The Earth's biosphere is booming, data suggests that CO2 is the cause, part 2

The SeaWiFS instrument aboard the Seastar satellite has been collecting ocean data since 1997. By monitoring the color of reflected light via satellite, scientists can determine how successfully plant life is photosynthesizing. A measurement of photosynthesis is essentially a measurement of successful growth, and growth means successful use of ambient carbon. This animation shows an average of 10 years worth of SeaWiFS data. Dark blue represents warmer areas where there tends to be a lack of nutrients, and greens and reds represent cooler nutrient-rich areas which support life. The nutrient-rich areas include coastal regions where cold water rises from the sea floor bringing nutrients along and areas at the mouths of rivers where the rivers have brought nutrients into the ocean from the land.

I first ran a story with this title in 2008, with these graphics from SEAWIFS, showing a growing biosphere. Now a new study using a different methodology, Leaf Area Index (LAI), have determined that indeed, the LAI is on the increase. Those global warming proponents, who consider themselves “green” get very upset when it is pointed out that CO2 is “plant food”, yet here we have even more evidence that Gaia’s greenery likes it.

From World Climate Report:

Global Greening Continues: Did We Cause It?

You know the story. Humans are burning fossil fuels and because of their actions, the world is now warming at an unprecedented pace. This warming is stressing ecosystems throughout the world with devastating consequences to vegetation from one end of the earth to the other. If we do not act fast, we will destroy the planet and have a tough time facing our grandchildren. We can all hear it now—why didn’t you do something when there was still time to save the Earth?

Two articles have appeared recently in the scientific literature with results that may make us reconsider this entire affair. The first appears in the Journal of Geographical Sciences dealing with worldwide trends in the vigor of vegetation since the early 1980s—the results may surprise you, but they did not surprise us given all that has been written on this subject and certainly covered at World Climate Report.

Three Chinese scientists (all with the last name of Liu) used satellite data to detect changes occurring in vegetation throughout the world. Rather than use the popular satellite-based Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Liu et al. (a.k.a., Liu3) decided to use the Leaf Area Index (LAI). The scientists explain “LAI, defined as half the total leaf area per unit ground, is directly linked to vegetation activities and comparable among different ecosystems. It has removed the effects of spectral response, illumination and orbit drift during data acquisition. It should be better, at least theoretically, than NDVI as the indicator of vegetation status.” We will certainly trust their judgment.

As seen in their figure below (Figure1), the red colors absolutely dominate indicating an increase in vegetation status! Liu et al. declare:

“Results show that, over the past 26 years, LAI has generally increased at a rate of 0.0013 per year around the globe. The strongest increasing trend is around 0.0032 per year in the middle and northern high latitudes (north of 30°N). LAI has prominently increased in Europe, Siberia, Indian Peninsula, America and south Canada, South region of Sahara, southwest corner of Australia and Kgalagadi Basin; while noticeably decreased in Southeast Asia, southeastern China, central Africa, central and southern South America and arctic areas in North America.”

Quick geography question: where is the “Kgalagadi Basin”? Correct—in the Kalahari Desert of southern Africa.

Figure 1. Spatial distribution of linear trends in estimated LAI from July 1981–December 2006 (from Liu et al., 2010)

In commenting on the upward trend in LAI in the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemispheric, the trio states

“The growth of the vegetation in these middle and high latitude areas is mainly limited by temperature. Many studies correlating NDVI with land surface temperature indicate warming might be the most important factor accounting for the LAI increase in this area. Warming, causes longer active growing season length and higher growth magnitude, therefore leads to increase in LAI in this area.”

We accept their findings—we now believe that warming has been beneficial for vegetation throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere. As we look at the map above, we see red throughout many low latitude areas as well. The gloom and doomers of the climate change issue are not going to be happy with such positive results. Although not discussed in the Liu et al. paper, we cannot help but wonder what role elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations may have played in stimulating plant growth in so many areas of the world? Feel free to examine all of our essays reporting on the biological benefits of elevated CO2, let alone the benefits of warming.

Few people would argue that the planet has warmed to some extent over the past three decades, and many people feel that humans caused at least some part of this warming through their consumption of fossil fuels. Well, hold the fort because our second featured article does not arrive at that conclusion whatsoever. The article was written by two scientists from Taiwan and was published recently in Atmospheric Science Letters. Lo and Hsu begin stating:

“The global mean temperature has been rising more abruptly over the past 30 years, compared with that in the previous 50–100 years. This recent warming has occurred in most areas on Earth, becoming a truly global phenomenon. The sudden acceleration of warming, which is particularly evident in the winter Northern Hemisphere (NH), can be linked with the observation of widespread abrupt changes in the late 1980s. The nature of the late 1980s’ warming and its relationship with the dominant teleconnection patterns such as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) are explored in this study.”

We knew we would like this—nothing better than scientists explaining warming with teleconnections related things that operate largely without any association to the buildup of greenhouse gases. The authors conducted sophisticated research with climate models and greenhouse gas scenarios developed by the United Nations’ IPCC group. They found that warming in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere was highly related to the two teleconnections, and it led them to conclude (hold your breath) that their results “do not support the scenario that the emerging influence of the AO-like pattern in the late 1980s can be attributed to the anthropogenic greenhouse effect.” Indeed, they conclude that what we are seeing “can be attributed to natural variability.”

OK. The earth warmed over the past 30 years. We agree (although that has largely slowed down or even stopped in the past 10 years). Atmospheric CO2 has increased. We agree. The rise in CO2 caused the warming—not according to Lo and Hsu. The warming caused vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere to thrive—Liu et al. think so.

You get the message—warming and elevated CO2 are not combining to destroy the planet’s vegetation. Quite to the contrary, they may be a blessing!


Lo, T.-T. and H.-H. Hsu. 2010. Change in the dominant decadal patterns and the late 1980s abrupt warming in the extratropical Northern Hemisphere. Atmospheric Science Letters, 11, 210–215.

Liu, S., R. Liu, and Y. Liu. 2010. Spatial and temporal variation of global LAI during 1981–2006. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 20, 323-332.


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Brian H

Chinese subversion of the Western consensus! This means war …


WOW!. Matches observation. Did not require elaborate computer modelling.


Great post – now show it to everyone in the MSM and see if there is any sort of reaction. My guess is that it will be ignored for now but the more that is posted like this the less chance of it being brushed under the carpet.


What is the US trend over this period? Inn the specific locations where greening trends are apparent, what are the more regional US temperature and percepitation trends? I think the US trend overall is down,and the world trend is flat since 1998. Perhaps CO2 and rainfall are just as, or more important then temperature.


You mean it’s better than we thought?

Gary Pearse

The greening looks strongest in the fringe south of the Sahara! Hmmm the desert advance stopped by co2 when nothng else would work. This may be related to the new snows of Kilimanjaro too because this greening needs more moisture or it preserves it and transpires it over an expanded period.


If you take a look at the previuous 2008 story, go to the “2004 study by Steven Running of the University of Montana and Ramakrishna Nemani of NASA”; you will see that the 2004 study (Climate-Driven Increases in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 1982 to 1999, Science 6 June 2003: Vol. 300 no. 5625 pp. 1560-1563) has been recently cited in a VERY interesting article:
“Periodic climate cooling enhanced natural disasters and wars in China during AD 10–1900”, Proc. R. Soc. B 22 December 2010 vol. 277 no. 1701 3745-3753
The title says it all, but, please, bring your attention to the last phase of the abstract (you can also download the full article):
“Our study suggests that food production during the last two millennia (!) has been more unstable during COOLER periods, resulting in more social conflicts owing to rebellions within the dynasties or/and southward aggressions from northern pastoral nomadic societies in ancient China”.
And this comes form the study of a TWO TOUSANDS years old society…
It’s worth to remember that the French historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie was led to the very same conclusions more than 40 years ago in his “Time of feast, time of famine” study about the history of climate since the 1000 A.D. (still a suggested reading for all those interested in the REAL history of climate), and this was the reason for the title of his book:
cooler period = time of famine
warmer period = time of feast
Just my 2 cents
Dario from Turin

martin brumby

Will Romm & Ward be the first “deniers” for these papers?

Richard B

So the warmists have been right all along. There is a greenhouse effect after all 🙂


“Liu et al. (a.k.a., Liu3) ”
wouldn’t that be 3Lui rather than Lui>3; Lui>3 would suggest breeding.


correction, Liu>3 .


“They found that warming in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere was highly related to the two teleconnections”
Teleconnections? I’ve not heard that term used before to mean ( variable \ measure \ quality \ factor ). I assoiciate it more with electric communication, phone lines and TV masts etc. Why did they use that term?

But, but.. There is a consensus by all scientists that burning fossil fuels is bad for the Earth, bad for plants, bad for everyone that isn’t owned by big oil.
Certianly the idea that warming might be natural has been disproven by Mann and Gore. There was even a Nobel Prize to prove it.
If we accept these two, peer reviewed and published articles as potentially valid, then the warming in the Arctic and loss of sea ice there might be natural and part of natural variation of the Earth’s climate. Not only that, the life on Earth is doing better because of the burning of fossil fuels.
It is clear that these scientists are simply tools of big oil, because all scientists believe in global warming. These apostate (can warmists use that word?) scientists must never get grants again, wait. They are from outside the US. Uh-oh.
I hope they have a long and productive careers. When AGW finally collapses, will the scientists that break it get the Nobel Prize too?


When I see these studies I try and relate the results back to where I know what has happened.
I live in the red bit in Western Australia,_Western_Australia
Coincidentally one of my mates obtained a heap of photo’s circa 1965-1970 only a couple of weeks ago and after going through them ,the thing that stood out was how much less vegetation was here back then compared to now.

Alexander K

Who would have possibly dreamed that a little more warmth plus a tiny bit more CO2 plus a smidgen more moisture would make plants grow better? Golly, wonders will never cease! 🙂 Sarc off.

Brian H

Gary Pearse says:
March 24, 2011 at 1:47 am

National Geographic spilled the beans on the Sahara long ago:
meemoe_uk says:
March 24, 2011 at 2:15 am

teleconnections are distant linked climate phenomena. Causality may or may not be known, but reliable observation and prediction has established a pattern exists.
Ripper says:
March 24, 2011 at 2:33 am

Love to see the before and after shots (you might have to create those!) Any chance you could scan them and make them available?

Hector Pascal

Post-war gummint policy in WA (I’m a sandgroper wrinkly) was slash and burn in the wheatbelt, and run sheep over the rest. Economics have fixed that. Unsustainable farming practices have proven unsustainable. I know someone in Kalbarri making a good living harvesting goats.

Roger Carr

Ripper says: (March 24, 2011 at 2:33 am)
When I see these studies I try and relate the results back to where I know what has happened.
     Very nice comment, Ripper. I noticed that red patch too, and was delighted to see it.
     Red in the west usually means you are sending us a heatwave here in Melbourne — where it is quite cold tonight. In this case it means greening and hallelujah!
     Wonderful news (but don’t tell ol’ Flan.)
p.s. Any way you could show us Ripper’s photos, Anthony?

John Hume

Plants grow quicker at higher temperatures; tree rings get thicker; more CO2 gets consumed. No worries

This is more evidence that CO2 is both harmless and beneficial. And there is still no evidence that CO2 causes any global problems. No evidence whatever.
A cold planet is the norm. We are due for a return to the norm. Therefore, more CO2 production is essential. And as the chart shows, rises in CO2 follow rises in temperature. Effect cannot precede cause; CO2 is simply a function of temperature. [CO2 may cause some minuscule warming, but it is insignificant.]
The current very *mild* warming cycle of only 0.7°C over the past century and a half has happened many times in the past. It is natural climate variability.
Conclusion: CO2 is beneficial and harmless. It is entirely benign. More is better. And the CO2=CAGW conjecture is once again refuted.


Nice to see legacy knowledge being confirmed by modern research…
The Medieval Climatic Optimum ~1000 to 1350 AD – Plants, animals & man do well.
The Little Ice Age ~1550 to 1840 AD – Plants, animals & man struggle.
Our planet is a better place for the biosphere to live when it’s warm and wet.

Peter Stroud

Mr Roger Harrabin, have you read this post? If so will you please join the BBC Today programme and tell the listeners about it. Give it the same attention you give to every paper that describes the doom and gloom caused by anthropogenic global warming.

Steve C

“Warm” thanks to our Chinese colleagues for some climate research which actually involved research rather than modelling. Yes, we must mention these papers as often as possible in the Mawkish Scaremongering Media.
Meanwhile, in the UK, our brainwashed Chancellor of the Exchequer oozes a Budget still based on scary fairy stories about “carbon” and continuing the arbitrary racking up of energy prices. There’s a down for every up.

Brian H

cold is the norm for the last few million years. Before that there were long periods when 10°C hotter was the norm. There are lotsa Norms. And lotsa norms, too. 😉
But humans do best at about 3-5°C warmer than now.

Brian H

Newsflash: Tips & Notes is (I think) in the process of being “cleaned”. The comments box is gone for the moment.


I thought Australia was supposed to be the canary in the mine. As for its corals they were bleached by Global Warming then subsequently unbleached by Global Warming. Me thinks these people are running out of ammunition.
Great Barrier Reef doomed
Great Barrier Reef booms in warming world!

The N-S band in the North American wheat belt is a little puzzling. A quick look at planting and yield for the same time period shows that wheat planting has decreased by about 20%, while yield per acre has increased presumably because of improved varieties. The planting decrease wouldn’t be from urbanization, and I doubt that the wheat is being replaced by forests. Perhaps some of the land is switching to corn because of the Iowa Caucus Subsidy? Corn is leafier than wheat but I don’t know if it would make that much of a difference.


Peter Stroud says:
March 24, 2011 at 3:26 am
“Mr Roger Harrabin, have you read this post? If so will you please join the BBC Today programme and tell the listeners about it.”
He can’t do it. It violates the ethics of journalism to report something good. First we have to give it a catastrophic appearance. How about “Civilization threatened by rampant expansion of jungle”?


Maybe inflammatory but I wonder what’s the connection between Western food fads like Veganism and the Western Greens’ obsession with and insistence upon there being a crisis. I found that returning to eating meat and fat greatly improved my mood and I stopped feeling like life was somehow in crisis. What does malnutrition do to people’s emotional drivers? Could we have more CO2, more grass, more cows, and more nutrition, leading to more balanced outlook?


Liu Liu Liu love LAI. ;-D

Theo Goodwin

Pteradactyl says:
March 24, 2011 at 1:32 am
“Great post – now show it to everyone in the MSM and see if there is any sort of reaction. My guess is that it will be ignored for now but the more that is posted like this the less chance of it being brushed under the carpet.”
Well, right, they are waiting for a climate version of the Japanese tsunami moment so that they can spend days tearfully describing manmade disaster as it rains upon innocent humans. Now we know to expect only extreme views from the MSM.


Please get the message to Anthony or whomever that this site is broken on an iPad 2 since it defaults to the using the new OnSwipe module. Please disable it. There does not seem to be a way to allow the user to set a preference to not use it.
I am posting here because posting in the Tips and Comments section seems to be disable (for me, anyway).


Sorry , I should have pointed out that the aerial shot is from the west while the google image is north south.
You can pick out the hospital to get bearings.


Up to the year 2000 global warming was driven

“…mainly by non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as chlorofluorocarbons, CH4, and N2O…”
Dr James Hansen et. al.

Roger Harrabin – “Do you agree that from 1995 to the present [2010] there has been no statistically-significant global warming”
Phil Jones – “Yes”
BBC Interview in February, 2010

Therefore the last 10 years of statistically insignificant rise in temperature was mainly driven by CO2 because we can’t think of anything else? We must end this farcical scam!

Alan the Brit

This seems to be an endorsement of previous reports that NASA satellite data has shown the Earth to be greening up over the last 30-40 years! Although of course this will be “blazened” on the top shelf at the back of the library basment locked store-room under a pile of unrelated papers, that has been shut for refurbishment for years! Sarc!
As to consenus, why do people keep saying this exists, who was the French philospher who said something like “if millions of people say a studid thing, it’s still a stupid thing!” Did Galleleo take a vote on his expansion of Copernicus’ theories? Did Issac Newton go down to the local coffee house with his mates & vote on whether gravity existed? Did Wilber & Orville Wright hold a debate on whether heavier than air flying machines could actually fly? The list is pretty exhaustive & always will be! Somebody out there please show me a piece of real science that was demonstrated by democracy!

Pull My Finger

What a terrible map projection to use. Having a accurate representation of land area is all well and good, but when the major increases are in the upper mid-latitudes, one should probably use a Robinson Projection or a similar compromise projection where you can actually SEE the data.
Now if the warmists would use this map projection (Bonne, I think) we’d be a lot less scared of global warming as those big red blobs become tiny red blobs. But they use Mercator (a navigation projection) because they know it distorts at high latitudes and promotes their agenda rather than an equal area map.

John Marshall

CO2 is not only plant food but an increase in atmospheric CO2 means that plants use less water. Two birds with one stone.


Solar maximum plus high CO2 levels = biosphere growth; hmmm, passes the eyeball test.


Interesting. Marginal areas like the African Sahel & SW Australia show the biggest increases. Just like one would expect from increased CO2 water-use efficiency.
Maybe increased CO2 is why I now have some 30 ft+ (10m+) trees that were planted as mail-order bare-root sticks back in 2004. A bare-root Dawn redwood “stick” I planted then has a swollen trunk 10 inches in diameter at ground level & is ~25 ft tall.


Smokey says:
March 24, 2011 at 3:22 am
A cold planet is the norm.
It’s the norm only if you consider a very small part of earth’s history. The chart on your link covers the last half million years, which is something like 0.01% of earth’s history.
(Don’t get me wrong; I do agre that the current interglacial is due to expire sometime soon (where “soon” may mean a few hundred years, or maybe a few thousand) and we’ll go back to freezing.
But expand your view a little over 1000 times, and you see that warmer (a lot warmer) actually seems to be the norm.
That’s still only about 10-12% of Earth’s history, but gives a better perspective than 0.01%. It’s hard to find a site that gives charts of earth’s temperature reconstructions at all time scales.
I find the following is a good verbal summary, though it contains no charts for the time scales it describes.
Earth’s Climatic History
Climatologists have used various techniques and evidence to reconstruct a history of the Earth’s past climate. From this data, they have found that during most of the Earth’s history global temperatures were probably 8 to 15 degrees Celsius warmer than today. In the last billion years of climatic history, warmer conditions were broken by glacial periods starting at 925, 800, 680, 450, 330, and 2 million years before present.
The period from 2,000,000 – 14,000 B.P. (before present) is known as the Pleistocene or Ice Age. During this period, large glacial ice sheets covered much of North America, Europe, and Asia for extended periods of time. The extent of the glacier ice during the Pleistocene was not static. The Pleistocene had periods when the glacier retreated (interglacial) because of warmer temperatures and advanced because of colder temperatures (glacial). During the coldest periods of the Ice Age, average global temperatures were probably 4 – 5 degrees Celsius colder than they are today.
The most recent glacial retreat is still going on. We call the temporal period of this retreat the Holocene epoch. This warming of the Earth and subsequent glacial retreat began about 14,000 years ago (12,000 BC). The warming was shortly interrupted by a sudden cooling, known as the Younger-Dryas, at about 10,000 – 8500 BC. Scientists speculate that this cooling may have been caused by the release of fresh water trapped behind ice on North America into the North Atlantic Ocean. The release altered vertical currents in the ocean which exchange heat energy with the atmosphere. The warming resumed by 8500 BC. By 5000 to 3000 BC average global temperatures reached their maximum level during the Holocene and were 1 to 2 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today. Climatologists call this period the Climatic Optimum. During the Climatic Optimum, many of the Earth’s great ancient civilizations began and flourished. In Africa, the Nile River had three times its present volume, indicating a much larger tropical region.
From 3000 to 2000 BC a cooling trend occurred. This cooling caused large drops in sea level and the emergence of many islands (Bahamas) and coastal areas that are still above sea level today. A short warming trend took place from 2000 to 1500 BC, followed once again by colder conditions. Colder temperatures from 1500 – 750 BC caused renewed ice growth in continental glaciers and alpine glaciers, and a sea level drop of between 2 to 3 meters below present day levels.
The period from 750 BC – 800 AD saw warming up to 150 BC. Temperatures, however, did not get as warm as the Climatic Optimum. During the time of Roman Empire (150 BC – 300 AD) a cooling began that lasted until about 900 AD. At its height, the cooling caused the Nile River (829 AD) and the Black Sea (800-801 AD) to freeze.
The period 900 – 1200 AD has been called the Little Climatic Optimum. It represents the warmest climate since the Climatic Optimum. During this period, the Vikings established settlements on Greenland and Iceland. The snow line in the Rocky Mountains was about 370 meters above current levels. A period of cool and more extreme weather followed the Little Climatic Optimum. A great drought in the American southwest occurred between 1276 and 1299. There are records of floods, great droughts and extreme seasonal climate fluctuations up to the 1400s.
From 1550 to 1850 AD global temperatures were at their coldest since the beginning of the Holocene. Scientists call this period the Little Ice Age. During the Little Ice Age, the average annual temperature of the Northern Hemisphere was about 1.0 degree Celsius lower than today. During the period 1580 to 1600, the western United States experienced one of its longest and most severe droughts in the last 500 years. Cold weather in Iceland from 1753 and 1759 caused 25% of the population to die from crop failure and famine. Newspapers in New England were calling 1816 the year without a summer.
The period 1850 to present is one of general warming. Figure 7x-1 describes the global temperature trends from 1880 to 2006. This graph shows the yearly temperature anomalies that have occurred from an average global temperature calculated for the period 1951-1980. The graph indicates that the anomolies for the first 60 years of the record were consistently negative. However, beginning in 1935 positive anomolies became more common, and from 1980 to 2006 most of the anomolies were between 0.20 to 0.63 degrees Celsius higher than the normal period (1951-1980) average.

Adam Gallon

If “Ripper” scans his photos and uploads them to Photobucket or the like, then posts a link, we can have a peak at them.


A higher concentration of carbon dioxide together with warmer temperatures = better plant growth? Who would have imagined it???

Nick Bentley

I’m one of those people who worries that climate change is or could be a catastrophic problem. I agree that this is good news. The worry that I have is that it won’t necessarily continue. i.e. a little warming is good, but a lot of warming may suck. I’m not qualified to comment on the validity of the idea, except to say that I’ve spoken with biosphere experts who hold pretty strongly to this view.

oldseadog says:
March 24, 2011 at 1:36 am
You mean it’s better than we thought?
Au contraire, Old Sea Dog, it’s much worse than we thought. This was NEVER about science, not even from the first proposal for funding to study the “problem”. It has been always about money and power.
The so-called climate “scientists” have received hundreds of Millions??? Billions??? in funding to study a non-problem. The Goracle has made $100,000,000 off of this fraud and the Kleptocrats in the United Nations are opening Swiss bank accounts to put our money in when they get a global Cap-and-Tax system. Local politicians would have tremendous power to choose the “winners” with schemes like these and hence harvest billions in bribes (campaign contributions).
Articles like this sabotage their plans. The Horror of it All!
Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s Evil Twin)
PS Just out of curiosity, what is the Genesis of your “name”. Mine came from 30 some years in the Merchant Marine, retiring as a Chief Engineer on a 32,000 SHP steam ship.

Chris Riley

I have always been perplexed by the fact that the potential benefits of both warming and a high atmospheric concentration of CO2. The proper calculation for the Pigovian fee on carbon emissions is; C (total societal cost of emissions)-B (total societal benefit of emissions) = optimal fee for emitting. This is a simple subtraction problem, first grade math. Billions of dollars have been spent on extrapolations of short term trends to measure C. Large quantities of advance math have been used, and new statistical techniques have been invented for measuring C. Yet in the final analysis, these mathematically literate scientists fail at the first grade math problem by concluding that C-B=C


The socialist Chinese just shot their Western socialist in the foot and now China can drive more cars without the guilt currently gripping the left in the West. Not that they had much anyway.


My husband, the carpet layer, is with Smokey. Observation, observation, observation.
I quit believing in “anthropogenic” global warming when my family visited Mono Lake one day. We go there alot, it’s the best bathroom on the way to G’p’as house. They got a very lovely center there with lots of info, check it out some time.
For one thing, they said uplift formed Mono Lake. When the earth jutted up, it trapped a bunch of water, which became frozen glaciers. That whole valley was glacial at one time, you got your classic glacial shape and piles of moraine everywhere. These uplift glaciers began to melt, and formed a lot of lakes, there are old lake beds all along Hwy 395. These glaciers created a lush river valley in what is now a desert. There were cottonwood trees everywhere, there’s still HUGE ones left. That’s like finding a polar bear walking the streets of Sacramento.
At one time there were also thousands of people – we saw an arrowhead chipping ground along the dried up Owens River bed, I mean, you could just imagine hunters chipping out arrowheads as far as the eye could see. Obsidian does not occur there – the nearest formations are supposedly 100 miles away. But there’s obsidian chips all over the ground after a rain, sparkling like diamonds all over the ground for acres.
But, the glaciers had been trapped, and as they melted, they were not renewed. Over the next 10 thousand years, the rivers and lakes began to dry up. By the time white people came to the Owens River Valley, a lot of the water and most of the people were gone. The Paiute had moved in from Nevada, but the people who had been there, the folks who carved the rocks at Chalifant, were already gone. White people mowed down the giant cottonwoods – they made charcoal out of them in big pits to the east of the valley. But they didn’t take all the water – nature took most of the water. LA got what was left.
When I hear the global warming argument, I remember what “Rick” says at the end of Casablanca – ” the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.” I don’t think people could change the global climate, they just mess up their own immediate ecosystems, causing their own problems. Earth has it’s own clock, which is obviously running, and I don’t believe people could influence it to the extent that the global warming alarmists are claiming.
But, like my dad always said, smart birds don’t poop in their own nest. If we want to have a nice place to live, we have to take good care of it. I’ve just been reading The Wilderness Warrior, a book about Teddy Roosevelt and the fight to convince people we needed to set aside wilderness lands. It reminds me there’s still today people who will throw out the whole conservation argument along with the crazier aspects of the global warming argument – as if they’ve just been waiting for somebody to say, “go ahead, just huck those fast food containers out your car window, nothing matters!”
There’s a middle ground here, let’s cling to it.

Steve Keohane

When Co2 levels start rising from historic low levels, plants that evolved in the 1000-4000ppm range, act like they like it. Who would have guessed?