Published on: 12/22/2020 2:06:17 AM

The impact of Climate Change extends well beyond an increase in temperature, affecting ecosystems and communities around the world. The water, energy, transportation, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health — are experiencing the effects of a changing climate.

Terrestrial ecosystem


1. Tree density decreases in Western Sahel and semi-arid Morocco

2. Range shifts of several southern plants and animals:

3. South African bird species and animals: South African bird species poleward;

4. Madagascan reptiles and amphibians upwards; Namib aloe contracting ranges

5. Wildfires increase on Mt. Kilimanjaro


1. Earlier greening, earlier leaf emergence and fruiting in temperate and boreal trees

2. Increased colonization of alien plant species in Europe

3. Earlier arrival of migratory birds in Europe since 1970

4. Upward shift in tree line in Europe

5. Increasing burnt forest areas during recent decades in Portugal and Greece


1. Changes in plant phenology and growth in many parts of Asia (earlier greening), particularly in the north and the east

2. Distribution shifts in many plant and animal species, particularly in the north of Asia, upwards in elevation or poleward

3. Invasion of Siberian larch forests by pine and spruce during recent decades Advance of shrubs into the Siberian tundra


1. Changes in genetics, growth, distribution, and phenology of many species, in particular birds, butterflies and plants in Australia

2. Expansion of some wetlands and contraction of adjacent woodlands in southeast Australia

3. Expansion of monsoon rainforest at expense of               savannah and grasslands in north Australia

4. Migration of glass eels advanced by several weeks in Waikato River, New Zealand

Terrestrial ecosystem

North America

1. Phenology changes and species Distribution shifts upward in elevation and northward across multiple taxa Increased wildfire frequency in subarctic conifer forests and tundra

2. Regional increases in tree mortality and insect infestations in forests

3. Increase in wildlife activity, fire frequency and duration, and bunt area in forests of the western US and boreal forests in Canada

South and Central America Polar regions

1. Increased tree mortality and forest fire in the Amazon

2. Degrading and receding rainforest in the Amazon

3. Increase in shrub cover in tundra in North America and Eurasia

4. Advance of Arctic tree-line in latitude and altitude

5. Loss of snow-bed ecosystems and tussock tundra

6. Impacts on tundra animals from increased ice layers in snow pack, following rain-on-snow events

7. Changes in breeding area and population size of subarctic birds, due to snow bed reduction and/or tundra shrub encroachment

8. Increase in plant species ranges in the West Antarctic

9. Peninsula and nearby islands over the past 50 years

10. Increasing phytoplankton productivity in Signy island lake waters

Small islands

1. Changes in tropical bird populations in Mauritius

2. Decline of an endemic plant in Hawai'i

3. Upward trend in tree lines and associated fauna on high-elevation islands

Coastal and marine ecosystems



1. Decline in coral reefs in tropical African waters

2. Northward shifts in the distributions of zooplankton, fish, seabirds, and benthic invertebrates in the northeast Atlantic

3. Northward and depth shift in distribution of many fish species across European seas

4. Phenology changes in plankton in the northeast Atlantic

5. Spread of warm water species into the Mediterranean


1. Decline in coral reefs in tropical Asian waters

2. Northward range extension of coral in the East China sea and western pacific, and a predatory fish in the Sea of Japan

3. Shift from sardines to anchovies in the western North Pacific

4. Increased coastal erosion in Arctic Asia


1. Southward shifts in the distribution of marine species near Australia

2. Change in timing of migration of seabirds in Australia

3. Increase in coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef and Western Australian Reefs

North America

1. Northward shifts in the distributions of northwest

Atlantic fish species

2. Changes in mussel beds along the west coast of the USA

3. Changes in migration and survival of salmon in the northeast pacific

4. Increased coastal erosion in Alaska and Canada

Rivers, lakes, and soil moisture


1. Reduced discharge in west African rivers

2. Lake surface warming and water column stratification increases in the Great Lakes and Lake Kariba

3. Increased soil moisture drought in the sahel since 1970, partially wetter conditions since 1990


1. Changes in the occurrence of extreme river discharges and floods


1. Changes in water availability in many Chinese rivers

2. Increased flow in several rivers in China due to shrinking glaciers

3. Earlier timing of maximum spring flood in Russian rivers

4. Reduced soil moisture in North Central and Northeast China 1950-2006

5. Surface water degradation in parts of Asia


1. Intensification of hydrological drought due to regional warming in southeast Australia

2. Reduced inflow in river systems in southwestern

3. Australia (since the mid-1970s)

North America

1. Shift to earlier peak flow in snow dominated rivers in western North America

2. Runoff increases in the midwestern and northeastern USA

South and Central America

1. Changes in extreme flows in Amazon River

2. Changing discharge patterns in rivers in the western Andes; for major river basins in Colombia discharge has decreased during the last 30-40 years

3. Increased streamflow in sub-basins of the La Plata River

Polar regions

1. Increased river discharge for large circumpolar rivers (1997-2007)

2. Winter minimum river flow increase in most sectors of the Arctic

3. Increasing lake water temperatures 1985-2009, prolonged ice-free seasons

4. Thermokarst lakes disappear due to permafrost degradation in the low Arctic, new ones created in areas of formerly frozen peat

Small islands

1. Increased water scarcity in Jamaica

                                            Human and managed systems


1. Adaptative responses to changing rainfall by South

African farmers

2. Decline in Fruit-bearing trees in Sahel

3. Malaria increases in Kenyan highlands

4. Reduced fisheries productivity of Great Lakes and

Lake Kariba


1. Shift from cold-related mortality to heat-related mortality in England and Wales

2. Impacts on livelihoods of Sami people in northern Europe

3. Stagnation of wheat yields in some countries in recent decades

4. Positive yield impacts for some crops, mainly in northern Europe

5. Spread of bluetongue virus in sheep, and of ticks across parts of Europe


1. Impacts on livelihoods of indigenous groups in Arctic Russia

2. Negative impacts on aggregate wheat yields in South Asia

3. Negative impacts on aggregate wheat and maize yields in China

4. Increases in a water-borne disease in Israel


1. Advance timing of wine-grape maturation in recent decades

2. Shift in winter versus summer human mortality in Australia

3. Relocation or diversification of agricultural activities in Australia

Central and South America

1. More vulnerable livelihood trajectories for indigenous

2. Aymara farmers in Bolivia, due to water shortage

3. Increase in agricultural yields and expansion of agricultural areas in southeastern South America

Human and managed systems

North America

1. Impacts on livelihoods of indigenous groups in the Canadian Arctic

Polar regions

1. Impact on livelihoods of Arctic indigenous peoples

2. Increase of shipping traffic across the Bering Strait

Small islands

1. Increased degradation of coastal fisheries due to direct effects and effects of increased coral reef bleaching

Changes are also occurring to the ocean. The ocean absorbs about 30% of the carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. As a result, the ocean is becoming more acidic, affecting marine life. Rising sea levels due to thermal expansion and melting land ice sheets and glaciers put coastal areas at greater risk of erosion and storm surge.