by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Oct 27, 2016
Global warming is likely to change the environment of the Mediterranean region in ways unseen in the past 10,000 years, reshaping forests and turning parts of Europe into desert, researchers warned Thursday.
The Mediterranean is known as a hotspot for biodiversity, and it is warming up fast.
Already its regional temperatures are 1.3 degrees Celsius higher than the period 1880-1920, said the study in the journal Science.
The rest of the world is about 0.85 C warmer than pre-industrial times, the period scientists use for comparison because it was before widespread fossil-fuel burning led to an outpouring of greenhouses gasses that trap heat around Earth.
World leaders agreed in Paris last year to hold the increase in the global average temperature to less than 2 C above pre-industrial levels and to work to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 C.
To study what the future might look like in the Mediterranean region, scientists analyzed pollen cores from sediments, which tell the story of climate and ecosystem changes over the past 10,000 years.
They projected vast landscape changes under a "business as usual" scenario by century's end, with fossil-fuel use and its associated warming continuing unabated.
"All of southern Spain turns into desert," said the study led by Wolfgang Cramer and Joel Guiot of Aix-Marseille University in France.
Trees with falling leaves, known as deciduous forests, would "invade most of the mountains," while shrubland vegetation would replace most of the Mediterranean's deciduous forests.
These shifts would "vastly exceed" what Earth has experienced in the last 10,000 years.
"Only under the scenario where the global warming is limited to 1.5 C above pre-industrial temperatures do ecosystem shifts remain inside the limits experienced during the last 10,000 years," the authors said.
But even then, the situation could be far worse than projected, because the current analysis did not account for other human impacts on ecosystems, like urbanization, soil degradation and changes in land use.
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|