Climate change could hit tropical wildlife hardest
Polar bears may have it relatively easy, but it`s the tropical creatures that could really struggle if the climate warms even a few degrees in places that are already hot, scientists reported on Monday.
That doesn`t mean polar bears and other wildlife in the polar regions won`t feel the impact of climate change. They probably will, because that is where the warming is expected to be most extreme, as much as 18 degrees F (10 degrees C) by the end of this century.
But there are far fewer species living in the Arctic and Antarctic and in the temperate zones than in the tropics, said Curtis Deutsch of the University of California at Los Angeles.
Many of these tropical creatures are living at the edge of their temperature tolerance already. Even the slight tropical warming predicted by 2100 -- 5.4 degrees F (3 degrees C) -- could push them to the brink, Deutsch said in a telephone interview.