The most amazing greening on Earth – thanks to increased Carbon Dioxide

by Patrick J. Michaels

We’ve long been fond of showing the satellite evidence for planetary greening caused by increasing carbon dioxide, particularly the work of Zhu et al.(2016):

Figure 1: Trends in Leaf Area Index around the planet. Note the units are in hundredths (10-2) of meters per square meter. An increase of 25 (Purple, right end of scale) is actually an annual change of .025 square meters per year. Note that the largest greenings are in fact over the South American, African, and Australasian tropical rainforests.

The variable usually shown is the Leaf Area Index (LAI), an interesting measure of vegetation density. A value of 1.00 means that one square meter of the sensed vegetation, if the leaves were spread out, would entirely cover a square meter.

Plants with exceedingly dense vegetation (think of your over-fertilized tomato plants by the end of summer) have LAI values far in excess of 1.0, and some, such as sparse grasslands, may be quite a bit less than 1.0, indicating the presence of a lot of bare ground.

A new paper by Simon Munier, of France’s Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, and several co-authors, segregates satellite-sensed LAI data into different vegetation types, taken over the period 1999-2015. This allows the researchers to quantitatively determine the amount of greening that is taking place over time, depending upon the vegetation type.

A note on LAI: when applied to crop plants, it doesn’t necessarily directly correlate to the yield or productivity of the plant. Think about those over-fertilized tomatoes again. Gardeners often complain that they have huge vegetation masses (i.e. large LAI’s) but few fruit. However, if the vegetation in question is in fact consumed entirely as an agricultural product (think lettuce, for example) the LAI in fact is a direct measure of agricultural productivity.

The most common vegetation type on earth—grassland—is often agricultural in usage. Many are either directly grazed, or, as is the case for the most productive ones, harvested for hay which is then consumed when pasture is no longer growing enough to support cattle or sheep. Rapidly increasing grassland LAI values are therefore a very useful greening of the earth.

Munier’s team divided the satellite data into that sensing broadleaf (deciduous) forests, evergreen forest types, summer and winter crops, and grasslands. Their 17-year time series provides average LAI values as well as temporal trends.

The cool part of the paper is its Figure 8, showing mean and trend values worldwide for the LAI in six vegetation types:

Figure 2:  Average LAI value for the six vegetation types (given quantitatively in the lower left corner of each map) and the trend in LAI per year, on the right. The +/- is the spatial  standard deviation, which is generally large because soil, terrain, and weather difference clearly influence LAI and vegetation health.  Nonetheless, all the trend values are significant at the p-value<.01 These seemingly arcane figures reveal a spectacular greening of the world’s grasslands. See text for details.

The details are in the numbers. The average (1999-2015) grassland LAI is 0.55, meaning its ground cover worldwide averages less than complete. The trend, of 0.0279 square meters per year, is a remarkable 5.0% per year. Over the 17-year period of record, this means that grassland LAI increased by 85%. According to Munier et al., grassland, as the most common vegetation type, covers 31% of the global continental surface measured (Antarctica was not sampled). This is a remarkable greening.

The aforementioned Zhu et al. study performed a factor analysis to determine the causes. According to the paper,

Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau.

In other words, 78 [70 + 8] percent of observed planetary greening is caused by carbon dioxide and its effect upon climate.

We have repeatedly demonstrated (within here, for example) that about a half of a degree (C) of observed planetary warming is ascribable to anthropogenerated changes in the atmosphere. The main result appears to be a planet that is becoming so much greener that it is readily apparent from space.

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74 thoughts on “The most amazing greening on Earth – thanks to increased Carbon Dioxide

    • Exxon knew !!

      Note the units are in hundredths (10-2) of meters per square meter.

      what is a meter per square meter supposed to mean ? Typo ???

      An increase of 25 (Purple, right end of scale) is actually an annual change of .025 square meters per year.

      Hey quit all the waffle : in short it’s a percentage scale, % per year.

      • No typo. It is the change vertically integrated greenness expressed as the fraction of a given square meter of vegetation.

        • In the 1970s and 1980s the pet enviro-hype theme was about “the unrelenting advance of desertification in Sub-Saharan Africa.”. It was yapped about a lot in media and periodicals, as the usual NGO suspects were predicting catastrophic doom of course.

          Famines at the time (Somalia, Ethiopia, etc) were being linked to it. Then in 1985 the BandAid Global 24hr concert, to raise aid relief money for famine victims, also implicated it.

          Then in Aug 1987the anti-C02 green-house effect AGW propaganda narrative went prime-time as a new pet global enviro-worry theme.

          You’d think the the name ‘GREEN’-House-Effect, would sink in. Apparently in New York the powers-that-be think that warmer, wetter, CO2er … “KILLS”.

          nah

          • WXcycles

            Quite right. When the cycle reversed and the Sahel moved 500 km into the Sahara’s southern border (1984-2014) the MSM went suddenly quiet.

      • 1. It should be consistently described as m2 of leaf area per m2 of land.
        2. It is dimensionless (m2 x m-2) but it’s not a percentage because the “m2” and the “per m2” (ie. m-2) are of different things.
        3. A rating of 25 is 0.25 m2 of leaf area per m2 of land, not 0.025. To my eye, a rating of 25 is amazingly high.

      • ” The variable usually shown is the Leaf Area Index (LAI), an interesting measure of vegetation density. A value of 1.00 means that one square meter of the sensed vegetation, if the leaves were spread out, would entirely cover a square meter.”

  1. Could further break down the analysis of causes by estimating how much of the increase in CO2 is due to human emissions and how much is due to the reduced CO2 storage capacity of warming oceans.

  2. From the Zhu et al abstract:

    Here we use three long-term satellite leaf area index (LAI) records and ten global ecosystem models to investigate four key drivers of LAI trends during 1982–2009. We show a persistent and widespread increase of growing season integrated LAI (greening) over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, whereas less than 4% of the globe shows decreasing LAI (browning). Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%).

    How many times does the M word appear there?

    btw – what is a Factorial Simulation?
    Is that where someone went out and talked to a farmer by *any* chance?
    Somehow, I suspect not.

    And going back to the remnant of what NASA tell us from OCO Sputnik before they started adjusting it to hide this:
    https://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/images/ocov2/1stmap.jpeg
    Then from this story we have:

    largest greenings are in fact over the South American, African, and Australasian tropical rainforests.

    Why is the largest amount of CO2 hovering over those places when by definition there are no amde made fossil emissions going on down there.
    It directly contradicts the essence of this essay. Which relies on models.

    If anyone wants to use Global Greening to beat up alarmists and warmistas:
    Be Very Sure Of Your Science And Your Facts
    lest my namesake, the petard should come hoist you

    • “Why is the largest amount of CO2 hovering over those places when by definition there are no [man] (man?) made fossil emissions going on down there. It directly contradicts the essence of this essay.”
      Peta – a basic science class may increase your understanding here. The earth’s atmosphere is approximately 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 0.93 % Argon, and 0.04% CO2 plus other trace gases. Each of these are colorless gases that will mix by several mechanisms. The gases will seek out a uniform concentration over time by natural processes including diffusion, convection, etc. Winds will circulate the gases around the globe. As such, the CO2 you and I exhale, will make it to the tropical rain forest. There is no need to produce CO2 locally to feed the plants.

    • CO2 is a well-mixed gas. Tropical rainforest trees are obviously the most sensitive to its increase. So, equal increases everywhere (As the global measurements show), the plants most responsive to increased levels, respond the most.
      Simples.

        • Hmmm, interesting. I wonder if Zhu took this into account. One odd thing is that, in addition to not showing a whole lot of CO2 around Australasian and South American rainforests, they have tons of leaf area already, from which you’d expect quite a CO2 draw-down, especially because there is vegetation through all the layers and little wind beneath the canopy. It’s not clear how there would be that much excess to make the largest effect there.

          I wonder if they simply mean temperature by “climate change,” not taking into account amount and timing of precipitation.

          On the other hand, when you start with a lot of leaves, there are a lot of leaves to grow bigger. And the forests are largely aseasonal. So I guess it could make sense.

          The other weird thing is that they report longer growing season over 25-50% of the vegetated land surface. And still only 8% due to climate change? Wish it weren’t pay-walled.

    • Peta,

      My understanding is that the Zhu et al paper deals with the CAUSE of global greening, while the Munier paper deals with actual OBSERVATION of global greening.

      A good question, then, might be, “How confident can we be that the actual, OBSERVED greening by Munier is the cause MODELED by Zhu et al?”

      Another good question might be, “How reliable are global ecosystem models, compared to climate models?” [I’m not sure.]

      Now, you said:

      “Why is the largest amount of CO2 hovering over those places when by definition there are no made made fossil emissions going on down there? It directly contradicts the essence of this essay. Which relies on models.”

      My response would be that where exactly the CO2 appears most concentrated does NOT necessarily have to be directly over the locations where the most human-caused CO2 is produced. The atmosphere is a fluid system that moves stuff around in its currents, and so the dynamics of this fluid system could concentrate certain stuff in locations other than where this stuff originated. In other words, the physics of the atmosphere determines where stuff hangs out.

      The essence of the essay is that greening IS being OBSERVED and IS being catalogued by TYPE. How atmospheric physics concentrates bands of CO2 does NOT contradict this.

      It is known that elevated CO2 increases plant growth, and it is known that the concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere as a whole has been increasing. Is THIS increase in atmospheric CO2 the actual cause of the global greening? That would seem to be a hard question to answer definitely.

      Given the known relationship between CO2 and plant growth, however, this increase in CO2 would seem to be a pretty good candidate for the cause. The global ecosystem models probably have a better handle on CO2 and plant growth than the climate models have on CO2 concentration and the fictitious statistic of “global average temperature”.

      I think that your concern about models is a good one, but I’m guessing that we need to distinguish between reliable models and not-so-reliable [clear throat, CLIMATE] models.

      • RK – you say:

        “The atmosphere is a fluid system that moves stuff around in its currents, and so the dynamics of this fluid system could concentrate certain stuff in locations other than where this stuff originated.”

        Here is another way to think of it – lets say you have two sealed bottles – one with air and a one with CO2 and place them both in a vacuum chamber. You then pump the air out creating a vacuum in the chamber. If you remotely break the bottle of air, the air would almost instantaneously spread out within the vacuum chamber. The air pressure will be uniform within the chamber. Then if you break the CO2 bottle, the CO2 would seek a uniform concentration in the vacuum chamber as well. It will naturally seek a uniform pp (partial pressure). As such, I am not aware of atmospheric processes that will concentrate CO2. When you mix red food coloring with water, do you expect to see any separation once it’s mixed?

        • Farmer C E r,

          Isn’t CO2 more dense than air, and might forces of Earth’s rotation tend to separate out a denser substance? [I’m not sure]

          But I’m pretty sure the currents and other processes in Earth’s atmosphere are a little different than a lab vacuum chamber with broken bottles.

          My ignorance limits me here, but maybe some atmospheric physics guru can chime in to enlighten us both.

          • RK – Doing a brief web search, the relative concentrations of the main atmospheric gases are pretty “normal” up to around 100 km altitude. Above that, the concentration starts to deviate significantly. Yes, I welcome input from any guru on the subject matter.

        • Farmer Ch E retired

          In my experience, if one drops red dye into water it won’t mix well unless stimulated with a teaspoon. Therefore I wonder how well air and CO2 would mix without an external stimulus (wind?).

          And whilst wondering about Peta’s point about there being more CO2 above the tropics (or not), it occurred to me that if there is a mass as concentrated as the tropical rain forests inhaling (forgive the layman term) CO2, assuming it’s a well mixed atmospheric gas then it would seem natural that more would rush into the CO2 ‘void’ to maintain the balance of the atmosphere, potentially depriving the rest of the planet of atmospheric CO2 but maintaining the overall balance.

          • Dye in water may not have been the best example – the atmosphere is a compressible mixture of gases whereas liquid water is considered incompressible (or nearly so) and mixing will occur at different rates. In any event, CO2 monitors in Hawaii are measuring CO2 concentrations that are produced globally, not locally. CO2 should seek a uniform partial pressure across the planet but this of course this is never totally achieved since CO2 is being introduced and sequestered in a non-uniform manner.

          • Farmer Ch E retired

            Surely ambient atmospheric pressures have little more effect on gases than ambient water pressures (correct term?) on other liquids at the same pressure? e.g. a mixture of water and dye at atmospheric pressure would act no differently to the same mixture at 5 Bar, were that achievable.

            So injecting CO2 into ‘air’ (which I guess isn’t air until it has CO2 added) without a stimulus would have it act much like the dye you described in water. I mean, even the process of using an eye dropper to introduce dye to water has some stimulating effect which causes it to disperse even slightly. So what’s the motivation for CO2 to mix with ‘air’ unless its stimulated? Or is there a chemical reaction, which would then make sense to me.

            As you can probably guess I’m not a scientist, or engineer, or even educated. I’m just puzzled.

      • Robert Kernodle

        Forgive my naivety but my understanding is the Zhu et al paper was derived from satellite observations.

        My interpretation is that Munier has taken Zhu’s data and further refined it.

        • HotScot,

          Without delving into a deep reading, I’ll rely on my cursory reading to say that, yes, the Zhu et al paper relies on satellite observations to establish that global greening IS, in fact happening, but they use global ecosystem models to attribute cause to increased atmospheric CO2.

          The satellite observations establish that global greening IS happening. Global ecosystem models establish cause, by way of CO2.

          You see that the greening is a fact, as established by observation. Now you model the cause of the greening using models. Are those models correct in establishing the validity of this attribution to CO2 ? Well, that would seem to be the question in need of answering.

          Could something else, other than CO2, be causing the greening? Are there models that might establish these other possible causes? I’m guessing that if there were other modeled causes, then these would be presented, but maybe not, and the ecosystem models have built-in biases too.

          What else might be causing the greening? Unicorn flatulence? — probably not that, because this is too far removed from reality. So, what might other possibilities be ? — space alien stealth fertilization? — a bit more in the realm of possibility, but still very far fetched. Okay, what in our known reality might be causing it, if not CO2 ? — alas, I lack the expertise to venture any serious answers.

          Anybody else got any ideas?

          • Robert Kernodle

            Again, forgive my ignorance but as I understand it, the reasonable causes of greening, unicorn farts of course excluded, e.g. man’s agricultural use of nitrogen fertilisers, are excluded from the Zhu et al paper by isolating virgin forest’s from human influenced greening.

            Being that nothing else atmospheric, or land based, could affect the growth on such a vast, consistent scale, other than CO2, did they in fact need global ecosystem models to establish greening? Surely a simple observational analysis of greening Vs increased atmospheric CO2 over the 30+ years of satellite activity would produce a result?

            Although I’m not doubting your insight as I’m not a scientist.

        • HotScot,

          I have to submit to my ignorance. I just don’t know how the ecosystem modeling thing works.

          How a model might separate causation from correlation, I’m not sure.

          People look at CO2 and temperature in a short time frame and ask, “What else could it be?”

          I don’t know why it would require modeling. I suppose that it creates a logical chain of relationships in a more precise way, to have some basis for asserting causation rather than mere correlation. A model might eliminate some of the doubt about its being merely a correlation. Again, I just don’t know.

          • Without seeing the models, I suggest they put in actual carbon dioxide levels, rainfall data, temperatures, and perhaps cloud cover into their models, any of which would affect ‘greening’. I suspect there may have been other variables as well (acreage burned by forest fires, acreage affected by plant diseases, downstream flooding, etc).

            The models would enable them to specify values for those variables, and to identify the ones that had changed from past values in ways that would produce greening. Likely, the only variable that was substantially different from past years was the carbon dioxide levels, and to a much lesser extent, temperatures.

    • Used a large number of ecosystem models and did a factor analysis decomposition. It’s a variation on Principal Component Analysis in which, I hope I remember, the axes are not necessarily orthogonal.

    • Plants release CO2 during times of no sunshine ( night time) during a process called plant respiration, which is the opposite chemical reaction of photosynthesis. The higher concentration of plants (rain forests) the more overall plant respiration occurs. Also, fossil fuel burning releasing CO2 is a very small percentage (5%?) of total natural release of global CO2 yearly.

  3. Thanks to abundant CO2 now in the atmosphere, we are that much closer to the mythical Garden of Eden, which is the current state of the good Earth, ‘snakes’ notwithstanding. But in the scheme of things, geologically, we are in a downward spiral towards a CO2 deficit, such as the Earth experiences every ice age. CO2 concentrations on average have been on a general decline for tens of millions years. While we are very fortunate to be living in an interglacial with additional CO2 that humans have contributed to the biosphere, perhaps including a .5 C increase in temps by humans from all activities, the longer term future of the Earth is declining CO2 levels. Even the little bit of extra CO2 we now put into the atmosphere will be a blip in the record, as the worlds carbon dioxide gets sequestered into the oceans and biosphere. What is a few hundred years in the scheme of things?

    Luckily this isn’t our current problem, as this is a long term geo-evolutionary process. But that is the trajectory if we look at the last 2.6 million years of continuous ice ages, interspaced with only short interglacials. Life has certainly been stressed the last few million years when atmospheric levels of CO2 are 180 ppmv, barely enough to keep biological life alive within the food chain. Not an immediate problem in our life times now, but the damages done by Science in misattributing and reducing all climatic problems to that of a trace atmospheric GHG is a missed opportunity. So much effort is being wasted for nothing in this war on ‘carbon’, and we are not realizing our greater potential due to this lazy and corrupt scientific method with carbon and carbon dioxide being made such a villain.

  4. On a related note, alveoli of healthy human lungs maintain a CO2 concentration around 6.5% — over 160 times the current ambient atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Our respiration is dependent upon this concentration of the CO2 “pollutant”.

    I wonder whether the EPA knows this. Maybe it has always known this, which would make an “EPA knew” lawsuit seem appropriate.

    (For those who might not know, EPA = the United Sates “Environmental Protection Agency”)

    • Robert Kernodle

      Now that’s a really good point. I wonder if there are any medical studies related to increased atmospheric CO2.

      I wouldn’t know where to start looking.

    • Alba

      Damn good article. The comments are even better. Although I think it’s more that just highlighting bogus articles, it seems to question post-modernism spawning nonsense, which encourages spoof articles amongst the social sciences.

      One of the comments highlights that whilst STEM mathematics can be analysed for accuracy, social science is all about opinions and language which can’t be analysed in the same way, or at all. In those circumstances a peer reviewer can surely only seek evidence of the scientific method rather than the accuracy of the study. If the process is correct, the context can be complete rubbish (as has been demonstrated) and the study passed for publication.

      It seems to me there ought to be different peer review systems for different specialities. Quite how one ascertains a vale for them is quite beyond me. But it would appear it’s high time something was done.

  5. Carbon Dioxide is necessary for the Carbon Cycle of Life.
    The Carbon Cycle cannot complete without CO2.
    CO2 is the only singular throttle in the carbon cycle.
    Carbon based life forms require carbon, and the carbon in organic material is sourced from atmospheric CO2.
    Photosynthesis of plants and phytoplankton extract Carbon from atmospheric CO2 to create organic material.
    Co2 feeds life.
    Mammals inhale oxygen and exhale CO2, mammals must consume organic carbon to live.

    How many ways to say the same thing?

    • Not just mammals but all animals, fungi, their closest single-celled relatives and all other aerobic organisms.

      The O2 requirements of sponges are however remarkably low, made more so by their frequent symbiosis with cyanobacteria. A sponge and its colony of symbiotic photosynthetic microbes can actually be a net oxygen producer.

  6. Just posted the paper of the NASA Climatechange Facebook page.
    Bet their admin won’t let it pass!

    • Ask him or her why. They put the satellites in orbit and these authors are merely summarizing the data they return.

  7. Best that we keep feeding these CO2 starved plants. If not they new growth may suck CO2 down to 350 ppmv or lower and we’ll all freeze to death.

    FEED ME SEYMOUR, FEED ME !!!

  8. Yup. More proof that AGW is the Whopper of Big Lies. AH would be so proud.

    THE BIG LIE
    “[I]n the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

    It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.” — Socialist/fascist/environmentalist Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_lie

  9. .
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①
    .

    Is Tamino dishonest?

    Tamino doesn’t want me to participate in the discussion about slowdowns.

    He won’t publish my comment on his website.

    Luckily I have my own website, where I can say whatever I like.

    Here is the comment which Tamino didn’t want people to see.

    https://agree-to-disagree.com/is-tamino-dishonest

  10. You know what, I have just scared the sh1t out of myself.

    I’ve worked out what’s going on.

    Firstly, CO2 is not in short supply for plants around the globe. it is not their Leibig Limiting nutrient and therefore, adding extra will have little impact on their growth.
    Either disregard what you think you know about commercial glasshouses, OR, learn that the plants inside those places are so pampered with all their other nutrient requirements that CO2 *does* become their limiter – hence adding why adding more improves productivity.

    Nest, I assert than nitrogen and sulphur (oxides) are responsible for the greening.
    Nitrogen is THE major limiter and hence why it is such good ‘fertiliser’
    Sulphur comes a close second and as we all know, whenever anything is burned in an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere, water soluble nitrogen is produced.
    And we are burning ever more ‘stuff’ Fossil fuels, biomass and attempts to stop wildfires.
    Sulphur comes primarily from coal burning but also from motor vehicle diesel – until many places decided to ‘clean it up’
    How many places still burn high sulphur motor fuel?

    The extra nitrogen being deposited (everywhere on the planet) also feeds soil bacteria. They respond by ramping up their consumption of dead plant material buried in the soil, producing CO2

    The bacteria can only do this with a large supply of organic material to ‘digest’
    apart from permafrost as we heard recently, the only large stores of buried soil organic material is under the big forests. What’s left of them.
    That nicely explains both the greening of the forests (plant fertilisation by nitrogen deposition) but ALSO the extra CO2 seen hanging over them (soil-bacteria fertilisation from the same nitrogen source)
    Same applies from sulphur coming from un-scrubbed coal-burning power stations and from motor vehicles burning high sulphur fuel.

    The relative lack of greening over the world’s farmland is because:
    1. There is very little organic material within it (compared to the forests)
    2. The farmland is already well supplied with all the nitrogen and sulphur it needs = the very root of what it is to be A Farmer

    That was all stuff I’ve repeated here dozens of times.
    i.e that a lot of the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is coming from or came from farmland fertilised with nitrogen – currently 500 million tonnes per year.
    And then, how much of that escapes the farmland in the form of NOx & ammonia – to add to the load coming from the burning of stuff.

    Now the scary bit and its logic…..
    The logic:
    A long time ago, I saw on TV while I still had one, that ‘peculiar’ arrangement of mountains causes vast amounts of dust to be picked up off the Sahara and blown out over the Atlantic.
    So much dust that apparently 40+ million tonnes (annually) of it make over The Pond *and* the equator and subsequently rain down onto Amazonia.
    The claim was that this dust is what maintains the forest – because it brings (it is) so much vital plant nutrient. OK

    Now put it all together and the scary bit….
    Farmland is losing, has lost, vast amounts of soil organics, due to the very business of farming.
    That loss also means a loss of water retention – farmland is thus drier on average and hence, due to water’s epic heat capacity, the farmland’s temperature will rise more than it previously did for any given amount of solar input.
    So we’ve got so far, rising CO2 and rising temps. The CO2 did not cause the temp rise, it is symptomatic.
    To corroborate that, how many times now in the MSM news about ‘Flash Floods’?
    Plenty.
    Flash floods come off land/soil that has low organic content, read = water retention properties.

    No surprise next- the drier farmland will become dustier – it will behave like the Sahara does in feeding Amazonia.
    Then another two *major* plants nutrients come into play – phosphorus and potassium.
    Both used in epic amounts by farmers so when they raise clouds of dust with their ploughing and cultivating, that dust is carrying away large amounts of P and K
    Again, greening won’t show up on farmland because farmland is already saturated with P and K
    It all fits those rather fuzzy pictures of the green globe. Perfectly

    And those two nutrients (P & K), in places that don’t normally get any such as the big forests, will have a *huge* fertilising effect on them, on top of the fertilising effect of the nitrogen & sulphur.

    *There* is your global greening..
    Without the aid of models.

    You’ve got the scary bit yes/no?
    =Global greening actually represents desertification.

    it is so badly misunderstood it is actually mis-named – it is NOT Global – it only affects places with high soil organics, and when the organics have all gone, you’re left with what is The True definition of A Desert
    Desert= place with very low or zero soil organic content.
    Grab a window seat while you can, we’re all going to Mars.

    Next time you’re out driving in the countryside, compare the colour of the soil you see with the colour of that bright little ‘star’ presently up in the southern sky of a (GMT) evening time.

    • Peta

      Put the numbers to that and you may have a publishable study. Not that I know what I’m talking about.

    • Peta,

      Here’s part of the abstract of the Zhu et al paper — I had saved the paper somehow earlier this year (I forgot where I found it for free):

      “Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition , climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. LCC contributed most to the regional greening observed in southeast China and the eastern United States. The regional effects of unexplained factors suggest that the next generation of ecosystem models will need to explore the impacts of forest demography, differences in regional management intensities for cropland and pastures, and other emerging productivity constraints such as phosphorus availability.”

      So, the models “suggest” 70% from CO2, then nitrogen deposition, climate change (maybe increased growing season length?), land cover change, with seeming questions and uncertainties about forest demography, regional differences in land management, and phosphorus availability.

      This seems to take account of some of your thinking.

    • In US the industry standard is no till farming and is being adopted in RoW. Soil farming/cultivation is also becoming popular.

  11. Funny how the NYT and the LA times completely missed the great greening earth news .
    They must be to busy feeding the losers in the Trump derangement industry .
    Oh Lordy lordy Judge Kavanagh threw a bag of ice on someone in high school . The horror .

  12. I’ve known this since I was in 4th grade in 1967. I’d did an experiment using dry ice and greenhouses. Hence, I’ve been scoffing at climate alarmists since they were predicting an ice age in the 70s.

  13. So what is needed by humans facing a future ice age is a means to produce massive amounts of CO2, from what is presently locked away in the Earth. Any suggestions please. True we don’t need to worry right now, but it would be a interesting exercise and drive the alarmests nuts.

    MJE

  14. I am dubious 70% greening 1999-2015 is due to elevated CO2 (eCO2).

    Grassland experiments varying temperature, water, nitrogen, early 2000 CO2 & 680 ppm eCO2 showed the following. When the temperature, water & nitrate nitrogen were
    adequate but grassland growing under ambient ppm of CO2 in the 3rd year the plot produced 1,089 +/- 54 gr/sq.mt. In comparison
    with the same adequate temperature, water & nitrate nitrogen plot grown under eCO2 only
    produced 988 +/-52 gr./sq.mt.

    In other eCO2 grassland experiments other
    dynamics showed up worth mentioning. The
    grassland plant community underwent changes in relative proportions of both which
    kinds of grass eCO2 boosted & which kinds
    (& %) of non-grass field plants made up the
    eCO2 grassland.

    I’ll add that looking at grassland greenery &
    correlating more of that greenery should take
    into consideration de-forestation generally
    leads to more grassland succession.

  15. Mr. Michaels,

    Any chance of a high quality article on glomalin proteins?

    This is from 2002, but has some good detail on glomalin: https://agresearchmag.ars.usda.gov/2002/sep/soil

    Glomalin was discovered in 1996. It is a long surviving extremely sticky protein that is extremely common (100,000 PPM) in the world’s richest soil (Hawaiian).

    “Wright found glomalin levels up to 15 mg/g elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic region. But she found the highest levels—more than 100 mg/g—in Hawaiian soils, with Japanese soils a close second.”

    Glomalin is natures way of making topsoil. It first binds SOC (soil organic carbon) molecules together to form aggregates, then it also creates a waxy wrapper aground the aggregates to keep the from dissolving in rain water.

    My understanding is there is global shortage of 250-500 gigatonnes worth of carbon in soil primarily due to a lack of glomalin in farmed land (40% of global land).

    Grasslands that aren’t plowed or tilled are the richest in glomalin. To restore farmland to healthy natural glomalin levels will require all the excess co2 currently available in the atmosphere, so we are fortunate to have it available as resource to draw on.

    Unfortunately most of the info I can find is at least a decade old. It would be great if you could write a 2018 overview of the science and what major greening projects are leveraging glomalin.

  16. So grassland increased its density by 100% by 2021 since 2000.

    And according to other papers and estimates the planet greened by 70% from the beginning of the Ind Rev upto 2000.

    Now whats the betting that co2 when finally admitted has zero forcing on Av Temps globally, is still the bogey-man for altering surface emissivity and causing climate change.

  17. I also disagree with respect to temperate forests elevated CO2 is responsible for 70% of greening. Rainy season is arriving in Gringolandia & last night when went to post
    comment on trees lost my composition . If
    anyone asks I’ll try to recreate the details behind my assertion.

  18. “In other words, 78 [70 + 8] percent of observed planetary greening is caused by carbon dioxide and its effect upon climate.”

    That is an incautious statement. The claim cannot be sustained until there is clear evidence for how much CO2 warms the atmosphere. Recent warming is not known to be cause entirely by CO2. In fact it is very unlikely that all warming from 1850 has been caused by CO2, no matter what its source.

  19. What part of “warm” don’t people understand? Why do Canadians go to Myrtle Beach in March? Because it is WARMer than Canada. Why do people sit by a fire in winter? Because it is WARM. Why do crops grow in the Spring and Summer and NOT in the Fall and Winter? Because Spring and Summer are WARM.

    So, what’s wrong with a warmer world? Am I missing something?

    PS – All that scientific gobbledygook is interesting, but huh? Us simple folk think: Warm good. Cold bad. Food good. Dessert bad.

    Hee, hee, hee. Oops. Misspelled that.

  20. A lot of the greening is due to increased soil moisture from increased water efficiency of plants.

    Warming also results in a net transfer of water from ocean to land (water evaporates much more readily from water, especially with IR).

    The nitrogen increase is likely also due to CO2. CO2 increases nitrogen fixing and bio available phosphorus where those are limited. Plants provide more resources to the bacteria and fungi that do the job when CO2 increases.

    In addition, seeds produced in higher CO2 are heartier and germinate earlier and more successfully. Increasing growing season and productivity.

    https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/03/four-day-work-week-to-be-made-permanent-after-company-finds-no-downside-8000431/

    • Wrong clipboard paste:

      Greening is mostly from increased soil moisture due to increased water efficiency of plants.

      Warming also transfers water from the ocean to land since IR in particular causes more evaporation from water than land.

      The increase in nitrogen is also largely a result of increased CO2. As CO2 rises, plants provide more resources to symbiotic bacteria and fungi when nitrogen and phosphorus are constrained.

      1.) Increased water retention makes water available for other plants and to aquifers. Warming also transports more water from the oceans to land. http://archive.news.iupui.edu/releases/2016/02/drylands-global-greening.shtml

      2.) Increased CO2 causes most plants to produced heartier seeds which germinate earlier and more successfully and others to produce more seeds. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/nph.12691

      3.) Increased CO2 allows plants to transfer more resources to symbiotic fungi and bacteria which make Nitrogen and Phosphorus more bio-abvailible https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01159.x

      Which leads to…

      4.) Increased CO2 increases Carbon and Nitrogen in soil. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01159.x

      5.) Similarly, Nitrogen fixing bacteria are also more productive in the oceans.. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01314.x

      I’m more concerned that if our emissions growth declines and carbon capture is adopted, severe stress could be put on subsistence farming as nature and CC out compete subsistence farmers for CO2 and concentrations decline than that the weather might one day be on net worse for society. I expect the airborne fraction to decline as emissions level off, as plants will continue to become more productive.

      • I’m also contesting eCO2 simply improves germination. 2 years of Garbanzo bean (“chickpeas”) seeds grown under 569-600ppm CO2 had a germination rate of 65-69%. Those grown under ambient CO2 germinated at the rate of 87-90%.

        The speed of germination was 26-32% slower for eCO2 garbanzo seeds. Their seed coats were softer, as were their cotyledons. Cotyledons had 6-8% less nitrogen , 5-7% more carbon &
        9-13% more starch. To be precise the eCO2 seedlings’ length & dry weight were not different than ambient CO2 ones.

    • Generalization about elevated CO2 (eCO2) and nitrogen should be given context. The trend is not always in one direction.

      With regard to symbiotic N2 nitrogen fixation the range of in the kinds of plants studied eCO2 boosts N2 by 25.1% to 95.4% (data as of 2016 meta-analysis). Bear in mind if only consider legumes with their biological symbiont we are not looking at the majority of worldwide farmland (estimate ~10% of cropland).

      In the case of non-symbiotic N2 nitrogen fixing eCO2 is reported to result in anywhere from -8.6 % to +41.3%. Yet once exclude rice paddys from this non-biological N2 fixation category eCO2 has a wide variation of effect on N2 fixation; namely from -20.2% to +35.7% (data likewise as of 2016 meta-analysis)

  21. Greening is mostly from increased soil moisture due to increased water efficiency of plants.

    Warming also transfers water from the ocean to land since IR in particular causes more evaporation from water than land.

    The increase in nitrogen is also largely a result of increased CO2. As CO2 rises, plants provide more resources to symbiotic bacteria and fungi when nitrogen and phosphorus are constrained.

    1.) Increased water retention makes water available for other plants and to aquifers. Warming also transports more water from the oceans to land. http://archive.news.iupui.edu/releases/2016/02/drylands-global-greening.shtml

    2.) Increased CO2 causes most plants to produced heartier seeds which germinate earlier and more successfully and others to produce more seeds. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/nph.12691

    3.) Increased CO2 allows plants to transfer more resources to symbiotic fungi and bacteria which make Nitrogen and Phosphorus more bio-abvailible https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01159.x

    Which leads to…

    4.) Increased CO2 increases Carbon and Nitrogen in soil. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.01159.x

    5.) Similarly, Nitrogen fixing bacteria are also more productive in the oceans.. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01314.x

    I’m more concerned that if our emissions growth declines and carbon capture is adopted, severe stress could be put on subsistence farming as nature and CC out compete subsistence farmers for CO2 and concentrations decline than that the weather might one day be on net worse for society. I expect the airborne fraction to decline as emissions level off, as plants will continue to become more productive.

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