Research press release





今回、Jasmine Leeたちの研究グループは、今後の気候変動の予測において南極半島での変動が最も大きいことを明らかにした。気候変動に関する政府間パネルの2つの気候強制力シナリオのうちの強烈なシナリオによると、不凍地帯の面積が21世紀末までに17,000 km2以上増加する可能性がある(約25%の増加)。南極大陸で不凍地帯が3倍増するという予測に基づくと、生物多様性生息地の利用可能性と連結性が大きく変わる可能性がある。


The first quantitative assessment of the impact of 21st century climate change on ice-free areas of the Antarctic is reported in this week’s Nature. Ice-free areas, covering only one per cent of the continent yet home to all terrestrial biodiversity, have been largely overlooked by researchers, leaving a significant gap in our understanding of climate change impacts on Antarctic species, ecosystems, and their future conservation.

Considerable resources have been directed into studying the consequences of climate change for Antarctic ice sheets and sea levels. By contrast, assessments of the impacts of climate change and associated ice melt on native Antarctic species - including seals, sea birds, arthropods, nematodes, microbes, and vegetation - only started relatively recently.

Jasmine Lee and colleagues found that the Antarctic Peninsula shows the greatest projected future changes in climate. Under the stronger of the two modelled Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate forcing scenarios, ice-free areas could expand by over 17,000 km2 by the end of the century, close to a 25% increase. A projected three-fold increase in ice-free area in the Peninsula could drastically change the availability and connectivity of biodiversity habitats.

It is not known if the potential negative effects will outweigh the benefits for biodiversity; however, expansion of habitats and increasing connectivity in Antarctica might generally be interpreted as a positive change for biodiversity. The authors hypothesize that these changes could eventually lead to increasing regional-scale biotic homogenization, the extinction of less-competitive species and the spread of invasive species. They conclude that if emissions can be reduced and human-caused temperature increases kept to less than 2 °C, then the impacts on ice-free habitat and its dependent biodiversity are likely to be reduced.

doi: 10.1038/nature22996

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