Researchers in Australia have revealed that climate change is now affecting almost every living creature on the planet.
The study, published in Science stated that 82 per cent of key ecological processes were being altered by global warming.
Including land, oceans, and freshwater environments, Brett Scheffers, member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Climate Change Specialist Groups, said that “We now have evidence that, with only a about one degree C of warming globally, major impacts are already being felt.”
The study analysed 94 ecological processes and warned that the changes found in the environment will also affect humans, causing outbreaks of disease, inconsistent crop yields, and threatened food security – especially in the seas.
It also stated that unhealthy forests shall also struggle to soak large amounts of carbon dioxide while warmer oceans will no longer be able to act as a “buffer” against temperature rise.
James Watson, senior author from the University of Queensland and Wildlife Conservation Society said that:
We are simply astonished at the level of change we observed, which many of us in the scientific community were not expecting for decades.
“It is no longer sensible to consider this a concern for the future, and if we don’t act quickly to curb emissions it is likely that every ecosystem across Earth will fundamentally change in our lifetimes.”
With temperatures having risen by 1°C since the 1880s, the research shows just how delicate the environment is and just how carbon and other emissions can affect the planet.
It was also reported that animals have started moving from their natural habitats in response to the change, with many species shifting towards the poles as others seek higher ground.
Marine life has also expanded into areas that were usually too cold, with animals moving at a rate of 72km per decade.
Even the bodies of animals were found to be changing with one species of woodland salamander having undergone an eight per cent reduction in body size.
Such effects will have great changes on sources of food the paper said.