May 16, 2008
Study Shows Human-Caused Climate Change Responsible for Global Impacts
First-ever survey of data shows human activity
linked to changes in diverse physical and biological systems
A vast array of physical and biological systems across the earth are being affected by warming temperatures caused by human activity, says a new Columbia study. These impacts include earlier leafing of trees and plants over many regions; movements of species to higher latitudes and altitudes in the Northern Hemisphere; changes in bird migrations in Europe, North America and Australia; and shifting of the oceans’ plankton and fish from cold- to warm-adapted communities. Based on an analysis of aggregated data, this study is the first to link observed global changes in diverse systems to human-caused, or anthropogenic, climate change. The study appears in the May 15 issue of the leading scientific journal Nature.
“Humans are influencing climate through increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and the warming world is causing impacts on physical and biological systems attributable at the global scale,” said lead author Cynthia Rosenzweig, a scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Columbia Center for Climate Systems Research. Both are affiliates of the Earth Institute at Columbia University.