Impacts Of Land Use – Land Cover Change On Climate

From Roger Pielke Sr.

From WikiPedia: Habitat fragmented by numerous roads near the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

New Paper “Impacts Of Land Use Land Cover Change On Climate And Future Research Priorities” By Mahmood Et Al 2009

We have a new multi-authored paper that has been accepted.  This paper illustrates the breadth and diversity of scientists who have concluded that land use/land cover change is a first order climate forcing.

The paper is

Mahmood, R., R.A. Pielke Sr., K.G. Hubbard, D. Niyogi, G. Bonan, P. Lawrence, B. Baker, R. McNider, C. McAlpine, A. Etter, S. Gameda, B. Qian, A. Carleton, A. Beltran-Przekurat, T. Chase, A.I. Quintanar, J.O. Adegoke, S. Vezhapparambu, G. Conner, S. Asefi, E. Sertel, D.R. Legates, Y. Wu, R. Hale, O.W. Frauenfeld, A. Watts, M. Shepherd, C. Mitra, V.G. Anantharaj, S. Fall,R. Lund, A. Nordfelt, P. Blanken, J. Du, H.-I. Chang, R. Leeper, U.S. Nair, S. Dobler, R. Deo, and J. Syktus,

2009: Impacts of land use land cover change on climate and future research priorities (PDF). Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., accepted.

The paper starts with the text

“Human activities have modified the environment for thousands of years. Significant population increase, migration, and accelerated socio-economic activities have intensified these environmental changes over the last several centuries. The climate impacts of these changes have been found in local, regional, and global trends in modern atmospheric temperature records and other relevant climatic indicators.”

In our conclusions, we write

“It is the regional responses, not a global average, that produce drought, floods and other societally important climate impacts.”

as well as make the following recommendations

“we recommend, as a start, to assess three new climate metrics:

1. The magnitude of the spatial redistribution of land surface latent and sensible heating (e.g., see Chase et al. 2000; Pielke et al. 2002). The change in these fluxes into the atmosphere will result in the alteration of a wide variety of climate variables including the locations of major weather features. For example, Takata et al. (2009) demonstrated the major effect of land use change during the period 1700-1850 on the Asian monsoon. As land cover change accelerated after 1850 and continues into the future, LULCC promises to continue to alter the surface pattern of sensible and latent heat input to the atmosphere.

2. The magnitude of the spatial redistribution of precipitation and moisture convergence (e.g., Pielke and Chase 2003). In response to LULCC, the boundaries of regions of wet and dry climates can change, thereby affecting the likelihood for floods and drought. This redistribution can occur not only from the alterations in the patterns of surface sensible and latent heat, but also due to changes in surface albedo and aerodynamic roughness (e.g., see Pitman et al. 2004; Nair et al. 2007).

3. The normalized gradient of regional radiative heating changes. Since it is the horizontal gradient of layer-averaged temperatures that force wind circulations, the alteration in these temperatures from any human climate forcing will necessarily alter these circulations. In the evaluation of the human climate effect from aerosols, for example, Matsui and Pielke (2006) found that, in terms of the gradient of atmospheric radiative heating, the role of human inputs was 60 times greater than the role of the human increase in the well-mixed greenhouse gases. Thus, this aerosol effect has a much more significant role on the climate than is inferred when using global average metrics. We anticipate a similar large effect from LULCC. Feddema et al. (2005), for example, have shown that global averages mask the impacts on regional temperature and precipitation changes. The above climate metrics can be monitored using observed data within model calculations such as completed by Matsui and Pielke (2006) for aerosols, as well as by using reanalyses products, such as performed by Chase et al (2000) with respect to the spatial pattern of lower tropospheric heating and cooling. They should also be calculated as part of future IPCC and other climate assessment multi-decadal climate model simulations.”

We also write

“With respect to surface air temperatures, for example, there needs to be an improved quantification of the biases and uncertainties in multi-decadal temperature trends, which remain inadequately evaluated in assessment reports such as from the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP 2006). We also recommend that independent committees (perhaps sponsored by the National Science Foundation) conduct these assessments.”

====

Personal note: I am in the list of authors. I had an equal role with the other co-authors, resulting in the first climate science publication for which I am listed as an author. Note the sections in the PDF speaking of the issues with USHCN. – Anthony

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88 thoughts on “Impacts Of Land Use – Land Cover Change On Climate

  1. Man also has made things for the better. Recently (the last 15 years) some deserts along the peruvian coast (deserts because of the cold Humboldt´s current which runs along the west pacific SA coast- interrupted once in a while by the El Nino counter current) were changed into cultivated areas by irrigating them. Its production, mainly asparagus, grapes, and chile for pizzas goes mainly to the USA. As a result weather is changing from totally dry to less dry having rain sometimes.

  2. Well, congratulations Mr. Watts. You have now passed peer review.
    I thought the statement you quoted thusly from NRC (2005) …
    “…..the climatic effects from light-absorbing aerosols or land-use changes do not lend themselves to quantification using the traditional radiative forcing concept….. These challenges have raised the question of whether the radiative forcing concept has outlived its usefulness and, if so, what new climate change metrics should be used”…
    is certainly odd. In the first place I’m not sure I believe it is correct. But isn’t this akin to saying that the outcomes from these sorts of metrics were not useful to the problem at hand in the first place? And perhaps global mean temperature isn’t either, and never really was. Are we starting over–hitting a reset?

  3. 🙂 So now when people complain “Watts doesn’t publish”, you can say “Huh? What the heck do you mean?” and point them to this! I bet you have more on the way, since you’ve been hinting at it! 🙂

  4. I see David Legates was one of the authors to! He’s one of my heroes because of what he went through for speaking his mind as State Climatologist of Delaware. The Governor didn’t appreciate that…

  5. In the early 1900’s we, in the U.S., “Rowcropped” approx. 400 Million Acres.
    The number, now, is about 250 Million acres.
    How would those two factoids fit in?

  6. Anecdotal I know but interesting none the less.
    For 11 years I lived in a large Asian country that straddles the equator. During the seventies two of the worlds largest islands were covered in tropical rainforest. Since then millions and millions of hectares of this virgin forest has been annihilated by legal logging companies, illegal loggers, intrusive human settlement caused by massive population increase and human started forest fires.
    The tropical rain forest was built up on a layer of peat that took thousands of years to accumulate. The tree roots were emeshed inside the peat. The soil underneath is often not fit enough to support large flora growth. Often the peat is soaked and the trees themselves are often standing in “swampy conditions” . You could fly over these forests and see the water standing around the base of the trees. You could also jump up and down beside a large tree and it would rock back and forth due to the unstable peat. The peat layers are up to three to four metres deep.
    While flying over these forests you could also observe the tree canopy hugging clouds formed by the self generating humid conditions.
    Remove the forest and you remove the all other growth, the peat and the self generated climate.
    The weather patterns have changed. The city I was based in has experienced never before recorded levels of heat waves. The moonsoon is sporadic. The amount of rainfall is still a constant amopunt it just falls in different patterns and locations.
    A local governor was concerend about this local climate shift. The rice production in his area was suffering due to the sporadic nature of the rainfall. He contracted a U.S. consulatncy to investigate the problem. Deforestation was blamed. He then took out a program of reforestation – even I had a hand in it. However, planting a few trees against the removal of millions of hecatres of the original rain forest is fruitless.
    Once the rainforest is gone the peat dries out and generally burns up. The tropical trees can never be grow again until the layer of peat is replaced- this process takes thousands of years of non human interuption.
    This country straddles the equator for a couple of thousand kilometers. It would be interesting to know what influence the changing land weather patterns caused by deforestation has on the airflow following on to the equatorial Pacific.

  7. Congratulations on your paper Mr. Watts. I am sure you will be welcomed into the scientific community for publishing your analysis. I also see that YouTube has overturned your DCMA attempt to block others for commenting on your scientific contributions. I see other popular climate blogs covered this story.
    This is a good day for science.

  8. Kum Dollison (18:14:40) : Not trying to factor in anything, but what makes that all the more remarkable is that yields of Wheat doubled and yields of Corn quintupled over that period!

  9. Do you mean to tell me that replacing thousands of acres of forest with thousands of acres of pavement might have some effect on climate? Wow! And I though it was my incandescent light bulb.

  10. Anthony
    Very interesting. I noticed several years ago when flying over Canada in the winter that the vast tracts of farmland, even in the eastern provinces, had a much higher albedo due to snow on the ground when compared with the relatively dark forests that were in the same area.
    So the effect certainly goes both ways.
    I took pictures if you ever want them as it is striking the difference between the two areas in the same picture.

  11. Well done, Anthony! Yay for you and for science today. And suggesting that radiative forcing models have outlived their usefulness sounds diplomatic to me!

  12. You are teasing us. When is the BIG PAPER on the Surface Stations Project coming out? My nails are down to nubs!
    Kidding aside, Congrats and good luck defending your part against the ebbing tide of alarmism, which should begin as soon as the folks at RC read this paper.

  13. Intuitively I think this is a very important paper.
    In Australia, fire was used for thousands of years by aborigines to control their environment and hunt and gather. Australia was not the dry continent 60,000 years ago that it is today.
    I suspect, large scale re-forestation would have a significant effect on “greening” Australia’s desert centre and, importantly, changing the local climate. But we have no will and no green groups agitating to do that.
    We are only interested in shutting down coal fired industry by taxing them out of existence.

  14. “Personal note: I am in the list of authors. I had an equal role with the other co-authors, resulting in the first climate science publication for which I am listed as an author.”
    Well done Anthony – I bet this feels pretty good.
    As for the big one, your surface station project, there is a doctorate’s worth in that for you. (In fact, Prof. Bob Carter said that you should get a Nobel Prize for it in a video I saw!)

  15. H (19:44:16) :
    “I suspect, large scale re-forestation would have a significant effect on “greening” Australia’s desert centre and, importantly, changing the local climate. But we have no will and no green groups agitating to do that. ”
    Well, if they ever get round to planting trees in Oz, give me a shout and I’ll be over to help. I planted trees for a few years in Scotland – it was the best job I ever had! Loved it! – planted about a million I reckon! My record was 4000 in one day. (Mind you, this was back in about 1984 and a lot of beer has gone under the bridge since then…)

  16. This is a good paper and congratulations to Anthony.
    What has always gored me is that the climate models can build in a -0.1C impact for land-use and a -0.6C impact for Aerosols (through their impact on the planet’s albedo in effect), yet the same climate models (modelers) can’t bring themselves to build in a bigger effect for the albedo effect of glaciation during the ice ages – that the models/modelers cannot accept the Urban Heat Island has introduced a bias in the measured temperatures.
    A little smoke from southern california has the same impact as a snow-covered glacier over half of Europe / crop-land in southern California is included in the models but not the Urban Heat Island produced by 25 million people.
    The models (modelers) are always forced into a “GHGs/CO2 means everything” frame because that is their assumption from the beginning – anything that contradicts that has to be averaged away/written out of the code.
    Land-use might be an overall negative to the actual whole-Earth temperature trend, but the way it is measured (in cities for the most part), the Urban Heat Island has introduced a bias in the measured temperature trend. It is time to remove that bias.

  17. Who is this A. Watts guy? Just kidding. Congratulations Anthony for the first of more to come papers that will make your work and data “peer reviewed relevant” to the science.
    The question is really is this different than UHI and is it enough to drive climatic shifts or just to influence local temperatures -i.e. temperature is not climate despite the AGW simplification-?

  18. evanmjones (19:52:53) :
    “Doc Dubya. That would be too cool.”
    And there should be a mention in the dispatches for all the volunteers too. Fantastic work – all of you – I wish I’d been stateside and able to help out.

  19. Well, I think no body can say something against your conclusions:
    http://www.biocab.org/Desertification.html
    Sorry for my poor English. At the end of the article I included a pic of the “Evening in the Desert Plains”, which I think would compensate my grammar errors.
    However, not only humans alter their environment. Every living being on this planet alters its environment until collapse.
    The ecological balance is a myth.

  20. Just an FYI for those interested. In the two upcoming papers related to surfacestations.org findings, a distance online collaboration tool is being used to craft the paper.
    The distance separating the authors spans the CONUS, so it brings us all together and in focus that email and manuscripts just doesn’t offer.
    – Anthony

  21. Excellent work Anthony! And, of course, kudos to all of the other coauthors – hope to see more of these kinds of publications in the future.
    Frank

  22. I noticed your name in the list of authors before I read your personal note. Congratulations and good work. Your site and your efforts are inspiring.

  23. Nasif Nahle (20:07:46) :
    “However, not only humans alter their environment. Every living being on this planet alters its environment until collapse.”
    This is a very good point Nasif. (But, as is my light hearted wont, I have been putting the blame on butterflies lately in a few posts. Camille, Andrew, Bill… how many more hurricanes will they cause?!)
    wattsupwiththat (20:12:26) :
    Way to go Anthony. Show these ‘climate scientists’ how to really do it.
    On the negative side, now that you are a ‘peer-reviewed’, ‘fully fledged’, ‘won your colors’ and ‘published’ ‘climate scientist’. do I have to remove the quotes from now on?

  24. Nice. Congratulations, Anthony.
    My academic background took a few turns and twists before I ended up as an economist (environmental and natural resource economics), including a couple of years majoring in geography and geophysics. When I read the abstract, and thought about the obviousness of the paper’s main thesis, I thought to myself “this would be obvious to a geographer.” And then I looked at saw that the lead author is a geographer. Good.
    The paper surely benefits from the broad multidisciplinary background of its authors. How refreshing a change from the parochial world view of “climate science” where the chief actors seem to think “we’re the only ones who know enough about this to have authority in these matters.”
    There is no doubt that human activity influences climate. I have no difficulty accepting that LULCC is a major “forcing,” and arguably much more significant than CO2/GHG’s. It is probably even more significant than the sun.

  25. You know, some of the land use impacts on climate could actually be through their impacts on CO2. Here’s an example: A while back, a study found that plankton in the Atlantic was being fertilized by dust from Africa. One of the big ecological issues in the 1970s and 1980s was desertification, as overgrazing and cutting trees for firewood turned marginal areas south of the Sahara (the Sahel) into desert and winds carried away the topsoil.
    I hadn’t heard much about desertification lately, but apparently fast growing, drought resistant Eucalyptus trees have been introduced to the area and planted in profusion. That has done a lot to stabilize the area and even push back the desert.
    So: the desert stops expanding and actually contracts a bit. Does that mean that the amount of dust arriving in the ocean decreases? That seems to follow. If so, does that lower the productivity of the ocean? That also seems to follow logically. Since plankton seeding has been suggested as a bioengineering solution to reduce CO2 levels, presumably a decrease in seeding from desert dust would increase CO2 levels.
    Now I have no idea of the magnitude of an of this, but has anyone looked into the possibility that the desertification problem was artificially lowering CO2 levels and that alleviating that problem is at least part of the reason CO2 levels are currently climbing.

  26. I’m probably one odd one out on this. I do not believe land use will/would/could affect weather/climate systems (used to). It may seem complete at odds (or am I?). The presence of mountains etc of course yes (ie andean weather, Pyrenees etc but not for example desertification, planting/removing vegetation. I am prepared to be educated on this though.
    REPLY: Large cities make effects on local weather, such as UHI induced downwind convection and rain shadows. – Anthony

  27. Obvious effects of course UHI…. cement around a Stevenson screen will of course increase thermometer temps overall!

  28. Meanwhile, over on ‘Real Climate’, they are running a post which includes the following:
    “Scientists document their procedures and findings in the peer-reviewed literature in such a way that they can be double-checked and challenged by others. The proper way to challenge results is, of course, also through the peer-reviewed literature, so that the challenge follows the same standards of documentation as did the original finding.”
    I have just made the following post:
    “Na-aa-aa-aa-aa-aah! Stop it! You’re making me laugh! Na-aa-aa-aa-aa-aaaaaah!!!”
    Sorry – but I have a ‘Carry On Films” sense of humour – the late Kenneth Williams was my inspiration for this particular post. Let’s see if RC post it? It should be comment No. 172 plus or minus an RC error margin…

  29. My congratulations as well Mr Watts! The first of many I am thinking.
    After a quick read, I like this paper. Back to the real problems facing the environment. Things we can actually do something about. Rather, I should say we must do!
    Now to read it again in depth…

  30. the climatic effects from light-absorbing aerosols or land-use changes do not lend themselves to quantification using the traditional radiative forcing concept….. These challenges have raised the question of whether the radiative forcing concept has outlived its usefulness and, if so, what new climate change metrics should be used”…
    The radiative forcing concept (or theory) treats the world’s climate as if it were uniform or at least uniform along lattitudes. Climate change according to this theory results from global scale changes in energy gain or loss.
    What the authors above are saying is that the climate is a complex system of local and regional processes all of which result in energy gain or loss.
    I also think the forcings theory is wrong or at least inadequate in describing the Earth’s climate, because the climate is dominated by fast, mostly negative, feedbacks over hours to days. Forcings that change over decades are irrelevant because they are swamped by the much faster feedbacks.
    In a sense we are saying the same thing. For example cutting down trees reduces air humidity close to the ground, and solar heating which previously would have produced clouds and then rain no longer does.

  31. “Berry R (20:25:17) :
    I hadn’t heard much about desertification lately, but apparently fast growing, drought resistant Eucalyptus trees have been introduced to the area and planted in profusion. That has done a lot to stabilize the area and even push back the desert.”
    The only problem with the Eucalytus tree is that it is not a native African tree. Although fast growing and the wood from the tree is ideal for building, long straight truncks/branches etc etc it is in effect a pest in many parts of Ethiopia as an example. It’ll soak up as much ground water it can get too and is also a huge fire risk.

  32. On a regional level – Australia – a life-long farmer/landcare practioner, Peter Andrews, also maintains that land-use factors affect climates locally.
    His two books make interesting reading – “Back From The Brink” and “Beyond The Brink”.

  33. VG (20:26:45) :
    I’m probably one odd one out on this. I do not believe land use will/would/could affect weather/climate systems (used to). It may seem complete at odds (or am I?). The presence of mountains etc of course yes (ie andean weather, Pyrenees etc but not for example desertification, planting/removing vegetation. I am prepared to be educated on this though.
    VG (20:29:30) :
    Obvious effects of course UHI…. cement around a Stevenson screen will of course increase thermometer temps overall!

    Hi, VG… Welcome to the At Odds People Club (AOPC).
    As you could have noticed, the authors of the paper are referring to local, regional and global climate alteration due to human activities. Although they have not mentioned it, I deduced that the referred changes are related to the concepts of Climate Climax (determined by the general regional climate) and the Edaphic Climax (determined by the topography and the local microclimate).
    Hypothetically, the climax community is the final autoperpetuable stage of ecological succession. However, in the real world, the final stage is not in equilibrium with the physical and biological elements, so it tends to collapse in the short or long term then, depending on the degree of disequilibrium.
    Regular natural perturbations of the physical and/or biological components of an ecosystem alter the ecological succession in such form that it doesn’t finish like the hypothetical climate climax, but like an edaphic climax. This occurs frequently because living beings overexploit their habitats or because natural phenomena, like earthquakes, fires, floods, droughts, glaciations, etc., change the topography and the availability of natural resources for living beings.
    One of the most harmful effects that humans produce to the climax communities is the fragmentation of habitats through the expansion of roads, communication networks, cities, etc. These practices not only alter the communication between individuals and biological communities, the local microclimate and the topography, but also the survival and evolution of species.
    The truth is that we cannot evolve as a species if we don’t alter the climax communities; thus, the proposals from most of the green parties are absolutely anti-cultural and anti-progress.
    For illustrating what I have said in the last paragraph, for medicine advancements, pharmacological industry produces tons of medicines that will end, by this or that way, at a climax community. However, must we stop producing medicines? I think we must not. Some people would propose herbal medicines, which are also effective according to reports of serious researchers from several institutions and the Herbal Medicine PDRs; nevertheless, how much land we would need for cultivating herbal medicines for the more than six billion people in this world? Besides, there are many medicinal plants which cannot be produced in greenhouses or controlled cultures, but only in their natural habitats. See the damages that austerity green-policies would bring to humankind?

  34. Anthony, congratulations and many thanks for your relentless efforts.
    This, in my opinion, is the most effective way to address the “settled” science of AGW/Climate Change.

  35. Patrick Davis (21:05:45) :
    Re Eucalytus; never camp under a Eucalytus or stand under one in times of drought of hot weather. They drop their branches to conserve water. They kill several people and destroy many cars every year in Australia from dropping branches.

  36. Jimmy Haigh (19:54:01) :
    … Well, if they ever get round to planting trees in Oz, give me a shout and I’ll be over to help. I planted trees for a few years in Scotland – it was the best job I ever had! Loved it! – planted about a million I reckon! My record was 4000 in one day. (Mind you, this was back in about 1984 and a lot of beer has gone under the bridge since then…)

    So you’re responsible for the Griffin forest then? Sadly it has never been thinned properly and is now an inpenetratble mono-culture of spruce, with little or no age structure. Because of it’s low amenity it made the case for the Griffin windfarm much more difficult to stop, (I don’t think the windfarm would never have been gioven permission if the hills were still heather moorland). Anyway, 68 turbines, eachl 125m tal,l will wreck the whole context of the Highland Perthshire landscape, but sadly that’s not what our planners and politicians think. Calliachar (14 turbines on the hills above Amulree/Kenmore) and Logiealmond (on the Highland Boundary Fault to the west of Bankfoot) have also gone to Public Inquiry, but we are hopefull that the politicians will see that the Griffin scheme is big enough.
    VG (20:26:45) :
    I’m probably one odd one out on this. I do not believe land use will/would/could affect weather/climate systems (used to). It may seem complete at odds (or am I?). The presence of mountains etc of course yes (ie andean weather, Pyrenees etc but not for example desertification, planting/removing vegetation. I am prepared to be educated on this though.
    REPLY: Large cities make effects on local weather, such as UHI induced downwind convection and rain shadows. – Anthony

    I have done some rough calculations and would say that the UHI effect from large cities can in some circumstances be regional rather than just local. But I suppose it depends on how you define regional/local.

  37. Increased land clearance leads to greater run-off. The amount of silica washed into the oceans has increased markedly since agricultural industrialisation. In the spring there is a diatom bloom which peters out when the silica runs out, to be replaced by other phytoplankton which use calcium carbonate to make their shells.
    Diatoms have been advantaged by industrial farming. Using a different carbon fixing system from their calciferous cousins, diatoms are less discriminatory against 13C and thus pull down an unexpectedly large amount of the heavier carbon isotope.
    This leads to a depleted 13C signal in the atmosphere which might be interpreted as an increase in 12C.
    Before spending trillions, check the biology.
    JF

  38. The only thing the greenies accomplished here was to insist that runaway forest fires were natural, and removing the standing dead trees to reduce the fire hazard was unnatural, and they got it though constant legal harassment.
    The place burns down faster than it grows.
    What does grow is the hotter weather trees & brush that burn hotter (oils in leaves).

  39. I read the paper and will read it again. One thing I noticed, though, is a dearth of historical landscape geography references. The latest findings in that field provide strong evidence that human beings have been altering vegetation on a continental scale via anthropogenic fire for millennia.
    During the entire Holocene, and longer than that on continents such as Australia, people have been setting fire to vast tracts on a frequent, regular basis. Those activities altered the carbon cycle, vegetation, soils, and albedos, and produced aerosols, again at a continental scale.
    There are more trees and more forested acres in the Americas today than there were 500 years ago. I suspect the same is true for all the other continents save Antarctica. And there is much less exogenous anthropogenic fire.
    I would be happier with the paper had the authors considered those findings.

  40. About land use. The difference between a surface covered with concrete and land with grass/trees.
    After a very warm day in summer, both surfaces are dry (grass is yellow). When evening comes, concrete surface remains warm a very long time while temperature above grass surface falls quickly and is several degrees lower. (one can feel the temperature drop close from parks).
    Could someone help me understand why? It seems to me there is not much more evaporation from grass than from concrete as both surfaces are very dry. And concrete reflects more sun than grass…
    Does the temperature difference come from trees pumping deep water from the ground or something like that?

  41. Note to Nasif Nahle (22:08:29):
    The concept of ecological succession to climax states is falling out of favor. Those Clementsian theories have been supplanted by reconstructions of historical development pathways. That is, what really happened — based on empirical evidence — does not fit the theory, and so the theory is being abandoned.
    In addition, recognition of historical human influences is growing. People have had major effects on plant and animal populations for thousands of years. People have altered geographic distributions of plants and animals, too. Theories regarding the “balance of nature”, “plant associations”, “wilderness”, “fragmentation”, the “mosaic”, etc., absent historical human influences, are also in decline.

  42. Well done Anthony, you deserve this recognition after all your hard work, as do your team of volunteers.
    Global climate change is simply the sum of the changes that happen in each individual micro-climate over long periods of tme. This paper will certainly help get this important message across.

  43. A survey published today shows how the hot, dry conditions caused by climate change are damaging Canada’s mining industry because of all the resultant snow, rain, flooding and cold weather (???)…
    http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page68?oid=87795&sn=Detail
    Canadian miners say global climate change definitely hurts mining
    A survey conducted at this year’s PDAC conference and across Canada by the David Suzuki Foundation finds a substantial portion of the miners and explorers surveyed believe climate change is already harming their operations.
    The foundation’s survey of 48 attendees at PDAC found half of them felt snowfall was the most common climate-change related event affecting mining operations while freezing rain had the least impact. Thirty-six percent of the respondents said forest fires and ice conditions also affected operations.
    Only 21% of those surveyed mentioned that high temperatures were having a direct impact on operations, compared to the 38% who said cold temperatures were having an impact. Flooding, storms and heavy rainfall were identified by between 20 to 26% of the respondents as affecting mining operations.

    “Mine operations in Central Canada were more likely to be affected by freezing rain, flooding, extreme cold and storm, which is reflective of the extreme weather of the central provinces,’ the report said.
    A cross-Canada survey in 2008 randomly selected 62 mining practitioners working on the ground across the country. Their responses often matched those respondents surveyed at PDAC.
    However, the most commonly identified climatic hazards among the mining group were too much rainfall (71%), too much snowfall (56%), storm events (33%), flooding (25%), and cold temperatures (19%).

  44. Congratulations Anthony. With this publication, do you think there will be more awareness of your blog in the wider community, scientific or not? I really hope so, there are so many people who need to understand where our esteemed “leaders” are taking us. Seems to me we’re heading straight down the c@pper, with Brown in the lead.

  45. Congratulations, Anthony. The surface stations project and WattsUpWithThat have provided a most imaginative and inventive beginning for a clearer understanding of our world and its climate/weather. I look forward to future papers and equally magnificent projects. Deep gratitude to all those who assisted you and to those professionals who recognized how greatly science has been/is being advanced by your contributions (and personality).

  46. Julien @ (01:28:01) : It seems to me there is not much more evaporation from grass than from concrete as both surfaces are very dry.
    Actually, there is an enormous difference between turfgrass and cement. Not the least being that one of them is alive! Turfgrasses have a process called respiration that releases water and CO2 as the plant metabolizes carbohydrates. At night, as the air cools, this leads to a veritable cloud layer over the turf from the released water vapour. That causes a localized cooling effect. This is why fungus is such a problem with turfgrass management. There is a “micro climate” immediately above the turf that can be an ideal incubator for many nasty types of fungus that thrive is cool, moist conditions. This is also why most golf course superintendents are alcoholics. (I am recovering nicely) 8-[)

  47. Let us not forget the governments’ role in changing the natural landscape – large swaths of our natural prairies were covered with trees as part of the governments terms of settlement, commonly known as “tree claims”. And heaven knows the Army Corp of Engineers hasn’t modified anything!

  48. Pythium foliar blight and Anthracnose basal rot are words that will strike terror in the hearts of golf course superintendents everywhere. (I am one. Retired when my liver gave out)

  49. Mike D. (01:29:07) :
    Note to Nasif Nahle (22:08:29):
    I am conscious of that, Mike. That’s the reason I didn’t write “theory”, but “hypothesis” and “hypothetical”. For example here:
    Hypothetically, the climax community is the final autoperpetuable stage of…”
    And here:
    “in such form that it doesn’t finish like the hypothetical climate climax…”
    Anyway, the concept of climax community is valid, though we have to consider that it is not auto-perpetuable.
    On the other hand, climax communities have been changing with and without humans, so changes are mainly natural.

  50. FINAL REMARKS. As documented in this essay, we conclude that the finding of the National Research Council report (2005) that LULCC represents a first-order human climate forcing is a robust statement. LULCC effects must be assessed in detail as part of all future climate change assessments, including the forthcoming IPCC 5th Assessment, in order for them to be scientifically complete….It is the regional responses, not a global average, that produce drought, floods and other societally important climate impacts
    So, we, humans ( not all of course-THEY are supposed to be the exception-), are the bad guys.
    This is a study to support the eventual application of Malthusian policies

  51. Wrong! Wrong! So totally wrong!
    How can we impose the de-industrialization of the masses if global warming is tied to land-use, deforestation, water evaporation changes?
    Are these not conditions that can be resolved without massive alterations to lifestyles, independence and individual liberties?
    No, we must suppress this research. It must be CO2! It HAS to be CO2!
    No more blasphemy. Do not anger the Eco God. He will submit us to his wrath and scorn.
    Praise Eco-Allah. Praise Eco-Allah.
    Death to the Denier Infidels!

  52. Thank you for explainations. I see two ways to increase the temperature of a system receiving radiative energy (sun).
    1) Change the radiative sum. Decrease the amount of energy sent back by the system…greenhouse gas for exemple.
    2) Change the way the system stores it’s energy…asphalt stores energy as heat. Planted areas store energy as biomass and changes liquid water->vapor. Temperature difference between grass and asphalt can reach 25 degrees C in summer.
    It seems to me AGW people almost never talk about 2).

  53. I have to add that the environmentalists have been struggling hard against the theory of ecological succession and the concept of community climax because these natural observed phenomena do not fit into their anti-homo claims. This environmentalist struggle is reflected very well in Wikipedia.

  54. The rapid population increase from about a billion persons in 1800 to six billion at present (I think the UN global numbers are a bit inflated), coincided with large agricultural expansion. This includes about 4,000,000 sq miles of harvested cropland, 6,000,000 square miles of active pasture and rangeland, and 2,500,000 of active forestry. This is about 12.5 million square miles, or 25% of the dry land (50 million square miles) on Earth. Lots of local microclimate changes, which should have had a detectable cumulative effect on global climate measurements.
    I submit to you that most of the agricultural land use changes have already occured, and the future decades will be ones where increasing productivity of primary production results in a slow retraction of these land areas. Therefore future climate changes due to these processes are limited to how the introduction of GM crops into various places effects things like nitrogen and methane.
    In terms of urban heat islands, at present about 400,000 square miles of the land area is in cities, and another 600,000 square miles in exurban and rural settlement, and the global rural road network. The actual area paved over is about 250,000 square miles (the majority of land in urban areas is covered with vegetation).
    With a global population likely to level off at 8 billion persons, with 6.4 billion or 80 percent living in urban areas, and the demand for urban land increasing, the 400,000 footprint will likely expand to 800,000 square miles (1.6% of the dry land surface of the Earth).
    If I was you guys (I am a human geographer), I would study the impact of heat island creation in places like South Asia and East Asia.
    Since most of future urban area creation will be more suburban like than dense core central city, identifying the difference in heat island effects in downtowns, clustered employment centers, and large airports, in contrast with suburbs well planted with trees and other vegetation, will be quite useful.
    Get ahead of what will become a public policy land use debate

  55. Just another human’s crime before mother Nature, “we have to do something about”, much like AGW, ozon holes and so on.

  56. Andre (08:43:56) :
    Just another human’s crime before mother Nature, “we have to do something about”, much like AGW, ozon holes and so on.

    It is very easy, there are several euthanasia methods for you to use, in case you need to sincerely cooperate in population reduction. If you take that decision there will be one less polluting being damaging our environment. Don’t you think so?

  57. Germany is not only the birthplace of the science of ecology and the site of Green politics’ rise to prominence; it has also been home to a peculiar synthesis of naturalism and nationalism forged under the influence of the Romantic tradition’s anti-Enlightenment irrationalism. Two nineteenth century figures exemplify this ominous conjunction: Ernst Moritz Arndt and Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl.
    http://www.spunk.org/texts/places/germany/sp001630/peter.html

  58. Hmmm, is that an honorary degree I see on the horizon?
    “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” Albert Einstein
    Congrats, Doc Watts! May your value always exceed your success.
    Keep up the good work……
    …… well, you didn’t think you were going to lay back on laurels, did you?

  59. Congrats Anthony, I hope this is the start of a long record of scientific contributions. I don’t expect the Team will be sending any invites to ice cream socials any time soon, but their basis for ad hom snobbery is now eroded.

  60. “Global warming, Ozone depletion, the loss of living species, deforestation-they all have a common cause: the new relationship between human civilization and the earth’s natural balance”
    Al Gore’s “Earth in the balance”

  61. Well I understand most of the words with four letters or less. How can so many authors agree on what words to use in a paper.
    I gather the bottom line is that humans and other alien creatures are bad for gaia.
    George

  62. Darn it Anthony, now you’ve done it. Just when I was beginning to trust you. Credibility is usually not associated with being peer-reviewed in climate science. However, keep up the excellent work and I’ll cut you some slack. ;~P

  63. A masterpiece.
    The beauty of this is, within this paper is a high level work plan.
    Now, to make the research happen.

  64. RE: “A little smoke from southern california has the same impact as a snow-covered glacier over half of Europe”
    During last year’s fire outbreak (not only in Southern but in all of CA) we experienced a mini nuclear winter. The plumes at one point covered portions of other nearby states, at one point, stretching nearly to Fargo ND. It was a bit frightening.

  65. Pearland Aggie (12:14:42) :
    OT, but we’re coming up on 41 consecutive spotless days.

    Watts effect needed or we’ll have to begin building our igloos!!

  66. “Global warming, Ozone depletion, the loss of living species, deforestation-they all have a common cause: the new relationship between human civilization and the earth’s natural balance”
    Al Gore’s “Earth in the balance”
    The only problem with this statement is that there is NO natural balance on earth. There are swings one way and another, each swing being affected by a myriad different factors which, in themselves, are varying all the time. There has NEVER been stasis on earth.

  67. REPLY: Large cities make effects on local weather, such as UHI induced downwind convection and rain shadows. – Anthony
    I have done some rough calculations and would say that the UHI effect from large cities can in some circumstances be regional rather than just local. But I suppose it depends on how you define regional/local.

    If the city is included by a basin, it would be regional. If the city is not included by a basin, it would be local.
    Some cities have advanced into basins and the results have been significant deficiencies of resources from the host basin.

  68. Nogw (09:08:56) :
    Andre (08:43:56) :
    Just another human’s crime before mother Nature, “we have to do something about”, much like AGW, ozon holes and so on.
    It is very easy, there are several euthanasia methods for you to use, in case you need to sincerely cooperate in population reduction. If you take that decision there will be one less polluting being damaging our environment. Don’t you think so?
    It was joke, sir. I’ll show ‘sarcasm’ next time.

  69. Anthony,
    Thanks for all your hard work. I’m very excited to see the Surface stations project when completed.

  70. George E. Smith (10:49:05) : “I gather the bottom line is that humans and other alien creatures are bad for gaia.”
    But aren’t we Gaia’s only chance to defend herself from asteroid impacts (after we’ve grown up a little)?

  71. Congratulations Anthony on your first paper with many more to come. I note that this is an essay which points to additional research on land use effects which is an important element of observed warming.
    I recall reading the paper by John Christy at Univ of Alabama Huntsville several years ago which I see you quoted in this paper. Christy showed how land use in the California central valley affected temperatures, especially at night.
    WUWT now has the cachet of being run by a peer reviewed author just like Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit.

  72. I look forward to laughing at claims that A. Watts is not a climate researcher, that he’s a geography researcher.

  73. Andrew P (00:19:41) :
    So you’re responsible for the Griffin forest then?
    Yes – partly! 11,000 acres planted over about 3 or 4 years from 1980 to 1984 and about 90% Sitka Spruce. Me and a couple of mates (‘Big’ Ian Cameron, a Billy Connolly type Glaswegian, and Liverpudlian Ken carr) who worked together formed a Pythonesque ‘Sitka Spruce Society’. We had to whistle all the ‘esses’ and we had a Masonesque handshake where we lifted our left leg, and put the right hand through and under the knee. I don’t know what I was on in those days but it was good. The inspiration for the whistled esses was my excellent Physics teacher at Breadalbane Academy, Mr. Price.
    All the tree planting in Scotland at that time was a response to Maggie Thatcher’s scheme where an investor would put up 25% of the cost of planting and the government would put up the remaining 75%. In return, the investor got to keep 100% of the returns. The Griffin Forest was originally planted by Lloyd’s bank. Their corporate emblem is that winged mythical creature – a Gryphon! It was later bought over by the Rolls Royce pension fund. In later years Conservative loyalists such as radio DJ Terry Wogan and snooker player Steve Davis also invested.
    I got a lot out of it too: I saved up a lot of the money I earned and paid my way through university. (Maybe that should read: drank my way through university) I am also proud of the fact that I planted over a million trees: the vast majority of which were Sitka Spruce. The Sitka Spruce Society still lives on as I still meet up with Big Ian on my rare visits back to Aberfeldy.

  74. May I add my heartiest congratulations, Anthony. Well done. Bathe in the glory while it lasts because you just know somebody somewhere will say, “You can’t beleive anything he says, he’s a denier & he runs that denialist website WUWT!”.
    One thought, as I understand it man & early man (homonids?) learned to use fire to manipulate his envirnoment & the landscape, possibly over hundreds of thousands of years or even a million years, as opposed to just thousands of years. Am I wrong?
    AtB

  75. I hope it’s not too late to add these extracts, which I have posted previously but I think are appropriate. The first extract was from a book on slavery and was printed in 1863 and describes clearing jungle for sugar cane plantation:
    [1]
    “At six o’clock in the morning the overseer forces the poor slave, still exhausted from the evening’s labors, to rise from his rude bed and proceed to his work. The first assignment of the season is the chopping down of the forests for the next year’s planting, using a scythe to hack down the smaller trees. This work normally goes on for two months, depending upon the type of jungle being cut and the stamina of the slaves.
    The next step is the destruction of the large trees, and this, like the previous work, continues for twelve hours each day. At night the slaves return home, where evening work of two or more hours awaits them, depending upon the character of the master. They set fire to the devastated jungle, and then they cut and stack the branches and smaller tree trunks which have escaped the fire and which, occupying the surface of the earth, could hinder development of the crop.
    These mounds of branches are again burned, and the result is a sad and devastating scene! Centuries-old tree trunks which two months before had produced a cool, crisp atmosphere over a broad stretch of land, lie on the surface of a field ravaged by fire and covered with ashes, where the slaves are compelled to spend twelve hours under the hot sun of the equator, without a single tree to give them shelter.
    This destruction of the forests has exhausted the soil, which in many places now produces nothing but grasses suitable for grazing cattle. The temperature has intensified, and the seasons have become irregular. The rains at times damage the crops, and at other times there is not rain at all. The streams and certain shallow rivers, such as the Itapucuru, have dried up or have become almost unnavigable, and lumber for building has become very rare, or is only found at a great distance from the settlements.”
    The second extract appeared in The Times in 2007 in an article (The return of the sea) about the restoration of part of the Aral sea,
    [2]
    Even the climate is changing for the better. “It’s true. In April, May and June we now have rain,” exclaims Nazhmedin Musabaev, Aralsk’s jovial Mayor. There is more grass for livestock. Summers are a little cooler.

  76. Here is a link to a BBC article on the falling water tables in NW India:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2009/08/it_comes_from_an_unexpected.html#comments
    The comments are worth a read also.
    The article begins:
    “It comes from an unexpected source: but Nasa’s just-released finding that water tables in the northwest of India are falling by about 4cm (1.6in) per year is a striking microcosm of the unsustainable strain that modern societies are putting on the Earth’s natural resources…”

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