The Effects of Extreme Weather Events on Wildlife

The Effects of Extreme Weather Events on Wildlife

We are facing more and more episodes of extreme weather nowadays, and that’s something that can be expected. Why can it be expected? Because it is a part of our changing global climate, and we all know very well what bolstered the rapid changes.

In addition to higher frequency, there are also more various kinds of extreme weather we are facing nowadays. In one part of the world some people might be facing drought or heatwave, while on the other side of the planet some are facing extreme hailstorm and floods.

The thing is, it doesn’t only affect us humans in the worst ways, but also the wildlife. In fact, wildlife is impacted in a different level to us humans that one disaster may become their apocalypse. We are not bluffing because it really happened to desert rodent populations in Arizona.

Extreme Weather Around the World

wildfire forest fire

Extreme weather events have become more severe and frequent in recent years, affecting all types of ecosystems, from oceans to forests to grasslands. As the frequency and severity of these events continue to increase, it is imperative that we take action to address climate change and protect wildlife and their habitats.

For example, notable occurrences in recent years are including Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. We can remember how bad those hurricanes were.

Not only hurricanes, heat waves have been reported in places like Europe, Australia, and the Middle East, with some of the hottest temperatures on record being recorded in these areas. Droughts have also been reported in many parts of the world, including Africa, South America, and the United States, causing water shortages and crop failures.

Meanwhile, flooding has occurred in areas such as South Asia, with severe impacts on communities and infrastructure. Heavy rainfall accompanied with less and less trees to absorb the rainwater result in heavy damages including to agricultural area.

These extreme weather events surely have a significant impact on society, leading to economic and social disruption, particularly for vulnerable communities. In addition, extreme weather events can have indirect impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, as they alter the availability of resources and habitats.

Extreme Weather is Actually Climate Change Effect

extreme weather climate change storm

Those extreme weather phenomena are often linked to climate change and have far-reaching impacts on ecosystems and the biodiversity within them. Therefore, it is crucial to address the root causes of climate change and develop strategies to mitigate its impacts. But how can climate change give us worse weather condition?

Climate change has been linked to the increase in extreme weather events across the globe. Research shows that the rise in greenhouse gas emissions from human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrialization has led to a global temperature increase

It results in changes to weather patterns and causing more frequent and severe extreme weather events. Look at how storms and hurricanes which occur because of fluctuation of temperature up there have intensified, leading to increased property damage and loss of life.

Thus, to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events, it is crucial to address the root causes of climate change. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to renewable energy sources, and promoting sustainable practices that protect natural ecosystems.

And if we don’t start to mend this broken glass, we may end up in even worse condition since like mentioned above extreme weather also affect the environment around us. Ignoring the effects of climate change and the resultant extreme weather events could lead to a continued downward spiral. Surely, we don’t want that, right?

The Impacts on Wildlife

wild asian elephants may be affected by extreme weather

Extreme weather can cause big problems for animals all around the world. It can directly affect the places they live and or the things they eat. The latter is more torturing for them because it means slower death, in case we do nothing to help them.

One example of how extreme weather affect an animal’s habitat is like the Arctic. For animals who live in the Arctic like polar bears and walruses, when the ice melts they have to find new places to live because it is like we are losing the ground to put our feet on.

Droughts and heatwaves are also really bad for animals’ survival. Droughts can make it hard for animals to find water, and heatwaves can make it too hot for them to live. This can cause many animals to die from heat or dehydration.

Still, don’t think that too much water is good. Floods and storms can also hurt animals by destroying their homes and habitats. Coral reefs are one example of this. When there are hurricanes, the coral can die, which is really bad for the animals that live there.

Extreme weather events caused by climate change have had a profound impact on global wildlife, leading to significant changes in their behavior, distribution, and population numbers. Thus, it’s important for us to do something about climate change to help protect animals from these extreme weather events.

Can We Get a Rebound?

Thunderstorm extreme Weather Shelf Cloud regenerative Agriculture

Okay, so some people think that the weather condition is just temporary, and this kind of condition will surely change someday later as the season change. Often, the decrease in population of species was only temporary and they were able to recover after a few years.  However, the return of invasive species was often more successful than native species.

Sean Maxwell, a postdoctoral researcher in the Green Fire Research Group at the University of Queensland in Australia expressed his concern that if extreme weather become more frequent, native species may have a harder time recovering.

“The sequoia in the U.S. is a good example of that. These groves of sequoia trees are virtually indestructible. They’ve got everything going for them. Whereas in the previous 200, 300 years, only a few individuals have fallen, now with extended periods of drought, you’re seeing many individuals die off,” he said.

In this case, you may sometime still find native species make the rebound. However, it may be their last resort, and if the ‘torture’ keeps on going we may lose them all. “Although they’ve got coping mechanisms, they’re not quite good enough to deal with these more extreme, more intense droughts,” Maxwell stated.

So, is it the time for us to take actions to tackle climate change? Yes, it is.


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