Temperature plays a vital role in sustaining life on Earth, particularly in relation to the essential processes of photosynthesis and CO2 absorption. Plants, algae and some bacteria use the sun’s energy, along with water and carbon dioxide (CO2) to create their own food in the process known as photosynthesis. This process converts CO2 into oxygen that is released back into the atmosphere, providing us with breathable air. The CO2 also helps to reduce differences between day and night temperatures through its ability to absorb infrared radiation from the sun and then release it at nighttime when temperatures cool down. This not only make life on earth more comfortable, but is essential for many plants and trees. CO2 is an essential part of a healthy ecosystem and human survival.
We are now at the tail end of a 50 million year cooling period out of the Eocene thermal maximum. The effects of this cooling period have been felt across the globe, as many species have had to adapt to changing temperatures and environments. For example, some species of birds have had to migrate further south in order to find suitable habitats. And some species of fish have had to move further offshore due to warming waters near the coast.
Overall, this cooling period has had a negative impact on biodiversity and ecosystems across the globe. The decrease in temperature has made it difficult for many species to survive in their natural habitats, leading to a decrease in population numbers and an increase in extinction rates.
Cold temperatures can have a negative impact on the planet in a number of ways. Cold temperatures can lead to an increase in sea ice, which can disrupt ocean currents and cause changes in weather patterns. On land, cold temperatures can lead to an increase in snow and ice cover, which can reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of heat that is absorbed by the Earth’s surface. This can lead to cooler temperatures overall, which can have a negative effect on ecosystems and biodiversity.
Higher temperatures on Earth can have positive effects, like it can lead to increased plant growth and increased productivity in certain ecosystems. This can be beneficial for some species, as it can provide them with more food and resources. We see the effects of this at the retracting glaciers in Europe, where plants and trees take over the land that has been dead since the end of the Medieval Warm period. In the oceans, higher temperatures can be beneficial for certain species of fish and other marine life - especially coral.
The ideal temperature for nature on Earth is ultimately subjective and depends on the specific species and ecosystems present in a given area. Generally speaking, most species thrive best in temperatures between 20-30°C (68-86°F), while the average earth temperature is currently about 15°C.