CHANGING CLIMATES INCREASE the uncertainties of life for all organisms. A long-term warming trend would alter the distribution of life on the planet as colder habitats shrink and warmer ones expand. Some species would become more common, and others would become rarer. We cannot predict with any precision which species will become extinct—or when. Plants and animals that are highly adapted to already extreme (hot, cold, or dry) climates are most likely to be the first and most drastically affected.

We consider a species to be extinct once all known individuals of that type have died. Many interacting factors affect the survival of individual organisms, and therefore the persistence of their species. In general, extinction results when a species' requirements and abilities no longer match the ...

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