Published November 14, 2016 10:20 AM

Study reveals 82% of the core ecological processes that underpin ecosystems and provide services to people are now affected by climate change

Most studies of global climate change attempt to predict what might happen to the Earth as temperatures rise in future.  A new study representing an international collaboration by ecologists and conservation biologists shows that global changes in climate have already impacted every aspect of life on Earth, from genes to entire ecosystems. It was published in the prestigious journal Science on November 10, 2016. 

The research team, led by the University of Florida and with participation from the University of Hong Kong, showed that of a total of 94 ecological processes evaluated globally, 82% of them showed evidence of impact from climate change.  Land, freshwater and marine ecosystems and species have all been all affected, and consequential impacts on people could range from increased pests and disease outbreaks, to unpredictable changes in fisheries and decreasing agriculture yields. 

This study is released at an important moment as it helps shed light on the need to plan practically for the implementation of the Paris agreement on climate change which entered into force last Friday (November 4, 2016). The Paris agreement marked the first time that governments have agreed binding limits to keep global warming well-below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That agreement was overdue: the World Meteorological Organization announced on Wednesday (November 9, 2016) that the 2011-15 had been the five hottest years on record, with temperatures peaking in 2015.

Continue reading at The University of Hong Kong

Image credit: Amanda Toperoff and Amanda Dillon PIFSC/JIMAR

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