A warming global climate may cause sudden, potentially catastrophic losses of biodiversity in areas across the globe throughout the 21st century, finds new UCL-led research.
The findings, featured in Nature, predict when and where there could be extreme ecological disruption in the coming a long time, and suggests that the first waves could already be happening.
Dr. Pigot and colleagues from the U.S. and South Africa had been seeking to foretell threats to biodiversity over the course of the 21st century, rather than a single-year snapshot. They used climate model data from 1850 to 2005, and cross-referenced it with the geographic levels of 30,652 species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and other animals and crops. The data was available for areas throughout the globe, divided up into 100 by 100 km square grid cells.
They used climate model predictions for annually as much as 2100 to foretell when species in each grid cell begins experiencing temperatures that are constantly higher than the organism has beforehand experienced throughout its geographic range, for an interval of at least five years.
The researchers discovered that in most ecological communities throughout the globe, a large proportion of the organisms will discover themselves outside of their consolation zone throughout the same decade. Throughout all of the communities, on common 73% of the species dealing with unprecedented temperatures before 2100 will cross that threshold concurrently.