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Climate change could result in a higher extinction rate of species


A study published in the Friday’s edition of journal Science revealed that one in six species could become extinct as a result of global warming. If the current conditions continue on Earth, the temperature will increase by 4.3 degrees Celsius higher than it was, before the start of the industrial era.penguins-verge-of-extinction

In that scenario, about 16 percent of the World’s species could face extinction. Mark Urban, an Ecology and Revolutionary Biology professor at the University of Connecticut predicted this based on the meta-analysis of 113 studies that made predictions about the survival of species in a warmer world. The studies were based on different species in different parts of the world.

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However, Urban’s statistical methods did not matter as much as the level of “future climate change.”Professor Mark Urban further wrote:

“While all species affected by climate change will not become extinct, there will undoubtedly be unwanted changes to contend with. Even species not threatened directly by extinction could experience substantial changes in abundance, distribution, and in their interactions with other species. In turn, this may affect ecosystems, crop growth, and the spread of disease, and have other unanticipated consequences.”

Though the current risk of global extinction is 2.8 percent, it could rise with warmer temperatures. If the World sticks to the target of temperature rise only by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the extinction levels could rise to 5.2 percent. However, in the realistic scenario, temperatures could rise by 3 Degrees Celsius, and 8.5 percent of species could become extinct.

While the current scenario can lead to 16 percent extinction, an average of 709 percent species could become extinct due to the climate change. The extinction rate varies in the Earth, with North America with the lowest five percent, followed by Europe with 6 percent (depending on the rise in temperatures).Fig 3 regional threats REVISED_0

On the higher end, South America could lose 23 percent of species the continent as a number of creatures in small ranges. About 14 percent of species could disappear in Australia and New Zealand. However, if the temperatures rise in a slow manner, the animals are likely to adapt, but the opposite could lead to an extinction. Urban mentioned that species that are endangered are not the only ones that will be affected.

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About Anirudh Madhav

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A movie buff, a bookworm, and a compulsive doodler. All posts by Anirudh

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