The earth's climate has seen many changes in its 4.55 billion years.

The Effect on Wildlife

Ice SealMany, many species of plants and animals are likely to be affected by climate change. Let’s pick out a few examples:

Polar Bears – These wonderful animals need ice to live on; it is their habitat and they are specifically adapted to hunting and breeding on and around it.

Seals need ice flows too – to rest and give birth to their pups. If the ice flows continue to melt as quickly as they are, the seals and polar bears will die out as their habitat disappears. If the seals die out it means less food for the polar bears, too.

Plankton and Krill – at the beginning of the food chain, microscopic plankton and the tiny krill provide food for a huge number of animals in the sea, from barnacles, to fish and even sharks and whales. Plankton and krill are very easily affected by changes in sea temperatures and will move away or die if the temperature changes, even slightly. This reduces the amount of available food for other species in the food chain.

WildlifeFor many animals, such as mosquitoes and egrets, global warming could be a good thing as it means they can spread further afield into parts of the world that were previously too cold. The little egret used to be a rare sight in the UK; now it can be seen regularly in good numbers in estuaries in the South of England. Sadly slower animals like snails and frogs are not faring so well (they can’t move away as easily).

Many plants are not coping as well with climate change either. At least many of the faster animals (ones that can fly, in particular) can move or migrate to other areas if the conditions in their habitat change for the worse. But plants can’t move at all, so they are particularly vulnerable.

The climate is changing faster than the plants and some animals can adapt to the changes.

Read More: The Effect on Farming

Related Resources