Ecological Impact

Biodiversity is also impacted by climate change, with diversity defined as the variety of species in ecosystems and the variability within each species. Examples of impact include an increased extinction of many species; growth or losses in freshwater fish populations depending on geographic location; and mixed effects on migratory birds, with some arctic-nesting herbivores benefiting and continental nesters and shorebirds suffering (Smith and Tirpak 1988).

Sea-level rises can cause increased losses of coastal wetlands, inundation of coastal lowlands, increased erosion of beaches, and increased salinity in estuaries. Coastal wetlands currently total 13,145 sq mi; with a 1-m rise in sea level, 26 to 66% of these wetlands can be lost, with the majority occurring in states bordering the Gulf of Mexico (Smith and Tirpak 1988).

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