Chemical processes are speeded up by heat. All life processes are dependent on heat. Cold is the enemy of life. All early civilizations started in the warm or temperate parts of the world. It should be of no surprise that the Antarctic and Arctic climate zones are sparesly populated — there are no forests and no water despite a km-thick ice. The diversity of both plants and animals decreases from the hot parts of the globe polewards. Not even microorganisms like ice and cold. We use ice, refrigerators and freezers to keep our food unharmful by turning sour, fermenting and rotting.
Water is the main neccessity for living organisms. They can adjust to decreasing temperature by slowing down bodily processes, and some animals hibernate during part of the year. But in cold weather water is frozen. So very cold weather means dehydration, similar to intensive drought. That is why the coldest areas on Earth are biological deserts and Antarctica and the Arctic are our largest deserts.
Interestingly, living organisms have adapted much better to warmer conditions. We are taught that we should let water boil for at least 5 minutes to be sure that no harmful microbes have survived. This works for most microbes. But if you want to see bacteria that can survive forever in boiling water, visit Yellowstone National Park in the Rocky Mountains in NW USA. Some of the easily accessible hot pools in the park show varying colours. The water is overheated by magma below and is more than 100 °C and bacteria live in the pool. Some tolerate water in the span of 100-102 °C, others 102.5-103.5 °C and each species has its own colour. I have seen the same phenomenon in the hot pools of some volcanoes in Java, Indonesia.
All organisms have adapted to the environment in which they live. We are great examples ourselves. Nature's high speed processes, often called natural hazards — with lightning as the fastest — are the main driving forces of organic evolution. Extreme cold is the most critical, lack of water its companion. The polar areas are the largest hostile areas for life on earth. The tropical rain forest is our paradise of species diversity. It is necessary with more science in all educational systems if people, media and politicians are going to understand what we have lost when the tropical rain forests have been transformed to furniture and brown toothpicks in the latest style.
The cold subregister of the database, shown in the table, has 9 geographic subdivisions among which the cold continent Europe — including Russia, the Roman empire/Italy and the Byzantine empire/Turkey with many old sources of information — is the largest.
|COLD subregister (pages)||2407|
|countries with >10 pages|
|Roman empire, Italy||41|
|Byzantine empire, Turkey||28|
|World incl Oceans||25|