Need more evidence of global weirding? The trees are heading west.

Need more evidence that the world is getting really weird? Trees on the East Coast of the U.S. might be migrating west.

Songlin Fei, an ecologist at Purdue University, compared U.S. Forest Service data on tree ranges from 1980-1995 against more recent data from 2013-2015. According to the study published in the journal Science Advances, trees on the East Coast might be shifting their ranges westward right underneath our noses.

Nearly half of the tree species they examined were making a break for it.

Of the 86 different tree species, 47% had a significant westward shift, including quaking aspens, several types of oak, and plum and cherry trees.


The trees weren't physically moving, of course. Nor were they necessarily disappearing in the east. Instead, the trees, especially saplings, were spreading more along the species' western edges.

So why are the trees moving? Fei's team thinks they're following the water. Over the past century, the southeast has gotten drier while the Midwest and Great Lakes have gotten wetter. The trees are simply responding to that.

Here's the bottom line: Climate change is going to make all living things move. And we've got to be ready for it.

Climate change affects rainfall and weather patterns, not just temperature. Many different species are being forced into new ranges — and not just endangered beetles. The ranges of common backyard birds and even foods like maple syrup might change.

This latest data is no reason to panic. The median rate westward is only about a mile a year (which is still pretty fast for trees). But this is a great reminder that as our planet changes, nature's going to respond in unexpected ways. We better strap ourselves in.

Heroes

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

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Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

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