2010-10-08 10:50:09Counter-intuitive result on animal impacts in tropical zones
John Cook


Just bumped into this fascinating paper on the impact of global warming on species metabolic rates: Global metabolic impacts of recent climate warming (Dillon et al 2010). The general gist: the warming trend is greater at higher latitudes so you would expect the effect on animal species to also be greater at higher latitudes. However, metabolic rates increase exponentially with temperature. Eg - as it gets hotter, the metabolic rate increases faster. As tropical latitudes start at a higher temperature, less warming at the tropics has more effect on metabolic rates than more warming at high latitudes. So impacts on biodiversity in the tropics are comparable to impacts in the Arctic even though the warming trend is smaller:

My question - I don't suppose anyone has library access to this paper (Nature). Thought it might be worth doing a short post about it.


2010-10-08 11:16:08Thanks Neal
John Cook

That was quick, Neal just emailed me the full PDF. Thanks! Am writing up a blog post about it now.
2010-10-08 13:12:28Posted, thanks again Neal
John Cook


Just under two hours to read the paper, read a press release of the paper then summate it into a blog post. Not bad :-)


I did tweak his figure though, to make it more immediately obvious what the graphs are communicating:


2010-10-08 14:24:12that was fast
Dana Nuccitelli
You da man, John!  Definitely an interesting finding.
2010-10-08 16:14:59Did I mention I also squeezed a coffee break in the two hours?
John Cook

But I did read the paper over the coffee break so it doesn't really count :-)
2010-10-08 16:21:10


Hey John, first sentence of first para:

"The effects of global warming is already..." --> "The effects of global warming are already..."

Also, might add a little tweak to convey that the paper is discussing ectotherms.

You definitely get a "10" for speed! 

2010-10-08 16:59:44Done and done
John Cook

Thanks for the suggestions, Doug.