Forests in the Eastern United States are growing faster than they have in the past 225 years

From the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center blog:

“The chief culprit appears to be climate change, more specifically, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons.”

This jibes well with what NASA has been seeing globally via satellite measurements:

Surprise: Earths’ Biosphere is Booming, Satellite Data Suggests CO2 the Cause

And what has been found by the University of Wisconsin in Madison:

Greenhouse gas carbon dioxide ramps up aspen growth

Here’s the full report from the Smithsonian:

Forests are growing faster, climate change appears to driving accelerated growth

Speed is not a word typically associated with trees; they can take centuries to grow. However, a new study to be published the week of Feb. 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found evidence that forests in the Eastern United States are growing faster than they have in the past 225 years. The study offers a rare look at how an ecosystem is responding to climate change.

SERC woods during wintertime

Liriodendron tulipifera, or tulip poplar, is a common tree in the temperate forests surrounding the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Other species include sweetgum, American beech, and southern red oak. Photo: Kirsten Bauer.

For more than 20 years forest ecologist Geoffrey Parker has tracked the growth of 55 stands of mixed hardwood forest plots in Maryland. The plots range in size, and some are as large as 2 acres. Parker’s research is based at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 26 miles east of the nation’s capital.

Parker’s tree censuses have revealed that the forest is packing on weight at a much faster rate than expected. He and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute postdoctoral fellow Sean McMahon discovered that, on average, the forest is growing an additional 2 tons per acre annually. That is the equivalent of a tree with a diameter of 2 feet sprouting up over a year.

Parker measuring a tree.Forest ecologist Jess Parker began his tree censuses his first day on the job: September 8, 1987. Photo: Kirsten Bauer.

Forests and their soils store the majority of the Earth’s terrestrial carbon stock. Small changes in their growth rate can have significant ramifications in weather patterns, nutrient cycles, climate change and biodiversity. Exactly how these systems will be affected remains to be studied.

Parker and McMahon’s paper focuses on the drivers of the accelerated tree growth. The chief culprit appears to be climate change, more specifically, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons.

Assessing how a forest is changing is no easy task. Forest ecologists know that the trees they study will most likely outlive them. One way they compensate for this is by creating a “chronosequence”—a series of forests plots of the same type that are at different developmental stages. At SERC, Parker meticulously tracks the growth of trees in stands that range from 5 to 225 years old. This allowed Parker and McMahon to verify that there was accelerated growth in forest stands young and old. More than 90% of the stands grew two to four times faster than predicted from the baseline chronosequence.

Two trees tagged with a metal band and an orange ribbon.Parker, his colleagues and a team of citizen scientists have tagged more than 20,000 trees at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Photo: Kirsten Bauer.

By grouping the forest stands by age, McMahon and Parker were also able to determine that the faster growth is a recent phenomenon. If the forest stands had been growing this quickly their entire lives, they would be much larger than they are.

Parker estimates that among himself, his colleague Dawn Miller and a cadre of citizen scientists, they have taken a quarter of a million measurements over the years. Parker began his tree census work Sept. 8, 1987—his first day on the job. He measures all trees that are 2 centimeters or more in diameter. He also identifies the species, marks the tree’s coordinates and notes if it is dead or alive.

By knowing the species and diameter, McMahon is able to calculate the biomass of a tree. He specializes in the data-analysis side of forest ecology. “Walking in the woods helps, but so does looking at the numbers,” said McMahon. He analyzed Parker’s tree censuses but was hungry for more data.

Parker holding the diameter tape he uses to measure the trees.Parker uses diameter tape or ‘d-tape’ to measure the trees. The tape is calibrated to convert the tree’s circumference, the measurement used to determine a tree’s biomass. Photo: Kirsten Bauer.

It was not enough to document the faster growth rate; Parker and McMahon wanted to know why it might be happening. “We made a list of reasons these forests could be growing faster and then ruled half of them out,” said Parker. The ones that remained included increased temperature, a longer growing season and increased levels of atmospheric CO2.

During the past 22 years CO2 levels at SERC have risen 12%, the mean temperature has increased by nearly three-tenths of a degree and the growing season has lengthened by 7.8 days. The trees now have more CO2 and an extra week to put on weight. Parker and McMahon suggest that a combination of these three factors has caused the forest’s accelerated biomass gain.

Ecosystem responses are one of the major uncertainties in predicting the effects of climate change. Parker thinks there is every reason to believe his study sites are representative of the Eastern deciduous forest, the regional ecosystem that surrounds many of the population centers on the East Coast. He and McMahon hope other forest ecologists will examine data from their own tree censuses to help determine how widespread the phenomenon is.

These findings are also important for policymakers trying to address climate change. Future carbon cap-and-trade rules will need to quantify the amount of carbon forests hold. If faster growth rates prove the norm, this could affect the formulas and the dollar value assigned to forests that are cut or conserved.

Parker and McMahon don’t expect SERC’s forest to continue growing at this accelerated rate forever. Some day the growth rate will level off. When that happens, they wonder how that will affect CO2 levels. If trees are sponges that absorb CO2, what will happen to CO2 levels in the atmosphere when the trees become saturated? It’s a question for further exploration. In the meantime, Parker will continue walking through the SERC woods, tape measure in hand carefully tracking the growth of the trees.

PNAS will make the study available online sometime this week at this link:

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February 2, 2010 1:29 pm

“the mean temperature has increased by nearly three-tenths of a degree ”
UHI. SERC is about 10-12 miles from Baltimore and Washington DC.

February 2, 2010 1:31 pm

Trees become saturated? Let’s see, if that happens they die, fall to the ground and new trees sprout up… Can we all sing “Circle of Life” now?

Jean Parisot
February 2, 2010 1:32 pm

Anyone with allergies or knowledge of Claritin sales should be able to attest to this.

Van Grungy
February 2, 2010 1:32 pm

Vegans of the world rejoice!!!
Climate Change is good for granola crunchers!!!

February 2, 2010 1:34 pm

“The chief culprit appears to be climate change, more specifically, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons.”
Since when is faster tree growth a crime or misdeed perpetrated by a “culprit”.

February 2, 2010 1:34 pm

So, his little grove is growing faster than usual, so it has to be globable warming caused by man and soon disaster will strike when the trees become saturated with co2. It is always the same with liberals and these types-worried about something and the disasters ahead. They need what one commenter said in a previous post;”They need a wee dram of scotch and relax”.
Well, Parker will continue walking through the woods with his tape measure and his head up his….

Allen Cichanski
February 2, 2010 1:35 pm

Could someone explain to me why more extensive and healthier forests are a bad thing? Given all the climategate stuff we now know, why is anyone with a single functioning brain cell still worrying about “climate change” or carbon dioxide as a pollutant? Its plant food guys and the plants are responding to a better diet.

Steve Goddard
February 2, 2010 1:35 pm

In 2009, the US had the third coldest October on record after having the 36th coolest April on record.
How does that translate to a lengthening growing season?

February 2, 2010 1:35 pm

Umm, then why is there a “divergence problem”?

February 2, 2010 1:36 pm

. . .requiring that some people need to “hide the decline”?

February 2, 2010 1:36 pm

OOps Global

February 2, 2010 1:37 pm

Quick! We must act to stop the unchecked overgrowth of the Appalachians! We must have the EPA classify CO2 as a pollutant and ban it’s release into the atmosphere so that everyone on the east coast doesn’t end up paying thousands more per year in gardening costs!!

February 2, 2010 1:38 pm

From the article: The chief culprit appears to be climate change, more specifically, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons.
Rising levels of C02: check
Higher Temperatures: check
Longer Growing Season: check

February 2, 2010 1:38 pm

The east coast has been relatively warm for the last decade because of local weather. Compare tree growth in the upper plains that have had a more typical growing season. I’ll bet they show marginal change.

Tom G(ologist)
February 2, 2010 1:40 pm

Seems to contradict the idea that man-made CO2 lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, doesn’t it?

February 2, 2010 1:41 pm

Which leaves me wondering two things:
1. How is this bad?
2. How is this any different from what “we” have been saying: CO2 rises, biomass takes it out, thus eliminating the ridiculous concept of a “tipping point”.
CO2 is plant food. This is hardly “new science”.

February 2, 2010 1:42 pm

“When that happens, they wonder how that will affect CO2 levels. If trees are sponges that absorb CO2, what will happen to CO2 levels in the atmosphere when the trees become saturated? It’s a question for further exploration.”
They should come and visit the West Coast… trees can grow quite big if given enough nutrients, water and CO2. Also, a great deal of that “stored” carbon falls every fall… with the leaves!!!
Of course, as they stated, they need more time and money to study this more… typical!
Tree growth is a sure good example of positive CO2 feedback.

February 2, 2010 1:42 pm

And – what about the “hidden” decline of M. Mann’s tree rings? How was that possible? What happened there?

February 2, 2010 1:45 pm

Why not to create special recreation camps with lots of green and put into them all these mad greenies?, of course conveniently medicated to avoid their brain temperature to increase. There we could also install a train for JH et al.. That will be cheaper than Cap&Trade, so the rest of us could return to the glorious years of development and richness, and live joyful, peaceful and productive lives.

February 2, 2010 1:45 pm

Wait a minute… (small spark in my head)… if the trees grow better and are healthier with more carbon dioxide and warmer weather, then our crops and vegetables will also grow better….. Oh crap… it also means that if we try to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere and it gets colder, then we will all starve to death.

Robert L
February 2, 2010 1:47 pm

They are throwing him under the bus!

February 2, 2010 1:48 pm

What bunch of crap. CO2 is the main reason why plant growth has accelerated. This article is trying to link accelerated plant growth(symptom of higher CO2) as proof of global warming.

February 2, 2010 1:51 pm

Higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere helps plants and trees grow faster?
Who’d a thunk it?

February 2, 2010 1:52 pm

Stephan (13:34:28) :
can’t believe it
Monbiot’s tactic seems to be similar to fighting gangrene: to hack out obvious diseased flesh – Jones and the hapless PR suit at CRU in this instance – while insisting that the rest of the body of AGW can survive.
Looks like he’ll keep on hacking off bits and insisting that AGW is healthy as long as there is still a wriggling amoeba-sized blob of AGW left.

February 2, 2010 1:53 pm

“Stephan (13:34:28) :
can’t believe it

Must be written by the OTHER George Monbiot. They must have two of them.

February 2, 2010 1:54 pm

I think whoever popularized the article must’ve misunderstood what the ecologist was saying about growth topping out.
Probably the ecologist said either that “the growth of those specific stands would top out as they got older” or that “the growth _rate_ of those type of trees would top out at a stable but high level.”
I can’t imagine that increasing CO2 content and longer seasons would mysteriously stop causing accelerated growth at some point – maybe if it got so hot that they became water limited.

February 2, 2010 1:54 pm

Good Lord, here we go again.
That little “normal” line in the middle
Things can’t change, even when it’s proven that it was bad before,
and the change was for the better.

dave ward
February 2, 2010 1:55 pm

Just read in the local paper that there is to be a free event next week at the John Innes Centre, Norwich (just over the road from the UEA). It is to be introduced by science operations manager Steve Rawsthorne, followed by talks both by the centre’s own scientists, and those from the Sainsbury Laboratory, who are at the forefront of combating the global challenge of food security. The subject is how to increase food production to cope with the UN projected 50% rise in world population by 2050. I hope they realise that increased CO2 concentrations will help achieve that aim……..

James Sexton
February 2, 2010 1:55 pm

So, the Amazon jungle might benefit from the increase in CO2????? NO way!! Dude, someone needs to let Pachauri know they got it backwards!!!!!

Veronica (England)
February 2, 2010 1:56 pm

I’ve just had a great idea for a carbon sequestration method. Store it in trees!

February 2, 2010 1:58 pm

This is in conformity with 2 earlier studies. One that showed similar growth in all biologics in the tundra. And likewise in tropics. While this was exclusively on trees, it would be interesting to see if fauna also increased as it did in the other regions.

February 2, 2010 2:03 pm

two of the following pieces appear in a group on google news, but don’t appear once u expand the group:
Press Trust of India: Pachauri rejects findings on peaks based on essay
“The allegations (that the finding was based on an essay by a student and an article in a magazine) are totally unfounded and baseless. I maintain that the IPCC monitoring systems are still robust and solid,” Pachauri told PTI.
The IPCC credibility has come under attack in the past few days for picking a report that Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035 from a science magazine without peer-reviewing it, a fault later admitted and regretted by the climate body.
“Yes, there was only this error which we accepted and corrected as well when it was brought to our notice.
India Times: TERI: Allegations against Pachauri not fair
After repeated attacks on the ‘faults’ in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the latest being observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa due to global warming, the Tata Energy Research Institute, headed by IPCC panel chairman Dr R K Pachauri, has reacted to the ongoing flurry of scandals that have enveloped the beleagured scientist.
Dr. Arabinda Mishra, Director-Climate Change at Centre for Global Environment Research,TERI said that while he would not like to comment on the IPCC issue, the IPCC itself was an organisation of “robust scientific inquiry” and that there was consensus about climate change being a legitimate problem. He added that the allegations against Pachauri were unfair.
“I would not like to comment on that. Because that is about IPCC and we known that IPCC is a body with robust processes of scientific enquiry and we also know that IPCC has come out with a retraction, so we know that the larger picture still holds valid, the greater scientific consensus is still there that you have a problem in the form of climate change,” said Mishra on Tuesday (February 2) to TIMES NOW.
India Times: ‘IPCC used my thesis for glacier report’
A day after bringing you a story on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the meltdown of glaciers being based on a university thesis, TIMES NOW has tracked the student of the infamous essay that leaves the UN climate change panel chairman Rajendra Pachauri cornered.
NOTE below: not a mention about Dario being funded by UNEP.
India Times: Dario-Andri Schworer whose thesis at the University of Berne has been been quoted as a source of the recent IPCC report on melting mountain ice in various regions of the world, said the IPCC had used some parts of his thesis in formulating their report and also said that his report had in fact nothing to do with the Himalayan glaciers. ..
Schoworer’s dissertation was titled ‘An Inquiry into Possible Effects of Climatic Change on the Mountain Guide Trade in the Bernina Region’.
The dissertation quotes observations from interviews with around 80 mountain guides in the Bernina region of the Swiss Alps. The problem with using the data in his thesis to predict glacier meltdown is that it is unscientific. Loss of ice cited by climbers are a poor indicator of a reduction in mountain ice. TIMES NOW also wonders, whether Pachauri aware of the panel lifting information from student’s thesis, and why Dari took so many years to speak out? Could someone in the IPCC have prevailed upon him to keep quiet?
Dari admitted in his interview to TIMES NOW that it was possible that the IPCC report had errors but added that the issue was “a mess in the media”.
‘My thesis was about glaciers and mountains in the Swiss Alps,” said Dari. “The IPCC has very strong standards in controlling the report, and the Swiss university where I have done the thesis also has very strong rules and standards. The problem is people at the The Telegraph have not done enough research before they issued the article. Because I have had a phone call (from the paper) only recently, and sure enough he did not call me back to see all the data of this thesis. So in fact the data from this thesis is of a high standard and has nothing to do with the Himalayan glaciers, it’s about the Swiss Alps and the interaction of climate change on mountain-guiding,” explained Dari.
What is notable is that the researcher’s dissertation itself is not entirely about climate change. In fact, he mentions the number one reason that mountain guides give for decreased climbs is not climate change, but “…the recession and the high exchange rate of the Swiss franc in relation to the German mark. In the second place they mention changes of the natural environment.”
The thesis states that about half of the guides interviewed were not even sure that the weather had gotten worse: “For about half of the mountain guides it was not clear, whether extreme wheather conditions which affect the demand for mountain guides negatively, have been occuring more often in the last few years.”
Ironically the work references the IPCC twice, mainly on predictions of future climate scenarios: “Based on the climate scenarios of the IPCC, permafrost and glacier shrinkage scenarios suggest that these changes will continue and probably even accelerate in the future.”
However the thesis concludes ambiguously, saying among other things: “In how far the changes observed indicate a global change of climate can only be guessed and will show in the future.”
Schworer says this doesn’t mean the IPCC report which quotes from his work, is totally flawed.
“First of all you have to know that this report is huge and there are so many researchers and scientists from all over the world participating in this report. And all these researchers and scientists are highly accredited, working hard to come to their conclusions and are of high standards. When you’re working on a new job sometimes you may make a mistake. I don’t know enough about the context of the mistake you are talking about at the moment, but I think it is a little bit cheap or sad, when you find from there a paragrpah that may be not very well researched, and then you say the whole report is not good enough… I hardly can believe that the mistake in the IPCC report is a big issue because when you see the standards the IPCC has I think it is not very relevant,” said Schworer.
He said, “You have to understand that a lot of my effort and energy has gone into this expedition where we tried to inspire young children to do someting for our climate. I am actually not very familiar with the IPCC report. The only thing is I was asked if they can use some data from my thesis to complete their report, that was in 2006 – and I was happy to contribute this data because it took a lot of work for me to generate my conclusions and thesis. The political questions I am really not the right person to give an answer to . I am a just researcher,” he concluded.
Dari is not alone in his defence of climate change theorists and the IPCC’s conclusions; last week, scientists from around the world voiced their solidarity with IPCC, insisting that despite the errors – which they said were minor – the science in the IPCC report was sound and the conclusion of the report unchallenged.
Meanwhile, after repeatedly being dragged in the eye of the storm for the ‘faults’ in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the veteran scientist Pachauri on Monday (February 1)dismissed fresh attacks as ‘totally unfounded and baseless’ and maintained that the IPCC monitoring systems are still robust and solid.
“While the media has been quick to castigate the IPCC report, most of the scientist fraternity from across the world has spoken in support of Dr Pachauri. That’s a clear indication that his work is still highly regarded,” said a source working closely with Pachauri. ..

Harold Blue Tooth
February 2, 2010 2:07 pm

Steve Goddard (13:35:57) :
How does that translate to a lengthening growing season?
I was going to make a similar point. You beat me to it.

D. King
February 2, 2010 2:08 pm

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, free the carbon and trees will grow.
Hey Hey, Ho Ho…

George E. Smith
February 2, 2010 2:08 pm

Well it’s the new free clean green renewable fossil free energy program being promoted by the Obama Administration.
We grow the trees faster, then cut them down and burn them in our fireplaces for warmth and for making stew.
Then we replant them, and the soot from our chimneys makes aerosols that makes it rain to lubricate the next generation of fast growing trees.

February 2, 2010 2:09 pm

Did we mean, “jibes”?
Although “jives” is more entertaining…

Harold Blue Tooth
February 2, 2010 2:11 pm

rbroberg (13:38:05) :
Rising levels of C02: check
Higher Temperatures: check
Longer Growing Season: check

You need a reality ‘check’.
In the real world growing seasons are shorter. Have a talk with a farmer.
And there has been no warming for 15 years. There has been clear cooling for 5 years. You need to ‘check’ the data.
But I think you may come back with James Hansen’s data set of warming. Are you going to cherry pick like that? Are you going to cherry pick what was extensively cherry picked?

PaulH from Scotland
February 2, 2010 2:14 pm

More UK Carbon Taxation.
From Richard North at EUReferendum…
“Amid the torrent of “climate change” news, we missed this one, the government’s very own “cap and trade” scam, disarmingly labelled the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme – formerly the Carbon Reduction Commitment.”
Sneaky buggers.

February 2, 2010 2:14 pm

The rate of sequestration varies over the life of the species of tree. Larger trees tend to make more wood per year than smaller trees. The rate of growth starts low, peaks at 10 to 70 years and then slowly declines (depending on the species).
The trees in the pictures look young. Liriodendron tulipifera can grow to over 160 feet and are a fast growing species.
Was this study done based solely on Parker’s data and is it based on the species in relation to normal growth? Looks like another study that was done over a short a period of time without peer review?

David Alan Evans
February 2, 2010 2:14 pm

jack morrow (13:36:50) :

OOps Global

Nope, you just misspelt globabble! 😉
What I can’t figure is, this guys forest is thriving…
& That’s a disaster?
Someone remind me why all this climate change is bad please.

Harold Blue Tooth
February 2, 2010 2:14 pm

Veronica (England) (13:56:22) :
I’ve just had a great idea for a carbon sequestration method. Store it in trees!
Very good idea Veronica. But I think God had that idea first. 🙂

R. Craigen
February 2, 2010 2:16 pm

The last paragraph contains stupidity on the verge of insight: What to do, indeed, when the absorption of carbon levels off?
Well … if the ultimate goal is to absorb carbon, the answer is pretty obvious, except apparently to the Smithsonians: Cut down the damn trees!
And plant new ones, that is.
Mature (at the “old-growth” end of the scale) forests, as they observe, are close to carbon-neutral. Young forests are effective carbon sinks. If you want to moderate CO2 increase, then cut the mature stands and replace them with new forests.
In other words, silviculture, as it has been practiced in North America now for decades, is the optimal strategy for carbon sequestration using forests. You needn’t feel guilt cutting down all those old trees. If CO2 is “bad” (something I reject, but, let’s just say perhaps there’s something such as too much of a good thing here) then cut down the damn trees and get new ones growing in their place. Process that wood into lumber and paper (just burning it returns the CO2 to the atmosphere, so I suppose we want to avoid that).
Obviously you don’t want to cut them all down at once. Start with the old growth, with selective clear-cuts, and manage the introduction of new forests to optimize growth at a constant rate. Just like our lumber management experts have known for ages.
If you REALLY love the earth and REALLY believe that this needs we must maximize sequestration, then open up logging for the protected old-growth forests that are no longer absorbing carbon. Lets see Greenpeace and WWF field that one! It’s a no-brainer that this would be a boon to the health of the biosphere. But I really doubt some of those guys have any love for mother earth, only for a romantic notion of some pristine childhood fantasy of a pristine, mystical eden where nature is God and stepping on a blade of grass is an unspeakable crime.

Harold Blue Tooth
February 2, 2010 2:18 pm

D. King (14:08:25) :
Hey Hey, Ho Ho, free the carbon and trees will grow.
Hey Hey, Ho Ho…

LOL! Are you from Berkeley?

Lee Klinger
February 2, 2010 2:19 pm

“Ecosystem responses are one of the major uncertainties in predicting the effects of climate change.”
I couldn’t agree more. Last evening I gave a seminar at the University of California at Santa Barbara on Gaia theory and climate change. Thanks, Anthony, for giving me plenty of fodder for a critical examination of global warming issues. Details of the talk can be found here:

February 2, 2010 2:21 pm

It’s worse than we thought

Harold Blue Tooth
February 2, 2010 2:22 pm

David Alan Evans (14:14:49) :
Someone remind me why all this climate change is bad please
When you want to use it as a means to getting grant money. 😉

February 2, 2010 2:23 pm

This just in: The pope’s Catholic.

February 2, 2010 2:25 pm

The death of global warming: click

Harold Blue Tooth
February 2, 2010 2:30 pm

When I see these kind of stories it always reminds of Michael Crichton’s lecture on how man screws up nature when he does something he thinks will improve upon it.
53 minute Michael Crichton video

Dave Wendt
February 2, 2010 2:31 pm

Most tree and plant species emerged at times in the geologic past when the atmospheric CO2 was at much higher levels than the present. The recent levels of CO2 were close to starvation levels for many of them. No foreseeable level of CO2 increase is apt to approach saturation, if that is even possible. Refer to the high levels of CO2 enhancement employed by commercial greenhouses.
There was a paper last year which suggested accelerated growth would lead to depletion of soil nutrients, but that was contradicted by work done by scientists at the same institution as the paper’ authors. I can’t find the link right now, but I think it was Woods Hole.

Harold Blue Tooth
February 2, 2010 2:34 pm

wucash (14:23:26) :
This just in: The pope’s Catholic
Gets my vote for Quote Of The Week!

February 2, 2010 2:34 pm

Quick… get Mann and Briffa out there – tree rings to die for! No need to hide the decline!

February 2, 2010 2:34 pm

CO2 makes trees. Trees make tree rings. Tree rings make hockey sticks. Hockey sticks make bad science. Bad science means no CO2. No CO2 means no trees.
Why do AGW wackos hate trees?

Zeke the Sneak
February 2, 2010 2:37 pm

These findings are also important for policymakers trying to address climate change. Future carbon cap-and-trade rules will need to quantify the amount of carbon forests hold. If faster growth rates prove the norm, this could affect the formulas and the dollar value assigned to forests that are cut or conserved.

Is this some kind of a Federal scheme to take control of states’ uses of their own natural resources? Is that where this is going?
How much is lumber going to cost if states loose funds or have to pay for the lost carbon sink when they cut timber? I suppose it will cost as much as the Feds want it to cost.

February 2, 2010 2:37 pm

The growth observed at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is a direct cause of all the hot air and excess CO2 those politicians just West from there, in Washington, DC. It’s not because of UHI but more about PPE (Political Pollution Effect).

February 2, 2010 2:39 pm

So what else is new? I have quite a few acres of forest in N.E. MS, and can see it happening year on year. Keeping it from taking over the couple acres of lawn, veggie garden, and decorative plantings I have around the house is a full time job.
And guess what? The trees I harvest, that don’t get used for furniture or other woodworking, get burned.

Phillep Harding
February 2, 2010 2:39 pm

He only measures diameter and checks species, and ignores height?
That does not work, ask any logger.

Stephen Brown
February 2, 2010 2:41 pm

This is from
“The Carboniferous Period occurred from about 354 to 290 million years ago during the late Paleozoic Era. The term “Carboniferous” comes from England, in reference to the rich deposits of coal that occur there. These deposits of coal occur throughout northern Europe, Asia, and midwestern and eastern North America. In addition to having the ideal conditions for the beginnings ofcoal, several major biological, geological, and climatic events occurred during this time. One of the greatest evolutionary innovations of the Carboniferous was the amniote egg, which allowed for the further exploitation of the land by certain tetrapods. The amniote egg allowed the ancestors of birds, mammals, and reptiles to reproduce on land by preventing the desiccation of the embryo inside. There was also a trend towards mild temperatures during theCarboniferous, as evidenced by the decrease in lycopods and large insects and an increase in the number of tree ferns. ”
So CO2 is good for vegetation which sequesters VAST amounts of the stuff and the benign climate (MILD temperatures) advances evolution!
What’s bad about that?

February 2, 2010 2:41 pm

NIWA can’t find the actual thermometer readings and seems unable to explain its adjustments to temperatures.

Dave Wendt
February 2, 2010 2:43 pm
February 2, 2010 2:44 pm

Funny how nature works. I’m sure all the photosynthesizing autotrophs inhabiting this lovely planet are very happy to use the little extra bit of CO2. Imagine how much CO2 is being rapidly used to create tons of biomass on a global scale….Earth’s capability to sustain life is truly astounding!

February 2, 2010 2:47 pm

Could cleaner air also influence the rate of tree growth? Sunlight would be a bit more intense as certain pollution levels fall, especially those that create haze.
I don’t know the data for the Maryland forests, but nationwide, from 1980-2007, EPA data shows national ambient pollution level fell dramatically:
Carbon Monoxide down 76%,
Ozone (VOC precursor) down 21%,
Lead down 91%,
Nitrogen Dioxide down 43%,
Particulates (PM10) down 28%,
Fine Particulates down 14%,
Sulfur Dioxide down 68%.
These numbers are from a chart on page 22 of the Pacific Research Institute’s latest Index of Leading Environmental Indicators. PDF here:

February 2, 2010 2:51 pm

also from the NAS site:
Recent unprecedented tree-ring growth in bristlecone pine at the highest elevations and possible causes
“Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) at 3 sites in western North America near the upper elevation limit of tree growth showed ring growth in the second half of the 20th century that was greater than during any other 50-year period in the last 3,700 years. The accelerated growth is suggestive of an environmental change unprecedented in millennia. The high growth is not overestimated because of standardization techniques, and it is unlikely that it is a result of a change in tree growth form or that it is predominantly caused by CO2 fertilization. The growth surge has occurred only in a limited elevational band within ≈150 m of upper treeline, regardless of treeline elevation. Both an independent proxy record of temperature and high-elevation meteorological temperature data are positively and significantly correlated with upper-treeline ring width both before and during the high-growth interval. Increasing temperature at high elevations is likely a prominent factor in the modern unprecedented level of growth for Pinus longaeva at these sites.”

Richard Sharpe
February 2, 2010 2:54 pm

Robert (14:44:13) said:

Funny how nature works. I’m sure all the photosynthesizing autotrophs inhabiting this lovely planet are very happy to use the little extra bit of CO2. Imagine how much CO2 is being rapidly used to create tons of biomass on a global scale….Earth’s capability to sustain life is truly astounding!

Yep, I think they are CO2 constrained, and thus the whole biosphere is CO2 constrained.

David S
February 2, 2010 2:56 pm

It will be interesting to see how the warmers turn this into a bad thing.

Leon Brozyna
February 2, 2010 2:57 pm

That’s all well and good. Remember that the study seems to have covered the period of a positive PDO, which would of course see warmer temperatures and a longer growing season on average. Let the study go on for another generation and see what happens under cooler conditions. If the evidence of increased growth continues while the climate cools and the traditional growing season shortens, then it’s not climate change, it’s just the increased plant food which is CO2. And remember that with increased CO2 levels, growth can occur under more marginal conditions which can mean a longer growing season despite lower temps.
This climate thingy can be full of surprises. Wonder what the growing season will look like with a couple hundred more ppm of CO2 in the future.

February 2, 2010 3:00 pm

We’re all going to die!

John Wright
February 2, 2010 3:05 pm

I noticed in France how luxuriant tree growth was this year with Autumn lasting well into November.
Now the shadow of the doomsayers is lifting we can actually get back to enjoying life and nature and tackling the real environmental problems in a positive way. The old dead trees will be cut out and replaced with new growth; let them try to stop it.

February 2, 2010 3:06 pm

TREES will not uproot themselves and embark on blood-soaked killing sprees by 2035, global warming experts have admitted.
The International Panel on Climate Change confirmed the evidence had not been peer-reviewed and will now amend the section of its 2007 report devoted to ‘killer trees’.
I’m not so sure now!

February 2, 2010 3:13 pm

Doesnt this interview qualify as topsubject? Vaclav Klaus in Copenhagen today??

February 2, 2010 3:26 pm

Curious how emotive a simple word can be…. and who, might we ask chose it?
“The chief culprit appears to be climate change, more specifically, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons.”
There’s the word: “Culprit”.
That assumes faster plant growth is a bad thing. As if increased temperatures and increased CO2 causing more prolific cropping of all sorts of plant life, not just trees but food crops also (which is why forcing houses have excess CO2 introduced) is a bad thing for the human race…. so if we had less CO2 and lower temperatures and we are all starving it would be better?
I would dearly like to see scientific reports revert to, or aspire to the use of neutral language bereft of any emotive content. These days when ever i see any emotive language I start to suspect the science may not be as honest as liked. In this case it appears that for an AGW agenda this sort of thing is bad news since it gives the lie to all we have been told about how bad AGW is and hence how better to report good news than load the report with negatives?

February 2, 2010 3:28 pm

“Parker and McMahon don’t expect SERC’s forest to continue growing at this accelerated rate forever. Some day the growth rate will level off.”
Wouldn’t seedlings also increase and grow faster, too? In other words, the only thing that would “level off” the growth would be a limit to the area it is allowed to cover until that area is saturated. Even so, if all plants are exhibiting growth rates of some level, isn’t this a good thing for all of us? At least those of us who obtain a level of food source from the planet’s plant life, anyway. These plants aren’t “doing us a favor” by sequestering CO2, they
are, literally, “eating it up”.

February 2, 2010 3:29 pm

Hey, look at these incredible statements by Pachauri to the Guardian
Entitled “No apology from IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri for glacier fallacy – Head of UN climate change body ‘not at fault’ for false claim Himalaya ice caps would melt by 2035”
He claims that the 2035 ‘error’ “was an isolated mistake, down to human error and “totally out of character” for the panel.”
Yeah, right. Like the authors of the report have admitted that they knew it was a lie. And it had been exposed as a lie years earlier:
for example see
The Guardian article continues:
-In his Guardian interview, Pachauri defended the IPCC’s use of so-called “grey literature” – sources outside peer-reviewed academic journals, such as reports from campaign groups, companies and student theses. The false Himalayan glacier claim came from a report by the green group WWF. He said reports of further errors in the IPCC report linked to grey literature were ­spurious and the result of a “factory” of people “only there to create pinpricks and get attention”.
-Stories that claimed errors about losses from natural disasters and Amazon destruction were false, he said. “We looked into that [Amazon claim] and we’re totally satisfied that what’s been stated in the report is totally valid.”
Don’t forget that, chaps – pinpricks, false…IPCC claims totally valid. Wow, is he setting himself up for a fall!

John Finn
February 2, 2010 3:31 pm

A bit off topic but may be of interest.
Roger Pielke Jr was interviewed on BBC Newsnight tonight. Chris Field (Chair of IPCC WG) was also on the programme. Rather surprisingly, the Beeb were quite critical of the IPCC. Pielke certainly came across better than Field but I sense a trap. I reckon the BBC are building up the weaker sceptic arguments so they can knock them down them down at a later date.

Ed Murphy
February 2, 2010 3:32 pm

Ignored is the millions of trees lost or severely mangled in the midwest and plains in the last few years by ice storms. Or the scores of people killed and injured, either immediately or later during the cleanups. Not to mention the decimated wildlife. This is the inconvenient TRUTH that keeps on being basically ignored by mainstream media and even climate science organizations or sources. Shame!
January 2009 Central Plains and Midwest ice storm – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Snow and ice storm, January 27-28, 2009 – National Radar Imagery
Snow and ice storm, January 27-28, 2009 – Surface Maps

February 2, 2010 3:32 pm

Since when did trees regrow themselves? Aren’t they all being logged and carried off by greedy capitalists?
Next they will be telling us new research says animals exhale CO2 and fart methane. Sheesh what to do.
Most already knew the tree cover today is higher than it was in the time of the founding. who doesn’t like trees and plant their own around their place?

February 2, 2010 3:35 pm

@ Phil (15:06:25) : Love this. 🙂 Killer trees, indeed! ROFLMAO

Henry Galt
February 2, 2010 3:40 pm

In nearly three years of visiting here, here I am going off topic. Sorry, but I just had an epiphany. It stings.
I have just watched the Channel 4 evening news re-run here;
I am furious, incredulous and stunned in equal measure.
“Bob” Watson debating with Nigel Lawson and Jon Snow being quite fair handed. No complaints with that, or Channel 4’s coverage. Lawson was relaxed, articulate, polite and patient. But Watson.
To paraphrase Watson- “Sea levels are rising and this is the hottest decade on record”
Nothing much more than the normal alarmist clap-trap? Nope, watch the guy, he actually believes that what he is saying is true – watch him flinch when Lawson says, again I paraphrase, “if population rises to a certain level and stops we may say it is at its highest level ever, yet it has stopped growing..” and “.. in the last 50 years the sea level has risen at the same rate as it did during the previous 50.”
Watson holds a senior government position so I would expect him to toe the line. I would expect him to lie just as Blair did to the enquiry into the Iraq war, barefacedly if necessary, but to exhibit all the body language of someone convinced that what they say is real…..
This is what we face guys. They have convinced them selves that this; is something to be alarmed about, Phil Jones will eventually be exonerated and we will all fry by 2043 because we are in an interglacial.
Just as I was beginning to feel that maybe the tide was turning.

David Archibald
February 2, 2010 3:40 pm

The plants we mostly rely upon to eat, the flowering plants, became widespread 100 million years ago, when CO2 levels were five times higher than what they are now. If plants were doing climate science, instead of we humans, they would conclude that atmospheric CO2 is at starvation levels.
Hansen’s danger level of 350 ppm begs the question of what the ideal CO2 level would be. Taking a cue from greenhouse operators, it is at least 1,000 ppm.
Atmospheric CO2 got down to 180 ppm during the ice ages. Plant growth stops below 150 ppm. Terrestrial life on this planet almost got wiped out. Hansen’s 350 ppm should be considered the minimum safe level for life on this planet.

February 2, 2010 3:42 pm

Surely this enhanced tree growth must be a bad thing?
Forest and wild-fires will become more intense. Damage to life and property will increase. Greater volumes of CO2 will pour into the atmosphere leading to catastrophic acceleration of Global Warming, precipitation and plant-fertiliser.
By 2035, large tracts of the world will be covered with a dense jungle of super-trees that will severely restrict the land available for bio-fuel production.
This effect will be exacerbated by the premature melting of glaciers and ice-caps due to reduced albedo brought about by the soot deposited by “dirty wood”
Sea levels will inundate coastal regions and make hitherto “safe” areas susceptible to Tsunamis.
You may think me as somewhat alarmist but consider this.
If one stunted tree in Yamal can nearly bring the economy of the world to its knees, then just imagine the damage that innumerable legions of giant timbers could inflict!
Forget the recent gates, the Mother of all Gates is “EntGate”
(Grant application pending)

February 2, 2010 3:42 pm

If there are more trees, won’t they convert more CO2 into Oxygen? Is it possible that this might be a feedback mechanism that nature has created to lessen CO2 in the atmoshpere? Just thinking.

Speechless in Seattle
February 2, 2010 3:43 pm

Oh dear! I kinda suspected it all along but there it is: Macbeth is us and Dunsinane Hill is industrial civilization! We shall never vanquish’d be until great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against us. Lo and behold, the day has come! With waters rising and forests on the march, where shall we hide [our decline]?

Henry Galt
February 2, 2010 3:45 pm

On topic.
It seems their fears have lead to nothing but complaining and spin. They have missed their own discovery of one of the mysterious “hidden” CO2 sinks.

February 2, 2010 3:52 pm

“Trees become saturated?” Hmm… At what PPM do trees become saturated? Limited by ground moisture levels?
A possible studies would be to see if seeds are also vitalized by increased CO2 prompting denser tree spacing and expanding forests?
Wonder if Mr. Parker has some insight to these questions already and could post here?
joe (13:48:04) :
Careful, the earth did warm somewhat, mainly in the 70’s through the 90’s. Trees are great. Cool the earth even if the sun has a tizzy again. ( But relax, don’t think it was caused by your car and trip to work. 😀 )

February 2, 2010 3:59 pm

3 Feb: The Australian: Report undercuts Kevin Rudd’s Great Barrier Reef wipeout
(Prime Minister) KEVIN Rudd’s insistence that the Great Barrier Reef could be “destroyed beyond recognition” by global warming grates with new science suggesting it will again escape temperature-related coral bleaching. ..
But for the second year running, the reef has defied predictions of its imminent demise, with researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science reporting that mass coral bleaching was unlikely this summer ..
Mr Rudd’s warning reflects the findings of the 2007 report of the IPCC that is under intensifying fire for exaggerating the threat to Himalayan glaciers and the Amazon rainforest. The IPCC predicted the reef would be subject to annual bleaching by 2030 if climate change continued unchecked, destroying much of its coral cover.
But after scouring 14 sites at the vulnerable southern end of the GBR last month, the team from Townsville-based AIMS found only a only a handful of “slightly stressed reefs”…
Those fears have been now been substantially allayed, with the AIMS scientists, including Kerryn Johns, finding no sign of endemic bleaching on Swains reefs, east of Yeppoon in central Queensland, and only a few cases where corals appeared slightly stressed in the nearby Capricorn Bunker area.
The leader of AIMS’s long-term reef monitoring program, Hugh Sweatman, said the reef was “not at a threshold” to bleach widely.
“We saw literally a handful of colonies that are looking pale, mainly in the Capricorn area,” he told The Australian, outlining the survey team’s preliminary findings. “But you get that every year. So there is no evidence of concerted bleaching across the reef whatsoever.”…
Reuters: New Hampshire: Obama: cap-and-trade may be separate in Senate bill
“The most controversial aspects of the energy debate that we’ve been having: the House passed an energy bill and people complained that, ‘well, there’s this cap-and-trade thing,'” Obama told the crowd.
“We may be able to separate these things out. And it’s conceivable that that’s where the Senate ends up,” he continued…

February 2, 2010 4:01 pm

O/T but this is incredible. The Guardin are running a whole string of articles now by Fred Pearce (the journalist responsible for getting the 2035 date into New Scientist) as if he is making scopps, breaking news. This stuff is over 2 months out of date!! There must be great scope for plagiarism now, and much of the investigative journalism has been done, and even books published on Climategate! Yet George Monbiot praises Pearce to the hilt as one of the best journalists ever!
Look at this, entitled “Climate change emails between scientists reveal flaws in peer review – A close reading of the hacked emails exposes the real process of science, its jealousies and tribalism”
Oh well, I suppose Guardian readers are starting to hear about it now, two months overdue.

February 2, 2010 4:02 pm

My little chunk of Ozark forest has been doing really well except for the occasional ice storm. The trees are coming back, the wild grape vines make some incredible wine and the birds are all really happy I let the Staghorn Sumac get up over 20 feet tall. Now, how do we get the CO2 levels up over 800 ppm. so I don’t have to wait as long to see the fruits and such.

February 2, 2010 4:05 pm

While it is warming:
“Food supplies are running out on the German island of Hiddensee in the Baltic Sea.
Winter weather has cut off Hiddensee’s 1000 inhabitants from the outside world since last Thursday, and also left a number of tourists stranded.
An attempt to reach the island with an icebreaker on Monday failed. Fresh foodstuffs like bread and butter are no longer available and supplies of potatoes and vegetables are running low.
Today, a helicopter is being sent to Hiddensee with food and medicine.”

February 2, 2010 4:06 pm

Where`s the weather station situated that shows the 0.3c increase over the last 20 years.

February 2, 2010 4:06 pm

Isn’t this just a (negative) feedback loop in action?
The more CO2 is released, the more is being taken back….

February 2, 2010 4:20 pm

@Harold Blue Tooth (14:11:47) :
Onset of spring starting earlier across the
Northern Hemisphere

Schwartz, 2006

Recent warming of Northern Hemisphere (NH) land is well documented and typically greater in winter/spring than other seasons. Physical environment responses to warming have been reported, but not details of large-area temperate growing season impacts, or consequences for ecosystems and agriculture. To date, hemispheric-scale measurements of biospheric changes have been confined to remote sensing. However, these studies did not provide detailed data needed for many investigations. Here, we show that a suite of modeled and derived measures (produced from daily maximum–minimum temperatures) linking plant development (phenology) with its basic climatic drivers provide a reliable and spatially extensive method for monitoring general impacts of global warming on the start of the growing season. Results are consistent with prior smaller area studies, confirming a nearly universal quicker onset of early spring warmth (spring indices (SI) first leaf date, -1.2 days/decade), late spring warmth (SI first bloom date, -1.0 days/decade; last spring day below 5degC, -1.4 days/decade), and last spring freeze date (-1.5 days/decade) across most temperate NH land regions over the 1955–2002 period.
However, dynamics differ among major continental areas with North American first leaf and last freeze date changes displaying a complex spatial relationship. Europe presents a spatial pattern of change, with western continental areas showing last freeze dates getting earlier faster, some central areas having last freeze and first leaf dates progressing at about the same pace, while in portions of Northern and Eastern Europe first leaf dates are getting earlier faster than last freeze dates. Across East Asia last freeze dates are getting earlier faster than first leaf dates

Cap'n Rusty
February 2, 2010 4:30 pm

I don’t understand something.
Some of you have commented about what might happen when an area of land becomes “saturated” with trees. That makes sense; they’d crowd each other so much that they’d use up all the available sunlight, nutrients and water, and some level of balance would be achieved and maintain. But the context of the word “saturated” in the article was “If trees are sponges that absorb CO2, what will happen to CO2 levels in the atmosphere when the trees become saturated?” That seems to be saying that a tree can only absorb (digest? contain? soak up?) so much CO2. Seems to me that there wouldn’t be any limit to how much CO2 a tree could soak up, as the tree would just . . . grow. At some point, the tree gets too tall or wide and falls over, but while it’s alive, would it ever become “saturated” with CO2?

Andy Scrase
February 2, 2010 4:30 pm

“Must be written by the OTHER George Monbiot. They must have two of them”
Yes, the “other” one did this shameful “cut out and keep” denier card set.
I’ll certainly be keeping these in evidence, thanks George.

February 2, 2010 4:39 pm

John (and knowledgeable dendro students):
I took a look at your link to NAS:
A very interesting study, although irritating when they talk about increased growth due to CO2 “pollution.” I was interested in the following statement:
“Above the transition elevation (≈3,320 m to 3,470 m in the White Mountains), ring width is strongly positively associated with temperature and also is weakly positively associated with precipitation. Below the transition elevation, ring width is strongly negatively associated with temperature and also is strongly positively associated with precipitation.”
Could the precipitation association reflect anything more than the lower trees getting more runoff than the higher? Do they do anything to try to assess the effects of runoff?

February 2, 2010 4:41 pm

So can we take this as confirmation that atmospheric carbon is increasing, and that this particular locale has been warming?

February 2, 2010 4:42 pm

Being a Brit, I don’t know the enviro-political stance of this paper but the Washington Times has reached an editorial position on AGW and carbon:
‘The hitch is that the man-caused catastrophic global warming theory is dead, and it needs to be buried. Evidence had been mounting for years that there were problems with the global warming model; most telling was that the globe refused to warm up. Carbon emissions continued apace, but the world began cooling. This is why true believers abandoned the “global warming” brand name and tried to shift the debate to the more ambiguous label “climate change,” which is something the rest of us like to refer to as “weather.” ‘
(Sorry, posted this on a much earlier thread but think it deserves a repeat here. Pretty please mods.)

February 2, 2010 4:53 pm

sounds like phil thinks he’s staying!
3 Feb:UK Times:Ben Webster: Phil Jones, scientist in climate data row, promises to be more open
He said: “We are facing more and more public scrutiny and any future work we do is going to have much greater scrutiny by our peers and by the public. We do need to make more of the data available, I fully accept that.
“We need to work differently, making more data available and making our assumptions clear. Everything needs to be more and more open and we will be striving to do that in the future.” ..
In an interview with the Press Association, Professor Jones said: “I feel tremendously pressurised by all this but I’m trying to continue my work in the science. I think it’s very important and it’s potentially very serious for the future of mankind in decades to come.”
He said he “wholeheartedly” stood by the part of the IPCC’s report to which he had contributed.
He added: “The work we do at the University of East Anglia is only a small part of [climate science], there’s thousands of climate scientists around the world supporting our results.”
He said he was concerned that scepticism about climate change appeared to be growing.
“It makes me quite worried people are beginning to doubt the climate has warmed up.” …

February 2, 2010 5:00 pm

BBC: UEA e-mails leak climate scientist defends his work
The paper also used records from Australia and what was then the USSR, over which no questions had ever been raised, he said.
He said that some of the Chinese sites may have moved to warmer or cooler places, and that it was the large scale average that was the key issue. ..

February 2, 2010 5:03 pm

Has any one factored in the general reduction in forestry (Green Policy), resulting in increased pollenation potential (Denser communities), better opportunities to seed, less human predation.
Could an increased community density lead to superficial perceptions of increased growth, forest density being misequated with annual growth diameter. More trees does not mean more annual growth of course, possibly just less forestry. I can imagine the media running with a misperception as an environmental fact.

February 2, 2010 5:05 pm

@ pat (14:03:09) :
But, Pat, Where is the news about Dr. Pauchari’s new novel? I mean, come on, what’s important here, anyway?

February 2, 2010 5:11 pm

anthony, check the graph and the comments:
BBC: Richard Black Blog: Distorted view through the climate gates
If the scientific case for greenhouse warming crumbles, so be it; but I’d suggest we should beware of assuming it is crumbling simply because a few scientists or a few scientific papers or a few IPCC reviewers have been seen to fall short of the highest standards.

After Seven
February 2, 2010 5:20 pm

Isn’t this the same bilge Salzer et al. was pushing with the Bristlecones last fall?
To begin with, Maryland would be the last place on earth to look to as a pristine laboratory for hardwood forests, it’s not exactly Sequoia National Park.
Maryland has a massive rural agriculture and chicken production industry with 500,000 tons of nutrients pumped onto the land and into the watersheds and aquifers of the state every year. Not to mention the nitrogen and phosphorous rich chicken manure. Maryland has had massive algae blooms inthe Chesapeake Bay for precisely this reason. Are we to believe all of these nutrient rich effluence of the agricultural and poultry industries, affect only the bays but have no effect in the watersheds and forests of the surrounding countryside.
Biomass is effected by far more than the alleged 6 factors which the author relies on (three of which he listed) What about the level of farming fertilizers in the aquifer and in the local water tables? What could possibly be learned of these tiny trees (relative to the western conifer forests) where growth in the early stages can be overly influenced by non-carbon factors like fire suppression history, species competition, water, sun, north south east west exposure, degree of slant, erosion, natural nutrients, man made nutrients, water table stability as affected by man made infrastructure. etc etc. I would expect young trees with no competition in a nutrient rich environment to excel in growth…like the ones in the picture…maybe even double in size in a short period of time. You need more of the 200 year + trees in Maryland…of which there are few….to really form any opinion and then you have to knock out all competing causes for growth rather than just a few of them.
Junk Science yet again.

February 2, 2010 5:21 pm

“We made a list of reasons these forests could be growing faster and then ruled half of them out,” said Parker. The ones that remained included increased temperature, a longer growing season and increased levels of atmospheric CO2.
What was ruled out? Think of a tree as a machine to convert CO2 to wood (and leaves and stuff). The raw materials include CO2 and water; the energy supply is sunshine.
So why aren’t water and sunshine changes on the list?

February 2, 2010 5:26 pm

If forests are growing faster, wouldn’t that mean plants that we eat are also growing faster? And what about larger?

February 2, 2010 5:46 pm

I know it has been said already, but shouldn’t we get a round of applause? Now I can say my hummer is doing it’s bit for the environment – I can see the bumper sticker now – “I’m saving the forests! ask me how!”
I wonder if all this co2 has anything to do with this?
50 acres of forest regrowing for every 1 cut down.
Oh whoops I just read the article, apparently it is the wrong “kind” of forest.
Shouldn’t we be accepting of all types of forests, regardless of their composition? Ask the Swiss who just passed that law concerning plants rights – there must be something in there about discrimination…

February 2, 2010 5:49 pm

What’s not stated in the article, is the ages of the trees they’re measuring. A young
stand of trees will grow much faster than a mature stand, everything else being equal.
The devil is in the details.

February 2, 2010 5:52 pm

Longer growing seasons????
I wasn’t aware that CO2 has also cause a shift in the tilt of the earths axis allowing for a more direct sunlight and a longer growing season.
Is there nothing CO2 can’t do?!?!?

Charles Higley
February 2, 2010 5:53 pm

Warmer climate from gentle warming from the Little Ice Age – check.
HIgher CO2 – check – it’s plant food.
Longer growing season, a double whammy – first from being slightly warmer, but an even bigger effect is the higher CO2 which widens the trees temperature tolerance range, both lower and higher, and, as an added perk, improves their use of water and nutrients.
In other words, warmer conditions are not required for a longer growing season. Higher CO2 will do this even with unchanged climate.

February 2, 2010 6:05 pm

Cap’n Rusty (16:30:03) :
But it’s sad few people seem to deeply think. If the trees get saturated by proximity to other trees, why in the world isn’t anyone planning to systematically harvest the old trees, sparsely, planting new ones at site, to generate electricity instead of letting forest fires do the job, dumping the CO2 back into the atmosphere with no benefit for mankind. Ashes from furnaces could be spread back to the soil as the cutting is occurring. It’s nearly free, sustainable source, as good as nature. The trees will burn one way or the other.
And by thinning the forests with new trees planted, will maintain the take-up of CO2 over the decades.
Anything wrong with that? Why no thought, no planning? Because there is little money to be made?

February 2, 2010 6:06 pm

I have said for a long time that the very best carbon sink you can have is a regularly logged forest. Grow ’em fast, chop ’em down, slice ’em, chip ’em or pulp ’em, and use ’em. Then grow some more. be careful with soil, though, and leave some fallow time.
Envrionmentalists (sic) seem to think it’s a bad idea. Ho hum.
I hereby claim this as my idea, and demand 1c of ‘Carbon Tax’ for every tree chopped down forever.
Full disclaimer: Not sponsored by the logging industry (big log?), oil, coal, gas or any other industry. I am, however, always open to offers that are deemed mutually acceptable (ie at the right price), of course.

February 2, 2010 6:08 pm

rbroberg (16:20:02) :
I reviewed the paper you link to. It uses information from 10 years ago.
The earth has been cooling for 10 years and growing seasons are getting shorter. That’s the current reality.

February 2, 2010 6:13 pm

Re: Cap’n Rusty (16:30:03)
[But the context of the word “saturated” in the article was “If trees are sponges that absorb CO2, what will happen to CO2 levels in the atmosphere when the trees become saturated?]
Cap’n, there is no such thing as trees being saturated with CO2. That language is that of the blog poster, TinaT, not the researcher, Parker. Trees grow throughout their entire lifetimes and continually absorb CO2, no saturation.
These blog/media articles are really getting on my nerves with their “spin”.
I am looking forward to the PNAS paper this article refers to. Especially concerning the statement:
“Parker’s tree censuses have revealed that the forest is packing on weight at a much faster rate than expected.”
I am curious as to how “expected” was determined. That should be interesting.

Gary Hladik
February 2, 2010 6:18 pm

Andy Scrase (16:30:21) : “Yes, the ‘other’ [Monbiot] did this shameful ‘cut out and keep’ denier card set.”
No Anthony Watts in that set, despite all the heretics WUWT has created. I picture Anthony standing, fists clenched, glaring at the ceiling and screaming, “What do I have to DO to get on Moonbat’s cards!”
Hmm, only 10 cards with no McIntyre, Lindzen, Spencer, Christy, etc. I always suspected Moonbat wasn’t playing with a full deck.

February 2, 2010 6:24 pm

So much for informed discussion on this blog. My comment about 100 comments ago was that you all are jumping to conclusions. The weather on the east coast determines tree growth, last time I checked. This article is more bad science, and, you all are participating.
CO2 is incorporated into plants by the enzyme Rubisco, a notoriously slow enzymatic reaction. However, if plants want more CO2 fixation, they only need to make more of the enzyme or perform other regulatory activities. As far as I know, CO2 concentration is not the rate-limiting step for carbon incorporation under all conditions:
It is simplistic to assume that increased CO2 always leads to increased carbon fixation, and, I’d like to stop this bandwagon for a second to consider whether this is the right direction to take.

February 2, 2010 6:37 pm

Lance (13:34:24) :
Since when is faster tree growth a crime or misdeed perpetrated by a “culprit”.

My thoughts exactly. They keep talking “green”, but what they really want is brown, as in brownshirts.

February 2, 2010 6:45 pm

George E. Smith (14:08:55) :
Well it’s the new free clean green renewable fossil free energy program being promoted by the Obama Administration.
We grow the trees faster, then cut them down and burn them in our fireplaces for warmth

Sorry for all caps, and I don’t blame George E. Smith for this either.

February 2, 2010 6:51 pm

This jives well with what NASA has been seeing globally via satellite measurements:

No, it doesn’t.

February 2, 2010 6:54 pm

JDN (18:24:12):
“This article is more bad science, and, you all are participating.” Well, I notice that JDN is participating, too.
But JDN is not the arbiter of what is bad science. [He may think he is, but the Wikipedia link gave him away.]
In fact, CO2 is the rate-limiting factor in plant growth, as Prof Freeman Dyson points out. Dyson explains that corn completely stops growing within 5 minutes of being deprived of CO2.
And under its “Key Findings,” the University of Illinois found that under treatments simulating the atmospheric conditions of 2050:

•Soybean and corn yields were both significantly greater
•The nutritional quality of beans and grain were maintained
•Crop water use decreased, potentially improving drought tolerance but also reducing inputs for regional rainfall
•In soybean, elevated CO2 stimulated C3 photosynthesis and respiration
•In corn, contrary to predictions, elevated CO2 increased C4 photosynthesis

More CO2 results in greater agricultural yields. These seedlings were started at the same time, but were given different levels of atmospheric CO2: click
Additional CO2 is beneficial. Adding even more harmless CO2 is very beneficial. That’s something to think about, when food prices are rising fast due to ethanol use — and when one-sixth of the human race lives on one dollar a day or less. Too bad the alarmist crowd doesn’t care about those folks.

February 2, 2010 6:55 pm

JDN (18:24:12) :

As far as I know, CO2 concentration is not the rate-limiting step for carbon incorporation under all conditions

This explains a lot; are you unaware of the variation in CO2 per season, per latitude and per height above ground and diurnally?
You think it is the same concentration per season, per latitude, per height above ground and diurnally (throughout day and night)?
Would not a higher concentration THEN also result in a higher percentage for the variable conditions listed above?

February 2, 2010 6:57 pm

So by sheer dumb luck as the human population has grown, they have released extra CO2 into the atmosphere thereby increasing the growth rate of the plants they need to feed themselves and survive. I read somewhere that the carbon dioxide increase in atmosphere over the last 50 years has increased the growth rate of wheat by something like 25%. I have no idea whether this is true but in light of the above study it makes sense. Higher populations=more CO2= better crops and more food.

February 2, 2010 6:58 pm

I have not read the report, so I’m not going to judge it. Maybe I will after it becomes available.
But it should be well-known that forest growth rates are very complex phenomena and are never constant. That does not mean the report is wrong or right, just that the thing they are studying is not simple, by any means.

Bill Parsons
February 2, 2010 7:01 pm

rbroberg (13:38:05) :

From the article: The chief culprit appears to be climate change, more specifically, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons.
Rising levels of C02: check
Higher Temperatures: check
Longer Growing Season: check

Bigger, healthier trees: check

Steve in SC
February 2, 2010 7:01 pm

Tulip poplar is a fast growing tree anyway.
Sweetgum is a horrible tree. It drops burrs and limbs for no apparent reason. Don’t have them anywhere near your yard. Beech is a good tree. It produces good nuts and the wood is very nice. Care must be taken in drying it properly or it will split though. Red oak is another good tree but we have had a lot of trouble with them dying because they don’t have much of a taproot so the drought has been killing large expanses of them. Very nice lumber that is quite durable. Makes excellent cabinets and stair treads.

Larry Geiger
February 2, 2010 7:19 pm

Ok, before you pick on Geoffrey Parker, it was “TinaT” that wrote the article.

“Expected” is usually determined by a measurement known as site index. Site index can be usually fairly accurately to determine how “some” trees will grow on a particular site. For example, it is fairly easy to determine the site index of a plot in the southeast where people grow pine trees. The site index is often a very good indicator of how much wood your land can produce.
I’m assuming that Mr. Parker went back to records (rainfall, etc) to control the result. Ground water is a very important component in how fast a piece of land will produce wood products. However, there is a limit to how fast or how slow you can grow a certain species on a certain soil type with a particular amount of rain.
I would assume that the limit that Mr. Parker referred to (perhaps not translated correctly by TinaT) is that eventually trees reach a point where the annual growth levels off no matter how much good stuff you input. They will continue to grow for decades and centuries, but at a much slower rate. The forests that he is looking at are probably not old growth North American forests. The trees may still be fairly young.

Bill Parsons
February 2, 2010 7:28 pm

Lance (13:34:24) :

The chief culprit appears to be……
Since when is faster tree growth a crime or misdeed perpetrated by a “culprit”.

I agree. It’s a telling slip of the tongue.

Richard Wakefield
February 2, 2010 7:47 pm

So let’s see. Trees grow faster if the season is longer, and there is more CO2. So tree ring data is not an indicator of just temperature then. Seems to me you lengthen the growing season, without changing the summer temperature and you get larger rings. Increase CO2 and not the temperature you get larger rings. This kinda discredits their entire temperature reconstruction doesn’t it. So Mann et al are wrong according to this for using treerings as a temperature proxy.

February 2, 2010 7:57 pm

I agree its an interesting study.
I posted it because it appears to have the same flaw as this articles study. Namely, the trees lifecycle doesn’t appear to be part of their model.
However, it is odd that the rings don’t appear to reflect the the cycle of temperature oscillation over the extended period of time. This could be due to tree growth rates and the temperature cycle they were exposed to during peak growth.
“Could the precipitation association reflect anything more than the lower trees getting more runoff than the higher? Do they do anything to try to assess the effects of runoff?”
Very good question, I haven’t seen anything yet to indicate they did.
We know temperature drives CO2
We know vegetation doesn’t process as much CO2 in hotter years and stores carbon in the soil which is broken down and released as CO2 the next year.
So it seems logical, assuming the temperature at higher elevations was higher, that the trees at those levels would not have the surrounding forest lower elevations have which likely insulates (cools) lower elevation forests along with the additional moisture from run-off.
I’d also be interested to see of the trees at the edge of the lower elevation forests exhibit the same characteristics as higher elevation growth.
One way or the other, a tree isn’t just another tree ; )

February 2, 2010 8:26 pm

Smokey (18:54:52) :
JDN (18:24:12):
“This article is more bad science, and, you all are participating.” Well, I notice that JDN is participating, too.
But JDN is not the arbiter of what is bad science. [He may think he is, but the Wikipedia link gave him away.]
In fact, CO2 is the rate-limiting factor in plant growth, as Prof Freeman Dyson points out.
Smokey: Wikipedia is quick and pretty decent. If you want a non-web reference, try Voet & Voet’s Biochemistry 3rd edition, pp. 898-899. I’m sure you can find a few decent plant science references if you try. Try PubMed. I’m sure you’ll find that enjoyable. Please cite some articles that contradict my point if you can. PhD scientists are, in fact, the arbiters of bad science. That’s peer review for ya. Thanks for recognizing that fact.
You can’t be serious about citing Freeman Dyson. I laugh in your general direction. He has zero pubs on this topic. Check PubMed. He proposed theoretical trees for a living and is not an expert on any related topic, as far as I can tell. Nothing you’ve said contradicts or even addresses my point.
Let’s give you some further evidence of my arbiterness. Take your cited study by U. Ill:
•In soybean, elevated CO2 stimulated C3 photosynthesis and respiration
This is almost a truism. C3 photosynthesis is *the* incorporation step for CO2. You’ll notice that they didn’t make claims about this increase being general. In biological systems, inputs such as CO2 incorporation must be matched to utilization, otherwise you have generally toxic accumulation of intermediate products. Soybeans grown under ideal conditions may have plenty of head room to increase utilization. At some CO2 concentration soybeans *must avoid* incorporating additional CO2 in order to survive. This article ( Fig. 4 & Table 2 illustrates that nicely. How did I know that this must be true? I must *actually* be the arbiter of bad science.
•In corn, contrary to predictions, elevated CO2 increased C4 photosynthesis
You’ll notice that they say “contrary to predictions”. Obviously there is some evidence that CO2 decreases C4 photosynthesis. Once again, plants regulate CO2 intake. Just as animals don’t necessarily grow a larger skeleton when fed a greater amount of food, plants must have the ability to regulate input of carbon to utilization and won’t necessarily grow faster/larger when CO2 goes up. Trees are particularly complicated. From what I’ve seen of the literature, science is still discovering their secrets.
_Jim (18:55:26) :
Would not a higher concentration THEN also result in a higher percentage for the variable conditions listed above?
You appear to be making some point about the variability of CO2. This not relevant to my point or to the point of the article.
The article implies that adding CO2 plus a longer growing season for trees leads to increased growth. The longer growing season (if it actually exists) would seem likely to increase tree mass. Trees tend to ignore temperature-based growing seasons and shed their leaves based on the length of the day & genetics. As presented, the original article is very poor. They don’t prove their case. I see people on this blog jumping all over the idea that increased CO2 leads to increased plant mass in all cases. This is far from proven by this article or any other. They then go on to make the laughable case that this forest is somehow a carbon sink that is temporarily holding man-made CO2 in abeyance. I’m in Maryland, and, developers in this state cut down huge swaths of forest in the relentless pursuit of development around Baltimore/DC over the same period of time. See these maps ( for some idea of the forest loss. Who are these guys kidding with their carbon sink idea? Not in Maryland baby. Also, when you start cutting down patches, you get more trees that receive high sunlight, possibly promoting growth. The devil is in the details. If this blog has sustained interest in this topic, you guys should invite a forestry person to audit this paper. I’m sure there is more to this junk paper.
Keep the objections coming. I usually shut up about lack of scientific understanding, but, I’d like to see the defeat of AGW, and, it doesn’t help when your own people are spouting nonsense and falling into the trap laid by the enemy. I assure you that I’m no proponent of AGW.

February 2, 2010 8:48 pm

If you want to double check, google “U.S. corn yield trends” or something similar.

Warren in Minnesota
February 2, 2010 8:49 pm

The Smithsonean blog states that:
Forests and their soils store the majority of the Earth’s terrestrial carbon stock.
I don’t know if that is correct as I think that limestone harbors more carbon.

February 2, 2010 8:52 pm

Will this bud into a new movement on “Tree Growth Change” where trees will eat small children, dogs and cats ?

February 2, 2010 9:48 pm

I recall reading an article last year (don’t recall the source), that stated that due to the rise in CO2, the earth in the future will be overtaken by weeds. The article was clearly one-sided, propagandist and alarmist, especially since it made no mention of the idea that if weeds are growing faster due to increased CO2 levels, so also are most all of the beneficial plants (trees, flowers, shrubs, herbs, edible crops, coffee, cotton, flax, etc). And it appears that the author of the article was not familiar with a machine called the lawnmower or the weed trimmer.
The idea that weeds are 100% malevolent is displaced. For example, many property owners will spend sums of money and time to mitigate Dandelion (Taraxacum) growth in their lawns, most often through the spreading of toxic chemicals. The effort is almost always purely an exercise in aesthetics (aside from allergic sensitivities in some individuals). However the Dandelion is beneficial to early bee pollination, and also has beneficial nutritional and medicinal properties.
That an increased CO2 level is beneficial to plants is well known to professional greenhouse operators, and this is the reason why some operators will pump in additional amounts of CO2 to spur the growth of the plants being cultivated inside.

February 2, 2010 10:14 pm

_Jim (18:45:28) :
I’m sure I misunderstood your comment. It looked like you said smoke from burning wood is pollution. If you did it was a joke?

p.g.sharrow "PG"
February 2, 2010 10:20 pm

The culprit is the pollutant CO2. No wonder greenies hate it. Greater plant growth means the Earth will have a higher carrying capasity. The loudest shouting of the eco crowd is that there should only be 500 million people on earth. The sooner the population is killed down the better.
I’m not sure how they expect to survive as very few of them can actually create as much as they consume. It takes nearly 100 million people around the world to create and provide for the modern electronic industry.
I fear they will learn very soon as the grain supply production of the world is now only 2 weeks ahead of consumption. The elietist ecos think they can eat, their food comes from the supermart, it just will cost more. The poor of the world will starve while their food is sold to the ecos…………..for a while.

February 2, 2010 10:32 pm

@JDN (20:26:41) :
“Trees tend to ignore temperature-based growing seasons and shed their leaves based on the length of the day & genetics. ”
JDN, would you cite your source for this statement? My primary data disputes this statement. My observations have been that trees do not ignore temperatures. A tree which has branches overhanging my property sheds its leaves as a function of the fall temperatures. In some years, 95% of all leaves have fallen by October 31 (cold fall weather), in other years, 95% of all leaves have not fallen until early December (warmer than normal fall weather).
I have also seen Salix babylonica sprout buds in early March during an abnormally warm temperature period, almost 60 days earlier than normal for my geographical location (upstate NY).

February 2, 2010 11:03 pm

Enough already! This group took a quarter of a million observations. Someone actually performed real observational science, building a valuable data set. The collector is entitled to characterize the data as he sees fit. I suspect he will be proud to share this data with anyone else who wants to take a crack at it. I don’t really care about calling something a culprit or not. The only thing that matters is the data, and Jess Parker is to be commended for this arduous undertaking.

Jorgen Overgaard
February 2, 2010 11:14 pm

This is a scientific free comment. It is my own memory of my experiences. As a young boy the weather was warm and wonderful (1930s) .When my boys were young the weather was much cooler(the same place, South Sweden ,55 deg N.).We sat often in the summer house in front of a fine warm fire.
On the job (long experience)i the North (65 deg. N). The weather became much colder than normal. Seedlings died of frost and early snowfall. More re-plantation of seedlings than normal. Norwegian glaciers on the other side of the border increased. (Dr. Hansen and Dr. Schneider started to fight the cold. That I have learnt much later.) Famine was a threat, Newsweek.
The warm weather came back and Dr Hansen and Dr. Schneider changed side. Global warming slowed down and we got Climate change instead. Earlier we had only had cold and warm weather. Suddenly climate changes, and changes to the warmth was said to be dangerous.
Of course earlier we have had summer climate and winter climate. How wonderful it was when the sun came up in the spring and melted metre thick ice on the lakes and one to 1½ metre snow thawed awy. I never saw a particle of carbon dioxide. No wonder it is colourless. No it was the sun that gave us warmth and light. Our forefathers knew it. They organized big fiestas to please the sun to come back.
IPCC with Mr Maurice Strong upto Dr Pachauri has taken over the playground and severely damaged the play with lie and spuriousness. It is time that our free clever scientists take over the play.
This was about tree growth. In the area where I worked we had an average growth about 1½-2 cubic metres a year and hectare (65 deg, N) In the South of Sweden (55 deg N) the average growth was about 4.0-5.0 cubic metres per hectare and year. The figures are from inventories 1941-1945.No culprits, no carbon dioxide to blame.
You have done a wonderful job Anthony. Thank You , Jorgen O

February 2, 2010 11:18 pm

Here is a little more observational science, unless you think they have been rigging it for 50 years.

February 3, 2010 12:27 am

Anthony, it looks like a good volunteer’s project across the country.

February 3, 2010 12:59 am

I don’t think anybody’s worried, but it does offer another data point in support of the reality of global climate change, and this information will help scientists estimate how much we can expect natural CO2 sequestration processes to offset accelerated human emissions.

February 3, 2010 1:52 am

Scientist For Truth
Don’t forget that the intrepid and incisive Fred Pearce of the Grauniad, who exposed all the problems at CRU and IPCC, is also the man who brought us this little ray of sunshine:

February 3, 2010 1:53 am

So there are 3 parts to the “problem”: elevated CO2, longer growing seasons and higher temperatures. I presume rainfall and other potential variables have remained the same.
As we have a live experiment going on here, why don’t they determine the percentage contribution of each of these 3 parts. We can then retrofit this to all the old dendro records so we can know for sure exactly what was going on in the thousands of years that they have on record.
Can’t be done? In which case, we have no idea about how temperature affects tree growth compared to other factors.

February 3, 2010 5:53 am

It’s obvious that mankind is collectively getting dumber by the day, month, year, century, and millenium. Imagine what the world would be like today if the people today were faced with the problems our ancestors encountered at the beginning of the Little Ice Age. Ah… no, let’s not go there.
While it is natural for people to think their children will be smarter than they were, and for children to think they are smarter than their parents, the reality is very different. (It’s actually a crap game and children rarely pass their parents until after the second funeral.)
Here we are (I’m speaking of “MANKIND” not you and me:-) sitting around picking lint out of our navals and worrying about the weather. Haven’t we been doing this for the past 6 million years?
Oh Eve! If you hadn’t eaten the forbidden fruit, things would have been so much easier.
Now, where were we… oh yes, the weather……..

Jack Simmons
February 3, 2010 6:16 am

I was shown a bit of data about wood growth in old redwoods, based on measurements of the trunks and leaders. It showed that some ancient redwoods are putting on more growth in recent decades than in the previous century or two.

If you have the time for it, I highly recommend Richard Preston’s High Trees. It was a delightful read, with compelling characters, and loads of new insights into the canopy of the great red wood forests of the Pacific coast.
And yes, the red woods are growing faster, due no doubt to the increases of CO2.
So step on the gas and give those magnificent giants a squirt of plant food.

February 3, 2010 6:22 am

The US Forest Service stated a short time ago (weeks?) that forest-grown Aspen have grown markedly faster with elevated levels of CO2 in the atmosphere while indigenous varieties of Oak in the same area show no sign of increased growth over the past 50 years.

Pamela Gray
February 3, 2010 6:24 am

Isn’t this where the AGW’ers chime in that climate change will cause vegetative overgrowth of invasive species and we will all die from killer weeds? (Gawd I’m getting good at this spin.) Or am I just vaguely remembering a horror movie from the 50’s? No, that one was about giant stink bugs, or ants, or something.

February 3, 2010 6:36 am

@ GaryPearse (00:27:06) :
The “USA National Phenology Network” is looking for volunteers.

February 3, 2010 7:12 am

cheap r4i (00:59:56) :
Don’t you rather mean it’s helping scientists find sequestration processes of funding?

February 3, 2010 7:17 am

p.g.sharrow “PG” (22:20:30) :
I agree PG, those greens are some squirrely people.

February 3, 2010 7:17 am

Question: ” … what will happen to CO2 levels in the atmosphere when the trees become saturated? It’s a question for further exploration.
Answer: Just because the trees become saturated, doesn’t mean that the biosphere is anywhere near saturation. All we have to do is look at the 112 foot thick seam of coal at the Rawhide Mine in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming for an example of how voluminous a biomass can get at any one time at much higher ambient levels of CO2.

February 3, 2010 7:46 am

good point hswiseman,
I meant no offense to Mr. Parker or his efforts.
Do you agree with this statement from 2001?
“• the absorption coefficients for the CO2 bands at a concentration of 400 ppm are 1 to 2 orders of magnitude too small to be significant even if the CO2 concentrations were doubled.”
On terms other then the fact that we’re running out of coal (40-50% of annual power generation), why is a Carbon and Cap & Trade Tax tired to “Global Warming” and why is it justified?
Can’t we just leave the whole issue to Pollution is Bad and we need to find more efficient energy sources or am I missing something?

Steve Keohane
February 3, 2010 8:05 am

Don’t forget this gem:
From Canada to the Caribbean: Tree leaves control their own temperature

June 11th, 2008
The temperature inside a healthy, photosynthesizing tree leaf is affected less by outside environmental temperature than originally believed, according to new research from biologists at the University of Pennsylvania.
Surveying 39 tree species ranging in location from subtropical to boreal climates, researchers found a nearly constant temperature in tree leaves. {…}
Tree photosynthesis, according to the study, most likely occurs when leaf temperatures are about 21°C, with latitude or average growing-season temperature playing little, if any, role. This homeostasis of leaf temperature means that in colder climates leaf temperatures are elevated and in warmer climates tree leaves cool to reach optimal conditions for photosynthesis. Therefore, methods that assume leaf temperature is fixed to ambient air require new consideration.{…}
The research, published online in this week’s Nature, contradicts the longstanding assumption that temperature and relative humidity in an actively photosynthesizing leaf are coupled to ambient air conditions. For decades, scientists studying climate change have measured the oxygen isotope ratio in tree-ring cellulose to determine the ambient temperature and relative humidity of past climates. The assumption in all of these studies was that tree leaf temperatures were equal to ambient temperatures.
R. Craigen (14:16:24) : Well … if the ultimate goal is to absorb carbon, the answer is pretty obvious, except apparently to the Smithsonians: Cut down the damn trees! And plant new ones, that is.
Good idea… In addition, how about burning them in an oxygen depleted oven, and bury the carbon. We have many forests that burned 75-100 years ago, and that charcol is still lying on the ground.
Greg Rehmke (14:47:28) : Could cleaner air also influence the rate of tree growth? Sunlight would be a bit more intense as certain pollution levels fall, especially those that create haze. The answer is YES. Anyone who grows plants in a greenhouse, and has used artificial light to augment the short winter hours, has noticed intensity of light is a big deal in plant growth.

Jack Simmons
February 3, 2010 8:16 am

Pamela Gray (06:24:09) :

Isn’t this where the AGW’ers chime in that climate change will cause vegetative overgrowth of invasive species and we will all die from killer weeds? (Gawd I’m getting good at this spin.) Or am I just vaguely remembering a horror movie from the 50’s? No, that one was about giant stink bugs, or ants, or something.

I finally get to return, in some small measure, some knowledge to you. I’ve enjoyed all of your comments.
However, you are referring to an all time, cinematic triumph entitle “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” I think I was able to stand about 15 minutes of the film, It was more fun to talk about than watch.

February 3, 2010 8:20 am

Regarding saturation of CO2. Plants are very cunning. As CO2 levels rise their new leaves develop fewer stoma: this regulates the amount of CO2 they take AND reduces the expiration of water vapour – which exits from the stoma. Result? Plants and trees grow with less requirement for water in higher CO2 concentrations – a double bonus!

February 3, 2010 9:21 am

aMINO aCIDS iN mETEORITES (22:14:00) :
I’m sure I misunderstood your comment. It looked like you said smoke from burning wood is pollution. If you did it was a joke?

Gagging noxious, unbreathable smoke from a chimney?
Why would I joke about that?
I have experienced it half a dozen times, so far, this winter on walks I have taken in the evening on a stroll or jog I have taken around my neighborhood of “clean, all-electric homes” … this is in one of the residential suburbs surrounding Dallas, Texas just a mile or so off US-75 (’75’ is known as “Central Expressway” in Dallas proper) …
I am DEADLY SERIOUS about this issue; this is in the category of unintended consequences … if the ‘greenies’ think a step back is the right direction, they are mistaken.
Ever read the account of the “Donora Smog”? Donora Smog Kills 20 October, 1948
Now, on the practical side, this issue of ‘wood burning’ would not be an issue if neighbors were a mile down the road; that’s not the case in a city environment, in a development with larger lot sizes even …
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Some background, references:
Web search on: 20% opacity wood smoke
The Health Effects of Wood Smoke
Residents Against Wood Smoke Emission Particulates Support Black Carbon Reduction Bill of 2009
Residents against involuntary inhalation of wood smoke: Wood Smoke Photos
It smelled like burning plastic. Their eyes were burning. It was awful

George E. Smith
February 3, 2010 10:30 am

“”” Philip Foster (08:20:36) :
Regarding saturation of CO2. Plants are very cunning. As CO2 levels rise their new leaves develop fewer stoma: this regulates the amount of CO2 they take AND reduces the expiration of water vapour – which exits from the stoma. Result? Plants and trees grow with less requirement for water in higher CO2 concentrations – a double bonus! “””
One of the “good” things about “climatology”, is that it involves people of all sorts of diciplines. So in a forum like this, we get to learn new stuff about all sorts of things we would never have imagined.
Such as this gem about plants and their CO2/water interractions.
Thanks Philip.

February 3, 2010 3:46 pm

Well fat trees are big problem when you try to hug them. The results of this study will be repudiated by the green mean “warmers crowd”. As has been pointed out above, increased growth may be due to increased CO2 or it may be due to longer growing season or it may be due to higher temperatures. How can you separate out the effects of increasing temperature and increasing CO2 if both are occurring?

Steve J
February 3, 2010 5:14 pm

Were back to micro-climates here.
The author neglected to mention the new dairy farm that circles his little forest.

February 3, 2010 6:18 pm

Link to the paper:
Evidence for a recent increase in forest growth
Sean M. McMahon, Geoffrey G. Parker, and Dawn R. Miller, 2010

Increased Growing Season. Higher temperatures are also correlated with longer growing seasons (Fig. 3B). A steady lengthening of the growing season has been documented worldwide (7), and even a shift in the seasonal phase of surface temperatures has been detected (28). Growing degree days correlate with the speed of forest recovery from pasture in the Amazon (9, 29) and increased plant growth in boreal forests (11, 25). Fig. 3B shows that last frosts of winter have come earlier and first frosts of fall have come later in the SERC region over the last century, significantly increasing the length of the growing season.

Fig. 3B is annotated (B) Data from Annapolis, MD (15
km north of Edgewater) showed that first frosts arrive later and last frosts
arrive sooner, increasing the length of the frost-free growing season
(growing season shown as days, first and last frosts as day of the year).

February 3, 2010 6:57 pm

“More than 90% of the stands grew two to four times faster than predicted”. This is huge! I mean, humongously huge!
It also totally discredits Al Gore’s hockey stick graph derived from tree ring data.

February 4, 2010 1:55 am

I am sure it will be really an interesting to see how the whole biodiversity react to the changes in the next decade. If the observations described here are true than we’ll have to make sure to avoid that.

February 4, 2010 11:20 am

While I laud the effort to observe and collect data in a project of this magnitude, I question the CO2 fertilization issue. The rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has been virtually linear since 1960. It would follow that we should see sequential increases in growth rates as well over the 50 year span. This does not appear to be the case. I have not heard that there is some threshold level of CO2 concentration that sets loose the growth process, although there has been alot of talk about saturation and growth rate stabilization. The question I would like to see answered is “How come the increase in growth rate does not correlate to the monotonic increase in atmospheric CO2?”
Saturation and ultimate tree size limitations may represent an upper end limit on the ability of trees to sequester CO2, but only with respect to unmanaged forestry. A plant-grow-harvest practice will remove the upper limit specimens and replace them with fast growing younger trees that will continue a virtuous carbon cycle. Tree-ring studies adjust for these growth rate differentials as study populations age.

February 4, 2010 2:06 pm

Just a thought, apropos of nothing, as future historians will have the final word on the socio-political phenomena of our age. I find it uncanny how the mind-set of the eco-ists exhibits features reminiscent of millenarianism. This ‘flight’ into uncritical acceptance of the language of ‘doomsday’, full of indignation, righteousness and moral fervour ,is highly charged with a theology of ‘us’, the ‘saved’, and ‘the other’, called by them ‘deniers’.
‘Deniers’ are seen as wilfully acting against the planet and the future. They are flat earthers etc, …all untrue, of course but inextricably linked in the manichaen world view, informing their flight from reason.
They have their prophets, and the route to salvation is marked out. Spooky!
‘Millenarian groups claim that the current society and its rulers are corrupt, unjust, or otherwise wrong. They therefore believe they will be destroyed soon by a powerful force. The harmful nature of the status quo is always considered intractable without the anticipated dramatic change.’
Source Wikipaedia

February 4, 2010 7:23 pm

JDN (20:26:41),
I note your denigration of the internationally esteemed physicist, Prof Freeman Dyson, who synthesized and reduced to practice the Feynman/Schwinger/Tomonaga solutions to the renormalization problems of quantum electrodynamics. But since he questions AGW, he is, by his own admission, a heretic.
Glad to see you try to tear him down. Now I know I’m on the right track.

February 5, 2010 1:29 am

If this is true then we should be happy we don’t need to plant trees for reforestation. Maybe mother nature is helping us to save the planet earth.

February 5, 2010 8:45 am

Interesting bit of calculations can fall out of this thesis…
Assumption: 2.0 tons/yr/acre additional growth in forest mass. (Let’s assume that means that 1 ton of CO2 is removed from the air and put into tree structures.)
Right now there are approximately 9.8 Billion acres of forest. That means that the forests worldwide are extracting an additional 9.8Billion tons of CO2 per year.
In 1999, the world produced around 2.0 Billion Tons of CO2 due to industrial processes/emissions.
Doesn’t this mean that the forests can “process” out the CO2 we are pumping in?

February 5, 2010 9:43 am

1 ton of aviation fuel, when burned, produces enough CO2 to make 1500 loaves of bread.

February 5, 2010 10:33 am

Haha. So basically here is what people have forgotten from basic science class in grade school that is illustrated well in this article: Plants need CO2 for photosynthesis, the process in which they create food. During that process they release O2, the form of oxygen we and other animals breath in, we then exhale CO2. It is a cycle. We both help each other. CO2 is not a threat, if anything the slight increases in CO2 we are outputting are helping to green the planet. Not to mention, the amount we actually output compared to naturally occurring increases is very slight(Naturally occurring increasing out do us by far). Here is a little sample of the email’s that were hacked. This whole idea thaty man is killing the planet is an absurd one being used to gain government control and to line to pockets of people like Al Gore who own the companies that make money off “carbon credits.” His movie was simply a well hidden advertisement for the company he started years prior to it’s release. And for the sample(excerpt from group discussion amongst top scientist):
At 01:31 PM 10/30/03 -0500, Michael E. Mann wrote:
So the verification RE for the “censored” NH mean reconstruction? -6.64
The verification RE for the original MBH98 NH mean reconstruction: 0.42
I think the case is really strong now!
What if were to eliminate the discussion of all the other technical details (and just
say they exist), and state more nicely that these series were effectively censored by
their substitutions, and that by removing those series which they censored, I get a
similar result, with a dismal RE.
And most people would keep the RE of 0.42 over the RE of -6, right? So this would make
that point. I think we also need to say something about the process, etc. (the intro was
based on something that Malcolm/Ray had originally crafted).
Thoughts, comments? Thanks,
I’m thinking of a note saying basically this, and attaching this figure.
Could everybody sign on to something like this?
Thanks for all your help,
At 05:11 PM 10/30/2003 +0000, Keith Briffa wrote:
Ray et al
I agree with this idea in principle . Whatever scientific differences and fascination
with the nuances of techniques we may /may not share, this whole process represents the
most despicable example of slander and down right deliberate perversion of the
scientific process , and bias (unverified) work being used to influence public
perception and due political process. It is , however, essential that you (we) do not
get caught up in the frenzy that these people are trying to generate, and that will more
than likely lead to error on our part or some premature remarks that we might regret. I
do think the statement re Mike’s results needs making , but only after it can be based
on repeated work and in full collaboration of us all. I am happy to push Tim to take the
lead and collaborate in this – and I feel we could get sanction very quickly from the
DEFRA if needed. BUT this must be done calmly , and in the meantime a restrained
statement but out saying we have full confidence in Mike’s objectivity and independence
– which we can not say of the sceptics. In fact I am moved tomorrow to contact Nature
and urge them to do an editorial on this . The political machinations in Washington
should NOT dictate the agenda or scheduling of the work – but some cool statement can be
made saying we believe the “prats have really fucked up someway” – and that the
premature publication of their paper is reprehensible . Much of the detail in Mikes
response though is not sensible (sorry Mike) and is rising to their bate.

February 5, 2010 11:01 am

So now you are all admitting that global warming is real, but defending it as a good thing because some trees are growing faster. So I assume you’ll be defending all of the natural disasters that come your way as good things as well. You geniuses have got it all figured out.
REPLY: What a coincidence that you’ve posted here just now. I was planning on featuring your company as a source for an upcoming post I’m working on about retrofitting my home with LED lighting. That won’t be happening now. Look for the story this weekend. – Anthony

February 5, 2010 11:14 am

Wow Craig. The world cools and warms, it has been for as long as it has existed. The question is mainly this: Are humans responsible. The answer, absolutely not. As I stated before, human activity accounts for a negligible(nearly nothing) in the levels of CO2 as well as(even more so) the change in temperature. It is a naturally occurring phenomena. We have almost no part in it. It is safe to say at a high level that we have no part in it at all. The global-warming/climate change caused by human activity is a scam for money and control. The proposed ways of lowering our CO2 output, immediately can be made useless from a single volcanic eruption. The largest contributor to CO2 increases is simply organic material, or otherwise naturally occurring. The increases in temperature is also more attributed to increases in radiation levels from the sun. Which also has occurred in history to temperatures beyond what that are doing now, prior to any factories etc. Other planets in our solar system are experiences similar changes in line with the spike in radiation from the Sun.

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