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May 30, 2006

Greenhouse Gas = Bigger, Stronger Poison Ivy

Their title: "Greenhouse gas breeds venomous vines"

I detect no alarmism in this study whatsoever.

In the study, Mohan and her co-workers pumped extra CO2 over three large circular plots of North Carolina pine forest. For six years, the plants inside were exposed to an extra 200 parts per million of CO2 over today's atmospheric concentration of about 380 parts per million, roughly what we might expect from pollution by the middle of this century.

I hope they bought credits for all that carbon.

Mohan's experiment sought to check whether the plants shoot up in the wild, as they do in greenhouse experiments. "Yes, dramatically," was the answer. The poisonous ivies grew at double the rate of plants grown under regular CO2 levels, whereas woody species on average tend to grow around 31% faster. The elevated CO2 also created a nastier version of urushiol poison, the team showed.

Its still poison ivy, though, right? It doesn't become invisible or diguise itself as some other plant or trick me into making a big salad out of it?

As long as it still just hangs out on trees and looks like Poison Ivy and doesn't become ambulatory, I'm thinking not much has changed in my life.

I'm curious if they've tried this experiment with wine grapes yet.

UPDATE: From the comments to this post, Dave in Texas:

They pumped more of what a plant uses in photosynthesis to generate plant material and oxygen, and they GREW FASTER? Well knock me over with a feather.
Just a heads up; Dave's expressions of surprise are sometimes not entirely sincere.
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posted by LauraW. at 03:14 PM

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