Trees do 8 times better in the New York City Urban Heat Island

From the The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Do urban ‘heat islands’ hint at trees of future?

Barnard College student Acadia Roher counts leaves of experimental red oak seedlings at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Common oaks get a boost in New York’s Central Park

City streets can be mean, but somewhere near Brooklyn, a tree grows far better than its country cousins, due to chronically elevated city heat levels, says a new study. The study, just published in the journal Tree Physiology, shows that common native red oak seedlings grow as much as eight times faster in New York’s Central Park than in more rural, cooler settings in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. Red oaks and their close relatives dominate areas ranging from northern Virginia to southern New England, so the study may have implications for changing climate and forest composition over a wide region.

The “urban heat island” is a well-known phenomenon that makes large cities hotter than surrounding countryside; it is the result of solar energy being absorbed by pavement, buildings and other infrastructure, then radiated back into the air. With a warming climate, it is generally viewed as a threat to public health that needs mitigating. On the flip side, “Some organisms may thrive on urban conditions,” said tree physiologist Kevin Griffin of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who oversaw the study. Griffin said that the city’s hot summer nights, while a misery for humans, are a boon to trees, allowing them to perform more of the chemical reactions needed for photosynthesis when the sun comes back up.

With half the human population now living in cities, understanding how nature will interact with urban trees is important, the authors say. “Some things about the city are bad for trees. This shows there are at least certain attributes that are beneficial,” said lead author Stephanie Y. Searle, a Washington, D.C., environmental researcher who was a Columbia undergraduate when she started the research.

In spring 2007 and 2008, Searle and colleagues planted seedlings in northeastern Central Park, near 105th Street; in two forest plots in the suburban Hudson Valley; and near the city’s Ashokan Reservoir, in the Catskill foothills some 100 miles north of Manhattan. They cared for all the trees with fertilizer and weekly watering. Maximum daily temperatures around the city seedlings averaged more than 4 degrees F higher; minimum averages were more than 8 degrees higher. By August, the city seedlings had developed eight times more biomass than the country ones, mainly by putting out more leaves. The researchers largely ruled out other factors that might drive tree growth, in part by growing similar seedlings in the lab under identically varying temperatures, and showing much the same result. Due to air pollution, the city also has higher fallout of airborne nitrogen—a fertilizer—which could have helped the trees as well, said Searle, but temperature seemed to be the main factor.

Seedlings did eight times better in New York City's Central Park than at comparable suburban and rural sites.

Other experiments done in Japan and Arizona have shown that higher temperatures, especially at night, may promote growth of rice plants and hybrid poplar trees. A 2011 study by a Lamont-based group showed that conifers in far northern Alaska have grown faster in recent years in step with rising temperatures. Some Eastern Seaboard trees also seem to be seeing growth spurts in response to higher carbon-dioxide levels alone, according to a 2010 study by scientists at the Smithsonian Institution. However, heat can cut both ways; in lower latitudes, rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns appear to be pushing some species over the edge by causing ecological changes that stress them; massive die-offs are underway in the U.S. West and interior Alaska. There is already some evidence that with warming climate, New York area forest compositions are already changing, with northerly species dwindling and southerly ones that tolerate more heat coming in, said Griffin. Red oaks are probably not immune to increasing heat, so there is no guarantee that they would do well in the New York City of the future.

New York City has some 5.2 million trees and is in the midst of a campaign to plant more. “Cities are special places—they might be laboratories for what the world will look like in coming years,” said Gary Lovett, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., some 90 miles north of Manhattan. With temperatures projected to rise, he said, “what kinds of trees are doing well there now might be related to what kinds might do well up here in a number of years.”

###

The study’s other authors are affiliated with the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand; Black Rock Forest Consortium in Cornwall, N.Y.; and Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovoth, Israel.

The paper, “Urban environment of New York City promotes growth in northern red oak seedlings,” is at: http://treephys.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/04/05/treephys.tps027.full?sid=ca754aba-06b3-4ae7-bc0e-f3d2e2847b60, or available from the authors.

Author contacts:
Stephanie Y. Searle stephanie@theicct.org 202-534-1612
Kevin Griffin griff@ldeo.columbia.edu 845-365-8371

More information: Kevin Krajick, Senior Science Writer, The Earth Institute kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu 212-854-9729

The Earth Institute, Columbia University mobilizes the sciences, education and public policy to achieve a sustainable earth. www.earth.columbia.edu

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory seeks fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world. Its scientists study the planet from its deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean, providing a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humanity. www.ldeo.columbia.edu

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76 thoughts on “Trees do 8 times better in the New York City Urban Heat Island

  1. ‘The “urban heat island” ….. is the result of solar energy being absorbed by pavement, buildings and other infrastructure, then radiated back into the air.’

    I guess the intensive energy use in big cities is much more effective in raising temp.
    For example, a normal-sized car is equivalent to a 30-50 kW heater by driving.

  2. Anything in the study as to how high the CO2 concentration was in relation to the other sites? Are they only studying temp variations? What about nitrogen, ozone, CO2 and oxygen concentrations etc.?

  3. The system seems horribly self regulating! I trust word will not get out.

    But, what a wonderful laboratory do these sites provide! Here we have day time maximums of 4 F hotter, and night-time minimums of 8 F hotter than surrounding areas. Doing these experiments is just what is needed to see what a warmer world would bring! (be that hypothesis correct, or not.)

  4. Regarding park trees within the city I would not misunderestimate the power of irrigation, frequent fertilization, and the nurturing hand of the local arborists.

    The trees in my suburban Seattle back yard, far from UHI effects, are doing far better than their country cousins for the reasons I’ve mentioned. Never attribute to UHI that which can be lain at the foot of nurturing care and preventative maintenance. The primal forest is a harsh world for all living things.

    I’m skeptical.

  5. The medieval Warm Period and the Roman Warm Period were both known to be very fruitful time for plant life.. Why should the smaller warm period we are currently experiencing be any different.

    So long as they have water, nutrients and CO2, a couple of degrees extra will help most plants along quite nicely !.

  6. “The “urban heat island” is a well-known phenomenon that makes large cities hotter than surrounding countryside…”
    But that is hotly denied by the CAGW alarmists. Since urban heat islands are a myth, these trees and shrubs are not growing better than their cousins in nearby rural areas. This is impossible, and Manny and Trenbirther can prove it by running your data through their Hockey Stick model. /sarc

  7. Farmers put black plastic to warm the soil and plastic tents to accelerate plant growth early in the season. Was the warmer city helping plant growth such a big surprise?

    Where is the common sense here.?

    Let’s put 2 miles of ice back on top of Central Park…
    Gee, I wonder what that would do to the trees…
    I know, they’d have to fund another study for that…

  8. Could it also be the care such as fertilizing, watering, etc. that goes on in the park and not just the temperature? My guess a tree growing in a forest in the wild is living most of the time right on the edge of existence. It is facing competition from surrounding trees where it is a “dog eat dog” world and everyone is straining to out-compete their neighbors. I would guess a tree in a park may not suffer those hardships. It might find its soild amended from time to time with compost. Neighboring brush and other trees cut back, lawns around it watered.

    Sounds too simplistic of an explanation to me. I think there is more difference between living in a park and living in a forest than just the temperature.

  9. “City streets can be mean, but somewhere near Brooklyn, a tree grows far better than its country cousins, due to chronically elevated city heat levels, says a new study.”

    Last time I was in New York and Long Island the heat was so elevated that 2 feet of snow fell on the first night.

  10. If you have never been to Columbia University, you may not enjoy the amusing appropriateness of this study to that institution.

    It seems a surprise to me that this is true. Not when you think it through logically. When you think it through, it makes a lot of sense. I guess I was guilty of thinking urban=antilife. I don’t know when I assumed that posture?

    Well, thanks to the article I sense my mind has changed in THAT assumption now. Thank-you to Watts, Griffen and Searle. I feel dislodged from yet another green axiom.

  11. I believe it is a common misconception that the urban heat island effect is caused by the heating of pavement and buildings. The surfaces of cities do heat up but no more than a desert would. The countryside is cooler than a desert because it contains plants that transpire, The energy that might be used to increase temperature goes to evaporate water. A city is somewhere between a desert and the countryside. It is the reduction of cooling due to evapotranspiration that should be looked at when considering the large number of long term temperature records from airport sites.

  12. 4 degrees F during the day, and 8 at night. That’s 2.2 ºC and 4.4 ºC respectively.
    Now lets see; AGW “science” says that
    1. The first sign of global warming is the increase in night time temperatures will be more than the rise in daytime.
    2. The UHI effect is only 0.05 ºC, therefore cannot be an explanation for recent temperature rises.
    3. The recent (1975-1995) temperature rise of 0.55 ºC (refer to UEA and James Hansen for latest estimates) can only be explained by global warming.
    I had better not join these up, or people will think that I am a denier.

  13. dp says:
    April 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Regarding park trees within the city I would not misunderestimate the power of irrigation, frequent fertilization, and the nurturing hand of the local arborists.

    The trees in my suburban Seattle back yard, far from UHI effects, are doing far better than their country cousins for the reasons I’ve mentioned. Never attribute to UHI that which can be lain at the foot of nurturing care and preventative maintenance. The primal forest is a harsh world for all living things.

    I’m skeptical.

    Not relevant.
    The study just used seedlings in controlled patches that the researchers watered and fertilized identically themselves. They also replicated the study in lab enclosures.

  14. I’ve noticed that plane trees in central London parks and squares have put out their leaves at least 2 weeks before those in the suburbs. I don’t think this is due to any difference in management, which is minimal anyway.

  15. Graeme No.3 says:
    April 24, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    ” None so blind as those who will not see”.

  16. Graeme No.3 says:
    April 24, 2012 at 11:32 pm
    4 degrees F during the day, and 8 at night. That’s 2.2 ºC and 4.4 ºC respectively.
    Now lets see; AGW “science” says that:

    The IPCC says that all warming is BAD. A warming of 2C will result in catastrophic global warming and exterminate life as we know it. Warming is especially bad because mostly it will take place in cold places, which is a threat to nature because the earth would then be able to support even more people and there are too many people already and people are not natural. Nature is everything except people.

  17. dp says: April 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Regarding park trees within the city I would not misunderestimate the power of irrigation, frequent fertilization, and the nurturing hand of the local arborists.

    Well said!

    As the climategate emails said about one tree that “proved” global warming … “did some reindeer crap on it?”

  18. Near big highways plants also grow better. Besides heat a plant also needs food (CO2). Stop man made CO2 production in the city (cars etc)1 year and let’s see if they still grow that much better.

  19. kbray in california says: April 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Let’s put 2 miles of ice back on top of Central Park…
    Gee, I wonder what that would do to the trees…
    I know, they’d have to fund another study for that…

    That really don’t think that is an appropriate comment when we get research which appears to have accurately reported its findings and contributed to the understanding of the Urban heat island and climatic effects on plants.

    It is not because we’ve had too much research that we are in the mess we are now. It is because we have had too little good quality research and e.g. that the climategate scamsters, were so cavaliar with their equipment an readings that the world is heading toward a $trillion exenditure. We couldn’t even be bothered to spend 0.1% of that on a network of sensors capable of answering the question “is the climate changing”!

    If we had just spent $10billion on good instrumentation first on the breath and depth of science & good climatic measuring instrumentation and sites instead of penny pinching, we would not have wasted $trillion on a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.

    It’s not because of too much good science like this, its because there are idiots who would not spend the money on decent science that we got the 5th rate dolts and charlatans who … who are so stupid, they do nothing to get money for good science …. instead they spend all their effort attempting to destroy the economy that funds them and suck the public purse to give to wind & carbon trading scamsters.

  20. “Due to air pollution, the city also has higher fallout of airborne nitrogen—a fertilizer—which could have helped the trees as well, said Searle, but temperature seemed to be the main factor.”

    What value is there in a study which is so shamefully vague ?

  21. Southern California is proof that almost anything will grow in a hot environment if you give it enough water. The most interesting thing about this study is the support and quantification it provides for the existence of an urban heat island effect.

  22. Looking at the city planners of the late 1600’s to the 1800’s; they deliberately included avenues and parks in order to temper UHI as well as to provide the city with “lungs” and people in the city with shade from the sun. City trees have long been observed to grow better than those of the countryside; and it wasn’t only because of the higher availability of manure. vis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lindenallee_Berlin_1691.jpg

    Architects of large buildings designed slightly-curved wallls so that they would heat differentially; and not the whole face at once, intending to promote convection from hot to cold along the same surface.

  23. 8 times …
    The scale of this type is very misleading. Unfortunately some of this material is written with a dream vacation. Not very scientific. Nobody does it take for such a case. Green space within urban areas is a luxury. With this arrangement is best recommended to farmers to come to the cities and 8 times more to produce.

  24. Not only are they doing better in the heat they are also doing it under all that extra carbon dioxide dome. Sounds like a large scale greenhouse to me.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/16/stanford-urban-co2-domes-mean-more-death/

    Domes of death but what about the poor office workers? ;-)

    If indoor carbon dioxide levels are more than 1,000 ppm, there is probably inadequate ventilation; and complaints such as headaches, fatigue, and eye and throat irritation may be prevalent.

    Carbon dioxide itself is not responsible for the complaints; however, a high level of carbon dioxide may indicate that other contaminants in the building also may be present at elevated levels and could be responsible for occupant complaints…………………………………..

    Therefore, 1,000 ppm should be used as a guideline for improving ventilation. If a building exceeds this guideline, it should NOT be interpreted as a hazardous or life-threatening situation. An elevated carbon dioxide level is only an indication of an inadequate amount of outside air being brought into a building.

  25. …and don’t forget possibly higher CO2 (nutrient) concentrations in cities as additional growth accelerator.

  26. There will be far less competition for CO2 in a city versus a forest, and I’d say this could be at least as important as temperature.

    I recall a recent study, reported here at WUWT, that strongly indicated trees grow taller to access more CO2 rather than to access more sunlight as commonly believed.

    Do trees grow more leaves if more CO2 is available?

  27. The growth pattern is consistent with increased CO2 availability and fertilization alone… it has very little to do with heat.

  28. As usual, the saddest part of this idiocy is the total neglect of real pollution. Heavy metal pollution unquestionably kills plants; that’s why trees used to have trouble in cities. Now that autos no longer put out tons of lead, trees have returned to happily enjoying the warmth and CO2 of cities.

    The more we switch to wind power (= coal power) to ‘solve’ the ‘warming crisis’, the more we bring back old-fashioned pollution that truly kills plants and animals.

  29. I was astonished in London at the weekend to see Ceonothus bushes (lovely deep blue flower clusters) in full bloom. Back home in the country mine are weeks away from this. Urban heating is real, and should not be dismissed by supposedly unbiased studies that set out to prove that UHI is not significant.

  30. Regarding the effects of pollution on tree growth, such as nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles, which are high in cities: the effects of another pollutant, ozone, might also be important, because ozone harms plant growth (not in a major way, but in a measurable way).

    A possible added beneficial effect for trees in big cities vs. in rural areas or suburban areas 75 or more miles downwind is that ozone levels are low in the center of large cities, but higher outside of the cities. The reason is that oxides of nitrogen, high in cities because of so many cars, actually scavenge ozone by reacting with it. Downwind, atmospheric chemistry with oxides of nitrogen causes ozone levels to increase.

    A study was done a few years ago comparing tree grown in NYC with growth in downwind Connecticut, and suggested that the lower growth in Connecticut reflected the higher ozone levels.

    There probably isn’t one answer here. Nitrogen oxide levels, and perhaps CO2 levels (marginally) are higher in the city, ozone levels lower. They might all work together.

  31. CO2 has to be a factor as well. When evaluating building for demand control ventilation, urban areas like NYC can be tricky because the natural background CO2 levels are typically in the 600 to 700 ppm range. The max indoor CO2 levels are normally kept at 700 ppm to 1000 ppm.

  32. To anyone who has studied the concept of Growing Degree Days, this is utterly unsurprising. An average six degree-day/day boost is the equivalent of an extra month or more to the growing season.

    The “eight-times” growth rate is suspicious but that could be an artifact of their data collection method or timing.

  33. Seems only fair: UHI affects trees. What is also true is trees affect (moderate) UHI. Before WWII in many US cities once you got away from downtown the streets and avenues were shaded by lines of elm trees, which were particularly well adapted to the urban environment of the time. The branches from opposite sides of the street would form an arch shading much of the pavement. You can see this in many photographs of pre-war city neighborhoods; New Haven, CT was known as “the Elm City”. In the 1940’s Dutch Elm disease took hold and by the late 1960’s had wiped out virtually the entire elm population in US cities. That plus the post-war automobile boom resulted in more and wider streets, all completely exposed to the sun.

    I have wondered how much of the warming in the 2nd half of the 20th century attributed to CO2 is really due to Dutch Elm disease and its effect on virtually all Northern and Midwestern US Cities in a fairly short period of time. It had the same effect through much of Europe a few decades later. I don’t know if elm trees were as significant a factor in urban shade in Europe as they were in the US. See here.

    I remember S. Hyde Park Blvd in Chicago (near the Museum of Science & Industry) in 1972; it was completely denuded of trees, as were most all of the streets in the neighborhood. But new trees including resistant strains of elm have come back and if you look at the streets there today they are well populated with trees and branches again form an arch shading much of the pavement.

    I hope this HTML will work, otherwise go to Google Maps and look for the intersection of South Hyde Park Blvd & E 55th Street in Chicago, IL. Go to street view looking North on S. Hyde Park Blvd and move North. These pictures are from the winter, so there are no leaves, but you can clearly see the canopy of branches and appreciate the amount of shade they would provide. This street was completely bare 40 years ago.

    Hyde Park, Chicago

  34. Again, (even though not mentioned or monitored), CO2 is king of the forest. (Ok, it has to share rent with temperature, sunlight, water, nutrients…)

  35. How much of that extra growth is from the higher CO2 levels that can usually be found in big cities?

  36. Speaking of growing season. If I remember my basic biology correctly, trees use the amount of light received every day to determine when to drop their leaves, and the temperature of the roots to determine when to start budding.
    In addition to UHI causing plants to bud earlier in the year, the city lights might encourage them to keep the leaves on until later in the year. (With UHI protecting those late season leaves from early frost.)

  37. Did some research, found a published paper which says that central city CO2 levels in Phoenix are around 30% higher in the central city than in the surrounding countryside — the authors call their finding a “CO2 dome” over Phoenix:

    http://www.atmos.berkeley.edu/~inez/MSRI-NCAR_CarbonDA/papers/barnet_refs/01_idso_domes.pdf

    These are based on actual measurements, transects.

    I had no idea that CO2 would be THAT enhanced at ground level in a central city.

    So now we have several reasons for trees growing better in Central Park than in surrounding countryside:

    1. Higher CO2
    2. Heat island effect
    3. Higher nitrogen compounds
    4. Lower ozone levels

    Which are the most important?

  38. “it is the result of solar energy being absorbed by pavement, buildings and other infrastructure, then radiated back into the air.”

    Thats the tradition “Mosher” UHI.

    But in fact, satellite measured UHI is stronger in the daytime because of things like vast quantities of hot moist air coming out of A/C units.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.ca/2012/04/new-paper-finds-urban-heat-island.html

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00509.1

    “Furthermore, the skin-level UHI is stronger during the day and summer than during nighttime and winter, respectively. “

  39. J. Philip Peterson says:
    April 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Anything in the study as to how high the CO2 concentration was in relation to the other sites? Are they only studying temp variations? What about nitrogen, ozone, CO2 and oxygen concentrations etc.?
    ____________________________
    You beat me to it. The limiting factor in growth esp. for C3 plants (Trees) is CO2.

    Growth Response to CO2 (Forests): http://www.co2science.org/subject/f/forests.php
    Summary: http://www.co2science.org/subject/f/summaries/forests.php
    Effects of Temperature on Forests: http://www.co2science.org/subject/f/foresttemp.php

  40. Scottish Sceptic says:
    April 25, 2012 at 1:36 am

    My point is that warmer being good for growth is already acknowledged and is also intuitively obvious. Farmers already use this principle.

    The effect of 2 miles of ice on top of trees is also intuitively obvious.

    It’s not a bad study, it just confirms the obvious.

  41. How does energy focusing relate to the UHI effect? In addition to “The “urban heat island” is a well-known phenomenon that makes large cities hotter than surrounding countryside; it is the result of solar energy being absorbed by pavement, buildings and other infrastructure, then radiated back into the air” we import the energy of the flow of the Niagra, petrochemicals from aroud the world, fission energy from nearby nuclear plants, and huge amounts of biomass which is converted to heat by 98.6F degree heat generators. This is all focused in a few square miles. The heat generated inside the buildings by people imported daily from New Jersey and Connecticut is transferred to the outside environment by a variety of expensive and power using machinery. I wonder how much this contributes in addition to the paving, etc.

    If someone estimates this effect, please remember to include the population of Columbia U..

  42. And for those who are convinced that Co2 and warmth are bad for plants take a peek.

    “There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics. The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to speculations that tropical ecosystems were severely compromised by heat stress. ”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1193833

    Co2 is cooking the streets.

    “2005: Global levels of CO2 have reached 380 ppm compared with preindustrial levels of 280 ppm. Studies have found concentrations ranging up to 600 ppm in cities such as Phoenix, New York City, and Baltimore. Paris sometimes reached as high as 950 ppm (Widory and Javoy, 2003); Rome averaged 505 ppm on weekdays (Gratani and Varone, 2005).”

    http://colli239.fts.educ.msu.edu/2005/05/17/city-levels-2005/

    http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/20061117a/20061117a_04.html

    Parisians must be absolute gluttons. ;-)

    Food fight: CO2 makes us fatter

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/13/food-fight-co2-makes-us-fatter/

    The overselling of AGW is an absolute scandal. Warmists just won’t listen to reason and evidence.

  43. Sush, thou shalt not speak of CO2 in this context until the ministry of truth and enviro justice says so (or comes up with a story line).

  44. From the article: “Red oaks are probably not immune to increasing heat, so there is no guarantee that they would do well in the New York City of the future.”
    __________________
    They just have to bow to the meme… funding being what it is.
    Let’s see, Red Oaks do fine in Virginia. Isn’t Virginia a lot warmer place than NYC?
    There’s no lack of Red Oaks in Oklahoma and it’s a lot warmer here than in NYC…

  45. Luther, let’s keep extending our data collection further south. I live in South Carolina and have plenty of Red Oaks on my property.
    Anyone want to chime in from Georgia :) ?

  46. For those that fear CO2 levels approaching 1000 ppm are unhealthy and result in increased death rates, the last time I measured the CO2 content of my exhaled breath it seemed to be around 4% or 40,000 ppm.

  47. Warmintim says:
    April 25, 2012 at 5:25 am

    I was astonished in London at the weekend to see Ceonothus bushes (lovely deep blue flower clusters) in full bloom. Back home in the country mine are weeks away from this. Urban heating is real, and should not be dismissed by supposedly unbiased studies that set out to prove that UHI is not significant.

    Several posts getting this wrong. Few people are saying there’s not such thing as UHI. What is debated is whether there is a CHANGE in UHI that is not accounted for in temperature records.

    Big cities have the most UHI but probably not much change in it.

    Where UHI is likely to be a problem is with rural sites becoming more urban, a wide spread general tendency and small towns becoming large towns. That is where you will see the most dramatic *change* in UHI and any biases in the temp record.

  48. While Arcadia is out counting leaves I hope someone was behind her counting how many wild dear were in Central Park nibbling away at the tender young leaves of saplings.

    This is yet another example of how you can get away with any kind of half arsed science as long as you link it to global warming.

    Squirrels balls have less fur now due to increasing temperatures, leaving them in danger of freezing their nuts off in a cold spell and endangering the species.

    More funding is require to complete this vital assessment of the effects of AGW on biodiversity.

  49. Uhhhhhh – “weekly watering.” Plants like water. Sun is good. CO2 is good. Fertilizer is good. Plants LIKE WATER. How controlled was this watering?

  50. George Daddis says:
    April 25, 2012 at 11:07 am
    Luther, let’s keep extending our data collection further south. I live in South Carolina and have plenty of Red Oaks on my property.
    Anyone want to chime in from Georgia :) ?

    Was wondering if others would pick up on this ridiculous suggestion. At the latitude of NYC, we are at about the middle of the range of northern red oak, Quercus rubra. Northern extent of the range along the east coast is Nova Scotia/PEI, the southern extent is well into the Piedmont of Alabama, with outliers in Louisiana and Mississippi. To the west, red oak extends into eastern Kansas and Nebraska, and in the northwest most of Minnesota and into western Ontario.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for red oak to vanish from NYC…

  51. P. Solar says:
    April 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    “While Arcadia is out counting leaves I hope someone was behind her counting how many wild dear were in Central Park nibbling away…”
    _____________________
    I ain’t touchin’ that.

  52. The paper is behind a paywall but the abstract is available. Note that the trees were seedlings:

    “We grew seedlings from acorns for one season at four sites along an urban–rural transect… In the field experiment, we found an eightfold increase in biomass in urban-grown seedlings relative to those grown at rural sites.”

    In that context, “eight times faster” is reasonable.

    What this study shows is that WARMER IS BETTER for most plants. Not surprising. Many northern conifers grow like gangbusters in Hawaii. The all-time record for Douglas-fir volume growth is held by a stand in New Zealand.

    You see, we currently live in the COLDEST era on Planet Earth in the last 250 million years. Almost all plants evolved in much warmer times. They like it warmer. It’s too cold today over most of the planet for superior plant growth.

    The very idea that a warmer planet will be some kind of disaster is fatuous to the point of stupid. Dangerously stupid. People have been led to believe that a warmer Earth would be bad. That flies in the face of all human experience. Don’t believe the Chicken Littles, trust in your own common sense.

    WARMER IS BETTER

    Live it or live with it.

    • Please note that there are different kinds of plants on the planet. Some of these plants are suitable for growing in the tropics. Plants in cold regions of Siberia can not be found in Africa.
      So we can not absolutely say “warmer is better.” Within the past few years a significant number of people in Europe died due to hot weather of summer. So these people can not survive in Africa. Why should we make an easy subject to do so absolute. You know, not only our theories do not make the least change in biological organisms, but we’re (or any other unwanted conditions beyond our abilities) causing them to disappear quickly. The experience referred to in this article is worthwhile, but we can not conclude that all plants are ready to march for the warmer environment. This is pure fallacy.

      • I live in southern California. It regularly hits peaks of 110 F. I don’t believe people are dying from the heat in Europe. Air conditioners are cheap. If people are dying in modest heat waves, they are dying from a lack of AC and affordable elecrical rates. Environmental policies that make energy expensive are killing people in both heat waves and freezes. That needs to be recognized. Poor people die unnecessarily when energy is expensive.

  53. Hmmm, a most interesting read, and yet all the literature published about Central Park’s 843 acres, clearly show that it is, in fact a well manicured man made artificial landscaped garden, which costs approximately $37,000,000.00 plus, a year to maintain.

    Like all well manicured landscaped gardens, dead trees are quickly removed and are quickly replaced.

    link:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Park#Landscaping_and_facilities

  54. Heystoopidone says:
    April 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Hmmm, a most interesting read, and yet all the literature published about Central Park’s 843 acres, clearly show that it is, in fact a well manicured man made artificial landscaped garden, which costs approximately $37,000,000.00 plus, a year to maintain.

    What, no wolves or grizzly bears?

    I’m certain Idaho can send ‘em a few we have and it’s certain to reduce maintenance costs by keeping riff-raff out of the park. Besides, Eastern lawmakers somehow figured WE needed those vermine so turnabout is fair play.

  55. Greater heat only becomes an issue for plants if there is a lack of water.
    Raised CO2 levels allow the plant to adjust (decrease) its stomate density, thus reducing the water loss from transpiration. Efficiency !!!!

    Very warm conditions, with proper nuitients, water supply and an abundance of CO2, (the gas of plant life), will always be of great benefit to plant growth.

  56. Heat wave in Europe caused some elderly French died.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3141253.stm

    Global warming is a hot issue these days. But my intention was not focused on this case.
    You know that millions of species exist on Earth. Their nature is consistent with the facts of a particular environment. Let me tell you something very intimate. I can not say to my grandmother, for example, palm tree grows in Alaska. She will probably call me crazy. I am not able to explain this more clearly. 1 or 2 degrees Celsius change in temperature can cause a lot of living species on Earth disappear. I am not speaking of the causes of global warming and or the governments policies. It seems these days that there is global cooling, and so on.
    I emphasize again that we should not deny the nature of plants and other organisms.
    Heat tends to be more or generalizability of the results to all living creatures, regardless of their nature, is a fallacy and not related to the nature of creatures.
    But here one thing remains. If the weather tends to cool down, after about 390 ppm carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the plants should be in good condition. They must be stout.
    This compatibility condition is very unlikely.

  57. This is another response to a good friend from Southern California.

    “”””””””””””””
    “European heatwaves ‘have doubled’
    By Paul Rincon
    Science reporter, BBC News
    The authors of the research also discovered that the frequency of extremely hot days has nearly tripled in the past century. ”
    “The heatwave experienced by Europe in 2003 had major adverse socio-economic and environmental effects. Thousands of elderly people died. Forests were devastated by fire, water ecosystems were strained, and the total mass of Alpine glaciers shrank by 10%. ”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6929668.stm

    “”””””””””””””
    Yes, the heat wave has caused deaths.
    Now we go back to the original topic; The Earth has a wide range of different climates. In other words, climate varies with latitude and longitude. Likewise with environmental conditions, there are a wide variety of species. The species do not necessarily resemble each other.
    Surely a more appropriate heat causes plants to grow better. There is no doubt in this regard. But these classifications do not mean that plants belonging to the coldest areas, can also grow in tropical regions, or vice versa. Thus, here we mean to imply that only “somewhat” more heat “, but, ” limited”. Animals do not follow this rule. Plants and organisms can not live in all conditions and climates. Otherwise, our concern about global warming phenomenon is in principle “ruled out”.
    In conventional terms, but limited, the author of this article can be correct. But as a general principle or rule is not relevant.
    This title refers to the quantity that is unclear on what basis it has been measured. 8 times on what basis? Profile-based plant was determined by the laboratory of botany? Man can not make such statements in the first instance to assess.
    This title is similar to the slogan.

  58. Bigtix,

    If you look at that article, the heat wave that took lives was normal everyday temperatures here in Los Angeles. If people were dying, it was from lack of preparation or being unable to afford a solution. Air conditioning is cheap, but it does take time to set up and it can be expensive & strain the power grid at peak times.

  59. From your bbc link:

    “Temperatures in the French capital have been above 35C (95F) for more than a week, and on Sunday set a record night-time high of 25.5C (77.9F).”

    That’s a deadly heat wave? Try this recent 113 degree heat wave in LA:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/27/los-angeles-heat-wave-bak_n_740936.html

    Understand, I’m not trying to make light of the situation in France! My point is that the temperatures being discussed are not in and of themselves all that deadly. Look at the conclusion to my linked article:

    “The early fall blast of intense heat follows an unusually cool summer that often found beaches covered in overcast and whipped by chilly winds.

    “It’s been a long time since we got this hot,” said Seto, adding: “It’s like our unexpected summer.”

    The 113 registered in downtown Los Angeles would not be all that remarkable in the populous inland valleys and deserts of Southern California – the highest temperature recorded in Los Angeles County was 119 in the San Fernando Valley community of Woodland Hills on July 22, 2006 – but downtown’s highs are typically well below those areas.”

    119!

    We didn’t have mass deaths. Air conditioning is cheap and plentiful and we are prepared.

  60. The Rocky Mountain West was commented on in the article, but only briefly, and mostly for the wrong reasons. There is a tremendous die-off of trees in this area due to Pine Bark beetles and other plant insects, which is mentioned. What isn’t mentioned is that the forests of Colorado especially are overcrowded, with two or three times the number of trees that would ‘normally’ be here. It’s also a cumulative problem: there isn’t enough water and nutrients for the number of trees, the trees are weakened due to the water and nutrient shortage, and have a more difficult time fighting off insects. Most of these dead trees are allowed to accumulate, making any forest an easy target for a massive forest fire. Much of the problem could be solved by the practice of good forestry, removing the dead trees to be used for other purposes (even mulch for the forest floor), selective harvesting to reduce the stress of overgrowth, and more consistent fire management programs. Of course, the “greens” will allow none of these solutions to be implemented. “Greens” are afraid someone might profit a little for doing something that will benefit the environment as a whole. Stupidity cubed.

  61. Ashby Manson says…
    _________________
    “The 1995 Heat Wave in Chicago, Illinois
    Dr. Jim Angel, State Climatologist
    The heat wave in July 1995 in Chicago was one of the worst weather-related disasters in Illinois history with over 700 deaths over a 5-day period….”

    http://www.isws.illinois.edu/atmos/statecli/general/1995chicago.htm

    ++++
    Excellent
    I completely agree with you.
    I tried to get you to the same point.
    Let me explain:
    Part I – Man:
    1. Man has lived in all parts of the earth, LA, Chicago, London, Paris and the North Pole South Pole, in short, everywhere,
    2. Humans do not live the same. Taste, accustomed to a certain climate, highlands, beaches, tropical, arid deserts, cold regions and …are quite different issues,
    3. Civilized man can adapt himself to the harsh conditions,
    4. There was no reason that some people die because of heat stroke. I agree with you,
    So what really happened that some people died:
    1. Heat stroke,
    2. Lack of preparedness,
    3. Of the weakness of the right information and weather forecasts,
    4. Lack of adequate opportunity to prepare the necessary equipment,
    5. Most important of all, accustomed to cold weather, and eventually get used to the same thermal conditions in hospitals. ( same as the desert nomads who are never able to live at the poles),
    Natural disasters do not inform us earlier. Unfortunately we do not always enough time to deal with incidents.Nobody expected events in Chicago in 1995, events in England in 2003 and etc.

    Part II – َAnimals and plants:
    1. Human condition, with all the facilities that were expressed; it is quite disappointing situation,
    2. Status of plants and animals is; indescribable,
    3. Animals and plants never can have air conditioners and refrigerators,

    This is the human duty to protect all creatures in their natural environmental conditions.

    And now back to the huge trees in New York:
    Surely a more appropriate heat causes plants to grow better. what about other creatures? Man is not allowed to create conditions at any price, that may only benefit the plants. The following video is part of “Climate Science in the Political Arena ” Dr. Happer who said: “It does not matter if the aqua-cultures in Iceland don’t feel well of the heat, they can migrate like humans to the better places.”
    Dr. Happer forgot that, unlike other creatures, humans with immigration laws, are sentenced to death, and in terms of global warming, millions of people are destroyed during unwanted wars by hunger, thirst, famine and disease.
    Compared with other creatures, human is more miserable.

    Abstract:
    1. All the creatures including humans are incapable of natural disaster,
    2. Heat waves are natural events. At least It is assumed here that this argument is valid. One may reject this assumption. But because these waves are not expected to be a permanent phenomenon, therefore they are considered as natural disasters. Otherwise, global warming becomes a reality. Scientists say climate change trends towards cooling, not warming.

    I hope I could have cleared my views here, if so, please call 911.
    I’ll seek forgiveness for all the departed due to heat waves,
    Amen

  62. Bigtix,

    Your article referenced heatwaves in the 30’s. I googled:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_North_American_heat_wave#section_3

    The mid ’90s heatwaves don’t seem much worse than the ’30s. Interestingly, that 1936 crazy heatwave was also coupled with crazy cold weather.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_North_American_cold_wave#section_3

    Reminds me of the remarkable heat and cold spells we’ve been going through lately. Could much of this be related to natural cyclical extremes? What I do know is that cheap energy is crucial for avoiding unnecessary deaths from heat or cold. Economic policies that drive up the price of energy kill poor people. The green lobby need to be reminded of that inconvenient truth.

  63. Ashby Manson says:
    April 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm
    _________________________
    To confirm the occurrence of heat waves in Chicago in 1995, please refer to the following link:

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0477%281996%29077%3C1497%3AIARTTH%3E2.0.CO%3B2

    There is no doubt that heat waves or cold waves in normal circumstances should be considered as accident. Now we know that solar activity is more important than the effects of human activities on Earth. But we also know that we only have one earth and no more.You do not need to be very skeptical about the events of recent years, heat exhaustion and heat waves. These incidents still occur again in the future. You have confirmed its occurrence in the past. Basically we have a fundamental problem to resolve.
    I recommend that you watch the video.
    Senate Committee on questions of the scientists was not a simple event. Scientists attended the meeting for the testimony. Put yourself in front of the Senate Committee.
    Your answers to the question is very decisive and dramatic. You can imagine the weight of this responsibility.
    The United States takes decisions in the future, which leads to an important definition of a global trend. So somehow as a scientist you’re in charge of all the nations.
    Dr. Happer could not tell the gist. He was not at all prepared.

    STATION: CHICAGO_MIDWAY_AP_3_SW, IL (Station ID: 111577)

    Precip- || Snow Snow
    itation High Low Mean Degree Fall Depth Observe
    Year Mo Dy (in) (F) (F) (F) Days (in) (in) Time Source
    1995 07 01 0.00 77 60 69 4 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 02 0.00 78 57 68 3 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 03 0.00 83 63 73 8 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 04 0.28 86 69 78 13 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 05 0.09 87 67 77 12 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 06 0.00 81 69 75 10 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 07 0.00 81 63 72 7 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 08 0.00 84 60 72 7 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 09 0.04 85 66 76 11 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 10 0.00 90 64 77 12 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 11 0.00 90 73 82 17 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 12 0.00 98 76 87 22 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 13 0.00 106 81 94 29 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 14 0.00 102 84 93 28 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 15 0.47 99 77 88 23 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 16 0.00 94 76 85 20 0.0 0 MID F
    1995 07 17 0.00 89 73 81 16 0.0 0 MID F

    Should we take the records as “heat waves”?
    Chicago people don’t bear heat. They live in Northern part of America. They are well prepared for their own climate.

  64. Climate Change Boosts Then Quickly Stunts Plants, Decade-long Study Shows
    Posted on 23 April 2012 by John Hartz

    This is a reprint of a press release posted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on April 10, 2012.

    Global warming may initially make the grass greener, but not for long

    Photos of ecosystems studied

    Composite of the ecosystems studied, arranged left to right in order of increasing elevation.

    Global warming may initially make the grass greener, but not for long, according to new research results.

    The findings, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, show that plants may thrive in the early stages of a warming environment but then begin to deteriorate quickly.

    “We were really surprised by the pattern, where the initial boost in growth just went away,” said scientist Zhuoting Wu of Northern Arizona University (NAU), a lead author of the study. “As ecosystems adjusted, the responses changed.”

    Ecologists subjected four grassland ecosystems to simulated climate change during a decade-long study.

    Plants grew more the first year in the global warming treatment, but this effect progressively diminished over the next nine years and finally disappeared.

    The research shows the long-term effects of global warming on plant growth, on the plant species that make up a community, and on changes in how plants use or retain essential resources like nitrogen.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1404

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