Now it's the fungi carbon footprint that isn't in climate models

From a long line of missing things in climate models and the University of Texas at Austin:

Symbiotic fungi inhabiting plant roots have major impact on atmospheric carbon, scientists say

This is a photo of the fruiting body of an ectomycorrhizal fungus associated with the roots of a Hemlock tree in Harvard Forest.

AUSTIN, Texas — Microscopic fungi that live in plants’ roots play a major role in the storage and release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere, according to a University of Texas at Austin researcher and his colleagues at Boston University and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The role of these fungi is currently unaccounted for in global climate models.

Some types of symbiotic fungi can lead to 70 percent more carbon stored in the soil.

“Natural fluxes of carbon between the land and atmosphere are enormous and play a crucial role in regulating the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, in turn, Earth’s climate,” said Colin Averill, lead author on the study and graduate student in the College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin. “This analysis clearly establishes that the different types of symbiotic fungi that colonize plant roots exert major control on the global carbon cycle, which has not been fully appreciated or demonstrated until now.”

“This research is not only relevant to models and predictions of future concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases, but also challenges the core foundation in modern biogeochemistry that climate exerts major control over soil carbon pools,” added Adrien Finzi, co-investigator and professor of biology at Boston University.

Averill, Finzi and Benjamin Turner, a scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, published their research this week in Nature.

Soil contains more carbon than both the atmosphere and vegetation combined, so predictions about future climate depend on a solid understanding of how carbon cycles between the land and air.

Plants remove carbon from the atmosphere during photosynthesis in the form of carbon dioxide. Eventually the plant dies, sheds leaves, or loses a branch or two, and that carbon is added to the soil. The carbon remains locked away in the soil until the remains of the plant decompose, when soil-dwelling microbes feast on the dead plant matter and other organic detritus. That releases carbon back into the air.

IMAGE: This Eastern Hemlock stands at Harvard Forest.

Click here for more information.

One of the limits that both the plants and the soil-dwelling microbes share is the availability of nitrogen, an essential nutrient for all life. Most plants have a symbiotic relationship with mycorrhizal fungi, which help extract nitrogen and nutrients from the soil and make that nitrogen available for the plants to use. Recent studies have suggested that plants and their fungi compete with the soil microbes for the nitrogen available in the soil and that this competition reduces decomposition in the soil.

There are two major types of the symbiotic fungi, ecto- and ericoid mycorrhizal (EEM) fungi and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. EEM fungi produce nitrogen-degrading enzymes, which allows them to extract more nitrogen from the soil than the AM fungi extract.

Examining data from across the globe, Averill and his colleagues found that where plants partner with EEM fungi, the soil contains 70 percent more carbon per unit of nitrogen than in locales where AM fungi are the norm.

The EEM fungi allow the plants to compete with the microbes for available nitrogen, thus reducing the amount of decomposition and lowering the amount of carbon released back into the atmosphere.

“This study is showing that trees and decomposers are really connected via these mycorrhizal fungi, and you can’t make accurate predictions about future carbon cycling without thinking about how the two groups interact. We need to think of these systems holistically,” said Averill.

The researchers found that this difference in carbon storage was independent of and had a much greater effect than other factors, including the amount of plant growth, temperature and rainfall.

###

Averill is a student in the ecology, evolution and behavior graduate program in the lab of Christine Hawkes, associate professor in the Department of Integrative Biology.

Additional contact: Lee Clippard, media relations, University of Texas at Austin, 512-232-0675, clippard@austin.utexas.edu

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DEEBEE

SO we can grow fungus at the feet of the wind turbine and get a make wind energy commercially viable. But wait, what will happen when those turbines fall and kill the poor fungus, or kill poor birds and they fall and kill the poor fungus. That would definitely be a positive feedback increasing climate sensitivity.

Patrick

The obvious question is, as I cannot see it in this text about this study, was this study based on models for models?

richardscourtney

Anth0ny:
The article reports

“This study is showing that trees and decomposers are really connected via these mycorrhizal fungi, and you can’t make accurate predictions about future carbon cycling without thinking about how the two groups interact. We need to think of these systems holistically,”

said Averill.
The researchers found that this difference in carbon storage was independent of and had a much greater effect than other factors, including the amount of plant growth, temperature and rainfall.

So, we have to think of the carbon system “holistically”
and
we are only starting to understand carbon exchange mechanisms in the carbon cycle
and
it is not possible to make accurate predictions about future carbon cycling in the absence of the knowledge we are now only starting to obtain.
Well, I am gobsmacked! NOT!
See
Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005)
Richard

Txomin

Fungi must in denial. The science is settled.

DirkH

““Natural fluxes of carbon between the land and atmosphere are enormous and play a crucial role in regulating the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, in turn, Earth’s climate,” said Colin Averill, lead author on the study and graduate student in the College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin.”
Here, Averill hands out conjecture for truth; as he silently implies that the CO2AGW theory is fact – a conclusion at which he can only have arrived by assuming that GCM’s work – but they have already been falsified by the last 17 years of non-warming.
I’d give him an A for gullibility and an A for propaganda; slipping in untruths like that is masterful.

David Coe

Don’t be too quick to mock this work. Climate models are all based upon the assumption declared by the IPCC that atmospheric CO2 is in an equilibrium state of zero Net Biome Production. That is Net Primary Production (atmospheric CO2 removal by photosynthetic activity) is perfectly balanced by Heterotrophic Respiration (respiration and decomposition of organic matter). CO2 levels are rising, it is claimed, because this balance is being skewed by the release of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. If it turns out that the assumption of a zero Net Biome Production is false, and that more CO2 is being stored in the land, then all bets are off concerning predicted future CO2 levels.

Its a Wonderfull World.
The hubris is that we understand it in an eye blink.

“From a long line of missing things in climate models”
It’s missing for a good reason. GCM’s don’t determine non-water GHG gas concentrations; they are supplied as forcings (scenarios). This would apply also to fungal respiration.

M Courtney

Nick Stokes

GCM’s don’t determine non-water GHG gas concentrations; they are supplied as forcings (scenarios).

Wouldn’t it be an improvement if they did relate to the reality of non-water GHG gas concentrations instead of just being inputted?
If CO2 absorption is all lumped in as a black-box of “other processes” then aren’t you just wiggle-matching the past?
How can that have any meaning for the future?

richardscourtney

David Coe:
As you say in your post at January 9, 2014 at 3:11 am, this paper is yet more evidence for something some of us have been saying for a long time.
I copy your post here for emphasis

Don’t be too quick to mock this work. Climate models are all based upon the assumption declared by the IPCC that atmospheric CO2 is in an equilibrium state of zero Net Biome Production. That is Net Primary Production (atmospheric CO2 removal by photosynthetic activity) is perfectly balanced by Heterotrophic Respiration (respiration and decomposition of organic matter). CO2 levels are rising, it is claimed, because this balance is being skewed by the release of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. If it turns out that the assumption of a zero Net Biome Production is false, and that more CO2 is being stored in the land, then all bets are off concerning predicted future CO2 levels.

Yes! Indeed so!
And the subsequent (in this thread) attempt at damage limitation from Nick Stokes is plain wrong.
Richard

ROM

As a retired farmer I say by all means study soil fungi as they are a vital component in every plant species and it’s survival and have a huge role to play in ensuring that the world’s food needs provided from plants of every description will be met in the decades ahead.
And thats where this total nonsense and outright scientific stupidity plus the full blown demonstration of abject ignorance by the whole of the climate activist powered scamming global warming industry about their so called and badly mis-named “Carbon”, should stop right there ..
Unfortunately once again this study is just another in an almost infinite array of never has so much of Other Peoples Money been spent by so many unqualified scientific “experts” for so little benefit or so little evidence of so little in actual results and so little in the way of beneficial and useful outcomes .
In short I am, along with I suspect a vast and increasing number other ordinary tax paying citizens, getting completely fed up to the back teeth with this mindless crap that now passes for so called science today.
Along with the fact that we, the common people are forced to pay for this scientific crap without ever being allowed to have any say in who and where and if the second and third rate so called scientists who are no more than overpaid parasites upon society are allowed to have any access to our taxes.
That great unwritten 200 year old contract between science and society was that science agreed to do everything in it’s power to improve our lives and in return we as a society agreed to finance science and give science an unfettered right to go where it liked to the limits of the human mind in it’s research, A right and a privilege that has been granted to very few others in our society.
And for 200 years both parties held to that contract to the immense benefit of us all as we can see around us.
Now just the opposite is occurring
So many of these parasitical climate science drones instead of finding ways to improve society, those so called [ climate ] scientists are instead demanding and advocating and using political influence to reduce and destroy so many of the advances we have achieved in the decades past such as totally reliable energy, advances that the science and scientists of the past in co-operation with all the other sectors that make up society have created over the last two centuries.
At the behest of climate science and so called climate scientists with an ad mixture of other third raters who call themselves climate scientists [ eg; Turney et al ] and based entirely on science biased unproven climate models only and with absolutely no perceivable proven, observed hard evidence whatsoever of mankind’s emissions of CO2, that misnamed “carbon” so called even by apparently ignorant climate scientists, is having any influence on the global climate let alone a deleterious effect. the science fraternity, nearly the whole damn lot of them are persisting and often vehemently demanding that we now destroy that incredible reliability of our energy systems of the past.
They are demanding that we forsake centuries old traditions on the use of resources of every type.
Some of them are demanding that we go back as a civilisation to the caves from where we have expended so much in blood and time and resources to drag our selves up the ladder of civilisation.
Instead those same scientists are advocating the creation of grossly expensive, totally unpredictable and therefore totally unreliable and increasingly unaffordable renewable energy systems that have done nothing whatsoever in any way to reduce that nefarious “carbon” .
Instead those numerous scientist backed and science advocated forced changes on our society have created great societal distress through the loss of jobs and industry, the creation of power generation that is no longer affordable, the creation of major economic problems, the shifting of money from then poor to the rich on an unprecedented scale, the destruction of wealth and resources on a global scale beyond comprehension ie; a billion dollars a day on climate change and the benefits, absolutely nothing, zilch and cannot be identified, Plus the creation of immense divisiveness and societal conflict and the list goes on and all for what?
These are the legacies of today’s increasingly corrupt and out of touch science who have negated their long held contract with society to always try to improve our lives, to a position where they, the scientists are now increasingly looked upon with scorn and with expectations that their next utterance will contain yet another nefarious prescription advocating even further strictures and further nefarious imposts and further financial and societal strictures on the citizens and society.
All to justify and satisfy their own personal agendas and ideologies and with nary a thought for the where their generous salaries and lavish perks are coming from and consequently who they are ultimately responsible too, the tax payers that they in the elitism believe they can patronizingly treat with total condescension.
I have been a science supporter all my life of 75 years but now I have had a gutsfull of what science has become, It is just another greedy grasping tax payer funded boondoggle for an elitist few that turns out total crap like the paper headlined above.
And they, those same scientists in their total arrogance then have the total gall to grab with their grasping greedy hands held right out demanding yet more of the the ordinary and humble citizen’s hard earned income to continue funding their own quite lavish well travelled life styles.
End of rant !!

Psalmon

It all has nothing to do with that 2E30 kg fusion fireball, 93 million miles away however.
Let’s send some fungi to Venus. It’ll be a paradise.

Gail Combs

So much for the “Science is settled”
Seems they left out a big factor.
And Nick, if they got that big black box correct Lord Monckton and others wouldn’t be having so much fun mocking the models.

Joe

Isn’t it a shame that valid and interesting (in it’s own right) research like this has to hang itself off climate change? It sometimes seems that if it ain’t climate it ain’t science nowadays 🙁

Greg

I used to be a fun guy, got married had kids, now I’m more like fungi. What scares me is that someone will suggest spreading the ‘good’ fungi everywhere, and we’ll end up taking too much CO2 out of the atmosphere or some other unintended consequence.

Whatever the truth, you can be sure that when models are changed to incorporate this it will be portrayed as a positive forcing.

Alan the Brit

So the outcome seems to be that the programmers of said GCMs, DHAF clue? Excuse my French, please! May the Lord preserve us.
Richard Courtney you are far to polite – become an engineer! 😉

jakee308

Magic Mushrooms now?
Or are they just clutching to straws?

Steven Devijver

@ROM amen brother.

Ian W

There is no evidence of any description that CO2 causes any change in the real world atmosphere – none at all. If there was this evidence would be available and published.
Instead we have spin doctors changing CO2 to ‘carbon’ and global warming to ‘climate change’ and then to ‘climate’ with no science behind their demands for taxes. The academic departments wanting funding for research in any abstruse areas are directed that ‘carbon footprint’ has to be part of the research or no funding. So we see these research projects all the time with genuflections to ‘carbon’.
Yet there still is no evidence of any effect of anthropogenic or other CO2 causing any warming – which is the only way that it could have a climatic effect. Until such evidence is produced these studies based on the assumption that more CO2 is dangerous are just money laundering exercises.

Kurt Granat

I heard Sherwood Idso in the early 1990 and soil biology was one of the many items he mentioned that the climate models either skip or simplify beyond recognition. Oddly, in Climate Science, such identified errors seem to linger for decades.

cnxtim

Happy to hear more about CO2, but do not agree with the fanciful premise first postulated in the late 19th century by a geologist who pretty much everything else wrong – that it has anything of significance to do with climate change.
Still, for those who “do believe”, can someone explain how CO2 generated at ground level by the burning of fossil fuels, makes it s way to the upper atmosphere?

heysuess

Will we now be asked to deduce that the ‘missing heat’ is stored in all this carbon (dioxide) within the fungi-ridden soils rather than hiding in the deeps with Captain Nemo?

Alan Robertson

Any impact this research may have on modern large- scale agriculture, will be far down the road. At this stage of our understanding, the lucrative farm’s web of life includes the implement dealer and the geneticist and the chemist. The soil is regarded primarily as a place for the desired crop to thrive, sterile to everything else.

bwanajohn

I may be missing the point but it seems that CO2 concentrations are following the projected paths, it is the T response that is not following. While interesting, this study would need to explain an error in expected CO2 levels and to my knowledge the levels are at expected levels.
So is this saying that we can expect future CO2 levels to drop significantly due to the fungi interchange? What am I missing?

heysuess

ROM = one smart cookie, not born yesterday. Well done!

Pete in Cumbria UK

So many times the discussion has got close my line of thinking yet never quite made the connection.
This time it has nearly everything, soil organic matter, nitrogen and atmospheric co2.
Here goes Pete’ theory of Global Warming.
We all know the shape of the Mauna Loa CO2 graph and how it rumbles along fairly level UNTIL the mid 1940’s. It picks up from that point and paints a sawtooth line, rising by ~4ppm then dropping back by 2pp every year – something seasonal is going on.
What happened in the 1940’s = WW2 ended and huge amounts of nitrate, previously made for and used in explosives was given to farmers. And the farmers (certainly in Europe) were vehemently encouraged to use it. They did.
As this article states, nitrate is the limiting nutrient in soil – it feeds the intended plants but also drives the soil bacteria into massive feeding frenzy. Their waste products are in two main parts, acids that dissolve the rock fraction of the soil supplying trace nutrients for the plants and also CO2.
In the case of a forest, all this is good because a forest has deep roots and also puts a canopy over the soil to catch the CO2. The canopy collects as much as possible before it can blow away. Several commentators here have mentioned the recorded fact that CO2 levels on a forest floor reach 600ppm, 500ppm half way up the trees and 400ppm at the very top. There’s the process in action.
Also, the soil bacteria feeding on the soil organic matter are VERY temperature sensitive and it seems a huge co-incidence that the leaves fall off as temperature drop. Low temps mean very little CO2 to catch.
Also on this point, we have the work of Murray Salby who has found a definite correspondence between temps and the rate of rise of atmospheric CO2.
Now enter the world’s farmers growing mostly annual crops – they have to because perennial crops do not guarantee the yield. But, the crop plants are still tiny when the temps have risen and the soil bacteria, pumped up with nitrogen fertiliser are going full tilt. In summer when the crops are active and ‘large’, they can keep up with soil bacteria output and actually suck more CO2 from the atmosphere, hence the CO2 graph dips during Northern hemisphere summertime. In autumn though, the crop effectively die and are harvested, again in high-ish temps while the bacteria are still working so, the CO2 graph picks up again.
Also, farmers plough and cultivate vast areas of the planet’s surface and always areas of high organic matter. This repeatedly exposes ancient buried organic matter to sunlight and oxygen, its got nothing else to do but become CO2. Again, forests had that angle covered. Whenever there is a bright sun, the trees shield the soil. There was an article here describing a forest (killed by beetles) where the temperature had risen by 1 deg C
I’ve lost the link but: a study near me (actually in SW Scotland) simply ploughed an ancient pasture field and left it with a few CO2 sensors dotted around. They left it untouched for 2 years and in both years it released 10 tons per acre of CO2.
Here is a study of some vegetated ground that released 3.4 tons per acre per year. Those figures are vast enough (dwarfing fossil fuel emissions) as it is before being multiplied (how many times) by the addition of nitrogen fertiliser.
As a grassland farmer and having tried to educate myself on AGW to explain changes on my farm, I suddenly saw exactly what is happening. Effectively the subsoil is coming to the surface. Myself, my neighbours, my father and all theirs, are slowly but surely desertifying our land – what else is a desert but a place of low soil organic matter?
Subsoil will be either very porous (sand/gravel) or impervious to water clay as I am or solid rock)
In either case, the effect on rainfall will be the same, it will pour off or drain through the ground much faster than if a lot of organic matter was there. You will know the effect even from keeping a pot-plant on your windowsill. Looking around England I see the effect everywhere. I see puddles and lakes that remain for months in cultivated field, I see light coloured and shiny soil behind ploughs (good organic soil should be almost black). I know that it is essential to use 4-wheel drive machinery on farms now and I wonder how my grandfather managed with horses and carts. They would be entirely unusable and endlessly mired on almost all of England’s modern-day farmland.
I also see rivers turn into raging torrents within an hour of rainfall starting and returning to normal within hours of rainfall stopping. The peak rainfall in my little river used to be 24 to 30 hours after the rain started – I know having watched it for 40 years.
As we have going on now in the UK, we hear of floods and supposedly record rainfall. As Paul Homewood has pointed out several times here on WUWT, the record rainfall amounts are basically an urban myth. I’ve been and got the data from the Met Office, I downloaded stuff from Wunderground; rainfall is almost unchanging. What is changing is the way the land handles that rainfall. The word ‘run-off’ has entered everyone’s vocabulary, it never used to be yet is the ‘norm’ now and universally accepted. This is typically called Flash Flooding and is typical of deserts is it not?
That explains the rising atmospheric CO2 and the apparent floods but also ‘rising’ temperatures and sea level. The organic matter that was previously in the soil retained huge amounts of water (2” of rainfall per foot depth). If the organic mater is not there, neither is the water and where is it? Surely back in the world’s ocean and explains the slow creep/rise in sea-level.
Also and as Willis endlessly points out, water controls the temperature. If the water is not there (in the soil), temperatures can vary more than they previously did. Is that not exactly what we are seeing. Summertime always seems to set new high temp records and winter-times set new low temperature records. What is going on in N America right now? Did (I think) Pamela Gray very recently mention her farmer boyfriend and how he’d noted that there were more excessively hot days and also excessively cold days for whatever crop he was growing?
So there we have it (my theory of AGW)
The CO2 is the symptom, not the cause of ‘global warming’ and it is frustrating (to me at least) how so many commentators here have been so close yet never made that final step. It all instinctively fits and once you know what to look for, flash floods, record (high and low) temperatures, water sitting in fields, light coloured soil in those fields, the changes in farming practices, the increase of tracked machinery on farms because organic matter held the soil structure together. (it didn’t turn to mud so easily and could support things that exert a high ground pressure (=horses and carts)).
Also, run the calculations yourself, that 10 tons per acre figure completely blows human fossil emissions right out of the park even before you put a double/triple/quadruple factor in for the effect of nitrogen fertiliser. The final thing that ‘did it’ for me was learning that the topsoils of the (Great) Plains were once 12 feet thick and are now 4” thick. Remember, that soil was bulldozed off Canada by the Laurentide ice sheet so the organic matter in it was ?? old.
Thats my piece, I’ll shut up now.

Pete in Cumbria UK
Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

Interesting. I’ve seen one estimate that as much as 25% of total world biomass is fungi, so their impact on the rest of the ecosystem is substantial. Maybe even even more than cow farts :-).

dabbio

I share bwanajohn’s concerns. I’d like to believe that these neglected carbon sources and sinks figure into the picture. In that connection, it would be good to have some mass estimates on fungal carbon input/output to throw into the carbon cycle mass balance. But more important, it seems to me, is the fact that there is this steady upward creep in atmospheric CO2, regardless of whether you think it has much effect on climate. Does the existence and weight of a fungal carbon component imply that the Keeling curve would be differently shaped, or have a different absolute level without that component?

M Courtney

Pete in Cumbria UK says at January 9, 2014 at 6:14 am:
Interesting idea.
I would add in that nitrate fertiliser ends up in the Oceans via that run-off. And that would surely boost marine algae. Whether that raises or lowers CO2 release, I don’t know. But it is another impact outside of the soil.

Alan Robertson

Pete in Cumbria UK says:
January 9, 2014 at 6:14 am
“So many times the discussion has got close my line of thinking yet never quite made the connection.
This time it has nearly everything, soil organic matter, nitrogen and atmospheric co2.

______________________
We are birds of a feather.
————————————
Also on this point, we have the work of Murray Salby who has found a definite correspondence between temps and the rate of rise of atmospheric CO2.
_________________
Salby’s work holds under scrutiny?
———————————
“The final thing that ‘did it’ for me was learning that the topsoils of the (Great) Plains were once 12 feet thick and are now 4” thick.
__________________________________
It isn’t unusual to drive across the Great Plains at certain times and see towering plumes of dust, visible from 50 miles. The source? A farmer in his tractor
——————————————
“Thats my piece, I’ll shut up now.
________________________________
Please don’t. You’re just getting started.
———————-

tc

In the early days before Man, when trees appear so did the fungi – no problems. Now with Man ways and BS – global warming (ice all over) so must come out with other reasons like fungi. We are the problem – Stupid global warming quackers

Alberta Slim

ROM says:
January 9, 2014 at 4:26 am
Great rant ROM………………………..
Well said and so true.

hunter

From freshwater systems to fungi to claiming the oceans are at once warming and ‘acidifying’, to sea level rise that is not cooperating, to confusing weather with global warming/climate change/climate weirding, the AGW movement is facing a lot of things to ignore- certainly a great test of faith in any belief system.

ROM says:
January 9, 2014 at 4:26 am
************************
you nailed it.

It hadn’t occurred to me, until I read this post, how likely CAGW proponents are to sink their own boat. Leaving aside the value of this study, whatever it may be, its authors are just some among the many researchers trying to tie their findings to climate change, presumably to gain attention and grant dollars. But as they highlight new physical processes that they believe should be considered in the climate models, or that are not properly accounted for in the models, they call into question the models’ accuracy. Even if all these new processes are represented as positive forcings, they only drive the models’ projected temperatures higher at a time temperatures are flat. In any event, they’re no help to model proponents.
As everyone tries to get on the gravy train (to change the analogy) it eventually becomes overloaded and grinds to a halt. Not a new idea here at WUWT, but one that this study brought home to me.

JJ

Nick Stokes says:
“From a long line of missing things in climate models”
It’s missing for a good reason.

There. Fixed that for ya.
GCM’s don’t determine non-water GHG gas concentrations; they are supplied as forcings (scenarios).
Then they have no ability for recursion on that parameter. Post time-step one, they become wrong even with respect to the scenario, and become worse with each iteration. And said scenarios are already far too dodgy on that point, given the fact that the carbon budget is nowhere near closed.
This would apply also to fungal respiration.
And thus to fungal sequestration, and (per this article) to fungi mediated sequestration. Of course, sequestration is only important to the climate when it provides you an opportunity to force other people to hamstring the economics of their power generation with it, right?
Happily, all of this doesn’t really doesn’t matter. Gaping holes in the ability to predict future CO2 partitioning could only matter to a climate model if that model accurately simulated the affect of CO2 on climate. To date, none do. Whew! Bullet dodged!
Isn’t it a wonderful attribute of “climate science” that it has sufficient immunity from the effects of cognitive dissonance that it can build a model that simultaneously assumes that global climate is primarily determined by the attributes of one component of the biosphere (people), and that the balance of the biosphere is yet ignorable?

michael hart

ROM, that seems like fair comment to me. I think policymakers need to realise that they should not fund research which appears to be primarily looking to confirm new potential disasters. If you pay people to look for new problems, then guess what?… They will find them. I could come up with a plausible new problem for every day of the year.
And it’s not like there is a shortage of pre-existing problems.

Jimbo

The role of these fungi is currently unaccounted for in global climate models.
Some types of symbiotic fungi can lead to 70 percent more carbon stored in the soil.

The science was settled?
It seems as if every couple of months some new factor comes into play either unaccounted for, plays a bigger role or lesser role in our climate / carbon cycle. How on Earth (literally) can the IPCC project temperature for 2100 with reasonable accuracy? To date there is a yawning gap between observations and the vast majority of the CAGW models used by the IPCC.
The science is not settled, the debate is not over.

Let’s not forget that fungal mats are among the most massive lifeforms on the planet.

higley7

As long as the climate models are based on CO2’s negligible effect, pretending it is the major driver of climate, these bozos are going to be finding and pointing a finger at anything that has a metabolism.

Alan Robertson

ROM says:
January 9, 2014 at 4:26 am
“…”
________________________
Please sir, I want some more.

higley7

I notice that they entirely ignore the oceans of the world, which contain 50 times the CO2 of the atmosphere. They conveniently pretend that CO2 is entirely driven by land and soil. How myopic of them. Simply a change in ocean temperatures can have enormous effects on atmospheric CO2, far beyond any fungal activity.
“Moore funding, please,” should be the title of the paper.

dabbio

See my comment above, which pertains to many of the others’ comments also. We need to be realistic in addressing the CAGW critique of enthusiasts for carbon cycle sources and sinks. If fungal carbon, or oceanic carbon, or any other input has a massive effect on atmospheric CO2, how come it does not SEEM to affect the Keeling curve? Maybe these other sources/sinks ARE affecting it, but I don’t see an explanation as to how, why, or why not.

Jimbo

Does anyone know whether changes in the dominance between microbes and the fungi affects tree rings?
Here is Time spreading the gloomy news.

Time Magazine – Nov. 20, 2009
Are the Earth’s Oceans Hitting Their Carbon Cap?
……But a new paper published in the Nov. 19 issue of Nature demonstrates that the oceans’ ability to absorb man-made carbon may be dwindling — and that has worrying ramifications for future climate change…….

Here is Time spreading the brighter news. And so on over the coming years. New paper finds……..it’s worse than we thought! New paper finds……….a surprise to scientists. 🙂

Time Magazine – Jan. 08, 2014
Why Some Mushrooms May Be Magic for Climate Change
The soil contains more carbon than all living plants and the atmosphere combined. Now a new study says that a certain type of fungi can help soil hold up to 70% more carbon—with potentially big impacts for the climate

\Nature is full of tricks. Maybe that’s why when co2 was well over 2,000ppm the Earth survived and even thrived for some odd reason. / sarc

Hard to stop feeling “So what?”

Jimbo

Not only are these fungus able to store up to 70 more carbon IN the soil but we also have the greening biosphere and arid areas becoming greener. This is the balance of nature, the Earth is active, plenty of capacity to soak it right up.
Here is another model, not used by the IPCC I presume (deadline issues maybe). 😉
site:http://www.ipcc.ch “A model-based constraint on CO2 fertilisation”

Abstract – 2013
P. B. Holden et. al.
A model-based constraint on CO2 fertilisation
Using output from a 671-member ensemble of transient GENIE simulations, we build an emulator of the change in atmospheric CO2 concentration change since the preindustrial period. We use this emulator to sample the 28-dimensional input parameter space. A Bayesian calibration of the emulator output suggests that the increase in gross primary productivity (GPP) in response to a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial values is very likely (90% confidence) to exceed 20%, with a most likely value of 40–60%. It is important to note that we do not represent all of the possible contributing mechanisms to the terrestrial sink. The missing processes are subsumed into our calibration of CO2 fertilisation, which therefore represents the combined effect of CO2 fertilisation and additional missing processes.
doi:10.5194/bg-10-339-2013

This paper is probably wrong, but base on the last couple of decades of observations on greening they might be on the right track.

Mushroom George

Note that the relationship is symbiotic. There is a whole community of stuff down there, plants are like the tip of the iceberg. The plants benefit from better chemistry, protection from pathogens and increased transport of nutrients. The shrooms get carbohydrates and a place to live. Expect to find a complimentary increase in nitrogen fixing bacteria down there as well. As we recover from starvation levels of CO2, life responds with gusto. You could have just asked your local indoor medical marijuana grower 20 years ago. 1,400 ppm CO2 and Sunshine Mix #4 (inoculated with fungi) seems close to optimum. If we can get the Luddites out of the way, we are just about to eliminate world hunger by accident. Go to http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/dry/dry_subject.php pick a letter from the list and check out the astounding response rates. Returning CO2 levels to normal may just be the reason why Gaia invented us.

joe lori

There is some very sloppy writing here. At least twice the text includes ‘the amount of carbon released back into the atmosphere.’ I don’t think ‘carbon’, is what is released into the atmosphere, carbon dioxide is. The liberal media uses carbon in place of carbon dioxide to demonize CO2 all the time. Scientific pubs should be more accurate.