GLOBAL WARMING – The Northward Migration

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ambience: Loons

We’re listening to the cry of a loon. If predictions for global warming hold true, scientists tell us that species such as the loon will change their range, heading northward into cooler climates. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“There have been a number of studies in the Great Lakes region of the changes in the ranges of birds, animals, insects and plants. And many of these studies seem to indicate that during the past hundred years, when we know the earth’s surface has been warming up gradually, the ranges of a number of plants and animals are gradually moving towards the north.”

Jim Teeri is director of the University of Michigan’s Biological Station.

“The rate of temperature change that’s going to occur, based on predictions, is far faster than most kinds of organisms can migrate. Now, certainly some organisms such as birds, large mammals can migrate over long distances in a year or less than a year. But many species, particularly plants and smaller animals cannot migrate over hundreds of miles in a period of a decade or two. Yet the temperature change is going to be the equivalent of that rate of migration. So we expect that whole communities of plants and animals are going to change in their composition. And it’s possible that there will be large numbers of species going extinct. Other animals and plants that can migrate will keep up with the changing temperature of the earth’s surface, and move to areas where they do not now occur. The composition of virtually all of the naturally occurring plant and animal communities would change if the predicted temperature changes occur.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont to encourage respect for our environment.

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GLOBAL WARMING - The Northward Migration

Changes in the ranges of birds and other animals may be signs of global warming.
Air Date:04/19/1993
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience: Loons

We’re listening to the cry of a loon. If predictions for global warming hold true, scientists tell us that species such as the loon will change their range, heading northward into cooler climates. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“There have been a number of studies in the Great Lakes region of the changes in the ranges of birds, animals, insects and plants. And many of these studies seem to indicate that during the past hundred years, when we know the earth’s surface has been warming up gradually, the ranges of a number of plants and animals are gradually moving towards the north.”

Jim Teeri is director of the University of Michigan’s Biological Station.

“The rate of temperature change that’s going to occur, based on predictions, is far faster than most kinds of organisms can migrate. Now, certainly some organisms such as birds, large mammals can migrate over long distances in a year or less than a year. But many species, particularly plants and smaller animals cannot migrate over hundreds of miles in a period of a decade or two. Yet the temperature change is going to be the equivalent of that rate of migration. So we expect that whole communities of plants and animals are going to change in their composition. And it’s possible that there will be large numbers of species going extinct. Other animals and plants that can migrate will keep up with the changing temperature of the earth’s surface, and move to areas where they do not now occur. The composition of virtually all of the naturally occurring plant and animal communities would change if the predicted temperature changes occur.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont to encourage respect for our environment.

music