New study confirms that nature is responsible for 90% of the Earth’s atmospheric acidity

From the UOW, nice to see that man isn’t the culprit in this case.

University of Wollongong60 Years, 1951-2011

UOW data confirm surprising atmospheric findings

Dr Murphy and Professor Griffith with the suntracker of the solar Fourier transform spectrometer that backed surprising satellite readings linking most formic acid emissions from forests

By Melissa Coade – Satellites showing that nature is responsible for 90% of the earth’s atmospheric acidity shocked researchers from the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy, whose findings have just been published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Stunned, the scientists approached a team from the University of Wollongong’s Centre of Atmospheric Chemistry (CAC) to confirm what satellite readings were telling them.

By providing data from a ground-based solar Fourier transform spectrometer instrument at the University, CAC used 15-years worth of information to verify the satellite’s story: all existing global models had substantially misjudged the main source of formic acid levels on earth – its forests.

UOW Physical Chemistry lecturer Dr Clare Murphy (Paton-Walsh) made the first measurements of formic acid with the instrument as part of her PhD looking at the atmospheric emissions of bushfires.

“The instrument provides a spectral record, of which you can analyse for a whole number of different gases, and formic acid is one that is relatively new,” Dr Murphy said.

“The modelling shows, particularly, that natural forest emissions have been highly underestimated. Our forest areas are producing more formic acid than we ever thought,” she said.

Dr Murphy said the unexpected results might well mean forests are responsible for most of the acidity in rainwater in areas other than highly-polluted inner-cities.

“Our instrumentation has global significance because the number of facilities in the region are very limited. In order to capture some of the major forests of the Southern Hemisphere this machine was crucial,” she said.

In the atmosphere, formic acid impacts a number of important pH-sensitive chemical reactions such as the production and loss of radicals affecting the ozone. Quickly absorbed by microbes, formic acid is not associated with the harmful effects of acid rain.

According to CAC coordinator and co-contributor Professor David Griffith, the results provide a whole new angle to existing knowledge about our atmosphere.

“When it comes to understanding the fundamental chemistry that goes on and the whole oxidiative cycle, where formic acid has an important impact is that it is one component of the soup which controls the ability of the atmosphere to oxidise pollutants and get rid of them,” Professor Griffith said.

“Normally you take your measurements and might make a 10 or 20 percent adjustment to an estimate of a source but here we’ve proven by several factors that our understanding was wrong,” he said.

The study showed that terrestrial vegetation accounts for 90 percent of annual formic acid production. Other sources include fossil fuel combustion, agriculture and biomass burning.

Alongside UOW co-authors Dr Murphy and Professor Griffith worked CAS members Dr Nicholas Jones and Dr Nicholas Deutscher.

 

h/t to Dr. Leif Svalgaard

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80 thoughts on “New study confirms that nature is responsible for 90% of the Earth’s atmospheric acidity

  1. I wonder why scientists would be shocked or stunned by the results of their observations.

    Seems to me that one would just accept the results one gets, and report them, without having to psychoanalyse the results.

  2. OhOh. Good thing this hasn’t got out into the MSM. Just think what it would do to the CAGW/AGW whatever meme in fashion now!!

  3. Well, that’s a shocker….. ‘we’ve proven by several factors that our understanding was wrong,”

    Still, I’m going to need an atmospheric chemist to explain the implications. Isn’t formic acid simply hydrogenated CO2? And then if it gets gaseous doesn’t that make a whole host of implications? How much are we really talking about? My experience with it is limited to allergies and anaphylaxis considerations. Can we desensitized people by having them walk around in the woods?

  4. and it was reported by the bbc that the ipcc was appalled that two groups of scientists worked together and actually shared information to help prove their findings were accurate. mike mann was quoted as saying “imagine giving someone else your hardwork and data, not on my watch”….hehe

  5. Does atmospheric acidity = formic acid content?

    I would have thought formic acid is one component of atmospheric acidity.

  6. The Belgian study last month actually shocked Fred Pearce of New Superstitionist into admitting a bit of truth for once:

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21298-trees-do-bear-some-blame-for-acid-rain.html

    I seem to recall that the specific acid-rain scare in NE USA was disproved quite a while ago by a study of wind patterns; the forests in question couldn’t have gotten the pollution from the accused power plants.

    Now it’s especially good to see the whole theory, not just the specific distribution, disproved twice!

  7. Formic acid has long been known to be a result of the oxidation of natural methane formed during the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter. Formic acid as an air pollutant is generally an indoor problem – and is especially of concern to museums. This research is interesting, but doesn’t seem to have much significance to climate change.

    “The modelling shows, particularly, that natural forest emissions have been highly underestimated.”

    I don’t have a problem with models.

  8. Now that strikes a note in the old grey cells..
    when designing timber (lumber ) drying sheds for European Woodland use, the 2 biggest problems for the shed materials always was the gases given off during drying; to cut a short story even shorter, you get Formic Acid and Lactic Acid, which sort of caused problems with cement based structures, (except for the fact that they had half dismantled themselves by the time the timber in the area had been cleared)
    So it seems quite realistic.

  9. I haven’t imagined ever that “atmospheric acidity” is one of the environmental concerns.
    Perhaps “environmental scientists” have been busy finding “the next problem”?

  10. Mmmmmm, models confirmed by satellite data….trying to think where I have heard of that before. Aren’t these technically referred to as “computer games” here?

  11. I too am having trouble understanding the language of these scientists. Shocked? New data observed. Experiment developed to test long standing hypothesis . Hypothesis falsified. Another perfectly reasonable hypothesis developed and is not falsified. Kudos. Where is the shocked bit? It is as if for the reporter finding out humans are not the villains is of itself shocking.

  12. I remember when the doctor (played by Edmund Gwenn) held the bottle of formic acid under the nose of the catatonic girl and she came to yelling, Them! Them!
    Maybe it’s not trees but ants.

  13. Consider just how serious this is……..Co2 only comprises 0.03% and look at the damage that’s causing…..

    We are causing ten percent of the damage in this case….more than 300 times the damage…….

    sarc.

  14. I once stirred up a large nest of red ants, and after they were frantically scurrying about, I leaned over their nest and took a deep breath. Wow! My nose had never ever before smelled anything as acrid as formic acid fumes! I don’t know if this was a coincidence or not, but that night I had the most vivid dreams of hand-to-hand combat with all kinds of people and animals.

  15. Yeah, right. Next thing you know these researchers will be trying to have us believe that North America is a net CO2 sink.

  16. Nick Kermode says:
    January 11, 2012 at 6:12 pm
    Mmmmmm, models confirmed by satellite data….trying to think where I have heard of that before. Aren’t these technically referred to as “computer games” here?
    ===================================================
    No, in this case empirical observations via satellite confirm the models. These models are actually validated by empirical observation … which the climate computer games can’t seem to master.

  17. JackWayne says:
    January 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I think a man named Reagan said something like this 30 years ago.
    ===============================================
    Good that you remembered. I also remember that. And I recall the scorn he got for such a statement. I’m trying to find a link to it, but have been unsuccessful so far.

  18. Harry Won:

    Shocked that their foregone conclusions were not confirmed – at least they were honest enough to admit it.

    I have had numerous discussions with engineers regarding testing of hypotheses/systems… the overwhelming conclusion is “I wanted to be wrong in hope that it would perform better.” We are rarely shocked unless we are right the first time.

    Mark

  19. Well, they may be shocked and all that, but I say let’s give them points for actually measuring something other than model “output.”

  20. Harry Won A BAgel says: “It is as if for the reporter finding out humans are not the villains is of itself shocking.”

    There is a deep and important truth in that single line, Harry. It has driven madness abroad and exposed the facile depth of our group wisdom.

  21. Finally some science where land measurements and satellite measurements agree! I wonder how many global climate modelers are going to “drop acid” now. /sarc

  22. Myron Mesecke says: January 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm
    [...]
    Maybe it’s not trees but ants.

    I agree. I learned ants used formic acid to mark their trails. At least they are not going on about airborne carbonic acid.

  23. James Sexton says: :”Well, that’s a shocker….. ‘we’ve proven by several factors that our understanding was wrong,’ Still, I’m going to need an atmospheric chemist to explain the implications. Isn’t formic acid simply hydrogenated CO2? And then if it gets gaseous doesn’t that make a whole host of implications?”

    No, formic acid is the product of oxidation, not reduction/hydrogenation. Methane and terpenes would be likely suspects for the precursors. Forests on a warm day will develop a form of smog from hydrocarbons released by the leaves and undergrowth. CO2 is a source of rainwater acidity, too.

  24. ‘“The modelling shows, particularly, that natural forest emissions have been highly underestimated. Our forest areas are producing more formic acid than we ever thought,” she said.

    Dr Murphy said the unexpected results might well mean forests are responsible for most of the acidity in rainwater in areas other than highly-polluted inner-cities.’

    See what empirical research and experimentation can do. It produces surprises.

    Climate science has never produced a surprise and never will. Why? Because they just do not have the instinct for the empirical or the energy for research.

  25. jorgekafkazar says January 11, 2012 at 8:43 pm “CO2 is a source of rainwater acidity, too.” I have a paper under review that looks at the last 40 years of rainfall chemistry from 143 stations across the US in search of a signal that higher CO2 means lower pH in rain. Can’t find it. Multivariate analysis seems to show Ca and Mg content of rain determines pH.

  26. So, Acid Rain comes from the Forest? SAY AGAIN??????

    So the Acid Rain scare was indeed a hoax then. Good grief.

  27. One more time – play it again, Sam:

    Interesting data, that provides more evidence for my hypothesis, soon to be elevated to the

    Law of Environmental Nonsense
    “Nothing that 21st Century environmental radicals (aka global warming alarmists) have written is valid. It is all fictitious nonsense, concocted to frighten the gullible public, and unsupported by facts.“

    A trillion dollars of scarce global resources has been squandered on false alarms concocted by politically-motivated environmental radicals. It is time to put a stop to this wasteful (and truly anti-environmental) foolishness.

  28. It’s nice to believe that things may finally be swinging back toward rationality in the science of climate, but the forces of irrationality remain embedded like a tick on a coonhound throughout our government

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/business/energy-environment/companies-face-fines-for-not-using-unavailable-biofuel.html

    “WASHINGTON — When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.”

  29. @Kevin O’Neill

    Just seem all the models have huge problems with Earth systems. Is it Oceans, Atmosphere, Glaciers, Polar Bears or even short term local wheather. Only politicians seem to found, believe and trust the outcome of carefully engineered output.

  30. I hope that Dr Murphy and Professor Griffith get lots of publicity for their work.
    However I remember the 60 Minutes December 30, 1990 report of the National Acid Rain Precipitation Assessment Project (NAPAP). One thing that stood out in the report was a brief interview with an environmental activist. The reporter told him that the acid rain legislation would not help anything and the activist did not dispute that. He instead said that what was important was the legislation but did not explain why.

    This article gives a good and long sequence of the events and research paid for and ignored by congress because too many people had their political power wagon hooked to the (humans are destroying the environment) horse. It also speaks of what happened to the lead NAPAP scientist Edward C. Krug.
    Rear Mirror: The EPA vs. Ed Krug over the Acid Rain Scare
    Source:  SEPP
    ACID TEST by William Anderson
    Published in Reason Magazine, January 1992

    http://sppiblog.org/news/rear-mirror-the-epa-vs-ed-krug-over-the-acid-rain-scare#more-2463

    “Some people don’t like what Edward Krug has to say about acid rain. That was apparent when he spoke at a seminar on the subject last April in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Krug, a soil scientist who had helped conduct a 10-year federal study of acid rain, spoke with some expertise. He told his audience that he and his fellow researchers on the National Acid Rain Precipitation Assessment Project had determined that acid rain was an environmental nuisance, not a catastrophe.”

    Save the Planet, Sacrifice the People: The Environmental Party’s Bid for Power
    Edward C. Krug
    Soil Scientist
    This article published by Hillsdale College gives us more information.
    “It was in this atmosphere that Congress passed a new Clean Air Act in 1990 in large part to allay manufactured fears of acid rain. What Congress is trying to cover up is the fact that this new legislation will cost our nation, conservatively, $40 billion a year.”

    http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=1991&month=07

  31. Do you know what, whenever I see something is 90% of that or 10% of that or any other firgure I know it is BS. It’s a guess. You know like ” 85% of women tested said it worked” and then below “of 185″. BS.

    95% likely that the temp rise over the last 30% is AGW. BS

  32. IIRC, It was first European settlers after 1788 who invented the name “Blue Mountains” for what was originally named “Carmarthen Hills” or other names.
    These are the mountains that are west and north of the University of Woolongong, and behind Sydney, where the Fourier transform spectrometer detected formic acid at high levels.
    Earlier reports attributed the Blue name to particulate oils from the Eucalyptus tree spp. that are so common in East Australia, via dispersion of sunlight. One needs only eyesight to know that there are special properties in the atmosphere here, but instruments are needed to decode them.
    If the eye can see radiative effects, it is quite likely that some climate effect will be caused. The radiative flux might be changed, depending on the light absorption spectrum of molecular formic acid, which I have not studied.
    This is apart from its inherent acidity. Some say that the bite of a bull ant stings because of formic acid.
    This is merely one more example that climate science is not settled. There are many remaining intuitive observations that lead to untested hypotheses that cause wiser heads to suspect strongly that the science is not settled. The hard data are coming in as time rolls on.
    There are many natural cycles that interact with others at various times and with various strength. It is scientifically naive to single out a carbon dioxide cycle as immune from interaction with other cycles. That is one reason why so many scientists now downplay the formerly held view that CO2 was the main driver of temperature change by man.
    If CO2 appears as a culprit alone in its grandeur in the next IPCC report, then we will know that there is corruption behind the science.

  33. Formic acid, apart from its use by ants and stinging nettles as a weapon, is widely used as a de-scaling agent for removing carbonate deposits from pots, kettles and bathroom stuff. Which it does very well, liberating lots of c****n d*****e in the process.

    So that’s it – the science is settled and it’s the trees what done it.

  34. I thought way back whe, that they claimed that the forests were at risk, due to acid rain?

    And now, it is the forests that Produce acid rain?

    ….. Maybe it was the Ents, declaring war on each other.

  35. In Australia the eucalypt forests discharge millions of tons of volatile aerosols into the atmosphere. We are left out of most things being where we are, I do hope that it is us causing all these problems with our fuminous forests. These people at Wollongong need to use a different forest before concluding. Eucalypts are bad a@se trees left over from thousands of years of burning, burning, burning by the indiginous population, they are bullet proof, bomb proof and fire proof, our original flora is almost extinct. Probably an unwise conclusion.

  36. Anthony,

    As a woman who loves the English language I’m delighted to see that you still use generic ‘man’. May you long continue to do so.

    The usage is alive and well in popular culture – movies, TV, the popular press, WUWT – but is banned (by decree) in government departments, universities, local government, taxpayer-funded public broadcasters, seminaries … Get the picture?

    It’s wonderful that despite decades of brainwashing generic ‘man’ is alive and thriving.

  37. One supposes humans are just plain not “natural”. When ants build skyscrapers, they’re just natural. When humans build SUVs, we’re some alien artifact construct.

  38. Our electric energy companies has spent a few billion dollars on SO2 and NOx reduction in the Ohio Valley. The rate payers have shouldered these costs through some tough economic times. The science of Acid Rain was thought to be fairly solid. Any lessons we can learn from this?

  39. If the observations do not mesh with the models output, don’t you just “adjust” the observations? This is climate science after all.

  40. kwik says:
    January 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm
    So, Acid Rain comes from the Forest? SAY AGAIN??????
    So the Acid Rain scare was indeed a hoax then. Good grief.

    Not at all. Clearly it was an attempt at arboreal suicide!

  41. “confirm surprising atmospheric findings”, “shocked” !!

    That why it is called pre-analytic confirmation bias.

    When bias is used as the basis for policy, it is called opinion. When the bias is the projection of an overarching worldview, it is called ideology. When bias is suppressed and the facts are allowed to speak no matter how it relates to opinion, ideology or bias, it is called science. I just call it being intellectually honest.

  42. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    January 12, 2012 at 12:37 am

    “A similar finding was that most aerosols found in the free troposphere (above the inversion layer and up to 7 km height) are from natural origin.”

    So when someone say that raindrops tends to condensate on aerosols, this might e.g. be pollen, right? Interesting. Cosmic rays does not create pollen……hmmmmm.

    So when there are’nt much pollen, what happens then, when waterwapour condensate? Just askin out of pure ignorance.

  43. Geoff Sherrington says:
    January 12, 2012 at 1:47 am

    “That is one reason why so many scientists now downplay the formerly held view that CO2 was the main driver of temperature change by man.”

    It is my opinion that only a few scientist held this opinion. The rest was busy doing their job, and avoided trouble by not saying anything. When push came to show, the house of cards tumbled down.

  44. From what I have read, its not the acidity from the rain that’s the issue.. but the acidity the rain water picks up as it passes through rotting vegetation. Lake acidification in the Adirondacks corresponded not with increased acidity of rain, but with reforestation of the region. The Adirondacks are a relatively young mountain range and is not composed of sandstone, limestone, or other sedimentary rocks that would allow the water to absorb into the ground, helping to buffer out the acidity.

  45. from the article:
    “The study showed that terrestrial vegetation accounts for 90 percent of annual formic acid production.”
    And this is you head-line
    “New study confirms that nature is responsible for 90% of the Earth’s atmospheric acidity”

    Anthony, you can read, but do you comprehend?

    REPLY: Yes, but you can also blame physorg.com (where Dr. Svalgaard gace the tip) then for the headline inspiration:

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-01-nature-responsible-earth-atmospheric-acidity.html

    – Anthony

  46. Conclusions based on a specific forest type in a warm/hot dry climate look a bit too specific for me. I’d like to see this replicated in cooler and wetter areas with a range of forest types.

    JC

  47. Formic acid is not a GHG and has an atmospheric concentration around 300 ppt (yes, that’s parts per trillion). CO2 is a GHG and has an atmospheric concentration around 390,000,000 ppt and rising.

    So which do you suppose has more effect on climate?

  48. Dave Wendt says:
    January 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    “WASHINGTON — When the companies that supply motor fuel close the books on 2011, they will pay about $6.8 million in penalties to the Treasury because they failed to mix a special type of biofuel into their gasoline and diesel as required by law.But there was none to be had. Outside a handful of laboratories and workshops, the ingredient, cellulosic biofuel, does not exist.”

    I think the problem is that the labs and entrepreneurs are trying to use chemistry and bacteria. Nature has, however, done such a good job of engineering cellulose and its lignin armor to resist exactly this that it takes more energy in than you get out.

    Solution: termites. They’re the reason wood rots, after all — they chew and gut-process it till it’s ready to decompose. So tame termites is the way to go! (One problem: the CO2 byproduct. Termites out-CO2 humans globally by an order of magnitude.)

  49. Yeah, so let’s trust climate scientists so we can give away tens of trillions of our dollars, our tech, and our jobs to other nations.

  50. to buffer out the acidity.

    MFKBoulder says:
    January 12, 2012 at 8:24 am
    from the article:
    “The study showed that terrestrial vegetation accounts for 90 percent of annual formic acid production.”
    And this is you head-line
    “New study confirms that nature is responsible for 90% of the Earth’s atmospheric acidity”

    Anthony, you can read, but do you comprehend?

    REPLY: Yes, but you can also blame physorg.com (where Dr. Svalgaard gace the tip) then for the headline inspiration:

    http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-01-nature-responsible-earth-atmospheric-acidity.html

    – Anthony
    ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    o.k., you can’t.
    That’s fine, too.

  51. “In the atmosphere, formic acid impacts a number of important pH-sensitive chemical reactions such as the production and loss of radicals affecting the ozone. Quickly absorbed by microbes, formic acid is not associated with the harmful effects of acid rain.”

    So is this statement just a nod and a wink to the established “consensus” that acid rain is real and we’re still the problem?

    And exactly what sort of “loss of radicals affecting the ozone.” are we talking about here?

  52. The Palm Beach Post, Jan 8, 1986
    “There is some scientific consensus that acid rain has destroyed life in some freshwater lakes and streams, particularly in the northeastern US and Canada and has damaged buildings and other structures.

    source

    Schenectady Gazette, Mar 24, 1987
    By now, the issue should be clear. Sulfur and nitrogen oxides, produced in large part by industrial coal-burning plants, are forming acidic compounds that carry in the wind and fall to the earth. They are responsible for killing lakes and damaging buildings, and are implicated in even more serious damage including the death of trees and wildlife. The scientific consensus is overwhelming. Cut the industrial emissions and the acid rain will be lessened.

    source

    New York Times, December 31, 1989
    That report said damage to lakes and streams from acid rain was limited to a few areas in the Northeast and was unlikely to worsen significantly in the next few decades. It also said that there was probably no damage to trees from acid rain except as a minor part of ”multiple stresses” at high altitudes. Laurence Kulp, who had been director of the program, resigned days after the report was made public. He was succeeded by Dr. Mahoney.

    This time, said Patricia M. Irving, associate director of the project, the results are being subjected to intensive review by peers of the scientists who have done the work.

    The final report of the research project is expected to include, along with the scientific consensus, an analysis of the relative costs of acid-rain damage and the benefits of reducing acid rain.

    source

    The Times-news, Mar 20, 1986
    It recommended that the US carry out a 5-year program that would cost $5 billion, with half the money coming from private industry, to find ways to control airborne emissions of sulphur and nitrogen oxides, which are generated mostly by industrial coal-fired furnaces. These emission are chemically changed and return to earth as acidic rain, snow, or particles. A scientific consensus says these are considered responsible for damage to freshwater lakes and streams. They may also damage trees and plant life and human health.

    source

    Ocala Star-Banner – Feb 22, 1988
    Acid rain action
    …A scientific consensus says action is needed.

    source

    The Hour – Mar 27, 1986
    Having long pooh-poohed the growing scientific consensus that acid rain poses a grave environmental danger, President Reagan has at last acknowledged that something must be done about it.

    source

    My favorite ‘scientific consensus’ phrase is this one:
    The scientific consensus is overwhelming
    Seems like I’ve been hearing it over and over for the last 10 or so years…

  53. Clearly we must send trillions of dollars to developing nations to cut down all their trees to address this horrible problem. I know, because the solution to every problem is we must send trillions of dollars to developing nations. . . .

  54. The role of isoprene in forest atmosphere acidity was an inconvenient topic at the height of the acid rain crisis. Martin et al in 1991 found the tree produced isoprene’s were photo-oxized to formic, acetic, pyruvic acids among others. tp://www.springerlink.com/content/g6w82815x40xj001/
    The authors cautioned:
    “These data indicate that oxygenated organics comprise a large fraction of the total volatile organic carbon containing species present in rural, forested regions of the United States. Consequently these compounds need to be included in photochemical models that attempt to simulate oxidant behavior/and or acidity in these forested regions.”

    So how much isoprene is being emitted by US forests? From 2009 Caltech study:
    “Isoprene is no minor player in atmospheric chemistry, Wennberg notes. “There is much more isoprene emitted to the atmosphere than all of the gases—gasoline, industrial chemicals—emitted by human activities, with the important exceptions of methane and carbon dioxide,” he says. “And isoprene only comes from plants. They make hundreds of millions of tons of this chemical… for reasons that we still do not fully understand.”

    And the most important take away from Caltech:
    “Much of the emission of isoprene occurs where anthropogenic emissions are limited,” adds Caltech graduate student Fabien Paulot, the paper’s first author. “The chemistry is very poorly understood.” http://linde.caltech.edu/articles/caltech-researchers-show-how-organic-carbon-compounds-emitted-by-trees-affect-air-quality
    And it is these natural epoxides that create smog and why the Smoky Mountains are called the Smoky Mountains. The only way the National Parks can meet EPA’s haze regulations is to chop down the trees.
    One last take away– the acidification of the soils and waters however has more to do with formation of organic acids in the soil/bogs than rainfall. A simple test- pour distilled water through peat moss and measure the pH -should be about 3.5-4.0. (Bogs plants biologically drive down pH -its how they prevent being overtaken by the macrophytes.)

  55. Remember when it was terrible for government to “censor” scientists like James Hansen. Well, the government’s ritual defamation of Ed Krug and Larry Kulp was OK during the Acid Rain crisis because the scientists then were simply propaganda instruments of the Reagan Admin. The interim Acid Rain report (NAPAP) released in 1987 did not find a crisis- a finding politically unacceptable.
    Representative James Scheuer (D-NY), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Natural Resources, Agriculture Research, and the Environment, skewered both NAPAP director J. Laurence Kulp and the report in hearings. Kulp resigned a week later.
    When James Mahoney became NAPAP director in 1988, he “assured” Scheuer’s subcommittee that he “would not subscribe…at this time” to the view that acid rain would not harm any more Northeastern lakes.

    The new Acid Rain director basically promised Scheuer that the science would not contradict politics again. How much press did a statement promising a politically correct scientific finding get in the Press? None!

    Yet despite these assurances the final NAPAP report found the acid rain hysteria was unfounded with some very minor exceptions. (Try and find the final NAPAP report online- good luck)
    The 60 minutes with the NAPAP lead scientist Ed Krug was followed up by a coordinated EPA smear:

    “In the meantime, Rosenberg ordered his aides to prepare a response, which the EPA released on January 10, 1991. The document, which consisted of statements made in the story followed by the EPA view, was sent on request to interested parties. Said the response, “It is unfortunate that CBS chose Dr. Krug as its only scientific expert on acid rain, because Dr. Krug has limited scientific credibility even in the limited area of surface water acidification.” On the next page, the EPA document gave selected damning quotes from the secret review, presenting them as the views of unnamed “eminent” scientists.” Reason’ Magazine, January 1992 Acid Test: Edward Krug Flunks Political..

    The most interesting quote?
    “One NAPAP scientist, who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous, warns that in the future the EPA will not go through the pretense of research and debate: “There is no NAPAP for global warming.”

    Acid Rain and the uncontrollable NAPAP scientists is why EPA outsourced climate to IPCC.

  56. A paper that deserves perhaps a post here is “Science, Policy, and Acid Rain: Lessons Learned” by Lackey and Blair:

    “Appreciate that research budgets follow fear! Successful researchers, especially those operating in the American “free market approach” to deciding what research to fund, are great opportunists when seeking funding: “good news” or “old news” does not result in financial support for research, but fear does! Researchers, especially those dependent on “soft” money are often very effective at marketing their own research priorities and frequently “hang their research on whatever (funding) hook is there.” Elected officials and political appointees are apt to funding.”

    http://oregonstate.edu/dept/fw/lackey/ACID-RAIN-SCIENCE-POLICY-LACKEY-BLAIR-JOURNAL-REPRINT-1997.pdf

    Some things never change.
     

  57. whats REAL noticeable is the LACK of reporting on it here in Aus.
    almost every CO2 and anything humans do item from any aussie uni hits the headlines…
    but then, this doesnt fit the green juLiars agenda or the controlled press.

  58. kramer says:
    January 12, 2012 at 2:34 pm
    The Palm Beach Post, Jan 8, 1986
    “There is some scientific consensus that acid rain has destroyed life in some freshwater lakes and streams, particularly in the northeastern US and Canada and has damaged buildings and other structures. ……..

    Just to mke this clear: in the study it was stated:
    “The study showed that terrestrial vegetation accounts for 90 percent of annual formic acid production.”

    Formic acid is measured in ppt-s SO2 is ususlly observed in the ppb-scale. And SO2 is just one of the anorganic pullutants acidifying our atmosphere.
    Guess what makes the atmosphere more acidic?

  59. Presumably, formic acid is an insignificant contributor to acid rain (as suggested by MFKBoulder above), which is mostly sulfuric and nitric acid. Sulfuric acid comes mainly from buring sulfur-containing coal. So, scientists have been surprised by the source of formic acid, which is not a significant contributor to acid rain. Acid rain has been reduced by “scrubbers” on the stacks of coal-fired power plants so it is not as serious as it once was. Reduction of acid rain by the cap and trade program successfully applied market forces to reduce this form of pollution.

  60. wayne Job, gum trees are not bullet proof. We did a live fire shoot in the late 1980s on a range that was covered in gum trees. We were supposed to be shooting at pop-up targets, but I noticed the bloke lying next to me was putting all his rounds into the base of a gum tree. It took about 30 rounds from his SLR, but he managed to chop it down. I was on the M60 – I gave another tree the better part of a belt and down it came.

    Our RSM noticed what I was up to, and he walked over and booted me in the arse, yelling at me to engage the targets and not the trees. The difference was that I was firing 1 in 5 tracer, and the tracer gave me away.

    When we finished the shoot, the thick scrub and undergrowth had been totally cleared (like a herd of hungry elk had been through), and several gum trees had gone horizontal.

    My data from field observations trumps your model!

  61. BillD says:
    January 13, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Presumably, formic acid is an insignificant contributor to acid rain (as suggested by MFKBoulder above), which is mostly sulfuric and nitric acid. Sulfuric acid comes mainly from buring sulfur-containing coal

    Another of the Greenie Undead Lies. Acid rain was localized in the downwind of farms using fertilizer and growing swine, etc. It turned out to have little or nothing to do with combustion products.

  62. There are some reactions where the increase of NH3 in the atmosphere might result in Oxidation of So2 to SO3 (and thus reluting in acidification). Although NH3 (for fertilizer and manure) is per se decrasing the pH of rain (and thus the acidity).
    What you did not see is: for the Oxidation of SO2, SO2 must be in the atmosphere; same is true for Nitrogen oxides.
    Talking about manure: So not a greenie lie, rather BS on your side.

  63. repost sinc I missed the “quote”:
    >Brian H says:
    >January 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm
    >>BillD says:
    >>January 13, 2012 at 9:41 am
    >> Presumably, formic acid is an insignificant contributor to acid rain
    >> (as suggested by MFKBoulder above), which is mostly sulfuric
    >> and nitric acid. Sulfuric acid comes mainly from buring sulfur-
    >>containing coal
    > Another of the Greenie Undead Lies. Acid rain was localized
    > in the downwind of farms using fertilizer and growing swine,
    > etc. It turned out to have little or nothing to do with
    >combustion products.
    //////////////////////////////////////////
    There are some reactions where the increase of NH3 in the atmosphere might result in Oxidation of So2 to SO3 (and thus reluting in acidification). Although NH3 (for fertilizer and manure) is per se decrasing the pH of rain (and thus the acidity).
    What you did not see is: for the Oxidation of SO2, SO2 must be in the atmosphere; same is true from Nitrogen oxides.
    Talking about manure: So not a greenie lie, rather BS on your side.

  64. MFKBoulder says:
    January 17, 2012 at 2:34 am
    “Talking about manure: So not a greenie lie, rather BS on your side.”

    Greenie Lie is a tautology. Thanks MFKB, I’d rather go with Ferdinand Engelbeen and Pat Moffitt on this one.

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