Oh no! Large fluffy fox squirrel threatened by sea level rise

I work for an environmental non-profit, and I know all too well the hazards of escalating carbon emissions and the resulting climate change.

English: 1993-2010 sea level trends(mm/year). ...

Sea level rise: you’re awful. This is data for 1993-2010 sea level trends (mm/year).

Extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy. Ocean acidification wreaking our coral reefs. A shrinking polar ice sheet. Rising sea levels consuming coastlines. Lots of sweat at inappropriate times.

But I had no idea any squirrels were under threat, too. Precisely, the totally adorable yet oddly named Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Already endangered — thanks to its range that overlaps with some of the most populated areas on the planet (the Mid-Atlantic Seaboard) — this poor sub-species of the American Fox Squirrel doesn’t have the best long-range prognosis for survival.

Yes, it does look a lot like other squirrels. Not at all fox-like, except for the tail, perhaps.

The Delmarva Fox Squirrel. Yes, it does look a lot like other squirrels. Not at all fox-like, except for the tail, perhaps?

Delmarva Fox Squirrel (Chincoteague NWR)

Seek higher ground, squirrel friend. (Chincoteague NWR) (Photo credit: stinkenroboter)

Sigh. Well, anyway, here’s the details:
Delmarva animal among most threatened by sea-level rise, group says

Squirrels Focus of Climate Change Research?

Apparently paleontologists are examining fossil records of California ground squirrels to see how a currently warming world is affecting animals, although this DailyGazette.com article doesn’t really do a good job of explaining why. Ah, science journalism — such a tricky thing.

Back when the world was really hot and wet, all animals were larger in size, since hot and wet means tropical, and tropical means plentiful, year-round food supplies.

Then, the earth cooled, and animals shrunk in size. And shivered a lot more.

In the near future, as weather patterns are expected to shift rapidly (and some would say already are) scientists expect the size of animals to change. Or, I think that’s what the research is getting at. It’s not totally clear in this article.

Actually, I think the research was simply meant to study old fossils (which is fine with me) but the public relations department was desperate to find a current news peg. What’s hot? Global warming. Let’s tie it all together and see if we can get some publicity.

Job done.