Some Plants Will (Maybe) Benefit from Global Warming, But...

Trying to Understand the Effects of the Thawing and Refreezing Cycle
Scientists are studying the effects of a higher variability in temperatures and more frequent thawing/refreezing of the soil on certain plants and found that some might benefit. Well, you can't say we only report the bad things about global warming, though in this case, it's not yet clear if this the news for these specific plants is all good... From Discovery News:

Normally, a thick snow cover insulates the soil in temperate and high-latitude regions, keeping ground temperatures fairly constant. But warmer days will lead to less snow on the ground, meaning the soil is more likely to freeze and thaw many times over the course of the season.

Previous research has shown that thawing and refreezing affects nutrient levels in the soil as well as microbial activity. [...] n a paper in the journal New Phytologist, the researchers speculated that thawing and refreezing increases microbial activity and breaks up the soil, making plants more productive.

But not all the news is good: Roots were shorter, and the thawing cycles can lead to a loss of nutrients (they can end up in rivers, creating algae blooms).

This is interesting to know, but it doesn't change much all the other negative effects of global warming, especially in the long-term (what seems far away now will one day be the near-future, and we can wait until then to start doing something).

Via Discovery News
Photo: iStockPhoto
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