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NASA: Climate Change May Bring Big Ecosystem Changes

December 22, 2011

Nice worldwide graphic included in article.

Full Article at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-387

By 2100, global climate change will  modify plant communities covering almost half of Earth’s land surface and will drive  the conversion of nearly 40 percent of land-based ecosystems from one major  ecological community type – such as forest, grassland or tundra – toward  another, according to a new NASA and university computer modeling study.
Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the  California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., investigated how  Earth’s plant life is likely to react over the next three centuries as Earth’s  climate changes in response to rising levels of human-produced greenhouse  gases. Study results are published in the journal Climatic Change.
The model projections paint a portrait of increasing  ecological change and stress in Earth’s biosphere, with many plant and animal  species facing increasing competition for survival, as well as significant  species turnover, as some species invade areas occupied by other species. Most  of Earth’s land that is not covered by ice or desert is projected to undergo at  least a 30 percent change in plant cover – changes that will require humans and  animals to adapt and often relocate.
In addition to altering plant communities, the study  predicts climate change will disrupt the ecological balance between  interdependent and often endangered plant and animal species, reduce  biodiversity and adversely affect Earth’s water, energy, carbon and other  element cycles.

Full Article at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2011-387

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