The Earth’s biosphere is booming, data suggests that CO2 is the cause, part 2

The SeaWiFS instrument aboard the Seastar satellite has been collecting ocean data since 1997. By monitoring the color of reflected light via satellite, scientists can determine how successfully plant life is photosynthesizing. A measurement of photosynthesis is essentially a measurement of successful growth, and growth means successful use of ambient carbon. This animation shows an average of 10 years worth of SeaWiFS data. Dark blue represents warmer areas where there tends to be a lack of nutrients, and greens and reds represent cooler nutrient-rich areas which support life. The nutrient-rich areas include coastal regions where cold water rises from the sea floor bringing nutrients along and areas at the mouths of rivers where the rivers have brought nutrients into the ocean from the land.

I first ran a story with this title in 2008, with these graphics from SEAWIFS, showing a growing biosphere. Now a new study using a different methodology, Leaf Area Index (LAI), have determined that indeed, the LAI is on the increase. Those global warming proponents, who consider themselves “green” get very upset when it is pointed out that CO2 is “plant food”, yet here we have even more evidence that Gaia’s greenery likes it.

From World Climate Report:

Global Greening Continues: Did We Cause It?

You know the story. Humans are burning fossil fuels and because of their actions, the world is now warming at an unprecedented pace. This warming is stressing ecosystems throughout the world with devastating consequences to vegetation from one end of the earth to the other. If we do not act fast, we will destroy the planet and have a tough time facing our grandchildren. We can all hear it now—why didn’t you do something when there was still time to save the Earth?

Two articles have appeared recently in the scientific literature with results that may make us reconsider this entire affair. The first appears in the Journal of Geographical Sciences dealing with worldwide trends in the vigor of vegetation since the early 1980s—the results may surprise you, but they did not surprise us given all that has been written on this subject and certainly covered at World Climate Report.

Three Chinese scientists (all with the last name of Liu) used satellite data to detect changes occurring in vegetation throughout the world. Rather than use the popular satellite-based Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Liu et al. (a.k.a., Liu3) decided to use the Leaf Area Index (LAI). The scientists explain “LAI, defined as half the total leaf area per unit ground, is directly linked to vegetation activities and comparable among different ecosystems. It has removed the effects of spectral response, illumination and orbit drift during data acquisition. It should be better, at least theoretically, than NDVI as the indicator of vegetation status.” We will certainly trust their judgment.

As seen in their figure below (Figure1), the red colors absolutely dominate indicating an increase in vegetation status! Liu et al. declare:

“Results show that, over the past 26 years, LAI has generally increased at a rate of 0.0013 per year around the globe. The strongest increasing trend is around 0.0032 per year in the middle and northern high latitudes (north of 30°N). LAI has prominently increased in Europe, Siberia, Indian Peninsula, America and south Canada, South region of Sahara, southwest corner of Australia and Kgalagadi Basin; while noticeably decreased in Southeast Asia, southeastern China, central Africa, central and southern South America and arctic areas in North America.”

Quick geography question: where is the “Kgalagadi Basin”? Correct—in the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa.


Figure 1. Spatial distribution of linear trends in estimated LAI from July 1981–December 2006 (from Liu et al., 2010)

In commenting on the upward trend in LAI in the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemispheric, the trio states

“The growth of the vegetation in these middle and high latitude areas is mainly limited by temperature. Many studies correlating NDVI with land surface temperature indicate warming might be the most important factor accounting for the LAI increase in this area. Warming, causes longer active growing season length and higher growth magnitude, therefore leads to increase in LAI in this area.”

We accept their findings—we now believe that warming has been beneficial for vegetation throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. As we look at the map above, we see red throughout many low latitude areas as well. The gloom and doomers of the climate change issue are not going to be happy with such positive results. Although not discussed in the Liu et al. paper, we cannot help but wonder what role elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations may have played in stimulating plant growth in so many areas of the world? Feel free to examine all of our essays reporting on the biological benefits of elevated CO2, let alone the benefits of warming.

Few people would argue that the planet has warmed to some extent over the past three decades, and many people feel that humans caused at least some part of this warming through their consumption of fossil fuels. Well, hold the fort because our second featured article does not arrive at that conclusion whatsoever. The article was written by two scientists from Taiwan and was published recently in Atmospheric Science Letters. Lo and Hsu begin stating:

“The global mean temperature has been rising more abruptly over the past 30 years, compared with that in the previous 50–100 years. This recent warming has occurred in most areas on Earth, becoming a truly global phenomenon. The sudden acceleration of warming, which is particularly evident in the winter Northern Hemisphere (NH), can be linked with the observation of widespread abrupt changes in the late 1980s. The nature of the late 1980s’ warming and its relationship with the dominant teleconnection patterns such as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) are explored in this study.”

We knew we would like this—nothing better than scientists explaining warming with teleconnections related things that operate largely without any association to the buildup of greenhouse gases. The authors conducted sophisticated research with climate models and greenhouse gas scenarios developed by the United Nations’ IPCC group. They found that warming in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere was highly related to the two teleconnections, and it led them to conclude (hold your breath) that their results “do not support the scenario that the emerging influence of the AO-like pattern in the late 1980s can be attributed to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect.” Indeed, they conclude that what we are seeing “can be attributed to natural variability.”

OK. The earth warmed over the past 30 years. We agree (although that has largely slowed down or even stopped in the past 10 years). Atmospheric CO2 has increased. We agree. The rise in CO2 caused the warming—not according to Lo and Hsu. The warming caused vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere to thrive—Liu et al. think so.

You get the message—warming and elevated CO2 are not combining to destroy the planet’s vegetation. Quite to the contrary, they may be a blessing!

References

Lo, T.-T. and H.-H. Hsu. 2010. Change in the dominant decadal patterns and the late 1980s abrupt warming in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere. Atmospheric Science Letters, 11, 210–215.

Liu, S., R. Liu, and Y. Liu. 2010. Spatial and temporal variation of global LAI during 1981–2006. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 20, 323-332.

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89 thoughts on “The Earth’s biosphere is booming, data suggests that CO2 is the cause, part 2

  1. Great post – now show it to everyone in the MSM and see if there is any sort of reaction. My guess is that it will be ignored for now but the more that is posted like this the less chance of it being brushed under the carpet.

  2. What is the US trend over this period? Inn the specific locations where greening trends are apparent, what are the more regional US temperature and percepitation trends? I think the US trend overall is down,and the world trend is flat since 1998. Perhaps CO2 and rainfall are just as, or more important then temperature.

  3. The greening looks strongest in the fringe south of the Sahara! Hmmm the desert advance stopped by co2 when nothng else would work. This may be related to the new snows of Kilimanjaro too because this greening needs more moisture or it preserves it and transpires it over an expanded period.

  4. If you take a look at the previuous 2008 story, go to the “2004 study by Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA”; you will see that the 2004 study (Climate-Driven Increases in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 1982 to 1999, Science 6 June 2003: Vol. 300 no. 5625 pp. 1560-1563) has been recently cited in a VERY interesting article:
    “Periodic climate cooling enhanced natural disasters and wars in China during AD 10–1900″, Proc. R. Soc. B 22 December 2010 vol. 277 no. 1701 3745-3753
    (http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/277/1701/3745.abstract).
    The title says it all, but, please, bring your attention to the last phase of the abstract (you can also download the full article):
    “Our study suggests that food production during the last two millennia (!) has been more unstable during COOLER periods, resulting in more social conflicts owing to rebellions within the dynasties or/and southward aggressions from northern pastoral nomadic societies in ancient China”.
    And this comes form the study of a TWO TOUSANDS years old society…
    It’s worth to remember that the French historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie was led to the very same conclusions more than 40 years ago in his “Time of feast, time of famine” study about the history of climate since the 1000 A.D. (still a suggested reading for all those interested in the REAL history of climate), and this was the reason for the title of his book:
    cooler period = time of famine
    warmer period = time of feast

    Just my 2 cents

    Dario from Turin

  5. “Liu et al. (a.k.a., Liu3) ”

    wouldn’t that be 3Lui rather than Lui>3; Lui>3 would suggest breeding.

    ;~)

  6. “They found that warming in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere was highly related to the two teleconnections”
    Teleconnections? I’ve not heard that term used before to mean ( variable \ measure \ quality \ factor ). I assoiciate it more with electric communication, phone lines and TV masts etc. Why did they use that term?

  7. Anthony,

    But, but.. There is a consensus by all scientists that burning fossil fuels is bad for the Earth, bad for plants, bad for everyone that isn’t owned by big oil.

    Certianly the idea that warming might be natural has been disproven by Mann and Gore. There was even a Nobel Prize to prove it.

    If we accept these two, peer reviewed and published articles as potentially valid, then the warming in the Arctic and loss of sea ice there might be natural and part of natural variation of the Earth’s climate. Not only that, the life on Earth is doing better because of the burning of fossil fuels.

    It is clear that these scientists are simply tools of big oil, because all scientists believe in global warming. These apostate (can warmists use that word?) scientists must never get grants again, wait. They are from outside the US. Uh-oh.

    I hope they have a long and productive careers. When AGW finally collapses, will the scientists that break it get the Nobel Prize too?

  8. When I see these studies I try and relate the results back to where I know what has happened.

    I live in the red bit in Western Australia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meekatharra,_Western_Australia

    Coincidentally one of my mates obtained a heap of photo’s circa 1965-1970 only a couple of weeks ago and after going through them ,the thing that stood out was how much less vegetation was here back then compared to now.

  9. Who would have possibly dreamed that a little more warmth plus a tiny bit more CO2 plus a smidgen more moisture would make plants grow better? Golly, wonders will never cease! :-) Sarc off.

  10. Gary Pearse says:
    March 24, 2011 at 1:47 am

    National Geographic spilled the beans on the Sahara long ago:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara_2.html

    meemoe_uk says:
    March 24, 2011 at 2:15 am

    teleconnections are distant linked climate phenomena. Causality may or may not be known, but reliable observation and prediction has established a pattern exists.

    Ripper says:
    March 24, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Love to see the before and after shots (you might have to create those!) Any chance you could scan them and make them available?

  11. Ripper.

    Post-war gummint policy in WA (I’m a sandgroper wrinkly) was slash and burn in the wheatbelt, and run sheep over the rest. Economics have fixed that. Unsustainable farming practices have proven unsustainable. I know someone in Kalbarri making a good living harvesting goats.

  12. Ripper says: (March 24, 2011 at 2:33 am)
    When I see these studies I try and relate the results back to where I know what has happened.

         Very nice comment, Ripper. I noticed that red patch too, and was delighted to see it.
         Red in the west usually means you are sending us a heatwave here in Melbourne — where it is quite cold tonight. In this case it means greening and hallelujah!
         Wonderful news (but don’t tell ol’ Flan.)

    p.s. Any way you could show us Ripper’s photos, Anthony?

  13. Plants grow quicker at higher temperatures; tree rings get thicker; more CO2 gets consumed. No worries

  14. This is more evidence that CO2 is both harmless and beneficial. And there is still no evidence that CO2 causes any global problems. No evidence whatever.

    A cold planet is the norm. We are due for a return to the norm. Therefore, more CO2 production is essential. And as the chart shows, rises in CO2 follow rises in temperature. Effect cannot precede cause; CO2 is simply a function of temperature. [CO2 may cause some minuscule warming, but it is insignificant.]

    The current very *mild* warming cycle of only 0.7°C over the past century and a half has happened many times in the past. It is natural climate variability.

    Conclusion: CO2 is beneficial and harmless. It is entirely benign. More is better. And the CO2=CAGW conjecture is once again refuted.

  15. Nice to see legacy knowledge being confirmed by modern research…

    The Medieval Climatic Optimum ~1000 to 1350 AD – Plants, animals & man do well.
    The Little Ice Age ~1550 to 1840 AD – Plants, animals & man struggle.

    Our planet is a better place for the biosphere to live when it’s warm and wet.

  16. Mr Roger Harrabin, have you read this post? If so will you please join the BBC Today programme and tell the listeners about it. Give it the same attention you give to every paper that describes the doom and gloom caused by anthropogenic global warming.

  17. “Warm” thanks to our Chinese colleagues for some climate research which actually involved research rather than modelling. Yes, we must mention these papers as often as possible in the Mawkish Scaremongering Media.

    Meanwhile, in the UK, our brainwashed Chancellor of the Exchequer oozes a Budget still based on scary fairy stories about “carbon” and continuing the arbitrary racking up of energy prices. There’s a down for every up.

  18. Smokey;
    cold is the norm for the last few million years. Before that there were long periods when 10°C hotter was the norm. There are lotsa Norms. And lotsa norms, too. ;)

    But humans do best at about 3-5°C warmer than now.

  19. Newsflash: Tips & Notes is (I think) in the process of being “cleaned”. The comments box is gone for the moment.

  20. The N-S band in the North American wheat belt is a little puzzling. A quick look at planting and yield for the same time period shows that wheat planting has decreased by about 20%, while yield per acre has increased presumably because of improved varieties. The planting decrease wouldn’t be from urbanization, and I doubt that the wheat is being replaced by forests. Perhaps some of the land is switching to corn because of the Iowa Caucus Subsidy? Corn is leafier than wheat but I don’t know if it would make that much of a difference.

    http://colli239.fts.educ.msu.edu/2004/12/31/wheat-area-2004/

  21. Peter Stroud says:
    March 24, 2011 at 3:26 am
    “Mr Roger Harrabin, have you read this post? If so will you please join the BBC Today programme and tell the listeners about it.”

    He can’t do it. It violates the ethics of journalism to report something good. First we have to give it a catastrophic appearance. How about “Civilization threatened by rampant expansion of jungle”?

  22. Maybe inflammatory but I wonder what’s the connection between Western food fads like Veganism and the Western Greens’ obsession with and insistence upon there being a crisis. I found that returning to eating meat and fat greatly improved my mood and I stopped feeling like life was somehow in crisis. What does malnutrition do to people’s emotional drivers? Could we have more CO2, more grass, more cows, and more nutrition, leading to more balanced outlook?

  23. Pteradactyl says:
    March 24, 2011 at 1:32 am
    “Great post – now show it to everyone in the MSM and see if there is any sort of reaction. My guess is that it will be ignored for now but the more that is posted like this the less chance of it being brushed under the carpet.”

    Well, right, they are waiting for a climate version of the Japanese tsunami moment so that they can spend days tearfully describing manmade disaster as it rains upon innocent humans. Now we know to expect only extreme views from the MSM.

  24. Mods:

    Please get the message to Anthony or whomever that this site is broken on an iPad 2 since it defaults to the using the new OnSwipe module. Please disable it. There does not seem to be a way to allow the user to set a preference to not use it.

    I am posting here because posting in the Tips and Comments section seems to be disable (for me, anyway).

  25. Sorry , I should have pointed out that the aerial shot is from the west while the google image is north south.

    You can pick out the hospital to get bearings.

  26. Up to the year 2000 global warming was driven

    “…mainly by non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as chlorofluorocarbons, CH4, and N2O…”
    Dr James Hansen et. al.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/97/18/9875.full

    Roger Harrabin – “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present [2010] there has been no statistically-significant global warming”

    Phil Jones – “Yes”
    BBC Interview in February, 2010

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8511670.stm

    Therefore the last 10 years of statistically insignificant rise in temperature was mainly driven by CO2 because we can’t think of anything else? We must end this farcical scam!

  27. This seems to be an endorsement of previous reports that NASA satellite data has shown the Earth to be greening up over the last 30-40 years! Although of course this will be “blazened” on the top shelf at the back of the library basment locked store-room under a pile of unrelated papers, that has been shut for refurbishment for years! Sarc!

    As to consenus, why do people keep saying this exists, who was the French philospher who said something like “if millions of people say a studid thing, it’s still a stupid thing!” Did Galleleo take a vote on his expansion of Copernicus’ theories? Did Issac Newton go down to the local coffee house with his mates & vote on whether gravity existed? Did Wilber & Orville Wright hold a debate on whether heavier than air flying machines could actually fly? The list is pretty exhaustive & always will be! Somebody out there please show me a piece of real science that was demonstrated by democracy!

  28. What a terrible map projection to use. Having a accurate representation of land area is all well and good, but when the major increases are in the upper mid-latitudes, one should probably use a Robinson Projection or a similar compromise projection where you can actually SEE the data.

    Now if the warmists would use this map projection (Bonne, I think) we’d be a lot less scared of global warming as those big red blobs become tiny red blobs. But they use Mercator (a navigation projection) because they know it distorts at high latitudes and promotes their agenda rather than an equal area map.

  29. CO2 is not only plant food but an increase in atmospheric CO2 means that plants use less water. Two birds with one stone.

  30. Interesting. Marginal areas like the African Sahel & SW Australia show the biggest increases. Just like one would expect from increased CO2 water-use efficiency.

    Maybe increased CO2 is why I now have some 30 ft+ (10m+) trees that were planted as mail-order bare-root sticks back in 2004. A bare-root Dawn redwood “stick” I planted then has a swollen trunk 10 inches in diameter at ground level & is ~25 ft tall.

  31. Smokey says:
    March 24, 2011 at 3:22 am

    A cold planet is the norm.
    ================================
    It’s the norm only if you consider a very small part of earth’s history. The chart on your link covers the last half million years, which is something like 0.01% of earth’s history.
    (Don’t get me wrong; I do agre that the current interglacial is due to expire sometime soon (where “soon” may mean a few hundred years, or maybe a few thousand) and we’ll go back to freezing.

    But expand your view a little over 1000 times, and you see that warmer (a lot warmer) actually seems to be the norm.

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

    That’s still only about 10-12% of Earth’s history, but gives a better perspective than 0.01%. It’s hard to find a site that gives charts of earth’s temperature reconstructions at all time scales.

    I find the following is a good verbal summary, though it contains no charts for the time scales it describes.

    http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7x.html

    Earth’s Climatic History

    Climatologists have used various techniques and evidence to reconstruct a history of the Earth’s past climate. From this data, they have found that during most of the Earth’s history global temperatures were probably 8 to 15 degrees Celsius warmer than today. In the last billion years of climatic history, warmer conditions were broken by glacial periods starting at 925, 800, 680, 450, 330, and 2 million years before present.

    The period from 2,000,000 – 14,000 B.P. (before present) is known as the Pleistocene or Ice Age. During this period, large glacial ice sheets covered much of North America, Europe, and Asia for extended periods of time. The extent of the glacier ice during the Pleistocene was not static. The Pleistocene had periods when the glacier retreated (interglacial) because of warmer temperatures and advanced because of colder temperatures (glacial). During the coldest periods of the Ice Age, average global temperatures were probably 4 – 5 degrees Celsius colder than they are today.

    The most recent glacial retreat is still going on. We call the temporal period of this retreat the Holocene epoch. This warming of the Earth and subsequent glacial retreat began about 14,000 years ago (12,000 BC). The warming was shortly interrupted by a sudden cooling, known as the Younger-Dryas, at about 10,000 – 8500 BC. Scientists speculate that this cooling may have been caused by the release of fresh water trapped behind ice on North America into the North Atlantic Ocean. The release altered vertical currents in the ocean which exchange heat energy with the atmosphere. The warming resumed by 8500 BC. By 5000 to 3000 BC average global temperatures reached their maximum level during the Holocene and were 1 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today. Climatologists call this period the Climatic Optimum. During the Climatic Optimum, many of the Earth’s great ancient civilizations began and flourished. In Africa, the Nile River had three times its present volume, indicating a much larger tropical region.

    From 3000 to 2000 BC a cooling trend occurred. This cooling caused large drops in sea level and the emergence of many islands (Bahamas) and coastal areas that are still above sea level today. A short warming trend took place from 2000 to 1500 BC, followed once again by colder conditions. Colder temperatures from 1500 – 750 BC caused renewed ice growth in continental glaciers and alpine glaciers, and a sea level drop of between 2 to 3 meters below present day levels.

    The period from 750 BC – 800 AD saw warming up to 150 BC. Temperatures, however, did not get as warm as the Climatic Optimum. During the time of Roman Empire (150 BC – 300 AD) a cooling began that lasted until about 900 AD. At its height, the cooling caused the Nile River (829 AD) and the Black Sea (800-801 AD) to freeze.

    The period 900 – 1200 AD has been called the Little Climatic Optimum. It represents the warmest climate since the Climatic Optimum. During this period, the Vikings established settlements on Greenland and Iceland. The snow line in the Rocky Mountains was about 370 meters above current levels. A period of cool and more extreme weather followed the Little Climatic Optimum. A great drought in the American southwest occurred between 1276 and 1299. There are records of floods, great droughts and extreme seasonal climate fluctuations up to the 1400s.

    From 1550 to 1850 AD global temperatures were at their coldest since the beginning of the Holocene. Scientists call this period the Little Ice Age. During the Little Ice Age, the average annual temperature of the Northern Hemisphere was about 1.0 degree Celsius lower than today. During the period 1580 to 1600, the western United States experienced one of its longest and most severe droughts in the last 500 years. Cold weather in Iceland from 1753 and 1759 caused 25% of the population to die from crop failure and famine. Newspapers in New England were calling 1816 the year without a summer.

    The period 1850 to present is one of general warming. Figure 7x-1 describes the global temperature trends from 1880 to 2006. This graph shows the yearly temperature anomalies that have occurred from an average global temperature calculated for the period 1951-1980. The graph indicates that the anomolies for the first 60 years of the record were consistently negative. However, beginning in 1935 positive anomolies became more common, and from 1980 to 2006 most of the anomolies were between 0.20 to 0.63 degrees Celsius higher than the normal period (1951-1980) average.

  32. If “Ripper” scans his photos and uploads them to Photobucket or the like, then posts a link, we can have a peak at them.

  33. A higher concentration of carbon dioxide together with warmer temperatures = better plant growth? Who would have imagined it???

  34. I’m one of those people who worries that climate change is or could be a catastrophic problem. I agree that this is good news. The worry that I have is that it won’t necessarily continue. i.e. a little warming is good, but a lot of warming may suck. I’m not qualified to comment on the validity of the idea, except to say that I’ve spoken with biosphere experts who hold pretty strongly to this view.

  35. oldseadog says:
    March 24, 2011 at 1:36 am
    You mean it’s better than we thought?
    ———
    Au contraire, Old Sea Dog, it’s much worse than we thought. This was NEVER about science, not even from the first proposal for funding to study the “problem”. It has been always about money and power.

    The so-called climate “scientists” have received hundreds of Millions??? Billions??? in funding to study a non-problem. The Goracle has made $100,000,000 off of this fraud and the Kleptocrats in the United Nations are opening Swiss bank accounts to put our money in when they get a global Cap-and-Tax system. Local politicians would have tremendous power to choose the “winners” with schemes like these and hence harvest billions in bribes (campaign contributions).

    Articles like this sabotage their plans. The Horror of it All!

    Regards,

    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s Evil Twin)

    PS Just out of curiosity, what is the Genesis of your “name”. Mine came from 30 some years in the Merchant Marine, retiring as a Chief Engineer on a 32,000 SHP steam ship.

  36. I have always been perplexed by the fact that the potential benefits of both warming and a high atmospheric concentration of CO2. The proper calculation for the Pigovian fee on carbon emissions is; C (total societal cost of emissions)-B (total societal benefit of emissions) = optimal fee for emitting. This is a simple subtraction problem, first grade math. Billions of dollars have been spent on extrapolations of short term trends to measure C. Large quantities of advance math have been used, and new statistical techniques have been invented for measuring C. Yet in the final analysis, these mathematically literate scientists fail at the first grade math problem by concluding that C-B=C

  37. The socialist Chinese just shot their Western socialist in the foot and now China can drive more cars without the guilt currently gripping the left in the West. Not that they had much anyway.

  38. My husband, the carpet layer, is with Smokey. Observation, observation, observation.

    I quit believing in “anthropogenic” global warming when my family visited Mono Lake one day. We go there alot, it’s the best bathroom on the way to G’p’as house. They got a very lovely center there with lots of info, check it out some time.

    For one thing, they said uplift formed Mono Lake. When the earth jutted up, it trapped a bunch of water, which became frozen glaciers. That whole valley was glacial at one time, you got your classic glacial shape and piles of moraine everywhere. These uplift glaciers began to melt, and formed a lot of lakes, there are old lake beds all along Hwy 395. These glaciers created a lush river valley in what is now a desert. There were cottonwood trees everywhere, there’s still HUGE ones left. That’s like finding a polar bear walking the streets of Sacramento.

    At one time there were also thousands of people – we saw an arrowhead chipping ground along the dried up Owens River bed, I mean, you could just imagine hunters chipping out arrowheads as far as the eye could see. Obsidian does not occur there – the nearest formations are supposedly 100 miles away. But there’s obsidian chips all over the ground after a rain, sparkling like diamonds all over the ground for acres.

    But, the glaciers had been trapped, and as they melted, they were not renewed. Over the next 10 thousand years, the rivers and lakes began to dry up. By the time white people came to the Owens River Valley, a lot of the water and most of the people were gone. The Paiute had moved in from Nevada, but the people who had been there, the folks who carved the rocks at Chalifant, were already gone. White people mowed down the giant cottonwoods – they made charcoal out of them in big pits to the east of the valley. But they didn’t take all the water – nature took most of the water. LA got what was left.

    When I hear the global warming argument, I remember what “Rick” says at the end of Casablanca – ” the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” I don’t think people could change the global climate, they just mess up their own immediate ecosystems, causing their own problems. Earth has it’s own clock, which is obviously running, and I don’t believe people could influence it to the extent that the global warming alarmists are claiming.

    But, like my dad always said, smart birds don’t poop in their own nest. If we want to have a nice place to live, we have to take good care of it. I’ve just been reading The Wilderness Warrior, a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the fight to convince people we needed to set aside wilderness lands. It reminds me there’s still today people who will throw out the whole conservation argument along with the crazier aspects of the global warming argument – as if they’ve just been waiting for somebody to say, “go ahead, just huck those fast food containers out your car window, nothing matters!”

    There’s a middle ground here, let’s cling to it.

  39. When Co2 levels start rising from historic low levels, plants that evolved in the 1000-4000ppm range, act like they like it. Who would have guessed?

  40. Peter Stroud says:
    March 24, 2011 at 3:26 am
    Mr Roger Harrabin, have you read this post? If so will you please join the BBC Today programme and tell the listeners about it. Give it the same attention you give to every paper that describes the doom and gloom caused by anthropogenic global warming.

    Mr Stroud, I STRONGLY advise you NOT to hold your breath!! In the very unlikely event that Harrabin would attempt to do such a thing (after all, this paper is totally contrary to his belief system), the BBC would not broadcast such a “farrago of lies.” They know it’s that, Harrabin has told them!

  41. Harrabin won’t, his pension, and all at the BBC, depends entirely on green tech doing well, through their massive investment via the IIGCC.

  42. “A Billion Acts of Green ©” http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2011 is what they’re now pushing for Earth Day, April 22, continuing the demonization of “carbon”.

    Excerpt: “A Billion Acts of Green® inspires and rewards both simple individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that further the goal of measurably reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainability. The goal is to register one billion actions in advance of the Earth Summit in Rio in 2012. A Billion Acts of Green® website quantifies acts of green through an easy-to-use online registration tool. A Billion Acts of Green® demonstrates the kind of environmental impact that can be made when millions of people, corporations and organizations make commitments, both small and large, to better their environment.”

    One effort, “The Canopy Project” http://www.earthday.org/campaign/canopy-project truly is green, in the traditional, and correct sense. The Greenidiots, though, think of them, first and foremost in terms of how much “carbon” they absorb.
    I used to like Earth Day. Now, it’s become just one more in the Alarmists’ propaganda arsenal, with a ready-made army of useful idiots to do their bidding.

  43. Smokey says:
    March 24, 2011 at 3:22 am
    This is more evidence that CO2 is both harmless and beneficial. And there is still no evidence that CO2 causes any global problems. No evidence whatever.
    ====================================================
    Smokey, you know what’s really odd?
    For the most part, these are the people that believe in Gaia, and the whole earth living organism thing…
    ..yet it never occurs to them that maybe it’s supposed to work this way

  44. Increased CO2 and longer growing seasons… who’d of ever guessed that would make green plants more productive? /sarc

  45. Interesting to witness the greening of Africa while they still have trouble feeding themselves.

    What strange times.

  46. As well as the direct effects of CO2 on plant growth, perhaps there are secondary effects as going on as well. The distribution of increased leaf looks similar to the distrubution of water stress in some parts of the world. (see http://www.maplecroft.com/about/news/water-stress.html).
    I wouldn’t suggest that water stress causes plant growth, so perhaps the causality is that the areas of increase on both maps are have a common underlying cause of increased irrigation.

  47. Francisco says:
    March 24, 2011 at 6:36 am

    I liked your post & the historical obsevations commented on. However you mention 1816 as the year with out a summer, but there was that letter from Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society written to the Lords of the Admiralty in 1817 concerning a lack of ice in the Arctic Circle suggesting a new source of warmth had occurred! I suggest that the Earth’s climate may be a tad more variable from year to years, decade to decade, century to century, etc, that some would have us believe! In fact, I am yet to have that old chetnut answered, what IS the Earth’s natural climate variability? To quote Doug L. Hoffman, “enjoy the interglacial”!

  48. Jeremy says:
    March 24, 2011 at 8:21 am
    “Interesting to witness the greening of Africa while they still have trouble feeding themselves.
    What strange times.”

    Not strange. Just too many feudal scum-bag politicians in Africa who would rather grow cash-crops for export at the behest of the IMF/World Bank, rather than using land and labour for growing food.

  49. First of all… What respectable scientist ever said GW was going to “destroy” the planet? The planet dosent give a sh!@. It’s our civilization that might suffer .. Come on guys… Read something besides denier BS… And who said plants wouldn’t benefit from co2? How does that change anything????

  50. Robb876 says:
    March 24, 2011 at 11:45 am
    It’s our civilization that might suffer ..

    If we have more food from increased growth, and warmer winter nights as the data shows, is that more suffering?

  51. Nick Bentley says:
    March 24, 2011 at 6:49 am
    I’m not qualified to comment on the validity of the idea, except to say that I’ve spoken with biosphere experts who hold pretty strongly to this view.

    I’m one that doesn’t.

  52. It is well known that plants need CO2 and H2O. Climate change is driving H2O out from soils. While for a time the CO2 increase and longer growing seasons drove an increase in land plant growth, that trend has now been reversed.

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/plant-decline.html

    “Earth has done an ecological about-face: Global plant productivity that once flourished under warming temperatures and a lengthened growing season is now on the decline, struck by the stress of drought.

    NASA-funded researchers Maosheng Zhao and Steven Running, of the University of Montana in Missoula, discovered the global shift during an analysis of NASA satellite data. Compared with a six-percent increase spanning two earlier decades, the recent ten-year decline is slight — just one percent. The shift, however, could impact food security, biofuels, and the global carbon cycle.

    “We see this as a bit of a surprise, and potentially significant on a policy level because previous interpretations suggested that global warming might actually help plant growth around the world,” Running said.”

    And ocean phytoplankton has long been on the decline.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7306/abs/nature09268.html

    “Global phytoplankton decline over the past century

    In the oceans, ubiquitous microscopic phototrophs (phytoplankton) account for approximately half the production of organic matter on Earth. Analyses of satellite-derived phytoplankton concentration (available since 1979) have suggested decadal-scale fluctuations linked to climate forcing, but the length of this record is insufficient to resolve longer-term trends. Here we combine available ocean transparency measurements and in situ chlorophyll observations to estimate the time dependence of phytoplankton biomass at local, regional and global scales since 1899. We observe declines in eight out of ten ocean regions, and estimate a global rate of decline of ~1% of the global median per year. Our analyses further reveal interannual to decadal phytoplankton fluctuations superimposed on long-term trends. These fluctuations are strongly correlated with basin-scale climate indices, whereas long-term declining trends are related to increasing sea surface temperatures. We conclude that global phytoplankton concentration has declined over the past century; this decline will need to be considered in future studies of marine ecosystems, geochemical cycling, ocean circulation and fisheries.”

  53. Tim Clark says:
    March 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm
    Robb876 says:
    March 24, 2011 at 11:45 am
    It’s our civilization that might suffer ..

    “If we have more food from increased growth, and warmer winter nights as the data shows, is that more suffering?”

    A secret agenda of all Warmista and all members of our international ruling elite is depopulation. They do not want more food. They want controlled depopulation. In other words, they approve of China’s policy of limiting births to one per couple. Never in the history of mankind has a government undertaken anything more morally depraved than limiting the number of births per couple in a captive society that has always depended on the first born male to serve as his father’s reward in old age and as social security for his parents. But all totalitarians are alike at heart.

  54. Anthony, early on in backgrounding LAI you say about the authors:
    “We will certainly trust their judgment”
    This highlights the core issue as I see it with the CAGW scare. Science is generally an esoteric pursuit beyond critical understanding for lay people which also includes the majority of decision makers/politicians/lawmakers and so on. So science needs to be trustworthy. It has become fairly clear that the “Team” have abused and manipulated that trust. One can see the bind that policy makers are in when they “trust” all of those scientists and their professional bodies, they can hardly do anything else in their position. It’s going to take a lot to shatter that trust.

    REPLY: Note who the author is, not me

  55. ColinD says:
    March 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    “So science needs to be trustworthy. It has become fairly clear that the “Team” have abused and manipulated that trust. One can see the bind that policy makers are in when they “trust” all of those scientists and their professional bodies, they can hardly do anything else in their position. It’s going to take a lot to shatter that trust.”

    Very well said. With regard to your last sentence, didn’t we just elect 60+ Republicans to the House, a couple of Republicans to the Senate, and one Democratic Senator from West Virginia who do not trust the scientists?

  56. Tim Clark says:
    March 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    If we have more food from increased growth, and warmer winter nights as the data shows, is that more suffering?
    ………

    Come on Tim… Are you really trying to say you think those are the only possible consequences or that they trump all others? One thing skeptics seem to miss is that you can’t disprove GW threats based on what is occurring now.. You understand that, right? Climate takes decades and decades to show discernible change… Which is why the threats won’t really be significant until we are probably both gone….

  57. The original owners of planet earth were plants, they converted our CO2 atmosphere to one rich in O2, that allowed animals to evolve.

    They were so efficient in sequesting over time that they have been suffering a lack of their basic food source.

    It is therefore encumbent upon us to release this very necessary food for the plants, in the same way they once helped us.

    2000PPM would see the world blossom, this earth hour do your best in re-carbonating our atmosphere.

  58. Robb876 says:
    March 24, 2011 at 11:45 am
    It’s our civilization that might suffer ..
    Yes, from Natural Global Cooling, particularly if we cool more than an expected Dalton type period to the LIA conditions possible by mid-century. History, and common sense show that cooling is by far the more dangerous condition. The Warmist Chicken Littles are warning of exactly the wrong thing, blaming something entirely innocent (C02), and the consequences for that could be tragic indeed.

  59. Bruce Cobb says:
    Yes, from Natural Global Cooling…..

    …..

    Yeah yeah…. Global cooling, that’s a good one. I’ll believe it when I see it, but so far I don’t consider 30 years of consecutively hotter decades to be a sign of global cooling… Why do you?

  60. No, I’m stating that there is no actual data that indicates catastrophic consequences of modeled increases of temperatures in response to higher levels of CO2 without unverified positive feedbacks.

  61. Rob876 says:
    “One thing skeptics seem to miss is that you can’t disprove GW threats based on what is occurring now….Which is why the threats won’t really be significant until we are probably both gone….”
    ………………..
    To quote Yoda, “Backwards, you have it.” You’ve turned the “null hypothesis” on its head, like many in your camp. In a rational, scientific world it is incumbent upon the GW alarmists to prove their case rather than others to disprove it. They haven’t proven their case because they’ve come up with no real world data or observations (after spending billions of dollars) to support their claims of impending doom.

    If I followed your reasoning, I could state that the world will be over-run with Little Green Men. Give me money to study this grave threat further, or we’ll all be dead….in fifty years. I’m right because you can’t prove me wrong.

  62. Tim Clark says: March 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm “No, I’m stating that there is no actual data that indicates catastrophic consequences of modeled increases of temperatures in response to higher levels of CO2 without unverified positive feedbacks.”

    So many implicit assumptions. The increase in atmospheric water vapor is an empirical fact and is the main positive feedback. The decrease in ice cover has measurably decreased Earth’s albedo. Another positive feedback. You know these facts but pretend you don’t. Why?

    Droughts have increased. Crop failures caused by drought, floods and heat waves are real data. As I pointed out above net land plant growth and phytoplankton are down. Data links past extinction events with CO2 rise and ocean acidification. The experts think this data is pretty significant. There is of course no such thing as absolute proof in the empirical sciences, but they do give us a rational basis to estimate risks. Why ignore the science? What would be the great harm in taxing GHG emissions while lowering other taxes? Tax carbon mot income! Let’s reduce our risk.

  63. Chris Riley says:
    March 24, 2011 at 7:02 am

    I have always been perplexed by the fact that the potential benefits of both warming and a high atmospheric concentration of CO2. The proper calculation for the Pigovian fee on carbon emissions is; C (total societal cost of emissions)-B (total societal benefit of emissions) = optimal fee for emitting. This is a simple subtraction problem, first grade math. Billions of dollars have been spent on extrapolations of short term trends to measure C. Large quantities of advance math have been used, and new statistical techniques have been invented for measuring C. Yet in the final analysis, these mathematically literate scientists fail at the first grade math problem by concluding that C-B=C

    The problem is, you see, that when B>C, it yields a negative fee. Which means CO2 emissions should be subsidized. I’ve been tweaking the Warmists for some time by calling for free coal-plant-generated electricity for all. That’s the true logical conclusion!

  64. WTF, mr. Watts? Why are you taking this study as saying something positive? I thought you got the “bizarro-memo” in January stating the new way of relating to real world findings: cold is the new warm and green is no longer good. It’s all about badgreen and warmcold in 2011. Oh, and we’re now all for the new cleancoal when it comes to energy… and Kilemanjaro is snowmelting. Don’t believe your eyes and the observations. Always let the experts perform their “tricks” first!

  65. John F. Hultquist says: March 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm
    Please explain these charts: http://www.drroyspencer.com/

    John,

    The first two graphs are over a very short time frame which is why no trend is obvious. The third from 1979 to 2011 does show a warming trend. Yes there are strong natural variations as well. But the trend is clear. The world we live in is warming. There is really no dispute about that even with WUWT. The depute is over why Earth is warming and what the impacts will be. There are some positive changes: at first there was some greening. Maybe we will be able to swim in the Arctic (sarcasm). But the negative effects will over whelm the positive. See here or here for example.

    What would be so bad about reducing income and other taxes and taxing GHG emissions instead? Why have disincentives to work and invest when instead we could give incentives to conserve energy?

    If you don’t trust liberals see http://www.rep.org . AGW is real, serious and solvable – and it is not a liberal/socialist plot.

  66. .
    Indeed. Just reading an aviation crash analysis, which was getting worried by the huge increase in goose numbers. Apparently they have quadrupled in the last 40 years. Standby for more landings on the Hudson.

    .

  67. Robb876 says:
    March 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    “Climate takes decades and decades to show discernible change… Which is why the threats won’t really be significant until we are probably both gone….”

    Well, we have been steady or cooling for fifteen years now. That is climate, right? So, we need to wait decades before we conclude that climate is warming, right?

  68. Since the relation between CO2 concentrations and plant growth is much better understood and infinitely easier to test empircally than the relation (if any) between CO2 and global temperatures, it would be very helpful if a serious study were undertaken to try to figure out how much plant stunting, plant loss, reduction in agricultural productivity and general loss of life in all forms would occur worldwide if we managed to reduce CO2 concentrations by say 100 ppm, to pre-industrial levels. Couple that CO2 reduction with a possible drop of some 0.7 C in temperatures (assuming for the sake of argument that all temperature increase during the 20th century was caused by CO2), and the resulting picture in terms of global destruction of life might be rather huge. It would be interesting to see how those who call themselves “greens” might justify the vast un-greening caused by such a process — a process they keep claiming is the only road to our salvation.

    I suspect they are not in any hurry for such a helpful study to be funded and undertaken. It’s much more fun to tinker with climate models and attribute all extreme weather events to CO2.

  69. Like I said before: I don’t think CO2 has any warming effect at all. You can find that out for yourself in the place where you live, provided you follow the same procedure that I did here:

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/assessment-of-global-warming-and-global-warming-caused-by-greenhouse-forcings-in-pretoria-south-africa

    the conclusion of the report here is: there is no warming caused by the increase in GHG’s of the past 4 decades.
    I double checked these results with those of stations in Spain, N-Ireland and in the dry months in La Paz, Bolivia. I found always the same results: minima have declined or remained unchanged whereas maxima climbed and means have essentially remained unchanged.
    I also believe more carbon dioxide is better, to get more greenery and better crops.

    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

  70. Hey Mike,

    “AGW is real, serious and solvable – and it is not a liberal/socialist plot.”

    The “well it is getter greener now, but just you wait” argument is more and more obvious that you are not being logical, but part of a belief system.

    Jesus didn’t return this year, but just you wait…

  71. Robb876 says:
    March 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Bruce Cobb says:
    Yes, from Natural Global Cooling…..

    …..

    Yeah yeah…. Global cooling, that’s a good one. I’ll believe it when I see it, but so far I don’t consider 30 years of consecutively hotter decades to be a sign of global cooling… Why do you?

    “30 years of consecutively hotter decades”? Sure, I guess if you want to cherry-pick your time period, and conflate years with decades we have warmed some. The warming is not manmade, though. Try this:

    http://www.intellicast.com/Community/Content.aspx?ref=rss&a=167

  72. First of all, no one doubts that all other things being equal, and increase in CO2 will result in an increase in plant growth. The concern with CO2 is because of rapid temperature increases, rising sea levels, the occurrence of extreme weather events such as flooding and droughts and acidification of oceans. Since the increase over the last century or so has been about 0.75C versus the 3C or more expected, and the effects are not necessarily linear in temperature, the increase in plant growth observed so far, by itself, does not indicate what the future will bring.

    Looking at the abstract of the LAI paper, we see that the increase is 0.0013/year or a total increase of 0.034 over the past 26 years. The LAI is the fractional increase in ground area covered by leaves. This small change in the fractional area is supposedly detected by satellite spectrometry. Because of the paywall, I don’t have access to the full paper. Does anyone know if the data on the stability of the satellite detection efficiency over the last 26 years was given in the paper?

    Also, global brightening over that time period, could be responsible for the change in these measurements in addition to or instead of the CO2 increase. Did the authors consider that?

  73. eadler says:

    “The concern with CO2 is because of rapid temperature increases, rising sea levels, the occurrence of extreme weather events such as flooding and droughts and acidification of oceans.”

    There is no evidence that CO2 has caused rapid temperature increases. The planet’s temperature has risen a very mild 0.7°C, as the earth continues to emerge from the LIA. That small rise has taken ≈160 years.

    Numerous such rises and declines have taken place over the past 10 millennia, many with much sharper trends. The temperature has often risen and fallen by several degrees Celsius, in a much shorter time span, and with no correllation to preceding CO2 levels; in fact, CO2 levels follow temperature changes. There is no evidence – none – showing that the current rise in temperature and CO2 is anything more than a coincidence.

    Next, the rise in sea levels since the last stadial has been slowing, thus falsifying any claims that CO2 causes sea levels to accelerate. The same is true of extreme weather events, which are becoming less common. CO2 has nothing to do with extreme weather, which is after all, weather.

    Finally, the ocean acidification canard was dembunked here by Willis Eschenbach and David Middleton. The oceans’ immense buffering capacity easily handles the tiny atmospheric trace gas CO2 without altering its pH.

    In short, every claim eadler made is wrong, with the one exception of increased agricultural productivity. There is simply no verifiable evidence showing that carbon dioxide has caused any problems at all, and it is misrepresentation to claim otherwise.

  74. Smokey says:
    March 26, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    eadler says:

    “The concern with CO2 is because of rapid temperature increases, rising sea levels, the occurrence of extreme weather events such as flooding and droughts and acidification of oceans.”

    There is no evidence that CO2 has caused rapid temperature increases. The planet’s temperature has risen a very mild 0.7°C, as the earth continues to emerge from the LIA. That small rise has taken ≈160 years.

    I clearly stated in the later part of my post, that this is a concern for the future not the present. The rate of rise has accelerated over the past 40 years.


    Numerous such rises and declines have taken place over the past 10 millennia, many with much sharper trends. The temperature has often risen and fallen by several degrees Celsius, in a much shorter time span, and with no correllation to preceding CO2 levels; in fact, CO2 levels follow temperature changes. There is no evidence – none – showing that the current rise in temperature and CO2 is anything more than a coincidence.

    The claim that there is no evidence is clearly false. Instead of debating the evidence that exists, you prefer to deny there is any. In fact, scientists have published analysis of the ice age cycles, showing that CO2 is an important feedback mechanism.

    Next, the rise in sea levels since the last stadial has been slowing, thus falsifying any claims that CO2 causes sea levels to accelerate. The same is true of extreme weather events, which are becoming less common. CO2 has nothing to do with extreme weather, which is after all, weather.

    Finally, the ocean acidification canard was dembunked here by Willis Eschenbach and David Middleton. The oceans’ immense buffering capacity easily handles the tiny atmospheric trace gas CO2 without altering its pH.

    In short, every claim eadler made is wrong, with the one exception of increased agricultural productivity. There is simply no verifiable evidence showing that carbon dioxide has caused any problems at all, and it is misrepresentation to claim otherwise.
    Despite the claims of Eschenbach, ocean acidification by CO2 has been a process understood for many years, and has been measured very conclusively.

    http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/lsuatoni/why_scientists_agree_ocean_aci.html

    It is also false that droughts and floods have decreased in recent years as you claim.

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