The effects of global warming have become visible in ecosystems around the country, according to the latest research released Thursday by an advisory group to the Environment Ministry.
From plants in Hokkaido to dragonflies, butterflies and other insects around the nation, subtle changes in the distribution and behavior of plants and animals are manifestations of a warming climate, according to the report.
The 10-chapter report elaborates on the known and predicted effects of global warming for Japan. It is the first time the domestic impact of global warming has been officially documented and the most comprehensive assessment of the effects of rising temperatures, officials said.
The report forecasts an average temperature rise of 4 degrees for southern Japan, and 5 degrees for the nation’s northern half, compared with a world average jump of 3.6 degrees. A rise of between 1 degree and 2.5 degrees was predicted five years ago.
These increases are expected to threaten the existence of flora and fauna inhabiting high elevations and to alter the planting times for farmers — earlier in the north and later in the south. The decrease of snow cover is also expected to alter ecosystems.
The report also addresses the effect of pests, predicting they will gradually move north and reproduce more often, while typhoons are likely to bring more rain and stronger winds.
“It looks like global warming is starting to affect the more fragile ecosystems,” said Hideo Harasawa, editor of the report and a scientist at the National Institute for Environmental Studies. “We are seeing things now that we thought would happen in the future.”
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.