The true threat that climate change poses to various species across the globe is staggering, and thanks to a new map from CSIRO and an international team of scientists, we now have a visual representation. The map shows how climate change will force Australian animals and plants to find new homes, or face extinction. Areas most seriously affected include central and eastern Australia, large portions of Queensland, and a significant chunk of Northwestern Australia.
Arrows on the map show the flow of localized climate change, and areas that will experience the most significant change are represented in blue. If animals and plants want to relocate to an area in which they can survive, they will have to escape through corridors shown in purple. Some species will be unable to avoid catastrophe; the parts of the map shown in orange are known as “sink” areas, locations where land-based species will reach a coastline or mountain range. In other words, these areas represent their final destination.
Land animals aren’t alone. Warmer waters and a stronger east Australian current have allowed long-spined sea urchins to move further south than New South Wales. As this particular species invades the east coast of Tasmania, it has created a chain-reaction that also threatens kelp, and in turn, rock lobsters.
“Many species are already at their thermal limits, especially in interior areas,” CSIRO ecologist Kristen Williams told Guardian Australia. “We need to look closer at which ones are vulnerable and whether they have potential niches to move into, such as cooler gullies or other ways to shelter from the weather.”
Some animals are already under threat, including the Australian koala bear and mountain pygmy possum. Since evolution can’t keep up with climate change, a lot of species aren’t going to survive this manmade madness.
Via The Guardian
Images by CSIRO, Flickr