Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity in Northern Canada

Topics: Global warming, Climate, Permafrost Pages: 5 (1487 words) Published: May 27, 2013
Topic: impacts of climate change on biodiversity in Northern Canada

Climate change, as a change in weather like global warming, has attracted the attention of the public. The issue of climate change has been becoming a global focus of attention for people around the world. Most scientists think that climate change is primarily caused by human activities. Temperature and precipitation shifts directly affect biota, and scientists think that as the climate continues to change, the biodiversity in Northern Canada is particularly at risk. Because global warming can result in the decreasing of marine, freshwater and terrestrial communities, climate change has negative influences on biodiversity in Northern Canada. In order to conserve the biodiversity and improve the global warming, Canadian governments and schools have devoted to take actions on climate change.

Climate change refers to a change in the weather which can be an environmental problem, such as the sea level rising, more warming over land than oceans, and more hot days and nights. In the past century, climate change was consistent with greenhouse gases increase (Philippe & Kool, 2000, p.16). According to Lemieux and Scott (2005, p. 385), anthropogenic climate warming is threaten to global biodiversity; thus, climate change has many impacts.

Climate change has significant consequences for Northern Canadian ecosystems. The marine environment has been threatened by climate change. Glaciers, ice caps, and the sea ice cover area have been decreasing due to the global warming. Since 1920, primarily due to the climate change, glaciers and ice caps across the Arctic have shown shrunk lessens in volume and glacier fronts, leading to the rise of sea lever (Prowse et. al, 2009a, p.277). Moreover, the annual averaged area of sea ice in Northern Canada has decreased by 7.4% from 1978 to 2003 (Prowse et. al, 2009a, p.266). As a result, species that rely on the ice-edge environment like polar bears have a population decrease. Annual duration of sea ice has significant impacts on the population of marine mammals, who dependent on sea ice are facing stress due to the decline in the sea ice duration change; species such as beluga, narwhal and walrus are facing population decline (Prowse et. al, 2009b, p.285). Furthermore, the distribution of arctic whale species has also been changed. Prowse et. al (2009b, p.286) state that owing to climate warming, the distribution and range arctic whale species will be more northern. Besides, the northward distribution change results in an increase in the prevalence of animals around the Arctic marine system, which is directly caused of global warming and reduction of sea ice area (Prowse et. al, 2009b, p.285).

The arctic freshwater communities also respond to the various effects of climate change in many ways. First of all, global warming directly influences the biodiversity of freshwater fishes. According to Reist et. al (2006b, p.383), lake trout will disappear from certain areas due to the temperature of freshwater rising. Despite this impact, individual species may be confined to the Arctic. It is a trend that the distribution of many freshwater species will be more northward, owing to the climate change. And this distribution range change can cause the decreasing of optimal habitat for "native" Arctic species (Prowse et. al, 2009b, p.383). Furthermore, the reproduction and productivity of freshwater species are also significantly influenced by climate variables. Because the distribution of freshwater fishes changes from southern area to northwards, fishers in the southwards are facing the reduction in productivity (Reist et. al, 2006a, p.373). Reist et. al, (2006b, p.383) state that because of climate change, not only the population but the size are limited for northern pike. Additionally, a number of fish roe for anadromous is negatively influenced by climate warming. According to Reist et. al, (2006b, p.383), the anadromous,...

References: Lemieux, C.J. & Scott, D.J. 2005. Climate change, biodiversity conservation and protected area planning in Canada. The Canadian Geographer, 49, 384-399.
Philippe, D. & Kool, R. 2000. Taking action on climate change: Inside and outside our schools. Green Teacher, 63, 16-18.
Prowse, T.D., Furgal, C., Melling, H., & Smith, S.L. 2009a, Implications of climate change for Northern Canada: The physical environment. Ambio, 38, 266-271.
Prowse, T.D., Furgal, C., Wrona, F.J. & Reist, J.D. 2009b. Implications of climate change for Northern Canada: Freshwater, Marine, and Terrestrial Ecosystems. Ambio, 38, 282-289.
Reist, J.D., Wrona, F.J., Prowse, T.D., Power, M., Dempson, J.B., Beamish, D., ... Sawatzky, C.D. 2006a. General effects of climate change on Arctic fishes and fish populations. Ambio, 35, 370–380.
Reist, J.D., Wrona, F.J., Prowse, T.D., Power, M., Dempson, J.B., King, J.R. & Beamish, R.J. 2006b. An overview of effects of climate change on selected arctic freshwater and andromous fishes. Ambio, 35, 381–387.
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