If the world continues on a "business-as-usual "trajectory on climate change, global ecosystems including Australia's will undergo a "major transformation" over the next century.
That's the warning from researchers who have analysed hundreds of pollen and fossil records from the Earth's last period of significant global warming, which followed the last glacial maximum around 14,000 years ago.
The study, published today in the journal Science, found that ecosystems that underwent low levels of change were "concentrated in regions where the temperature anomaly was relatively small".
The researchers used their data to predict the amount of future ecological upheaval that would occur under warming scenarios of 1.5 degrees, 2.4 degrees, 3 to 4 degrees and 5 degrees, by the end of the century.
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