In a letter to Nature, several researchers have estimated how many species may be threatened by a changing climate over the next 50 years. The number were higher than even I expected, placing a ballpark estimate of 10 - 30% of species examined, on the road to extinction by 2050.
Full article with references and methods and assumptions made in modeling:Nature 427, 145-148 (8 January 2004) |
Extinction risk from climate change
Chris D. Thomas1, Alison Cameron1, Rhys E. Green2, Michel Bakkenes3, Linda J. Beaumont4, Yvonne C. Collingham5, Barend F. N. Erasmus6, Marinez Ferreira de Siqueira7, Alan Grainger8, Lee Hannah9, Lesley Hughes4, Brian Huntley5, Albert S. van Jaarsveld10, Guy F. Midgley11, Lera Miles8,15, Miguel A. Ortega-Huerta12, A. Townsend Peterson13, Oliver L. Phillips8 and Stephen E. Williams14
Climate change over the past 30 years has produced numerous shifts in the distributions and abundances of species1, 2 and has been implicated in one species-level extinction3. Using projections of species' distributions for future climate scenarios, we assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth's terrestrial surface. Exploring three approaches in which the estimated probability of extinction shows a power-law relationship with geographical range size, we predict, on the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, that 15−37% of species in our sample of regions and taxa will be 'committed to extinction'. When the average of the three methods and two dispersal scenarios is taken, minimal climate-warming scenarios produce lower projections of species committed to extinction (18%) than mid-range (24%) and maximum-change (35%) scenarios. These estimates show the importance of rapid implementation of technologies to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and strategies for carbon sequestration.
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