It's well understood that climate change will lead to an increase in global average temperatures. But what does a 2° C average increase really mean? You might be surprised to hear that the difference between an ice age period and today's temperature is just 2° C on average. The keyword here is 'on average'. It's not simply the difference between a 20° C day and a 22° C day, but average temperatures across the world over an entire year.
Most places on the planet will get far warmer, some will get drier and others wllh be much wetter. And our polar ice caps will melt. More 'extremes' is something we will become accustomed to. Although there are many apparent contradictions some consensus on major impacts are emerging. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate; however, there is now strong evidence that significant global heating is occurring.
A few thousand years ago plants and animals would have been able to adapt to climate change by moving, either immediately or gradually over generations. Now, as wildlife is increasingly isolated in protected areas, they are no longer able to move as the regions outside the protected areas are filled with agriculture or human habitation. As a result, scientists predict that over a million species will be threatened with extinction.
ClimateWatch was developed to understand the effects climate change is having on Earth's natural processes. Essentially, ClimateWatch is based on phenology, the study of periodic events in biological life cycles and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate. Many studies have already provided insight into the relationship between climate variables, such as temperature and rainfall, to the timing of these phenophases (an observable stage or phase in the annual life cycle of a plant or animal that can be defined by a start and end point).
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