Polar Bears Are Shrinking As the wOrld wArms Up: Good News For Fat People
Nick Collins, the Telegraph’s Science Correspondent, writes:
Rising global temperatures and changes in weather patterns have knock-on effects which are already stunting the growth of a wide range of species. Researchers argue that warmer and drier weather causes plants and animals to reach smaller sizes, while more variable rainfall levels raise the risk of failed crop years…Over the past century animals including toads, tortoises, blue tits, Soay sheep and red deer have all started to reduce in size, they said.
He’s read a report in Nature Climate Change journal. In it Dr David Bickford and Jennifer Sheridan of the National University of Singapore write:
“The consequences of shrinkage are not yet fully understood, but could be far-reaching for biodiversity and humans alike. Because recent climate change may be faster than past historical changes in climate, many organisms may not respond or adapt quickly enough. This implies that species may go extinct because of climate change.”
Collins tells us:
One major issue is that not all plants and animals will shrink at the same rate, throwing finely balanced ecosystems out of kilter, the researchers said.
Yep. It might be that animals shrink faster than plants, resulting in lots more food for them to eat and more oxygen in the air.
Fossil evidence dating from the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 million years ago, when temperatures rose by three to seven per cent and precipitation levels dropped 40 per cent – shows that invertebrates like beetles, bees and ants became 50 to 75 per cent smaller.
Thank goodness. If spiders can also be much reduced in size, we’re for global warming.
And there is an equation:
Experimental research suggests that for every additional degree Celsius, a variety of plants lose between three and 17 per cent in size and fish shrink by six to 22 per cent.
During the past century global average temperatures have risen by almost 1C, and climate experts predict 7C of warming by 2100.
If one degree equals 17% loss of size, 7 degrees means leylandii reducing by a whopping 117%, and fish shrinking by an not inconsiderable 154%.
Vanessa Feltz is said to be “encouraged” by the news…
Spotter: The Real Stig