In addition to storms, famine, and disease, climate change comes bearing coconut trees.

December 3, 2007 at 5:24 pm (amazing things, frightening things) ()

Climate change has caused the equatorial tropics to expand an incredible 300 miles in the last 25 years.

This not only means that rain-drenched regions near the Equator are growing, experts say, but also that global warming may be pushing deserts poleward in places such as the U.S. Southwest, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, South America, and the Mediterranean.

Does this mean that our home state of New Mexico might actually become less of a desert as the climate shifts, not more of one? What great news that is to our thirsty future selves! It’s also bad news, of course — jungle brings mosquitoes, and mosquitoes bring death.

Moving on:

Global climate-change models predict that the tropics will expand as Earth warms up, [Dian Seidel of the NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory] said, but her team’s observed expansion was much faster than predicted.

“The models indicate only fractions of a degree,” she said.

Seidel and colleagues aren’t sure why the tropics’ spread has been so much more rapid. . . Because current models don’t explain what’s going on, it’s impossible to tell whether the tropics expansion is part of a cycle that might reverse in the future or an indicator that global warming is having stronger-than-anticipated effects.

Uh oh.

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