AGW threat seen under every rock and behind every tree

Forest lake in summer

Forest lake in summer (Photo credit: Axel-D)

Global warming threat seen in fertile soil of northeastern US forests

In ‘vicious cycle,’ heat may boost carbon release into atmosphere, UCI-led study finds

— Irvine, Calif., June 11, 2012 —

Vast stores of carbon in U.S. forest soils could be released by rising global temperatures, according to a study by UC Irvine and other researchers in today’s online Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

The scientists found that heating soil in Wisconsin and North Carolina woodlands by 10 and 20 degrees increased the release of carbon dioxide by up to eight times. They showed for the first time that most carbon in topsoil is vulnerable to this warming effect.

“We found that decades-old carbon in surface soils is released to the atmosphere faster when temperatures become warmer,” said lead author Francesca Hopkins, a doctoral researcher in UCI’s Earth system science department. “This suggests that soils could accelerate global warming through a vicious cycle in which man-made warming releases carbon from soils to the atmosphere, which, in turn, would warm the planet more.”

Soil, which takes its rich, brown color from large amounts of carbon in decaying leaves and roots, stores more than twice as much of the element as does the atmosphere, according to United Nations reports. Previously, it wasn’t known whether carbon housed in soil for a decade or longer would be released faster under higher temperatures, because it’s difficult to measure. The team, using carbon isotopes, discovered that older soil carbon is indeed susceptible to warming.

Forest lands, which contain about 104 billion tons of carbon reserves, have been one of the biggest unknowns in climate change predictions. Northeastern woodlands that were once farm fields are currently one of the Earth’s beneficial carbon sinks, holding nearly 26 billion tons. But climate scientists worry that trees and soils could become sources of greenhouse gas emissions rather than repositories.

“Our results suggest that large stores of carbon that built up over the last century as forests recovered will erode with rising temperatures,” said Susan Trumbore of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and UCI, who led the research team, which also included Margaret Torn, head of the Climate & Carbon Sciences Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Microbes in soil near tree roots, in particular, eat carbon, and it’s then diffused into the air as carbon dioxide, already the largest greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

“These are carbon dioxide sources that, in effect, we can’t control,” Hopkins said. “We could control how much gasoline we burn, how much coal we burn, but we don’t have control over how much carbon the soil will release once this gets going.”

Hopkins, who is also a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute, received funding from the National Science Foundation, the ARCS Foundation, and a Ralph J. & Carol M. Cicerone Graduate Fellowship. Additional support was provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Forest Service, Michigan Technological University and the Canadian Forest Service.

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Animation of Carbon cycle in a forest. Obtaine...

Animation of Carbon cycle in a forest. Obtained from http://www.nps.gov/olym/hand/process/ccycle.htm (This makes me dizzy.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First, this really isn’t surprising. Anyone that has ever worked with bacteria and petri dishes can tell you the bacteria are far more active at warmer temperatures. That’s why cultures are incubated to enhance growth.

I think the thing really missing from this study is the fact that the surrounding flora will likely utilize much of the CO2 released from the forest floor. They make no mention of where it goes, only that heating the soil allows for more bio-action by CO2 producing microbes.

The CO2 then gets sequestered in the trees and plants, until such time they die and decay.

I really can’t get too worked up about this.

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106 Responses to AGW threat seen under every rock and behind every tree

  1. Skeptik says:

    Cut down the forests and concrete them over.

  2. Alex Heyworth says:

    But wait a minute! Isn’t rising temperature also supposed to promote tree growth? Isn’t that what tree ring proxies are all about? So if the forest warms up, more CO2 is released from the forest floor AND more CO2 is taken up by the trees. Which effect is bigger?

  3. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    This is good. The warm-mongers are getting more and more ludicrous all the time.

  4. John Trigge (in Oz) says:

    could accelerate global warming through a vicious cycle

    Try as I might, I could not find the accepted scientific definition of vicious. I did find:

    vi·cious/ˈviSHəs/
    Adjective:

    Deliberately cruel or violent.
    (of an animal) Wild and dangerous to people.

    but I don’t think trees or leaves can (yet) be classified as animals or are cruel or violent towards humans.

    Also, when has anyone suggested that CAGW was going to cause “heating soil in Wisconsin and North Carolina woodlands by 10 and 20 degrees”. This is what they> did, not what is necessarily likely to happen.

  5. No dummy. Pave them over with asphalt.

  6. Tony Hansen says:

    Is that 10 and 20 degrees C or F?

  7. Leg says:

    I would be curious to know how they determined that the temperature has become warmer and where they did the study. Did they measure this in the field or bring soil into the lab and heat it? Any chance we could get hold of the paper?
    Surely these researchers deserve the Nobel Peace Prize (but not the Nobel Biochemistry prize as it still has some credibility).

  8. davidmhoffer says:

    Wow. If their study had merit, then we would expect the lowest carbon levels in soil to occurr in tropical rain forests where consistant high temps ought to expel the stuff from the soil, and the lowest in frozen wastelands. We get the opposite. Shame on those ignorant plants for scraping CO2 ought of the atmosphere and depositing it in the soil when they die at higher rate than the soil bacteria can release it.

    Bad trees. Fooled Mann and Briffa into thinking they were thermometers (except after 1960) and now they fooled some soil scientists into thinking that carbon levels in soil will go down instead of up due to warmer temperatures. Bad tress. Bad, bad, bad.

  9. Ian Middleton says:

    This bit confuses me “Microbes in soil near tree roots, in particular, eat carbon, and it’s then diffused into the air as carbon dioxide, already the largest greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”

    I thought water vapor was the biggest ghg.

  10. Bill Tuttle says:

    “These are carbon dioxide sources that, in effect, we can’t control,” Hopkins said. “We could control how much gasoline we burn, how much coal we burn, but we don’t have control over how much carbon the soil will release once this gets going.”

    News flash for Mizz Hopkins: you don’t have control over carbon release from the soil *now*, let alone “once this gets going.”

  11. Mike Busby says:

    One decent bushfire would release umpteen hundreds of tons/ years of CO2. As it does in some parts of Australia’s noth west every year. Makes any attempt to sequester it a joke.

  12. Bryan says:

    If you heat water it releases dissolved CO2.
    Another example of the back to front IPCC, Al Gore pseudoscience.
    CO2 is the lagging not leading factor in the geological record.
    The last twenty years of rising CO2 yet flat temperatures shows CO2 is not a temperature driver.
    Still its nice to know that the ‘scientists’ are leaving their computer models to do some experiments.

  13. BioBob says:

    10 or 20 degrees ? More moronic conclusions based on fantasy strawmen.

    I sugest they actually measure soil temperatures longterm – and do it properly with replicated random samples. If the net delta air temperature is point 8 degrees C (and that is likely doubtful), then my bet is the delta soil temperature change is likely close to zero, especially in soils with a large organic insulating layer.

    More straining at gnats, as usual. Make a model why don’t you ?

  14. mizimi says:

    “and it’s then diffused into the air as carbon dioxide, already the largest greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”
    Largest? I guess a molecule of CO2 is somewhat larger than say, a molecule of H2O or N2.
    Is this what passes for scientific statements?
    Water vapour is not a greenhouse gas and its effect is not greater than CO2 ?

    And they heated the soil by 10 – 20 degrees ? How does that relate to global warming over the last century ?

    I am appalled.

  15. Rob Carter says:

    Is it a coincidence this and all the other scare stories start to appear in the run up to an environment conference (rio 2012); ramp up the scare tactics to get the msm interested.
    As for 10 degree rise in soil temperatures, doesn’t that happen every year after winter?

  16. Mike Smith says:

    OMG, the sky is falling and God forbid the topsoil might be warmed up by several degrees.

    Guess what? This happens every day starting soon after sunrise.

    And what’s with the control freaks at Irvine? Jeeze there’s a ton of things we can’t control and yet these silly people want to get all worried about CO2 release from topsoil. Listen up Irviners — we can’t control solar variations either and THAT is scary!

    Pathetic. My primary school kids do better science than this!

  17. Katabasis says:

    Er – “by 10 and 20 degrees” – even the wildest alarmist predictions don’t expect a rise of the former, never mind the latter.

  18. davidmhoffer says:

    Alex Heyworth says:
    June 12, 2012 at 12:08 am
    But wait a minute! Isn’t rising temperature also supposed to promote tree growth? Isn’t that what tree ring proxies are all about? So if the forest warms up, more CO2 is released from the forest floor AND more CO2 is taken up by the trees. Which effect is bigger?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Oh don’t be silly. CO2 levels don’t affect tree ring growth, Hansen and Briffa said so. Never mind all those studies about increased growth from high levels of CO2 in greenhouses, that’s just greenhouses, not the “real world”. Other things that don’t affect tree growth in the real world include precipitation, soil nutrients, pestilence, disease, competiion from other species, changes in migration patterns of birds and animals that leave, uhm, soil nutrient precursors, behind in large quantities, late frosts, early frosts, variations in insect population that stunt or promote seed production, and of course the temperature during the non growing season is exactly the same from one year to the next so as to make the growing season representative of the whole year.Just ignore all that, The trees only respond to temperture. Oh and don’t forget that 12 trees in Siberia represent the temperature of the earth for 1,000 years oh a blobal basis. Well, actually as it turns out, only one of them. How it got the local temps wrong and the global temps right is beyond me. Well until 1960, after which the all got it wrong. We can’t compare to temps recorded before 1900 or so, but given there;s a few decades in their where they sorta correlate if we discard the 11 other trees, then obviously there’s not question they were accurate for the 900 years prior to the temperature record beginning.

    I knew a caprenter who said he could make anything out of wood and I now I know what he meant.

  19. carbon dioxide, already the largest greenhouse gas in the atmosphere

    No it isn’t. Water vapour is.

    If this study is correct and warmer temperatures increase CO2 emissions from soil, then this is strong evidence that the greenhouse warming effect of CO2 is weak to non-existent.

    This is a positive feedback and will cause runaway warming. As this hasn’t happened in the past, we can safely conclude that increased CO2 emissions from warmer soils has no effect on the climate.

  20. oMan says:

    I can’t get worked up at *all* about this. What rot –literally and figuratively. Their lead author is a “doctoral researcher” which sounds like “this is my Ph.D thesis, and I hope someday to know what I’m doing.”. Their work “suggests” that this mechanism might exist, and under huge changes on the input side (10 or 20 degrees of temperature increase) the mechanism might produce an attention-getting increase on the output side (8x release from soil? Really?). Did they observe this? Did they attempt to falsify their hypothesis? Can they explain why this seemingly-catastrophic release of carbon has not occurred over and over in the planet’s history, because surely those input conditions have existed time and time again?
    Me, I think we’re seeing a tsunami of tripe, timed for publication before the cut-off date for citation by the IPCC in AR5. If somebody could eavesdrop on the IPCC’s “leadership” they might show a deliberate coordinated program of generating such papers by marginal players, to be pushed through friendly review and dumped on the world at just the right moment. But such a notion on my part is, like this paper, pure speculation.

  21. AndyG55 (from down-under) says:

    “In ‘vicious cycle,’ heat may boost carbon release into atmosphere”

    Yippee !! bring on a more SUSTAINABLE atmosphere, one that is not so near barely a plant survival level.

    SUSTAINABLE is the “NEW” word isn’t it. ;-) So let’s boost that CO2 level !!!

  22. foxgoose says:

    “…but we don’t have control over how much carbon the soil will release once this gets going.”

    It’s been “going” pretty well as long as the planet has supported life.

    Do these post-normal, teenage “scientists” really believe they’ve just discovered the carbon cycle?

  23. Bill Tuttle says:

    They showed for the first time that most carbon in topsoil is vulnerable to this warming effect.

    They really do believe we’re stupid, don’t they?

    From 2001 — “Seasonal dynamics of soil carbon dioxide efflux and simulated rhizosphere respiration in a beech forest…”
    http://treephys.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/2-3/145.full.pdf

    — through 2009 — “Abstract: Laboratory and field CO2 efflux measurements were used to investigate the influence of soil organic C (SOC) decomposability and soil microclimate on summer SOC dynamics in seasonally dry montane forest and rangeland soils at the T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest in northern Utah.”
    http://www.mendeley.com/research/factors-affecting-carbon-dioxide-release-forest-rangeland-soils-northern-utah/

    — there must have been fifty papers published on the subject.

  24. jim says:

    “This suggests that soils could accelerate global warming through a vicious cycle in which man-made warming releases carbon from soils to the atmosphere, which, in turn, would warm the planet more.”
    JK—Shouldn’t they first prove that CO2 really does cause warming in a real atmosphere, with air circulation, and overlapping absorption bands?
    Thanks
    JK]

  25. Brian Johnson uk says:

    davidmhoffer said in part:
    June 12, 2012 at 12:52 am

    “I knew a caprenter who said he could make anything out of wood and I now I know what he meant.”

    I had one of his Sirloin steaks he made the other day………

    Surely this extra CO2 [ my trees/ plants say "bring it on!"] is all for digestion in Rio and to support the inevitable Media Green Garbage overhype?

  26. polistra says:

    The missing thing, as always, is negative feedback. If Nature worked the way these idiots think it works, no living thing (including these idiots) would exist.

    Fortunately for most living things, Nature doesn’t work that way. And even more fortunately, negative feedback at the cultural and economic level is starting to wipe out these idiots in the countries that still function. The idiots will continue their genocide in the countries that have ceased functioning, like USA and UK. At some point the functional countries will simply take over the resources of the failed countries, which might be the best thing in the long run.

  27. Bill Tuttle says:

    Leg says:
    June 12, 2012 at 12:32 am
    Did they measure this in the field or bring soil into the lab and heat it?

    She brought it into the lab.

    “Francesca Hopkins of the University of California at Irvine collected soil from the two forests in jars and then measured how much carbon dioxide the soil emitted as she warmed the containers.”
    http://azstarnet.com/news/science/environment/carbon-in-soil-could-speed-climate-change-study-finds/article_a478ec91-92be-592a-ad4e-f9684f855bb0.html

  28. Chris Schoneveld says:

    davidmhoffer, beautifully summarized

  29. Peter says:

    A Nobel Prize, maybe?

    Luckily, other scientists have the solution for this serious problem:

    “To mitigate global climate change, a portfolio of strategies will be needed to keep the atmospheric CO2 concentration below a dangerous level. Here a carbon sequestration strategy is proposed in which certain dead or live trees are harvested via collection or selective cutting, then buried in trenches or stowed away in above-ground shelters. ”

    http://www.cbmjournal.com/content/3/1/1

    And then pave them over with asphalt.

  30. ColdinOz says:

    Just another confirmation that temperature drives CO2

  31. Otter says:

    So, if the Holocene Climate Optimum was 10C warmer, world-wide (and that is what Wiki says, don’t know how the AGW crowd missed editing that one), Why are we not ‘Venus’ already?

  32. The more CO2 the better the new trees grow, or don’t these people know that. And, since CO2 has no part in driving climate/temperature what’s the problem?

  33. mfo says:

    So during the warm summer growing season the forest floor produces more carbon dioxide, resulting in healthier forests. Great.

    In commercial greenhouses using carbon dioxide fertilization, increasing the CO2 content of the air from 0,03 vol% to 0,1 vol% results in three times higher photosynthetic efficiency. This produces a 20 – 30% increased harvest, better quality fruit, stronger generative parts, greater disease resistance and an earlier harvest.

    Typical CO2 ppm in the greenhouses are:

    Potted plants 600 – 900 ppm
    Bedding plants 600 – 800 ppm
    Clove 300 – 1.000 ppm
    Roses 750 – 1.000
    Cucumber 1.000 – 2.000 ppm
    Tomatoes 1.000 – 2.000 ppm
    Salad 1000 ppm
    Peppers 1000 ppm

  34. Manfred says:

    So here’s the issue… “control”… if we ever need reminding…

    “These are carbon dioxide sources that, in effect, we can’t control,” Hopkins said. “We could control how much gasoline we burn, how much coal we burn, but we don’t have control over how much carbon the soil will release once this gets going.”

    For “we” see: Agenda 21, UN.

  35. MattN says:

    What conference is approaching that these absolutely rediculous studies are coming out ahead of?

  36. pethefin says:

    According to press releases of this study:

    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1558.html

    even forestration (of the Artic) will strenghten the warming so we seem to be doomed.

  37. jmrsudbury says:

    Opps. Sorry. That last link was the wrong paper. Here is the Soil Carbon paper:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/06/07/1120603109.full.pdf+html
    John M Reynolds

  38. Alex Heyworth says:

    davidmhoffer, I didn’t say that more CO2 increased growth rates but that, according to the dendro mob, higher temperatures do.

  39. Rick Bradford says:

    There we go again, the favourite Alarmist notions of tipping points, death spirals and runaway catastrophes, all of which are rooted in an apocalyptic worldview which dates right back to the Garden of Eden.

  40. Kolenaty says:

    No problem here. A two minute search turned up a much more comprehensive study that found that while soil bacteria do initially produce more CO2 the process gets tuned down in a year or so. The research included a computer model, so it has to be right. http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=116832
    When I was in grad school there was that little thing called a search of the literature — but that was a LOT of years ago. I guess it has fallen out of fashion.

  41. Bob says:

    Tony Hansen says:
    June 12, 2012 at 12:31 am

    Is that 10 and 20 degrees C or F?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes. Which ever suits the skeer story.

    We didn’t know until just now that the rate of bacterial activity increases with temperature? What really new science. The only biology course I’ve taken was about 50 years ago, but I did start up a waste water plant (near a Holiday Inn) and casual observation indicated that both aerobic and anaerobic digestion rates were related to temperature. Did I miss an opportunity to publish new science?
    This piece is written like children’s fairy story, not science. I’d be embarrassed to be associated with an institution that allows “researchers” to put out drivel like this.

  42. Markus Fitzhenry says:

    Me old mate Philip Bradley says;

    “As this hasn’t happened in the past, we can safely conclude that increased CO2 emissions from warmer soils has no effect on the climate.”

    Actually Philip, studies have shown, (it’s rather hard to get ancient incomprehensible systems into an empirical state) that temperatures decrease after higher concentrations of CO2 in atmosphere by around only 800 years.

  43. Kaboom says:

    The vicious cycle of life. It must be stopped or we’re all going to die?

  44. Robert of Ottawa says:

    10-20 Centigrad ?!

  45. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Mike Busby @ June 12, 2012 at 12:43 am

    One decent bushfire would release umpteen hundreds of tons/ years of CO2. As it does in some parts of Australia’s noth west every year.
    Is Canada part of North West Australia? …. could be I guess.

  46. Slabadang says:

    Now Think!!! :)

    This is a perfect confirmation of ewhat M salby claims about the carbon cycle. They shot them selves in the foot! This more proof of that “warming is at the wheel and CO2 is behind back in the bus”. Its conclusion and confirmation af Salbys theory is worth it own article here on WUWT and there are many many implcations for the CAGW thery with theese findings. The conclusion made by these authors is just 180 degree wrong!! If they realized what salby is putting forward they would never published it because its confirming the opposit of what they are claiming and opens up and indicates that there are factors driving the ended /hiatus warming period..

  47. Jason Joice M.D. says:

    Shouldn’t we thank them for this research proving the CO2 is NOT the driver and is in fact rising in concentration because of the temperature increasing from some other factor??? We know from the historical record that C02 lags behind the temperature increase. They’ve effectively disproven the CO2 as the culprit.

  48. Tom in Florida says:

    Ian Middleton says:
    June 12, 2012 at 12:37 am
    “I thought water vapor was the biggest ghg.”

    I have noticed several recent news articles that refer to CO2 as being the biggest or largest GHG.
    It is almost as if there is a concentrated effort to slowly add this thought here and there hoping it will infiltrate into people thinking that this is correct.

  49. Ian H says:

    This study ignores how the forest fauna is likely to react to heating. They basically heated some soil in the dark and noted that CO_2 was released.

    A much more realistic test would be to compare the carbon content per square kilometre of forest (and soil) in Wisconsin to the carbon content of forest in a place 10-20 degrees warmer. So … is the Amazon rainforest particularly noted as low carbon environment?

  50. R. de Haan says:

    Bank of America: 50 billion to fight Climate Change
    http://english.capital.gr/News.asp?id=1525641

  51. Latitude says:

    but we don’t have control over how much carbon the soil will release once this gets going.”
    ===================
    they keep looking for runaway global warming — tipping point

    ….tell me again, how much of that CO2 is contributed by man

  52. ddpalmer says:

    I haven’t read the whole paper but some important points that may make the whole thing a waste of research time and money.

    First, the 10 and 20 degrees they are talking about is Celcius, so 17 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit well beyond any anticipated increase.

    Second, the soils where incubated in the lab, so any natural processes that would occur in nature where probably absent. Also the elevated temperature was maintain continuously, it did not cycle up and down like the real wold daily temperature would. And the soil was incubated in glass jars, meaning the heat was felt equally from all sides, a unnatural condition as anyone who has ever dug a hole knows temperature drops with depth for any reasonable conditions.

    And lastly, the soils were from the ongoing FACE experiments. Those are the experiments where large areas are subject to increased levels of CO2 for years. So these soils would have had more CO2 than naturally occurring forest soils.

  53. Bill says:

    The increase in temperature will increase the rates of many reactions, including most of the hundreds of other processes in the carbon cycle. That includes plant growth. So the cycle will speed up. Just looking at one part of the cycle and not the others is poor science. Just as looking at only one aspect of an economic or policy decision leads to poor outcomes. But most people love sound bites and scare tactics.

  54. garymount says:

    Rob Carter says: June 12, 2012 at 12:48 am
    Is it a coincidence this and all the other scare stories start to appear in the run up to an environment conference (rio 2012); ramp up the scare tactics to get the msm interested.
    — — —
    I don’t think its coincidence. On the front page of The Vancouver Sun today:
    “Drier summers in the Lower Mainland will require communities to find new ways to conserve water in the coming decades, says a major new study on climate change adaptation released Monday.”
    “The $750,000 Climate Change Adaptation Project report, led by the University of Waterloo and paid for by the insurance company Intact Financial Corp., is meant to provide a blueprint for adapting to climate change.”

    Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/Drier+summers+Lower+Mainland+will+require+ways+conserve+water+study/6766316/story.html#ixzz1xa5BlJEg

    How does an increased hydrological cycle cause less rain in Vancouver, and all other cities in Canada (unless dry is a good thing for a particular city, then it will get wetter /sarc)?

  55. martinbrumby says:

    “Wisconsin and North Carolina woodlands ”

    Hmmmm. Looks nice.

    Did these “scientists” ever check out the “carbon release” from old garbage heaps or used car lots?

    Could be a project just waiting for them to think of it!

  56. Bill Illis says:

    In 2011, it looks like Plants, Oceans and Soils absorbed more CO2 than ever before at 2.85 ppm CO2.

    http://img841.imageshack.us/img841/424/co2absorpppm17502011.png

    These papers are becoming scarier and scarier as time goes on as well farther divorced from reality as time goes on. Why do they need to do this? Its like climate-scare-porn or something. It is natural for us to like a good scare but why does it need to be science journals.

  57. alan says:

    I think we have a new climate meme, “Vicious AGW”.

  58. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @Alex Heyworth

    “But wait a minute! Isn’t rising temperature also supposed to promote tree growth? Isn’t that what tree ring proxies are all about?”

    +++++++++++++

    Hey, USA, Remember that big Blank Spot on the map north of the continental USA? It’s right next to that ice block of ice you bought from the Russians with a Point named after someone in the family of the Prez of Barbados. It’s called ‘Ca-na-da’ which is a mispelling of the aboriginal name “Cnd”. Some aspirant Canadian from England was trying to get the name on record from a local who spelled it out for him: “‘C’, eh? ‘N’, eh? ‘D’, eh?” and not used to the local accent he wrote CANADA. Tourist!

    So when Canada warms up 10-20 degrees all of it will be covered from head to foot (that’s the stinky part known as Lake Erie) with trees, I can guarantee you that! We like trees. We grow trees everywhere. We turn them into hockey sticks, play games, drink beer then break them. You can even see it on TV. Adding another (approx) 1 trillion trees to Canada is presently impossible because of an absolute lack of heat and CO2.

    To quote your famous Prez Bush (the short one), when it came to getting American hands on additional carbon-rich gas and in a message to those ‘applying heat’ at the time, “Bring it on!” Yup, that’s what he said. I saw it during intermission. Well, if you do, you’ll get a rousing (if somewhat Labatt’s-addled) toothless hockey stick cheer from the Blank Spot.

    [This comment has been brought to you by the Mackenzie brothers, Bob and Doug. Terms and conditions apply]

  59. hunter says:

    NASA just reported they see AGW in Arctic ocean phytoplankton blooms.
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/08jun_arcticbloom/
    And of course it is due to AGW…until you actually read the entire article.

  60. Ric Werme says:

    Global warming threat seen in fertile soil of northeastern US forests

    — Irvine, Calif., June 11, 2012 —

    The scientists found that heating soil in Wisconsin and North Carolina woodlands…

    I hadn’t realized the northeast had grown so much. I never felt the part of Ohio I grew up in belonged to the midwest, but is it now part of the mideast?

  61. Steve Keohane says:

    This is silly. There is a range of temperature that bacteria can thrive, above which they die, below which they.are dormant. How much of the earth is already above the maximum temperature these CO2/methane spewing microbes live. I would bet the bacteria have more mass than humans, and probably create more GHGs than we do.

  62. MarkW says:

    If the air heats up by 20 degrees, ain’t gonna be nobody left to worry about the additional carbon release.

    Is there any rational person who actually believes the planet is going to warm up by 10 to 20 degrees?

  63. Norman says:

    When I first heard of GW it was that we would reach a tipping point where the temp rise from CO2 would heat the tundra and cause it to release CO2 thus leading to more warming…My question at the time is how would we know that natural warming wasn’t already heating the tundra and this was responsible for the increased atmospheric CO2.
    Now we know that CO2 is a lagging indicator.

  64. NetDr says:

    It seems to have escaped the author’s notice but it has been stable for 17 years and cooling for 11 years. When it it gong to heat the soil ?

  65. Chris B says:

    Who paid for this useless “research”. Therein lies the problem.

  66. Eric says:

    CO2=heat=WV=more heat=more CO2=more heat=more wv=more heat=less snow=more heat=more CO2=more heat=methane release=more heat=lather=rinse=repeat…

    With all these positive feedbacks why again hasn’t the earth simply cooked itself? All it would take to get it started would be for an elephant to fart.

    oh…”and clouds are probably positive feedback as well”….Somewhere there has to be a negative feedback to counter the positive, right?

  67. Joseph Bastardi says:

    I think its a positive FEEDBAG, cause a lot of these guys are getting fat feeding at the trough of wasted taxpayer money for funding

  68. Craig Goodrich says:

    “The scientists found that heating soil in Wisconsin and North Carolina woodlands by 10 and 20 degrees increased the release of carbon dioxide by up to eight times. They showed for the first time that most carbon in topsoil is vulnerable to this warming effect.”

    D’oh!!

    I grew up in rural Wisconsin, surrounded by farms of rich black topsoil. This is produced by decaying vegetable matter (d’oh again). Decaying vegetable matter produces CO2, which eventually itself decays into its constituent elements. If you take a bucket of this stuff and heat it, of course CO2 will be driven off. Big deal. Next question?

    Another point, of course, is that Wisconsin temperatures range from around zero F in winter to over 80 F in summer, and presumably the topsoil temps follow. But of course in summer, the warming-induced CO2 emissions are eagerly taken in by the corn, peas, soybeans, dandelions, lawns, trees, pastures, and whatnot. This paper seems really profoundly idiotic.

  69. fhhaynie says:

    Anthropogenic emissions have very little effect on this process that has been going on for millions of years. These are natural emissions and do not contribute to a positive feedback leading to “run away global warming”. Think about where and how fast all that CO2 from our western states forest fires is going.

  70. Crispin in (dumber than I thot) Waterloo says:

    @garymount quotes:

    “Drier summers in the Lower Mainland will require communities to find new ways to conserve water in the coming decades, says a major new study on climate change adaptation released Monday.”

    +++++++++

    The water quantity available to Vancouver is so large and so pure that the cost in town is approximately the cost of maintaining the pipes. The idea of increasing the more than 180 days of rain as a looming ‘shortage’ makes me wonder who wrote this. The stupid is soaking in somewhere.

    UoW, it’s Waterloo that has a ground water supply, not Vancouver!

  71. Mike says:

    another butterfly flaps its wings in the forest…

  72. David says:

    Ah – but BURYING CO2 under pressure, as the British government is determined to make a condition of any new fossil-fuelled power stations, is bound to work, isn’t it..?
    What could possibly go wrong..?

  73. andy adkins says:

    what other gases are released and at what rates? The readiness of grant funding for this project and the eagerness to publish its hyperbolic scaremongering and dishonest conclusions should cause great weariness and immense concern for all rational thinkers.

  74. Some aspirant Canadian from England was trying to get the name on record from a local who spelled it out for him: “‘C’, eh? ‘N’, eh? ‘D’, eh?” and not used to the local accent he wrote CANADA. Tourist!

    The story I like is, a Portuguese explorer travelled from upstate NY to present day Canada, was asked on his return,

    “What was there?”

    He replied, “Que nada”.

  75. Kaboom says:

    If you heat the soil enough for the trees to combust spontaneously you get even more CO2 released.

  76. Kaboom says:

    @David An artificial Lake Nyos event, preferably in an area where executives of Big Green have their country estates?

  77. tadchem says:

    First, there is an annual cycle in which the trees accumulate carbon in their leavesall spring ans summer, to drop it on the ground each fall. The microflora on the florest floor break down the elaves and return it to the air as CO2 *continually*.
    Then there is the irregular cycle of fire, which is the ONLY known source that can heat the soil 10-20° C and release the CO2 to the air in one large pules. This cannot happen in successive years for any given location, but happens randomly in intervals of several years to a few centuries.
    This whole myopic piece strikes me as a rent-seeking report.

  78. Gail Combs says:

    Ian Middleton says:
    June 12, 2012 at 12:37 am

    This bit confuses me “Microbes in soil near tree roots, in particular, eat carbon, and it’s then diffused into the air as carbon dioxide, already the largest greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”

    I thought water vapor was the biggest ghg.
    ______________________________________
    You are correct it is but the IPCC never ever speaks of water because then the whole scam will crash around their ears. Water, as vapor, clouds, oceans, ice, rain and snow, is the huge elephant in the Global Warminst’s room.

    Here is the graphs of Atmospheric Transmission and Absorption

  79. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @Philip Bradley
    “What was there?”
    He replied, “Que nada”.

    ++++

    Love it! We have little shrines in each sports bar where in mid-summer we offer a little corn to Manitou thanking Him for not allowing the Portuguese to land first.

  80. dp says:

    So the ice core data are correct that first comes the heat then comes the CO2. But what causes the heat? Somewhere in the world of climate science there is a chicken missing its egg.

  81. Bill Tuttle says:

    Bill Illis says:
    June 12, 2012 at 5:27 am
    These papers are becoming scarier and scarier as time goes on as well farther divorced from reality as time goes on. Why do they need to do this?

    It’s their mindset. When people don’t buy into their message, they don’t believe their message is wrong, they think that people just aren’t aware of Teh Revelation. So, they think that shouting will get it across — kind of like that old Sam Kinison sketch;

    Sam [to immigrant convenience store clerk]: “Do you have any cigarettes?”
    AICSC: [shrugs] “????”
    Sam: “DO. YOU. HAVE. ANY. CIGARETTES?!?”

  82. Bill Tuttle says:

    tadchem says:
    June 12, 2012 at 6:51 am
    This whole myopic piece strikes me as a rent-seeking report.

    “No actual science was used during the production of this report.”

  83. Bob Shapiro says:

    We already know that CO2 levels in the atmosphere follow temperature swings by about 800 years. Thank you for detailing one possible mechanism.

    Now, how does this cause global warming?

  84. Olen says:

    “Northeastern woodlands that were once farm fields are currently one of the Earth’s beneficial carbon sinks, holding nearly 26 billion tons. But climate scientists worry that trees and soils could become sources of greenhouse gas emissions rather than repositories.”

    For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe. ~Author Unknown

  85. ferd berple says:

    garymount says:
    June 12, 2012 at 5:24 am
    On the front page of The Vancouver Sun today:
    “Drier summers in the Lower Mainland”
    ========
    Anyone that actually lives in Vancouver would vote in a instant for drier summers. Vancouver is a rain forest. Today it is cold and rainy. Most of the past 10 months it has been cold and rainy. Most of the past 100 years it has been cold and rainy. A heat wave in Vancouver is when it reaches 24C (75F).

    Vancouver is situated on the ocean at 49+ degrees north. 700 miles closer to the North Pole than to the equator. The city sits right smack dab in the middle of the North Pacific storm track. There are 5000 foot high mountains immediately behind the city that ring every drop of water out of the clouds and rain it down in the city in a near constant drizzle that starts in September and ends in July. Occasionally we get a break from the drizzle – when it rains.

    There are wetter places on earth than Vancouver, but most human beings have the good sense not to live there. Anyone that thinks drier summers are a negative in Vancouver hasn’t lived in Vancouver. Or an insurance company looking for reasons to boost rates.

  86. Gail Combs says:

    Mike Smith says:
    June 12, 2012 at 12:49 am

    OMG, the sky is falling and God forbid the topsoil might be warmed up by several degrees.

    Guess what? This happens every day starting soon after sunrise….
    _________________________________
    What is really laughable is the fact it happens in every organic farmer’s compost heap! (Those veggies the Politically Correct at OSU and UVa eat.)

    Cooperative Extension Service

    Composted Animal Manures: Precautions and Processing
    Compost is made by recycling organic materials such as yard trimmings, wood chips, food scraps, and animal manures in a controlled process. The process employs microorganisms to transform the raw materi­als…..

    Composting and sanitization
    In composting, many types of nonpathogenic microor­ganisms transform complex organic materials into sim­pler compounds through the decomposition processes of mineralization and humification. When a compost pile is correctly constructed and managed, the activity of these decomposer microorganisms generates heat sufficient to kill pathogenic microorganisms. If the right conditions are not present for the decomposition activity to gener­ate heat, the process may not result in sanitization.

    For sanitization to take place during the composting process, the entire mass of organic material must be exposed to lethal temperatures for a suitable length of time. Because these temperatures develop in the inte­rior of the pile, turning the pile is an important part of compost management. Undecomposed material from thetop and sides of the pile are rotated toward its center by turning the pile. After several turnings, usually at inter­vals ranging from one to three weeks, all of the materi­als in the pile should have been exposed to the condi­tions that result in sanitization…..

    General guidelines for attaining sanitization of com­posts that include animal manures are the following:

    • If composting materials are contained in a vessel and temperatures are uniform throughout the mass of composting materials, a minimum of three consecutive days with compost temperature above 55°C (131°F) is required to achieve sanitization.

    • If composting materials are in a turned pile or turned windrow system, the requirement is a minimum of 15 days in which temperatures in the pile are above 55°C and five turnings during that high-temperature composting period.

    • The finished compost must be biologically stable so that pathogen regrowth from the pile itself does not occur……

    …above 55°C (131°F)… sounds like that is where they got that ” 10 and 20 degrees increased” Think they are now going to start banning compost heaps and manure piles?

    OH THE HORROR! Where will all politically correct Academia get their food?

  87. crosspatch says:

    The fundamental problem with this is that it assumes that since there has been rise in global temperatures that there is also a rise in the continental US but this is not the case. The continental US has seen a significant downtrend in temperatures since 1998.

    While it is certainly warmer now than it was in 1975, it is slightly cooler today than it was in the early 1930’s. With all the hype about how warm this May was, it was still cooler than May 1934.

  88. Bill Illis says:

    A new high resolution CO2 series from the Antarctic ice cores for the last 1,000 years was recently released. CO2 as high as 287.5 at 1203 AD (Medieval Warm Period).

    A comparison of the 3 high resolution ice core series shows MWP and the LIA feedback of temperature on CO2 levels. They can’t rewrite this record now.

    http://www.agu.org/journals/gb/gb1202/2011GB004247/2011gb004247-op02.jpg

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2012/2011GB004247.shtml

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/wais2012co2.txt

  89. Ray says:

    They can’t see the forest behind YAD06.

  90. Gail Combs says:

    David says:
    June 12, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Ah – but BURYING CO2 under pressure, as the British government is determined to make a condition of any new fossil-fuelled power stations, is bound to work, isn’t it..?
    What could possibly go wrong..?
    ____________________________________
    Can let that pass…

    In 1986, a tremendous explosion of CO2 from the lake Nyos, West of Cameroon, killed more than 1700 people and livestock up to 25 km away.

    So just make sure the “BURYING CO2 under pressure” is right next to parliament and other seats of government… That is the best way to make sure the engineering is done correctly by the Son-in-Law of the big wig in office. (tongue firmly in cheek)

  91. Gary Pearse says:

    10 to 20 degree increase is bad for soils – now I am scared. I’m also amazed that forest fire areas can begin to grow back in a couple of years. I guess the carbon is just about gone from the Amazon jungle.

  92. Tom G(ologist) says:

    Someone make them stop, please!!!!

    This is embarrassing to read.

  93. Burch says:

    > heating soil in Wisconsin and North Carolina woodlands by 10 and 20 degrees increased the release of carbon dioxide by up to eight times

    I didn’t notice anyone ask this… 10 to 20 degrees from… where? What was the starting temp of the soil? Ditto for the release of CO2 – what’s the baseline release rate?

    Just for fun, I looked up vicious cycle (circle) on wikipedia:

    A virtuous circle and a vicious circle (also referred to as virtuous cycle and vicious cycle) are economic terms. They refer to a complex of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop. A virtuous circle has favorable results, while a vicious circle has detrimental results.

  94. Bill Tuttle says:

    Bob Shapiro says:
    June 12, 2012 at 7:37 am
    We already know that CO2 levels in the atmosphere follow temperature swings by about 800 years. Thank you for detailing one possible mechanism.
    Now, how does this cause global warming?

    One step at a time. First off, we invent time travel…

  95. Paul Marko says:

    I inadvertently performed a similar experiment behind my patio digging a barrier to a fire pit. Several worms emerged and a strange looking beetle surfaced and flew away. And that was prior to starting the fire. It would be difficult to contemplate the bio-disruption to the forest floor with a 10 to 20 degree temperature increase.

  96. chemman says:

    “Francesca Hopkins of the University of California at Irvine collected soil from the two forests in jars and then measured how much carbon dioxide the soil emitted as she warmed the containers.”

    Sorry, but I won’t get all exercised about a test like this. Small samples that have an increased surface area to volume ratio will allow for better heat flow in the sample. You then would expect more microbial activity than in a real forest environment environment. That this got published is a testament to their belief in AGW.

  97. DesertYote says:

    As I have said before, as a general rule, atmospheric CO2 is directly related to the rate of eukariote metabolism; the rate of eukariote metabolism is directly related to temperature, thus CO2 follows temperature.

    But because I don’t have a PhD, no one believes me. All I have is 30 years experience duplicating aquatic eco-systems in big glass boxes.

  98. Resourceguy says:

    New title proposed: Published paper opportunity found under every rock and behind every tree!

  99. Neil Jordan says:

    Is there nothing left of this paper? Let me offer Figure 1. By ocular estimation, it appears that the atmospheric residence time of carbon-14 dioxide (and by extension CO2) is 5 to 10 years. That is what I recollect from other studies and substantially less than the decades to eons required to fulfill CAGW prophecy. Now I must go out to the yard and turn over my compost pile.

  100. fhhaynie says:

    I downloaded the article in PNAS and scanned it. I don’t think the researchers are nearly as dumb as the “News Release” has indicated. I did not find any mention of AGW or speculation as to run away out gassing of CO2. The news release is written to draw attention to the article. One thing they discovered in their Duke Forest experiment is that the mean age of the emissions is around 10 years. My analysis indicates that anthropogenic emissions cycle through the environment in about 10 years. http://www.retiredresearcher.wordpress.com. All those emissions from over 90 coal fired power plants in North Carolina are being rapidly consumed by all those trees (plus moist soil). The average time for decomposition in the soil is probably around 10 years. My analysis is based on global concentrations and emission rates which indicates decomposition rates in the oceans are about the same.

  101. fhhaynie says:

    Several Years ago they released high concentrations of CO2 into Duke Forest and observed the increased growth rate of the trees. More biomass to decay and release CO2 about 10 years later.

  102. Budgenator says:

    “Naivety (or naïvety, naïveté, etc.), is the state of being naive—having or showing a lack of experience, understanding or sophistication – often in a context where one neglects pragmatism in favor of moral idealism. One who is naive may be called a naif.” Naivety

    All they had to do is ask a gardener or an organic farmer and they would have been told that warmer air temps really get a compost pile rolling, but once it starts to get warm, it stays that way. My pile gets up to 120F even in the winter, which makes their temperatures look a little puny to me; in fact a compost pile doesn’t do much fermenting at all until it gets up past 110-115 anyways. Once it gets rolling it doesn’t matter what temp it is, it’ll cook until it is finished. If you ever poke around in the woods in the winter, you find the deer staying warm nesting over big pile of fallen leaves and weeds.

  103. AnonyMoose says:

    Even if the worms and bacteria are able to eat faster than before, the critters die and leave some carbon behind which might not be digestible. Their sequestration process is merely running faster.

  104. Bill Tuttle says:

    Budgenator says:
    June 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm
    If you ever poke around in the woods in the winter, you find the deer staying warm nesting over big pile of fallen leaves and weeds.

    We’ve found lost kids who’ve survived sub-freezing nighttime temperatures in the woods by burrowing into wind-drifted leaf piles. Their body heat never registered on our thermal systems, which means that the still air trapped between the leaves also makes a pretty good insulator.

  105. Man Bearpig says:

    Oh my god, we’re all going to die again.

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