Thursday, November 11, 2010

Global Warming & High CO2 Levels Increased Diversity

1. maybe this is why hothouse operators increase CO2 levels by 3-4 times to increase plant growth up to 50%
2. CO2 levels 2.5 times today's levels & far above Hansen's "safe level" of 350 ppm with temperatures 3-5C higher than today clearly didn't cause a "tipping point" and actually increased diversity

Tropical Forest Diversity Increased During Ancient Global Warming Event
pollen and spore taxa from the PETM
 ScienceDaily (Nov. 11, 2010) — The steamiest places on the planet are getting warmer. Conservative estimates suggest that tropical areas can expect temperature increases of 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. Does global warming spell doom for rainforests? Maybe not.

Carlos Jaramillo, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and colleagues report in the journal Science that nearly 60 million years ago rainforests prospered at temperatures that were 3-5 degrees higher and at atmospheric carbon dioxide levels 2.5 times today's levels.

"We're going to have a novel climate scenario," said Joe Wright, staff scientist at STRI, in a 2009 Smithsonian symposium on Threats to Tropical Forests. "It will be very hot and wet, and we don't know how these species are going to react." By looking back in time, Jaramillo and collaborators identified one example of a hot, wet climate: rainforests were doing very well.

Researchers examined pollen trapped in rock cores and outcrops -- from Colombia and Venezuela -- formed before, during and after an abrupt global warming event called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum that occurred 56.3 million years ago. The world warmed by 3-5 degrees C. Carbon dioxide levels doubled in only 10,000 years. Warm conditions lasted for the next 200,000 years.

Contrary to speculation that tropical forests could be devastated under these conditions, forest diversity increased rapidly during this warming event. 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.

"It is remarkable that there is so much concern about the effects of greenhouse conditions on tropical forests," said Klaus Winter, staff scientist at STRI. "However, these horror scenarios probably have some validity if increased temperatures lead to more frequent or more severe drought as some of the current predictions for similar scenarios suggest."

Evidence from this study indicates that moisture levels did not decrease significantly during the warming event. Overall results indicate that tropical forests fared very well during this short and intense warming period.

"The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute celebrates '100 Years of Tropical Science in Panama' starting this year," said Eldredge Bermingham, STRI director. "Today, our scientists are working in more than 40 countries worldwide. We have the long-term and global monitoring experiments in place to begin to evaluate scenarios predicting the effects of climate change and other large-scale processes on tropical forests."

Journal Reference: Carlos Jaramillo, Diana Ochoa, Lineth Contreras, Mark Pagani, Humberto Carvajal-Ortiz, Lisa M. Pratt, Srinath Krishnan, Agustin Cardona, Millerlandy Romero, Luis Quiroz, Guillermo Rodriguez, Milton J. Rueda, Felipe de la Parra, Sara Morón, Walton Green, German Bayona, Camilo Montes, Oscar Quintero, Rafael Ramirez, Germán Mora, Stefan Schouten, Hermann Bermudez, Rosa Navarrete, Francisco Parra, Mauricio Alvarán, Jose Osorno, James L. Crowley, Victor Valencia, and Jeff Vervoort. Effects of Rapid Global Warming at the Paleocene-Eocene Boundary on Neotropical Vegetation. Science, 2010; 330 (6006): 957-961 DOI: 10.1126/science.1193833


  1. More CO2 means more plant food, which means more crops, more trees, more food and wood for people and domesticated animals. More vegetation will check or reduce whatever warming coming from other sources. The planet has hundreds of ways to regulate itself when it has a fever, or when it is chilling.

  2. The problem with your reasoning Nonoy is that the amount of increase in CO2 is much greater than what plants can used or what the oceans can absorbed. There has been nearly a 30 percent increase in CO2 since the industrial revolution. In fact, the amount of CO2 now in the atmosphere, according to ice cores taken from Anarctic, is greater than anytime in at least the 650,000 years and perhaps greater than much earlier times, as indicated by new ice cores taken.