Friday, November 5, 2010

How is Wildlife Affected by Global Warming?

CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1.1. Background of The Problem Our country is home to a diverse array of wildlife ranging from the highest peaks, to the driest deserts, to freshwater and marine environments and to all the places in between. The abundant and diverse wildlife resources, which are so important to our culture and well-being, face a bleak future if we do not address global warming. The matter of fact on the warming of our planet and the impact of wildlife is defintly a discouraging thought to some. The effects can already been seen everywhere in the world. Its not a secret about the polar ice caps melting. What about our now endangered polar bears? Although these amazing beautiful creatures are disappearing at an alarming rate, scientist are finding new species of bear. Strange and peculiar, these animals are no dummies, polar bears and grizzly bears are meeting somewhere to mate. Maybe these polar grizzlies are one step ahead of the game and they will just adapt to these climate changes? The sea life is moving it self into cooler waters. I'm sure the tropical ocean life and the sub tropical ocean life will eventually meet in the middle as well. Keeping positive thoughts, if adaptation can keep up with global warming every creature on earth will be OK. Although global warming is and already has shown great impacts on our feathered, fur covered, fin flapping, plus a numerous of other wildlife species. The impact of humankind it self, has taken much more of these defenseless creatures lives, with not a chance of adaptation. The strength and spirit of the creatures of our world I believe will truly amaze us overdeveloped brain humans. For millions of years before mans foot there was wildlife foot. Evolution is just change, humans don't like change, wildlife is used to change, global warming is just change. 1.2. Formulation of The problem  How Global Warming Affects Wildlife  Does Global Warming affect people?  Which Animals Are Hardest Hit by Global Warming? 1.3. Purpose of Writing  Describing the effects of Global Warming to wildlife  Describing the effects of Global Warming to people  Describing the hardest hit of animal by Global Warming CHAPTER II DISCUSSION Global Warming is the increase in average temperature that gradually warms the Earth's atmosphere. It is a phenomenon, which has been on the rise but in the last century, the increase in the levels have been alarming. The average temperature of the atmosphere has risen by 0.74 - 0.18 °C during the last century. According to the study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it is observed that the increase in global average temperature has been caused due to an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. This has led to an unprecedented warming of the Earth's surface. 2.1. How is Wildlife Affected by Global Warming? Dear Earth Talk: I’ve seen those images of polar bears stranded on small islands of ice and heard that some are now dying by drowning. How are other wildlife populations affected by global warming? -- Jessie Walters, via e-mail Most researchers agree that even small changes in temperature are enough to send hundreds if not thousands of already struggling species into extinction unless we can stem the tide of global warming. And time may be of the essence: A 2003 study published in the journal Nature concluded that 80 percent of some 1,500 wildlife species sampled are already showing signs of stress from climate change. 2.2. How Global Warming Affects Wildlife The key impact of global warming on wildlife is habitat displacement, whereby ecosystems that animals have spent millions of years adapting to shift quickly. Ice giving way to water in polar bear habitat is just one example of this. Another, according to The Washington Post, is the possibility that warmer spring temperatures could dry up critical breeding habitat for waterfowl in the prairie pothole region, a stretch of land between northern Iowa and central Alberta. Affected wildlife populations can sometimes move into new spaces and continue to thrive. But concurrent human population growth means that many land areas that might be suitable for such “refugee wildlife” are already taken and cluttered with residential and industrial development. A recent report by the Pew Center for Global Climate Change suggests creating “transitional habitats” or “corridors” that help migrating species by linking natural areas that are otherwise separated by human settlement. 2.3. Shifting Life Cycles and Global Warming Beyond habitat displacement, many scientists agree that global warming is causing a shift in the timing of various natural cyclical events in the lives of animals. Many birds have altered the timing of long-held migratory and reproductive routines to better sync up with a warming climate. And some hibernating animals are ending their slumbers earlier each year, perhaps due to warmer spring temperatures. To make matters worse, recent research contradicts the long-held hypothesis that different species coexisting in a particular ecosystem respond to global warming as a single entity. Instead, different species sharing like habitat are responding in dissimilar ways, tearing apart ecological communities millennia in the making. 2.4. Global Warming Effects on Animals Affect People Too And as wildlife species go their separate ways, humans can also feel the impact. A World Wildlife Fund study found that a northern exodus from the United States to Canada by some types of warblers led to a spread of mountain pine beetles that destroy economically productive balsam fir trees. Similarly, a northward migration of caterpillars in the Netherlands has eroded some forests there. 2.5. Which Animals Are Hardest Hit by Global Warming? According to Defenders of Wildlife, some of the wildlife species hardest hit so far by global warming include caribou (reindeer), arctic foxes, toads, polar bears, penguins, gray wolves, tree swallows, painted turtles and salmon. The group fears that unless we take decisive steps to reverse global warming, more and more species will join the list of wildlife populations pushed to the brink of extinction by a changing climate. 2.6. Ten Personal Solutions to Global Warming Individual choices can have an impact on global climate change. Reducing your family's heat-trapping emissions does not mean forgoing modern conveniences; it means making smart choices and using energy-efficient products, which may require an additional investment up front, but often pay you back in energy savings within a couple of years. Since Americans' per capita emissions of heat-trapping gases is 5.6 tons—more than double the amount of western Europeans—we can all make choices that will greatly reduce our families' global warming impact.  The car you drive: the most important personal climate decision When you buy your next car, look for the one with the best fuel economy in its class. Each gallon of gas you use is responsible for 25 pounds of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. Better gas mileage not only reduces global warming, but will also save you thousands of dollars at the pump over the life of the vehicle. Compare the fuel economy of the cars you're considering and look for new technologies like hybrid engines.  Choose clean power. More than half the electricity in the United States comes from polluting coal-fired power plants. And power plants are the single largest source of heat-trapping gas. None of us can live without electricity, but in some states, you can switch to electricity companies that provide 50 to 100 percent renewable energy. (For more information go to Green-e.org.)  Look for Energy Star When it comes time to replace appliances, look for the Energy Star label on new appliances (refrigerators, freezers, furnaces, air conditioners, and water heaters use the most energy). These items may cost a bit more initially, but the energy savings will pay back the extra investment within a couple of years. Household energy savings really can make a difference: If each household in the United States replaced its existing appliances with the most efficient models available, we would save $15 billion in energy costs and eliminate 175 million tons of heat-trapping gases.  Unplug a freezer. One of the quickest ways to reduce your global warming impact is to unplug the extra refrigerator or freezer you rarely use (except when you need it for holidays and parties). This can reduce the typical family's carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 10 percent.  Get a home energy audit Take advantage of the free home energy audits offered by many utilities. Simple measures, such as installing a programmable thermostat to replace your old dial unit or sealing and insulating heating and cooling ducts, can each reduce a typical family's carbon dioxide emissions by about 5 percent.  Light bulbs matter If every household in the United States replaced one regular light bulb with an energy-saving model, we could reduce global warming pollution by more than 90 billion pounds over the life of the bulbs; the same as taking 6.3 million cars off the road. So, replace your incandescent bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescents, which now come in all shapes and sizes. You'll be doing your share to cut back on heat-trapping pollution and you'll save money on your electric bills and light bulbs.  Think before you drive If you own more than one vehicle, use the less fuel-efficient one only when you can fill it with passengers. Driving a full minivan may be kinder to the environment than two midsize cars. Whenever possible, join a carpool or take mass transit.  Buy good wood When buying wood products, check for labels that indicate the source of the timber. Supporting forests that are managed in a sustainable fashion makes sense for biodiversity, and it may make sense for the climate too. Forests that are well managed are more likely to store carbon effectively because more trees are left standing and carbon-storing soils are less disturbed.  Plant a tree You can also make a difference in your own backyard. Get a group in your neighborhood together and contact your local arborist or urban forester about planting trees on private property and public land. In addition to storing carbon, trees planted in and around urban areas and residences can provide much-needed shade in the summer, reducing energy bills and fossil fuel use.  Let policymakers know you are concerned about global warming Our elected officials and business leaders need to hear from concerned citizens. Sign up for the Union of Concerned Scientists Action Network to ensure that policymakers get the timely, accurate information they need to make informed decisions about global warming solutions. CHAPTER III CONCLUSION The planet is warming, humans are mostly to blame and plants and animals are going to dramatic lengths to cope. That's the consensus of a number of recent studies that used wildlife to gauge the extent of global warming and its effects. While the topic of climate change is contentious -- including whether the planet is actually heating up -- a growing number of documented shifts in traits and behaviors in the wild kingdom is leading many scientists to conclude the world is changing in unnatural ways. References http://www.livescience.com/environment/050621_warming_changes.html http://environment.about.com/od/globalwarming/a/global_warm_wil.htm http://www.nwf.org/Global-Warming/Effects-on-Wildlife-and-Habitat.aspx http://www.helium.com/items/771464-how-will-global-warming-affect-wildlife

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