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Climate change impact exaggerated, says new research

world Updated: Nov 06, 2009 16:04 IST

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Predictions made over the last decade about the impact of climate change on biodiversity may be exaggerated, a new research says.

Oxford University researchers Professor Kathy Willis and Dr Shonil Bhagwat argue that predicting the fate of biodiversity in the face of climate change is 'fraught with caveats and complexities'.

They say that several larger-scale models, predicting the impact of climate change, are failing to take into account local, more detailed variations and often underestimate the full capacity of plants and animals to adapt to a changing climate.

The researchers' view is that these factors "seriously alter the model predictions".

Their research, published in the journal Science, highlights the contradictions in previous studies about the likely survival rates of alpine plants in the Swiss Alps, European butterfly populations and the South American tropical rainforests.

"These studies highlight the level of complexity that we are faced with in trying to model and predict the possible consequences of future climate change on biodiversity," the paper says.

The researchers say the mixed picture that is emerging from previous studies also emphasises a high level of persistence in many communities.