Experts Predict Unknown Impacts Of 2024 Total Solar Eclipse On Flora And Fauna

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Daily News, Environmental News

Home » Environmental News » Experts Predict Unknown Impacts Of 2024 Total Solar Eclipse On Flora And Fauna

Today, on April 8, 2024, a rare event is unfolding: a total solar eclipse, where the Moon perfectly aligns with the Sun, casting darkness across the sky. With all the excitement of the first total solar eclipse of the decade, experts have to say this might have some unknown impact on animals and plants. Here’s what we found!

Total Solar Eclipse

According to Angela Speck, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Texas at San Antonio, plants and animals will start responding as the light diminishes in the run-up to totality. She mentioned that once the eclipse reaches about 75% to 80% coverage, the reduction in sunlight will be sufficient to trigger reactions from animals.

When the rare total solar eclipse passes over North America on Monday, scientists will have the opportunity to collect invaluable information on various aspects, ranging from the Sun’s atmosphere to unusual animal behaviours and, potentially, impacts on humans. In the past, remarkable animal behaviours have been observed during eclipses: Giraffes have been observed running, while roosters and crickets may begin crowing and chirping.

In addition to the reduction in sunlight, temperatures and wind—factors that animals are sensitive to—can also notably decrease during an eclipse. Andrew Farnsworth, an ornithology researcher at Cornell University in New York State, investigates how eclipses impact birds, utilizing weather surveillance radar to detect birds in flight.

During the most recent total solar eclipse visible from the United States in August 2017, scientists witnessed a “decrease in the number of animals flying around,” Farnsworth informed reporters.

The solar eclipse of 2017 caused disruptions in the normal activities of insects and birds, but it did not prompt typical nocturnal behaviors in animals, such as birds migrating or bats emerging, according to the expert.

However, during the upcoming eclipse, there is a possibility that birds may be inclined to migrate, especially considering it occurs in April, the expert noted. “These types of observations are crucial for gaining insights into how animals perceive their environments,” Farnsworth emphasized.

Roughly 20 minutes before totality, birds will begin to gather in flocks, and some will become quieter. Previous studies have indicated that farm animals such as cows and chickens may instinctively head back to their barns as they perceive it to be nighttime during this phase.

Once totality occurs, there will be further changes in behavior, according to Speck. Previous research has demonstrated that bees cease buzzing during totality and return to their hives. After the reappearance of sunlight, the bees appear to be disoriented, as reported in a study published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America following the 2017 eclipse.

What remains still questionable is “what happens with nocturnal animals or birds during an eclipse?” Experts believe this can be studied with today’s total solar eclipse opportunity.

Also Read: What Is The Requirement Of Solar Power For A Home In California?

Author

  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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