessive Heat

"If we have another hot summer like last summer, the change in the Chesapeake Bay could be catastrophic. We are quite concerned that ... global warming is having rapid impacts in many areas of the world for animal and plant species, including the eelgrass here," said one researcher.




Scientists Foresee Thousands of Coming Extinctions

Scientists said their study backed an earlier report  that suggested global warming could commit a quarter of the world's species to extinction by 2050.




Researchers Link Warming to Accelerated Evolution

Research on toads, frogs, salamanders, fish, lizards, squirrels and plants are all showing evidence that some species are attempting to adapt to new conditions in a time frame of decades, not eons, say biologists.  One of the biggest reasons for all this evolution right now may be that human-induced changes to climate and landscapes give species few other options.




Climate Changes Limit Grey Whale Migrations

The number of grey whales making a yearly migration from the icy North Pacific to breed in Mexico's warm lagoons has dropped this year, scientists say, possibly because of changing weather patterns.




Polar Bears Becoming Endangered by Warming

Amid concerns that global warming is melting away the icy habitats where polar bears live, the federal government is reviewing whether protection may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act.




Researchers See Warming Behind Pacific Seabird Dieoffs

The mass starvation deaths of murres on Tatoosh Island off the Olympic Peninsula may be due in part to unusual weather patterns along the West Coast, scientists say. They were unable to trace the source of the strange weather, except to consider global warming's effects in the past year.




Preliminary Study Implicates Warming in Frog Dieoffs

Scientists studying a fast-dwindling genus of colorful harlequin frogs in Central and South America are reporting  that global warming is combining with a spreading fungus to kill off many species. They implicate global warming because patterns of fungus outbreaks and extinctions in widely dispersed patches of habitat were synchronized in a way that could not be explained by chance.




Warming Arctic Brings Return of Blue Mussels After 1,000 Years

After a thousand years, blue mussels -- helped along by warmer water temperatures -- have returned to high Arctic seas.

Their comeback could have serious implications for Arctic ecosystems and may be a sign of climate change, according to scientists.




Desertification Seen Accelerating in Africa as Climate Warms

Africa may experience large-scale increases in desertification as the atmosphere warms. The immense dunefields of the Kalahari could be stirred up. Large areas of currently productive land could become engulfed by shifting sands -- with "drastic" social consequences.

 




Thawing Permafrost Is Drying Siberian Lakes

An accelerating Arctic warming trend over the past quarter of a century has dramatically dried up more than a thousand large lakes in Siberia, probably because the permafrost beneath them has begun to thaw, according to a paper to be published today in the journal Science.




RCCE Would Decimate Marine Food Chain

If the North Atlantic Ocean's circulation system is shut down -- an apocalyptic global-warming scenario -- the impact on the world's food supplies would be disastrous, a study said Thursday. The shutdown would cause global stocks of plankton, a vital early link in the food chain, to decline by a fifth while plankton stocks in the North Atlantic itself would shrink by more than half, it said. A massive decline of plankton stocks could have catastrophic effects on fisheries and human food supply in the affection regions.




Warming Drives Plankton Migration

Global warming is causing microscopic marine life in the seas around the UK to move north, in the biggest shift in the past 100 years and raising concerns that other marine species could follow, according to a Government report out today.




Grass Grows in Warming Antarctica

Grass has become established in Antarctica for the first time, showing the continent is warming to temperatures unseen for 10,000 years.




Marine Food Chain Threatened by Antarctic Warming

Climate change and disappearing sea ice in the Southern Ocean are causing food shortages that could threaten Antarctic whales, seals and penguins, scientists say. The vanishing ice in the winter has resulted in an 80% drop in the number of Antarctic krill, a shrimp-like crustacean that is a major source of food for animals in the region.




Ecosystems Disrupted by Enhanced CO2 -- Even Without Warming

Recent scientific discoveries hint at disastrous disruptive effects of increased CO2 concentrations on ecosystems - effects that are quite distinct from the climatic effects of this gas.




Drought Drives Thirsty Kangaroos into Australian Cities

Australian environmentalists are threatening to act as human shields to stop shooters from culling kangaroos, which have reached pest proportions in the national capital as a severe drought hits surrounding areas.




Drought Causes Drop in Duck Population

The duck population in the United States and Canada dropped 11 percent from a year ago as drought dried up breeding grounds, said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service.




Hawaii Sees Varied Impacts of Climate Change

Whale Skate Island in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands was a tiny dot of land in the vast Pacific, about 10 to 15 acres in size. It was covered with vegetation, nesting seabirds, Hawaiian monk seals and turtles laying eggs. It no longer exists. "That island in the course of 20 years has completely disappeared" with rising sea levels, said  a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist. "It washed away."




Warming Water Changing U.K. Fish Population

Cod and other coldwater fish in the North Sea and North Atlantic could soon be replaced by subtropical marine species such as tuna, sharks and sea horses lured by warmer waters caused by climate change. One of Britain's leading marine scientists has warned that a minor change in temperature of the seas off the north-west coast of Scotland and the rest of the UK is having a dramatic effect on traditional marine life.

 




Turtles Laying Eggs Earlier Due to Warming

Loggerhead sea turtles along Florida's Atlantic coast are laying their eggs about 10 days earlier than they did 15 years ago, a change that researchers believe was caused by global warming.




Warming Threatens Tropical Cloud Forests

A warming climate threatens tropical  mountain cloud forests that supply water to millions of people in Africa and Latin America including in the capitals of Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, and Tanzania. The habitats could disappear because of a  factors including a warmer climate.




Scientists See Warming Driving Mass Extinctions

In the first study of its kind, researchers in a range of habitats including northern Britain, the wet tropics of northeastern Australia and the Mexican desert said yesterday that global warming at currently predicted rates will drive 15 to 37 percent of living species toward extinction by mid-century. That could amount to the extinction of one million species in the next 50 years.




Changing Climate Threatens Extinction of Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies, which journey hundreds of miles to spend the winter in a mountain forest in Mexico, may be endangered within 50 years because a changing climate could make their winter refuge too wet and cool.




North Sea Undergoing "Ecological Meltdown" Due to Warming

The North Sea is undergoing "ecological meltdown" as a result of global warming, according to startling new research. Scientists say that they are witnessing "a collapse in the system", with devastating implications for fisheries and wildlife. Record sea temperatures are killing off the plankton on which all life in the sea depends, because they underpin the entire marine food chain. Fish stocks and sea bird populations have slumped."A regime shift has taken place and the whole ecology of the North Sea has changed quite dramatically", says Dr Chris Reid, the foundation's director. "We are seeing visual evidence of climate change on a large-scale ecosystem. We are likely to see even greater warming, with




Pika Going Extinct From Climate Change

Scientists believe the American pika, a mountain-dwelling relative of the rabbit, is heading for extinction and will be one of the first mammals to fall victim to climate change. As the climate heats up it is having to go to higher altitudes to find suitable habitats. A study reported in the US Journal of Mammalogy found that in pika populations at 25 places nearly 30% of the animals had gone. The locations are so remote that there seemed to be no other factor than climate change.




Squirrel Reproduction Altered by Warming

University of Alberta researchers recently concluded a 10-year study showing that red squirrels in the Yukon are reproducing earlier in the year in response to global warming and thus being genetically affected by it.  "We've been the first to show that this is a genetic change ... and not just behavioral change," said professor Stan Boutin, who led the team that conducted the study.




Scientists: Climate Change Could Drive Mass Extinctions

The worst mass extinction in the history of the planet could be replicated in as little as a century if global warming continues, according to new evidence. Researchers at Bristol University have discovered that a six-degree increase in the global temperature was enough to annihilate up to 95 per cent of species which were alive on Earth at the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago. Up to six degrees of warming is now predicted for the next century by United Nations scientists from the IPCC if nothing is done about emissions of the greenhouse gases.




Thinning Ice Plus Hunting Threatens Canada Seals

The seal population off Canada's Atlantic Coast is suffering because Ottawa continues to allow hunters to kill hundreds of thousands of the animals each year despite clear evidence the ice cover is rapidly thinning, activists said. Dr. David Lavigne, the IFAW's senior science advisor, said this was hurting harp and hooded seals, which give birth on the ice in late February and March and nurse their young for around 12 days.




Melting Ice Threatens Polar Bear Survival

The polar bear could be driven to extinction by global warming within 100 years, warns an ecology expert. The animal, which relies on sea ice to catch seals, is already starting to suffer the effects of climate changes in areas such as Hudson Bay in Canada. Scientists say Arctic sea ice is melting at a rate of up to 9 percent per decade. Arctic summers could be ice-free by mid-century.




Small Warming Triggers Large Species Migrations

Gradual warming over the last 100 years has forced a global movement of animals and plants northward, and it has sped up such perennial spring activities as flowering and egg hatching across the globe -- two signals that the Earth and its denizens are dramatically responding to a minute shift in temperature.




Warming Threatens Reindeers' Food Supply

Scientists warn that reindeer face the possibility of increased starvation. Rain falling on snow is creating ice that restricts their food supply. Rainfall in the northern latitudes where the animals live has been increasing in recent years. According to a climate change model put together by researchers at the University of Washington, things can only get worse.




Drought Threatens Crocodile Reproduction

The lack of monsoon rains has stopped male crocodiles from producing sperm, breeders say. John Lever, owner of the Koorana Crocodile Farm in the eastern state of Queensland, said if the drought continued, the female crocodiles would start to reabsorb their eggs as a survival mechanism.




Warm Winters Fuel Canada Beetle Epidemic

An epidemic of tree-killing beetles is spreading rapidly through the forests in Canada's largest lumber exporting province, with the deadly insects now found in a area nearly three-quarters the size of Sweden, officials said. The tiny pine beetles, which have been spreading almost unchecked through British Columbia for several years because of unusually warm winters, have seriously infested 9 million acres (3.6 million hectares) of forests and have now destroyed up 108 million cubic metres of lodgepole pine timber.




Lobsters Seen As Victims of Warming Water

In Long Island Sound, lobsters had been killed by a buildup of calcium, the rough equivalent of kidney stones in humans, and all the evidence pointed to one cause: water so warm that it was impairing their ability to process minerals. The lobsters were dying from the stress of an environment that had become hostile to their ancient internal thermostats.




Plant Extinctions Seen Soaring from Warming, Settlements

The percentage of the world's plants threatened with extinction is much larger than commonly believed, and could be as high as 47 percent if tropical species are included, researchers said. The studychallenges earlier research that estimated the number of species in danger of extinction was about 13 percent. Plants are becoming extinct for many reasons, including global warming and human encroachment into area habitats, said Peter Jorgensen, a researcher at the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis who coauthored the new study.




Canadian Polar Bears Threatened by Warming

Polar bears that roam the Hudson Bay area in the great Canadian North are impatiently waiting for ice to form, and as the winter shortens year by year their lives are becoming increasingly threatened. The giant white bears need the ice to gain access to ringed and barbed seals that live and play away from land among the icebergs. For every week a bear has not been ice hunting, it is 10 kilograms lighter.




CO2-driven Vine Growth Seen Choking Trees in Amazonia

Jungle vines are spreading faster in South America's Amazon rainforest than before, choking trees and potentially slowing the forests' ability to soak up damaging greenhouse gases, scientists say. The spread of woody vines is the first change in plant composition that scientists have recorded in the deepest virgin jungle, and suggests mankind is having more impact on delicate ecosystems than previously shown.




Hawaii Drought-Rain Cycle Boosts Mouse Population

Hawaii health officials are asking residents to do what they can to help control a booming mouse population on the Big Island, Maui and some areas of Kauai. Vector control officers are reporting four times as many mice as they usually see over the summer, State Health Director Bruce Anderson said Tuesday.


Are Giant Squid Due to Warming Waters?

Global warming is causing squid to grow abnormally large and speeding up their breeding cycles, an Australian scientist said Thursday. Researchers at the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies found rising water temperatures were also causing squid populations to expand dramatically.Institute scientist George Jackson said a 1 percent increase in water temperature caused juvenile squid to double in size.




Jellyfish Flourish As Water Warms

Jellyfish. which are taking over Long Island Sound, are thriving in large part because water temperatures have risen about 3 degrees in the past two decades, according to scientists.




Alaska Shows Striking Changes from Warming

To live in Alaska when the average temperature has risen about seven degrees over the last 30 years means learning to cope with a landscape that can sink, catch fire or break apart in the turn of a season.




Salmon, Trout Threatened by Warming Waters

Rising water temperatures caused by global warming could drive trout and salmon from many U.S. waterways, warns a new report from two environmental groups. Their study of eight species of fish suggests that the cold water habitat required by these species could shrink by more than 40 percent over the next century if steps are not taken to curb emissions of greenhouse gases.




Jellyfish Boom Driven Partly by Warming Waters

In many places around the world, jellyfish populations are sharply increasing. Scientists suspect that human activity is to blame. "When you start to see jellyfish numbers grow and grow, that usually indicates a stressed system," said one researcher. Those stresses include increased water temperature, a rise in nutrients in the water and depleted stocks of other fish, all of them often caused by humans.




Polar Bears Endangered by Warming

A reduction caused by global warming in the massive sheets of Arctic sea ice that polar bears prowl for their prey could have devastating consequences for the world's largest land predator, a leading conservation group said yesterday. The World Wildlife Fund said in a report that polar bears are facing a series of threats, including large-scale habitat fragmentation, pollution and excessive hunting, but pointed to the climate change forecast to occur over the coming decades as the gravest of them all.




Species Redistribution Could Trigger Major Changes

Climate change over the next 50 years will throw delicate ecosystems off balance, reduce the geographical range of many species and bring new predators and prey together, scientists said yesterday. Fewer species than expected will become extinct but their distribution could be radically different in the years to come which will have unpredictable results for humans.




Warming Drives Turnover of Portuguese Fish Population

Rising water temperatures have dramatically changed the species of fish in Portugal's Tejo River estuary, the biggest in Western Europe.Maria Jose Costa, director of oceanography at the University of Lisbon, said global warming had caused such cold-water species as flounder and red mullet almost to disappear in the last two decades. At the same time, the numbers of warm-water fish such as Senegal sea bream, common to North African waters, and dogfish have vastly increased.




Seal Pups Casualty of Early Spring

The early disappearance of ice in Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence, which some scientists believe is linked to global warming, is wreaking havoc on harp seals - which give birth on the floes - and causing economic hardship for hard-pressed fishermen who depend on the controversial spring hunt. Hundreds of drowned seal pups have already washed up on the shores of Newfoundland after their mothers gave birth in open water, apparently unable to find ice. The final death toll of pups may be in the hundreds of thousands.




Warming Affecting Species Around the World

Ecosystems around the globe are showing the effects of climate warming. Earlier arrival of migrant birds, earlier appearance of butterflies, earlier spawning in amphibians, earlier flowering of plants - spring has been coming sooner every year since the 1960s, researchers reported Wednesday.




Vastly Different Vegetation Results from Climate Changes

New research shows that climate change over the past 25,000 years was responsible for vastly different and constantly changing assemblages of types of trees. The results showed short lag times and large changes in vegetation in response to rapid climate change.




Genetic Change in Mosquitoes Linked to Warming

A tiny mosquito that lives in the pitcher plant is evolving in response to global warming, researchers report. In a study appearing Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the university of Oregon in Eugene found that global warming is leading the pitcher plant mosquito, a tiny, fragile species that seldom bothers people, to delay when it breeds and develops. The pitcher plant mosquito is not considered a pest. But experts say the study suggests that global warming also could lead to genetic changes in troublesome insects.




Bird Migrations Changed by Warming

Birders taking part in the annual Christmas count in Maine are finding that warmer weather has changed the migratory pattern of some species."'The number of migratory birds has definitely decreased," Tucker said. "We tend not to see as many birds from farther north. They stay in the Arctic and Canada because it's warm enough for them." At the same time, birders are now seeing some other birds that weren't seen as far north as Maine during the winter 20 years ago.




Warming Stresses Put Ecosystems at Risk of Sudden Collapse

After decades of continuous change imposed by human activity, many of the world's natural ecosystems appear susceptible to sudden catastrophic change, an international consortium of scientists reported. Coral reefs and tropical forests are vulnerable, as are northern lakes and forests, the team has found. "Models have predicted this," said one researcher, "but only in recent years has enough evidence accumulated to tell us that resilience of many important ecosystems has become undermined to the point that even the slightest disturbance can make them collapse."




Season Changes, Warming Are Altering Ecological Relationship

Changes not only in mean temperatures but also in temperature patterns may affect ecological interactions by altering the synchronization between species. These changes in plant phenology and bird migration show that climate warming may lead to a decoupling of species interactions, for example, between plants and their pollinators or between birds and their plant and insect food supplies.




Penguin Populations Threatened by Warming Waters

Researchers say that around the world, many penguin populations are declining, and evidence is mounting that global warming, whether natural or human-induced, is a prime cause.




Frog Decline Driven By Climate Change

For the first time, scientists have made a direct link between global warming trends and amphibian declines. Altered precipitation patterns resulted in lower levels of water in ponds and lakes, where amphibians lay their eggs, making them more susceptible to infection and the effects of ultra-violet radiation.




Collapse of Subarctic Ecosystem Linked to Ocean Warming

Researchers find two degree jump in ocean temperatures may have triggered a cascade of impacts that have decimated sea otter populations and changed the composition of the entire subarctic ecosystem in the Aleutians.




Inuit Cite Migrating Seals, Bears, Insects and Birds

Members of the Inuit tribe in far northwestern Canada say the evidence of global warming is right outside their door: There are fewer seals and polar bears to hunt, the mosquito population is booming and migratory birds that have not been seen in the region before are showing up.




One Third of Earth's Habitats Imperiled by Warming

As the planet warms, extinction is the forecast for vulnerable animals and plants across more than a third of the Earth's natural habitat, researchers report in a sweeping new study.In Canada, Russia and Scandinavia, where warming is predicted to be most rapid, up to 60 percent of habitat could be lost by the end of this century. The report, "Global Warming and Terrestrial Biodiversity Decline," was released by World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada), the David Suzuki Foundation and the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC). http://panda.org/resources/publications/climate/speedkills/




CO2 Boosts Spread of Invasive Species

Arid ecosystems, which occupy about 20% of the earth's terrestrial surface area, have been predicted to be one of the most responsive ecosystem types to elevated atmospheric CO2 and associated global climate change. New shoot production of a dominant perennial shrub is doubled by a 50% increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration in a high rainfall year. This shift in species composition, driven by global change, has the potential to accelerate the fire cycle, reduce biodiversity and alter ecosystem function in the deserts of western North America.




Warming Threatens Migrating Birds
El Nino, the Pacific current blamed for causing floods, droughts and other weather disasters, also may help kill off delicate migrating bird populations. Even subtle changes linked to global warming have profound effects for animal populations.




More CO2 Leaves Plant Eaters Malnourished (3/00)

While scientists continue to debate whether elevated concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, such as methane, will lead to significant changes in Earth's temperature, they agree on one thing. Boosting atmospheric CO2 makes plants grow faster.Paradoxically, that effect could spell disaster for plant eaters, from caterpillars to antelope, as well as the animals that dine on these herbivores, new research suggests. Fast growth often leads to poor nutritional value.




Warming Drives Birds North

British birds are spreading their wings and extending their range northwards to beat global warming, scientists said. In the past 20 years many birds have pushed their northern boundaries by an average of 19 km (12 miles). Scientists believe the extension of range is due to climatic warming.


Warming Threatens Collapse of Salmon Fishery

The Fraser River fishery could be almost barren of salmon within a few decades if water temperatures continue to rise because of global warming. Canada's largest salmon fishery could be the first tangible casualty of climate change. Even a small change in the river's temperature could destroy spawning grounds.


Climate Change threatens Polar Bears

Climate change is threatening polar bears with starvation by shortening their hunting season. One result is the increasing numbers of hungry bears wandering into northern Canadian communities.




Starving Whales Casualties of Ocean Warming

Starvation seems the most likely cause of death for more than 100 grey whales found dead along the North American West Coast. Experts say they had too little blubber to sustain them on their long migration from Baja Mexico to the Bering Sea.




Population Dynamics of Songbird Affected by Climate Change

In a population of a small songbird, the dipper (Cinclus cinclus), environmental stochasticity and density dependence both influenced the population growth rate. About half of the environmental variance was explained by variation in mean winter temperature. Including these results in a stochastic model shows that an expected change in climate will strongly affect the dynamics of the population, leading to a nonlinear increase in the carrying capacity and in the expected mean population size.




Warming Fuels Migrations of Birds, Insects, Plants
Warming is pushing birds, fish and insects further north even as it affects plant cycles and animal reproduction patterns by changing the timing of seasons.




North Sea Warming Threatens Cod Survival

The stock of North Sea cod is under pressure because of overfishing. It is also threatened by a decline in the production of young cod that has paralleled warming of the North Sea over the past ten years. The combination of a diminished stock and the possible persistence of adverse warm conditions is endangering the long-term sustainability of cod in the North Sea.




Global Warming Brings More Bugs: Study

Hot weather is good for plants and good for the bugs that eat them. True today, and it was true 55 million years ago. Insects and plants make up the bulk of life on Earth, and the interplay between them and climate is of increasing scientific interest as concern grows over the prospect of future global warming.




Florida Palms Dying from Sea Level Rise

Rising global sea levels are killing cabbage palms and other coastal trees in Florida due to saltwater exposure as sea water pushes up through water tables.




Climate Change Drives Amphibian Extinctions

Extinction of Costa Rican golden toads -- and the decline in other amphibian populations -- appears to be a direct result of climate change.




CO2 Implicated in Coral Deaths
Scientists said they had found another potential threat to delicate coral reefs, coming from carbon dioxide dissolved in seawater. Excess carbon dioxide from burning coal, gas and other fossil fuels has long been blamed for helping raise global temperatures through the greenhouse effect, and such higher temperatures have been blamed for helping kill coral reefs. But now scientists have found that the excess carbon can also dissolve in the ocean and disrupt complex chemical reactions that the coral uses to build its reef colonies.




Changing Climate Alters Animal Patterns

For more than 2 decades, climate modelers have warned that global warming may transform our environment by pushing corn belts north, expanding deserts, and melting ice caps. Now biologists are compiling an impressive array of data suggesting that climate changes big and small can have profound effects on species. Climate's fingerprints are turning up in observations compiled over years and decades.




Plants Migrate Up the Alps
Plant species are migrating to higher elevations in the Swiss and Austrian Alps, where temperatures have climbed 1.25° F this century. University of Vienna scientists collected data on vascular plant species at high elevations in the middle Alps and compared the modern data with detailed historical records from early in the century. They concluded that "there is no doubt that even moderate warming induces migration processes, and that this process is under way ... global warming is already having a significant impact on plant ecology." Nature, vol. 369, June 9, 1994.




Small warming disrupts ecosystems

A temperature change of just a few degrees was enough to disrupt a delicate ecological balance in the tidal waters of Oregon. Eric Sanford of Oregon State University said his study suggests that if a key species in a community of animals is particularly sensitive to temperatures, a slight warming or cooling could start a whole cascade of rapid changes affecting every animal in an ecosystem.




Small Temperature Rise Fuels Migrations of Sea Animals
Around the same time scientists announced the decline in the zooplankton population of the Pacific Ocean, other researches noted that rising water temperatures in Monterey Bay have triggered an exodus of cold water crabs, snails and other species and an influx of different populations of sea animals accustomed to warmer temperatures.


Butterfly Study Confirms Warming-Driven Migrations
While previous studies documented only localized species migrations in response to atmospheric warming, an August, 1996 study in the journal Nature indicated that the entire migratory range of one type of butterfly has shifted northward in response to just a slight increase in temperature.