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Critters moving away from global warming faster

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 8:22 AM
  • 8 Replies

Critters moving away from global warming faster

APBy SETH BORENSTEIN - AP Science Writer | AP - 16 hrs ago

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  • This undated handout photo provided by the Butterfly Conservation shows a Comma butterfly. A new study in Science shows that species across the world are moving further away from the equator and higher in elevation and doing so faster than before because of global warming. This is a photograph of a comma butterfly, which has moved north 135 miles in just 21 years in Great Britain. (AP Photo/Butterfly Conservation, Jim Asher)

    This undated handout photo provided by the Butterfly Conservation shows a Comma butterfly. ...

  • This image provided by Stanford University biologist Scott Loarie, shows an American Pika in Aug. 2008 in Desolation Wilderness in El Dorado County, Calif., near Lake Tahoe. Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by moving north and up twice as fast as they were less a decade ago, a new study says. About 2000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year, according to a giant study of new and old research in the journal Science published Thursday. Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat, but more slowly, averaging about four feet a year. (AP Photo/Scott Loarie)

    This image provided by Stanford University biologist Scott Loarie, shows an American ...

WASHINGTON (AP) - Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by heading north much faster than they were less than a decade ago, a new study says.

About 2,000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year, according to new research published Thursday in the journal Science which analyzed previous studies. Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat, but more slowly, averaging about 4 feet a year.

The species - mostly from the Northern Hemisphere and including plants - moved in fits and starts, but over several decades it averages to about 8 inches an hour away from the equator.

"The speed is an important issue," said study main author Chris Thomas of the University of York. "It is faster than we thought."

Included in the analysis was a 2003 study that found species moving north at a rate of just more than a third of a mile per year and up at a rate of 2 feet a year. Camille Parmesan of the University of Texas, who conducted that study, said the new research makes sense because her data ended around the late 1990s and the 2000s were far hotter.

Federal weather data show the last decade was the hottest on record, and 2010 tied with 2005 for the hottest year on record. Gases from the burning of fossil fuel, especially carbon dioxide, are trapping heat in the atmosphere, warming the Earth and changing the climate in several ways, according to the overwhelming majority of scientists and the world's top scientific organizations.

As the temperatures soared in the 2000s, the species studied moved faster to cooler places, Parmesan said. She pointed specifically to the city copper butterfly in Europe and the purple emperor butterfly in Sweden. The comma butterfly in Great Britain has moved more than 135 miles in 21 years, Thomas said.

It's "independent confirmation that the climate is changing," Parmesan said.

One of the faster moving species is the British spider silometopus, Thomas said. In 25 years, the small spider has moved its home range more than 200 miles north, averaging 8 miles a year, he said.

Stanford University biologist Terry Root, who wasn't part of this study but praised it as clever and conservative, points to another species, the American pika, a rabbitlike creature that has been studied in Yellowstone National Park for more than a century. The pika didn't go higher than 7,800 feet in 1900, but in 2004 they were seen at 9,500 feet, she said.

For Thomas, this is something he notices every time he returns to his childhood home in southern England. The 51-year-old biologist didn't see the egret, a rather warm climate bird, in the Cuckmere Valley while growing up. But now, he said, "All the ditches have little egrets. It was just a bizarre sight."

Thomas plotted the movement of the species and compared it to how much they would move based on temperature changes. It was a near perfect match, showing that temperature changes explain what's happening to the critters and plants, Thomas said. The match wasn't quite as exact with the movement up mountains and Thomas thinks that's because species went north instead or they were blocked from going up.

Thomas found that the further north the species live, the faster they moved their home base. That makes sense because in general northern regions are warming more than those closer to the equator..

Conservation biologist Mike Dombeck, a former U.S. Forest Service chief, said changes in where species live - especially movements up mountains - is a problem for many threatened species.

Thomas said what he's studied isn't about some far off problem.

"It's already affected the entire planet's wildlife," Thomas said in a phone interview. "It's not a matter that might happen in the lifetime of our children and our grandchildren. If you look in your garden you can see the effects of climate change already."

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by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 8:22 AM
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Replies (1-8):
Carpy
by Emerald Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 8:25 AM

Are they going to mars?

DSamuels
by Platinum Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:31 AM

LOL

Quoting Carpy:

Are they going to mars?


sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Included in the analysis was a 2003 study that found species moving north at a rate of just more than a third of a mile per year and up at a rate of 2 feet a year

Quoting DSamuels:

LOL

Quoting Carpy:

Are they going to mars?



rotPferd
by Silver Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:39 AM

 I don't find this alarming. Where I'm at, its 100 degrees. A mile from here...its  100 degrees. Could be they are moving out due to someone/something moving in.

trippyhippy
by Platinum Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 10:39 AM
But wait, I though there was no thing as global warming?!?! I thought Carpy was never wrong? Wait, maybe it was Carpy is never right. Yup, that's it.
Layla19
by on Aug. 20, 2011 at 12:26 AM


Quoting sweet-a-kins:

Included in the analysis was a 2003 study that found species moving north at a rate of just more than a third of a mile per year and up at a rate of 2 feet a year

Quoting DSamuels:

LOL

Quoting Carpy:

Are they going to mars?



Fact: North is up, check a map, it's true.

Fact: Mars is in space, which I can clearly see at night, in a definite northy-up position.

Conclusion: The pikas and butterflies will clearly get to Mars at some point.

:PPPPPPPPPP


Carpy
by Emerald Member on Aug. 20, 2011 at 12:47 AM

 Sarcasm is over your head I see.

Quoting trippyhippy:

But wait, I though there was no thing as global warming?!?! I thought Carpy was never wrong? Wait, maybe it was Carpy is never right. Yup, that's it.

 

toomanypoodles
by Ruby Member on Aug. 20, 2011 at 5:12 AM

 "Global warming".  LOL

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