Mayday, Mayday!

May 1, 2015

rabpikaThin, hazy sunshine this early Friday, the first day of May and 2015 keeps whistling on down the tracks.
And rain’s gone, too. We’re not showing anything but fog, clouds and sun (in that order, usually) the next week to 10 days — the Bay Area experienced ‘easily the lowest on record‘ rainfall totals for a January-April.

Warm and dry — the future. And on this May Day, another study warning of climate-change’s impact: ‘Results suggest that extinction risks will accelerate with future global temperatures, threatening up to one in six species under current policies.’

Closer to home, a research paper earlier this year reported a species found in the northern California mountains may already be on an exit — the American pika, the delightful looking creature at left (illustration found here), a ‘conspicuously cute‘ relative to rabbits, could be a victim of climate change.

The pika populate higher levels in the mountains, up where it’s rocky and chilly, and the animal is supposedly well-known to backpackers/hikers. The problem (via the National Wildlife Federation): ‘Unlike other mountain species that can move to higher altitudes in warming climates, pikas live so high on the mountain that there is no where for them to go.’
Frighteningly odd couple, climate change and extinction studies, but apparently scientifically logical to go hand-in-hand.

The new research released today is actually a ‘meta-analysis‘ of already published studies (100 of them), which is ‘the most comprehensive examinations‘ of living creatures existing/or not in a warming world.
Via TechTimes:

The root cause, identified in almost all the analyzed studies, is climate change — which shrinks the geographic range of a species’ habitat.
Unless that species can move to a similar area or adapt to a different environment, it can easily die out.
“Species were predicted to become extinct if their range fell below a minimum threshold,” said study author Mark C. Urban from the University of Connecticut.

Even if global warming can be held to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels – a goal from previous climate summits — one species out of every 20 would still face the risk of extinction.
If the increase in temperature exceeds 4 degrees by the end of the century — a solid possibility, if the current record-breaking rate of greenhouse gas emissions is not reduced — that extinction rate could hit one in six.
“The risk, if we continue on our current [climate] trajectory is very high,” said Urban.
“If you look out your window and count six species and think that one of those will potentially disappear, that’s quite profound.”
Still, he continued, some of the predicted extinctions could be slow in coming and take a protracted time, suggesting that targeted conservation efforts for some at-risk species could help them survive a warmer world.
And other species may be able to adapt to changing conditions enough to survive.
“This isn’t just doom and gloom,” he added.
“We still have time. Extinctions can take a long time.”

Depends upon the word ‘time,’ and its real, final definition.
And insight from someone close to the subject, Elizabeth Kolbert, environmental writer, and author of, “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change” (2006), and, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” (2014), via an interview at Grist in a question about time, survival and rocks;

If you take the really long view, yeah.
Really long. Super long.
People make this point about the planet.
Well, the non-living planet will be fine.
Even most microbial life will be fine, and what are we worried about?
People have said to me, “If the dinosaurs hadn’t been done in, we wouldn’t be here.”
That is most certainly true, yeah, but it did take 66 million years, and for a while if you’d been around — I wasn’t there — it would have been pretty grim.
The end Permian didn’t do in life on Earth, and we will not do in life on Earth, but I think most people have a hard time seeing that — something that not even their most distant descendants will be around to see — as a hopeful thing.
Geologists take that sort of view.

Yep, nothing left but charred rock and microbes.

Or charred grounds — espresso WTF!
Per the Guardian: ‘Cultivation of the arabica coffee plant, staple of daily caffeine fixes and economic lifeline for millions of small farmers, is under threat from climate change as rising temperatures and new rainfall patterns limit the areas where it can be grown, researchers have warned.’

This shit is really getting serious…


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