Another benefit of increased CO2 – trees use water more efficiently

Warmist, document thief, and water expert Peter Gleick must be terribly conflicted by this news from USDA.

Trees Using Water More Efficiently as Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Rises

This flux tower extending above spruce and hemlock trees at the Howland Cooperative Research Forest in central Maine is contributing to long-term ecosystem studies supported by the DOE Office of Science and the USDA Forest Service`s Northern Research Station. This flux tower is located on land owned by the Northeast Wilderness Trust.  Photo by John Lee, University of Maine. DURHAM, NH, July 10, 2013 – A study by scientists with the U.S. Forest Service, Harvard University and partners suggests that trees are responding to higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by becoming more efficient at using water.

The study, “Increase in forest water-use efficiency as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise,” was published on-line today in the journal Nature. Dave Hollinger, a plant physiologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, is a co-author with lead author Trevor Keenan of Harvard University and colleagues from The Ohio State University, Indiana University, and the Institute of Meteorology and Climate in Germany. The article is available at: http://www.nature.com/nature

“Working with others, the Forest Service is developing knowledge that is essential to maintaining healthy, sustainable forests in a changing climate,” said Michael T. Rains, Director of the Northern Research Station. “We are striving to be at the forefront of delivering sound climate science to the public.”

Terrestrial plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, a process that is accompanied by the loss of water vapor from leaves. The ratio of water loss to carbon gain, or water-use efficiency, is a key characteristic of ecosystem function that is central to the global cycles of water, energy and carbon.

Scientists analyzed direct, long-term measurements of whole-ecosystem carbon and water exchange and found a substantial increase in water-use efficiency in temperate and boreal forests of the Northern Hemisphere over the past two decades.

“Our analysis suggests that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide is having a direct and unexpectedly strong influence on ecosystem processes and biosphere-atmosphere interactions in temperate and boreal forests,” Hollinger said.

How efficient trees are in using water has implications for ecosystem function, services and feedbacks to the climate system. These include enhanced timber yields and improved water availability, which could partially offset the effects of future droughts. However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions.

Scientists analyzed data from seven sites in the Midwest and Northeastern United States that are part of the AmeriFlux network including the Forest Service’s Bartlett Experimental Forest in New Hampshire and the Howland Cooperating Experimental Forest in Maine and expanded the analysis to 14 additional forested sites in temperate and boreal regions. . Flux towers at these sites measure fluctuations in carbon dioxide uptake and water loss. The Northern Research Station operates flux towers at five experimental forests; in addition to the Bartlett and Howland Forests this work is continuing at the Silas Little Experimental Forest in New Jersey, the Marcell Experimental Forest in Grand Rapids, Minn., and the Baltimore Long-term Ecological Research Site.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of our nation’s forests; 850 million acres including 100 million acres of urban forests where most Americans live. The mission of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.

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73 Responses to Another benefit of increased CO2 – trees use water more efficiently

  1. Kaboom says:

    The newest green scare now is a change of evaporation patterns because plants are more efficiently using water because they are not as much CO2 starved as before. The first such blurb was in the german media today, predicting more heat because of less clouds due to a lack of evaporation over forests.

  2. Mark Bofill says:

    Bah, who wants plants to utilize scarce resources more efficiently? All forward thinking people should realize that the U.N. has already found the solution to world hunger and should set an example by transitioning to a diet of bugs.
    /sarc. I think.

  3. DesertYote says:

    “How efficient trees are in using water has implications for ecosystem function, services and feedbacks to the climate system. These include enhanced timber yields and improved water availability, which could partially offset the effects of future droughts. However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions.”
    ####

    The spin is making me dizzy…

  4. Vern Cornell says:

    You should continue playing this because so few people
    are familiar with this concept. Who says “CO2 is the elixir of life?”

  5. Joe Crawford says:

    At least a few of our tax dollars seem to be well spent. It looks like the AmeriFlux network can be placed in the same category as the Argo system as both seem capable of supporting real scientific research. Of course this is unless/until they start ‘adjusting’ the data to support the latest climate ‘junk science’.

  6. Vern Cornell says:

    DesertYote says there will be less water into the atmos…I think not.
    Only a small amount of water is saved. But the CO2 effect on growth is
    large. Thus more water, overall.

  7. Ed Caryl says:

    With a simple pair of unproved “could”s, they throw a negative into a paper that should have been all positive. But without those, they probably would not have gotten the paper published.

  8. Reblogged this on Public Secrets and commented:
    Thank Gaea that Al Gore and the Church of Anthropogenic Global Warming are fighting the menace of… trees prospering with more CO2! The horror….

  9. MikeP says:

    More efficient use of water means more growth in water limited areas which means more fuel during dry periods which means more deadly uncontrollable wildfires which makes nightly news which funds AGW research … positive feedback at work …

  10. Patrick says:

    *sigh*

  11. Berényi Péter says:

    That only shows increasingly more severe Dihydrogen Monoxide pollution of previously pristine arid & semi-arid areas is also anthropogenic. Unhealthy proliferation of plant material only adds to combustibles over land, the primary cause of inordinate fire hazard and black carbon emissions. Clearly, it is people who should be turned green, not vegetation.

  12. MikeP says:

    Berényi Péter says:
    “Clearly, it is people who should be turned green, not vegetation.”
    A case for a GM solution to world hunger?

  13. Latitude says:

    I’m shocked…LOL

    More and more studies telling us CO2 was in such short supply…it was limiting

    Of course the “weather” is going to become more stable…..all that loading and unloading (flux) just to survive when something is limiting

  14. Schmitt and Happer vindicated and rather quickly at that. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323528404578452483656067190.html

    Obama’s attack on CO2 as “pollutant” reveals him as a politically driven prat.

  15. CEH says:

    Looks like a confirmation of this to me: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/07/08/deserts-greening-from-rising-co2/

    Looks to me like the trees are going to sprout more leaves until they hit the water limit (if we restrict ourselves to just water and CO2 availability in this case), hence their statement
    “However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. ” probably is not true.
    Good news.

  16. Robert Wille says:

    The key to CAGW is the water-vapor feedback. Without that the alarmists are dead in the water. Now they are telling us that the humidity is going to go down? How again do we get runaway global warming with reduced humidity?

  17. RockyRoad says:

    Evapotranspiration is a mechanism used by plants to cool themselve down–CO2 has a minimal impact in that regard.

    Increase the vegetation world-wide as trees and other plants expand into moisture-marginal areas, and there will be more water vapor in the atmosphere, and cooler ground temperatures overall.

    It’s a win-win situation unless you’re a Warmista, then it’s a lose-lose. And that’s a third win.

  18. McComber Boy says:

    Love the USDA conclusion and speculation.

    “These include enhanced timber yields and improved water availability, which could partially offset the effects of future droughts. However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions.”

    So 1+1+1=6? This speculative assumes that the water now available due more efficient water usage by plants will not go to new plants that could not be supported under lower carbon dioxide conditions. Exactly backward to numerous discussions, including satellite photos, that have taken place here on WUWT. These new findings help explain why, even with status quo rainfall, that we are seeing deserts getting greener. The reality of the biosphere is opposite to this alarmist speculative conclusion to otherwise good science. More plants, transpiring more efficiently, will put the same amount of water back into the atmosphere. It’s good news…but we have to put an evil spin on it.

    Even Homer Simpson could probably do the math on this one. Du-oh!!!

    pbh

  19. MJBinNM says:

    There was a story locally on New Mexico TV recently about the Los Alamos National Labs “Tree Death” experiment where they’re cooking (modifying surroundings to induce elevated temps) and starving trees of water. Then going on to claim that the US SW could be void of conifers in 40 years due to Climate Change.

    From the story:

    “Inside the plexiglass, the temperature is about 10 degrees hotter than outside. Also, McDowell is using plexiglass troughs to funnel away about half the water the trees naturally get from rain and snow.”

    “We’re not trying to save them,” McDowell said. “We’re just going to monitor them as they die.”

    Link to the story: http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/on_assignment/scientist-higher-temps-killing-forests

  20. LKMiller says:

    “…enhanced timber yields …”

    What would the Forest Service know about timber yields? This implies that the timber is actually harvested.

  21. Henshaw says:

    Reblogged this on Daily Plunge and commented:
    Articles like this reinforce my opinion of the hubris of mankind. There’s really so little that mankind actually knows. Of course our knowledge is increasing, but we should have a great deal of respect for what we still don’t understand. The oddest part of the entire climate change debate is that idea that that we can predict the future climate when we can’t even predict the weather next week.

  22. TerryS says:

    Lets see if I understand this properly.

    Increased CO2 leads to increased temperature which leads to increased water evaporation which leads to increased temperature – A positive feedback.

    Increased CO2 leads to more efficient use of water leads to less evapotranspiration leads to increased temperature.

    So in the first case we have increased water vapour leading to increased temps and in the second case we have decreased water vapour leading to increased temps.

    We are doomed.

  23. Gary Pearse says:

    “..mission of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station is to improve’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.”

    Heck, CO2 is doing this better than the Research Station. Except , of course, it does it quietly with no “information delivery”. Couldn’t they have left well enough alone with better water effficiency and greater timber resources and left out Nature’s obligatory, yeah but..

  24. Kon Dealer says:

    “It’s worse than we thought”

  25. halftiderock says:

    I focus in on the word “unexpected”. It is an indication of the disdain “ivory tower” scientists have for applied science and as a consequence how numb they really are. Ask any one who is adding CO 2 to green houses if this result is unexpect Maybe a PHD THESIS?

  26. Bruce Cobb says:

    “We are striving to be at the forefront of delivering sound climate science to the public.”
    Well, they are delivering something, and seem to be striving mightily to be the first to deliver it.
    Might be useful as fertilizer I suppose.

  27. Luther Wu says:

    My “Oh, but” greenie friend can’t accept the fact that all plants seem to do so much better with CO2 and when I made that point, she said: “Oh, but strangler figs can grow faster and cause more harm to old- growth trees in the tropics, therefore, we need to suppress CO2.” (paraphrased, of course) My greenie friend only had to believe that she was saving something from “injustice” and she became the immovable rock upon which all logic and reason will crash with no effect.The master manipulators are well aware of this phenomenon of human behavior and exploit it to great effect.

  28. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    More efficient use of water by plants and trees will lead to higher water levels in lakes and rivers (since the trees aren’t using as much), leading to (potentially) MORE evaporation, lower air temperatures, and probably not much change whatsoever in humidity. There, fixed that for them.

    Credit to Rocky Road in his above comment for coming up with much of this as well.

  29. Richard G says:

    Old news for any botanist worth one’s salt. One would think that the FOREST SERVICE would maybe have been employing BOTANISTS along with all of the bureaucratic hacks.

    1,000 g. CO2 670 g. sugar
    MORE CO2 = MORE SUGAR

  30. PRD says:

    This was taught in high school Vocational Agriculture back in the early 90’s as a matter of established fact. Every bit regarding elevated CO2 reducing water needs, reduced humidity from less ET from the plants, low atmospheric CO2 meant that the price of dropping dry ice in a greenhouse may be less expensive than forcing drafts with fans.

    Rehashed and reconstituted data here. It’s a mix tape designed to further funding and support the party line rather than be a point of interest to botanists.

  31. John Tillman says:

    But wait! There’s more. With less water limitation, trees can make more wood, pulling more CO2 out of the air. It’s worse than we thought!

  32. johanna says:

    As PRD and others have said, it is astonishing that this is regarded as news. Horticulturalists have been using this information for many decades to grow things in greenhouses. I learned it in a biology class at school in prehistoric times.

  33. aaron says:

    I think in the future, solar will be something similar to natural photosynthesis, where either produces electricity immediately or liquid fuel when not needed. But, the irony will be that high atmospheric CO2 levels will be needed for it to become economical.

  34. M Courtney says:

    Kaboom says at July 11, 2013 at 8:57 am

    The newest green scare now is a change of evaporation patterns because plants are more efficiently using water because they are not as much CO2 starved as before. The first such blurb was in the German media today, predicting more heat because of less clouds due to a lack of evaporation over forests.

    Actually, that makes perfect sense.

    However, as the effects will be primarily over the most vegetated areas (like rainforests which are called rainforests for a reason, there will be a negative feedback. If the clouds aren’t enough to allow for plant growth then the youngest plants with the smallest root systems will be the first to decline.

    Then a new equilibrium will be found. And when an old plant dies the younger plants will get their chance.

    It’s a good first study but more thought is required.
    Also, the circumstances over steppes/prairie may be different. A fun thought experiment for someone.

  35. jono1066 says:

    Is one missing a thought process here ?
    more CO2 leads to more efficient water usage.
    then the darn trees grow faster and bigger and spread, as per latest report into greening the world, so should the issue be decided upon the difference bertween reduction in water usage per area of leaf and the growth in the increase in the area of total leaf.
    What happens when the trees shed their leaves in the autumn ?

  36. John Tillman says:

    jono1066 says:
    July 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    The seven sites studied included both deciduous & evergreen trees.

    Leaf loss helps deciduous trees survive cold, dry winter air. Trees lose water through their leaves’ stomata. In winter, trees don’t get enough water to replace what they would lose via their leaves. The trees would die in winter if they didn’t seal off the leaves to keep water out of them in the fall.

  37. John Tillman says:

    M Courtney says:
    July 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Grasslands should also use water more efficiently under higher CO2 concentrations, particularly C3 photosynthesizing plants. Grass leaves have stomata, too, so the more rapidly they can take up the CO2 they need from the air, the less time do they need to keep their water-losing stomata open.

  38. David, UK says:

    This is news?

  39. David, UK says:

    Note to self: read the whole thing before posting comment! The spin, it burns.

  40. R. de Haan says:

    I don’t know if you know but the Dutch have planned a completely crazy deal to import wood from georgia to be fired up in coal power plants 1/3 coals, 2/3 prime Georgia forest. They have backed this plan up with billions of subsidies so that will buy them a lot of tree’s.

    Most of the Dutch, should they know about it, don’t like this and the same I suppose goes for the American people.

    Never thought I would support a protest initiative like this (please translate with google): http://climategate.nl/2013/07/11/amerikaanse-actiegroep-dogwood-alliance-tegen-milieucriminaliteit-nederlandse-overheid/

    But if we start burning our biosphere to save the planet, based on a legal but in my view a criminal government scheme for all the wrong reasons, I think something has gone terribly wrong.

    So please hit the alarm drum on this and tell the Dutch Government they are making a big, big mistake.

    The next to make this move could be China and if they do we’re out of forests in a decade.

  41. So, The attempts by Climate Fraud Artists, like Obama, are actually hurting the environment, reducing the efficiency of the Flora and reducing crop outputs per acre! Thus causing more famine!

    http://www.paratisiusa.blogspot.com

    God Bless America!

  42. ‘us drought worsens’

    http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/6_week.gif

    with regards to badmoon11

  43. dbstealey says:

    blackadderthe4th,

    Wake up. You are a victim of self-serving government propaganda.

    You really need to start thinking for yourself. Precipitation in “drought” areas is 600% of normal. Where’s the drought?

  44. Disko Troop says:

    Where’s the hockey stick? I don’t see the hockey stick. This can’t be real science.

  45. As a consulting forester in my own business helping landowners protect and manage their forests, “enhancing timber yields” is one of our prime objectives. While I appreciate this study’s recognition of the basic fact that the slight increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 increases forest growth, once again they have to qualify it with the lower humidity and precipitation nonsense. But I guess they have to do this to keep the grants coming. By the way, the biggest threats to our native forests are invasive plants and insects as well as destructive high-grade logging (taking the best and leaving the rest). So I would suggest it would be far more productive if the forest researchers concentrated on those issues rather than the theory of CO2 catastrophism.

  46. @ dbstealey says:
    July 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    ‘Wake up. You are a victim of self-serving government propaganda’, so who is Mr Paranoia then? Because if they are lying, they’ll be found out! Pretty damn quick!

  47. dbstealey says:

    blackadderthe4th,

    You can decide if they’re exaggerating the situation by studying the links I posted. Keep in mind that their job security would be jeopardized if they kept saying that there was nothing to be concerned about.

    And who is “badmoon11″?

  48. This is by far the best observation about the published result and commentary:

    Robert Wille says:
    July 11, 2013 at 10:13 am
    The key to CAGW is the water-vapor feedback. Without that the alarmists are dead in the water. Now they are telling us that the humidity is going to go down? How again do we get runaway global warming with reduced humidity?

    “However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions.”

    If the rate of the return of precipitated water to the atmosphere goes down, the atmosphere will get dryer, and hold less heat. Local daytime surface temperatures may indeed rise from the decreased evaporative cooling, as in a desert, but if there is less water vapor overhead at night, much more longwave radiation will escape into space.

    This is an example of a result that directly undermines CAGW theory, which in order to be published needed to obfuscate that otherwise obvious conclusion.

  49. johanna says:

    Miketheforester said, inter alia:

    But I guess they have to do this to keep the grants coming. By the way, the biggest threats to our native forests are invasive plants and insects as well as destructive high-grade logging (taking the best and leaving the rest). So I would suggest it would be far more productive if the forest researchers concentrated on those issues rather than the theory of CO2 catastrophism.
    ———————–
    Mike, thanks for your comment. Could you explain a bit further about your statement that selective logging (“taking the best and leaving the rest”) somehow threatens native forests?

  50. u.k.(us) says:

    “The mission of the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station is to improve people’s lives and help sustain the natural resources in the Northeast and Midwest through leading-edge science and effective information delivery.”
    ===============
    Cool, we are listening to every word.

  51. u.k.(us) says:

    blackadderthe4th says:

    July 11, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    @ dbstealey says:
    July 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    ‘Wake up. You are a victim of self-serving government propaganda’, so who is Mr Paranoia then? Because if they are lying, they’ll be found out! Pretty damn quick!
    ==================
    Nobody is looking.

  52. I have to agree with CEH above.

    If CO2 was limiting growth, then it’s plausible that more water will be used as more CO2 allows more growth; which in turn would result in more water being transpired.

    Those who deduce that ‘more efficient use of water” results in less growth are assuming that there is some other, governing limit to growth than the availability of water and CO2 that prevents them from growing more vigorously than at present. Unless that limit is presented, that’s an argument from ignorance.

    As for the US Forest Service; those outside of the USA are well aware that the purpose of the Service if to produce wood pellets for burning in the new furnaces of the Drax power station in the UK.

    It’s a power station that currently burns up to 9 million (metric) tons of coal a year; for 7% of the UK’s electricity production. For the same amount of heat (for the same amount of electricity), takes about 2.5 times the tonnage in wood. In round numbers, North America would need to export about 25 million tons of timber for just that one power station. Most of it has to be “virgin timber”; not just low-Q waste. If the UK goes “all biomass”; then the tonnage to be shipped to the UK every year could easily exceed 200 million tons.

    Complete “sustainability” calculations are left as an exercise to the reader. For a start, peak yield rates for forestry in the US are around 80 cu ft/year/acre or about a metric ton per year per acre (density about 30 lb per cu ft). Supplying a “full biomass” Drax would therefore require the clear-felling of 25 million acres of North American forests every year; increasing over time as the best locations are harvested away.

  53. LKMiller says:

    johanna says:
    July 11, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Miketheforester said, inter alia:

    But I guess they have to do this to keep the grants coming. By the way, the biggest threats to our native forests are invasive plants and insects as well as destructive high-grade logging (taking the best and leaving the rest). So I would suggest it would be far more productive if the forest researchers concentrated on those issues rather than the theory of CO2 catastrophism.
    ———————–
    “Mike, thanks for your comment. Could you explain a bit further about your statement that selective logging (“taking the best and leaving the rest”) somehow threatens native forests?”

    Mike can, and likely will speak for himself, but as another forester on this list, let me give you the basis for this statement. “Taking the best and leaving the rest” is known as high grading, and results in just a few entries in dysgenic selection and degradation of the genetic resources of the stand.

    On the other hand, clearcutting is genetically neutral at worst. If relying upon natural regeneration, the next stand will be genetically the same as the one harvested by clearcutting. However, clearcuts are usually replanted, more and more with genetically improved seedlings, so the genetic resources are upgraded.

    Selective logging is a terrible choice for shade intolerant species, so these species will, in time, disappear from the landscape, replaced by shade tolerant species. Oh and by the way, two of our most valuable timber species, Douglas-fir and loblolly pine, are shade intolerant.

  54. Chris Edwards says:

    Lots of hockey sticks with all this new wood eh? and wait for the Suzuki types to blame CO2 for the flooding, see the trees dont suck it up now with the extra CO2! be fair to me its better science that the agw crowd use (still wrong but at least I realise!!!!)

  55. Lewis P Buckingham says:

    Perhaps the eleven percent increase in vegetation reported in a recent post has other knock on effects than a decrease in humidity, perhaps the outcome will be the same or the opposite.
    Unless the decrease in humidity per ‘average leaf area’ was greater than 11 percent of the original,due to less transpiration, the expected result looking at just those two criteria would be an increase in the relative humidity of the atmosphere.This would by the models we keep hearing about induce an enhancement of the greenhouse gas water vapour leading to global warming.
    The more luxurient vegetation would harbour more microorganisms, leading to more efficient seeding of clouds above the forest, triggered by aerosol nidus formation.
    This would enhance cooling and precipitation above the forest canopy, leading to global cooling as the vegetation increased.
    Albedo would alter.
    Another poster in another thread pointed out that the increase of biomass converts energy from the sun into stored energy, which would dampen the rise in temperature of the earth’s surface.

  56. Goode 'nuff says:

    Society of American Foresters
    http://www.safnet.org/fp/fp-newsDetails.cfm?topicID=104

    Back in 1981, President Ronald Reagan caused an uproar when he warned that trees “cause more pollution than automobiles do.” Go ahead, snicker. I sure did. But recently I discovered that he was actually right (albeit for all the wrong reasons)…

    http://www.mnn.com/home-blog/guest-columnist/blogs/surprising-pollution-problem-too-many-trees

    TEXAS A&M FOREST SERVICE SURVEY SHOWS 301 MILLION TREES KILLED BY DROUGHT

    http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/popup.aspx?id=16509

    Receding drought leaves deadly touch among Arkansas trees

    http://www.uaex.edu/news/may2013/0501ArkDroughtTreeDeaths.html

    Dry, weakened pine trees more susceptible to wilt – Midwest Producer

    http://m.midwestproducer.com/news/regional/dry-weakened-pine-trees-more-susceptible-to-wilt/article_6dd85ad8-e96d-11e2-ba1f-001a4bcf887a.html

    World’s biggest, oldest trees are dying: research

    http://www.livemint.com/Politics/pNHhbUCCh0qKsqvjmxM8xK/Worlds-biggest-oldest-trees-are-dying-research.html

    Drought in 1930s Agriculture

    http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_01.html

    Diseased trees are source of climate-changing gas

    http://news.yale.edu/2012/08/08/diseased-trees-are-source-climate-changing-gas

    Forests and water could be doomed in 2060

    http://www.smokymountainnews.com/outdoors/item/9562-forests-and-water-could-be-doomed-in-2060

    Just some interesting things I came across. Travelling this country, I have never seen so many dead trees. Been bucket brigades to save our trees, again. Vegetation in the Ozarks is extremely dry, again.

  57. phlogiston says:

    DesertYote says:
    July 11, 2013 at 9:08 am

    “How efficient trees are in using water has implications for ecosystem function, services and feedbacks to the climate system. These include enhanced timber yields and improved water availability, which could partially offset the effects of future droughts. However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions.”

    Serial “could”s leading to the inevitable disaster B-movie. Pathetic and mendacious.

    I think these people KNOW that they are lying and that it is just for pernicious political advantage, understanding nature is no-where in these people’s minds.

    Are they too stupid to understand that their linear catholic logic depends on the number and size of plants staying the same, an utterly flawed assumption? Do they not understand that an ecosystem can respond by change in growth rate, size and number of plants? Or do they hope that enough people will not notice this fact so their deliberate deception will succeed?

    This is how “science” was done before the renaissance, before Galileo, before Newton, the scientific method and experimental deduction. Politically influential blow-hards sitting in armchairs pontificating philosophically on how they thought the world operates. probably using the word “could” a lot of times also. This is what is at stake here, the foundation of the scientific method and reasoning is being undermined. Deliberately.

    The evidence is of deserts greening from rising CO2. More efficient stomatal uptake of CO2 means less water loss in a mechanistic, reductionist sense locally at the stomata itself. But what else happens? The plant grows faster and becomes bigger, having more leaves. More plants grow in marginal habitats where they could not grow before. To the integrated result in the real world is MORE water transpiration, not less, and transpiration by plants in areas where none was happening previously.

    This same logical fallacy lies behind the environmentalist idea that increased energy efficiency will reduce the need for electrical power generation. Politicians and greenies lamely trot out the notion that part of the solution to energy shortage is energy efficiency. (They cause the energy shortage by green policies). But it is well established that, in economics, increased energy use does not lead to reduced energy consumption – in fact the reverse. More efficiency leads to growth and diversification in the ways that it is economical to use energy.

    The real world is complex but can be studied by observation and deduction. These serial “could-could-could” linear fallacies, cut off from real world reality, are easy to demolish.

  58. phlogiston says:

    DesertYote says:
    July 11, 2013 at 9:08 am

    “How efficient trees are in using water has implications for ecosystem function, services and feedbacks to the climate system. These include enhanced timber yields and improved water availability, which could partially offset the effects of future droughts. However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions.”

    The spin is making me dizzy…

    This is indeed spin of the worst kind. Serial “could”s leading to the inevitable disaster B-movie. Pathetic and mendacious.

    I think these people KNOW that they are lying and that it is just for pernicious political advantage, understanding nature is no-where in these people’s minds.

    Are they too stupid to understand that their linear catholic logic depends on the number and size of plants staying the same, an utterly flawed assumption? Do they not understand that an ecosystem can respond by change in growth rate, size and number of plants? Or do they hope that enough people will not notice this fact so their deliberate deception will succeed?

    This is how “science” was done before the renaissance, before Galileo, before Newton, the scientific method and experimental deduction. Politically influential blow-hards sitting in armchairs pontificating philosophically on how they thought the world operates. probably using the word “could” a lot of times also. This is what is at stake here, the foundation of the scientific method and reasoning is being undermined. Deliberately.

    The evidence is of deserts greening from rising CO2. More efficient stomatal uptake of CO2 means less water loss in a mechanistic, reductionist sense locally at the stomata itself. But what else happens? The plant grows faster and becomes bigger, having more leaves. More plants grow in marginal habitats where they could not grow before. To the integrated result in the real world is MORE water transpiration, not less, and transpiration by plants in areas where none was happening previously.

    This same logical fallacy lies behind the environmentalist idea that increased energy efficiency will reduce the need for electrical power generation. Politicians and greenies lamely trot out the notion that part of the solution to energy shortage is energy efficiency. (They cause the energy shortage by green policies). But it is well established that, in economics, increased energy use does not lead to reduced energy consumption – in fact the reverse. More efficiency leads to growth and diversification in the ways that it is economical to use energy.

    The real world is complex but can be studied by observation and deduction. These serial “could-could-could” linear fallacies, cut off from real world reality, are easy to demolish.

  59. johanna says:

    LK Miller, thanks. But I am puzzled by your statement:

    “Selective logging is a terrible choice for shade intolerant species, so these species will, in time, disappear from the landscape, replaced by shade tolerant species. Oh and by the way, two of our most valuable timber species, Douglas-fir and loblolly pine, are shade intolerant.”

    I don’t understand how reducing the canopy (i.e., increasing the penetration of sunlight) by selective logging is bad for “shade intolerant species”. I am not having a shot at you or Mike, just hoping that you can educate me about something that you are obviously much more knowledgeable about than I am.

    Also, while I take your point about removing the best genetic material from a forest, surely a mature tree has already had several seasons of producing seed, which for a lot of species can survive for many years until the conditions are right for it to sprout.

    Thanks in advance for answering my probably dumb questions. :)

  60. Jimbo says:

    Below are other papers showing:
    a) The Earth craves more co2
    b) Co2 is too low by geologic standards

    Randall J. Donohue et. al. – 31 May, 2013
    Abstract
    CO2 fertilisation has increased maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments

    [1] Satellite observations reveal a greening of the globe over recent decades. The role in this greening of the ‘CO2 fertilization’ effect – the enhancement of photosynthesis due to rising CO2 levels – is yet to be established. The direct CO2 effect on vegetation should be most clearly expressed in warm, arid environments where water is the dominant limit to vegetation growth. Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analysed to remove the effect of variations in rainfall, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%. Our results confirm that the anticipated CO2 fertilization effect is occurring alongside ongoing anthropogenic perturbations to the carbon cycle and that the fertilisation effect is now a significant land surface process.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract

    Abstract – May 2013
    A Global Assessment of Long-Term Greening and Browning Trends in Pasture Lands Using the GIMMS LAI3g Dataset

    Our results suggest that degradation of pasture lands is not a globally widespread phenomenon and, consistent with much of the terrestrial biosphere, there have been widespread increases in pasture productivity over the last 30 years.
    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/5/5/2492

    Abstract – 10 APR 2013
    Analysis of trends in fused AVHRR and MODIS NDVI data for 1982–2006: Indication for a CO2 fertilization effect in global vegetation

    …..The effect of climate variations and CO2 fertilization on the land CO2 sink, as manifested in the RVI, is explored with the Carnegie Ames Stanford Assimilation (CASA) model. Climate (temperature and precipitation) and CO2 fertilization each explain approximately 40% of the observed global trend in NDVI for 1982–2006……
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gbc.20027/abstract

    Abstract – 2013
    “…..,.,.the increase in gross primary productivity (GPP) in response to a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial values is very likely (90% confidence) to exceed 20%, with a most likely value of 40–60%…..”
    doi:10.5194/bg-10-339-2013, 2013.

    Abstract – May 2013
    …….However, this study hypothesizes that the increase in CO2 might be responsible for the increase in greening and rainfall observed. This can be explained by an increased aerial fertilization effect of CO2 that triggers plant productivity and water management efficiency through reduced transpiration. Also, the increase greening can be attributed to rural–urban migration which reduces the pressure of the population on the land…….
    doi: 10.1007/s10113-013-0473-z

  61. Jimbo says:

    I thought more trees meant more rain. Anyway, more water vapour leads to a hothouse. Less water vapour also leads to a hothouse. So does average water vapour. No matter what we do we are finished. It’s all over I tells ya.

  62. Barney says:

    just saw a commentary in nature about the article http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12411.html

  63. LKMiller says:

    johanna says:
    July 12, 2013 at 2:42 am
    LK Miller, thanks. But I am puzzled by your statement:

    “Selective logging is a terrible choice for shade intolerant species, so these species will, in time, disappear from the landscape, replaced by shade tolerant species. Oh and by the way, two of our most valuable timber species, Douglas-fir and loblolly pine, are shade intolerant.”

    I don’t understand how reducing the canopy (i.e., increasing the penetration of sunlight) by selective logging is bad for “shade intolerant species”. I am not having a shot at you or Mike, just hoping that you can educate me about something that you are obviously much more knowledgeable about than I am.

    Also, while I take your point about removing the best genetic material from a forest, surely a mature tree has already had several seasons of producing seed, which for a lot of species can survive for many years until the conditions are right for it to sprout.

    Thanks in advance for answering my probably dumb questions. :)
    *****************************

    No harm, no foul. Shade intolerance means just that – shade intolerant species (aka pioneer species) have a fairly strong requirement for full sunlight, or nearly full. While there can be some germination of seed from shade intolerants in partial shade, if there is a seed supply from shade tolerant species, pioneer species are unable to compete successfully. The shift doesn’t happen overnight, but selective logging (which really is a bastardization of the “selection system” of silviculture) is rarely executed properly, mainly because it requires knowledge of the true ages of the trees in the stand. We sometimes assume that bigger trees are older than smaller trees, but this isn’t always the case. Thus, most selective harvests fall back toward “diameter limit” cuts – which remove the larger trees and leave the smaller. Over time, this almost always results in genetic degradation of the stand.

    In a good seed year, a stand of trees will produce millions of seeds per acre. However, the overwhelming majority never get the chance to germinate. Many are eaten by mammals and rodents, many fall onto unsuitable seed beds, and some die from fungal pathogens. Also, for almost all forest trees, the seed doesn’t “store” in the ground much past the first year after seed fall. Thus, it needs to germinate the next spring (and then fight the huge fight to actually become another tree of seed bearing age), or it is gone – taking with it the genetic component of its parent.

  64. geneva says:

    This is the lushest spring greenege I have ever seen in my part of the country…Pacific NW…high mountain plain desert…it is still green…grasses, weeds…flowers are lush…and bigger than normal…more vapour in the aire, also….this is unprecedented.

  65. johanna says:

    “Mike, thanks for your comment. Could you explain a bit further about your statement that selective logging (“taking the best and leaving the rest”) somehow threatens native forests?”

    LKMiller – thanks for the great answer to Johanna’s question. In fact destructive high-grade logging aka “liquidation cutting” is worse than clearcutting but never gets the attention it deserves.
    For more info on liquidation cutting see my blog at http://northquabbinforestry.com/liquidation-cutting/

  66. johanna says:

    Thanks LK and Mike.

  67. Steve Garcia says:

    Oh, THIS is just WRONG:

    However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions.

    This completely ignores the increased greening that has been happening in areas around deserts.

    It ALSO ignores looking at just WHAT IS HAPPENING in evapotranspiration at the cellular level. I don’t know what the answer is, but I recently moved to an area where the evapotranspiration is a BIG deal. Plants that close off their pores (as it were) survive here over the long dry season; those that don’t, don’t make it without help from dastardly, planet-killing humans.

    But it also doesn’t look at the bigger picture:

    If the plants cahnge their evapotranspiration cellularly because of increased CO2/warmth, then it is OBVIOUS that the plants can change it back the other way, too. As in adaptation. Or simply that is what plants normally do in changing environments – they alter their processes.

    And one more thing:

    “…could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation”

    “…This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought…”

    I am reading Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore’s book “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout,” in which he says
    As a first-year science major at the University of British Columbia I was lucky enough to enroll in a course offered by the English faculty, aimed at teaching critical thinking to science students. We took a copy of Time magazine and deconstructed it from cover to cover. The lesson I remember best is, never believe an article that has the words may or might in the first sentence. If you see a sentence with may in it, read it again but add or may not as in, “Chemical X may or may not cause cancer. [Kindle Locations 537-544]”

    So, going through the motions, re-wording those sentences, they reaad:

    “…could – or could maybe not – lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation”

    “…This could – or could maybe not – cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought…”

  68. phlogiston says:

    Jimbo says:
    July 12, 2013 at 5:48 am
    I thought more trees meant more rain. Anyway, more water vapour leads to a hothouse. Less water vapour also leads to a hothouse. So does average water vapour. No matter what we do we are finished. It’s all over I tells ya.

    If earth is a hothouse, climate science is a madhouse. Full of hotheads. Looks like its produced by the same people who make Jackass, i.e. Dickhouse.

  69. phlogiston says:

    Steve Garcia says:

    July 12, 2013 at 11:57 pm
    Oh, THIS is just WRONG:
    However, reduced evapotranspiration, or the combination of evaporation and plant transpiration from the land to the atmosphere, resulting from higher water-use efficiency could lead to higher air temperatures, decreased humidity, and decreased recycling of continental precipitation. This could cause increased continental freshwater runoff, along with drought in parts of the world that rely on water transpired in other regions.

    This completely ignores the increased greening that has been happening in areas around deserts.

    Agree, I think you’re saying the same essentially as my previous comment. I accidentally left out two links,

    Greening of the deserts from CO2

    The same logical fallacy applied to energy efficiency

  70. Brian H says:

    Gaia invented humans to reverse the suicidal sequestration of CO2 by plants and shellfish.

    100% of the O2 in the atmosphere was stripped out of primordial CO2 by photosynthetic plants.

    It is the Staff of Life.

  71. Ron says:

    “We’re still very concerned about what rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide mean for the planet,” Richardson cautioned. “There is little doubt that as carbon dioxide continues to rise — and last month we just passed a critical milestone, 400 ppm, for the first time in human history — rising global temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns will, in coming decades, have very negative consequences for plant growth in many ecosystems around the world.”

  72. geneva says:

    healthier trees, more greenage=more oxygen…more vapourous air….http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/11/co2_greens_the_deserts/…if this research is correct…the Earth could turn sub-tropical.

  73. geneva says:

    http://messagetoeagle.com/arcticgreening.php#.Ue4BvY3VCc0….we are not talking about man made C02…which is basically polluting and dirty….natural C02 …from volcanic activity…deep sea vents….rotting organics….

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