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Climate change is a ‘risk multiplier’ not a separate threat.
Just as a ‘1 in 100 year flood’ may happen tomorrow, discussions about climate change that include phrases like ‘will happen by 2050’ do not mean changes will wait until December 31, 2049. Weather is already intensifying, sea levels have been rising throughout most of the twentieth century and the pace is accelerating, and ocean acidification is already affecting marine ecosystems, with implications for winter food for many braided river birds.
Changes that are now happening will continue and become more intense, as they are ‘locked in’ due to past greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Regardless of future actions to reduce GHG emissions, these changes will continue. The latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report (October 2018) makes it very clear that If GHS emissions continue along current trends, the consequences will be profound.
These changes are not reversible in time frames of less than many thousands of years.
For braided rivers and their ecosystems, the ‘risk multipliers’ are:
Click on the above to understand how these changes are threats to braided rivers and their unique ecologies. Click on the video below for a simplified explanation and evidence of climate change.