Settled Science

Plants have unexpected response to climate change

Not all species flee rising temperatures. As the mercury has inched upward across western North America over the last 40 years, many plant species have moved downhill, toward—not away from—warmer climates, according to the results of a new study. The finding adds to growing evidence that temperature isn’t the only factor influencing how Earth’s life will respond to climate change.

Considering that temperatures haven’t risen for almost half of that 40-year period (globally, anyway; don’t know about specific places they studied, at the particular altitudes of those places), I wonder if this study means much.

“This is a very cool study and demonstrates what many of us have been saying—that we will get surprises,” writes Camille Parmesan, a climate change biologist at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom, in an e-mail to Science.

No, dammit! The science is settled. There are no surprises. Temperatures are rising and plants are retreating to the disappearing ice caps and we’re all gonna die!

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