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Sunday, May 14, 2017

This map shows where animals will flee because of climate change

This map shows where animals will flee because of climate change

It’s a captivating image: as the seasons start changing, look up at the sky and you’ll no doubt see hundreds if not thousands of birds migrating towards more hospitable climates. And it’s not just birds – butterflies, frogs, snakes and mammals such as deer, moose and sheep also migrate. In fact, it’s been described as “near universal in the animal kingdom”.

This fascinating phenomenon has been playing out since the beginning of time, but there’s a particular type of migratory behaviour that has experts concerned: climate-induced migration.

As climate change transforms once favourable environments into inhospitable terrain, animals are forced to seek out new places to live. To highlight just how serious an issue this is, scientists at the Nature Conservancy have created a data visualization that is as mesmerizing as it is worrying.

Different species have different climatic needs. While camels can survive in some of the world’s hottest regions, the wood frog can endure temperatures as low as -18°C for months at a time. To create the data visualization, the researchers took the different climatic needs of almost 3,000 species and mapped them against climate change projections.

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