A new study of species’ adaptation to climate change, based on fossil data, indicates that groups of species can adapt to climate change, but that it takes on average about 6 million years to do so, reports Tim Radford at Climate News Network. The new research shows that groups of species in the distant past have adapted to, and colonised, new and increasingly arid desert zones during a period of dramatic change. Given how fast Earth is heating up, however, this historic rate of adaptation will be much too slow for many individual species to survive, even if the groups to which they are genetically related, eventually adapt. Researchers have repeatedly warned of mass extinction under conditions of climate change, but this study helps to estimate the rates at which species might adapt or evolve, and populations recover, in new habitats. From a geological perspective the unprecedented rapid rate at which our planetary climate is changing from human-driven activities is equivalent to a giant meteor hitting Earth. Data indicates that such an event 60 million years ago triggered massive extinctions. This new human-driven “carbon meteor” is likely to do the same.
Other studies do indicate that some species can adapt fairly quickly to current climate change. What is not known is whether such species are ultimately successful in adapting to the continued dramatic change in climate or not.
Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.
For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte
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Current Climate Change 6 Million Years Faster Than Species Can Adapt fossils show, says a new study, reports Tim Radford at Climate News Network. From a geologic perspective, it’s like a carbon meteor is hitting Earth – only no one’s doing much about it… http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/06/desert-yields-clues-to-species-survival/