By RTCC staff
Plant communities covering almost half of the Earth’s land surface could be fundamentally affected by climate change according to new research from NASA.
Changes in the earth’s temperature could see nearly 40% of land-based ecosystems undergo profound revolutions, affecting plants, animal species and humans.
Research conducted by NASA and the California Institute of Technology investigated how the earth is likely to react over the next 300 years as a result of rising levels of carbon emissions.
The study predicts that most of the planet’s land that is not currently covered in ice or desert could face a 30% change in plant cover, forcing humans and animals to either adapt or relocate.
“Our study introduces a new view of climate change, exploring the ecological implications of a few degrees of global warming,” Jon Bergengren, a Caltech scientist who led the study told NASA’s website.
“While warnings of melting glaciers, rising sea levels and other environmental changes are illustrative and important, ultimately it’s the ecological consequences that matter most”.
Scientists used a computer model that simulated the Earth’s natural vegetation with climate projections from 10 different simulations, based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 4th Assessment Report.
That study assumes greenhouse gases will double by 2100 and then level off.
Areas the research has identified as likely to be severely affected by climate change include the Himalayas, East Africa, the Mediterraenean and North America’s Great Lakes.