The trade journal ‘Science’ has published new research proving that global warming is causing Earth’s creatures to move away from the equator, and faster than was expected. The study included around 2,000 species, and found that they are moving away from the equator at an average rate of 5 meters (15 feet) per day, or about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) per year.
Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat, but more slowly, averaging only about 4 feet a year.
The most studied species were from the northern hemisphere. When all the data was analyzed, species movement away from the equator averaged about 20 centimeters (8 inches) an hour. Chris Thomas of the University of York, the study’s main author, said, “The speed is an important issue. It is faster than we thought.”
Thomas said that one of the faster moving creatures is the British spider, silometopus. The tiny spider has moved more than 320 kilometers (200 miles) north, just in the last 25 years, that’s an average of 13 kilometers (8 miles) a year! The vast majority of the world’s top scientists, and scientific organizations, say that gases created by the burning of fossil fuels are trapping heat in the atmosphere, causing the Earth to warm and the climate to change in multiple ways. Thomas said, “It’s already affected the entire planet’s wildlife. It’s not a matter that it ‘might’ happen in the lifetime of our children and our grandchildren. If you look in your garden, you can see the effects of climate change already.”