Climate Change Will Drastically Alter Earth’s Vegetation

By Lacy Schley | August 30, 2018 6:39 pm
(Credit: kunmom/shutterstock)

(Credit: kunmom/shutterstock)

Once upon a time, Earth was colder, locked in its latest ice age. Eventually, roughly 14,000 years ago, things started thawing and the planet warmed back up. But that climate change, according to a new paper in Science, caused a major shift in vegetation. And if we don’t curb our fossil fuel use and cut carbon emissions soon, the authors say, we’ll see another big shift in plant life within 100 to 150 years.

Ancient Global Warming

An international team of researchers dug through published records of fossilized pollen and plants from nearly 600 locations all over the globe, except for Antarctica. All of these fossils had been dated to a range of about 21,000 years ago — the peak of our last ice age — to 14,000 years ago, right when things starting warming back up.

Then, they compared the vegetation changes they saw in the fossil records with paleoclimatic data to suss out which temperature bumps caused shifts in ancient plant life. The team noticed that the more temps spiked — Earth has warmed up about 7 to 13 degrees Fahrenheit since the last ice age peaked — the more vegetation changed.

In fact, of all the nearly 600 sites the group examined, more than 67 percent saw significant changes, while about 26 percent saw at least moderate shifts. The areas that experienced the most pronounced changes? Those in mid- to high-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, southern South America, sections of southern Africa, the Indo-Pacific region and the Oceania area including Australia and New Zealand.

And we already know if we don’t keep carbon emissions in check, we’ll see roughly the same rise in global temperatures — except a lot faster. “We’re talking about the same amount of change in 10 to 20 thousand years that’s going to be crammed into a century or two,” says Stephen Jackson, director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, in a press release.

So the team used the knowledge they culled to try and predict what might go down in the future. When they ran their projections, they found we’ll see similar shifts in our flora, wildly changing the ecosystems of the future, and fast. Such changes, the authors argue, could be a threat to biodiversity on a global scale and disrupt things like water security and how much carbon the plant life of the future could store.

Says Jackson of the changes, “Ecosystems are going to be scrambling to catch up.”

MORE ABOUT: climate change, plants
  • Uncle Al

    Creeping Charlie shall cover the Earth, toads shall reign from the sky, and Aunt Martha will grow another wart. DETERMINED SCIENCE!


  • Dean Jackson

    Could be a threat to biodiversity? Why don’t they know? They did the extensive research. So what were the verified conclusions? Notice how the article skirts around the issue, failing to inform us of less or more vegetation! Well, that’s because vegetation loves CO2, as any 4th grader knows, so here we have an article misinforming youth.

    The Actual Physics and Chemistry of Nitrogen, Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide

    CO2 is a denser molecule than either N2 and O2 – one-third denser due to one-third less heat contained in the CO2 molecule – which informs us that CO2 COOLS the atmosphere by displacing greater heat retaining N2 and O2 molecules. CO2 has always been known to be a cooling molecule, primarily due to its use by agricultural engineers to increase crop yields and noticing concomitant temperature drops. This informs us that man is mediating the atmosphere, not changing it, because the real culprit for the heating of the atmosphere is the massive increase of man made structures on the ground that act as heat sinks while also decreasing the cooling effect of vegetation at night. If one desires less heat, which would mean a less temperate atmosphere that decreases crops and increases weather related deaths, the mechanism to be used is to INCREASE CO2 levels, not decrease those levels. Increases of CO2 into the atmosphere actually tempers the current warming of the planet. Note: ‘Climate change’ frauds naturally remain silent regarding the heat generated by man made structures on the ground.

    My blog…

    Google: djdnotice blogspot


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


See More

Collapse bottom bar