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Published on May 18, 2009

Author: farawela



BIODIVERSITY AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE : By Feryal Jamal Kherissat BIODIVERSITY AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE Biodiversity : The term given to the variety of life on Earth, provides, through its expression as ecosystems, goods and services that sustain our lives. Human pressures on ecosystems are causing changes and losses at rates not seen historically. People are changing ecosystems more rapidly and more extensively than over any other period in human history. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, climate change is likely to become the dominant direct driver of biodiversity loss by the end of the century. Biodiversity Slide 3: There is NO disagreement among scientists about whether the climate is changing, or whether the atmospheric system is becoming warmer. The only area of contention is the CAUSE of the warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level”. Slide 4: Biodiversity and ecosystems - including forests, wetlands and the oceans - play a major role in climate regulation and impact regional and global climate changes. The Changing Climate has become an important driver of biodiversity loss and threatens its role as a source of essential ecosystem “goods and services” Slide 5: Impacts of Biodiversity on Climate Change Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity : Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity Slide 7: Marmots What is climate change? : What is climate change? Climate change is a change in the "average weather" that a given region experiences. Average weather includes all the features we associate with the weather such as: Temperature. Wind patterns. Precipitation. Why earth is warming up? : Why earth is warming up? When sunlight heats the Earth's surface and heat is reradiated to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases absorb this heat and slows the escape back to space. Some greenhouse gases are natural and some are manmade Slide 10: Greenhouse gases are essential to maintaining the temperature of the Earth; without them the planet would be so cold However, an excess of greenhouse gases can raise the temperature of a planet to lethal levels, as on Venus where the 96.5% carbon dioxide (CO2) atmosphere results in surface temperatures of about 467 °C (872 °F). What are greenhouse gases? : What are greenhouse gases? Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere include: Water vapor Carbon dioxide Methane Nitrous oxide Man made synthetics: Chlorofluorocarbons(CFCs) Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) Slide 13: Some solar radiation is reflected by the earth and the atmosphere. Solar radiation pass through theclear atmosphere. Most radiation is absorbed by the earth's surface and warm it. Some of the infrared radiation passes through the atmosphere, and some is absorbed and re-emitted in all directions by greenhouse gas molecules. The effect of this is to warm the earth's surface and the lower atmosphere. Infrared radiation is emitted from the earth's surface. Greenhouse Effect Slide 14: Since the mid-1800s, the average global temperature increased by about 0.6 ° C, impacting the entire world. The globally averaged surface temperature is projected to increase by 1.4 to 5.8°C over the period 1990 to 2100, with nearly all land areas warming more rapidly than the global average. Observed changes Numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed on continental, regional, and ocean basin scales. : Numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed on continental, regional, and ocean basin scales. Arctic temps increased at twice the global average rate in the past 100 yrs. Arctic sea ice has shrunk by 2.7% per decade with decreases in summer of 7.4% per decade. Permafrost temps have increased by up to 3°C. Area covered by permafrost has decreased by 7% in northern hemisphere (spring 15%). Precipitation trends (1900 –2005): increased in eastern N and S America, central Asia; decreased in Mediterranean, S Africa S Asia. Slide 16: Ocean salinity has decreased at mid-and high-latitudes and increased at low-latitudes. Mid-latitude westerly winds have strengthen. Droughts in tropics and subtropics have become more intense and longer. Heavy precipitation events more frequent of over most land areas. Extreme temperature trends: cold days, nights and frost less frequent; hot days, nights and heat waves more frequent. Cyclone activity in N Atlantic increased in intensity. Global mean sea level rose by 10 to 20 cm. Vulnerability of Ecosystems to Climate Change : Vulnerability of Ecosystems to Climate Change Potential Worldwide Precipitation Changes : Potential Worldwide Precipitation Changes This map represents possible changes in worldwide precipitation as a result of global warming. Some areas (primarily in the northern latitudes) will experience increased precipitation, whereas other areas will experience decreased precipitation. Slide 19: Observed sea ice September 2003 Observed 1979 sea ice September Mount Kilimanjaro is estimated to have lost 82% of its ice mass during the 20th century. : Mount Kilimanjaro is estimated to have lost 82% of its ice mass during the 20th century. February 17,1993 February 21, 2000 Slide 21: Reduced salinity in Oceans due to polar ice melting Slide 23: Many species are uniquely adapted to very specific climatic conditions whereby small changes can mean that we lose these species forever. The golden toad (Bufo periglenes) has not been seen since 1989, and is believed to be extinct Some species that are already threatened are particularly vulnerable to the impacts ofclimate change. The following are examples of species and of their vulnerabilities. : Some species that are already threatened are particularly vulnerable to the impacts ofclimate change. The following are examples of species and of their vulnerabilities. Slide 25: In the Arctic, shorter periods of sea ice coverage endanger the polar bear’s habitat and existence by giving them less time to hunt. Slide 27: Climate fluctuations in North America reduce plankton populations, the main source of food of the North Atlantic right whale. Only about 300 individuals remain at present and the reduced availability of food due to climate change is becoming an increasing cause of mortality. Slide 28: The sex of sea turtle hatchlings is dependent on temperature, with warmer temperatures increasing the number of female sea turtles. Warmer temperatures in the Pacific regions could reduce the number of male sea turtle offspring and threaten turtle populations. Slide 29: Since frogs rely on water to breed, any reduction or change in rainfall could reduce frog reproduction. Rising temperatures are closely linked to outbreaks of a fungal disease that contributes to the decline of amphibian populations, especially frogs in Latin America. Slide 30: Some of the largest remaining areas where tigers occur are the mangrove forests of Asia. The projected rise in sea levels could cause the disappearance of the tigers’ habitat, threatening the survival of the species. Slide 31: In Africa, pressures from longer dry periods and shrinking living spaces are making elephants highly vulnerable to climate change. Slide 32: Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could lose up to 95% of its living coral by 2050 due to changes in ocean temperature and chemistry. Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia Climate change: a threat to biodiversity : Climate change is changing species through: shifting habitat Changes in distribution. changing life cycles: Changes in reproduction timings. Changes in length of growing seasons for plants. the development of new physical traits. Increased extinction rates, mainly affect: less mobile species species in highly fragmented habitats species requiring combinations of environmental factors that will disappear. Climate change: a threat to biodiversity Observed Changes in Terrestrial Species Distributions, Population Sizes, and Community Composition. : Observed Changes in Terrestrial Species Distributions, Population Sizes, and Community Composition. Changes in the timing of biological events (phenology): : Changes in the timing of biological events (phenology): Earlier start of breeding of some bird species in Europe, North America, and Latin America. For Example, In the United Kingdom, 20 of 65 species, including long-distance migrants, advanced their egg laying dates by an average of 8 days between the years 1971 and 1995. Changes in insect and bird migration with earlier arrival dates of spring migrants in the United States, later autumn departure dates in Europe, and changes in migratory patterns in Africa and Australia. Mismatch in the timing of breeding of bird species (Parus major) with other species, including their food species. This decoupling could lead to birds hatching when food supplies may be scarce. Slide 36: Earlier flowering and lengthening of the growing season of some plants For Example, Across Europe by about 11 days from the years 1959 to 1993. The warmer climate has increased growing degree-days by 20% for agriculture and forestry in Alaska, and boreal forests are expanding north at a rate equal to about 100 to 150 km per °C. The growing season is lengthening. It has major impacts on timing-sensitive relationships with pollinators, seed dispersers, and herbivores. Events that have long occurred in synchrony may become decoupled. Slide 37: Great Tit (Parus major ( Slide 38: Painted turtles grew larger in warmer years and reached sexual maturity faster during warm sets of years. Body weight of the North American wood rat (Neotoma sp. ) has declined with an increase in temperature over the last 8 years. Juvenile red deer (Cervus elaphus ) in Scotland grew faster in warmer springs leading to increases in adult body size. Some frogs begin calling earlier (to attract mates) or call more during warm years. Many species have shown changes in morphology, physiology, and behavior associated with changes in climatic variables: Slide 39: Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta( Slide 40: wood rat (Neotoma sp. ) Red deer (Cervus elaphus ) Changes in species distribution linked to changes in climaticfactors : Changes in species distribution linked to changes in climaticfactors The ranges of butterflies in Europe and North America have been found to shift poleward and up in elevation as temperatures have increased. A study of 35 non-migratory butterflies in Europe showed that over 60% shifted north by 35–240 km over the 20th century. The spring range of Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis ) has moved north along the Norwegian coast. The ranges of some birds have moved poleward in Antarctica. Slide 42: Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis ) Slide 43: In Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest, the quetzal has declined as the climate has changed its upper-slope montane habitat. Among the factors causing its decline is increasing nest predation by toucans that have shifted upslope due to changing climate conditions. quetzal toucans Changes in climatic variables have led to increased frequencyand intensity of outbreaks of pests and diseases. : Changes in climatic variables have led to increased frequencyand intensity of outbreaks of pests and diseases. For example, Spruce budworm outbreaks frequently follow droughts and/or dry summers in parts of their range. The pest-host dynamics can be affected by the drought increasing the stress of host trees and the number of spruce budworm eggs laid. The number of spruce budworm eggs laid at 25°C is up to 50% greater than the number laid at 15°C. Some outbreaks have persisted in the absence of late spring frosts killing new growth on trees, the budworm’s food source. Slide 45: Spruce budworms (Choristoneura ( Slide 46: Global warming may foster disease among marine mammals. For example, In the 1990’s, after abnormally low rainfall resulted in less food for striped dolphins in the Mediterranean, thousands died from disease that was thought to have spread more easily due to the poor nutritional state of the dolphins at that time. Most soil biota has relatively wide temperature optima, so are unlikely to be adversely affected directly by changes in temperatures. : Most soil biota has relatively wide temperature optima, so are unlikely to be adversely affected directly by changes in temperatures. Soil organisms will be affected by elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations and changes in the soil moisture regime where this changes organic inputs to the soil (leaf litter) and the distribution of fine roots in soils. The distribution of individual species of soil biota may be affected by climate change where species are associated with specific vegetation and are unable to adapt at the rate of land-cover change. Biodiversity and Climate Change in Various Ecosystems : Biodiversity and Climate Change in Various Ecosystems Slide 49: most vulnerable ecosystems include coral reefs, the sea-ice biome, high-latitude ecosystems such as boreal forests, mountain ecosystems, and Mediterranean-climate ecosystems. Polar Ecosystems : Polar Ecosystems Walruses, polar bears, seals and other marine mammals that rely on sea ice for resting, feeding and breeding are particularly threatened by climate change. The average weight of female polar bears in western Hudson Bay, Canada, was 650 pounds. In 2004, their average weight was only 507 pounds. Reduced sea-ice extent is also believed to have caused a 50% decline in emperor penguin populations in Terre Adélie. Populations of krill and other small organisms may also decline as ice recedes. emperor penguin Slide 51: Walruses krill Agricultural Ecosystems : Agricultural Ecosystems About 7,000 plant species have been cultivated for food since agriculture began about 12,000 years ago. Today only about 15 plant species and eight animal species supply 90% of our food. Many traits incorporated into these modern crop varieties were introduced from wild relatives, improving their productivity and tolerance to pests, disease and difficult growing conditions. Wild relatives of food crops are considered an insurance policy for the future, as they can be used to breed new varieties that can cope with the changing conditions. Slide 53: Many wild races of staple food crops are endangered. For example, One quarter of all wild potato species are predicted to die out within 50 years, which could make it difficult for future plant breeders to ensure that commercial varieties can cope with a changing climate. Wild potatoes found in the alpine biome of the Andes. Slide 54: Africa: Area suitable for cultivation , length of growing seasons and yield potential, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas very likely to decrease. In some areas, yields from rain-fed agriculture expected to decrease by as much as 50 % by 2020. Asia: Crop yields could increase up to 20 % in east and south-east Asia, but are projected to decrease by up to 30 % in central and south Asia by 2050. As a result, the risk of hunger is expected to remain very high and increase in some areas. Slide 55: Europe: Northern Europe – initially mixed effects e.g. reduced heating demand, higher crop and forest yields (benefits). But with the passage of time, occurrences such as more frequent winter floods, and endangered ecosystems are projected to outweigh the benefits. Central and southern Europe – decreased summer precipitation projected to cause increased water stress; reduced forest productivity; higher incidence of weatland fires. Southern Europe – high temperatures and increased incidence of drought will exacerbate water stress, hydropower potential, and crop productivity. Slide 56: North America: In the first few decades of the present Century, crop yields from rainfed agriculture are expected to increase by between 5-20 %, but the increase will be uneven across regions. However, there would likely be reduced productivity for crops that are already near the upper limits of their thermal range dependent on irrigation. Latin America: In arid and semi-arid areas, salinization and desertification of arable land would lead to reduced crop and livestock productivity ? reduced food security. In temperate zones, soybean yields expected to increase (benefit). Dry and Sub-humid Lands Ecosystems : Dry and Sub-humid Lands Ecosystems Deserts are projected to become hotter and drier. Higher temperatures could threaten organisms that are already near their heat-tolerance limits. For example, Climate change is likely to have serious impacts on the Succulent Karoo, the world’s richest arid hotspot, located in the southwestern part of South Africa and southern Namibia. This very sensitive region is highly affected by climate. Changes in rainfall patterns could also have serious impacts on drylands biodiversity. For example, Climate change could increase the risk of wildfires, which could change the species composition and decrease biodiversity. Forest Ecosystems : Forest Ecosystems Forests are particularly vulnerable to climate change because: Even small changes in temperature and precipitation can have significant effects on forest growth. It has been shown that an increase of 1°C in the temperature can modify the functioning and composition of forests. Many forest-dwelling large animals, half of the large primates, and nearly 9% of all known tree species are already at some risk of extinction. Woody tree species are less able to shift poleward with changing climatic conditions. Slide 62: Growth in some forests may initially increase as carbon dioxide concentrations rise. However, climate change may force species to migrate or shift their ranges far faster than they are able to, some species may die off as a result. For example, In Canada, white spruce populations will be able to migrate at a rate matching the pace of climate change. Warming will lengthen growing seasons, sustaining forest carbon sinks in North America despite reducing some sink capacity due to increased water limitations. Slide 63: White Spruce (Picea abies) taiga, Alaska. Slide 64: Forests could become increasingly threatened by pests and fires, making them more vulnerable to invasive species. For example, In England, insect pests that were previously unknown to the region because they would not have survived the winter frosts have been observed. The area of boreal forest burned annually in western North America has doubled in the last 20 years, in parallel with the warming trend in the region. Similar trends have been noted for Eurasian forests. For example, Replacement of tropical forests by grasslands in eastern Amazonia. Cheatgrass/ wildfire cycle: Outcompetes native perennial seedlings, High frequency and extent of wildfires Replaces fire-sensitive perennial shrubs, grasses, and forbs. Conversion of shrub-steppe to annual grassland Slide 65: Bromus tectorum Inland Waters Ecosystems : Inland Waters Ecosystems Warming of rivers. Reductions in ice cover. Altered mixing regimes. Alterations in flow regimes. Greater frequencies of extreme events, including flood and drought. Climate-related changes in the hydrological regime will affect inland water ecosystems. Responses of lakes and streams to climate change include: Slide 67: These responses are likely to lead to: Changes in growth, reproduction, and distribution of lake and stream biodiversity. The poleward movement of some organisms. Changes in the reproduction of migratory birds that depend on lakes and streams for their breeding cycle. Island Ecosystems : Island Ecosystems Island ecosystems are especially vulnerable to climate change because: Island species populations tend to be small, localized, and highly specialized, and thus can easily be driven to extinction. Coral reefs, which provide a number of services to island people, are highly sensitive to temperature and chemical changes in seawater. Slide 69: The main threat to island ecosystems is the observed and projected rise in sea level. Other risks to island ecosystems include an increased frequency and/or intensity of storms, reductions in rainfall in some regions, and intolerably high temperatures. Increases in sea surface temperatures and changes in water chemistry can cause large-scale coral bleaching, increasing the probability of coral death. Slide 70: Coral bleaching is likely to become widespread by the year 2100 as sea surface temperatures are projected to increase by at least 1–2°C. In the short term, if sea surface temperatures increase by more than 3°C and if this increase is sustained over several months, it is likely to result in extensive mortality of corals. An increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration and hence oceanic CO2 affects the ability of the reef plants and animals to make limestone skeletons (reef calcification); a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations could reduce reef calcification and reduce the ability of the coral to grow vertically and keep pace with rising sea level. Result, Reduced species diversity in coral reefs and more frequent outbreaks of pests and diseases in the reef system. The effects of reducing the productivity of reef ecosystems on birds and marine mammals are expected to be substantial. Slide 71: Solid lines indicate direct effects, dashed lines indicate indirect effects, and dotted lines indicate possible effects. Fe=iron; SST=sea surface temperature. Direct and indirect effects of changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations on coral reef ecosystems. Increase atmospheric Temperature Climate Change Altered storm Frequency/ Intensity Increase Dust (Fe Fertilization) Sea-Level Rise Increase SST Reduced CO2 Increased Bleaching Differential Impact Increased Breakage & Erosion Reduced Light Reduced Calcification Marine and Coastal Ecosystems : Coastal ecosystems are uniquely structured --and organisms are highly specialized --along energy, salinity and moisture gradients, all of which are affected by climate change. In contrast to terrestrial systems with physical gradients that can stretch over 10s or 1000s of km, gradients in coastal systems are often relatively short. The climate-related variables that are inextricably linked with the coastal biodiversity are very likely to change as the atmosphere and oceans warm. Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Slide 73: Diseases and toxicity have affected coastal ecosystems. Changes in marine systems, particularly fish populations, have been linked to large-scale climate oscillations. Large fluctuations in the abundance of marine birds and mammals across parts of the Pacific and western Arctic have been detected and may be related to changing regimes of disturbances, climate variability, and extreme events. Coastal forests, mainly mangroves, are lost at a rate of approximately 1% per year, leading to a decline in nurseries and refuge for fish and shellfish species. Mountain Ecosystems : Mountain Ecosystems Mountain species also have a very limited capacity to move to higher altitudes in response to warming temperatures. This is especially true of “mountain islands”, which are often dominated by endemic species. In the Alps, some plant species have been migrating upward by one to four meters per decade, and some plants previously found only on mountaintops have disappeared. Slide 75: Alpine Flora at Logan Pass, Glacier National Park, in Montana, USA : Alpine plants are one group expected to be highly susceptible to the impacts of Climate change. Slide 76: Is it too late to stop climate change? Scientist agree that the current warming trend cant be stopped or reversed, but that it can be slowed down to allow biological system and human society more time to adapt. Slide 77: Warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized. Temperatures in excess of 1.9 to 4.6°C warmer than pre-industrial will be sustained for millennia… with the eventual melt of the Greenland ice sheet. Would raise sea level by 7 m comparable to that of 125,000 years ago. Mitigation of Global Warming : Mitigation of Global Warming Conservation: Reduce energy needs. Recycling. Alternate energy sources: Nuclear. Wind. Geothermal. Hydroelectric. Solar. Slide 79: Kyoto protocol committed industrial countries to decrease greenhouse gases. EU has agreed to reduce emissions by 8% below 1990 levels for the first Kyoto below commitment period: 2008-2012 Slide 80: Examples of activities that promote mitigation of or adaptation to climate change include: Maintaining and restoring native ecosystems. Protecting and enhancing ecosystem services. Managing habitats for endangered species. Creating refuges and buffer zones. Establishing networks of terrestrial, freshwater and marine protected areas that take into account projected changes in climate. THANK YOU : THANK YOU

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