The comma butterfly is among species whose range has changed. Photo from Creative Commons by Johnson Camerface/flickr
A study appearing in the Friday August 19 issue of the journal SCIENCE indicates that rising temperatures globally are forcing plants and animals to move away from the heat towards cooler temperatures at higher altitudes and latitudes.
The study, which is receiving broad coverage, also indicates that the rate of migration is significantly faster than previously thought...
Science NOW at Science Magazine: In Warming World, Critters Run to the Hills (via @sciencenow)
Sara Reardon: "A heat wave is sweeping the planet, and animals and plants are making a break for cooler climes. Or so scientists have always assumed. It's been hard to tie a species' migration directly to climate change, particularly with human activity destroying ecosystems every year. But researchers have now gathered more evidence for that link by compiling data from 54 scientific papers that collectively map the habitat ranges of more than 2000 species during the past 4 decades. On average, the team finds, creatures move both up mountains and farther away from the equator at a speed that keeps pace with the rate of climate change and at a pace that is far faster than previously predicted...."
SCIENCE: Study: Rapid Range Shifts of Species Associated with High Levels of Climate Warming (via @sciencemagazine)
From Abstract: "The distributions of many terrestrial organisms are currently shifting in latitude or elevation in response to changing climate. Using a meta-analysis, we estimated that the distributions of species have recently shifted to higher elevations at a median rate of 11.0 meters per decade, and to higher latitudes at a median rate of 16.9 kilometers per decade. These rates are approximately two and three times faster than previously reported..."
NATURE News Blog: Plants and animals seek cover from climate change (via @naturenews)
"A meta-study published in Science today provides the first evidence that global movement of plants and animals to higher latitudes and altitudes is directly linked to climate change. The research, led by ecologist Chris Thomas at the University of York, UK, also reveals that species are moving two to three times faster than previously thought..."
Associated Press: Critters moving away from global warming faster (via @AP @borenbears)
Seth Borenstein: "Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by heading north much faster than they were less than a decade ago, a new study says. About 2,000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year, according to new research published Thursday in the journal Science which analyzed previous studies. Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat, but more slowly, averaging about 4 feet a year.
"The species -- mostly from the Northern Hemisphere and including plants -- moved in fits and starts, but over several decades it averages to about 8 inches an hour away from the equator...."
The Guardian: Climate change driving species out of habitats much faster than expected (via @guardianeco)
Fiona Harvey: "Once heard only rarely outside the north Kent marshes, the loud voice of the Cetti's warbler is now delighting a whole new set of listeners, from the isle of Anglesey to the banks of the Humber. The bird has moved 150 kilometres further north within the UK in the last 40 years, in response to the changing climate...."
Washington Post: Up and up: Plants and animals migrating as climate changes (vis @washingtonpost)
Brian Vastag: "Across the globe, plants and animals are creeping, crawling, slithering and winging to higher altitudes and higher latitudes as global temperatures climb.
"Moreover, the greater the warming in any given region, the farther its plants and animals have migrated, according to the largest analysis to date of the rapidly shifting ranges of species in Europe, North America, Chile and Malaysia...."
University of York PR: "Further, faster, higher: Wildlife responds increasingly rapidly to climate change" (via @uniofyork)
"New research by scientists in the Department of Biology at the University of York shows that species have responded to climate change up to three times faster than previously appreciated. These results are published in the latest issue of the leading scientific journal Science.
"Faster distribution changes. Species have moved towards the poles (further north in the northern hemisphere, to locations where conditions are cooler) at three times the rate previously accepted in the scientific literature, and they have moved to cooler, higher altitudes at twice the rate previously realised.
"Analysing data for over 2000 responses by animal and plant species, the research team estimated that, on average, species have moved to higher elevations at 12.2 metres per decade and, more dramatically, to higher latitudes at 17.6 kilometres per decade...."
Globe Records its Seventh Warmest July on Record, Arctic Melt Speeds Up
"Abnormally warm conditions in much of the United States, Northern Europe, Western and Eastern Russia, and parts of the Arctic helped propel July 2011 to the seventh-warmest July on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported yesterday. This makes July the 317th month in a row that global average surface temperatures were above normal. The year-to-date is now the 11th warmest period on average...."
Arctic Sea Ice Extent Trends as of August 14 (via @NSIDC)
The chart below shows the extent of Arctic sea ice in August 2011 compared to normal melt and previous years. Follow the blue line...As NOAA says above, the extent of Arctic sea ice in July was the least amount for any July...the next month will determine whether 2011 (blue line) matches or exceeds the record melt year of 2007 (dotted green line).