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One-third of all species could be extinct by 2070

  • The hottest daily highs in summer are the key variable that explains whether a population will go extinct.
  • Most species won’t be able to “escape” to a cooler climate in order to avoid extinction.
  • Many species were able to tolerate some increases in maximum temperatures, but only up to a point.

One-third of all animal and plant species on the planet could face extinction by 2070 due to climate change, a new study warns.

Researchers studied recent extinctions from climate change to estimate how many species would be lost over the next 50 years.

Specifically, scientists from the University of Arizona studied data from 538 species at 581 sites around the world and focused on plant and animal species that were surveyed at the same sites over time, at least 10 years apart.

“By analyzing the change in 19 climatic variables at each site, we could determine which variables drive local extinctions and how much change a population can tolerate without going extinct,” said Cristian Román-Palacios, of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, in a statement. 

“We also estimated how quickly populations can move to try and escape rising temperatures. 

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