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Over 80% of the world's ice-free land is at risk of profound ecosystem transformation by 2100, a new study reveals. "Essentially, we would be leaving the world as we know it," says Sebastian Ostberg of the Potsdam Institute for Climate I...
Over 80% of the world's ice-free land is at risk of profound ecosystem transformation by 2100, a new study reveals. "Essentially, we would be leaving the world as we know it," says Sebastian Ostberg of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany. Ostberg and collaborators studied the critical impacts of climate change on landscapes and have now published their results in Earth System Dynamics, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).The researchers state in the article that "nearly no area of the world is free" from the risk of climate change transforming landscapes substantially, unless mitigation limits warming to around 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.Ecosystem changes could include boreal forests being transformed into temperate savannas, trees growing in the freezing Arctic tundra or even a dieback of some of the world's rainforests. Such profound transformations of land ecosystems have the potential to affect food and water security, and hence impact human well-being just like sea level rise and direct damage from extreme weather events.The new Earth System Dynamics study indicates that up to 86% of the remaining natural land ecosystems worldwide could be at risk of major change in a business-as-usual scenario (see note). This assumes that the global mean temperature will be 4 to 5 degrees warmer at the end of this century than in pre-industrial times – given many countries' reluctance to commit to binding emissions cuts, such warming is not out of the question by 2100."The research shows there is a large difference in the risk of major ecosystem change depending on whether humankind continues with business as usual or if we opt for effective climate change mitigation," Ostberg points out.But even if the warming is limited to 2 degrees, some 20% of land ecosystems – particularly those at high altitudes and high latitudes – are at risk of moderate or major transformation, the team reveals.The researchers studied over 150 climate scenarios, looking at ecosystem changes in nearly 20 different climate models for various degrees of global warming. "Our study is the most comprehensive and internally consistent analysis of the risk of major ecosystem change from climate change at the global scale," says Wolfgang Lucht, also an author of the study and co-chair of the research domain Earth System Analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.link.
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Twitter and Comcast have signed a TV partnership that will let viewers access television shows and buy movie tickets directly from a tweet.
Twitter and Comcast have signed a TV partnership that will let viewers access television shows and buy movie tickets directly from a tweet.
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Marine conservationists from the University of British Columbia, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago today launched a smartphone app that could lead to new discoveries about some of the ocean's most my...
Marine conservationists from the University of British Columbia, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago today launched a smartphone app that could lead to new discoveries about some of the ocean's most mysterious and threatened animals—seahorses—and pave the way for similar efforts with other difficult-to-study species.
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Researchers have come one step closer to understanding unstable atomic nuclei. A team of researchers from RIKEN, the University of Tokyo and other institutions in Japan and Italy has provided evidence for a new nuclear magic number in th...
Researchers have come one step closer to understanding unstable atomic nuclei. A team of researchers from RIKEN, the University of Tokyo and other institutions in Japan and Italy has provided evidence for a new nuclear magic number in the unstable, radioactive calcium isotope 54Ca. In a study published today in the journal Nature, they show that 54Ca is the first known nucleus with 34 neutrons (N) where N = 34 is a magic number.
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Ecological and societal disruptions by modern climate change are critically determined by the time frame over which climates shift. Camilo Mora and colleagues in the College of Social Sciences' Department of Geography at the University o...
Ecological and societal disruptions by modern climate change are critically determined by the time frame over which climates shift. Camilo Mora and colleagues in the College of Social Sciences' Department of Geography at the University of Hawaii, Manoa have developed one such time frame. The study, entitled "The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability," will be published in the October 10 issue of Nature and provides an index of the year when the mean climate of any given location on Earth will shift continuously outside the most extreme records experienced in the past 150 years.
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It's heretical, but it might just be true: organisms may be able to direct the evolutionary path their descendants take. Bob Holmes thinks the unthinkable
It's heretical, but it might just be true: organisms may be able to direct the evolutionary path their descendants take. Bob Holmes thinks the unthinkable
about 2 hours ago
Some researchers think mathematical laws can explain how societies stop working. We should find out if they're right
Some researchers think mathematical laws can explain how societies stop working. We should find out if they're right
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To avoid dangerous climate change, we need geoengineering on a giant scale. We can now sketch out the basics of this world industry and where it would operate
To avoid dangerous climate change, we need geoengineering on a giant scale. We can now sketch out the basics of this world industry and where it would operate
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A simple scan reveals when a brain is processing information consciously, telling minimally conscious people apart from those in a vegetative state
A simple scan reveals when a brain is processing information consciously, telling minimally conscious people apart from those in a vegetative state
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Aliens on distant worlds would probably leave traces in their planet's atmosphere – a new method could identify the signatures of unearthly life forms
Aliens on distant worlds would probably leave traces in their planet's atmosphere – a new method could identify the signatures of unearthly life forms
about 2 hours ago