Global warming has been affecting animal behavior for many years now. One of the biggest impacts on various species is migration patterns or movement toward cooler temperatures. A study compares detailed differences between marine species and land animals while pointing to the possibilities of humans don't take responsibility.
Plenty of evidence points to species redistribution as the climate warms globally. Yet, knowledge regarding the coupling between species range shifts and isotherm shifts remains limited.
BioShifts was thus created-a global geo-database of 30,534 range shifts. 285 studies were a result of comparing more than 12,000 species of flora, fauna, fungi, and bacteria.
Combined data reveals 'that marine species are better at tracking isotherm shifts and move towards the pole six times faster than terrestrial species.' Specifically, marine species closely track shifting isotherms in warm and mostly undisturbed waters like the Central Pacific Basin, or cold waters subject to high human pressures such as the North Sea.
Human activities on land have delayed and prevented the capacity of terrestrial species to track isotherm shifts, with some species even moving towards warmer temperatures. The team analyzing elevational gradients saw that terrestrial species following the direction of isotherm shifts move at a much slower pace than expected.
The gap between marine and terrestrial life is possibly the product of temperature sensitivity. Land animals typically regulate their body temperature easily upon will as air conducts heat 25 times less than water. Logically, it means that cold-blooded species underwater are more sensitive to fluctuating temperatures caused by global warming.
Climate Change and the Anthropocene
This is in agreement with the general principles of climate change - the significant, long-term movement of weather patterns due to global warming. Climate specifically includes shifting patterns over 30 years or more.
The energy in the system has been greatly affected as both air and water currents are altered. This is not happening naturally since they are the consequences of heat-trapping gas emissions from human activity. Extreme climate change and its impact are referred to as a climate crisis.
Earth's climate crisis includes polar and glacial ice melt, sea levels rising, and reductions in biodiversity. Weather events such as storms, heatwaves, flooding, and fires have also had extreme changes.
Greenhouse gases have been increasing from human activity exponentially in the last 200 years. Much of the damages in the Earth's climate is due to the combustion of fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coil from the transportation industry.
Even worse, future predictions of the Earth System in the Anthropocene lead to a bleak scenario. 'The Anthropocene defines Earth's most recent geologic time period as being human-influenced, or anthropogenic, based on overwhelming global evidence that atmospheric, geologic, hydrologic, and other Earth system processes are now altered by humans.'
If humans continue in a business-as-usual scenario with greenhouse gas emissions, it could lead to 'Hothouse Earth.' Exceeding a threshold within the Anthropocene would lead to erased coasts, waves crashing into formations that used to be mountains, unimaginable food scarcity, and inescapable, deadly heat.
'These complex interactions need to be accounted for to improve scenarios of biodiversity redistribution and its consequences on human well-being under future climate change,' the authors from Nature Ecology & Evolution share.
Scientists studying the Anthropocene have agreed that 'such action entails stewardship of the entire Earth System-biosphere, climate, and societies- and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.'