According to a new study led by University College London (UCL), published in the journal Nature , a warmer global climate could cause sudden and potentially catastrophic losses of biodiversity in regions around the world throughout the 21st century.
According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Alex Pigot, from the UCL Biodiversity and Environment Research Center, we would already be witnessing the first tests of this.
In the aforementioned study, data from the climate model were used from 1850 to 2005 , and they referenced it with the geographic ranges of 30,652 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and other animals and plants.
The data was available for areas around the world, divided into squared cells of 100 by 100 square kilometers.
They used climate model projections for each year through 2100 to predict when the species in each cell of the grid would begin to experience higher temperatures than the organism had previously experienced in its geographic range , over a period of at least five years. .
The researchers found that in most ecological communities around the world, a large proportion of organisms will be found outside their niche (comfort zone) within the same decade.
Across all communities, on average, 73% of species facing unprecedented temperatures before 2100 will cross that threshold at the same time . As Pigot explains:
We found that the risks of climate change to biodiversity do not increase gradually. On the contrary, as the climate warms up, within a given area most species will be able to cope for a time, before crossing a temperature threshold, when a large proportion of species will suddenly face conditions. that they had never experienced before. It is not a slippery slope, but rather a series of cliff edges hitting different areas at different times.