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NASA Earth

Global Warming Has Made the North Greener 398

Posted by timothy
from the but-we-wanted-to-expand-the-deep-freeze dept.
New submitter ceview writes "NASA has released its latest green data showing a creeping of green towards the northern hemisphere. From the article: 'Results show temperature and vegetation growth at northern latitudes now resemble those found 4 degrees to 6 degrees of latitude farther south as recently as 1982.'"
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Global Warming Has Made the North Greener

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  • Final nail? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181)

    Is there any space left for more nails in this coffin? Pretty soon there'll be more nails than wood.

    • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday March 11, 2013 @06:44AM (#43136367) Homepage

      I'm one of those that owns a lot of property in the north. That means in 100 years my grandkids will be sitting on a epic goldmine of realestate that all the people fleeing the new desert in the south will want to live. $1,000,000 an acre Bidding starts on the next heat wave.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by PopeRatzo (965947)

        I'm one of those that owns a lot of property in the north... $1,000,000 an acre Bidding starts on the next heat wave.

        I hope you're also one of those that owns a lot of guns.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Watch out for those termites and beetles though. Cold winters have been a barrier for pests in the forests of the North previously and those nice wooden mansions and ski cabins are at risk in the future, along with the rest of the forest.

      • by nblender (741424)

        I have a small bit of property up north. A dozen acres of forest in central Alberta. My land hasn't had a forest fire in at least 85 years based on the age of some downed trees this winter. As I walk through my forest, I see a _lot_ of dry and rotting ladder fuel (dead trees leaning on living trees). My job for the summer is to wander around with a chain saw cutting and bucking all the ladder fuel and increase the rotting of the many logs laying down... The forest has been beaten back away from the h

      • Re:Final nail? (Score:4, Informative)

        by jemenake (595948) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:32AM (#43138125)
        This is one of the things which isn't mentioned when the topic of global warming comes up. GW is going to benefit some parts of the world. There will be some winners and some losers. Sure, it's going to suck in Florida and Arizona, but the northern states are going to start sucking less. Canadians, as well, will have much more fun with two, full weeks of Summer.
        • by Joce640k (829181)

          This is one of the things which isn't mentioned when the topic of global warming comes up. GW is going to benefit some parts of the world. There will be some winners and some losers. Sure, it's going to suck in Florida and Arizona, but the northern states are going to start sucking less. Canadians, as well, will have much more fun with two, full weeks of Summer.

          The trees in some parts of the world will have a good time, yes.

          For humans, the global economy will have a bigger effect on their standard of living. Which way do you think the economy will go when the waves start lapping at the foot of the skyscrapers?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by alen (225700)

      What coffin?

      There were powerful storms when the world was colder and their frequency hasn't increased with warming

      Go look in Wikipedia. Northeast and Canada used to get hit with category 3 hurricanes on a regular basis
      Sandy was barely a 1

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357)

        Hush now, you're going to upset the zealots. Please don't offer them any links to history's most deadly storms. Whatever you do, don't mention Galveston. And, absolutely, do NOT mention that Mexico has had even deadlier storms, long before the age of industrialization.

        How 'bout that Spanish Armada?

        • Re:Final nail? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gadget_Guy (627405) on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:42AM (#43138261)

          Please don't offer them any links to history's most deadly storms.

          Actually, please do provide those links. While you are at it, also provide the links where climate scientists said that there had never been big storms in the past.

          What? You can't? Then what are you talking about now? It seems to be a common tactic on the denial side to make disparaging remarks about those dreaded "alarmists" that attribute false statements to them. What is the matter? Can't you actually argue against the real things that the scientists say?

          • by bondsbw (888959)

            This isn't about denial. This isn't about climate scientists. This is about alarmists.

            Don't forget that like most alarmists, many of these alarmists likely have corporate-backed agendas. They hate the corporate-backed agendas of the oil industry, but deny that there are companies promoting clean cars and clean energy that stand to make billions of dollars of extra profit if they succeed in convincing governments and citizens.

            Not everyone needs to spend thousands of dollars extra on a Prius instead of an

  • More green? (Score:4, Funny)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday March 11, 2013 @05:11AM (#43136077) Homepage

    So the world is becoming more green due to global warming?
    I'm confused, is this good or bad?

    • It's kind of a tricky one. Large swathes of coastal areas will be inundated. This is a problem because that's where most of the people live, and it will be hugely disruptive to move them elsewhere. Europe, northern India, most of the southern US, Brazil and large areas of South America would be swamped if the ice caps melted. Even in higher areas you can expect major trouble as dry hot areas spread and extreme weather becomes more common.

      However a lot of Siberia and Canada would become very habitable, and t

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        "However a lot of Siberia and Canada would become very habitable, "

        You have never been in northern canada in the summer. The black flies alone will keep it from being habitable.

    • Re:More green? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday March 11, 2013 @05:57AM (#43136231)

      So the world is becoming more green due to global warming?

      The article doesn't say anything about the world becoming more green. Only that the north, above the 45th parallel is. That's Canada, Northern Europe, Russia and up to the arctic. It doesn't say anything about the balance between that and desertification nearer the equator.

      It does fit with other studies and models to help confirm the reality of global warming though.

      • Re:More green? (Score:4, Informative)

        by rve (4436) on Monday March 11, 2013 @06:54AM (#43136415)

        Only that the north, above the 45th parallel is. That's Canada, Northern Europe, Russia and up to the arctic.

        When you say Northern Europe, you really mean nearly all of Europe except for parts of Spain, Italy and the Balkans.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sique (173459)
      It's not the world, which becomes greener, it's the North. If at the same time the equator regions become aride, coastal areas sink under the sea and deserts are growing, then we get a huge migration from the equator to the northern regions. It's up to you to decide if that's good.
    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Should accelerate the process. Less reflected sunlight means even more incoming heat. Earth been such this kind of stages in the past, but previous times didnt had the continuous input of industrial heat sources and contamination that we have now, nor we were so tied to so much specific coastal places. And if well we should be able to adapt a gradual process taking decades, a very fast process could eventually kill millons (at least is what Hollywood enjoys showing us).
    • by PopeRatzo (965947)

      So the world is becoming more green due to global warming?

      I realize you're joking, but it doesn't mean the world is becoming more green, it means the livable part is moving North.

      Remember, there's less land near the top of a globe than at the middle.

    • Well, bad if you live in the parts that are going to go more brown, I guess...

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday March 11, 2013 @05:12AM (#43136081)

    I've played Sim Earth. I know what happens with global warming... the equator becomes a giant desert, but the temperate regions all become tropical. If you ask me, now's the time to buy land farther north. It's only going to go up in value as natural resources like water become scarce in heavily populated areas. In the not too distant future, water pipelines will be more valued than oil.

    • by ultranova (717540)

      If you ask me, now's the time to buy land farther north. It's only going to go up in value as natural resources like water become scarce in heavily populated areas.

      If water becomes scarce enough in heavily populated areas to justify transporting it continental distances, I very much doubt anyone is going to be interested in protecting your property rights. You'll be trampled by a flood of refugees fleeing the drought.

      A civil society is not going to stay civil if food or water run out.

      • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday March 11, 2013 @06:20AM (#43136305)

        If water becomes scarce enough in heavily populated areas to justify transporting it continental distances, I very much doubt anyone is going to be interested in protecting your property rights. You'll be trampled by a flood of refugees fleeing the drought.

        Fifty to one odds you're American. Anywhere else, and you'd know what's going on outside your borders. Let's look at a place where there's already large amounts of desert, limited water resources, and tons of refugees. There's an entire continent with these problems called Africa. And would you know what -- there's property rights there. If there's one thing you can learn from them, it's that bullets are cheap. You have nothing to worry about on that front.

        The other thing is, you make it sound like tomorrow the equatorial region of the planet's going to suddenly go apocalyptic and everyone will be rushing out of there overnight. Dude, this isn't Hollywood. Even at the incredible speed at which global warming is occuring, we're still talking about something that's happening at a speed unlikely to significantly change the environment you're living in within your lifetime. When I say significant, I mean "I lived in a lush forest when I was born, and now it's an apocalyptic desert where no rain falls." It just isn't happening that quickly. It's devastating, and very bad for us as a species, but it's not happening quickly.

        Which means such an exodus would happen in small enough numbers that it'd be less like Army of Darkness and more like 28 Days. Large tracts of nothingness, the occasional person... nothing you can't handle with a high power rifle and some explosives, dear.

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Why would anyone intentionally stay in a area where water is scarce and you cant grow anything? Other than a sick and twisted repressive government? A small dirt patch that has been in the family for generations is not a valid answer.

  • by evilsofa (947078) on Monday March 11, 2013 @05:12AM (#43136085)
    My mother's garden has earthworms. This may seem unremarkable to you, but she has been living in Fairbanks, Alaska for over 40 years now and last summer was the first time she has ever seen earthworms in her garden. The climate is supposed to be too cold for too long for them to survive in the wild.

    I have other relatives who live in Denali Park, Alaska, in the midst of the Alaska Range and near the tallest mountain in North America. Over the past 4 or 5 decades, they have been watching the treeline creep hundreds of feet up the sides of the mountains.
    • by realkiwi (23584)

      Just a couple of questions: how did they get there? Have they been migrating north underground?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Stuff You Should Know podcast episode from Dec 15th 2010 is entitled "How Earthworms Work". [howstuffworks.com] It actually had some fascinating things discussed, including the distance that they can move per year and how far they can migrate in a year.

        Apparently all earthworms in North American were killed in the last Ice Age. All Earthworms we have now are immigrants from Asia and Europe that hitched a ride on plant roots brought over in very recent human migration.

  • by Maow (620678) on Monday March 11, 2013 @05:14AM (#43136089) Journal

    I don't doubt that the far north is getting greener, but don't think for a moment that it'll lead to food crops way up north.

    Food crops require copious light, not just absence of freezing / cold to produce crops. Oranges & bananas more so than lettuce, more so than moss.

    When the sun is low on the horizon at noon, there just isn't enough sunlight to make the land productive for agriculture.

    Not to mention the relative lack of rich organic material and somewhat acidic soil for the most part.

    If this were not the case, then a simple greenhouse with a heater situated way up north would allow for hobbyists to grow all year round; this hasn't been the case and isn't likely to change.

    The above is as I understand it as a gardener and a Canadian who laments the lousy winter (non-)growing season in the mildest part of the country and with good soil.

  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Monday March 11, 2013 @05:24AM (#43136121) Homepage
    The USDA has updated its map of plant hardiness zones [usda.gov] to reflect the new, warmer conditions. You can argue about whatever you want to argue about, but the reality is here that you can grow things further north than you could before.
    • by Grashnak (1003791)
      You certainly can grow things up north, but the main problem is that while this sort of thing will expand the northern limits of arable land, that won't come close to compensating for the much more productive land further south that will suffer desertification.
  • by freedom_surfer (203272) on Monday March 11, 2013 @05:25AM (#43136135) Homepage

    As the great Colbert said - Reality has a liberal bias!

  • Greenland shall no longer be a misnomer with word-roots lost in time. It shall take its place amongst geographical locations whose names describe their characteristics, such as Iceland and that town in Wales.
    It shall finally be green.
    Greenland. Now actually green.
  • Disruptions (Score:2, Funny)

    by jamesl (106902)

    In the north's Arctic and boreal areas, the characteristics of the seasons are changing, leading to great disruptions for plants and related ecosystems.

    Define "disruptions."

    Climate change is normal and continuous. Our ecosystem is robust to change. Some humans apparently are not.

    • Climate change is normal and continuous, and the ecosystem is robust to change... at normal rates of change. The real question is whether it is robust enough to survive the pressures we humans are putting on it? We're dumping all sorts of CO2 into the atmosphere, and at the same time, we're clear-cutting forests - the lungs of the planet. Not only that, but the number of people living on this rock has doubled in my lifetime. They've all got to be clothed and sheltered, fed and watered. We're digging up
  • by Toam (1134401) on Monday March 11, 2013 @06:51AM (#43136397)
    It isn't heading towards the northern hemisphere, it's heading towards the north pole. There is plenty of "green" in the northern hemisphere already.
    • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday March 11, 2013 @06:58AM (#43136429)

      It isn't heading towards the northern hemisphere, it's heading towards the north pole. There is plenty of "green" in the northern hemisphere already.

      I think that is the key point. People should also realise that places that are currently green further south may well become desert - this doesn't mean more green it means green further North. It seems to confirm predictions that the "Wheat belt" may move North from the contiguous USA and central Europe to Siberia, Northern Europe, Canada, and eventually possibly Alaska.

      • I think that is the key point. People should also realise that places that are currently green further south may well become desert - this doesn't mean more green it means green further North. It seems to confirm predictions that the "Wheat belt" may move North from the contiguous USA and central Europe to Siberia, Northern Europe, Canada, and eventually possibly Alaska.

        It's the blind faith in speculation of things that may happen that just disturb me, and probably should disturb any logical thinking person.

        Just like the guy above in Alaska citing anecdotal evidence that the presence of earthworms in mum's garden and the forest line increasing, no one can definitively prove that a localized warming cycle is part of a part of a multi-millennial trend. Since there have only been accurate thermometers measuring data for a couple hundred years, one could easily conclude th

        • by Chrisq (894406)

          Sorry, but the unprovable mays that you present are equally as likely as donkeys flying out of my ass.

          Well there is evidence of increasing desertification [columbia.edu]. Now do you have evidence that donkeys are likely to fly out of your arse or is that just uninformed speculation.

  • After requirements creep and feature creep, we get "green creep". Now get off my lawn ! !
  • by rgbatduke (1231380) <rgb.phy@duke@edu> on Monday March 11, 2013 @10:11AM (#43137885) Homepage

    ... in Durham, in spite of the fact that alligator reproduction is an excellent bellwether and they are abundant a mere 150 miles away due East on the coast. 1 degree is 70 miles North, 4 to 6 is (say) 350, so by now there should be alligators in Virginia on the coast and central NC where I live FROM the coast. Alligators can only reproduce when a winter is frost free, as temperature determines the gender of the alligators in the egg. First and last frost in Durham haven't discernibly changed in the forty years I've lived here, starting back in the last "the Ice Age is starting" panic in the early 70s. There have been some bitterly cold winters and some remarkably warm ones -- much like the winters over all of the last century. We've set 100 year records for snowfall in the last 13 years, had a snow and ice storm on the Outer Banks (and inland) where it never seems to snow in mid-April, and had a killing frost in May, three full weeks after our supposed last-frost date. We've had winters where the Bradford Pears and Redbuds started to bloom in mid February (easily a month early), where it hasn't snowed at all, when you could sunbathe in mid-January, at least if you picked your days.

    This winter was amazingly normal. A handful of small snowfalls, a few warm days, but mostly cold, often wet and cold, with lots of frost. The Bradford Pears and Redbuds still haven't bloomed, although we've had a few days of really nice spring-like weather (quite seasonal) and it didn't frost last night although it did the night before. The massive snows of winter all fell to the west or to the north, never quite reaching us here (except as cold nasty rain a few degrees above freezing -- got a lot of that).

    There's plenty of scientific evidence of warming, as long as you pick your days, pick your events, pick your years, pick your starting points, and don't look at all the evidence that contradicts it. As everybody knows, scientific studies prove that green jelly beans cause Acne.

    rgb

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