Researchers forecast extreme wildlife migration

In a study published in Scientific Reports, scientists presume species will migrate even under moderate warming scenarios. 

The uniformity in temperatures the equator might cause species in migration to travel extreme distances even if there is  mild warming scenarios. This is what a study published in the journal Scientific Reports has found.

Despite being the warmest part of the planet tropics and its species are and will continue to be affected by rising global temperatures.

"In order to preserve their annual mean temperatures, tropical populations would have to travel distances greater than 1000 km over less than a century if global mean temperature rises by 2 °C over the same period.”

Researchers come from Solomon Hsiang  of the University of California, Berkley and Adam Sobel of Columbia.

In the Paris Agreement the nearly 200 signees agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Experts and scientists have found this threshold could be reached in 2036 if greenhouse gas emissions are not halted.

If this is to happen the rapid evacuation to the margins of tropical zones would increase population densities 300% or more, says the study, this would affect both the ecosystems and human wellbeing especially if displacement is limited.

“If populations were actually to concentrate this quickly in what are already exceptionally arid environments, we would expect there to be many adverse consequences in both natural and human systems, such as an accelerated transmission of infectious diseases or conflict over scarce resources,” authors write.

12.5% of the human population would have to migrate more than 1000km to stay in their accustomed temperature range, but even for us is difficult to undertake this massive displacement.

For populations like coral reefs or mature forests it is uncertain whether they can move quickly enough to beat the heat.

“If maintaining their present environmental temperature is a critical adaptation to anthropogenic climate change, some tropical populations may have to migrate at unprecedented speeds over extreme distances in order to cope with relatively optimistic warming projections, given current emissions trajectories,” they conclude. 


Prepared by

LatinAmerican Post | Maria Andrea Marquez

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