Sep 22, 2017 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Extreme Weather Has Small Impact: Researchers Argued That The Impact Is Larger Than Expected

May 18, 2017 02:51 AM EDT

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International Space Station captures view of Hurricane Irma
 A man tries to cool himself with a bottle of water during the first heat wave of the year June 9, 2008 in New York City.
(Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Two researchers from the Netherlands have concluded in their study that extreme weather conditions like storm surge and heatwave have more impact on the environment and humanity than what was expected. They also said that even the considered less extreme weather implications have more impact than expected.

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In the special June issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Netherlands Institute of Ecology scientists Marcel Visser and Martijn van de Pol studied the different impacts of extreme weather conditions to the people. First, they said that small tragedies might look unrelated but there is an underlying long-term impact of extreme climatic events.

Visser and van de Pol also said that these extreme weather implications have slowly affected various animal behavior, ecology, and evolution. The impacts would be bigger than the so-called "normal" periods as it is linked to climate change.

In an article published in Phys.org, the researchers also took considerations on the relativism of every species and how their study on extreme weather would play out. "Obviously for a bird, the impact of a couple of extremely cold days in December wouldn't be the same as in April or May, when there are chicks in the nest," they said.

The study shows that despite that rareness of extreme weather implications like the heat wave and storm surges, it causes a great impact on every living being on the planet to the point of being catastrophic. "Take the Wadden Sea: at the end of the 12th century, there was a storm that utterly transformed the Wadden Sea [and] the ecological consequences of that storm have continued for decades, if not centuries."

The researchers also concluded that the deemed less catastrophic extreme weather implications can still have major consequences. The cases of oystercatchers building nests close to the coast despite the impending rise of sea levels and the fairy-wrens being exposed to heat waves receive fatal consequences.

Another extreme weather implication they found is its subtle effect on the population of species. "Let's say you've studied a breeding population of migratory birds for 49 years and year after year, the birds that arrive early in spring have the most chicks then in the 50th year, a night of extremely cold weather suddenly kills 80% of the early arrivals, while the latecomers escape from the massacre," he said. This may explain why the late birds are successful at passing on their traits, he added.


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