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WTF? Scientists Claim “Slow Wind” May Make Trees Extinct

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Jan 27, 2011

Here’s a new one I bet you haven’t heard before: global warming is slowing the wind down, and could lead to certain species of trees becoming extinct.

Just when you thought that the predictions couldn’t possibly get any more bizarre (remember “Global warming will cause killer cornflakes“?), scientists in Jerusalem have released a study, based on computer modelling (natch) that predicts global warming may well lead to certain species of trees becoming extinct soon by slowing down the wind.

As the Jerusalem Post reports:

Many tree species in IsraelNorth America and Eurasia that depend on the wind to disperse their seeds may be at risk of extinction, according to researchers at theHebrew University of Jerusalem.

On the basis of earlier work, higher concentrations of carbon dioxide are expected to cause trees to produce many more seeds and to reach maturity earlier than under current conditions, hence speeding up their spread.

On the other hand, the weakening of wind speed in certain areas should reduce spread rate of these trees.

Jerusalem Post. Many Seed-Bearing Trees may Become Extinct.

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The argument is essentially based on the idea of the ‘velocity of climate change‘ – the supposition that as the temperature changes, plants and animals will need to move geographically to remain within their optimal temperature range. The authors of this report project that higher temperatures will lead to a decrease in average wind speed, which means that the trees won’t be able to keep up with climate change.

And I thought that global warming was going to lead to faster wind and more of it around the world. Which is it?

This article was posted: Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 4:56 am

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