Claim: Greenhouse gas ‘bookkeeping’ turned on its head

Image from University of Bremen and not part of this study.

Image from University of Bremen and not part of this study.

From the CARNEGIE INSTITUTION and the “worse than we thought” department

Washington, D.C.–For the first time scientists have looked at the net balance of the three major greenhouse gases–carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide–for every region of Earth’s landmasses. They found surprisingly, that human-induced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from ecosystems overwhelmingly surpass the ability of the land to soak up carbon dioxide emissions, which makes the terrestrial biosphere a contributor to climate change. The results published in the March 10, 2016, Nature, revises our understanding of how human activity contributes to global warming.

Co-author Anna Michalak of Carnegie’s Department of Global Ecology remarked, “Typically we think of land as a net ‘sink’ of carbon dioxide. But we found that the sign of the human-induced impact is reversed if we also take into account methane and nitrous oxide.”

The scientists looked at the so-called biogenic fluxes or flow of the three greenhouse gases on land that were caused by human activities over the last three decades and subtracted out emissions that existed “naturally” during pre-industrial times. Biogenic sources include gas emissions from plants, animals, microbes, and the like. They were interested in finding out how human activities have changed the biogenic fluxes of these gases. Historically, such emissions have included methane emissions from wetlands and nitrous oxide emissions from soil. Human activity and human-caused climate change have changed the magnitude of these fluxes, however, as well as added new categories of biogenic fluxes such as those resulting from sewage, cattle, and fertilizer use.

The scientists first added up all biogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, then subtracted out those that occurred naturally prior to human intervention to get to the net amount. The study did not include non-biogenic gas emissions from activities like fossil fuel burning or natural gas production.

The team discovered that the human impact on biogenic methane and nitrous oxide emissions far outweighed the human impact on the terrestrial uptake of carbon dioxide, meaning that humans have caused the terrestrial biosphere to further contribute to warming. In other words, the terrestrial biosphere, through human action, is now contributing to climate change rather than mitigating climate change. This runs counter to conventional thinking based on previous studies, which had focused only on carbon dioxide and had emphasized the climate change mitigating effect of human impacts terrestrial carbon uptake.

The scientists found that greenhouse gas emissions vary considerably by region. Interestingly, the human-induced emissions of the gases in Southern Asia, including China and India, had a larger net warming effect compared to other areas. Southern Asia contains some 90% of the world’s rice fields and more than 60% of the world’s nitrogen fertilizer use. Thus, methane emissions in this region are largely from rice cultivation and livestock, while man-made fertilizers are a major source of nitrous oxide.

Lead author of the study, Hanqin Tain director of the International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences at Auburn University said, “This finding reveals for the first time that human activities have transformed the land biosphere to a contributor to climate change.”

“This study should serve as a wake-up call to governments, policymakers, and individuals around the world,” said Michalak. “We must expand our focus and devise strategies that target the biogenic emissions of these other greenhouse gases if we are to change the course of climate change.”

###

Of course the dead give-away that this is a political science paper rather than a real science paper comes from the last sentence.

“This study should serve as a wake-up call to governments, policymakers, and individuals around the world,”

They don’t give a link to the paper itself, because IMHO the PR generated seems more important than the paper. I dug it out.

This statement is curious:

The scientists first added up all biogenic emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, then subtracted out those that occurred naturally prior to human intervention to get to the net amount.

I wonder how they came up with a baseline when no measurements exist prior to humans being around to measure it on the ground or by satellite? That’s some magic science there. I’m guessing that is a misstatement in the press release.

human-induced-GHG-balance

Figure 2: Changes in the decadal balance of human-induced biogenic GHGs in the past three decades (based on GWP100). Data points show individual gases (blue for CO2, yellow for CH4, and red for N2O) and net human-induced GHG balance (black) derived from biogenic sources with pre-industrial biogenic CO2 sink, and CH4 and N2O emissions removed.

The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere

Abstract

The terrestrial biosphere can release or absorb the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), and therefore has an important role in regulating atmospheric composition and climate1. Anthropogenic activities such as land-use change, agriculture and waste management have altered terrestrial biogenic greenhouse gas fluxes, and the resulting increases in methane and nitrous oxide emissions in particular can contribute to climate change2, 3. The terrestrial biogenic fluxes of individual greenhouse gases have been studied extensively4, 5, 6, but the net biogenic greenhouse gas balance resulting from anthropogenic activities and its effect on the climate system remains uncertain. Here we use bottom-up (inventory, statistical extrapolation of local flux measurements, and process-based modelling) and top-down (atmospheric inversions) approaches to quantify the global net biogenic greenhouse gas balance between 1981 and 2010 resulting from anthropogenic activities and its effect on the climate system. We find that the cumulative warming capacity of concurrent biogenic methane and nitrous oxide emissions is a factor of about two larger than the cooling effect resulting from the global land carbon dioxide uptake from 2001 to 2010. This results in a net positive cumulative impact of the three greenhouse gases on the planetary energy budget, with a best estimate (in petagrams of CO2 equivalent per year) of 3.9 ± 3.8 (top down) and 5.4 ± 4.8 (bottom up) based on the GWP100 metric (global warming potential on a 100-year time horizon). Our findings suggest that a reduction in agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions, particularly in Southern Asia, may help mitigate climate change.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7593/full/nature16946.html

Like politics, this paper looks like the product of a SUPERPAC. The number of authors is telling., because as we’ve seen, the quality of a paper is generally inversely proportional to the number of authors. The paper itself has quite a Carbon Footprint with all that collaboration. From the PR:


Authors on the study are Hanqin Tian, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; Chaoqun Lu, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, and Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Philippe Ciais, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif sur Yvette, France; Anna M. Michalak, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California; Josep G. Canadell, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Canberra, Australia; Eri Saikawa, Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; Deborah N. Huntzinger,School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona; Kevin Gurney, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Temple, Arizona; Stephen Sitch, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Bowen Zhang, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, Jia Yang, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn Alabama; Philippe Bousquet, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif sur Yvette, France; Lori Bruhwiler, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder Colorado, Guangsheng Chen, Environmental Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Edward Dlugokencky, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder Colorado, Pierre Friedlingstein, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Jerry Melillo, The Ecosystem Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts, Shufen Pan, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; Benjamin Poulter, Department of Ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, Ronald Prinn, Center for Global Change Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Marielle Saunois, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif sur Yvette, France, Christopher R. Schwalm, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts; and Steven C. Wofsy, Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


The base message of the paper is that the age-old practices of rice farming in Asia is making things worse.

Our findings suggest that a reduction in agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions, particularly in Southern Asia, may help mitigate climate change.

Well, yes, but this study really hasn’t discovered anything new, we’ve known SE Asia was a big methane producer for quite some time.

scia_methane_wfmd_china_gimp

Source: http://www.iup.uni-bremen.de/sciamachy/NIR_NADIR_WFM_DOAS/wfmd_image_gallery_ch4.html

Good luck explaining to a rice paddy farmer that he’s supposedly harming the planet and has to stop the only thing that sustains his life and the life of his family. Maybe they can send some Greenpeacer’s to “explain” it to them. I’m sure they will get a warm welcome.

110 thoughts on “Claim: Greenhouse gas ‘bookkeeping’ turned on its head

  1. …Ahhhhh, I love the smell of liberal desperation in the morning, …..It smells like…VICTORY !

    • Um ! Please sir, can I go and get a glass of water ??

      All this laughing gas is likely to give me a heart attack , or burst my diaphragm . Besides it’s unseemly to cackle out loud in public.

      g

      • ..Sorry, that’s not ” laughing gas ” you are inhaling, that’s liberal ” brain farts “being expelled…Thus, the reason you feel confused !

    • Actually, can you say agenda 21? They believe they have won the deal on carbon dioxide, thus destroying energy production, now it clearly appears that they are after access to “wilderness” and growth of population centers. Lowered food production, no energy, sounds like we are on the verge of a population collapse – planned though it may well be.

      • What the various folks at the top always appear to forget is that the way larger number of folks at the bottom from time to time get terminally fed up with the excesses of the bien pensant folks at the top. At which point out come the pitch forks, flails, machetes and the like or in a more organized form the guillotines.

        Any real attempt by the agenda 21 crowd to actually prevent the rice farmer from making a living by providing food for the other folks at the bottom may well result in said agenda 21 folks being turned into compost to fertilize the rice paddies. There are plenty of examples of similar outcomes throughout history.

      • We can fix all of this once and for all by picking a nuclear war with __________ (fill in the blank). that would clean the planet up and solve everybody’s problems… except for all the darn radiation…which would bring a manmade ice age. blast those nuclear winters anyway… no one’s ever happy…

    • Marcus
      Do note the last sentence of the leading post: –
      “Maybe they can send some Greenpeacer’s to “explain” it to them. I’m sure they will get a warm welcome.”

      My guess is it depends on whether the locals are in to cannibalism.

      Auto – wishing no harm whatsoever to watermelons’ white hairs.
      At all.
      Just as they wish no harm to the other ‘90%’ of the world population . . . .

    • All peer reviewed scientific papers with more than one author, should be divided up into segments to separate, (and give credit to) each claimed named author, so we know exactly who did what.

      I know that if you file for a patent with fraudulent claimed inventors, the very first question the lawyer is going to ask in his effort to invalidate the patent in court, will be to ask each ‘inventor’ :

      Which necessary element in which numbered claim in this patent did you personally add, with no help from anybody else ??

      Many companies, will not give individual patent bonuses to any more than three named authors on any invention they try to patent.
      It’s a near certainty, that any patent with more than three named inventors, is invalid for fraudulent authorship.

      (Patentable) Invention is almost exclusively a consequence of a single mind of one person.

      One of my patents (now time expired) was invalid from the get go, because the patent examiner, before passing on the invention, stripped out, and disallowed all of the boiler plate bric-a-brac padded on to it, by the other seven named inventors, as being not relevent to the invention, and also quite obvious to persons with ordinary skill in the art.

      So the surviving invention and claims, which was a fundamental discovery by me alone, was published, still with the list of eight named inventors in alphabetic order. The stupid company patent lawyers, didn’t bother to react to the examiner’s scalpel, and remove the names of the padders and managers, from the final submission.

      Luckily, that patent eventually expired, without ever being challenged, and also without hurting anybody financially, who might have wanted to get around the patent. (no possible way of doing that, and still use the essential concept of the idea.)

      So for me, I want to know who did what in a multi-author scientific paper.

      G

      • I don’t remember who said it, but the value of any scientific paper is inversely proportional to the square of the number of authors. So true.

  2. Well, its kinda hard to blame the Koch brothers for rice farming, isn’t it?

    Although, a warmunist right now is probably going through Koch holdings like coons through a dumpster and will, inevitably, find a 6th degree link.

    • We can blame the Koch Bros. for spandex/lycra bicycle shorts.
      Nobody wants to see all that business. Too much information!!
      It’s all part of a conspir@cy by the Koch’s to get people to look stupid when using eco-friendly transport.
      Eco-loon cyclists won’t buy Koch lycra pants though.
      They knit their own shorts out of hemp and organic buckwheat noodles.

      • …But, but…Aphan wears Snuggies , and they were not made in China !! Were they ? ( Aphan and Janice are going to yell at me now, cover your ears ! )

    • But there must be MORE than thought because the SETTLED SCIENCE models regarded the land as a sink for CO2. Now it’s not, things must be even worse! Of only they could find the evidence somewhere …

  3. I’ll just stick with Willis’ Author Count Rule. I don’t have time to count, but this one looks like it pegs the Co-authorometer.

  4. But if we are vegans we generate more emissions; however, if we are meat eaters we generate more emissions…. yeah, the only way to save the earth is to kill the human race…. or tax everything, because if you tax it then it is no longer a problem

    • That is definitely the plan. A major nuclear war could do the trick but then forcing people to stave to death is another tool.

    • Yeah, taxing everything more is the big idea. It’s the only idea that they have,
      Because, why let individuals spend money on efficient solutions to the precise problems that they confront within the context of their own lifes?
      When a bunch of self-appointed Govt. monkeys can take it off them and then pay it to themselves, hurl it about as inefficiently as conceivably possible or spend it directly on shit that nobody asked for, nobody wants and nobody needs!!!
      (erm… some sarc. there)

  5. But doesn’t a warming earth mean an earth better able to produce even more agricultural products, i.e. more food. That’s what I understood…

  6. Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink.
    The 3 manmade “greenhouse gases”.
    For sure man produces no steam.
    No increased evaporation. Oh No.
    Seems they are not even trying anymore.
    How about the catastrophic combustive properties of methane and nitrous oxide…why the explosive blast will strip the planets atmosphere..burn whole cities to ash.. fry sheep and cattle whole.

    The desperation does look good on these perps.
    Almost as funny as the Democrats and Obama administration talking show trials over mocking CAGW.

    • Thanks to Hansen’s pleas, methane flatlined after 2000:

      The dark blue line is the warming impact of methane added each year – you can see it if you squint. That amount has to be divided among cow burps, food decomposing in landfills and wherenot, leaks from oil gas wells and pipelines, and of course greedy, rice-growing Cambodian farmers using up more than their share of the carbon budget.

      • Alberto — Why there was a sudden drop in deltaF during 1990-1997 and thereonwards reduction in all other three gases except CO2? Also CO2 level after 1997 is at 1985-1990 level.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      • The reduction in the red chunk is due to the CFC phaseout. In fact the graph is wrong – it continues to show small forcing increases from these gases, when in fact their concentration started dropping after 2000. (But how would you graphically depict a decline in forcing?)
        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html
        (see the bottom of the page)

        I will admit I’m at something of a loss regarding CFCs. Some sources say they accounted for a good part of manmade warming, and others say they were an asterisk. One cannot discard the possibility that these ‘estimates’ may be revised and modified after the fact, not because new evidence has arisen but simply to make them fit the temperature record. Another fudge factor is ozone: supposedly we’re making it accumulate in the troposphere (causes warming as it’s a greenhouse gas, though often excluded from the math) while destroying it in the stratosphere due to the very CFCs we used to release (so that causes cooling). So there are plenty of levers for the modelers to pull, in order to claim their projections are ‘consistent with’ reality.

        The reduction in the blue line as mentioned before is due to the methane slowdown. In fact according to NOAA it even turned negative a couple years in the 2000s – no need for the world to go vegan.

        (As you may have realized, methane emissions are both uncountable and irrelevant. Uncountable because we don’t have a good proxy for them, as opposed to fossil fuel use for CO2; how much is leaking from gas wells in Iran? And irrelevant because what determines the rate of warming is not emissions but concentrations, and to be precise the rate at which concentrations increase. If you look at the ‘methane emission estimates’ (which are pure guesswork) you will conclude that the gas makes up about 15% of the manmade greenhouse effect, whereas if you look at forcing, which is to say warming impact, it’s about 5% or even negative in some years).

        With regards to CO2:
        -Due to the logarithmic forcing effect, each ppm causes less warming than the previous. So going from 280 to 281ppm caused twice as much warming as we’ll see going from 560 to 561ppm. In the 2000s we were closing in on 400ppm while in 1990 were were at 350ppm so this effect is significant. So, even if the yearly addition was greater (let’s say it jumped from 1ppm to 2ppm), the forcing wouldn’t jump so much (perhaps growth of 80% instead of 100%). Seems the problem is taking care of itself.
        -Although emissions grew like crazy, the yearly additions grew less quickly. In other words, the airborne fraction of CO2, the amount that remains in the atmosphere, declined quite drastically from the 1990s to the 2000s. See figure 3 in this Hansen paper.
        http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/011006/pdf

        Of course, the fact that nobody saw this coming, or that they cannot even explain it after the fact, hasn’t deterred the modelers from forecasting the carbon cycle in the year 3000.

      • Alberto — During the drop in fact there is no change in CFCs but the drop is seen in CO2 and Methane.

        Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  7. “and subtracted out emissions that existed “naturally” during pre-industrial times.”

    … bin.

  8. “This study should serve as a wake-up call to governments, policymakers, and individuals around the world”

    Yes indeed: reduce the funding for such crap to zero.

    • from a mail a friend sent..I heard the report on..of all places..;-) aussie abc national radio
      had me roaring laughing.
      Times Higher Education

      Academics ‘regularly lie to get research grants’
      Scholars in the UK and Australia contemptuous of impact statements and often exaggerate them, study suggests

      A new study anonymously interviewed 50 senior academics from two research-intensive universities – one in the UK and one in Australia – who had experience writing “pathways to impact” (PIS) statements, as they are called in the UK, and in some cases had also reviewed such statements.

      It was normal to sensationalise and embellish impact claims, the study published in Studies in Higher Education found.

      We reward those who exaggerate, then wonder what happened to the straight-talkers.

      Respondents said that future projections of impact were “charades” or “made-up stories”. As one UK professor put it: “would I believe it? No, would it help me get the money – yes.”

      The whole idea of predicting the impact of the undiscovered is “unscientific”. One scientist lamented that “authors would require skills of clairvoyance …”

      Would it help if that impact statement was printed in the Sydney Morning Herald?

      If scientists want this to change they need to protest, not pander. But after decades of the grant game, how many real scientists are left?

  9. Told this to reddit a couple months ago, was told I was full of shit. Guess I’m not full of shit now. Maybe I am? I dunno.

    Basically we have verifiable and measurable proof that we’re reducing the planet’s ability to recover and sequester CO2, nobody can argue against that.

    But yes, this article is clutching at straws since there were more heads of cattle in North America before we started feed lots.

    • prjindigo:

      You assert

      Basically we have verifiable and measurable proof that we’re reducing the planet’s ability to recover and sequester CO2, nobody can argue against that.

      There is no need for argument because nature refutes your assertion.

      Each year the emissions to the air of CO2 from human activity increase and an amount of CO2 equivalent to about half the CO2 from human activity is sequestered from the air. Hence, there is verifiable and measured proof of a continuing INCREASE in “the planet’s ability to recover and sequester CO2”.

      Very, very little is known about the carbon cycle or about how and why the carbon cycle is adjusting to increase the CO2 in the air, but the little that is known should not be stated to be other than it is.

      Richard

      • Actually Richard it is well known, as you well know, that optimum levels for plant growth are 1200 ppm.

        So quite simply the only expected response of the biosphere to increases of CO2 would be biospheric expansion. The claimed increases in CO2, if it were being caused by human activity, if those claimed increases are true, which I doubt, as human emissions are so tiny in comparison to other sources, would simply be consumed by biospheric expansion all the way up and beyond 1200 ppm in the atmosphere.

        Then, after a few million years of optimal atmospheric CO2 levels above 1200 ppm and a few more million years of biospheric maximisation, back to prehistoric giant plants and animals kind of biospheric expansion, perhaps then, maybe our paltry CO2 emissions may have an effect on global levels, but certainly not on temperature.

  10. “This study should serve as a wake-up call to governments, policymakers, and individuals around the world,” said Michalak. “We must expand our focus and devise strategies that target the biogenic emissions of these other greenhouse gases if we are to change the course of climate change.”

    The money quote.

    • but wait…I’m confused…

      How could the worst contributor to the problem be China????

      Isn’t communism supposed to be the model of government that will save us from global warming????

      “China’s ability to weather disastrous climate change vindicated the necessity of centralised government … inspiring similar structures in other, reformulated nations.” Naomi Oreskes

      https://climatism.wordpress.com/category/communism/

      United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said that democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she says, is the best model.

      http://dailycaller.com/2014/01/15/un-climate-chief-communism-is-best-to-fight-global-warming/

      • A lot of Chinese co authors here: they conclude that China and India have a problem. They just tap into the facile meme that these two Asian giants are on par regarding emissions -> “Southern Asia”, a big lie. India has close to non pig farms for example nor double or triple harvests on 90% of its agricultural lands.

  11. Didn’t someone somewhere say that the worth of any study is inversely proportional to the number of authors?

    I can’t even count the number on this one ;(

  12. The first graph shows the usual hockey stick shape, but only since about 2007. I’m pretty sure that quite a few people in Asia grew rice before then. What is supposed to have changed in 2007?

    • It’s a combination of cherry-picking (what’s so special about 2003?) and a mutilated y-axis. In fact the mystery is why methane is growing so slowly – far more so than 50 years ago, when we had 1/2 the population, 1/3 the meat consumption, far less oil and gas wells, etc. See either of the two charts I’ve posted in this thread.

      To quantify stuff, the IPCC’S AR5 report said methane forcing had grown by 0.01 w/m2 between 2005 and 2011. That’s 0.167w/m2 per century. This means that if we got methane to stop growing altogether, if levels stabilized, we would avoid a temperature rise of 0.6ºC.

      That’s not for the next century. That’s for the next millenium.

  13. while man-made fertilizers are a major source of nitrous oxide.

    Huh. So what is the major fertilizer used in the production of corn for the purpose of producing fuel for cars? If we apply the same methodology does it turn out that the stuff that is supposed to reduce CO2 by being a “renewable” fuel actually has the opposite effect?

    ‘cuz that would be really funny.

    • I haven’t researched the question so perhaps someone could advise me. Are nitrogen fertilizers made from mineral sources or from air. I E is the effect neutral?

      Max

      • Ever heard of ‘fixing nitrogen’.

        Try ammonia as a starting point for making nitrogenous fertilizer.

        Only lightning can make fertilizer out of the air.

        Well automobiles do it too especially high compression ratio engines.

        g

      • Actually, the Haber process fixes N from the air and uses methane to make ammoniacal fertilizers.
        There’s a number of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, also.

  14. ..When we start holding these ” scientists ” ACCOUNTABLE for their claims, these outrageously STUPID claims will stop ! Let’s get back to logic !

  15. Well “Lucy has some ‘splainin’ to do.” Now methane and his minions have been discovered in far greater numbers,.. but it still has not warmed even up to the projected levels of CO2 theorized level of influence. This despite all of the hand wringing over the greater theorized effects of methane and Nitrogen gases. Don K said it beautifully. We have just got to stop growing food,.. problem solved. LOL

    Maybe all of the money being spent on AGW programs would be far better spent on researching new ideas on how to grow food with higher nutritional value more efficiently. Over the years I have discovered that nature has ways that plants and their biosphere interact that the university professors can presently comprehend. Ah but alas they too have become dependent upon money coming from sources which indeed have an agenda.

    Because of this human tendency (as many commenting on this site know), the teaching of the history of human bias and failures in science and politics needs to be included in the curriculum for all degree requirements. For anyone who is interested there is a very good DVD made a number of years back by the A&E entertainment people called “Longitude”, based on the book by the same name. It is an account of the history behind the invention of the first accurate marine clock which was capable of functioning aboard the tall ships of the time as well as under the difficult conditions that one encounters at sea.

    The story addresses both the scientific and political atmosphere of the time, which suggests that the behavior of people has not changed much. In fact knowledge of human behavior is what helped to create the scientific method. Sadly during my career as a researcher and Chemical Engineer shocked me into the realization that corruption can take root anywhere people are involved. Politics does not have the market cornered on that practice.

    It is a deep pleasure for me to read the articles and comments on this site. Thank you Anthony as well as everyone who contributes to your effort.

  16. You can understand why the climate scam is so prevalent, how much did this paper cost, why were so many people involved, who pays the cost and what would they all do without being able to loot the taxpayers wallet and could they really do a proper job??

    Authors on the study are Hanqin Tian, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; Chaoqun Lu, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, and Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Philippe Ciais, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif sur Yvette, France; Anna M. Michalak, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California; Josep G. Canadell, Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Canberra, Australia; Eri Saikawa, Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; Deborah N. Huntzinger,School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona; Kevin Gurney, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Temple, Arizona; Stephen Sitch, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Bowen Zhang, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, Jia Yang, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn Alabama; Philippe Bousquet, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif sur Yvette, France; Lori Bruhwiler, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder Colorado, Guangsheng Chen, Environmental Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Edward Dlugokencky, NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder Colorado, Pierre Friedlingstein, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom; Jerry Melillo, The Ecosystem Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts, Shufen Pan, International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; Benjamin Poulter, Department of Ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, Ronald Prinn, Center for Global Change Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Marielle Saunois, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif sur Yvette, France, Christopher R. Schwalm, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, and Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts; and Steven C. Wofsy, Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    • I counted (well, Excel helped) 23 authors
      from 15 institutions
      in 4 countries
      across 3 continents
      collaborated to produce this paper.

      It truly is a global consensus (of crap)

      • After noticing groups of surnames by nationality, I started sorting authors into institutions looking for a pattern.
        I have no idea why I wasted time on this but here it is in all its glory! ;-)

        International Center for Climate and Global Change Research, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama:

        Hanqin Tian
        Chaoqun Lu
        Bowen Zhang
        Jia Yang
        Shun Pan

        Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, Gif sur Yvette, France:

        Philippe Ciais
        Philippe Bousquet
        Marielle Saunois

        Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford, California:

        Anna M. Michalak

        Global Carbon Project, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Canberra, Australia:

        Josep G. Canadell

        Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia:

        Eri Saikawa

        School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona:

        Deborah N. Huntzinger
        Christopher R. Schwalm (And WHRC, Falmouth, Massachusetts)

        School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Temple, Arizona:

        Kevin Gurney

        College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom:

        Stephen Sitch

        College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom:

        Pierre Friedlingstein

        NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division, Boulder Colorado:

        Lori Bruhwiler
        Edward Dlugokencky

        Environmental Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee:

        Guangsheng Chen

        The Ecosystem Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts:

        Jerry Melillo

        Department of Ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana:

        Benjamin Poulter

        Center for Global Change Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts:

        Ronald Prinn

        Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts:

        Steven C. Wofsy

  17. Looking at the seasonal charts where the colour changes to white, would I assume that the values are significantly lower than those on the scale ?

  18. “For the first time scientists have looked at the net balance of the three major greenhouse gases–carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide …”

    What happened to water in this pantheon of GHG’s?

  19. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the root of the problem is really Misanthropy!

    Misanthropy is the general hatred, distrust or contempt of the human species or human nature. A misanthrope or misanthropist is someone who holds such views or feelings. The word’s origin is from the Greek words μῖσος (misos, “hatred”) and ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos, “man, human”). The condition is often confused with asociality. Misanthropy

    These people must so hate humanity, that they must retch every time they look in the mirror.

  20. Besides the scientific “value” of this paper, there is some real base in it. CH4 (and probably N2O levels indeed increased with humans. The pre-industrial base is from ice cores, which show the (real in this case) hockeystick, here for methane:

    Similar values of around 700 ppbv were measured in the Vostok ice core for the previous warmer interglacial, the Eemian, some 110,000 years ago.

    The levels are increasing less fast since ~1990, probably because of the spread of “dry” rice culture, where the wet time is reduced and increasing drainage of wetland and the removal of leaks in natural gas distribution systems. More graphs at:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/aggi/aggi.html

    About the effect of these increases: at least small, if measurable at all…

    • I take the start-and-stop nature of methane’s rice as (weak) evidence that the main driver is oil and gas exploration, which varies a lot from decade to decade. Not just the numbers of rigs involved in drilling, but the places, the technologies used (or not) for gas capture and flaring, etc. By contrast agriculture, livestock, etc. have very stable numbers and means of production. Of course to this you should add a bajillion things in the carbon cycle we don’t understand.

      Whatever the case, the methane ‘problem’ seems to have taken care of itself – concentrations now rising at the same rate as 100 years ago.

    • Ferdinand:

      That ‘hockey stick’ demonstrates the problem with claiming ice cores act like sample bottles for atmospheric air. It shows nothing else.

      Richard

      • Richard,

        If you don’t like the data, the data must be wrong?

        There is a 20 year overlap between ice core data and direct atmospheric measurements and CO2 levels of the same average age in ice cores with extreme differences in accumulation rate and temperature show similar CO2 levels…

  21. Judging by the list of contributors it looks like the average contribution is about 3.2 words per institution?

  22. “They found surprisingly…”

    Surprisingly, huh. Well color me shocked. Sounds to me more like this is from the “Let’s move the scare on from carbon dioxide to something else because it’s not working” department, from the University of QSOF (Quick, Save Our Funding).

  23. My question was not posted. Do they make nitrogen fertilizer from N2 extracted from air or minerals?

    Max

  24. “Good luck explaining to a rice paddy farmer that he’s supposedly harming the planet and has to stop the only thing that sustains his life and the life of his family. Maybe they can send some Greenpeacer’s to “explain” it to them. I’m sure they will get a warm welcome”. Of course no activist is going to say anything because it is not big oil or big coal (even though millions of people across the world are sustained by big oil and big coal).

  25. Ha ha ha

    Nature probably had to add two pages to the article length just for all those authors! How many trees did that kill?

    That human induced biogenic flux of GHGs chart is really interesting. Median trend lines through all the measurement points shows the trends are either flat or on a downslope. Yet over the same time frame we’ve added two billion people (and associated plant and animal food production) to the population.

    Can someone explain that to me?

  26. The solution to all the methane production from growing rice is simple – just nuke Asia & the demand for rice will drop by 99%. As a serendipitous byproduct, this solution will also satisfy green political parties around the world by reducing the human population by several billion.

    • Another benefit I just thought of is, it will appeal to those millions of Western industrial workers whose jobs were outsourced to Asian labour over the last 40 years. Detroit will see a return to it’s heyday & the gods will be pleased.

  27. Two problems here.

    CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing at about one half the rate of emissions (about 0.55 vs 1% per year). So there is a large net absorption.

    Methane (CH4) has a short life of a few years combining with oxygen forming H2O and CO2, but in parts per billion not million.

    BTW, how does a such a long list of authors write one paper?

    • What I meant so say is that the IPCC estimates are based on man made emissions growing at a rate that will increase atmospheric CO2 content about 1% per year. The Manua Loa data shows about one half of this.

    • “…how does a such a long list of authors write one paper?”
      Perhaps by renting an exclusive convention retreat and staying until a consensus is achieved.

  28. http://www.impactlab.net/2008/06/09/scientists-surprised-to-find-earths-biosphere-booming/
    Our results indicate that global changes in climate have eased several critical climatic constraints to plant growth, such that net primary production increased 6% (3.4 petagrams of carbon over 18 years) globally. The largest increase was in tropical ecosystems. Amazon rain forests accounted for 42% of the global increase in net primary production, owing mainly to decreased cloud cover and the resulting increase in solar radiation.

    The terrestrial biosphere is indeed a net sink of CO2.

  29. Like politics, this paper looks like the product of a SUPERPAC. The number of authors is telling., because as we’ve seen, the quality of a paper is generally inversely proportional to the number of authors./

    A case of, “Too many Cooks spoil the truth”?

  30. Some time ago I made a humorously serious comment about the unknown and unknowable variables left out of 100 year climate models. (I’ll spare everyone by not repeating it.)
    Perhaps if I’d included increased production of nitrous oxide readers would have enjoyed it more?

  31. Since greenhouse gasses don’t have a greenhouse effect, and the Earth is not warming, I wonder if Chris “The Pause” Monckton will have an article this month about how The Pause is still pausing, despite the Earth warming because of the greenhouse effect of greenhouse gasses.

    • dcpetterson:

      Your post clearly says you are upset at the continuing slow demise of the global warming scare which is further demonstrated by the paper under discussion.

      Please state if your post was intended to say anything else.

      Richard

      • Obviously interpretation of what is being said is often subjective, and people read things in different ways.

        I found the comment somewhat difficult to understand, but I thought he was suggesting that (so called and misnamed) greenhouse gases do not have a greenhouse effect, so whether the globe is warming or is not the prime issue, he thinks that the globe is warming, since any warming is not down to the (so called and misnamed) greenhouse effect brought about by (so called and misnamed) greenhouse gases.

        I may be mistaken, possibly because I hold the view that there is no hard evidence to suggest that any changes in temperature are not entirely natural in origin, and it is human nature to read what one wants to read and I hold the view that almost all the data in this ‘science’ is cr@p and not fit for scientific purpose..

  32. Let them eat cake! Problem solved. Cattle cake can be diverted from Beef Fodder to starving rice farmers , But we then need to drain the paddie fields which are producing the methane and where will the water go? Floods down stream? Problems, problems.

  33. “I wonder how they came up with a baseline when no measurements exist prior to humans being around to measure it on the ground or by satellite?”

    The answer is very simple – they used Professor Peabody’s way-back machine to go back and make the measurements. Of course the real answer is they fabricated them.

  34. Another Piece where theoretical science is being used in place of empirical, provable scientific principles. (this is to the quasi-scientist who put this report together) show me the actual data points gathered by observation and explain HOW you arrived at this conclusion using scientific measurements tracked over a long period of time and, while you are at it (like others on this forum have stated) Just how have you delineated naturally occurring greenhouse gas values from those produced by humanity?

  35. How many more humans were added to the global human pop in the last 18 years of nuffin?

    And yet a billion or 2 more humans should be more of sumfin, right?

    Sorry, a 2-second logic reality-check indicated the the claim is useless krud.

  36. “Southern Asia, including China and India”: sorry folks South Asia is the label for the Indian subcontinent and China is not on it.
    Nice try to shift the focus on India (again) while in fact the biggest emitter is again PR China. India is on par with Eastern USA, Northern South America, Central Africa and southern Russia -Siberia as the first map above shows.

  37. “… the quality of a paper is generally inversely proportional to the number of authors. The paper itself has quite a Carbon Footprint with all that collaboration. From the PR: …”

    The lady doth protest too much.

    Is that supposed to be convincing?

    GI = GO

    • As was pointed out up higher in the replies, it went from almost nothing in 1800, to still almost but not quite nothing today.

      Now, if you could make a high-yield dehydrated rice paddy and thus stop all that awful pollution of evaporated greenhouse H2O you’d have something … if that were a problem … which it isn’t. lol :-)

  38. “Typically we think of land as a net ‘sink’ of carbon dioxide.”
    This puzzles me.
    The ocean is a net sink (literally) for CO2 as zooplankton, corals, and mulloscs construct their ‘skeletons’ from dissolved bicarbonate, which sink to the ocean floor when they die, eventually becoming limestone. (The original CCS schema.)
    The land may absorb some carbon as dead plant material (mulch) but bacteria, molds, fungi, other plants and soil-living animals will consume that organic matter and re-emit it as CO2 or methane – even in wetlands and peat bogs to some extent. The land is just another link in the carbon cycle.

  39. CO2 emission is not today’s news, it’s a never ending story. We have been ignoring nature for a long time already. For example, we are concerned about car gas emissions, but did we stop to think about wars in the past and about the ones in the present? About the harm we did to the land, to the oceans? Happily, there are sites that also talk about oceans and their role in climate change. One of them is this one: http://oceansgovernclimate.com/ and I recommend you to take a look here to see different analysis on climate change and oceans (including the impact of pollution).

  40. I must be misreading the top chart.

    Why would it show that the Greenland ice cap produces more CH4 than Arctic Canada (see colour code)?

    And why is so much more CH4 produced north of the Equator and so little south of it?

  41. How does one gauge the historical constant since rice farming has been going on in Asia for 5,000 years. That is so long that it would seem that rice-farming is a virtual natural phenomenon.

  42. “They found surprisingly, that human-induced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from ecosystems overwhelmingly surpass the ability of the land to soak up carbon dioxide emissions, which makes the terrestrial biosphere a contributor to climate change”

    So we add three things and note that three things are bigger than the capacity to absorb one thing? Either this sentence is a poor summary, or the paper is self-refuting garbage.

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