Global Physical and Biological Impacts of Climate Change

Significant changes are occurring in physical and biological systems in all continents and most oceans, according to a paper published recently in Nature.

The researchers conducted a huge meta-analysis using data sets from 829 documented physical and 28,800 biological responses from 1970-2004. Changes that were reported in biological systems included earlier blooming, leaf unfolding and spring arrival. In marine biological systems changes were observed in phenology, migration and community composition in algae, plankton and fish. Physical changes included glacier wastage and an earlier spring peak of river discharge. The team found that globally, the changes were directly attributable to anthropogenic climate change, rather than natural variability or other events such as solar flares or volcanic eruptions.

Disturbingly, the findings confirm the fact that anthropogenic climate change is already impacting these systems globally.