You may be surprised to learn that the Earth has experienced past episodes of global warming in which temperatures were considerably hotter than now. And guess what? It’s wasn’t the end of the world.
In fact, new research shows that biodiversity thrives under warmer conditions.
It was during such a previous warm period that chocolate was first discovered. Mmmmmmmmm. I love chocolate!
If the planet heats up dramatically, as Al Gore and others fear, the planet’s tropical forests could be a big winner, according to a just-published study in Science magazine that looked at a previous warming period in Earth’s history.
“Contrary to speculation that tropical forests could be devastated under these conditions, forest diversity increased rapidly during this warming event,” explained a release from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, a participant in the study. “New plant species evolved much faster than old species became extinct. Pollen from the passionflower plant family and the chocolate family, among others, were found for the first time.”
The new study relies on hard evidence rather than the computer models that produce “horror scenarios” about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests, in the words of Klaus Winter, a Smithsonian scientist. The study estimates that the forest’s genetic diversity soared by 50% under hot conditions, as a wealth of new species made their debut on Earth’s stage. (Source)