Extinction risk from climate change

Extinction risk from climate change

Ask a question about 'Extinction risk from climate change'
Start a new discussion about 'Extinction risk from climate change'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The extinction risk of global warming is the risk species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 have of becoming extinct due to the effects of global warming
Effects of global warming
This article is about the effects of global warming and climate change. The effects, or impacts, of climate change may be physical, ecological, social or economic. Evidence of observed climate change includes the instrumental temperature record, rising sea levels, and decreased snow cover in the...


Current projections

The scientific consensus in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Climate Change 2007, the Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , is the fourth in a series of reports intended to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information concerning climate change, its potential effects, and options for...

 is that

In one study published in Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

 in 2004, between 15 and 37% of known plant and animal species will be "committed to extinction" by 2050. More properly, changes in habitat by 2050 will put them outside the survival range for the inhabitants, thus committing the species to extinction.

Other researchers, such as Thuiller et al., Araújo et al.
, Person et al., Buckley and Roughgarden
Joan Roughgarden
Joan E. Roughgarden is an American evolutionary biologist.- Biography :...

, and Harte et al. have raised concern regarding uncertainty in Thomas et al.s projections; some of these studies believe it is an overestimate, others believe the risk could be greater. Thomas et al. replied in Nature addressing criticisms and concluding "Although further investigation is needed into each of these areas, it is unlikely to result in substantially reduced estimates of extinction. Anthropogenic
Human impact on the environment or anthropogenic impact on the environment includes impacts on biophysical environments, biodiversity and other resources. The term anthropogenic designates an effect or object resulting from human activity. The term was first used in the technical sense by Russian...

 climate change seems set to generate very large numbers of species-level extinctions." On the other hand, Daniel Botkin et al. state "... global estimates of extinctions due to climate change (Thomas et al. 2004) may have greatly overestimated the probability of extinction..."

Mechanistic studies are documenting extinctions due to recent climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

: McLaughlin et al. documented two populations of Bay checkerspot butterfly being threatened by precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 change. Parmesan states, "Few studies have been conducted at a scale that encompasses an entire species" and McLaughlin et al. agreed "few mechanistic studies have linked extinctions to recent climate change."

In 2008, the white lemuroid possum
Lemur-like Ringtail Possum
The Lemur-like Ringtail Possum , also known as the Lemuroid Ringtail Possum or the Brushy-Tailed Ringtail, is one of the most singular members of the ringtail possum group...

 was reported to be the first known mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

 species to be driven extinct by man-made global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

. However, these reports were based on a misunderstanding. One population of these possums in the mountain forests of northern Queensland
North Queensland
North Queensland or the Northern Region is the northern part of the state of Queensland in Australia. Queensland is a massive state, larger than most countries, and the tropical northern part of it has been historically remote and undeveloped, resulting in a distinctive regional character and...

 is severely threatened by climate change as the animals cannot survive extended temperatures over 30 °C. However, another population 100 kilometres south remains in good health.

New 2011 studies suggest that climate change may cause human extinction before 2100, with temperatures of 29 °F (16 °C) and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of 900 to 1100 ppmv (source), in part due to methane hydrate releases, an amplifying feedback (source).

See also

  • Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth
    Risks to civilization, humans and planet Earth
    Various existential risks could threaten humankind as a whole, have adverse consequences for the course of human civilization, or even cause the end of planet Earth.-Types of risks:...

  • Anoxic ocean event
    Anoxic event
    Oceanic anoxic events or anoxic events occur when the Earth's oceans become completely depleted of oxygen below the surface levels. Although anoxic events have not happened for millions of years, the geological record shows that they happened many times in the past. Anoxic events may have caused...

  • Atelopus varius
    Atelopus varius
    The Costa Rican Variable Harlequin Toad , also known as the clown frog, is a neo-tropical true toad from the family Bufonidae . Once ranging from Costa Rica to Panama, A...

  • Carrikeri Harlequin Frog
    Carrikeri Harlequin Frog
    The Carrikeri Harlequin Frog, Atelopus carrikeri, is a species of toad in the Bufonidae family. It is approximately five centimeters long and typically black, though some populations have orange coloration. This species is endemic to northern Colombia...

  • Chytridiomycosis
    Chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease of amphibians, caused by the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a non-hyphal zoosporic fungus. Chytridiomycosis has been linked to dramatic population declines or even extinctions of amphibian species in western North America, Central America, South...

  • Climate change and ecosystems
    Climate change and ecosystems
    This article is about climate change and ecosystems.-Impacts:Unchecked global warming could affect most terrestrial ecoregions. Increasing global temperature means that ecosystems will change; some species are being forced out of their habitats because of changing conditions, while others are...

  • Effect of climate change on plant biodiversity
    Effect of climate change on plant biodiversity
    Environmental conditions play a key role in defining the function and distribution of plants, in combination with other factors. Changes in long term environmental conditions that can be collectively coined climate change are known to have had enormous impacts on plant diversity patterns in the...

  • Effects of climate change on marine mammals
    Effects of climate change on marine mammals
    Climate change is a cause of increasing concern to scientists and it will have dramatic effects on marine mammals. The increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are thought to be the main cause of climate change or global warming...

  • Gastric-brooding frog
    Gastric-brooding frog
    The gastric-brooding frogs or Platypus frogs were a genus of ground-dwelling frogs native to Queensland in eastern Australia. The genus consisted of only two species, both of which became extinct in the mid-1980s...

  • Golden toad
    Golden toad
    The golden toad was a small, shiny, bright true toad that was once abundant in a small region of high-altitude cloud-covered tropical forests, about 30 square kilometers in area, above the city of Monteverde, Costa Rica. For this reason, it is sometimes also called the Monteverde golden toad, or...

  • Holocene extinction, the current one
  • Keystone species
    Keystone species
    A keystone species is a species that has a disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance. Such species play a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem and helping to determine the types and...

  • Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum
  • Thermohaline circulation
    Thermohaline circulation
    The term thermohaline circulation refers to a part of the large-scale ocean circulation that is driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and freshwater fluxes....

External links

  • Calculations May Have Overestimated Extinction Rates - New Scientist
    New Scientist
    New Scientist is a weekly non-peer-reviewed English-language international science magazine, which since 1996 has also run a website, covering recent developments in science and technology for a general audience. Founded in 1956, it is published by Reed Business Information Ltd, a subsidiary of...

    , May 18, 2011