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      Thermal tolerance and the global redistribution of animals

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      Nature Climate Change

      Springer Nature

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          A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems.

          Causal attribution of recent biological trends to climate change is complicated because non-climatic influences dominate local, short-term biological changes. Any underlying signal from climate change is likely to be revealed by analyses that seek systematic trends across diverse species and geographic regions; however, debates within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reveal several definitions of a 'systematic trend'. Here, we explore these differences, apply diverse analyses to more than 1,700 species, and show that recent biological trends match climate change predictions. Global meta-analyses documented significant range shifts averaging 6.1 km per decade towards the poles (or metres per decade upward), and significant mean advancement of spring events by 2.3 days per decade. We define a diagnostic fingerprint of temporal and spatial 'sign-switching' responses uniquely predicted by twentieth century climate trends. Among appropriate long-term/large-scale/multi-species data sets, this diagnostic fingerprint was found for 279 species. This suite of analyses generates 'very high confidence' (as laid down by the IPCC) that climate change is already affecting living systems.
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            Ecological responses to recent climate change.

            There is now ample evidence of the ecological impacts of recent climate change, from polar terrestrial to tropical marine environments. The responses of both flora and fauna span an array of ecosystems and organizational hierarchies, from the species to the community levels. Despite continued uncertainty as to community and ecosystem trajectories under global change, our review exposes a coherent pattern of ecological change across systems. Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological responses to recent climate change are already clearly visible.
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              Climate change and distribution shifts in marine fishes.

              We show that the distributions of both exploited and nonexploited North Sea fishes have responded markedly to recent increases in sea temperature, with nearly two-thirds of species shifting in mean latitude or depth or both over 25 years. For species with northerly or southerly range margins in the North Sea, half have shown boundary shifts with warming, and all but one shifted northward. Species with shifting distributions have faster life cycles and smaller body sizes than nonshifting species. Further temperature rises are likely to have profound impacts on commercial fisheries through continued shifts in distribution and alterations in community interactions.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Climate Change
                Nature Clim Change
                Springer Nature
                1758-678X
                1758-6798
                September 2012
                May 27 2012
                : 2
                : 9
                : 686-690
                10.1038/nclimate1539
                © 2012

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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