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Role of global warming in extinction may be overestimated

Mongabay.com – March 1, 2007

This is a wonderful article.  It calls for better science.  It says that better modeling is needed to understand extinction.  This is even more complicated when layered onto global warming since now we have theories layered onto theories.

Extinction is a hotly debated, but poorly understood topic in science. The same goes for climate change. When you bring the two together to forecast the impact of global change on biodiversity, chaos reigns.

A new paper published in Bioscience sides with the latter contention, noting that “surprisingly few species became extinct during the past 2.5 million years” despite a series of ice ages.

…the paper also argues for the critical need to develop better methods to forecast extinction rates under various global warming scenarios. Without these it will be difficult to set effective priorities for conservation efforts.

… their eight recommendations can improve the four types of models currently used to forecast the impact of global warming on biodiversity.

  1. Select a specific definition of biodiversity.
  2. Evaluate models before using them.  [Editor: what a novel idea!]
  3. Account for multiple causes of changes in biodiversity.
  4. Obtain good information and make better use of it.
  5. Use the Quaternary fossil record to understand mechanisms that preserve biodiversity, and use these in forecasting models.
  6. Improve widely used modeling methods.  [Editor: what a unique idea!]
  7. Improve ecological principles embedded in general atmosphereoceanbiotic coupled circulation models.
  8. Develop better models for forecasting total biodiversity.

You can read the article here.

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