Thursday, June 7, 2012

The connection between biodiversity and melting of glaciers

Biodiversity loss is one of the biggest environmental issues of modern world, and the widespread effect of climate change is making things even worse. The latest study published in the Nature Climate Change magazine has studied the effect of retreating glaciers on biodiversity. The conclusion was that the continuous melting of glaciers has negative effect on biodiversity in affected areas.

The scientists have studied temperate, arctic and tropical regions (Alps, Alaska and the equatorial Andes) in order to find the correlation between the glacial coverage and biodiversity loss. They have discovered that in situations where „glacial coverage is reduced to the point where it only covers 30 to 50% of the drainage basin, several species begin to disappear.“

They have also calculated that the entire melting of the glaciers in these areas would result in huge loss of biodiversity, where between 11 and 38% of the animal and plant species could go extinct, including many of endemic species that can be found only in these areas.

We are not just talking here about the loss of biodiversity in these areas but also about the huge water shortage issue for many places across the globe. The worldwide melting of glaciers threatens to eliminate the water supply for numerous towns in valleys, and water could very soon become a very scarce resource for many regions of the world.

This is just one of many scientific warnings about the growing impact of climate change. World leaders still don't look particularly worried about it, and the climate change issue is still far from being the top issue on global political agenda. As always, finance and economies are far more important to world leaders than environmental issues.

Biodiversity loss will only grow as climate change impact becomes stronger, and if we fail to do something quick we will pass the point of no return where the world will be helpless to do something effective against climate change (the global temperature increase of two degrees Celsius).

The glacier melting is just one of many climate change faces, all of which can result in one scary future. This future could soon become our reality

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