L A Times Amazon fire anti-science propaganda revisited

Guest essay by Larry Hamlin

Thanks to Dr. Roy Spencer for his excellent WUWT article exposing the plight of the economically poor Brazilian farmers as well as the gross mischaracterizations by climate alarmists of fires in the Amazon region.

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Dr. Spencer’s article provides a 30+ year long time period graphic showing the area of deforestation of the Amazon region starting in year 1988 through 2019 as shown below from the source referenced in Dr. Spencer’s posting.

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The L A Times article addressed in my prior posting at WUWT provided a graphic presented by the Times showing the Amazon region area of deforestation but misleadingly cherry picked to address just the last two years of data for 2018 and 2019 as shown below.

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I criticized the Times politically contrived cherry picking as anti-science alarmist propaganda which is a completely valid assessment since the Times was clearly concealing the much larger areas of Amazon deforestation that had occurred in the past as the more complete long time period graphic clearly displays both in my original posting (shown below) as well as Dr. Spencer’s posting.

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If the Times had made a comparison between 2019 data versus 2016 data for example the result would show lower deforestation in 2019 with year 2016 data being more than 10% above 2019 data through August with only July 2019 being somewhat higher than July 2016 and all other months of 2019 being lower than year 2016 further demonstrating the anti-science cherry picking alarmist scheme by the Times in trying to support its politically misleading presentation.

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Recent data from NASA Earth Observatory Images using MODIS data has documented a decrease in global fire burned acreage since 2003 further undermining alarmist claims that man made CO2 emissions are increasing global fire impacts. The study notes:

“One of the most interesting things researchers have discovered since MODIS began collecting measurements, noted Randerson, is a decrease in the total number of square kilometers burned each year. Between 2003 and 2019, that number has dropped by roughly 25 percent.”

Additionally results from a new study utilizing NASA satellite data show that during a 35 year period global forests have increased growth by over 2.2 million square kilometers due to increasing CO2. The study notes the following results over the period 1982 through 2016:

“Over the entire span, the researchers found that new tree cover had offset tree cover loss by approximately 2.24 million square kilometers—which they note is approximately the size of Texas and Alaska combined.”

The claims by climate alarmist and their media manipulators that we must now “panic” regarding global fires including those in the Amazon region are driven by politics not science.

As Dr. Spencer astutely noted in his article:

“This is just one more example of the media controlling the narrative and selectively and hypocritically placing blame on a particular (and almost always right-leaning) political party.”

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49 thoughts on “L A Times Amazon fire anti-science propaganda revisited

  1. During August-September 1995, the Goddard Space Flight Center participated in SCAR 95, a major ground and air atmospheric monitoring campaign across Brazil. I was retained for 3 weeks to make ground measurements of the ozone layer, total column water vapor, UVB, optical depth and other parameters from Cuiaba and the edge of the Pantanal. As affirmed by Dr. Spencer’s time series chart, 1995 was by far the worst year for burning in Brazil, most of which was of pristine rain forest that was downed during the wet season, left to dry and then burned in the dry season (mainly August-September). Apparently most of the burning in recent years is of secondary forest growth and agricultural biomass waste (as in Mexico and Central America every spring). In 1995 and again in 1997, I saw many fields in Brazil that had been cleared for cattle. I also saw abandoned fields overgrown with secondary growth that would probably never replace the original rain forest. In short, as Dr. Spencer observes, the situation in Brazil is much more complex than that portrayed in the media.

    • After having witnessed for yourself “pristine rain forest that was downed during the wet season, left to dry and then burned in the dry season (mainly August-September)”. Why on earth would you now think that changed to “most of the burning in recent years is of secondary forest growth…”?

      “In short, as Dr. Spencer observes, the situation in Brazil is much more complex than that portrayed in the media.”

      No, in short, the simple, surreal truth is that rainforest destruction is being ramped up again, deliberately, and mostly for hamburger.

      • Loydo, do take a hard look at the Deforestation chart that shows a big DECLINE in Brazilian amazon loss after 2005

        Brazilian fires

        You also ignored this too:

        “Recent data from NASA Earth Observatory Images using MODIS data has documented a decrease in global fire burned acreage since 2003 further undermining alarmist claims that man made CO2 emissions are increasing global fire impacts. The study notes:

        “One of the most interesting things researchers have discovered since MODIS began collecting measurements, noted Randerson, is a decrease in the total number of square kilometers burned each year. Between 2003 and 2019, that number has dropped by roughly 25 percent.”

        Try not to lie again.

        • if these graphs are showing continuing destruction of rainforest we should still be worried even if it is not increasing. The current fires may be mainly on old cleared ground but they won’t stop at that point. It may well not be the catastrophe being headlined but it is still very concerning.

          • Susan,
            Are you as worried about the flora around your own home?

            Is it only the Amazon that requires the rest of the world to interfere? If so, why?

            No-one seems to complain when the 1st world builds more estates, larger homes, freeways, etc.

            The hypocrisy from many of those complaining is obvious

          • Susan, after a harvest, the remains of the crops are burned to prepare for growing the next crop. If the land has remained fallow for a number of months, they must burn both the remains of the old crop and any secondary, i.e., natural, growth that has taken place. Why do you assume, “they won’t stop at that point?” Crop yields are up.

            Why aren’t you protesting the loss of habitats to construct huge solar farms being built on pristine land?

        • You don’t get it.
          This year is worse than last year. Which in Loydo’s mind is proof that next year will be worse then this year, continued ad infinitum till we’re all dead.

          • Fire spreads: it’s what fire does. While uncut rain forest may not burn as well as old cut stuff it is inevitable that large scale fires are going to eat into it. Particularly when those setting the fires have an interest in clearing a bit more ground.
            Why does it matter? Well, leaving O2/CO2 on one side there are still reasonable concerns about biodiversity, indigenous people, loss of habitat for animals etc. The rainforest ought to be protected: being AGW skeptics shouldn’t equate to being environmental vandals.

        • Sunsettommy
          “Between 2003 and 2019, that number has dropped by roughly 25 percent.”
          “Try not to lie again.”

          It has been rising since 2012. It should be falling to zero. 17% has been razed and the best estimates are that there is a threshhold of 20-25% beyond which the self-sustaining nature of the rainfall begins to fail – at the risk of degrading vast areas into savannah. Not only resulting in the extinction of uncountable species and drop in agricultural rainfall in surrounding areas but also in a massive pulse of CO2.

          Surreal that anyone thinks any of that is not madness. All for the sake of cheaper effing hamburgers.

          • Oh dear you are indeed struggling to read the chart and understand that it is a lot smaller problem than it used to be:

            You going to ignore this again?

            “Recent data from NASA Earth Observatory Images using MODIS data has documented a decrease in global fire burned acreage since 2003 further undermining alarmist claims that man made CO2 emissions are increasing global fire impacts. The study notes:

            “One of the most interesting things researchers have discovered since MODIS began collecting measurements, noted Randerson, is a decrease in the total number of square kilometers burned each year. Between 2003 and 2019, that number has dropped by roughly 25 percent.”

            Try not to ignore them again.

            Try not to play the cherrypicking game anymore.

            By the way, near the end of the glaciation period around 18,000 years ago, the Amazon Rain Forest was around 10% , meaning it was a LOT smaller than it is now.

            You are as usual missing a lot of pieces of the climate puzzle.

          • But, but, the bar graph is taller than last year… no other data needed to make a concrete assertion. See, we’re all doomed for cheap hamburgers and indigenous people or something. Let’s all fly to salt lake to carp about it.

      • Loydo. Give it up. Surreal truth???? That phrase sort of sums up how alarmists treat the real truth.

      • “Why on earth would you now think that changed to “most of the burning in recent years is of secondary forest growth…”?”

        You seem to be unaware that if deforested land sits unused for a while secondary growth must be cut and/or burned for it to be used for agriculture. I imagine that in a humid environment like Brazil that growth is pretty heavy.

      • A one year trend is absolute proof that things are getting worse and will continue to get worse forever.

        Sheesh, you trolls are so predictable.

  2. “a comparison between 2019 data versus 2016 data for example the result would show lower deforestation in 2019 with year 2016 data being more than 10% above 2019 data through August with only July 2019 being somewhat higher than July 2016”

    In the version I see of that link, it only has data to June 2019. And it says, explicitly:
    “June 2019 was the worst month since the alert monitoring system was created in 2015”
    although the graph seems to show June 2016 slightly higher (but May a lot lower). In any case, there seems to be another switch here. This is deforestation data, which is not necessarily burning.

  3. A part of Montgomery Street in San Francisco was closed today for a demonstration at Brzil’s Consulate General.

  4. Do we have data for fires burning in Brazil and Bolivia as a percentage of forested land in each country?

  5. The Amazon is Not the ‘Lungs of the Earth’ despite what Macron et. al would have us believe.

    Science.com posted the following article last night by Scott Denning but it had been disappeared less than 12 hours later! Clearly Mr. Denning has been sent off to the Gulags for reprogramming!

    The title is: Amazon Wildfires Are Horrifying, But They’re Not Destroying Earth’s Oxygen Supply

    https://www.space.com/amazon-fires-are-not-depleting-earth-oxygen.html

    The article is well worth a read and explains that most of our oxygen comes from anerobic conditions in the deep ocean, not trees.

    • This is probably the greatest lesson given by this Amazon case to most people. I guess that most really think that the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from plants and leads to this “lungs of the world” nonsense. When I tell to my geology and biology graduation students that most of the oxygen comes from microorganisms, not plants, I can see those eyes pooping out. It’s a hell of an effort to demonstrate them why.

      • “most really think that the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from plants ”

        It does (at least if you count cyanobacteria as plants). However it has built up over 2,000,000,000 years and the proportion created or used in any one year is infinitesimally small.

    • However at the present time, and for the last 35 million years the deep seas have not been anaerobic (except for small isolated basins like the Black Sea).

      It is however true that even if the whole biosphere was to burn, it still wouldn’t make much of a dent in atmospheric O2, nor would it make much difference if plants would turn all the CO2 in the atmosphere into oxygen (and thereby exterminate themselves).

    • Alistair,

      Good article. Yup, the oceans have added oxygen to the atmosphere for a couple of billion years since algal growths first appeared.

      • Jan E Christoffersen
        August 31, 2019 at 1:32 pm

        Yes Jan, a little bit of geological insight goes a long way!

  6. When will this type of misinformation be taken to task as being nothing but propaganda? Is the MSM totally owned by the so called “Progressives”? It appears so. Only time can overtake their message and I hope we have enough of it to maintain our sanity.

  7. Not entirely off topic, BUT
    Japan uses timber extensively, particularly for dwellings and rural buildings.
    Japan has magnificent forests and beautiful timbers.
    Japan sources its timber from Indonesia.
    The Indonesian Presidents are not quite as tolerant as some others.
    In fact, they speak the well known International Language “F*CK OFF”.

  8. The rain forest is nt the exclusive lung of earth. Pretending this is actually purposely ignoring Siberia and Canada are the biggest accounted for forests.

    Those flying northern routes are briefed not to report the quasi perpetual remote wildlife fires to ground. Simply because forests need fires as part of their renewal process and it has been so ever since they exist.

    So are we going to claim that Canada and Siberia are on fire ? We could. A simple universally accepted historic reality.

  9. Deforestation in the Amazon is actually a problem. Any forest lost is pretty much lost for good. The soils soils are very poor and nutrients which are maintained by the forest root systems will be leached out over a short period of time. Therefore the farmland are unable to maintain themselves and new forest needs to be removed to replace farmlands in an endless cycle.

    • The large areas farmed by natives up to c. 1600 AD have all reverted to forest. Admittedly this was mostly in the varzea which probably have somewhat better soils.

      By the way, most of the lands that have been cleared aren’t rainforest but rather cerrado, dry semideciduous forest.

      • MarkW: Illustrating why “Landscapes and Cycles” was written. Nature’s nutrient and Biome recycling is a long game. Too long and subtle for your average troll to bother comprehending and including Continental Drift. Life adapts wondrously hence Cerrado etc. which alternates with dryer and wetter states over the medium term like Sahel for instance.
        Hippy types cannot get it that our magnificent NZ Temperate Rain Forest for instance must alternate with Scrub and Fern over scores of thousands of years as they sour the soils until they become barer. Then faster erosion uncovers previously buried nutrients and forests are renewed awhile. And so on as long as the Tectonic state of change operates….. Brett Keane, Farmer and Soil Scientist etc..

  10. Anyone taking I95 from washington to Georgia can see lots of farm land reclamed by forrest. There should be a study somewhere on the regrouth of the eastern US.

    • Cape Cod Mass. was totally denuded of forest less trees around individual houses and buildings in the early 1900s. It is now completely wooded less some dunes and other areas that are not naturally suited to forest growth, areas intentionally kept cleared and some minor agricultural areas.

      The reason for the regrowth, OIL heating and electrical cooking. No need for wood to cook and heat.

      The soil quality? It is sand with very little nutrients. How did it happen, naturally, no planting by humans necessary. BTW: There are now coyotes living on Cape Cod.

  11. Burning down the forest is a loss certainly. The Oh By the Way part is that the run off from the cattle farms is fueling the massive weed growth in the Caribbean. We live aboard and sail this area. Four years ago it was possible to fish under way. Now, there are weed mats covering acres and feet thick. The windward beaches are covered with decomposing weed. It is impossible to fish almost always now.

    • Do you have any evidence for that?

      It would seem much more likely that any eutrophication is more due to local runoff or comes from the Mississippi basin. It couldn’t for example be due to the exceptional runoff from the Mississippi this year (there is more farmland and a lot more fertilizer in the Mississippi-Missouri basin)?

      It is true that the freshwater plume from the Amazon moves north but it mostly stays east of the Antilles and at fairly great depth.

  12. The things that’s different this year is that a right-wing politician was elected.

    It reminds me years ago when I was talking to my liberal cousin during an election campaign. Her number one issue was the corruption in government. I told her if that’s the case then she has no choice but to vote for Republicans — straight party ticket. The media are a powerful force in society but they will only fulfil their role as the Fifth Estate against Republicans. They would let Obama get away will ANYTHING, like they did the Clintons.

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