DISAPPEARANCE…. TIED TO GLOBAL WARMING

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DISAPPEARANCE…. TIED TO GLOBAL WARMING

 user 2006-01-12 at 10:46:00 am Views: 67
  • #13470

    Frogs’ Disappearance Tied to Warming
    (Jan.
    06) – A team of biologists and climate scientists says in a new study
    that it has linked the extinction of a widespread group of animals to
    global warming.
    Writing in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature,
    the scientists say that more than 60 closely related frog and toad
    species have vanished from the tropical forests of Latin America during
    the last few decades, partly because of warming temperatures. The team
    says this is the first time such a connection has been made.
    The
    research team found a “near lock-step (link) between the timing of
    losses and changes in climate,” said lead scientist Alan Pounds of the
    Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and Tropical Science Center in Costa
    Rica. “It’s a very striking pattern, and it’s hard to find another
    explanation for it.”
    The group did not identify the other
    contributing causes. Pounds and his team say the warmer temperatures of
    the late 20th century led to better growing conditions for a fungus
    that kills frogs and toads.
    Other scientists expressed skepticism
    about the findings. Stephen Corn of the U.S. Geological Survey said the
    dates recorded for extinctions may not be entirely reliable. The
    University of Colorado’s Cynthia Carey questioned why the new work
    ignores extinctions of related species after 1998.
    The Earth’s
    average temperature rose roughly 1 degree in the 20th century and could
    rise 10 more degrees by 2100, according to an international group of
    scientists convened by the United Nations.
    That group and other
    researchers attribute the warming trend to the use of coal, oil and
    other fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide when burned. Buildup of
    the gas in the atmosphere can trap heat.
    Scientists already have
    evidence linking higher temperatures to changes in the behavior or
    range of hundreds of species, such as flowers that bloom earlier in the
    year.
    Scientists in the U.N. group predicted in 2001 that global
    warming would produce a wave of extinctions. They did not predict
    they’d see evidence so quickly.
    “None of us expected that we’d be
    seeing massive extinctions in five years,” said Camille Parmesan of the
    University of Texas. She was not on the Pounds team but found the link
    between extinction and global warming “very convincing.”
    Pounds and
    his colleagues compared when a species was last seen with climate data.
    They found that roughly 80% of the extinct species were spotted for the
    last time just after a particularly hot year. For example, the
    Monteverde harlequin frog hasn’t been seen since 1988, one year after a
    warm year.
    Pounds and his team theorize that the changes in the
    region’s climate are encouraging the growth of a parasite that spread
    around the world in the 1960s and is a known killer of frogs and toads.
    Pounds said more work needs to be done to nail down this possibility.