By Jeremy Hance
Climate change is rapidly becoming a crisis that defies hyperbole.
For all the sound and fury of climate change denialists, self-deluding politicians and a very bewildered global public, the science behind climate change is rock solid while the impacts – observed on every ecosystem on the planet – are occurring faster in many parts of the world than even the most gloomy scientists predicted.
Given all this, it’s logical to assume life on Earth – the millions of species that cohabitate our little ball of rock in space – would be impacted. But it still feels unnerving to discover that this is no longer about just polar bears; it’s not only coral reefs and sea turtles or pikas and penguins; it about practically everything – including us.
Three recent studies have illustrated just how widespread climate change’s effect on life on our planet has already become.
“It is reasonable to suggest that most species on Earth have been impacted by climate change in some way or another,” said Bret Scheffers with the University of Florida. “Some species are negatively impacted and some species positively impacted.”
Scheffers is the lead author of a landmark Science study from last year that found that current warming (just one degree Celisus) has already left a discernible mark on 77 of 94 different ecological processes, including species’ genetics, seasonal responses, overall distribution, and even morphology – i.e. physical traits including body size and shape.