sábado, 19 de abril de 2014

Extinction crisis - "Últimos posts de 30 dos meus blogs favoritos" - 19



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Rising sea level - photo by Fernando Costa




Extinction crisis: rising sea levels will submerge thousands of islands


Sea levels are rising at the highest rate in thousands of years, putting at risk low-lying islands around the world. In a new study published in Nature Conservation, researchers found that projected rises in sea level stand to swamp more than 10,000 islands, displacing human communities and wiping many unique species off the face of the
earth. 

Climate change is leading to rising oceans in a two-fold way. First, increasing temperatures at the poles are melting ice-sheets, discharging more and more water into the sea every year. Second, while climate change is causing cooling in some areas of the world, the overall temperature of the ocean is increasing; as the water heats up, its molecules need more space and it expands in volume. These effects are contributing to sea-level rises of around three millimeters every year, with studies projecting an overall 0.5 to 2.3-meter increase by the end of this century. 

The importance of predicting what might happen when sea levels rise serves several purposes, such as helping scientists and policy makers design and implement proactive strategies to curb impacts. 

“Sea-level rise is one of the most certain consequences of global warming, yet it remains the least studied,” the study states. “Potential effects of sea-level rise are of considerable interest because of its potential impact on biodiversity and society.” 

 The Republic of the Marshall Islands is made up of numerous small islands in the western Pacific. At only two meters above sea level, much the nation of about 63,000 people stands to be submerged by rising sea levels. Photo by: Morgan Erickson-Davis.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is made up of numerous small islands in the western Pacific. At only two meters above sea level, much the nation of about 63,000 people stands to be submerged by rising sea levels. Photo by: Morgan Erickson-Davis. 

The study focuses on two specific impacts: the extent to which sea-level rise would result in complete island submersion, and the impacts such rises may have on threatened plant species unique to particular islands. The researchers used the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) database to identify plant species most at risk of becoming... LINK

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