Interviews with more than 50 scientists and an Associated Press analysis highlight that people simply need to look at nature to understand the impacts of global warming.
When people talk about global warming, the discussion would naturally dwell on how climate has been changing as a response with a persistent rise in temperature.
However, scientists argued in separate interviews that people do not need to measure how climate is shifting to notice the effects of the phenomenon. All people need to do is observe how plants, wildflowers, birds, blueberry bushes, and butterflies are changing their behavior through time. The people's bouts of allergies are also obvious indication of the phenomenon, the scientists said.
Nature And Global Warming
NASA noted Earth is currently experiencing a global warming that extremely likely, with more than 95 percent probability, to be a consequence of human activity. Since the mid-20th century, the temperature is rising at a rate that is never been seen over decades to millennia, the agency highlighted.
There is present-day evidence that shows ice sheets from Greenland, Antarctica, and other glaciers are melting faster than ever before due to changes in greenhouse gas levels. NASA's analysis of ancient topographical condition also showed that the current global warming is happening 10 times faster than the average rate seen during the recovery from the Ice Age.
Other global warming analyses from previous studies presented proofs similar to what NASA has presented. However, these proofs seemed to be inaccessible for a majority of people.
Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech who was interviewed for the Associated Press analysis, noted how non-scientists were easy to accuse the government or researchers of manipulating their evidence to prove global warming. She, therefore, pointed to nature as a "broadcasting a clear signal" of global warming.
Richard Primack, a biologist from Boston University, agreed that there could not be any clearer evidence of global warming than how nature itself is responding to the phenomenon.
"Nature is extremely sensitive to temperature and nature is reacting to the warmer temperatures," Primack highlighted.
Wildflowers, Birds, Butterflies, Blueberry Bushes, And Global Warming
David Inouye, a biologist from the University of Maryland, said that wildflowers, bees, butterflies, and birds are arriving at Rocky Mountain Biological Lab one or two weeks earlier than their arrival 30 years ago. Robins, for one, used to reach the destination in early April but now showed up in mid-March. Marmots have also been waking from their winter sleep earlier, Inouye said.
Primack, who had been observing blueberries in Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond since the 2000s, observed that bushes now flower around April 23. Back in the 1850's, data showed that they used to flower around May 16.
Meanwhile, John Latimer, a mail carrier, observed that spring has currently become unpredictable compared back in 1983. In northernmost Minnesota, there had been inconsistency in the arrival of chipmunks, birds, and butterflies, as well as in the withering of leaves and changing of their colors.
Mark Schwartz, a geographer from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said there had been earlier springs and delayed fall seasons in general. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated that first frost is happening nine days late on average for the last 30 years while the last frost of spring is happening almost four days earlier. This means that there has also been an increase in the number of high pollen days.
"Allergies and asthma are on the rise. Climate change isn't the only reason, but it contributes," said Howard Frumkin from the Wellcome Trust in London. He added that ragweed and poison ivy caused severe allergic reactions because of higher carbon dioxide levels.
Polar Bears, Shore Birds, And Coral Reefs
Global warming is melting glaciers in the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole at an alarming rate. Steven Amstrup, a chief scientist at Polar Bear International, said the population of polar bears dropped by 40 percent since the mid-1990s.
Global warming is also affecting the survival rate of the seabirds such as the black guillemot. George Divoky, an ornithologist, said there were about 220 pairs of birds arriving in Cooper Island in Alaska in 1989. Last year, he only counted 85 pairs.
Mark Eakin, the coordinator of the NOAA's coral reef watch, believed that almost all reef in the planet has been affected by global warming. He noted that there had been no mass coral bleaching that ever happened until 1998.