sam asked in Environment · 1 decade ago

what are the effects of global warming on biological diversity?

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    it will help some organisms and hurt others. at extremes, it may end up destroying organisms faster than others are helped, but then this will result in other organisms filling the vacated niches

  • 1 decade ago

    global warming will have a positive impact on some organisms

    and a negative one on organisms like humans.humans will go extinct and other(not all) organisms will evolve and live on. so unless u want to have a 'healthy' future and even a 'future' for your grandchildren u will do your part to prevent global warming.

  • 1 decade ago

    This article is comprehensive enough to know the effects of global warming on biodiversity.

  • 1 decade ago

    it will cause imbalance of the organisms life cycle

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  • 1 decade ago

    Expected effects

    Main article: Effects of global warming

    The expected effects of global warming are many and various, both for the environment and for human life. These effects include sea level rise, repercussions to agriculture, reductions in the ozone layer, increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, and the spread of disease. In some cases, the effects may already be manifest, although it is difficult to attribute specific incidents of natural phenomena to long-term global warming. Since the mid-1970s, the total annual power of hurricanes has increased markedly because their average intensity and duration have increased; in addition, there has been a high correlation of hurricane power with tropical sea-surface temperature[15][24]. In spite of such strong evidence, the relationship between global warming and hurricanes is still being debated. [16][17] A draft statement by the World Meteorological Organization acknowledges the differing viewpoints on this issue [18].

    The extent and probability of these consequences is a matter of considerable uncertainty. A summary of probable effects and recent understanding can be found in the report of the IPCC Working Group II [19]. Some scientists have concluded global warming is already causing death and disease across the world through flooding, environmental destruction, heat waves and other extreme weather events. (Reuters, February 9, 2006; archived)

    Effects on ecosystems

    Both primary and secondary effects of global warming — such as higher temperatures, lessened snow cover, rising sea levels and weather changes — may influence not only human activities, but also ecosystems. Some species may be forced out of their habitats (possibly to extinction) because of changing conditions, while others may flourish. Similarly, changes in timing of life patterns, such as annual migration dates, may alter regional predator-prey balance. The effect of advanced spring arrival dates in Scandinavia on birds that over winter in sub-Saharan Africa has been ascribed to evolutionary adaptation of the species to climatic warming [20].

    Ocean pH is lowering as a result of increased carbon dioxide levels. Lowering of ocean pH, along with changing water temperature and ocean depth will have a damaging effect on coral reefs.

    Another suggested mechanism whereby a warming trend may be amplified involves the thawing of tundra, which can release significant amounts of the potent greenhouse gas, methane, which is trapped in permafrost and ice clathrate compounds [21].

    There are also ecological effects of melting polar ice: for example, polar bears use sea ice to reach their prey and they must swim to another ice floe when one breaks up. Ice is now becoming further separated and dead polar bears have been found in the water, believed to have drowned[22]. More recently, some scientists have suggested that the observed cannibalistic behavior in polar bears may be the result of food shortages brought on by global warming (Amstrup et al. 2006).

    Effect on glaciers

    Global glacial mass balance in the last fifty years, reported to the WGMS and the NSIDC. The increased downward trend in the late 1980s is symptomatic of the increased rate and number of retreating glaciers.Global warming has led to negative glacier mass balance, causing glacier retreat around the world. Oerlemans (2005) showed a net decline in 142 of the 144 mountain glaciers with records from 1900 to 1980. Since 1980 global glacier retreat has increased significantly. Similarly, Dyurgerov and Meier (2005) averaged glacier data across large-scale regions (e.g. Europe) and found that every region had a net decline from 1960 to 2002, though a few local regions (e.g. Scandinavia) have shown increases. Some glaciers that are in disequilibrium with present climate have already disappeared [23] and increasing temperatures are expected to cause continued retreat in the majority of alpine glaciers around the world. Upwards of 90% of glaciers reported to the World Glacier Monitoring Service have retreated since 1995 [24].

    Of particular concern is the potential for failure of the Hindu Kush and Himalayan glacial melts. The melt of these glaciers is a large and reliable source of water for China, India, and much of Asia, and these waters form a principal dry-season water source. Increased melting would cause greater flow for several decades, after which "some areas of the most populated region on Earth are likely to 'run out of water'" (T. P. Barnett, J. C. Adam and D. P. Lettenmaier 2005) [25]

    Miniature rock glaciers

    Rock glaciers — caches of ice under boulders — are among other water signs such as drying meadows and warming lakes that scientists are studying in the Sierras in the western United States [26]. Connie Millar searches for the rock glaciers in the Yosemite area of the Sierra crest. She hypothesizes that rock glaciers will be predictors of how ecosystems change with rising temperatures. Millar is leading an effort (the Consortium for Integrated Climate Research in Western Mountains [27]) to co-ordinate the work of many scientists to see how the pieces of the Global Warming puzzle may fit.

    Destabilization of ocean currents

    Main article: Shutdown of thermohaline circulation

    There is also some speculation that global warming could, via a shutdown or slowdown of the thermohaline circulation, trigger localized cooling in the North Atlantic and lead to cooling, or lesser warming, in that region. This would affect in particular areas like Scandinavia and Britain that are warmed by the North Atlantic drift.

    Sea level rise and environmental refugees

    The termini of the glaciers in the Bhutan-Himalaya. Glacial lakes have been rapidly forming on the surface of the debris-covered glaciers in this region during the last few decades. According to USGS researchers, glaciers in the Himalaya are wasting at alarming and accelerating rates, as indicated by comparisons of satellite and historic data, and as shown by the widespread, rapid growth of lakes on the glacier surfaces. The researchers have found a strong correlation between increasing temperatures and glacier retreat.Rising global temperatures will melt glaciers and expand the water of the seas through the mechanism of thermal expansion, leading to sea level rise. Even a relatively small rise in sea level would make some densely settled coastal plains uninhabitable and create a significant refugee problem. If the sea level were to rise in excess of 4 meters (13 ft) almost every coastal city in the world would be severely affected, with the potential for major damage to world-wide trade and economy. Presently, the IPCC predicts sea level rise is most probable to be just short of half a metre, and at least between 9 and 88 cm through 2100 [28] - but they also warn that global warming during that time may lead to irreversible changes in the Earth's glacial system and ultimately melt enough ice to raise sea level many meters over the next millennia. It is estimated that around 200 million people could be affected by sea level rise, especially in Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria and Egypt.

    An example of the ambiguity of the concept of environmental refugees is the emigration from the island nation of Tuvalu, which has an average elevation of approximately one meter above sea level. Tuvalu already has an ad hoc agreement with New Zealand to allow phased relocation [29] and many residents have been leaving the islands. However, it is far from clear that rising sea levels from global warming are a substantial factor - best estimates are that sea level has been rising there at approximately 1–2 millimeters per year (~1/16th in/yr), but that shorter timescale factors—ENSO, or tides—have far larger temporary effects [30] [31] [32] [33].

    Spread of disease

    One of the largest known outbreaks of Vibrio parahaemolyticus gastroenteritis has been attributed to generally rising ocean temperature where infected oysters were harvested in Prince William Sound, Alaska in 2005. Before this, the northernmost reported risk of such infection was in British Columbia, 1000 km to the south (McLaughlin JB, et al.).

    Global warming may extend the range of vectors conveying infectious diseases such as malaria. A warmer environment boosts the reproduction rate of mosquitoes and the number of blood meals they take, prolongs their breeding season, and shortens the maturation period for the microbes they disperse [34]. Global warming has been implicated in the recent spread to the north Mediterranean region of bluetongue disease in domesticated ruminants associated with mite bites (Purse, 2005). Hantavirus infection, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, tularemia and rabies increased in wide areas of Russia during 2004–2005. This was associated with a population explosion of rodents and their predators but may be partially blamed on breakdowns in governmental vaccination and rodent control programs.[35] Similarly, despite the disappearance of malaria in most temperate regions, the indigenous mosquitoes that transmitted it were never eliminated and remain common in some areas. Thus, although temperature is important in the transmission dynamics of malaria, many other factors are influential [36].

    Financial effects

    Financial institutions, including the world's two largest insurance companies, Munich Re and Swiss Re, warned in a 2002 study (UNEP summary) that "the increasing frequency of severe climatic events, coupled with social trends" could cost almost US$150 billion each year in the next decade. These costs would, through increased costs related to insurance and disaster relief, burden customers, taxpayers, and industry alike.

    According to the Association of British Insurers, limiting carbon emissions could avoid 80% of the projected additional annual cost of tropical cyclones by the 2080s. According to Choi and Fisher (2003) each 1% increase in annual precipitation could enlarge catastrophe loss by as much as 2.8%.

    The United Nations' Environmental Program recently announced that severe weather around the world has made 2005 the most costly year on record [37]. Although there is "no way to prove that [a given hurricane] either was, or was not, affected by global warming" [38], global warming is thought to increase the probability of hurricanes emerging. Preliminary estimates presented by the German insurance foundation Munich Re put the economic losses at more than US$200 billion, with insured losses running at more than US$70 billion.

    Nicholas Stern in the Stern Review has warned that one percent of global GDP is required to be invested in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, and that failure to do so could risk a recession worth up to twenty percent of global GDP [39]. Stern’s report[25] suggests that climate change threatens to be the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen. The report has had significant political effects: Australia reported two days after the report was released that they would allott AU$60 million to projects to help cut greenhouse gas emissions[40]. Tony Blair said the Stern Review showed that scientific evidence of global warming was "overwhelming" and its consequences "disastrous"[41].

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