Waterbird migration and climate change


This video from Canada says about itself:

Common Goldeneye – Bucephala clangula

These Common Goldeneye ducks are wintering in Lake Ontario. Around late March to early April they will begin returning to their northern breeding grounds across Canada and Alaska. Common Goldeneyes can also be found in northern Europe and Asia.

From Wildlife Extra:

Climate changes shift wintering ranges of waterbirds

Waterbirds moving north – More in Finland and Sweden

May 2013. Migratory waterbirds have shifted their wintering areas north-eastwards due to climate change in Europe, according to a group of scientists including Richard Hearn of the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT). Their new study found a strong link between changes in the numbers of goldeneyes, tufted ducks and goosanders wintering across northern Europe and changes in temperature in early winter.

Large rise in Finland and Sweden

In Finland and Sweden, the mid-winter numbers of these three species are more than 130,000 individuals higher than three decades ago. Correspondingly, on the southern edge of the distribution in France, Ireland and Switzerland, numbers have dropped by nearly 120,000 individuals. In several southern countries wintering numbers have halved.

Richard Hearn, WWT’s Head of Species Monitoring and a contributor to the study, said: “Our world is changing rapidly and conservation tools need to be flexible so they can respond to that challenge. This means more monitoring, to keep track of bird populations that are, in some cases, changing exponentially. It also means maintaining a coherent network of protected areas throughout Europe, and altering their management in response to the changing mix of wildlife that uses them.”

“Studies like this are critical to making governments aware of their shifting responsibilities and helping them plan for the future.”

Tufted ducks and goldeneyes in Finland

Aleksi Lehikoinen, Curator at the Finnish Museum of Natural History and lead author of the study, said: “In Finland, the change has been strongest in tufted ducks and goldeneyes, whose numbers have increased ten-fold. Waterbird numbers are connected with the early winter temperature, which in south Finland increased by about 3.8 degrees between 1980 and 2010.”

Hunting

This may have implications for their conservation, because birds are making less use of the protected areas that were designated to protect them. The shifts in the birds’ ranges may also affect the impact of hunting, as possibilities increase in the north and decrease them in the south, altering potential bag sizes.

The research is based on counts from the International Waterbird Census and the results have been published in Global Change Biology.

June 2013. Most species at greatest risk from climate change are not currently conservation priorities, finds an IUCN study that introduces a pioneering method to assess the vulnerability of species to climate change: here.

16 of your favorite things that climate change is totally screwing up: here.

A new scientific article shows that 25 European waterbird species can change their wintering areas depending on winter weather. Warm winters allow them to shift their wintering areas northeastwards, whereas cold spells push birds southwestwards: here.

8 thoughts on “Waterbird migration and climate change

  1. Pingback: Many waterbirds in Dutch Biesbosch | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Siberian caves warn of permafrost meltdown

    19 June 2013 Geological Society of London, The

    Climate records captured in Siberian caves suggest 1.5 degrees of warming is enough to trigger thawing of permafrost, according to a paper to be given at the Geological Society of London on 27 June.

    Permafrost regions cover 24% of the northern hemisphere land surface, and hold an estimated 17,000 Gt of organic carbon. Thawing releases CO2 and CH4, creating positive feedback during greenhouse warming.

    The researchers, led by Gideon Henderson at the University of Oxford’s Department of Earth Sciences, studied speleothem records from the caves to identify periods where temperatures were above freezing. Speleothems, such as stalactites and stalagmites, form when water seeps through cracks in cave walls, dissolving minerals which precipitate in the air filled cave.

    ‘Cave temperatures usually approximate the local mean annual air temperature’ says Anton Vaks, the paper’s lead author. ‘When they drop below 0 degrees, the rock above and around the cave freezes, and speleothem growth stops.’

    By dating the speleothems and comparing their ages to existing climate records, it is possible to identify the degree of warming which caused the permafrost to melt. New results from Ledyanaya Lenskaya Cave, Eastern Siberia, extend previous records to one million years, and show major deposition of speleothems at around one million years and 400,000 years ago.

    ‘Both episodes occurred when global temperatures increased 1.5°C ± 0.5 above the pre-industrial level’ says Vaks, ‘showing that this degree of warming is a tipping point for continuous permafrost to start thawing.’

    Global temperatures are currently around 0.7 degrees above pre-industrial level, with current models suggesting that a warming of 1.5°C ± 0.5 will be achieved within 10-30 years.

    The paper will be read at the Geological Society’s forthcoming William Smith Meeting, held on 25-27 June, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of modern dating methods.

    In 1913, Frederick Soddy’s research on the fundamentals of radioactivity led to the discovery of ‘isotopes’. Later that same year, Arthur Holmes published his now famous book ‘The Age of the Earth’, in which he applied this new science of radioactivity to the quantification of geologic time. Combined, these two landmark events did much to establish the field of ‘isotope geochronology’ – the science that underpins our knowledge of the absolute age of most Earth and extraterrestrial materials.

    The meeting will celebrate the anniversary of these scientific landmarks, as well as discussing the latest research and application of geochronological dating, including dating the early differentiation of planets, the dating of Lunar and Martian samples, and dating periods of environmental change.

    For more information, visit:

    http://www.geolsoc.org.uk/wsmith13

    Source:

    http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=132196&CultureCode=en

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  3. Dear Avaaz community,

    This may be the most important email I’ve written to you. Scientists have found that vast areas of Arctic sea ice are disappearing, accelerating the destruction of our planet — it is a climate tipping point and we CAN stop it, if we act very fast, and all together. We have 30 months until the biggest climate summit ever. To win it, we need to blast out of the starting gate. Click below to pledge a donation to help us get there:

    Pledge now
    This may be the most important email I’ve ever written to you.

    Scientist Julienne Stroeve has studied Arctic ice for decades. Every summer she travels north to measure how much ice has melted. She knows that climate change is melting the ice fast, but on her last trip, she couldn’t believe what she saw. Vast areas of Arctic ice have disappeared, beyond our worst expectations.

    This is what the experts warned us about. As the earth warms, it creates many “tipping points” that accelerate the warming out of control. Warming thaws the Arctic sea ice, destroying the giant white ‘mirror’ that reflects heat back into space, which massively heats up the ocean, and melts more ice, and so on. We spin out of control. Already this year — storms, temperatures — everything is off the charts.

    We CAN stop this, if we act very fast, and all together. And out of this extinction nightmare, we can pull one of the most inspiring futures for our children and grandchildren. A clean, green future in balance with the earth that gave birth to us.

    We have 30 months until the Paris Summit, the meeting that world leaders have decided will determine the fate of our efforts to fight climate change. It might seem like a long time – it’s not. We have 30 months to get the right leaders in power, get them to that meeting, give them a plan, and hold them accountable. And it’s us vs. the oil companies, and fatalism. We can win, we must, but we need to blast out of the starting gate with pledges of just a few dollars/euros/pounds per week until the summit — we’ll only process the donations if we hit our goal. For the world we dream of, let’s make it happen:

    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/30_months_loc_yb/?bHFhfab&v=26113

    Fatalism on climate change is not just futile, it’s also incompetent. The hour is late, but it is still absolutely within our power to stop this catastrophe, simply by shifting our economies from oil and coal to other sources of power. And doing so will bring the world together like never before, in a deep commitment and cooperation to protect our planetary home. It’s a beautiful possibility, and the kind of future Avaaz was born to create.

    Facing this challenge will take heart, and hope, and also all the smarts we have. Here’s the plan:

    1. Go Political: Elect Climate Leaders — 5 crucial countries have elections in the next 30 months. Let’s make sure the right people win, and with the right mandate. Avaaz is one of the only major global advocacy organizations that can be political. And since this fight will be won or lost politically, it could be at some points just us vs. the oil companies to decide who our politicians listen to.

    2. Make Hollande a Hero — French President Francois Hollande will chair the Paris summit – a powerful position. We have to try every tactic and channel — his personal friends and family, his political constituency, his policy advisors — to make him the hero we need him to be to make the summit a success.

    3. Take it to the Next Level — The scale of this crisis demands action that goes beyond regular campaigning. It’s time for powerful, direct, non-violent action, to capture imagination, convey moral urgency, and inspire people to act. Think Occupy.

    
4. Out the Spoilers — Billionaires like the Koch brothers and their oil companies are the major spoilers in climate change – funding junk science to confuse us and spending millions on misleading PR, while buying politicians wholesale. With investigative journalism and more, we need to expose and counter their horrifically irresponsible actions.

    5. Define the Deal — Even in the face of planetary catastrophe, 195 governments in a room can be just incompetent. We need to invest in top quality policy advice to develop ingenious strategies, mechanisms, and careful compromises so that when the summit arrives, a critical mass of leaders are already bought in to a large part of the deal, and no one can claim that good solutions don’t exist.

    We need tens of thousands of us to pledge small donations to blast out of the starting gate on this plan. The amount doesn’t matter as much as much as the choice – to hope, and to act:

    https://secure.avaaz.org/en/30_months_loc_yb/?bHFhfab&v=26113

    At the last major climate summit in Copenhagen 2009, we played a pivotal role in German and Japanese ‘climate’ elections, in shifting Brazilian policy, and in helping win a major global deal on financing, with rich countries promising $100 billion per year to poor countries to help them address climate change. Back then, Avaaz was 3 million people. After Copenhagen, we reflected that we needed to be a lot bigger to meet the challenge posed by climate change. Now, we’re 23 million, and growing by 1 million per month.

    Climate change is the ultimate global collective action problem, requiring cooperation from every government in the world. And Avaaz is the ultimate collective action solution, with millions of us united in common vision across every nation. This is our time, to build a world for our children that’s beauty matches our dreams. Let’s get started.

    With hope and appreciation for this amazing community,

    Ricken and the entire Avaaz team

    MORE INFORMATION:

    With Arctic sea ice vulnerable, summer melt season begins briskly (The Christian Science Monitor)
    http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2013/0501/With-Arctic-sea-ice-vulnerable-summer-melt-season-begins-briskly-video

    Arctic sea ice levels to reach record low within days (Guardian)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/aug/23/arctic-sea-ice-record-low

    Five Reasons We Need a New Global Agreement on Climate Change by 2015 (Switchboard NRDC)
    http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jschmidt/five_reasons_we_need_a_new_glo.html

    The Doha climate talks were a start, but 2015 will be the moment of truth (The Guardian)
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/10/doha-climate-talks-global-warming

    Arctic sea ice melt disrupts weather patterns (NBC News)
    http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/30/18631374-arctic-sea-ice-melt-disrupts-weather-patterns?lite

    The Arctic Ice “Death Spiral” (Slate)
    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/05/28/arctic_sea_ice_global_warming_is_melting_more_ice_every_year.html

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