Climate change already having major effects on ecosystems, species

Comparison photo of same landscape

A report by more than 60 federal, academic, and other scientists, including lead authors from the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Wildlife Federation, and Arizona State University, warns that climate change is having immediate negative effects on natural systems and wildlife. As the global temperature rises, the timing and geographic ranges of many innate processes animals go through, like breeding and migrating, are being shifted, causing an imbalance.

“These geographic range and timing changes are causing cascading effects that extend through ecosystems, bringing together species that haven’t previously interacted and creating mismatches between animals and their food sources,” said Nancy Grimm, a sustainability scientist at ASU and a lead author of the report.

These changes can influence survival for many species and can affect humans, too. The ecosystem services we depend on, like food, clean water, and wood products, can suddenly change and become scarce.

The report is one of many to be included in the 2013 U.S. National Climate Assessment, a federally required assessment of climate change and its impacts.

Read more »