Climate change could be the final blow for many of California’s native fish species, pushing them to extinction with extended drought, warmer water temperatures and altered stream flow.
The authors of a new study published online in the journal PLOS ONE used 20 metrics — including species population trends, physiological tolerance to temperature increase and ability to disperse — to gauge the vulnerability of native fishes to climate change.
The results: 82% of 121 native species were deemed highly vulnerable.
“Almost all of those fishes are in decline already and climate change is going to accelerate the decline,” said Peter Moyle, a UC Davis professor of fish biology and lead author of the paper.
“Disappearing fish will include not only obscure species of minnows, suckers and pupfishes, but also coho salmon, most runs of steelhead trout and Chinook salmon, and Sacramento perch,” he said.
Generally speaking, Moyle said, native fish in California and the Southwest are more likely to suffer from the effects of a warming climate than natives in other parts of the country because they are already in competition with humans for water in an arid region.
Snow that serves as the lifeblood of the nation’s $12.2 billion winter sports industry is melting under the influence of a warming climate, and dramatic steps are needed to protect the industry and the jobs it provides, a new study prepared for conservation groups concludes.
Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing — even ice fishing — could all be in trouble unless winter sports industry leaders take a leadership role in curbing emissions of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming, members of the National Resources Defense Council and Protect Our Winters insist.
“This industry as a whole needs to take its head out of the snow before it melts away,” said Antonia Herzog, assistant director of the defense council’s Climate and Clean Air Program.
“They need to start taking action,” Herzog said, adding that the industry should play an active role in pushing for new regulations curbing emissions from existing power plants in particular.
A warming climate has health officials worried that tick populations are already spreading, bringing with them the germs that can lead to Lyme disease.
Dr. Robbin Lindsay, a research scientist with the Public Health Agency of Canada who specializes in zoonotic diseases, says the populations of the blacklegged ticks that carry Lyme disease (sometimes called the deer tick) are growing.
“I myself have been studying these ticks for over 20 years and we have seen a tremendous change in the range and expansion of these ticks,” he tells CTV News from Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory.
He says when he started his PhD in 1989, there was only one known population of blacklegged ticks and that was in southern Ontario. Now, there are established population sin southeastern Quebec, southern and eastern Ontario, southeastern Manitoba and parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
“We have been tracking the expansion of this tick and it is quite dramatic,” Lindsay says.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a first-hand look Saturday at the way a warming climate is changing the Arctic, opening the region to competition for vast oil reserves.
Experts here estimate the value of the Arctic’s untapped oil alone — not including natural gas and minerals — at $900 trillion, making it a huge prize for the five countries that surround the Arctic if they can reach it.
And with climate warming opening up some 46,000 square kilometres (18,000 square miles) a year that had once been bound in ice, the region is expected to burst open, not just with oil exploration but with East-West trade along a more accessible northern route.
Returning from a tour of the Arctic coastline aboard a Norwegian research trawler with scientists and government officials, Clinton told reporters that she learned “many of the predictions about warming in the Arctic are being surpassed by the actual data.”
“That was not necessarily surprising but sobering,” she said.
The United States wants to see that change managed by the Arctic Council, an advisory group composed of the Arctic’s closest neighbours, even as other countries, among them China, are drawn to the region for oil, gas and trade.
“A lot of countries are looking at what will be a potential for exploration and extraction of natural resources, as well as new sea lanes, and are increasingly expressing interest in the Arctic,” Clinton said.
“We want the Arctic Council to remain the premier institution that deals with Arctic questions.”