Brussels, 28 March 2002
A team of researchers from Germany, the UK and Australia have found that climate change is already affecting the development of plants and animals.
The scientists, who are conducting one of the biggest ever ecological studies, say that a global temperature increase of 0.6 degrees celsius in the last 100 years has been enough to impact on amphibian breeding cycles, Antarctic ecology, bird migration and coral reefs.
Evidence of these changes include the earlier arrival of migrant birds and early first appearances of butterflies and plants. Mosses have also been found in areas of the Antarctic that were previously considered too cold, and mosquito-born diseases are being discovered over a wider geographical area than in the past.
'Although we are only at an early stage in the projected trends of global warming, ecological responses to recent climate change are already visible,' write the researchers in the journal Nature.