Climate change accelerating, dirt blamed

from Northern Arizona University

Study finds accelerated soil carbon loss, increasing the rate of climate change

Research published in Science today found that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause soil microbes to produce more carbon dioxide, accelerating climate change.

Two Northern Arizona University researchers led the study, which challenges previous understanding about how carbon accumulates in soil. Increased levels of CO2 accelerate plant growth, which causes more absorption of CO2 through photosynthesis.

Until now, the accepted belief was that carbon is then stored in wood and soil for a long time, slowing climate change. Yet this new research suggests that the extra carbon provides fuel to microorganisms in the soil whose byproducts (such as CO2) are released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

“Our findings mean that nature is not as efficient in slowing global warming as we previously thought,” said Kees Jan van Groenigen, research fellow at the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society at NAU and lead author of the study. “By overlooking this effect of increased CO2 on soil microbes, models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may have overestimated the potential of soil to store carbon and mitigate the greenhouse effect.”

In order to better understand how soil microbes respond to the changing atmosphere, the study’s authors utilized statistical techniques that compare data to models and test for general patterns across studies. They analyzed published results from 53 different experiments in forests, grasslands and agricultural fields around the world. These experiments all measured how extra CO2 in the atmosphere affects plant growth, microbial production of carbon dioxide, and the total amount of soil carbon at the end of the experiment.

“We’ve long thought soils to be a stable, safe place to store carbon, but our results show soil carbon is not as stable as we previously thought,” said Bruce Hungate, director of the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society at NAU and study author. “We should not be complacent about continued subsidies from nature in slowing climate change.”

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56 thoughts on “Climate change accelerating, dirt blamed

  1. So, let’s stop wasting resources on carbon storage projects. Lemme get back to using resources on usable projects that, not only create revenue but also help the environment.

  2. Other than the fact that the Carbon Cycle data contradicts this in that there is an increasing rate of natural Carbon sequestration essentially year, I assume this study is fine.

  3. No mention in this article, but as CO2 in the atmosphere increases, carbon will precipitate out in soils in inorganic carbon forms (calcium and magnesium carbonates) helping buffer its atmospheric affect.

  4. Is there no respite from this brutish assault by CO2?.
    i mean, when will we ever a see an increased CO2 result that benefits mankind?
    Oh yeah that’s right whenever i eat a fruit or veggie or an animal that consumes the same or take advantage of the shade from a tree..Whew i was getting nervous!

  5. I will send a copy to our Environmental Minister, Greg Hunt, so he won’t proceed to waste billions on carbon farming initiatives. If true it certainly overturns the consensus on soil storage of carbon. Maybe consensus science is not as “settled” as first thought.

  6.    • …this new research suggests that the extra carbon provides fuel to
         microorganisms in the soil whose byproducts (such as CO2) are released
         into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

    The unverified causal chain in that one sentence defies deconstruction.

  7. We know the air is against us, and I never trusted the trees (I’m convinced they’re up to something) but now I find out the soil is pretty dodgy, too. If the sea doesn’t give us a hand soon, we’re doomed.

  8. Does anyone else sense that they are trying to get people to think that CO2 can effect climate directly without an intermediate warming step? Like getting rid of the MWP, they want to get rid of that warming needed (it stopped 17+ years ago) so now CO2 alone effects weather/climate directly.

  9. Adding more of the byproduct of soil microbial action – CO2 – causes the microbes to increase their production of CO2. Right. That happens all the time in chemical processes.

  10. LOL, it’s always SO FUNNY to vote “Very Poor” and have WordPress come brightly back with: Thank you! lololol (mine was the first vote)

    ***************************
    And, still laughing

    “… the extra carbon provides fuel to microorganisms in the soil whose byproducts (such as CO2) are released into the atmosphere, … ‘Our findings mean that nature is not as efficient in slowing global warming as we previously thought,’… .” {above propaganda pamphlet}

    Right. That, is why when CO2 was significantly higher in the past, after that, there were no more ice ages on the planet earth ever again. …

    The above study brought to you by: The Ice Age Hoax Society.

    President of the IAHS: All done in on the back lot and in a studio in Hollywood, mm, hm. Just look at those gravel mounds and “ice scours,” NOT. All that was done by beavers…. and, uh….. Doug’s Backhoe Service. Yeah.”

    ************************************************

    “Dirt” — perfect, An-tho-ny.

    Desperate AGWer: Oh, maaaan! What in the WORLD are we going to say, NOW??!!

    Propaganda Staffer: Relax. We’ve got it covered.

    Desperate: HOW?!! Not on the land, not in the sea, not in the mushrooms nor in …. (wince) my cup of tea… What — will — we — talk about now?!

    Prop: Dirt. Just throw enough of it into the air (a.k.a. “dust particles”) or dig enough of it up (a.k.a. ancient sea bed samples) — and there’s always good ol’ “den1er” mud slinging, doesn’t stick too good, though, and we get more of it on ourselves… — or…. hey! Just plain old DIRT!

    Desperate: Sounds good.

    Prop: Okay….. where’s my phone…. I’ll type this right up… {looking high and low}…

    Desperate: Your PHONE? You write these things on a phone?!!

    Prop: Yeah. Takes about 3 minutes and I don’t have to carry my lap top with me to the race track, here…. . dang it, where….. OH, here it is! {picks up phone out of a pile of horse puckey… wipes off that (and some dirt) on Desperate’s sleeve…} … by the way, who’s paying us this time?

    Desperate: Northern Arizona.

    Prop: {to self} Looks like funding is starting to dry up……. I’ll be back pushing diet pills by the end of the year…. .

    Desperate {walking away toward parking lot with a happy bounce in his step, forgets what’s on his sleeve and swipes a fly off his face… then, turns to wave good bye cheerily}: Toodle-oo, Prop! And thank you!

    Prop {glances up, grins at D’s smeared face, gives a backward flip of the hand wave, and shakes his head…}: My pleasure.

  11. So, is this saying that soil is responsible for the increased CO2 levels? It is not us humans but maybe possibly the earth itself?
    But wait, if that is the case, why isn’t the CO2 level already sky-high? Or is this something that dirt has recently evolved to do?

    I am soooo confused….

  12. Those microbes have been around for millions of years and have been producing CO2 and methane at rates orders of magnitude greater than anthropogenic emission rates. Their “discovery” isn’t new. A mature rain forest produces it’s own CO2 environment and swamps produce “swamp gas”.The changes in these natural emission rates (that they observe) plus changes from tropical seas swamp changes in anthropogenic emissions. Back to the drawing board with their mass balance model.

  13. It’s always worse that we thought. But doesn’t something need to be in motion before it can “accelerate” in the way described here? There’s been no warming in 18 years. Are we going to get no warming faster? No, they now just handwave away the fact that it’s not warming.

  14. In order to better understand how soil microbes respond to the changing atmosphere, the study’s authors utilized statistical techniques that compare data to models and test for general patterns across studies.

    The biosphere has been greening in recent decades.
    Global surface temperatures have stalled for 17 years.
    Yet they tell us that it’s actually worse than I could ever have imagined.

    PS I am seeing more and more statistical techniques being referenced. There are lies, damned lies and statistical techniques. Haaaa haaa.

  15. Good point, Mr. X. (at 5:46pm): “… doesn’t something need to be in motion before it can “accelerate” in the way described here?”

    They are banking on it warming again… eventually…. and ALL THAT HEAT was… they will claim (can’t use deep oceans — too easily disproven, since NO observers saw heat pass by that way),,..,

    … hiding in the dirt.

    And even though over 94% of it (or more!) is NOT human sourced…. it will be all due to human CO2.

    Well, lol, it won’t work. It is just WAY — TOO — FAR — OUT. They’ve forgotten about the REAL “settled science” re: CO2 and photosynthesis, etc… .

    Nice try AGWers (snicker).

  16. OK
    The greening biosphere means that it is worse than we thought.

    Whatever the case, keep your eyes on the temperature. The longer global surface temps fail to go up the ‘wrongerer’ the IPCC is. That is what really matters. That is the story we were being sold during old school. Co2, heat, water vapour, heat, death spiral, doom, danger, climate ravages. Back in the real world the climate and weather is just as it should be. YOU HAVE NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD.

  17. “Our findings mean that nature is not as efficient in slowing global warming as we previously thought,”

    Wait until the acid ocean people hear about this………..

    Love their math….CO2 = global warming = nada 17 years

  18. So, the “study” found that as CO2 increases, plant growth increases, the microbes have more stuff to attack and destroy, and the soil releases CO2 at a faster rate.
    Do they really think this is even worth mentioning?
    What would be really amazing is if the rate of CO2 release didn’t increase in step with the increase in vegetation.

  19. Let’s see, the microbes take in more CO2, so they put out more CO2. I’m not much of a scientist, but that’s got to be a zero sum to the atmosphere. Like if I drink more rainwater, I urinate more water, or sweat more water, but that wouldn’t add more water to the ground than if I didn’t drink it in the first place. Am I missing something?

    Wouldn’t the added weight of cellulose held carbon due to increase of plant growth caused by higher concentrations of atmospheric CO2, account for less atmospheric CO2. It seems to me the microbes can be overlooked, and instead an evaluation of the extra weight of cellulose due to atmospheric CO2 increase would be more important to look at in an evaluation of how plant uptake of CO2 affects atmospheric concentrations.

    Now CH4 is another issue. Microbes, termites, and rotting cellulose might add more methane to the atmosphere, if the world has more plant life due to CO2 increase.

    I just don’t see the issue with Microbes.

  20. “Our findings mean that nature is not as efficient in slowing global warming as we previously thought,” said Kees Jan van Groenigen, research fellow at the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society at NAU and lead author of the study.

    ===============================================================
    Efficient or not it’s done a pretty good job the last 16 years or so…or is the missing heat now hiding in a sandbox?

  21. Yes, this ‘study’ has NO science behind it. It is merely a computer program set up on top of other programs rigged by the global warmists (who won’t let us see their CODING) and then it produces…more CO2!

    This manufacturing of CO2 all over the place when computer programs are piled on computer programs is like the story of the lazy apprentice and the magician. Eventually everything will be CO2 and they will cease breathing. :)

  22. Carbon, The black solid?, Is this not just a mis-nomer for CO2?
    Or is Carbon, C now magically evil as well?
    Never mind your “Carbon Footprint”, What about your carbon foot?
    Human beings are built from the evil stuff. C
    A misanthropists dream come true.
    It’s time school children learned to loathe themselves.

  23. “Research published in Science” says it all . . .

    BTW, animal respiration also exceeds all human CO2 activity by orders of magnitude. Man alone emits 3.5 gt/yr just by breathing (wonder how Barbara Boxer would like hearing that she belches out half a ton of it a year on her own?); man is ~1/2 of 1% of total animal biomass, and a relatively low CO2 exhaler per lb of body weight compared to most other animals (especially birds and insects) – that points to up to 700 gt just from animals alone!

  24. This is really very interesting. Obviously, these microorganisms are the source of all our problems. We can fix that with a tax on all these pesky microbes. After all they’re a huge problem causing tooth decay and all manners of diseases. But some of those little critters are useful for producing beer, break, vaccines etc. So we can create a market in microbe credits to compensate. Then everything will be fine and dandy.

  25. Janice Moore says: April 26, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Good point, Mr. X. (at 5:46pm): “… doesn’t something need to be in motion before it can “accelerate” in the way described here?”

    They are banking on it warming again… eventually…. and ALL THAT HEAT was…etc, etc.

    This is why they are sweating (pun intended) on an El Nino either this or next year.

  26. Yes, indeed, Bruce C. (at 9:18pm).

    But, whether sí El Niño o no El Niño, AGW will still be exactly where it is now and where it always has been:

    DEAD IN THE WATER.

    Hard aground on the Rock of Reality.

    Bwah, ha, ha, ha, haaaaaaaa!

    (glad to know my posts aren’t invisible (smile) — and now you know that yours aren’t either)

    #(:))

  27. my wife and I started spring clean-up yesterday, maybe that’s what these people need a “spring clean-up” in their brain cavities there might be an overwhelming amount of “dirt” up there reducing the amount of healthy O2.

  28. Old news recycled; “What is old is new again” …

    http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/boreal-forests-found-to-be-net-ghg-emitters.html

    http://fire.biol.wwu.edu/hooper/Clark2004FEEtropicalforests&globalwarming.pdf

    It has been known/posited for a long time that soil microbes can sequester or release CO2. Like all the rest of “Climate Science”, it seems that the results depend on how “testing” is done and what “models” are used and the bent of the researcher.

    Conclusion: AU needs a grant for further research. 😒

  29. It’s pretty simple: if your research shows that Earth’s atmosphere can, in any way shape or form, enter a “runaway” condition, whether it’s heating, cooling, saturated moisture, acid rain, acid oceans, lightning, fire, drought, locusts, or anything else… then your research is wrong.

  30. As usual, old news… If plants grow harder, as is the case with more CO2 in the atmosphere, then more debris is falling at the end of the growing season and microbes have more fuel to break down and emit CO2 again.

    But what counts is the net balance at the end of the seasonal cycle. That can be derived from the oxygen balance: fossil fuel burning uses oxygen. As the use and burning efficiency is known with reasonable accuracy, one can calculate the total amount of oxygen used. The difference between calculated and measured oxygen use is what the biosphere as a whole (plants, animals, insects, microbes,…) has used or produced. The net CO2 uptake, expressed as carbon, since 1990 was about 1 GtC/year. Thus the whole biosphere stores more carbon in different forms than it produces as CO2. See:

    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

    The only point that the above work shows is that the biological carbon cycle gets faster with extra CO2 in the atmosphere, but that doesn’t say anything about the net use or release of CO2…

  31. RobRoy says:
    April 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Carbon, The black solid?, Is this not just a mis-nomer for CO2?
    Or is Carbon, C now magically evil as well?

    CO2 exists mainly in the atmosphere, in the oceans it is mainly bicarbonate (93%), carbonate (6%) and only 1% CO2. In vegetation it is mainly cellulose, sugars, starch,…

    To make a balance comparison possible, alle different forms are calculated as carbon equivalents. For CO2/C that is a factor 44/12 = 3.67

  32. …Climate change accelerating, dirt blamed..

    That’s not a very polite way to talk about Professor Mann…

  33. Increased levels of CO2 accelerate plant growth, which causes more absorption of CO2 through photosynthesis.

    Until now, the accepted belief was that carbon is then stored in wood and soil for a long time, slowing climate change. Yet this new research suggests that the extra carbon provides fuel to microorganisms in the soil whose byproducts (such as CO2) are released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

    The way the sentence is phrased you would think that man’s extra co2 has NOT lead to biosphere greening. They are biosphere greening deniers.

    Abstract – 31 May, 2013
    Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments

    Abstract – 28 June 2013
    Randall J. Donohue et al
    Impact of CO2 fertilization on maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments

    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, analyzed to remove the effect of variations in precipitation, 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 fertilization effect is now a significant land surface process.
    Geophysical Research Letters – Volume 40, Issue 12, pages 3031–3035

    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 April 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 – May 2013
    The causes, effects and challenges of Sahelian droughts: a critical review
    …….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
    _____________________________

    Abstract – 2013
    P. B. Holden et. al.
    A model-based constraint on CO2 fertilisation
    Using output from a 671-member ensemble of transient GENIE simulations, we build an emulator of the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration change since the preindustrial period. We use this emulator to sample the 28-dimensional input parameter space. A Bayesian calibration of the emulator output suggests that 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%. It is important to note that we do not represent all of the possible contributing mechanisms to the terrestrial sink. The missing processes are subsumed into our calibration of CO2 fertilisation, which therefore represents the combined effect of CO2 fertilisation and additional missing processes.
    doi:10.5194/bg-10-339-2013

  34. I hope the researchers didn’t miss bit of research back in January of this year.

    …..New research suggests that it is fungi that have a major influence on the carbon levels in soil and eventually the carbon levels in the atmosphere. By examining patterns of symbiotic fungi, researchers have shown that higher levels of fungi can lead to 70 percent more carbon in the soil. The role of these fungi is currently not typically considered in global climate models……

    http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech/science/atmospheric-carbon-is-mostly-to-do-with-the-soil/article/365469

    Nature – 08 January 2014
    “Mycorrhiza-mediated competition between plants and decomposers drives soil carbon storage”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12901

  35. Total hog wash:
    Smog in London caused by Sahara Dust: http://rt.com/news/smog-britain-sahara-pollution-981/
    The Colossal China Dust Storm: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2014/04/china-being-eaten-colossal-dust-storm/8967/
    And there are a whole hole bunch of volcano’s erupting.
    As for the “AGW is real” bubble from MSM: (Europe had a very mild winter they claim but they don’t tell which part of Europe and the US winter is caused by Global Warming)
    Now how about all the other places currently hit by cold and snow?
    Like the China Blizzard: http://www.freshplaza.com/article/120137/China-Xinjiang-hit-hard-by-blizzard-causing-81-millions-of-yuan-in-damages
    The Ural: http://iceagenow.info/2014/04/russias-urals-severe-springtime-snowstorm-123-years/
    Rumania: http://stirileprotv.ro/stiri/actualitate/cod-galben-de-ploi-si-ninsori-pana-sambata-dimineata-drumuri-blocate-si-masini-inzapezite-in-harghita-si-suceava.html
    The US winter: http://iceagenow.info/2014/04/14-inches-snow-colorado/
    Canadian Winter Alerts: http://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html
    Latest start Great Lakes Shipping: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/thunder-bay-port-sees-latest-ever-start-to-shipping-season-1.2608763
    And now we have the polar bears threatened by too much ice: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/alaskan-polar-bears-threatened-too-much-spring-ice-0

    But, no, no, the obsession remains with the carbon “pollution” which of course is all our fault.

    How much longer are we going to take all their BS.

  36. floras metabolic produkt is oxygen.

    faunas metabolic produkt is co2.
    bacterias belong to fauna.

    gaining energie of nutrition is by combustion, oxidation.

    new findings – we heard in elementary school.

    brg – Hans

  37. Where’s the quantification? If models have over estimated, then by how much? 1%? 99%? I am guessing closer to the 1%. And how much of the total CO2 emissions were we hoping the soil would sequester? I imagine that is a small fraction to begin with. And the increase in atmospheric CO2 over the last 100 years is having a very small to negligible impact on climate right now, and by all measures that small impact is largely positive.

    In summation, this article is reporting a small change in an insignificant process that has a minor impact on the changing concentration of a trace gas in the atmosphere that is having no discernible impact on climate.

  38. I can’t see a link to the abstract above, so

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/04/23/science.1249534

    So it is another study claiming that a particular set of carbon sinks is going to max out ‘sooner than we thought’ despite the fact that, in aggregate, they are still reportedly rapidly increasing in capacity and/or rate.

    I guess the authors are must be too polite to say which of the other sinks have also been modeled wrong. But they are still welcome to try to wake me up when the biosphere reaches equilibrium.

  39. Last year, CO2 emissions were 38 billion tons or about 4.5 ppm. CO2 concentrations rose by about 2.5 ppm and, therefore, the net natural absorption of CO2 by oceans, plants and soils was 2.0 ppm.

    This net natural absorption rate has been rising since about 1900 (although the last few years might be down some). Back to 1750 here.

  40. Climate change is accelerating – that’s why temperatures are not rising. A little more acceleration, and we will get a new ice age. The usual “enviro-climatologist” logic.

  41. Occasional aerial spraying with a bactericide will fix this problem especially if warmers are in the vicinity.

  42. …the study’s authors utilized statistical techniques that compare data to models…

    Ah, more computer games then.

    Jolly good.

    Carry on.

  43. Goofballs. A pure positive feedback system. We will shortly have a ~100% CO2 atmosphere, no doubt.

  44. I’m very sceptical about this carbon in the soil concept.
    Both sides of the climate debate cite it. (A few years ago Aussie farmers asked for payment (or a tax break) for ‘all the carbon they put back in the soil’. Apparently Tony Abbott’s government will now grant their request) What carbon?)

    I’m sure I’ll be corrected if/where I’m wrong but it seems to me that:
    a) Plants in forests, crops, savannah etc. photosynthesize the carbon in atmospheric carbon-dioxide to form sugars and cellulose.
    b) The plants die or drop their leaves, twigs, fruit etc. and they lie on top of the soil.
    c) Fungi feed on these – i.e. the plant matter starts to ‘rot’
    d) Fungi turn cellose back onto CO2 (i.e. they reverse photosynthesis) and thus complete an important sub-cycle of the overall Carbon cycle. (Is this heresy?)
    e) The rotting process is not immediate and a bit of ‘humus’ layer builds up as the top layer of the soil.

    Is this humus layer the same as the ‘carbon in the soil’ that they’re banging on about? Hell it’s only thin!

    Yet the paper says “Soils contain the largest pool of terrestrial organic carbon” – i.e. more than all the Earth’s biomass! I don’t believe this – but I’m still trawling through the references to find out where they got that idea from (so far all the references I’ve found refer to economics papers)

    There also seems to be a greenie ‘meme’ in some camps that the Earth’s rainforests have a thick layer of peat under them. Although this is only true of Borneo and a few other forests. It is not true of the Amazon (where the humus layer is thin to non-existent) or the Congo rainforests.

  45. As Ferdinand points out and a couple others intimate, what they are seeing is a rate increase where the same Carbon is cycled faster. The Carbon economy is growing for our efforts and will cycle faster as marginalized creatures begin to dance.

  46. So the warmists have discovered microbial respiration? Someone let them in on decomposition. They will be astonished to find that its byproducts are CO2 and CH4, gasp!

  47. JC(UK)

    The greatest reservoir of elemental carbon (organic or not) in the various “-spheres” is in rocks.

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