Climate change and evolution

There have been three more snippets of news recently which add to our knowledge of actual climate change, but not directly necessarily to why the climate is changing so rapidly.

The first is that autumn seems to be coming earlier each year. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness comes marginally year by year a little earlier. In my garden apples are now over ripe and early morning mists do not have the decency to wait until September, like they used to. Spring seems to come ever earlier each year, so perhaps it is not surprising that after what seem to be messy summers now, we see early autumns.

The second is about the polar bears. People have been measuring polar bears skulls (someone has to do it I suppose) and they find on average that the skulls of polar bears that died in the past fifty years are significantly smaller than those of polar bears who died more than sixty years ago. There has to be a reason for the shrinking polar bear sizes. Life evolves to attempt to adapt to any changing conditions in which it lives. If food is less plentiful (and it has been in recent Arctic history) the bears, scientists postulate, use more energy to find food and have less energy for growth.

The third news item indicates that in some places in the world trees are advancing higher in the mountains into areas where trees could not grow previously. Again the belief of some scientists (as yet unproven) is that warmer winters enable trees to grow in places that were previously too cold for them.

Plants and animals adapt to conditions that change as do humans. Many species are in the northern hemisphere moving northwards and those that are slow to adapt are left behind.

Humans have been always good at adapting to their environment but now can and do adapt the environment to what humans want. With a little effort large cities can be created out of deserts which have no water and no resources. Las Vegas is one such city, created in desert because a nearby dam could bring electricity and water to a place where humans could not otherwise live.

However, it seems that in changing our environment humans may have gone to far. Some plants disperse their seeds close to themselves and there is no mechanism for dispersing their seeds further. These slow seeding plants cannot seed fast enough to keep up with a climate that is changing. Some of them will die out as species due to climate change, except perhaps in museums.

We have to fear that the pace of climate change is such that humans will never be able to adapt in themselves or their technology to survive the changes. If so that will be another species whose name has been writ in water.

2 Responses

  1. Some very interesting points have been made here, it is refreshing to see that your site gets quality visitors.

  2. There is another factor which the world’s scientist have discoverd and that is the action of polarity changes, for the last 300 years we have been keeping records of navigations and compass readings through our Navy’s.

    If the seasons are changing summer is coming wet and late, spring early and cold and winter warner and wet, this spells disaster for the world crop growing cycles, and one thing we don’t need is world climate that canot grow enough food for the ever increasing population, civilisation without food is three days away.

    It is well known that evolution today is cancelling out a 1000 species a day, but I cannot believe that its all our fault, we might be adding to the problem but what is happening naturally is out of our control,

    Throughout world history species have come and gone without humans, dinosaurs were the most sucessfull species which ruled the ground and the skies for millions of years, yet they went, yet the government throughout the world are using this as an excuse to make a killing.

    Some experts have said what is going to happen tomorrow will not be able to be controlled and many years of change will not help the way its going to be for many decades, what our forefathers did is now costing us dearly or more so in the coming future, but its never too late to start somewhere.

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