Gov’t Study: Caribou Are Handling Global Warming Just Fine

Andrew Follett | Energy and Science Reporter

Alaskan caribou are much more resistant to global warming than scientists previously thought, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game.

The study found caribou successfully adapted to a warming climate and changing growing seasons for their food over the past 30 years.

Previously, scientists worried that global warming would create a “mismatch” by altering the growing patterns of the plants caribou eat, disrupting the animal’s migration patterns and preventing them from birthing calves.

Caribou are much more capable of adapting their diet and migration patterns to changing environmental conditions than scientists thought.

“We observed long-term changes in temperatures, timing, and the length of the growing seasons, but found little support for a mismatch between caribou and the plants they consume,” Dr. Dave Gustine, lead author of the USGS study, said in a press statement. “[G]iven the wide variability in the quality of plants used by caribou for food across northern Alaska and the capacity of migratory caribou to shift birthing and summering ranges, we expect a continued and diverse response among populations of caribou into the future.”

Alaskan caribou are much more capable of adapting their diet and migration patterns to changing environmental conditions than scientists thought.

This is the latest scientific study to show that nature is considerably more resilient to global warming than scientists suspected. Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) now believes the evidence linking global warming to extinctions is sparse.

Despite a growing consensus, environmental groups still believe that plants and animals aren’t capable of adapting to changing temperatures, which they zealously insist will lead to mass extinctions and agricultural disruptions purportedly caused by global warming.

“One-fourth of the Earth’s species could be headed for extinction by 2050 due to climate change,” The Nature Conservancy claims. “Rising temperatures are changing weather and vegetation patterns across the globe, forcing animal species to migrate to new, cooler areas in order to survive.”

Scientists now believe that global warming will likely also have many positive environmental impacts, such as helping trees recover from a devastating insect infestation, creating more food for saltwater fish, making life easier for Canadian moose, improving the environment for bees and enabling actual foliage to bloom in the desert.

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Tags : alaska intergovernmental panel on climate change national park service the nature conservancy united nations united states geological survey
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