Wed, Dec 07, 2005 - Page 6 News List

Earth is all out of new farmland

OVERPOPULATION Scientists discovered the amount of cultivated land on the planet has increased from 7 to 40 percent in 300 years, leaving little room for expansion

THE GUARDIAN , SAN FRANCISCO

"Without snow we see a large atmospheric warming of up to 5?C over northern Eurasia and North America annually [8-9?C in winter], and a globally averaged warming of 0.8?C," he said.

Snow provides a warm insulating blanket and without it vast areas of land would become permanently frozen.

"Soils in presently snow-covered areas, such as Siberia, would cool considerably, by up to 20?C during winter. As a result, the permafrost would expand equatorwards by 500 to 1,000km, even though the overlying air warms by several degrees," said Vavrus, who will present his findings at the American Geophysical Union meeting this week.

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