Eden Come, Eden Go
Climate change threatens newly discovered tropical paradise
One short month ago, the world thrilled to the news that researchers had discovered an untouched jungle in the Foja Mountains of New Guinea in Indonesia, full of unknown or rare plants and critters. Now — you saw this coming, right? — a U.S. climate scientist has warned that global warming may wipe out many of the forest’s species before they’re identified. Climatologist Michael Prentice reports in New Scientist that temperatures in the newly discovered paradise have risen precipitously since the 1970s: about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit every decade. “This is five times the previous estimated warming for the region,” Prentice said, “and among the fastest in the world.” Prentice derived his findings from climate records compiled by mission stations, coffee plantations, and mining companies in the region — but it’s not clear why the area is warming up at such a fast rate.
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