The Great Climate Migration

The Great Climate Migration

SOURCE: New York Times DATE: July 23, 2020 SNIP: For most of human history, people have lived within a surprisingly narrow range of temperatures, in the places where the climate supported abundant food production. But as the planet warms, that band is suddenly shifting north. According to a pathbreaking recent study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the planet could see a greater temperature increase in the next 50 years than it did in the last 6,000 years combined. By 2070, the kind of extremely hot zones, like in the Sahara, that now cover less than 1 percent of the earth’s land surface could cover nearly a fifth of the land, potentially placing one of every three people alive outside the climate niche where humans have thrived for thousands of years. Many will dig in, suffering through heat, hunger and political chaos, but others will be forced to move on. A 2017 study in Science Advances found that by 2100, temperatures could rise to the point that just going outside for a few hours in some places, including parts of India and Eastern China, “will result in death even for the fittest of humans.” People are already beginning to flee. In Southeast Asia, where increasingly unpredictable monsoon rainfall and drought have made farming more difficult, the World Bank points to more than eight million people who have moved toward the Middle East, Europe and North America. In the African Sahel, millions of rural people have been streaming toward the coasts and the cities amid drought and widespread crop failures. Should the flight away from hot...
Monarch butterfly migration was off this year and researchers are worried

Monarch butterfly migration was off this year and researchers are worried

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: January 20, 2018 SNIP: Thanksgiving was right around the corner, and a sizable number of one of America’s most famous migrants could be seen still sputtering south. Not across the Texas-Mexico border, where most monarch butterflies should be by that time of year. These fluttered tardily through the migratory funnel that is Cape May, N.J., their iconic orange-and-black patterns splashing against the muted green of pines frosted by the season’s first chill. This delayed migration is not normal, and it alarmed monarch researchers across the country. The Cape May stragglers were only a sliver of the record number of monarchs reported in the Northeast in November and December — news that sounded good initially to conservationists. But seeing butterflies so far north so late in the year suggested that few of these latecomers would reach their Mexican wintering grounds. Scientists fear that climate change is behind what they’re calling the latest monarch migration ever recorded in the eastern United States, and they worry that rising temperatures pose a new threat to a species that saw its population hit record lows in recent years. Known for their complex, ­improbable migrations, most monarchs embark on 2,000-mile journeys each fall, from breeding grounds as far north as Canada’s maritime provinces to the Sierra Madre mountains in central Mexico. (A separate western ­population heads mostly to Southern California.) They mate in Mexico, then fly back north to lay their eggs (and die) in the spring. Because they’re so delicate — each weighs less than a gram — monarchs are particular about the conditions they’ll fly in, and especially vulnerable...
Climate change could force more than a billion people to flee their homes

Climate change could force more than a billion people to flee their homes

SOURCE: The Independent DATE: October 30, 2017 SNIP: More than a billion people could be forced to flee their homes because of global warming, according to new research. The movement of people, as well as the various effects of climate change, could be about to trigger a major health crisis, according to a new study from The Lancet. Global warming is already leading some to conclude the climate-change migrants are being forced to move because of extreme changes in the amount of rain and temperature changes destroying their ability to farm. It notes that “migration driven by climate change has potentially severe impacts on mental and physical health, both directly and through the disruption of essential health and social...
Climate change a ‘key’ factor in migration

Climate change a ‘key’ factor in migration

SOURCE: New Zealand Herald DATE: October 11, 2017 SNIP: Climate change is proving a bigger factor in people’s decisions to migrate more than income and political freedom combined, Kiwi researchers say. An analysis by Otago University economics researcher Dr Dennis Wesselbaum and Victoria University Master’s student Amelia Aburn crunched figures around migration flows between 16 OECD destination and 198 origin countries, including New Zealand, across 35 years. Their results suggested it to be a more important driver than even income and political freedom put together. “In combination, the effect of climate change through higher temperatures and an increase in the incidence of disasters is more important than the effects of income and policy at origin [country] together,” they reported. “In conclusion, our results suggest that climate change is a key driver of migration.” “Given the overwhelming evidence about the expected adverse effects of climate change in the future, we can expect that it will become an even more important driver of migration in the future,” the authors...
Migrating birds can’t keep up with an earlier spring in a changing climate

Migrating birds can’t keep up with an earlier spring in a changing climate

SOURCE: CarbonBrief DATE: Aug 8, 2017 SNIP: Migrating birds might not be able to fly home fast enough to meet shifts in springtime in Europe driven by climate change, new research suggests. Flying back too early or too late for spring is costly for birds. Their arrival must coincide with the emergence of food sources, such as caterpillars, in order to enable them to feed and successfully rear their young. Birds that overwinter in warmer climes, including willow warblers, tree pipits and barn swallows, will be unable to cut their migrations short as climate change causes spring to arrive earlier in many parts of Europe, researchers find. This new evidence suggests that birds are much less adaptable to climate change than previously hoped, another scientist tells Carbon...