And here we have been told it's 'climate disruption' causing local weather changes, when it's actually deforestation

From the University of Maryland the department of Al Gore’s Kilimanjaro claims: Deforestation is messing with our weather — and our food

New study, the first of its kind, investigates cooling and warming effects of forests at both a global scale and a high spatial resolution

Annapolis, Md — New research published today in Nature Communications provides insight into how large-scale deforestation could impact global food production by triggering changes in local climate. In the study, researchers from the United States and China zero in on albedo (the amount of the sun’s radiation reflected from Earth’s surface) and evapotranspiration (the transport of water into the atmosphere from soil, vegetation, and other surfaces) as the primary drivers of changes in local temperature.

The research is the first global analysis of the effects of forest cover change on local temperature using high-resolution NASA global satellite data. A peer-reviewed paper based on the study, “Local cooling and warming effects of forests based on satellite observations,” hints at how land use policies could have economic implications from forest to farmland.

“Understanding the precise mechanisms of forest-generated warming or cooling could help regional management agencies anticipate changes in crop yields. Together with a knowledge of other ecological factors, this information can help decision makers and stakeholders design policies that help to sustain local agricultural practices,” said Safa Motesharrei, co-author of the paper and a systems scientist at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC).

Agriculture–specifically, converting forest cover to plantations for oil palm, soy, rubber, coffee, tea, rice, and many other crops–is widely believed to be one of the main causes of deforestation. Such change in land cover could drive a rise or fall in local temperature by as much as a few degrees. This kind of fluctuation could substantially impact yields of crops that are highly susceptible to specific climate conditions, resulting in harvests that are less productive and less profitable.

The authors say it underscores the need for a holistic understanding of forestry activities on local climate. They point out that while local impacts of forest cover change are some of the most relevant for management practices, they’re also the most poorly understood.

The path to understanding these local impacts, the researchers say, is through albedo and evapotranspiration. Forests have a darker surface than, for example, an agricultural field–forests therefore have a lower albedo, which means less solar radiation is reflected and more is absorbed. This phenomenon causes warming. On the other hand, forests absorb more rainwater and transpire it as water vapor later. This phenomenon, called evapotranspiration, causes cooling.

global-evapotranspiration

Global Evapotranspiration – oranges/reds shows greater values

“These two competing biophysical effects could determine whether–at a specific location or during a specific time of the day or season of the year–a forest could cause local cooling or warming. And, by extension, whether clearing a forest could lead to a rise or fall in local temperature,” explained Yan Li of Peking University, lead author of the study and visiting climate scientist at the University of Maryland.

For example, the researchers found that tropical forests, which occur closest to the equator, have a strong cooling effect year-round. Boreal forests, which occur furthest from the equator, and temperate forests, which occur between tropical and boreal forests, show a seasonal variation. Boreal forests have strong warming in winter and moderate cooling in summer with net warming annually, and temperate forests show moderate cooling in summer and moderate warming in winter with net cooling annually. The scientists say this difference in cooling or warming can be largely explained by whether albedo or evapotranspiration is the dominant effect.

The study addresses questions that have been previously impossible to answer without these global satellite data. Earlier research has studied the effects of forest cover on temperature using field observations or global climate models. Because field work can be expensive, time-intensive, and logistically difficult, field measurements are generally available for only limited areas. These data are therefore difficult to scale up to develop a global picture. And because climate models require immense computational resources to run, they’re often unable to provide focused local information with reliable precision.

“It’s difficult to get measurements that are both accurate at a fine scale and have a large enough coverage that they can inform global climate models,” said Nicholas Magliocca, a computational research fellow at SESYNC who was not involved in the study. “This analysis offers an important empirical benchmark against which global climate models can be validated to accurately represent the temperature-mediating effects of forests.”

The satellite data used in the study–collected by NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS–provide the best of both worlds: information that is rich in detail and global in coverage. As a result, the researchers could effectively zoom in and back out again to analyze the same phenomena everywhere around the world.

“We knew before that forests have an impact on temperature. But this study has provided a precise, quantitative estimation of the impact of forests depending on the geographical location, tracing it back to the changes in albedo and evapotranspiration,” said Eugenia Kalnay, co-author of the paper and a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland.

As rates of deforestation climb and shifts in local climate become more pronounced, the need to understand the relationship between forest cover change and temperature will become more urgent. We have already lost 130 million hectares–an area roughly equivalent to twice the size of France–of the world’s forests just in the past decade, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The more forests we clear, the more we increase risks for food production due to changes in temperature.

###

In addition to Li, Motesharrei, and Kalnay, the paper’s co-authors include Maosheng Zhao, research assistant professor at the University of Maryland; Qiaozhen Mu, research scientist at the University of Montana; and Shuangcheng Li, professor at Peking University.

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41130534 and 41371096).

The research paper, “Local cooling and warming effects of forests based on satellite observations,” was published online March 31, 2015, in the journal Nature Communications.


Abstract:

The biophysical effects of forests on climate have been extensively studied with climate models. However, models cannot accurately reproduce local climate effects due to their coarse spatial resolution and uncertainties, and field observations are valuable but often insufficient due to their limited coverage. Here we present new evidence acquired from global satellite data to analyse the biophysical effects of forests on local climate. Results show that tropical forests have a strong cooling effect throughout the year; temperate forests show moderate cooling in summer and moderate warming in winter with net cooling annually; and boreal forests have strong warming in winter and moderate cooling in summer with net warming annually. The spatiotemporal cooling or warming effects are mainly driven by the two competing biophysical effects, evapotranspiration and albedo, which in turn are strongly influenced by rainfall and snow. Implications of our satellite-based study could be useful for informing local forestry policies.

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151 thoughts on “And here we have been told it's 'climate disruption' causing local weather changes, when it's actually deforestation

    • Actually in severe cases the climate disruption caused by deforestation can be apocryphal.
      Take Easter island for example, where the people got turned to stone after cutting down all their trees !!

  1. This may be a stupid comment, but I spend a lot of time in Southern Spain where forests are few and far between, it is a lot hotter than NE England (where I spend more time) where woods and forests are more common. I have to say the evaporation in Southern Spain is a great deal more noticeable than here, yet the diagram does not show that. Also California shows the same evaporation as Southern Spain, yet there is a drought.

      • No, not a stupid comment. The one of the great things about this site is the amount you can learn, if you are willing to do so.

      • From the article “Forests have a darker surface than, for example, an agricultural field–forests therefore have a lower albedo, which means less solar radiation is reflected and more is absorbed. This phenomenon causes warming.”. But plowed fields are dark and the crops on them as well. Add irrigation and should the difference not be minimal?. What I would consider a bigger difference between a field and a rainforest forest is the depth between the tops of a rainforest ( and the shade below it) especially in the rain forests shown on these pics. they can be hundreds of feet tall and have completely separate biospheres at different levels. Was that taken into account here?

  2. And human caused, but it’s inconveniently located in places where the wealth redistribution potential is low.

    • Peta in Cumbria April 3, 2015 at 8:24 am
      Why does that CO2 graph, when detrended, show a steeper rise during warmer than average years – if not something very temperature sensitive is creating the stuff? Totally counter intuitive if FFs are the cause of the CO2.

      Not counter intuitive, about half of the annual emissions due to fossil fuel combustion are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere. Warming the surface will reduce the amount absorbed thus leading to the steeper rise.

      • “The more forests we clear, the more we increase risks for food production due to changes in temperature.”
        Try growing food without clearing the forest.
        “this information can help decision makers and stakeholders design policies that help to sustain local agricultural practices”
        Let’s let the farmers decide.

  3. IOW the difference between annual and perennial crops, what farmers do different from nature. Why does the CO2 graph start rising with the arrival in bulk of nitrogen fertiliser?
    Why does that CO2 graph, when detrended, show a steeper rise during warmer than average years – if not something very temperature sensitive is creating the stuff? Totally counter intuitive if FFs are the cause of the CO2.
    And possibly one thing more temperature sensitive than my gf – soil bacteria, anyone?
    Countless trillions of them, eating carbohydrate, breathing in oxygen and pumping out CO2 while driven hyper with soluble nitrogen.

    • Nice, but maybe it should be; “King of The Mt.”,
      In a wider perspective, Stickman’s claim seems to be MT

    • An estimate can be very precise if you want. You can estimate the weight of a pile of beans to a hundred decimal places if you like. That’s extremely precise.
      Whether it’s in any way accurate is another matter.

      • Not necessarily. Precise and accurate are not one and the same. Ask an infantryman if he would rathr have precise or accurate rounds on target.

  4. So “carbon budgets” of biomass are iffy already based on overall life cycle of CO2 and how long it takes to regenerate forests and the effect of harvesting trees to processes going on in the soil. Same is true but to an even greater extent of crop based biofuels when forests are cut down so that biofuels can be farmed from crops. Now someone shows that there is net cooling in temperate and tropical zones from forest cover via an evapotranspiration mechanism. How much longer must the insanity of growing fuel for a modern society go on before it’s put to an end for purely ecological reasons?

      • Seasonality pattern with CO2 has been very consistently demonstrated at the Mauna Loa Observatory every year since 1959. Will be interesting to see how this will be confirmed or not by the satellite. Thanks for posting this just available map.

    • Yeah, if the next NASA CO2 product looks like this, we will not get to see it. This CO2 satellite will have a failure, too.

      • There was supposed to be a new release last month. Suspect that they may be struggling with the narrative.

      • Brandon – the graph you posted of CO2 variations is of dubious value. The past CO2 data comes from ice cores, with a much lower accuracy and much lower “granularity” (time sensitivity) than the modernta. The two are therefore not directly comparable. In particular, the past data will be smoothed over extended periods, and therefore if there had been a spike in CO2 such as today’s, that spike would very likely not show up. I also note that if you go back a bit further in time, you will find CO2 concentrations that are many times higher than today’s. Food for thought …..

      • Mike Jonas,

        In particular, the past data will be smoothed over extended periods, and therefore if there had been a spike in CO2 such as today’s, that spike would very likely not show up.

        Flip that argument. If there had been a dip in CO2 levels over two centuries ….

        I also note that if you go back a bit further in time, you will find CO2 concentrations that are many times higher than today’s. Food for thought …..

        Going back 20,000 years, much of N. America was covered with glaciers. It didn’t extinct us. 120,000 years ago during the Eemian interglacial, sea levels were 5 to 7 meters higher. It didn’t extinct us.
        Neither were there 7.125 billion of us competing for ever scarcer real estate, optimizing what we have to support a much higher quality of life than our hardy ancestors.
        Apples and oranges. Food for thought.

    • vukcevic,

      Enter your comment here…

      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png
      What are the combustion products of hydrocarbons? Were humans burning as many tonnes of the stuff between 400,000 and 1,000 years ago as we are today?
      http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/sio117/ipcc_figs/IPCC_7.3small.bmp
      It’s been well known for some time that natural carbon fluxes are over an order of magnitude larger than human emissions. This is an equilibrium system. CO2 sinks are not obligated to immediately soak up all of our contributions, which they would have to for the atmospheric mixing ratio to stay constant.
      As Bill Illis points out, atmospheric CO2 concentration cycles seasonally, something which we’ve known at least since Keeling’s work in the mid-1950s:
      http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/datasets/mauna/image3_full.jpg
      I think you understand all these things, and are just testing folks. But I’m not sure.

      • Why does Mauna Loa not have any CO2 in the atmosphere after 2006 ? Who turned it off ?

      • It went off scale. Panic. Now.
        A scale only going up to 400 illustrates very well the astonishing myopia and narrowness of view of climate science considering that multicellular life and the Phanerozoic biomes and ecosystems evolved with CO2 levels up to 10,000 ppm.
        The scale is the problem, not the CO2.

      • phlogiston,
        The lowest possible CO2 mixing ratio is 0 ppmv. The problem is thinking that reality responds to how we graph it. Y-axis scaling games “trick” eyes and minds if they fool anything … not the planet. What if our modern civilization had evolved at CO2 10,000 ppmv and were dropping rapidly toward 400 ppmv? It’s not the absolute levels which matter, but the relative change in a geological eye blink of time that is cause for concern.

      • Just been on a forum on an astronomy course offered by Coursera. The tutor, Mr Brown of Cal Tech actually said, and I paraphrase, ‘if only we could find a way to get rid of the CO2 on Earth’. Hey, what a brilliant idea!

      • Jay Hope,
        Not so brilliant … blithering idiocy is more like it. You wouldn’t happen to have a link to the discussion?

    • Obviously the whole of Brazil is on fire.
      Damned if I can figure out what is burning off the West coast of Southern Africa.
      In Australia, nothing grows so there is nothing to burn except coal, but not enough people to burn it. (everybody in Australia burns wood; darned if I know where they get it, but I think most of it was deliberately planted by my sister, and her husband.)

      • Brandon Gates, I don’t have a link to the forum. But the course is called ‘Science of the Solar System’ and the forum discussion is entitled ‘Venus Terraforming’. Coursera is a hotbed for warmists. You won’t get any tutor, as far as I can see, who won’t embrace the prevailing beliefs. On another Coursera course, I was disheartened to see someone as talented as Prof Chris Impey stating that the hokey stick (sorry, the hockey stick) was one of the great scientific truths of modern times. The course is free, so it’s just asking for an army of ‘trolls’ to go in there with guns blazing……..

      • Jay Hope,

        But the course is called ‘Science of the Solar System’ and the forum discussion is entitled ‘Venus Terraforming’.

        Ah. Well Brown’s lament makes more sense in that context. I seriously doubt he actually meant removing all CO2 from Earth’s atmosphere would be a Good Thing.

        Coursera is a hotbed for warmists.

        Pun intended of course …

        You won’t get any tutor, as far as I can see, who won’t embrace the prevailing beliefs.

        For myself, the loose collection of alternative hypotheses aren’t terribly compelling, which I see as a real pity.

        On another Coursera course, I was disheartened to see someone as talented as Prof Chris Impey stating that the hokey stick (sorry, the hockey stick) was one of the great scientific truths of modern times.

        Matter of opinion I guess. I’m bad at such lists but the work of Watson and Crick (but don’t forget others, like Franklin!) would be my #1, followed very shortly by Einstein and Planck. Actually, I may need to reverse that, because I think you need QM to get to X-ray crystallography ….

        The course is free, so it’s just asking for an army of ‘trolls’ to go in there with guns blazing……..

        [chortle] Not that anyone would be deliberately disruptive, mind ……

      • “””””…..Matter of opinion I guess. I’m bad at such lists but the work of Watson and Crick (but don’t forget others, like Franklin!) would be my #1, followed very shortly by Einstein and Planck. Actually, I may need to reverse that, because I think you need QM to get to X-ray crystallography ………”””””
        I don’t think you do. simple diffraction theory will do.
        And I would not ever mention the names of Watson and Crick in connection with x-ray crystallography; they would be the last names I would come up with.
        As I recall, the key x-ray crystallography work done on the DNA molecule, that led to the double helix, was done by a very smart young woman, who did the exacting work. Unfortunately she died prematurely, I think from cancer, and as a result, she never received the credit that was due to her, for unraveling the DNA double helix.
        One of the two serendipitous nobellists, never ever acknowledged her work.
        Sorry, I wish I could remember her name.
        The recognition does not always go to the deserving.

      • george e. smith,

        I don’t think you do. simple diffraction theory will do.

        Interesting thought. The idea predates the formal elucidation of QM in literature, but only just. I’m too ignorant of the particulars to argue it further.

        Sorry, I wish I could remember her name.

        Rosalind Franklin. I always go out of my way to mention her. 🙂

        The recognition does not always go to the deserving.

        Alas.

  5. So when a questionnaire asks if climate change is real and man-made, most self respecting scientists would likely answer in the affirmative, yet CO₂ emissions don’t come into it.

    • No they wouldn’t. If they did they should quit and flip burgers. Climate change is ’caused’ by atmospheric, oceanic, solar and axial tilt cycles. deforestation is a very minor effect.
      Perhaps what you meant to say is that man via deforestation ”inconsequentially affects climate?

  6. Contrary to the study’s fundamental premise, lower albedo of forests need not produce higher temperatures. After all, a very substantial portion of forest-absorbed insolation goes into producing growth through photosynthesis. That’s basic plant physiology!

    • Yes, but the fraction diverted into biomass is small; less than 5% typically. Really productive environments might produce 0.1 GJ of primary production with available sunlight of 1.7 GJ per meters squared per year.

      • Yeah, but this doesn’t translate into warming on the forest floor. It could be important for creatures who live in the canopy I suppose one could argue.

      • Gary:
        Spot on! In tropical rain forests daytime temperatures in the canopy are several degrees Celsius warmer.. The shade provided by the canopy sharply reduces the insolation available for thermalizing the forest floor.

      • Some of the radiation falling on the canopy is converted into chemical energy by photosynthesis and is not therefore available to be radiated back to space.
        If the planet is greening, as we are told, this increase in biomass should have a cooling effect.

    • Well our wonderful Governor, Moonbeam Brown, has come up with his own cure for California’s drought problem.
      He has publicly challenged Californians to let all their lawns die, and be replaced with State help, by stone lawns, made out of water proof rocks, which the State will provide.
      it’s called the “Snows of Kilimanjaro” project; well maybe that is the “Rapa Nui Forestry project.”
      How the hell, did part of Polynesia become Chilean territory ?

    • Oh, that would explain why I have not seen recent photos or discussion of it. It went dark in the media like all the other scare talk items that were not cooperating.

    • That and the fact that it was actually sublimation and not temperature that was shown to cause the reduced ice.

      • sabretruthtiger,
        Well I’ll be dipped in poo and covered with peanuts …
        http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/2007/4/the-shrinking-glaciers-of-kilimanjaro-can-global-warming-be-blamed/99999
        The observations described above point to a combination of factors other than warming air—chiefly a drying of the surrounding air that reduced accumulation and increased ablation—as responsible for the decline of the ice on Kilimanjaro since the first observations in the 1880s. The mass balance is dominated by sublimation, which requires much more energy per unit mass than melting; this energy is supplied by solar radiation.
        These processes are fairly insensitive to temperature and hence to global warming. If air temperatures were eventually to rise above freezing, sensible-heat flux and atmospheric long-wave emission would take the lead from sublimation and solar radiation. Since the summit glaciers do not experience shading, all sharp-edged features would soon disappear. But the sharp-edged features have persisted for more than a century. By the time the 19th-century explorers reached Kilimanjaro’s summit, vertical walls had already developed, setting in motion the loss processes that have continued to this day.

        And from John Cook at SkS: https://www.skepticalscience.com/mount-kilimanjaro-snow.htm
        Indeed deforestation seems to be causing Mount Kilimanjaro’s shrinking glacier so Gore got this wrong.

      • KLM and other European airlines give arriving passengers a thrill before swinging east to Dar es salaam (TZ) or Mombasa, Kenya. I got the same view in 1987 and 1989 when working on a dimension stone project near Moshi, Tanzania and a close up view by climbing it in 1989. It was darn cold when I was there – the third camp is up in the snow.

  7. …This phenomenon, called evapotranspiration, causes cooling…

    Well, I’m pretty sure that when all is settled and done, evapotranspiration causes cooling. But along the way it also causes precipitation which results in warming in places. Once again the devil is in the details.

  8. Forests are just another part of the climate control system. Note that when and where it’s hot they have a net cooling effect, and when and where it’s cold they have a warming effect … another part of the emergent global climate control mechanism.
    w.

    • Willis,
      By what mechanism(s)? How many W/m^2 are you talking?
      While I would argue that human intelligence is an emergent property of the system, calling our wilful deforestation efforts deterministic is a bit of a stretch. IOW, your conclusion wouldn’t follow from premises even if your “analysis” wasn’t slipshod.

      • Whether warming or cooling is happening does not depend on Wm^-2.
        It just depends on “if.”
        With a working range of Temperatures from -94 deg. C up to at least +60 deg. C, any reasonable amount of Wm^-2 will barely get noticed.

      • george e. smith,

        Whether warming or cooling is happening does not depend on Wm^-2.

        Um … well, this is a gross oversimplification, but a good place to start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_body

        It just depends on “if.”

        If what? This is a physical system with many known properties.

        With a working range of Temperatures from -94 deg. C up to at least +60 deg. C, any reasonable amount of Wm^-2 will barely get noticed.

        Why should the absolute temperature range have anything to do with this? The main problem I’d look to is the massive nature of the system. That’s why I asked Willis about energy flux per unit area.

      • Brandon Gates April 3, 2015 at 12:22 pm

        Willis,
        By what mechanism(s)? How many W/m^2 are you talking?
        While I would argue that human intelligence is an emergent property of the system, calling our wilful deforestation efforts deterministic is a bit of a stretch. IOW, your conclusion wouldn’t follow from premises even if your “analysis” wasn’t slipshod.

        Asking a man questions while insulting him by calling his work “slipshod” is no way to go through life, Brandon … however, I’ll overlook your childish accusation and answer your question.
        First, I ask people to quote my words for exactly this reason. You go on about “willful deforestation” and “deterministic”, when I said nothing about either deforestation or determinism. As a result you have set yourself a fool’s errand, you are chasing shadows of your own making that have nothing to do with my words.
        What I was referring to was this part of the head post (emphasis mine):

        For example, the researchers found that tropical forests, which occur closest to the equator, have a strong cooling effect year-round. Boreal forests, which occur furthest from the equator, and temperate forests, which occur between tropical and boreal forests, show a seasonal variation. Boreal forests have strong warming in winter and moderate cooling in summer with net warming annually, and temperate forests show moderate cooling in summer and moderate warming in winter with net cooling annually.

        My comment was simply highlighting the nature, not the quantity but the nature of the relationship of forests and temperature—I noted that in colder areas the forests warm the earth, and where it is warmer forests cool the earth. I pointed it out as another of the many emergent phenomena which act in a homeostatic manner to stabilize the temperature of the earth.
        In response you get all ugly, accuse me of slipshod work, rave about “wilful [sic] deforestation”, and ask me how strong the effect is in W/m2 … Brandon, I don’t know how strong it is, nor was that the topic I was addressing. I was commenting on the direction of the effect (towards thermostasis), not its amplitude.
        Now, I agree that the amplitude of the effect is certainly of scientific interest. And if you want to pursue that question, I encourage and support you in doing just that … but my not doing so is not a reason to claim that my comment on the forest-temperature relationship was “slipshod”. For heavens sake, it’s a two-sentence comment, my good man, not a scientific paper.
        w.

      • Willis,

        Asking a man questions while insulting him by calling his work “slipshod” is no way to go through life, Brandon … however, I’ll overlook your childish accusation and answer your question.

        Very gracious of you.

        First, I ask people to quote my words for exactly this reason. You go on about “willful deforestation” and “deterministic”, when I said nothing about either deforestation or determinism. As a result you have set yourself a fool’s errand, you are chasing shadows of your own making that have nothing to do with my words.

        The person who alerted me to your response, clipe, was just complaining about my blockquotes. I can’t win.
        I know your request, and normally do follow it. I’m making my own argument with “willful deforestation” and “deterministic”, but perhaps the moment has passed to pursue it.

        My comment was simply highlighting the nature, not the quantity but the nature of the relationship of forests and temperature—I noted that in colder areas the forests warm the earth, and where it is warmer forests cool the earth. I pointed it out as another of the many emergent phenomena which act in a homeostatic manner to stabilize the temperature of the earth.

        Sure. The king daddy of them all is that radiative flux varies as the 4th power of temperature. In these parts, folks latch onto cooling and stabilizing mechanisms as if they’re the only thing which matter. I try to walk the Tao, but sometimes I see a need to move firmly into Yang territory. Due to the polarized nature of this topic, sometimes it feels like I just don’t have a choice.

        In response you get all ugly, accuse me of slipshod work, rave about “wilful [sic] deforestation”, and ask me how strong the effect is in W/m2 … Brandon, I don’t know how strong it is, nor was that the topic I was addressing. I was commenting on the direction of the effect (towards thermostasis), not its amplitude.

        My attitude toward you doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Rather than revisit past slights by way of trying to justify it I’ll simply use more neutral terms next time I ask you a question and see how that goes.

        Now, I agree that the amplitude of the effect is certainly of scientific interest. And if you want to pursue that question, I encourage and support you in doing just that … but my not doing so is not a reason to claim that my comment on the forest-temperature relationship was “slipshod”. For heavens sake, it’s a two-sentence comment, my good man, not a scientific paper.

        I’ve given that speech before in various forms, so I know the frustration well. However, “… another part of the emergent global climate control mechanism” read to me like a rather strong conclusion along the lines of, “Hey, we’ve got a self-stabilizing system here, no cause for concern”. Well, I believe it is a self-stabilizing system, else we wouldn’t be here. I don’t believe there’s no cause for concern.
        I do see a lot of strong conclusions drawn here on very incomplete analyses. Also a lot of hints toward conclusions which aren’t explicitly stated — those are most frustrating, but that’s not your usual style. I call them as I see them, sometimes I get it wrong.

    • Being a biogeographer, much of this was known, but I agree that we have never had an ability to measure the components. Being Canadian, and working in the boreal forest for most of my life, I am very interested in what we can learn about the winter warming effect of coniferous forests. The data on albedo related to coniferous forests versus the low angle and short duration of winter sunlight will be interesting. As long as these data are protected from “adjustment” I see promise in this avenue of research.

  9. China is definitely taking the lead in climate science.
    Mainly by following the scientific method instead of just supporting yesterday’s headlines.
    Shape of things to come across academia

    • Agreed. There have been a number of recent examples of Chinese scientists concentrating on the science and not kowtowing to CAGW dogma. Very encouraging.

      • That’s a valid and interesting observation, but begs the question: is the research over there any less agenda- driven than the research over here? There is such a tremendous body of evidence which points to dogmatic research result, that all of Western science is now painted with the same odorous brush.

      • Alan @ 11.57 am:
        There could well be agenda, but if it results in more research into natural climate drivers it will extremely valuable.

    • Alan Robertson, you make a good point.
      But although they may be blighted with a similar malaise to us… at least it is a different malaise.
      We will get competition of ideas.
      That will provide an antidote to the intellectual stagnation we are seeing in the West (in Academia).

  10. Willis beat me to it. Negative feedbacks are swirling all around us.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Chatelier%27s_principle
    “In chemistry, Le Châtelier’s principle … can be used to predict the effect of a change in conditions on .. chemical equilibrium:
    When a system at equilibrium is subjected to change in concentration, temperature, volume, or pressure, then the system readjusts itself to (partially) counteract the effect of the applied change and a new equilibrium is established.
    It is common to take Le Châtelier’s principle to be a more general observation, roughly stated:Any change in status quo prompts an opposing reaction in the responding system.”
    The principle has even been invoked in economics in the demand response to change in price and broadly in thermodynamics for predicting effects. I think it is a good model for climate change.

    • LC’s principle IS very general.
      When you apply current to a DC motor, and it starts turning, it starts generating a back EMF that cancels out all of the current, except that necessary to sustain the roation.
      When radiation generated by a high QE LED gets optically trapped in the diode, it is recaptured by the LED acting as a photo-diode, and generates a reverse current that raises the apparent internal series impedance of the LED.
      I could cite a bunch more but so can anyone. If water vapor builds up over a water / air surface, and can’t escape, it cuts off further increase in evaporation (by returning water molecules to the liquid.)

  11. And here we have been told it’s ‘climate disruption’ causing local weather changes, when it’s actually deforestation

    Kill all beavers. Problem solved.

    • And of course evapotranspiration causes cooling and evapotranspiration increases with rising temperature which causes more cooling. Might as well get this study completed. Also, I’m going to invoke the Le Chatelier Principle once again as my climate model. Any forced change on a system results in the system (partly) resisting this change (its my substitute for ‘negative feedbacks abound’). The LCP is a factual dynamic in all systems. Gee, Ive been arguing against the throw.-your-hands-up chaos theory of climate and now I know why. When things go chaotic, the LCP resists this. This sets up oscillations like ice ages’ optimae and interglacials – Okay, this is my new theory for what causes ‘attractors’ in chaos theory! Please, no Nobel Prize nominations, the prize has become terminally tainted, but of course remember the Pearse Effect as chaos theory advances!!

  12. This research targets a significant factor. Don’t forget to factor in the increases from CO2 fertilization, which effects woody stemmed plants/forecasts the most.
    If, for instance the increase in CO2 from 280ppm to 400ppm has increased tree/forest growth rates at 20%/year, this must be dialed into the effects on local climate……….but on a global scale, as CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere.
    In the US Cornbelt, over the past 3 decades, corn populations have increased greatly, at close to twice the density that they were 30 years ago.
    During the growing season, this has created a microclimate that stretches out over the size of numerous states. It’s almost like a massive laboratory, using millions of acres of corn fields.
    Evapotranspiration from these corn plants has increased dew points and low level moisture by as much as 5 degrees F or more. Dew points in the mid 70’s are now common, instead of unusual and 80+ degrees was almost unheard of before these corn crop populations were increased. I’ve seen 80+ dew points at least a dozen times in recent years.
    This has caused a lower lifting condensation level, with cumulus forming earlier in the day as well as thunderstorms that have heavier rains(more precipitable water).
    Rainfall has increased as this produces a positive feedback. Daytime maximum temperatures with the additional low level moisture are lower. At night, temperatures are higher(when the dew point is 80 degrees, you won’t be dropping much below that even with calm winds and clear skies).
    On a much wider, global scale, since the increase in CO2 is leading to a significant greening of the planet, then evapotranspiration(plant transpiration) is increasing too during the growing seasons.
    This same effect, though not as pronounced as what we’ve seen in the Midwest Cornbelt is taking place globally.
    This effect is being underestimated and maybe be at least partially responsible for an increase in clouds and the lower average height of clouds…………a negative feedback to global warming
    It would partially explain the increase in global water vapor and the decrease in diurnal temperature disparities(with many more record high mins vs record high maxs).
    Here’s a good article on it.

  13. On some thread here recently the person known as “Jimbo” cited an interesting paper from Nature from 1998 (SCIENCE z VOL. 280 z 19 JUNE 1998 z) wherein researchers had used a low resolution climate model to illustrate the impact of albedo variation from vegetation on global temperature. As driving function they used increasing solar irradiance from orbital parameter changes back to the Holocene climate optimum, which sounds miniscule, but some feedbacks they found by coupling ocean-atmosphere-vegetation were quite remarkable–increasing average temperature of 2C for instance.
    If one will register successive years using vernal equinox, then it is apparent that solar insolation is currently increasing at high northern latitudes in the spring season by about 1 W/m^2 over the past millenium. It is not unreasonable to imagine that this is making spring come earlier to the arctic and part of the reason for its greening, and then part of the reason for advancing global temperature.

  14. I always find it “interesting” when things like this show up. This is s rerun of a 2003(?) paper by one of the NASA GISS tribe with Jim Hansen as co-author. It’s also an illustration of how science can be delayed by politics and bad/false science.

  15. “inform global climate models”, good luck with that.
    The “climate models require immense computational resources to run, they’re often unable to provide focused local information with reliable precision.” Too often as in never?
    After dismal failure it is time to recognize that it is not possible to model the climate, not even the weather, with any skill for longer than a few days, maybe a few weeks.
    Skilled long range forecasts can only be produced by the very best skilled meteorologists, not by programs.

  16. It was not until UHF Frequencies in 1952 and the “Space Race” began did Global Warming become an issue. Since the late 1950’s, there have been thousands of satellites launched into outer space and even more antennas built that transmit to those satellites on Earth. These Satellites orbit Earth in “Polar” and “Geo Stationary” orbits. One satellite covers an area the size of North America! With the overlapping of each satellite footprint, it is clear that as we increase the amount of satellites and the use of microwave transmissions to those satellites, the Global Warming of the Earth increases. Global Warming history completely coincides with the history of artificial satellites and the use of microwave frequencies. Today there are Satellite TV, Internet, GPS trackers, Cell phones, and a host of other uses that are increasing by the day with each of these products having millions of subscribers. Direct TV alone has 16.8 Million customers. The amount of microwave transmissions entering our atmosphere is staggering. It is not just a few hundred; but, millions of waves. http://globalmicrowave.org/
    More conformation regarding microwave heating http://www.esa.int/gsp/ACT/doc/ARI/ARI%20Study%20Report/ACT-RPT-NRG-ARI-04-9102-Environmental_impacts_of%20microwave_beams-Report.pdf

    • OK, but microwaves have much lower power than light or even infrared. We don’t worry about how much light is flooding our atmosphere, so microwaves are even a much-less concern. They can’t hurt anything unless placed in a microwave oven.

      • beng1
        “Prior to 1996, the wireless age was not coming online fast enough, primarily because communities had the authority to block the siting of cell towers. But the Federal Communications Act of 1996 made it nearly impossible for communities to stop construction of cell towers “even if they pose threats to public health and the environment”. http://nstarzone.com/WIRELESS.html

    • I was thinking the same thing. Li, Motesharrei, and Kalnay carry on the ignorance by not citing Pielke.

    • But you could have an idea, because it is now well known that the modellers were only charged to model the impact of increased atmospheric CO2 under high sensitivity scenarios and an additional water vapor positive feedback.
      I think the Pielke Sr. paper makes a lot of sense. Thanks.

    • Thanks Terry, I also thought the same thing the moment I saw the title of this article. Dr. Pielke and many others were way ahead of this topic many years ago.
      Also see: https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/?s=land+use
      I believe you will also find his frustration with the IPCC for myopic focus on CO2 and therefore his resignation from that organization.

  17. Many years ago in a University Optics class, a professor once asked ” If black is the best color for absorption and emmission, while white is best color at minimizing absorption and emmission, what is the color where absorption is maximized and re-radiation is minimized?” The class sat silent for some moments… until a sudden inspiration hit me and I blurted out “Green!”. Surprised (at me getting the answer) the prof said, “OK, but what color green?” Thankfully inspiration returned to the rescue and like a flash I said “Dark green, the color of evergreen needles…” A bit flabbergasted (the research was still only in low circulation journals) he asked “How did you know that?” My answer back then was a much more immature version of ‘One look at a pacific northwest forest perpetually shourouded in cloud, or draped in snow should tell us that those green needles need all the warmth they gcan get and hold.’
    So the question to all of you out there is – what color minimizes the absorption/emission ratio?
    The albedo impact of de-forestation depends on the greens of the forest and the greens of the crops, and perhaps more important than straight albedo is the absorption emission ratio.

    • Les.
      That assumes each of the two choices (black or white, light green or dark green, green or white) is on the exact same “texture” and microscopic material roughness and material heat transfer characteristics. Thus, both water and ice have nearly the same emmissivities, but a-carbon-blacked surface of plastic or gold behaves differently.

  18. This kind of fluctuation could substantially impact yields of crops that are highly susceptible to specific climate conditions, resulting in harvests that are less productive and less profitable.“. For goodness’ sake, what’s wrong with these people? The impact is an unknown, so the text should say “less or more productive …..“.
    Some change, even man-made change, can actually be positive, but in some quarters you would never discover that.

  19. Here’s another angle on the effects of deforestation, on CO2 sequestration, written by Tim Casey in 2008.
    http://deforestation.geologist-1011.net/
    If his numbers are correct, which seems reasonable, the cumulative effect of deforestation since 1850 would appear to be a reduction in carbon sequestration capacity since then of about 38 gigatons per annum (in 2008), rising at 500 megatons a year with continued forest loss, which somewhat dwarfs human emissions of around 8 gigatons of carbon per year.
    While the remaining vegetation and other biota are struggling valiantly, and successfully, to absorb more CO2 than formerly, the loss of so much forest in the industrial era would appear to be in itself a complete answer to rising atmospheric CO2 levels.

    • Thanks, Bob, but I doubt his numbers greatly. If they were correct, the total emissions from deforestation plus fossil fuel burning would be huge, and we see no sign of that. The cumulative human emissions since 1850 are on the order of 500 gigatonnes. According to your source the deforestation since then has put no less than 2,600 gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
      The problem with his claims seems to lie here:

      It is known that photosynthesis consumes about 120 gigatons of atmospheric carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, every year (Bowes, 1991).

      He’s only looking at half of the equation. The NET effect of any mature forest on atmospheric carbon is zero. That is to say, the amount of carbon released by decaying plant matter equals that removed by the plants from the atmosphere. If this were not true, the soils of virgin forests would either contain no carbon or would be solid carbon.
      w.

  20. “a precise, quantitative estimation of the impact of forests depending on the geographical location, tracing it back to the changes in albedo and evapotranspiration,”
    I have spent more than a few years doing “precise, quantitative estimations” of the cost of performing construction work. After years of tracking estimates versus real world costs to complete jobs I came to two conclusions. 1) Every estimate takes as much time/money as you have to complete the estimate and the more time and resources available the more you can convince yourself you know exactly what the project will cost when completed. 2) No estimate survives to see the day after you sign the contract.

  21. Now let’s just wait a minute here. Deforestation is one thing. Replanting with whatever is another thing entirely. Are they clearing the trees to plant something they can sell or are they just burning the wood? When people use that scary word, it conjures up denuded hillsides aka Mt. St. Helens. But sometimes the deforestation is replaced by terraced agriculture. With that, the calculations must take into account whatever the clearing is replanted with. Me thinks this issue is not quite as bad as the scary words in the title makes us think it is.

  22. I feel sorry for the poor guy caught holding the chainsaw. At the opposite end of our now global supply chains, wealthy hollywood greens play on their luxury yachts for which a gleaming mahogany interior and a teak deck are pretty much standard equipment. When they feel like it, they excoriate the harvesters of the raw materials (that they can’t get enough of) without a whiff of irony. Meanwhile they sit at the top of the pyramid and command the view.

  23. This must be a first: ” Climate Disruption” actually being used correctly as in ‘anthropogenic.’
    Humans cut down forest.
    Local climate is disrupted.
    Yay! Got a terminology hit. For once.
    But is the science settled?

  24. The article is highly hypothetical. Tropical forests are associated with high rainfall, high humidity, low evaporation/evapotranspiration, low temperatures with aquifers underneath. These aquifers help trees to be green throughout the year. When these areas are deforested then rainfall comes down and aquifers slowly disappear and thus increase temperature and evaporation/evapotranspiration. If these areas are brought under cultivation: rainfed or irrigated agriculture, the scenarios of climate are quite different based on the length of the period the land covers the vegetation.
    In addition to these scenarios, the movement of the Sun creates different scenarios based on the angle of incident of Sunrays. Here the type of green cover either forest trees or crops also vary with seasons.
    Let the authors compare the climate in terms of all meteorological parameters with the forests, after clearing forests and with crop planations, etc. Then only such study will carry some meaning.
    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Dr Reddy, you may find this series helpful… https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/?s=land+use
      Dr. Pielke has thought that land-use is a really big deal and the type of land-use cover has a direct impact. The papers are lengthy but the research was clear.
      Also follow the “Older Posts” links at the bottom of each page for a history of other research.

      • Again, what do you think of the research? Have you critiqued the actual papers you provide an indirect link to?

  25. In response to the Kilimanjaro reference in the post, there is plenty of evidence to consider on all three sides: ENSO shift, deforestation, and/or AGW/disruption. The more variables, the more the different camps point to their pet theory.
    Here is a paper that just examines whether or not ENSO parameters lead to change in rainfall patterns. No models. Just measured data.
    http://iri.columbia.edu/~alesall/vacs-tma/indeje_intjclim2000.pdf

      • Sorry. First, your direct link doesn’t pass the “is it the clean waters of research or the dirty waters of a grey paper” smell test. Furthermore, the link you have refers to research using models, not observations.
        It appears from the papers that I have linked to, the models would have a hard time staying off the ropes in a one to one match up with back casting in one corner, and observations in the other. And remember: with backcasting, models are trained and trimmed with fudge factors related to their pet anthropogenic theory whereas ENSO data and sensor rainfall data is data all the way down.
        So it seems that natural variability alone is equally capable of correlating with rainfall patterns compared to anthropogenic-leaning models. What does that mean? Rainfall patterns are correlated with natural variation. Plain and simple. Anthropogenic this or that (deforesting, building, warming, hotting, pouring, huricaning, tornadoing, storming, flooding, sunning, clouding, cow farting, irrigating, plowing, breathing, disrupting, etc) need not apply. This begs the question, why all the money poured into searching for the anthropogenic holy grail?
        I tell you what, God is laughing!

    • Here is another that appears to question AGW, deforestation, or just plain old Mother Nature and interannual precipitation patterns.
      http://trmm.jpl.nasa.gov/global/JGR4607.pdf
      I am left to wonder if human-sourced deforestation (as apposed to that caused by natural drought), and/or anthropogenic warming affects are minuscule and buried in the noise of natural variation.

      • California has experienced two ‘mega-droughts’ over the last millennium or so (Wikipedia): 850 AD – 1090 AD (240 years) and 1140 AD – 1320 AD (180 years). The brouhaha over the current drought is just that.

  26. Yes but chopping down rainforest for biofuels is ok, because biofuels are helping “save the planet”.

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