Nav: Home

Climate change means major ecosystem shifts for the Mediterranean Basin

October 27, 2016

Global warming above 1.5°Celsius, the ideal limit set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, will change the Mediterranean region, producing ecosystems never seen throughout the last 10,000 years, a new study reports. As temperatures around the world increase, some regions will feel the heat more than others. Already, regional temperatures in the Mediterranean basin are about 1.3°C higher than they were between 1880 and 1920, compared with an increase of roughly 0.85°C worldwide during the same period. Considering that Mediterranean basin ecosystems are a hotspot for the world's biodiversity and supply numerous services to people, including clean water, flood protection, carbon storage, and recreation, this extra increase in temperature is critical. Here, to further consider the effects of different Paris Agreement temperature thresholds on the Mediterranean basin, Joel Guiot and Wolfgang Cramer used pollen cores from sediments, which provide rich detail about Mediterranean climate and ecosystem variability over the past 10,000 years. They applied this data in models as a baseline to estimate future climate and vegetation scenarios based on different temperature increases. In both the "business as usual" simulations and a second set of simulations that reflected intended national goals proposed by the governments at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the amount of ecological change that's predicted vastly exceeds that which has occurred during the Holocene. In the "business as usual" case, all of southern Spain turns into desert, deciduous forests invade most of the mountains, and shrubland vegetation replaces most of the deciduous forests in a large part of the Mediterranean basin. Only under the scenario where the global warming is limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures do ecosystem shifts remain inside the limits experienced during the last 10,000 years. This analysis does not account for other human impacts on ecosystems, such as land-use change, urbanization, and soil degradation, many of which are more likely to increase in the future because of the expanding human population and economic activity, the authors note.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Global Warming Articles:

A new study provides a solid evidence for global warming
The new study allows a more accurate assessment of how much heat has accumulated in the ocean (and Earth) system.
Global warming hiatus disproved -- again
UC Berkeley scientists calculated average ocean temperatures from 1999 to 2015, separately using ocean buoys and satellite data, and confirmed the uninterrupted warming trend reported by NOAA in 2015, based on that organization's recalibration of sea surface temperature recordings from ships and buoys.
Report reassesses variations in global warming
Experts at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) have issued a new assessment of temperature trends and variations from the latest available data and analyses.
Clouds are impeding global warming... for now
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have identified a mechanism that causes low clouds -- and their influence on Earth's energy balance -- to respond differently to global warming depending on their spatial pattern.
Global warming's next surprise: Saltier beaches
Batches of sand from a beach on the Delaware Bay are yielding insights into the powerful impact of temperature rise and evaporation along the shore that are in turn challenging long-held assumptions about what causes beach salinity to fluctuate in coastal zones that support a rich network of sea creatures and plants.
Could global warming's top culprit help crops?
A new study tries to disentangle the complex question of whether rising amounts of carbon dioxide in the air might in some cases help crops.
Evaporation for review -- and with it global warming
The process of evaporation, one of the most widespread on our planet, takes place differently than we once thought -- this has been shown by new computer simulations carried out at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw.
Researchers reveal when global warming first appeared
Human caused climate change is increasingly apparent today through multiple lines of evidence.
1,800 years of global ocean cooling halted by global warming
Prior to the advent of human-caused global warming in the 19th century, the surface layer of Earth's oceans had undergone 1,800 years of a steady cooling trend, according to a new study in the Aug.
Global sea levels have risen 6 meters or more with just slight global warming
A new review analyzing three decades of research on the historic effects of melting polar ice sheets found that global sea levels have risen at least six meters, or about 20 feet, above present levels on multiple occasions over the past three million years.

Related Global Warming Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...