Climate Change Now! Birds Start Migrating Later & Plants Releasing Less Water Into Atmosphere

trees photo

photo: włodi/Creative Commons

Two further examples of how climate change is already having very much measurable impact on the world around us: 1) Declining rain in tropical areas is causing birds to delay their departure to migrate northwards; 2) Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing plants to release significantly less water back into the atmosphere than they used to. Mongabay quotes one of the authors of the study on what's going on with plants:

The increase in carbon dioxide by about 100 parts per million has had a profound effect on the number of stomata and, to a lesser extent, the size of the stomata. Our analysis of that structural change shows there's been a huge reduction in the release of water to the atmosphere.

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution stomata production in plants was found to have fallen by 34%. Right now water released by plants into the atmosphere is about 10% of water vapor in the atmosphere, should transpiration volume fall even more it could have an impact on rainfall and groundwater volume.

American redstart photo

An American redstart, the birds examined in the study. Photo: Commons.

As for birds, based on a five year study by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (h/t Yale e360) on birds migrating from Jamaica to North America, lower rainfall has produced a scarcity of insects, the primary food supply of the birds studied, which in turn means that the birds delay migration due to lower levels of food being available. In terms of whether this will have a negative impact on the birds over the long term or whether its something they can adapt to remains to be seen.

More on Global Climate Change
Evergreens Advance North in Russia As Siberia Warms
Corals Packing Up and Moving North To Escape Warming

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