Climate change’s recent impact on Earth’s life has backed up previous assessments calling it “one of the major threats to global biodiversity”. Ilya Maclean and Robert Wilson at the University of Exeter, UK, compared predictions of warming’s effects on species since 2005 and actual measurements made in that time. Both predictions and observations gave an average extinction risk across all species by 2100 close to one in ten. “I was dismayed by the magnitude of potential extinctions that could occur, but was also relieved that we were able to show that scientific predictions were, on the whole, accurate,” Maclean told Simple Climate.
Individual studies on climate’s effects on species inevitably give a limited picture as they typically only focus on a few plants or animals at one time. Similarly, scientists’ predictions of the likely impacts of climate change are often met with scepticism. Maclean and Wilson therefore sought to bring prediction and measurements across different species together to address both issues. They gathered together data from 74 studies published since 2005, comparing their findings against well-established methods of judging extinction threats. 42 of these were predicting extinctions, movements of and changes in species’ populations, while 32 had recorded details of the actual responses to recent changes. Read the rest of this entry »