Dr. David Hik [00:04:55]: Well, globally, glaciers are melting quite rapidly. That means the surface is melting, and they’re getting thinner and smaller. Coursera [00:00:00]: From Coursera, this is Emma Fitzpatrick, and today, I’m talking to Dr. David Hik of Simon Fraser University in Canada. So, every part of the world will be affected, and as a result, that just emphasizes to me that this is a global issue that needs a global response. In my own work, I focused on ecological interactions, but I can’t avoid thinking about the physical parts of those environments, particularly snow and ice, and how species are affected by changes that are occurring in the cryosphere. If it drops below 90 percent, that’s where we start to set off alarm bells and can take action to prevent crossing a tipping point that could lead to species extinction and cause a collapse of the ecosystem. The melting of Antarctic ice sheets is one of the most visceral consequences of climate change, but the full extent of their impact on the cycle remains … They drew on estimates of how fast temperatures changed in the thousands of years following that maximum, indentifying regions of rapid climate shifts. There’s other species that have been around for a very long time. Because this is happening, X, Y, and Z are also going to happen?. Climate change is continuing to impact the Canadian landscape, as glaciers continue to shrink due to the effects of rising surface temperatures. The opposite is true for mountainous regions. So, that’s outside of the entire time that our genus has been on the planet, and for many other species, while they might’ve been around for a long period of time, they’ve slowly–over the last millions or hundreds of thousands of years–adapted to a set of conditions that are typical of what we see now. ", The animals' fates may have come down to speed, Sandel adds. Arctic marine fisheries … Cool-weather animals, put on your running shoes. If temperatures keep rising, glaciers will continue melting, and some could disappear completely. Just recently, a study came out that modern plankton look so different than they did historically. Coursera.org today to enroll for free in his course Mountains 101. But, it is a landscape that I first visited in 1988. Then, over thousands of years, those glaciers began to melt and dribble away. Coursera [00:06:24]: Is there anything we can do to slow the melting of the glaciers or prevent that from happening? As the world warms, many species will once again be forced to flee, says Scott Loarie, a biogeographer at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who coauthored the 2009 study. And I’ve been studying those environments for all of that time. Recently, the temperature in the Arctic appears to have hit a new continental high, close to 70 degrees. A glacier is a slowly moving mass river of ice formed by the build-up and compaction of snow. Just four years ago, we had one of those big rivers that’s fed by the Kaskawulsh Glacier essentially divert from the Arctic Basin into the Pacific Basin. That's because temperatures tend to be uniform across uniform landscapes, he says, meaning that animals will have to migrate long distances to reach cooler locales, putting locals at greater risks of extinction during times of change. Half of humanity relies on water that flows out of mountains either from snow or glaciers, into the lowlands. Some animals require the cool temperatures for their day to day activities like the blue bear. The initial effect on individuals and on the world will be relatively small, but the cumulative effect of that overtime is going to be huge. There’s no sort of easy way to tell which individuals are going to be at greatest risk. Coursera [00:12:03]: So, when we talk through adapting versus going extinct, are those types of plants and animals–where they’re in a more vulnerable ecosystem, or there’s really just not a place for them to relocate and adapt– are those the ones that you think will be more likely to go extinct versus adapt? There are a lot of living organisms that rely mainly on glaciers for continued existence. Small populations, probably at greater risk. We’ll start to notice that there’s species of fishes that have disappeared completely, from coral reefs as they disappear. So, we really need to look at the commitments that the international community has made and find actions that will reduce those emissions–and try to stay within that safe space, where we won’t see a loss of glaciers, or we won’t see a loss of biodiversity or natural ecosystems. They probably can stabilize if the global temperature increases around 1.5 degrees, but at two degrees, we see these glaciers disappear almost entirely by the end of the century. And on that front, how fast exactly are glaciers, ice, snow–that cryosphere that you mentioned– how fast are they melting? So, in a sense, when glaciers melt, that creates new ground that can be occupied by plants and ultimately by animals. 5.2 What will be the impact on marine fisheries? For more than 30 years, Dr. Hik has been studying mountain regions and has seen firsthand the impact climate change has had. And so, anywhere on coastlines in every country around the Earth, where people live within a meter of the current high-tide level, will be experiencing a higher frequency of storm surges, an inundation of flooding. It’s a wild mountain area that includes Canada’s largest mountain peak glaciers and glacier-fed lakes. The five warmest years in the ocean in the last 70 years have been 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015. Fresh Water Shortage The Effects of Melting Glaciers Risks Person Person Team Intro Since 1850, melting glaciers has always been a huge problem. And we talk about the natural hazards that occur as gravity moves rocks and mountain and water and snow down to the bottom. When glaciers melt, because that water is stored on land, the runoff significantly increases the amount of water in the ocean, contributing to global sea level rise. So, we can do something like create a biodiversity intactness index. Forty percent of its productive land is projected to be lost with sea-level rise by mid-century. In Yukon, we’ve been able to show that shrubs–little willows and birch shrubs– are advancing upslope and that their density is increasing at … And in a number of places, they’re down to sort of the last five or six individuals, so they’re functionally extinct. So, one of the fairly universal responses to warming that we observe is a shift, an upward shift, in the limit of treeline, the altitudinal limit of treeline and shrub line and Tundra. In Yukon, we’ve been able to show that shrubs–little willows and birch shrubs– are advancing upslope and that their density is increasing at about 5 percent per hector per decade. And I guess the short story is really that we’re still trying to understand and be able to better predict which species will be the winners in those scenarios and which we should be very concerned about and are at greatest risk of extinction. So, we talk about the geological origins of mountains, the history of these places. The negative effects of global warming have caused sea levels to rise. But our concern right now is that the rate of change in the climate system– the change in temperature, change in snow change in precipitation–is occurring so quickly that they can’t adapt quickly enough. Flying mammals also survived more on average: "If we split mammals into bats and nonflying mammals, bats behave kind of like the birds.". They weren't just interested in the past—they were concerned about the future. So, people often sort of think the options that species have as to move, adapt, or perish. Why does it matter? So, those are just some of the really dramatic examples that we’ve seen in the glaciers. The world's rapidly melting glaciers has disastrous consequences on the animals that rely on them for survival. The Southwest Yukon is home to wild forests and big mountain peaks–the largest ice fields outside of the polar regions. And we see the projections are at the current rate that greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere. But scientists should use caution when applying the fates of animals during the Ice Age to the modern era, says Robert Colwell, a biogeographer at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Dr. David Hik [00:16:06]: So, biodiversity is a term that we use to generally describe the number of species that live in a particular area, and once we decide what species live in a place, that becomes our inventory of the health of a particular environment. Or if you’re a member of the press, set up an interview with Dr. David Hik or learn more about the topics he can speak to. How Melting Glaciers Affect the Food Issues like the melting of glaciers point to the intricate balance that exists on our planet and to the essential nature of water to our survival. But if rains dry up at the same time that temperatures increase, moisture-loving amphibians would need to move even faster to survive. Where glaciers are melting into the ocean, they contribute to sea-level rise. Dr. David Hik[00:01:24]: Well, the Yukon is a remarkable place. Global warming can affect sea levels , coastlines , ocean acidification , ocean currents , seawater , sea surface temperatures , [1] tides , the sea floor , weather , and trigger several changes in ocean bio-geochemistry; all of these affect the functioning of a society . They experience these changes firsthand. Dr. David Hik is an Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science as well as a Professor of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University. In parts of modern-day Canada or Northern Europe—"high velocity" regions—animals likely had to migrate close to 100 meters per year to keep within their ideal environments. There’s a variety of species that I think I’m concerned about, but I think a lot of species will find ways to surprise us. Effects of climate change on oceans provides information on the various effects that global warming has on oceans. Mountain caribou in the Rocky Mountains have been in decline for a long period of time, partly from habitat loss or habitat change, partly from predation by wolves and cougars and other predators. Melting glaciers also threaten the food supply. Dr. David Hik [00:10:54]: Yeah. So, for example, about 20 percent of the surface area of those glaciers has been lost in the last 50 years, and it’s highly visible. Scientists had long suspected that some local animals might not be able to outrun climate change, but researchers haven't yet been able to prove the hypothesis, says Loarie, who was not involved in this study: "It's just wonderful to see empirical evidence that backs this up. Meltwater is the water released from the melting of snow or ice. And I do two lessons on mountain biodiversity, focused on plants and the animals, and then we talk about the future of mountains and what some of the consequences of changes will be and what some of the options are for trying to preserve these unique places as well. There’s other things besides climate change, but climate change tends to exacerbate all of those other factors. But, conservation of energy will be important as well. And so for the people who live in that part of the world–fairly small communities, far away from larger centers, out along the Alaska Highway. Dr. David Hik [00:13:53]: I mean, evolutionary processes can occur fairly quickly, or they can occur over very long periods of time. And while we might zoom in on one species, like a pica, those individuals live within a much larger context. That’s what we’re seeing in the parts of the world that are changing most rapidly, and that fundamentally is a one-way street as the Earth gets warmer and is what precipitates all of these other changes in the system. And we work in a social environment, and we work with a community that lives in those places and experience firsthand the changes that occur as a result of warming or other disturbances. But how will that impact the world’s ecosystems? Often, we look at individual species, but species exist within a larger community. But we see the same thing happening in the forest and in the Alpine–and if you look a little more closely to some of the plants and animals that are living in those environments as well. Coursera [00:03:44]: Yeah, It’s hard to talk about some of these issues without talking about all of the ways that they’re interconnected with the different ecosystems around. 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