The pros and cons of leaf abundance due to increased global carbon dioxide greening the Earth

Increased leaf abundance is a double-edged sword


This image shows the change in leaf area across the globe from 1982-2015. CREDIT Credits: Boston University/R. Myneni

A new global assessment reveals that increases in leaf abundance are causing boreal areas to warm and arid regions to cool. The results suggest that recent changes in global vegetation have had impacts on local climates that should be considered in the design of local mitigation and adaptation plans. A substantial portion of the planet is greening in response to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, nitrogen deposition, global warming and land use change. The increase in leafy green coverage, or leaf area index (LAI), will hold important implications for climate change feedback loops, yet quantifying these impacts on a global scale can be challenging. Here, Giovanni Forzieri and colleagues analyzed satellite data of global LAI coverage between 1982 and 2011.

Their results varied depending on the local biome, where increased LAI in boreal regions caused a reduction in surface albedo (reflection of sunlight), and thus resulted in a warming effect; in contrast, increased LAI in arid regions caused an increase in transpiration, and thus drove a cooling effect. What’s more, the authors found that these relationships between LAI and surface biophysics were amplified up to five times under extreme warm-dry and cold-wet years. They estimate that, across about 60% of the global vegetated area, greening has buffered warming by about 14%; for the remaining areas, which mostly include boreal zones, LAI trends have amplified the raise in air temperatures, leading to an additional warming of about 10%.


The study:

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May 25, 2017 3:04 pm

And this is a problem?

Paul Milenkovic
Reply to  P
May 25, 2017 3:04 pm

And this is a problem?

Reply to  Paul Milenkovic
May 27, 2017 8:35 am

What part of photosynthesis did I miss? Isn’t part of “albedo” directs the absorbed energy into leaf chemical processes, inherently endothermic?

Reply to  Paul Milenkovic
May 27, 2017 2:08 pm

Exactly my first reaction.

a reduction in surface albedo (reflection of sunlight), and thus resulted in a warming effect

It appears that they are assuming the energy retained by the changing albedo is converted into thermal energy. The principal function of foliage is convert incoming radiation into chemical energy.
Odd that this did not get picked up by the usually insightful and rigorous process of peer review !

May 25, 2017 3:18 pm

The study link seems to be missing.
I don’t see the “doubled-edged” aspect of this. So CO2 and climate change are making cold (boreal) climates a bit milder (good news!) and making hot, arid deserts a bit cooler (good news!). What’s not to like?

Tom Halla
Reply to  daveburton
May 25, 2017 3:33 pm

Yeah, I don’t see a problem. How again are more even temperatures a bad thing?

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 25, 2017 3:59 pm

It’s only with respect to development of climate models. They argue that the leaf abundance (complete with a new three letter acronym) is a negative in warm and arid regions due to evapotranspiration and is a positive reinforcing mechanism in forested regions closer to the poles. Such areas include the massive forest land in the Pacific Northwest.
The net effect is slightly negative.
I haven’t read the study, but I think that forests are always cooler than neighboring areas next to a forest off the regions. Arid areas cool off quickly at night, but the net effect of increased greening should be a negative reinforcement in tropical and boreal areas.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 25, 2017 4:03 pm

Here is the study (paywalled)
I don’t think they are arguing that greening is a negative. It has to do with mitigation strategies. This means when Al Gore sells you a tree to offset your carbon emissions, that tree will be more valuable in arid regions rather than boreal regions.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 25, 2017 4:50 pm

LAI is hardly new. It has been in the literature almost as long as multispectral imaging satellites have been in orbit.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 25, 2017 5:14 pm

Anything happening in earth’s ecosystem or climate is automatically bad, in order to justify 100 300 billion a year going to faceless and never-accounted UN agencies every year.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 25, 2017 6:13 pm

Right. Since so many people are clamoring for equality in everything else.

Mario Lento
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 25, 2017 7:46 pm

More even is extreme you know…

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Tom Halla
May 25, 2017 7:57 pm

lorcanbonda @ 3:59
These are not new concepts, but as you say, the development of climate models have not included such information. Now that this has been identified, perhaps some will, some won’t. How much will it cost to find out. Who cares?
Reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld’s statement about unknown unknowns.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 26, 2017 6:38 am

The abstract notes:

Altogether, these signals reveal that the recent dynamics in global vegetation have had relevant biophysical impacts on the local climates and should be considered in the design of local mitigation and adaptation plans.

I guess that includes the planning can be less aggressive or skipped altogether. They had to make it sound scary to get read, circulated, and provide funding for a followup study.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Ric Werme
May 26, 2017 6:49 am

Some people really like scary stories. I do too, but I know it is fiction.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 26, 2017 7:32 am

“complete with a new three letter acronym”
Doncha just love TLA’s.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 26, 2017 10:17 am

“How again are more even temperatures a bad thing?”
It would mean less violent weather, fewer hurricanes and tornadoes, which is certainly a problem for warmistas.

Reply to  tty
May 26, 2017 11:55 am

Insurance Provider’s would have a boom. Less weather damages in some area’s. Flood insurance would Exponentially increase because of people living below the High Water Markers of Coastal Regions and inland low area’s would be under water. The government’s would lose land and taxes from them in some regional area’s and others would increase usable land. Governments want stability and Climate Change is anti-stability. Consider the North American Waterways of the past when all glaciers melt .. as an example. This is why the Government wants the Earth to stand still in a cold interglacial period. All the rest is just hype to get people onboard, thinking they can change the environment…by taxing everybody.

Reply to  daveburton
May 25, 2017 6:50 pm

So let me get this right:
1: We cut down trees and reduce forest areas and leaf cover and it is a bad thing. This I agree with.
2: The planet grows better because of Co2 and better leaf coverage and this is also bad?????
Where is the common ground in all of this? The green backs that are being spent to fund this silliness. If trees could grow money all of our problems would be solved:)

Jean Meeus
Reply to  Ron
May 26, 2017 7:53 am

CO2, not Co2 (which is cobalt!).

Tom O
Reply to  daveburton
May 26, 2017 7:18 pm

The other edge is that this is yet another factor that can not be accounted for in “the models.” Life was so much easier when all these ways in which “nature” reacts that can’t be predicted much less digitized, came into the world consciousness. This sort of reaction throws a billion dollars worth of modelling out the window.

Robert of Ottawa
May 25, 2017 3:24 pm

I reckon an oncrease in leaf abundance in th Nulabor Plain, Australia, would be beneficial, if somewhat surprising.
I bring this silliness up to highlight the nonsense of global meaning of local phenomena.

Gregory Morris
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
May 26, 2017 4:34 pm

There has a staggering increase in vegetation on the Nullarbor over the last few years.

Reply to  Gregory Morris
May 27, 2017 2:27 pm

What? Are there two trees there now?

Reply to  Gregory Morris
May 29, 2017 12:41 am

So “There has a staggering increase in vegetation on the Nullarbor over the last few years.” I guess the one tree has two leaves now.

JB Say
May 25, 2017 3:52 pm

Global Leafing. Scary.

Reply to  JB Say
May 26, 2017 11:46 am

That should be the next term used by United Nations: “Global leafing” – I like that – hilarious. 🙂

May 25, 2017 4:04 pm

“The results suggest that recent changes in global vegetation have had impacts on local climates that should be considered in the design of local mitigation and adaptation plans.”
No – the results suggest that the world is greening and that the only ones who are concerned about that are the Watermelons – the Greens.

Reply to  Science or Fiction
May 25, 2017 4:40 pm

And real people don’t design local mitigation and adaptation plans.

Mickey Reno
Reply to  Gamecock
May 26, 2017 7:15 am

Well, they do, but THEY call it buying a leaf rake and some huge trash bags.

Louis Hooffstetter
Reply to  Science or Fiction
May 25, 2017 6:27 pm

Does anyone know of a community that has a “local mitigation and adaptation plan”?
I’d love to see one just to see what it says.

Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
May 25, 2017 6:38 pm

I didn’t even know we needed a mitigation plan until now. I’ll have to look around for something to mitigate.

Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
May 26, 2017 5:51 am

It used to be called “basic infrastructure”. But since most governments are negligent in keeping up with “basic infrastructure”, pretending that “climate change” is responsible for the bad outcomes of infrastructure negligence is a useful tactic.

Reply to  Louis Hooffstetter
May 29, 2017 3:26 am

The Mayor of my city is proposing that we abandon low-lying parts of the city in order to adapt to accelerating sea-level rise. Local tide gauges show no acceleration in the last 150 years…

ron long
May 25, 2017 4:23 pm

It’s a shame some dog did not eat this 4th graders homework.

Reply to  ron long
May 25, 2017 4:31 pm


Reply to  ron long
May 29, 2017 12:43 am

I thought that was the job of the Russians – they do everything else that’s evil!

Reply to  jon
May 29, 2017 12:44 am

Hmm perhaps they should ask for funding from Homeland Security?

Not Chicken Little
May 25, 2017 4:27 pm

So the Greenie weenies do want, or don’t want, the world to become greener? Will they ever be happy, unless and until they control every aspect of everyone’s life in the whole world?

Not Chicken Little
Reply to  Not Chicken Little
May 25, 2017 4:30 pm

I do hate raking leaves in the fall so put me down in the “con” column. Wait I don’t mean I’m going along with the con…

Reply to  Not Chicken Little
May 25, 2017 6:03 pm

Who needs to rake leaves? Crank up that 2-cycle exhaust spewing leaf blower and blow them in to the neighbor’s yard. /sarc of course.
I do miss the old days when we raked huge piles of oak and maple leaves, jumped in to them, and OMG, the horrors!, parents would burn the piles in the street!. Still miss the aroma of burning leaves in the Autumn.’

Reply to  Not Chicken Little
May 25, 2017 6:33 pm

One autumn I was walking home late at night through a wealthy suburb of Brighton and heard a rustling noise from every garden. Becoming intrigued, I looked over someone’s hedge. To my a amazement, I saw a group of foxes having a wild time playing in the buildup of dried leaves. It was the same in every single garden!
So much goes on that we rarely see, even in suburbia.

Michael Jankowski
May 25, 2017 4:28 pm

Of course it is bad…more poison ivy, thriving invasive species, etc. Never any good possibilities.

Mayor of Venus
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
May 26, 2017 2:48 am

I saw that alarmist paper discussed (here?) several years ago….claimed global warming would encourage more growth of poison oak and ivy, which is of course bad. It was one of the few alarmist claims I believed, but I realized the poison oak and ivy could grow better not because of a slightly warmer climate, but just directly from the increased carbon dioxide, as would be true for most other vegetation, too.

Reply to  Mayor of Venus
May 26, 2017 9:04 am

I remember that article and have been looking for it. Does anyone rmember where it was publised?

Reply to  Mayor of Venus
May 26, 2017 2:38 pm

This one?
Biomass and toxicity responses of poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) to elevated atmospheric CO2
Mohan, et al. (2006)

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
May 26, 2017 9:56 am

One word…KUDZU!
Although I saw an interesting link that kudzu is edible and supposedly as nutritional as kale.

Reply to  Jake
May 26, 2017 5:08 pm

Horse stall bedding is as “nutritious” as kale.

May 25, 2017 4:30 pm

I wonder what the effect is for crop lands? I know the yields are up but what effect if any is there on temps?
Also in arid regions doesn’t transpiration also humidify the air increasing the likelihood of clouds which reduce nighttime cooling?

Reply to  usexpat
May 25, 2017 4:40 pm

It’s complex. There are lots of things to consider. One thing is that some of the solar energy is used in photosynthesis and doesn’t contribute to heating the environment. link I wonder if they considered that?

Reply to  commieBob
May 25, 2017 4:48 pm

I think when they calculate the carbon dioxide balance, the energy used is considered as part of the equation.
The biggest issues in comparing mature greenlands to constantly growing crop lands is the evapotranspiration which is something Roger Pielke has made a career studying.
This study is not claiming that greening is “good” or “bad”. It is talking about the reinforcing effects of using forest as a way to mitigate the effects of climate change. The gist of the study is that planting trees in some areas of the world will have a more positive effect than other areas.

Mario Lento
Reply to  commieBob
May 25, 2017 7:51 pm

I agree CommieBob: Would not it be equal to the number of calories of energy in the plant? 4kcal/per gram of sugar/starch/protein – and 9 for fat?

Dr Dave
May 25, 2017 4:37 pm

Just like they had to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period, they have to get rid of the perceived benefits of global greening…

May 25, 2017 4:40 pm

Warming is good. Why does anyone want to “ameliorate” climate change, if that change be warming?

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Chimp
May 25, 2017 5:17 pm

Exactly. We are in an INTER-GLACIAL! Any warming is good.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 25, 2017 9:20 pm

Regrettably, all good things come to an end.

May 25, 2017 4:57 pm

The more we know, it seems the less we truly know.

Roger Knights
Reply to  u.k.(us)
May 25, 2017 5:13 pm

“Ignorance expands in proportion to knowledge.”
—Vulliamy’s Law (anticipated by Goethe.)

Thomas Homer
Reply to  u.k.(us)
May 26, 2017 6:21 am

“The smartest man in the whole round world really don’t know that much.”
Mose Allison

May 25, 2017 5:18 pm

“It’s not as good as we thought!” –AAAS

May 25, 2017 5:24 pm

Leaves 🍃 of doom

Reply to  ptolemy2
May 25, 2017 9:54 pm

I was really disappointed when I found out that the Venus Fly Trap didn’t actually come from Venus.

Reply to  RoHa
May 26, 2017 6:32 am

easy mistake to make. It is the flies are from Venus. The plant traps the “Venus Fly”. Exported from Venus to Earth years ago to bug us.

Reply to  RoHa
May 29, 2017 12:47 am

Well put ferdberple . Not many people know that distinction.

May 25, 2017 5:34 pm

Pros? Yup. Cons? Nope. Boreal forest warms a bit. Yeah, from minus 40 winter, with a bit more vegetation summers for the natives to harvest. Drylands like Sahel cooler in summer with more fodder for nomads and their herds. Nothing not to like anywhere. Ridiculous paper.

May 25, 2017 5:40 pm

Leaves are evil

May 25, 2017 5:40 pm

Leaves are evil

May 25, 2017 5:55 pm

Haven’t seen the study and it may answer this question, but from what I see in the post the data they used was satellite measures for LAI. It is not clear to me how they then determined the change in albedo (measured, modelled, estimated) and the impact of that on local temperature trends. If that was all modelling then lots of reasons to be sceptical. Assuming reduced albedo led to warming may make sense but when it is due to increased vegetation some component of that increased absorbed solar radiation is now being converted photochemically into plant starches and sugars, not heat. In addition increased vegetation cover has additional effects many of which may affect local temperature in different directions such as increased evapotranspiration and movement of heat from surface to higher in the troposphere, increased retention of water in soils, buffering of diurnal temperature variation etc. The big message for me is more CO2 in atmosphere leads to more plant mass and overall more biomass, i.e. CO2 is a good thing for carbon-based life on Earth.

The Original Mike M
Reply to  andrewpattullo
May 26, 2017 6:35 am

“Assuming reduced albedo led to warming may make sense but when it is due to increased vegetation some component of that increased absorbed solar radiation is now being converted photochemically into plant starches and sugars, not heat.”
But then aren’t the chemical potential energy of the starches and sugars oxidized when they are eaten producing mostly heat?

Reply to  The Original Mike M
May 26, 2017 7:33 am

Yes the plant starches and sugars are ultimately converted back to heat when consumed or when decomposed, likewise when burned. But the discussion is about increasing green biomass, which translates to accumulation of radiated solar energy as biochemical potential energy thus diminishing the amount available to heat the radiated surface as long as plant mass is accumulating.

Reply to  andrewpattullo
May 26, 2017 10:45 am

Awesome. More Flora absorbed solar radiation by shading the ground causing heat above it while cooling below it. Who’d of thunk such a thing…maybe a cave man sitting under a tree eating fruit. He did need science to tell him that.

Reply to  andrewpattullo
May 26, 2017 6:53 am

As Willis showed recently, albedo isn’t the whole story. there is also the counter-intuitive issue of surface area exposed to the air, which is likely not accounted for in the models.
the problem with all models is that they all assume that the person that built the model fully understands the underlying physical processes. but if that was true there would be no need for iterative simulation style models such as are used in climate forecasting. One could simply just calculate the “n th” state directly.
Think of it this way. Climate models calculate the n+1 state based on the n state, for example:
Xn+1 = 1 + 11 / xn – 3
But the problems is that there is always some amount of error in each iteration, such that over time the error builds up with each iteration and eventually the result is mostly error and very little answer. However, if one fully understands the iteration, then it can be reduced to an equation without iteration:
x² – 4x – 8 = 0
now one can directly calculate the future state of the model without iteration, and as such the error term does not build up. Climate science is missing the mathematics to directly calculate the future state of the climate directly from first principles, independent of the current state, and thus cannot eliminate the error in model forecasting. Error is fundamental to the iterative design of climate models.

Reply to  ferdberple
May 26, 2017 7:42 am

Climate science is missing the mathematics to directly calculate the future state of the climate directly from first principles, independent of the current state, and thus cannot eliminate the error in model forecasting. Error is fundamental to the iterative design of climate models.

That raises an interesting mathematical point. Since climate IS substantially stable there must be some BIG NEGATIVE feedback beyond T^4 going down.
It ought to be possible to calculate to 95% confidence bounds beyond which climate will not go. Like ± 2 °C.
That won’t tell you where climate WILL go, but it offers strong probabilities to where it WON’T go.
Which is what politicians need to know if they have any real interest in real climate at all.
Which I doubt to a 95% confidence level.

Reply to  ferdberple
May 26, 2017 10:29 am

Garbage in = Garbage out.

Stephen Skinner
Reply to  andrewpattullo
May 27, 2017 3:51 am

Without doing the maths and doing direct observation then areas with vegetation are cooler than those without. Perhaps there is a modifying affect with vegetation and wetlands which may elevate averages, so that night time temps in a desert near the equator can drop to freezing as there is nothing to store the day time heat, while a forest anywhere will have higher nighttime temps. Just calculating what temperatures will be using Albedo is very insufficient as it takes no account of the physical properties and Averages don’t tell you what is going on. And I really doubt that plants and animals are able to respond to averages.

May 25, 2017 6:34 pm

From the article: “A new global assessment reveals that increases in leaf abundance are causing boreal areas to warm and arid regions to cool. The results suggest that recent changes in global vegetation have had impacts on local climates that should be considered in the design of local mitigation and adaptation plans.”
What are they going to do, organize against CAGW on a neighborhood level now?

Rhoda R
Reply to  TA
May 26, 2017 2:05 pm

They already are – look to what your schools are teaching your children.

May 25, 2017 6:37 pm

So just another blatant cash grab?
“CO2 causes greening. How can we paint that as bad?”
“I know, let’s say it causes warming because of lower albedo!”
“Excellent! Can we tax trees, maybe? Those conference parties are getting quite expensive, and we need some more funds… “

May 25, 2017 7:51 pm

We are creating more and more urban landscape. Is it considered arid or boreal?

May 25, 2017 8:03 pm

A new global assessment reveals that increases in leaf abundance are causing boreal areas to warm and arid regions to cool.
They estimate that, across about 60% of the global vegetated area, greening has buffered warming by about 14%; for the remaining areas, which mostly include boreal zones, LAI trends have amplified the raise in air temperatures, leading to an additional warming of about 10%.

Oh, wow, and I have always wondered why it takes so long for the Springtime temperatures in the northern latitudes to “warm back up” from their freezing conditions of the past winter.
Silly me, I never realized that I had to wait until after the Springtime “greening” of the biomass occurred before I could start enjoying the increased “warming” of the springtime temperatures.
Yours Truly. …… Eritas Fubar

Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
May 26, 2017 6:34 am

A cup and a half of coffee and I still can’ figure out what “buffered warming by about 14%” means. I guess that must be good (when I was a kid Bufferin advertised on TV).

May 25, 2017 9:02 pm

In summary: mankind is greening Earth. Cool climates are warming and warm climates are cooling. On average outside air temperature change is incredibly stable, staying within 0.5 °C over a century.
In my opinion marginal phobias should be treated in hospitals, not in parliaments. Stating with fear of leaves, weather and biospheric carbon.

May 25, 2017 9:56 pm

Maybe this is just an excuse to cut down more tree for Drax, or to make way for wind turbines . !

Sandy In Limousin
May 26, 2017 12:11 am

I see nitrogen deposition, is included in the drivers for leaf abundance. Presumably one of the sources for this is diesel ICE. I have long wondered what the difference is between various Nox compounds produced by Diesel engines and those produced naturally by lightening and micro-organisms.

May 26, 2017 1:10 am

More leaves causes an increase in transpiration everywhere, not just in arid regions.
And transpiration causes cooling, to oppose any albedo effect.
But I guess its the wrong kind of transpiration.
The wrong kind of water.
And the wrong kind of leaves.
The wrong shade of green.
So yes, we’re still doomed (sigh of relief) and still need your money.

May 26, 2017 1:31 am

It’s interesting how the siberian taiga mostly has greened, but there’s a clearly visible and quite lage violet area of 30% leaf area reduction. That seems to be in the vicinity of perhaps the most polluting city of the world, Norilsk. Shows what /real/ pollution still can do!

May 26, 2017 2:37 am

Simple stuff.
Glacial Periods = White Death Mass Extinctions of land and aquatic Flora and Fauna.= Bad.
Interglacial Periods = exponentially increases land and aquatic Flora and Fauna = Good.
Evolution is constantly changing the environment and environmental alarmist want to reduce the Carbon Dioxide that creates and sustains all life, wanting evolution to stand still = Bad.
Increasing Carbon Dioxide in the environment sustains life as it promotes the increase of more evolution of life = Good.
Harmful weather is created by the temperature degree of differences in the cold at the polar regions and the warmer temperature around the Equator mixing by the Jet Streams and Ocean Currents. Reducing one to be closer to the other reduces the severity of the storms.
Reducing the heat at the Equator creates Glacial Conditions of White Death. Because the Sun controls the amount of Solar Radiation reaching our atmosphere, we cannot just flip a switch to turn it off. We could Nuke our known Super Volcanoes and create a Glacial nightmare that could wipe out all life on Earth = BAD.
Reducing the Ice locked in land and Polar Glaciers is what Global Warming in Interglacial Periods do naturally. That can be promoted by increasing the known Greenhouse Gases in the environment. Changing the Climate to a Global Tropical Weather from pole to pole. Arid Desert areas would support more life as would Ice Locked Deserts would support more life from the increased precipitation. Global growing seasons would increase and yield more food of Flora and Fauna. Species will adapt or go extinct during the several decades to hundreds of years it would take to do it. Larger Oceans from the melted glaciers will dilute the so called Acidification = Good.

Reply to  johchi7
May 26, 2017 5:18 am

I do not believe that glacial periods feature mass extinctions. The flora and fauna just migrate, North or South, as necessary.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  joel
May 26, 2017 9:46 am

Depends on what is meant by “mass” – there’s plenty of evidence for plenty of species going extinct as a result of ice ages, and a new paper suggests that the Permian-Triassic mass extinction was caused by an ice age. Not every species can migrate, and not every species can migrate fast enough to outrun the ice age, and not every species can find a suitable habitat beyond the ice – the non-iced over parts of the planet wren’t just the Earth pre-ice age but shrunk down.

Reply to  joel
May 26, 2017 10:05 am

It’s from fossil records that those mass extinctions occurred. Some species had small numbers of survivors nearer to the warmer areas and others went totally extinct. Yes, some migrated and more did not. While some could adapt to the colder climate the duration of thousands of year’s killed their food sources and went extinct because their food sources went extinct. How is that not obvious?

Rhoda R
Reply to  joel
May 26, 2017 2:11 pm

Someone, I forget where, postulated that, since ice ages also decrease CO2 drastically, there may not be enough forage for the vegetarians and some die out because they just can’t get enough to eat.

Reply to  joel
May 26, 2017 2:34 pm

Whenever the environment and climate change dramatically, some species will go extinct and others evolve.
This has been observed repeatedly in the Pleistocene glaciation and the Holocene, as in prior such alternations.
Consider the genus Mammuthus in the family Elephantidae or the order Proboscidea. The first known members of Mammuthus are the African species M. subplanifrons from the Pliocene (before 2.6 Ma), thought to be the ancestor of later forms, including M. africanavus from the Pleistocene.
Mammoths entered Europe around three million years ago, before the Pleistocene. The earliest European mammoth, M. rumanus, spread across Europe and China. Only its molars are known, which show that it had 8–10 enamel ridges. A population evolved 12–14 ridges, splitting off from and replacing the earlier type, becoming the southern mammoth (M. meridionalis) about 2–1.7 million years ago. In turn, this species was replaced by the steppe mammoth (M. trogontherii) with 18–20 ridges, which evolved in eastern Asia around 2–1.5 million years ago. It died out in Eurasia about 370 Ka, but continued evolving in North America.
The Columbian mammoth (M. columbi) evolved from a population of M. trogontherii which crossed the Beringian land bridge and entered North America about 1.5 million years ago. It retained a similar number of molar ridges to the steppe mammoth. A 2015 study of mammoth molars confirmed that it evolved from Eurasian M. trogontherii, not M. meridionalis as had been suggested earlier. This was confirmed by a 2016 a genetic study of North American mammoth specimens.
Mammoths derived from M. trogontherii evolved molars with 26 ridges 400,000 years ago in Siberia and became the woolly mammoth (M. primigenius), which spread to Europe and North America, for a holarctic distribution close to the ice sheets, from Ireland east to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland.

Reply to  joel
May 26, 2017 4:58 pm

Sorry. Should read “of the order”.
This shows the steppe mammoth larger than its Columbian descendant, which on average wouldn’t be right. But of course there was overlap. That’s if you consider the imperial mammoth just a big subspecies of the Columbian.
M. exilis is a dwarf subspecies of M. columbi.
Mastodon is only distantly related to mammoths. It’s not in the elephant family, but is naturally a proboscidean.

Reply to  joel
May 26, 2017 5:01 pm

Getting shorter than its ancestor was one of the woolly’s adaptations to the colder climate. Also, hairier, smaller ears, different trunk “fingers”, dental differences noted above, blubber, etc.

Reply to  joel
May 26, 2017 5:10 pm

If I thought the next glacial would wipe out all the liberals, I’d say bring ‘er on right NOW!

Reply to  Goldrider
May 27, 2017 2:23 am

Well…if you go by how they voted in the last US election. The coastal state’s votes more liberal. If the flood from melted glaciers raise the ocean’s… The fools would be moving into more rightwing states and bring their bs with them.

Reply to  joel
May 26, 2017 6:51 pm

Since only the hardy will survive, it would. Unfortunately, it won’t start working its Darwinian magic for thousands of years yet. The SJW will have lots of time in which to destroy civilization, the work of ten thousand years.

Reply to  Chimp
May 27, 2017 2:39 am

You seem pretty positive that the Yellowstone Super Volcanoes System is not going to blow and no massive meteors are going to hit earth, or the Solar Minimum that is being predicted won’t happen. The Ocean’s have been spreading more in the last billion years… This is volcanic activities that have been mapped and supports the Expansion Theories more than the super continent’s theories. Where do you think those gasses go? If that happened tomorrow what would the effects be?

Reply to  joel
May 27, 2017 11:38 am

johchi7 May 27, 2017 at 2:39 am
There is zero evidence to support an expanding earth conjecture. It’s no a theory, since it no scientific facts, ie observations, support it.
There was more ocean a billion years ago, not less.comment image?itok=r4L7D8Kb
The fact of tectonic plate movement isn’t a “theory”. It’s a fact, ie an observation, with a body of theory trying to explain how it happens. The velocity of each plate can be and is measured. Subduction is constantly observed.
Despite overwhelming evidence to infer “continental drift”, it remained an hypothesis or theory before the discovery of seafloor spreading, which provided the missing mechanism.

Reply to  Chimp
May 27, 2017 12:02 pm

I seriously do not have time to reply at this time. Going to work soon and I don’t get back until early Sunday morning.

Reply to  Chimp
May 28, 2017 10:07 am

Chimp. Do you even listen to your thoughts before you write? You answered your own argument against the expansion theory, by including that the Plate Tectonics theory adopted the spreading of the oceans theory, that came from the expansion theory. Calling something by a different name and changing the way it’s explained doesn’t negate or disprove the same action. When the theories of what created mountains and orogeny with subduction was the answer, it always skips over “what created the pressure to force the plates together” to cause the effect in the first place. When Orogeny and subduction are basically words describing a reduction or subtraction event, where was the addition event to cause the effect of them. Isn’t it convenient that all that massive lithosphere covered by ocean surrounding Patagonia all subducted away to leave no evidence of it’s existence. If you believe in subduction as the mechanism of which the lithosphere is forced into the mantel to be remelted by it, there is your added mass being displaced in the ridge-lines spreading the oceans by it’s cooling rapidly as it’s exposed to water. Plate Tectonics theories have so much conjecture, hypothesis and the “we don’t have any proof to answer this or that’s” when it was debated and agreed upon in the 1970’s. Yet, in the 1970’s almost nothing was known about the ocean floors and today we know just a little more, because we are not advanced enough to reach those depths to drill cores with any way to map them. Even on land we cannot drill to depths to get to the Mantel, or through miles of ice to reach the Wilkes Land Crater.

Reply to  Chimp
May 28, 2017 10:46 am

Chimp. It is accepted science that the Earth Day has changed throughout history from around 14 hours over 3 billion years ago to the over 24 hours today. They came up with some really strange explanations to keep the Earth the same diameter about ocean tides and drag caused by the ocean floor, the action/reaction of the Moon with the Earths Core flexing the Tectonic Plates, yawda yawda… When a simple use of the Expanding Earth from a Smaller Earth at the same rpm would explain how the day was shorter then than it is now. And as the Earth Expanded in Size – not mass as I previously showed – the Moon would be moving away from the Earths orbit by it’s increase in diameter. You will also notice – if you studied the Expansion Theories – and applied some logic with the occurrences of those time frames of the known dating of the Ocean Floor, that they coexist with the jumps in the Earth Day increases and the Orogeny occurrences.
Simply put. The Tectonic Theorist 40 years ago that made their ideologies “settled science” placed the Expansion Theorist along the lines of the “Flat Earthers” and “Hollow Earthers” while actually adopting Expansion Theories every time they include in their papers “…the oceans are spreading by X amounts…” because the continents are getting farther apart.
The wife made plans for today, so I have no time to play with you now.

Reply to  Chimp
May 28, 2017 11:06 pm

Chimp. Quote “Despite overwhelming evidence to infer “continental drift”, it remained an hypothesis or theory before the discovery of seafloor spreading, which provided the missing mechanism.” then you say that the Expansion Theories were not adopted into the Plate Tectonic THEORIES. Note emphasis because most every source on PT use the words Hypothesis, Hypothesize and Theory, Theorize, and Assumed to describe what they cannot give proof for. Like a religious fanatic you are a zealot in your ideology that is right up there with the Environmental Cases that say Global Warming and Climate Change is “Settled Science” to stop the discussion because they don’t want to be contradicted and proven wrong… or at least admit they were not totally right. I admit that a lot of the things Adams and others state are pure garbage to imply that no subduction occurs, or about dark matter and cosmic rays creating matter that adds mass… Again. Subduction that is redissolved by the mantel is redistributed as volcanic activity as most geologist agree. The thinnest areas of the plates are on the ocean floor and it is accepted that those areas are spreading. That modern space observations show very little increase, does not explain what occurred millions and billions of years ago. Pyroplastic of Magma while molten expand upon cooling as trapped gasses and minerals form different rock formations. The term Intrusive Rocks being something forced through existing formations creates an Expansion of the existing formation – that dissolves some of that existing formation in the Intrusive Rock. We see this everywhere as newer veins and mass bodies of younger rocks through older rocks. Rapid cooling by the cold of deep oceans water mixing with the igneous spewing into it, is going to build upon itself.

Reply to  joel
May 27, 2017 11:45 am

comment image

Reply to  joel
May 28, 2017 10:39 am

You clearly don’t understand how plate tectonics work. Nor where the fact came from, which most certainly was not from the false on its face conjecture of an expanding earth. Whence do you imagine that the water for the oceans came to cover the surface of a supposedly expanding earth?
Not only can we today measure the movements of the plates absolutely and relatively to each other, but we can measure the uplift of the mountains above subduction and collision zones, such as the Andes and Himalayas. We can also directly observe subduction occurring in the ocean depths. Not to mention the earthquakes caused by plate slippage.
We can observe the seafloor spreading ridge now better than ever, and every observation confirms the fact of new seafloor creation, driving the continents away from the ridges. We can date the age of seafloor, and sure enough, the oldest dates to the breakup of Pangaea, with ever younger floor as you approach the ridges.
OTOH, there is zero evidence in favor of the lunatic notion of an expanding earth.
We have in fact recovered rocks from the mantle, but also have other ways of following the currents in it. Drilling into may start soon.
The fact of plate tectonics is not theoretical. It’s based upon direct observations, as I said. Where I live, getting the science right is a matter of life and death to millions:

Reply to  joel
May 28, 2017 10:58 am

There is no possible mechanism for an expanding earth, and as I said, zero evidence in favor of the conjecture. On the contrary, the mechanism for plate tectonics can be seen, as can its results.
After the collision which spun off the moon, an earth day was about six hours. At that Hadean Eon time, the moon would have been about a mere 25,000 kilometers away. The moon’s tidal effect is the main reason our day has been lengthening, and that the moon’s orbit has been widening.

And then there is biology
May 26, 2017 3:52 am

Any climate model that does not properly model the CO2 fertilization effect, photosynthesis and botany is wrong. Pretty sure that includes all existing models.

Reply to  And then there is biology
May 26, 2017 5:07 am

Those per se research and/or study publishing “climate scientists” who do not understand the biology of planet earth are doomed to failure for their predictions of future weather/climate events.

Bruce Cobb
May 26, 2017 4:24 am

The trouble with these climate boffins is that they see everything through the warm vs cool goggles. They can’t see the forest through the trees. “Climate mitigation” is an idiotic notion, as is worrying about adapting to climate change, particularly since what they are calling “climate change” is mainly just weather.

The Original Mike M
May 26, 2017 5:11 am

They’re just desperate to find something “good” about chopping down more forestland for solar farms.comment image

Rhoda R
Reply to  The Original Mike M
May 26, 2017 2:13 pm

I wonder what kine of erosion problem they are going to have with all that exposed dirt and nothing to hold it during rain run off.

The Original Mike M
Reply to  Rhoda R
May 26, 2017 8:38 pm

Plus all the herbicide and pre-emergent that will be in the run off.

Jay Dee
May 26, 2017 5:46 am

Little did we know that Douglas Adams was prescient in his “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, where at the end of the story, newly marooned humans adopt the leaf as the new media of exchange then proceed to burn down forests to raise the value of the leaf.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  Jay Dee
May 26, 2017 9:48 am

Which just shows that Adams, for all his literary brilliance, didn’t udnerstand the basics of economics!
The “value” of your medium of exchange is a meaningless term.

May 26, 2017 6:20 am

What an incredibly stupid map projection:comment image
That projection (likely Molleweide or Apian II, see ) makes sense when the poles are at the top and bottom, but when the north pole is centered, then the latitude lines are all ellipses when circles would be more accurate. Perhaps they just wanted to something to take up a rectangular space.
Willis used a sensible version:comment image

Reply to  Ric Werme
May 26, 2017 6:24 am

Actually, the north pole isn’t centered, perhaps Greenwich is, and the projection is trimmed to exclude much of the Pacific. While that’s reasonable, I’m still offended by the aspect ratio.

Reply to  Ric Werme
May 28, 2017 1:57 am

Looks like it’s centered on Geneva

Gary Pearse
May 26, 2017 6:50 am

So only the leafy plants are measured. There must be terrific growth also of coniferous in the huge boreal forests of Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. These were already large net carbon sinks before the age of doomsters. And maybe the larger of the sinks, phytoplankton, is quietly dwarfing all this.
So maybe their models aren’t bad, they just didn’t number any agronomists, botanist and foresters among their ranks and they tripled observational warming with their all-is-lost formula . Even the estimable Ferdinand Englebeem was taken by surprise – Henry’s Law got too big a billing in the scheme of things.
The next shoe is going to drop in the next months with the “dead cat” bounce from the steep drop in ENSO now peaked out (Chatelier Principle doing it’s thing) the drop into La Nina will continue and dreaded Pause will resume, despite the Karlization headwinds.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 26, 2017 7:33 am

Yep. And the plankton will have their say.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 26, 2017 10:24 am

In this context conifers are considered to have leaves.

Alan McIntire
May 26, 2017 7:27 am

There is nothing controversial in the study. It refers to changes in earth’s albedo due to changes in green areas of earth. “Watts Up With That” addressed the issue on September 12, 2010.
“Christy on irrigation and regional temperature effects”
What the paper said was, thanks to irrigation, and transpiration in plants, the San Joaquin Valley had
cooler days and warmer nights, with an overall warming. There is the same effect in Florida, at about the same latitude as the Sahara Desert. Thanks to the effects of albedo and transpiration in plants, Florida has cooler days and warmer nights than the Sahara Desert, with an overall slightly warmer climate.

May 26, 2017 7:30 am

Even good news is bad.

May 26, 2017 7:58 am

Well, I won’t read the study, because I have other things to do, but my take on it is simple.
1 – The Earth has its own agenda.
2 – We have no control over what the Earth decides to do
3 – Extra greening means extra photosynthesis available, meaning extra oxygen and water released by plants into the atmosphere.
What’s the problem?
I’m going to go make cookies now.

Tom Schaefer
May 26, 2017 10:45 am

When I was a boy in Potomac MD, I could walk through the woods unencumbered by understory. Now, that is impossible in all but the oldest forests. The air could move and you felt like you could breath easier in the less-desnse forests of the 1960s. It felt cooler. I’ll make a prediction: The deciduous forects of the mid-atlantic are transforming into jungles.

Gil Dewart
May 26, 2017 12:29 pm

What about the direct effect on humans of shade from those leaves? Did these folks ever work out in the hot sun and need a break? Or, do people really count in all this?

Rhoda R
Reply to  Gil Dewart
May 26, 2017 2:17 pm

They seem to be mostly city dwellers who don’t mow their own lawns.

Gil Dewart
Reply to  Rhoda R
May 27, 2017 11:18 am

Rhoda —
You may be right.

David S
May 26, 2017 4:07 pm

The heading should read the pros and pros of leaf abundance. The only cons I can see is the one being played by the authors to extract public grant money for such a ridiculous study.

May 26, 2017 5:57 pm

More leaves more rakes in the fall. Invest in rake companies…

May 27, 2017 3:34 pm

Pure CLAP TRAP! The greening is a fairly reliable FACTUAL observation. (I.e., it has a BASELINE, it has a time line, and it has (unlike for example…the CONUS USA, based on Surfaces Stations Data) pretty good quality control and cross checking. THIS write up by these CLOWNS is pure calculational conjecture and needs to be treated as such. WARNING: Don’t fly on an AIRPLANE designed by CLOWNS like this. You won’t live long.

ken morgan
May 30, 2017 9:40 pm

well looks like i will have to buy more Roundup weed killer

Reply to  ken morgan
May 31, 2017 2:19 am

Ken. I live in the arid Arizona desert. My delima is convincing the wife, with this article, to let the weeds grow and water them more.

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