Monday, January 11, 2010

Florida's cold snap disaster for tropical wildlife

Terra Daily via Agence France-Presse: Iguanas dropping from trees, manatees huddling around waters warmed by power plants and marine turtles being whisked away to shelters -- Florida's unusual cold snap is a deadly one for tropical wildlife.

The cold front sweeping in from the Arctic, with temperatures below freezing in parts of the southeastern state, is killing many animals accustomed to a temperate climate that sends droves of tourists swarming to enjoy yearlong warmth in the "Sunshine State."

The cold-blooded iguanas' comfort level begins at 73 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius) and they positively thrive at 95 F (35 C). When temperatures drop below about 60 F (15 C), they become less able to move around. Below about 40 F (5 C), they become completely immobile due to a lack of blood flow. Unable to hold on, the mohawked lizards, which shelter in tree branches and crevices, drop to the ground.

Iguanas and other tropical wildlife are bearing the brunt of the severe Arctic weather in Florida, where Miami's subtropical beaches have been left all but deserted this week with temperatures plummeting to around 32 F (zero degrees Celsius). "Cold weather impacts iguanas severely and many are killed," said Gabriella Ferraro, spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)….

An iguana in the Florida Keys, shot by Dominika Durtan, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license


Henry Louis Gomez said...

Two notes. In the case of Iguanas, thought of as harmless they are non-native species of Florida. Biologists see the culling of iguanas as a positive.

And this global warming stuff is bunk. It's raining iguanas for pete's sake. Some day people will look back at the fraud being perpetuated on the industrialized nations and gasp at how easily the masses were manipulated by a handful of zealots cloaked in supposed science.

There has never been a more stringent orthodoxy than the climate change community of believers.

Brian Thomas said...

Thanks for your observation about iguanas in Florida. Cold snaps in Florida are certainly part of ordinary weather variation, and might bear no relation to climate change. In doing this blog, I tend to focus on impacts rather than causes -- the things we need to adapt to, no matter what the cause.

As you might expect, I disagree with your global warming skepticism, not that this will change your mind. Maybe some reading will. Try for what climate scientists have to say on the subject.