“The “urban heat island” is a well-known phenomenon that makes large cities hotter than surrounding countryside; it is the result of solar energy being absorbed by pavement, buildings and other infrastructure, then radiated back into the air. With a warming climate, it is generally viewed as a threat to public health that needs mitigating. On the flip side, ‘Some organisms may thrive on urban conditions,’ said tree physiologist Kevin Griffin of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who oversaw the study. Griffin said that the city’s hot summer nights, while a misery for humans, are a boon to trees, allowing them to perform more of the chemical reactions needed for photosynthesis when the sun comes back up.”

Ignoring other factors like marauding bands of former investment bankers, global warming isn’t going to directly kill off all life on earth. Some plants will thrive; some will not. (Just like increased carbon rates have led to an explosion in jellyfish in the ocean.) Apparently red oak are thriving in the heat of the city, growing up to eight times faster than they do in upstate New York.

(Photo: Randy OHC/Flickr)