Temperature swings may be bigger threat to life than increased warmth

Temperature swings may be bigger threat to life than increased warmth
Credit: Shutterstock

Insects may thrive in the warmer average temperatures predicted by climate models but are threatened by greater temperature variation also anticipated in many areas around the globe, a Yale-led study predicts in the Jan. 29 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B of London.

"There has been some thought that many species will do better because of rising average temperatures," said David Vasseur, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, who headed the study. "But when coupled with greater temperature variations, the story changes."

Scientists have tested the impact of temperature on 38 species of insects. Vasseur and researchers from eight other organizations coupled that data with historic climate data and for 2050 to 2059 in order to assess effects of temperature variability. When only mean temperature rise was considered, insects flourished, but "greater variation impacted them negatively," Vasseur said.

The frequency of wide temperature swings will impact species like insects more than larger-bodied species with longer lifespans, he said. Also the study suggests effects of climate change on many species will vary greatly by locale.

"Global predict many areas of temperate regions such as the central Midwest and much of Europe will experience more climate variation," Vasseur said.


Explore further

Bloom or bust as new study reveals the plants most likely to survive climate change

More information: Increased temperature variation poses a greater risk to species than climate warming , rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspb.2013.2612
Provided by Yale University
Citation: Temperature swings may be bigger threat to life than increased warmth (2014, January 29) retrieved 15 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-01-temperature-bigger-threat-life-warmth.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Feb 01, 2014
At last scientist seems to realize the basic reality that it is the temperature swings that is going to cause huge destruction to life. http://www.thecan...trophes/

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more