New research highlights how plants are slowing global warming

News Release 31-Jan-2020

Boston University

Chi Chen, a Boston University graduate researcher, and Ranga Myneni, a BU College of Arts & Sciences professor of earth and environment, released a new paper that reveals how humans are helping to increase the Earth’s plant and tree cover, which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and cools our planet. The boom of vegetation, fueled by greenhouse gas emissions, could be skewing our perception of how fast we’re warming the planet.

Taking a closer look at 250 scientific studies, land-monitoring satellite data, climate and environmental models, and field observations, a team of Boston University researchers and international collaborators have illuminated several causes and consequences of a global increase in vegetation growth, an effect called greening.

In a new study, published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, the researchers report that climate-altering carbon emissions and intensive land use have inadvertently greened half of the Earth’s vegetated lands. And while that sounds like it may be a good thing, this phenomenal rate of greening, together with global warming, sea-level rise, and sea-ice decline, represents highly credible evidence that human industry and activity is dramatically impacting the Earth’s climate, say the study’s first authors, Shilong Piao and Xuhui Wang of Peking University.

Green leaves convert sunlight to sugars while replacing carbon dioxide in the air with water vapor, which cools the Earth’s surface. The reasons for greening vary around the world, but often involve intensive use of land for farming, large-scale planting of trees, a warmer and wetter climate in northern regions, natural reforestation of abandoned lands, and recovery from past disturbances.

And the chief cause of global greening we’re experiencing? It seems to be that rising carbon dioxide emissions are providing more and more fertilizer for plants, the researchers say. As a result, the boom of global greening since the early 1980s may have slowed the rate of global warming, the researchers say, possibly by as much as 0.2 to 0.25 degrees Celsius.

“It is ironic that the very same carbon emissions responsible for harmful changes to climate are also fertilizing plant growth, which in turn is somewhat moderating global warming,” says study coauthor Dr. Jarle Bjerke of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

Boston University researchers previously discovered that, based on near-daily NASA and NOAA satellite imaging observations since the early 1980s, vast expanses of the Earth’s vegetated lands from the Arctic to the temperate latitudes have gotten markedly more green.

“Notably, the NASA [satellite data] observed pronounced greening during the 21st century in the world’s most populous and still-developing countries, China and India,” says Ranga Myneni, the new study’s senior author.

Even regions far, far removed from human reach have not escaped the global warming and greening trends. “Svalbard in the high-arctic, for example, has seen a 30 percent increase in greenness [in addition to] an increase in [summer temperatures] from 2.9 to 4.7 degrees Celcius between 1986 and 2015,” says study coauthor Rama Nemani of NASA’s Ames Research Center.

Over the last 40 years, carbon emissions from fossil fuel use and tropical deforestation have added 160 parts per million (ppm), a unit of measure for air pollutants, of CO2 to Earth’s atmosphere. About 40 ppm of that has diffused passively into the oceans and another 50 ppm has been actively taken up by plants, the researchers say. But 70 ppm remains in the atmosphere, and together with other greenhouse gases, is responsible the land warming patterns that have been observed since the 1980s.

“Plants are actively defending against the dangers of carbon pollution by not only sequestering carbon on land but also by wetting the atmosphere through transpiration of ground water and evaporation of precipitation intercepted by their bodies,” says study coauthor Philippe Ciais, of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, Gif-sur-Yvette, France. “Stopping deforestation and sustainable, ecologically sensible afforestation could be one of the simplest and cost-effective, though not sufficient, defenses against climate change,” he adds.

It is not easy to accurately estimate the cooling benefit from global greening because of the complex interconnected nature of the climate system, the researchers say. “This unintended benefit of global greening, and its potential transitory nature, suggests how much more daunting, and urgent, is the stated goal of keeping global warming to below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, especially given the trajectory of carbon emissions and history of inaction during the past decades,” says study coauthor Hans Tømmervik of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Norway.

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From EurekAlert!

97 thoughts on “New research highlights how plants are slowing global warming

    • Dr Ed Berry has this important paper in preprint. While I have still not done the hard work to review Berry’s hypo, some of the smartest people I know have done so, and they accept Berry’s hypo. Their disciplined acceptance makes me take notice.

      This issue is a bit complicated (for me) and we continue to discuss.

      From the Abstract: “Human emissions through 2019 have added only 31 ppm to atmospheric CO2 while nature has added 100 ppm.”

      Our following conversation in the Comments is of interest.

      Regards, Allan

      PREPRINT: “THE PHYSICS MODEL CARBON CYCLE FOR HUMAN CO2”
      by Edwin X Berry, Ph.D., Physics
      https://edberry.com/blog/climate/climate-physics/human-co2-has-little-effect-on-the-carbon-cycle/

      ABSTRACT
      The scientific basis for the effect of human carbon dioxide on atmospheric carbon dioxide rests upon correctly calculating the human carbon cycle. This paper uses the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) carbon-cycle data and allows IPCC’s assumption that the CO2 level in 1750 was 280 ppm. It derives a framework to calculate carbon cycles. It makes minor corrections to IPCC’s time constants for the natural carbon cycle to make IPCC’s flows consistent with its levels. It shows IPCC’s human carbon cycle contains significant, obvious errors. It uses IPCC’s time constants for natural carbon to recalculate the human carbon cycle. The human and natural time constants must be the same because nature must treat human and natural carbon the same. The results show human emissions have added a negligible one percent to the carbon in the carbon cycle while nature has added 3 percent, likely due to natural warming since the Little Ice Age. Human emissions through 2019 have added only 31 ppm to atmospheric CO2 while nature has added 100 ppm. If human emissions were stopped in 2020, then by 2100 only 8 ppm of human CO2 would remain in the atmosphere.

      COMMENTS

      ALLAN MACRAE
      JANUARY 11, 2020 AT 6:14 AM
      https://edberry.com/blog/climate/climate-physics/human-co2-has-little-effect-on-the-carbon-cycle/#comment-78884
      [excerpt]

      Hello Dr Ed Berry,

      Thank you for your latest paper. I have been pondering this subject for ~12 years and am still doing so. I wonder if the following close relationship of dCO2/dt vs Temperature from my 2008 paper is helpful to your hypothesis. Please consider and advise.

      In my January 2008 paper, the close correlation of the velocity dCO2/dt and delta Temperature proves that atmospheric CO2 changes lag atmospheric temperature changes by ~9 months in the modern data record, and this observation suggests Climate Sensitivity to Atmospheric CO2 must be very small, and may not even exist in measureable reality.

      This plot approximates the dCO2/dt vs T correlation. Major volcanoes El Chichon (1982) and Pinatubo (1991+) disrupt the relationship.

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/mean:12/derivative/plot/uah6/from:1979/scale:0.22/offset:0.14

      DR. ED
      JANUARY 12, 2020 AT 3:51 PM
      https://edberry.com/blog/climate/climate-physics/human-co2-has-little-effect-on-the-carbon-cycle/#comment-79027
      [excerpt]

      Dear Allan,

      Thank you for your comments.

      In my opinion, you have done an excellent job of showing how temperature drives CO2 concentration. Your 2008 paper predates Salby’s video presentations where he also shows how the rate of change of CO2 is a function of temperature.

      By the way, it appears that you and Salby used different mathematical approaches to show the same result. If you would like to explain how your approach differs from Salby’s, you are welcome to do so.

      You wrote, “I wonder if the following close relationship of dCO2/dt vs Temperature from my 2008 paper is helpful to your hypothesis. Please consider and advise.”

      I think our papers together help form a consistent argument. My paper shows that human emissions are, at most, an insignificant contributor to the increase atmospheric CO2 based on carbon cycle calculations. Your paper shows that temperature change is the dominant cause of changes in atmospheric CO2.
      ________________________________

    • 1. Notwithstanding alleged cheating, urban heat islands, etc., it has been warming.

      2. This warming has already driven more carbon from the soils into the atmosphere.

      3. The reason we haven’t seen an even higher rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 is this greening.

      4. A carbon-cycle model tuned to an absence of the temperature-driven CO2 emission and the countervailing greening, however, predicts the current increase in atmospheric CO2, with half of the human-caused CO2 emissions accounting for all of the increase in atmospheric CO2, with the remainder taken up 50/50 between photosynthetic uptake and the inorganic ocean carbonates.

      5. With the warming climate and temperature stimulated emissions balanced by this greening, only half of the increase in atmospheric CO2 can be blamed in direct human-caused CO2 emission with the remaining half the result of the observed climate warming.

      6. Pieter Tams doesn’t believe any of this, claiming that the temperature-stimulated emission is from a shallow reservoir of the tropical forest leaf litter that only operates over a 1-2 year time scale.

      • “4. A carbon-cycle model tuned to an absence of the temperature-driven CO2 emission and the countervailing greening, however, predicts the current increase in atmospheric CO2, with half of the human-caused CO2 emissions accounting for all of the increase in atmospheric CO2, with the remainder taken up 50/50 between photosynthetic uptake and the inorganic ocean carbonates.”

        So, how does the atmosphere decide that half of human CO2 emissions should stay in the atmosphere and how to split remaining 50% equally between photosynthesis and deposition of carbonate minerals in the ocean?

        All CO2 molecules are absolutely identical. Actually where the CO2 goes in the model is decided by the author(s) of the model. They can adjust parameters to give any result they wish. That decision does not shed any light on how CO2 actually behaves in the atmosphere, since there are a multitude of different ways to adjust a model to produce the same result. A parameterized model is a parody of what it proposes to explain.

  1. Were the fossil fuels’ emissions the cause of green parts of Greenland pre-LIA when Vikings were able to sustain farming there and, subsequently perished when LIA took over?

    • Have you never been around Vikings after one of their parties? Methane emissions are enough to send any sane person running for the nearest door!

  2. “It is ironic that the very same carbon emissions responsible for harmful changes to climate are also fertilizing plant growth, which in turn is somewhat moderating global warming,” says study coauthor Dr. Jarle Bjerke of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

    It is ironic, that he thinks this is ironic. He could have seen it as just a natural counter-measure of the Earth’s Stable Climate correction mechanism. Somehow Warmistas seem to hate Green as much as they hate’Deniers’. They fear anything denying them their final cathartic disaster.

    • In the author’s defense, he’s probably been steeped in the “CO2 is Bad” religion his entire life. So to him, the idea that CO2 could possibly have good effects is indeed utterly contrary to his expectations.

      • I’ve had a few alarmists actually declare that CO2 can’t be plant food, precisely because of this CO2 is always bad brainwashing. The idea that there might be good impacts from more CO2 causes near fatal brain dissonance.

        • When I visited my daughter’s high school open house, about 5 kids had done research on CAGW. I asked each of them if they could name ANY benefits to CO2.
          All 5 had zero to say, blank looks.

          At graduation I listened to numerous kids talk about how they were going to save the world. All were fore-runners to Greta T.

      • “Plants are actively defending against the dangers of carbon pollution.”

        Yup, I think this guy might have drank all the cool aide.

      • I had a CAGW friend tell me that the increase in plant uptake is bad because even though were producing more food and plants are growing, the plants are increasing their sugar content and that is bad.

        I looked at him rather stunned and just shook my head. Seems no matter what, it’s always doom and gloom.

    • ““It is ironic that the very same carbon [dioxide] emissions responsible for harmful changes to climate”

      No harmful changes to the Earth’s atmosphere have ever been shown to exist with regard to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The person making this claim doesn’t know what he is talking about. He has made an erroneous assumption, that CO2 in the atmosphere is having a detrimetal effect, and has built that into his thought process. Assuming things not in evidence. That’s not what a competent scientist, or a reasonable person, should do. There’s no evidence showing CO2 is causing the Earth’s atmosphere to do anything it hasn’t done in the past.

      Assumptions and assertions are not evidence.

  3. an increase in [summer temperatures] from 2.9 to 4.7 degrees Celcius between 1986 and 2015,” says study coauthor Rama Nemani of NASA’s Ames Research Center.

    That seems to be from a parallel universe:
    “The 1920–2006 trend is 0.04°/decade” according to
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/05/12/where-the-is-svalbard/

    1986 to 2015 is about three decades, this 0.04 * 3 = 0.12°C. Have noboddy reviewed your data acquisitions Rama Nemani?

  4. Taking this further – would growing vast numbers of trees, cutting them down, storing them in a big hole which is constantly replenished with new trees, “solve” climate change?

    If the numbers below are correct (please do check) it seems as though you could remove all the CO2 added to the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution and store it in the form of trees in a large but not unfeasible hole (or many smaller holes). It’s really just putting the carbon back where it came from – a form of “capture and storage”

    Anyway, here goes…

    Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is currently 622 ppm by mass.

    Mass of atmosphere is ~5 x 10^18 kg so mass of CO2 is 622 x 5 x 10^12 kg.

    Mass of C is 12/44 x mass of CO2 (1 C for 2 Os in a CO2 molecule) so mass of C in atmosphere is ~ 10^15 kg

    Density of wood is ~500 kg/m^3. Concentration of C in wood is ~50%, so density of C in wood is ~250 kg /m^3.

    So to reduce CO2 in atmosphere by ~25% (which is about 100ppm by volume, roughly back to pre-industrial levels), need to take out ~2.5 x 10^14 kg of C which is ~10^12 m^3 of wood.

    So a big hole (or several smaller holes) with a volume of ~10^12 m^3 would be able to store enough wood to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by 25%.

    If the hole was a km deep, it would need to be about 32km on each side. Which sounds like a big hole but isn’t really, particularly if several hundred smaller holes are used instead.

    Mass of carbon in all plants currently on Earth is ~4.5 x 10^14 kg so it’s comparable to the amount of C to be stored.

    So grow vast amounts of trees; cut them down and put them in a big hole. Repeat as needed. If subsequently things get cold, take out the wood and burn it.

    Does that do it or have I missed a factor of a billion here or there?

    Who will break the news to Greta?

  5. A bit more. I was wondering about the energy needed to dig the hole. It’s 10^12 m^3 of rock, density ~3,000 kg /m^3. If it’s 1km deep, the average height which the rock has to be lifted is 500m so the total energy needed is 500×10(gravity)x10^12x3x10^3 J = 1.5×10^19 J.

    Annual world energy consumption a few years ago was ~5.7×10^20J. So digging this hole would need an extra ~3% of annual energy production.

    But that could be spread out over, say, 10 years (after all, it’ll take time to grow the trees) so an increase of only 0.3% would be needed. And if the area of the hole is increased a further 10-fold (maybe by digging lots of shallower holes in lots of countries, all say 100m deep) the extra energy could be negligible.

    Of course there are overheads, mainly transport of the trees, but (unless the numbers are badly wrong – quite possible with all those factors of 10) it looks quite feasible. Is there a fatal flaw?

    • You can leave the trees alone. Fifteen to twenty tons of CO2 get locked up in a standing forest per acre.

      That’s a lot of new forest acreage per Gt. Not sure where the “Tree” folks plan to put them all. The space is probably available. (It’s easier to grow Gt’s of phytoplankton…just add iron).

      When it becomes clear during the next 25-50 year cooling trend that CO2 isn’t a problem, we’ll have lots of building material available.

      However, Climate Alarmists don’t really want an actual working carbon sequestration plan. I am anxious to see all the reasons why the Trillion Trees isn’t the right approach….probably that it will take too long. It would take 30 to 50 years depending on the sequestration targets.

      • Regarding burying trees as a C store. Some of the details were worked out and published back in 2008 in this paper: “Carbon sequestration via wood burial”

        The author reckons that 10 Gt/yr of C can sustainably be long-term sequestered (roughly the equivalent of the C in the annual global CO2 production) at a cost of $50/t of C, so a total annual cost of $500B, less than 1% of world GDP.

        Obviously there are practical details to be worked out but it seems quite feasible. As the author says: “The technique is low tech, distributed, easy to monitor, safe, and reversible, thus an attractive option for large-scale implementation in a world-wide carbon market.” I wonder why no one seems to be working on it. Is it just too boringly easy?

  6. Hmmm….. plant population increases exponentially, thanks to human emissions of carbon dioxide. (They didn’t include the part about echohippies and their objections to clearing fire fuels out of vulnerable areas, but that’s another story.)

    See, I knew this was going to happen: plants taking over the world again, just like they did in the Carboniferous epoch and the Silurian. No wonder fires rage out of control! Plants self-sacrificing themselves to get more CO2!

    Am I going to see giant dragonflies (meganeura) skimming the waters of the local fishing ponds?

    I can tell you just what dim bulbs the ecohippies are: the local newspaper ran a story on the DNR clearing out non-native trees this winter, to restore the area to its pre-farmland status which was tall grass prairie. They will replace non-native species like purple loosestrife with native grasses and wildflowers, come spring. Some middle-aged ecohippie chick got her undies in a bunch about the trees that were toppled, saying she could “hear the land screaming” and it “hurts her heart”. And can you get her to understand that this whole area used to be tallgrass prairie, and before that, dunes on the ancients shores of Lake Michi Gamu? No, because she’s willfully ignorant. They all are.

    Stay tuned! This should be good. Someone please post a warning if you see any oversized dragonflies!! Thanks!!!

    • Sara, they had some success in Jurassic Park, are there still giant dragonflies there?

      On a more serious note: Current O₂ level is too low to sustain the life of giant dragonfly.

      On a less serious note: Suggestion to tax O₂ in order to minimize wildfire risk and risk of reemerge of giant dragonfly.

    • Carl, you will be happy to know that a controlled experiment was run on several insect species including dragonflies to find out how higher O2 levels affected them. Some bugs stayed the same, others grew smaller, but dragonflies grew quite large, by increasing the number of tracheal tubes. This was originally meant to see how accurate the estimates are on ancient atmospheric oxygen levels.

      https://www.wired.com/2010/11/huge-dragonflies-oxygen/

      I do NOT want a giant dragonfly landing on my camera when I”m busy as a bee getting photos of them.

      That’s why these ignorant ecohippies and their enablers really do worry me. But we must know what they’re up to.

  7. “It is ironic that the very same carbon emissions responsible for harmful changes to climate are also fertilizing plant growth, which in turn is somewhat moderating global warming,”

    no jarle. not ironic at all. it’s kind of how the system set itself up

    • …and their confirmed evidence from scientific studies that CO2 emissions are responsible for harmful changes to climate are exactly what ?….They reviewed 250 studies, should be indisputable proof in those somewhere….

    • You beat me to the ‘ironic’ comment. It simply shows that the ‘studies’ (aka propaganda) do NOT adequately reflect the real world and all its interactions thus can NEVER accurately project impacts.

  8. From the article, “‘Plants are actively defending against the dangers of carbon pollution by not only sequestering carbon on land but also by wetting the atmosphere through transpiration of ground water and evaporation of precipitation intercepted by their bodies,’ says study coauthor Philippe Ciais, of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.”

    OK then. What about all those claims of water vapor amplifying the warming effect of carbon dioxide? Sure, it is a valid point if the atmosphere is static, but it is not. It moves. Watch the weather, especially thunderstorms, and see how it works to deliver heat to higher altitude.

  9. “Svalbard in the high-arctic, for example, has seen a 30 percent increase in greenness [in addition to] an increase in [summer temperatures] from 2.9 to 4.7 degrees Celcius between 1986 and 2015,” says study coauthor Rama Nemani of NASA’s Ames Research Center.
    In what study–where’s the supporting documentation. Greenness implies cooling from shade.
    Parallel universe?? Land of fairy dust and unicorns.

  10. This investigation recognizes a potential instrument that could be utilized to diminish environmental CO2 by means of improved soil carbon stockpiling. Reestablishing local vegetation that structures ectomycorrhizal beneficial interaction with soil organisms, particularly in relinquished rural and infertile land, the creators state, could help reduce anthropogenic soil carbon misfortunes and improve increments in air ozone depleting substances.

    • Where do the authors cite research that proves we need to? I.e., show me definitive research proving higherCO₂ levels aren’t net detrimental to civilization? Or even to life in general?

      Next question: did the authors cite definitive research proving all, or any, atmospheric CO₂ increase is due to humanity’s combustion of fossil fuels? Yeah. That’s what I thought.

  11. I’ve been waiting for the right post to ask this question to the assembled crowd…

    My take on plants is that the extra growth won’t make a difference to temperature, because AGW is dependant upon the height of the effective emission temperature. As photosythesis/combustion of plants creates an exchange of one CO2 molecule for one O2, the net number of molecules in the atmosphere would be the same. If that’s the case, then the effective emission height won’t rise/fall and therefore, won’t change the lapse rate and cause any warming? So no matter how many tree’s are burned/planted it makes little difference, becuase the number of molecules remains the same. I understand that AGW needs additional CO2 to raise the emission temerature and does not consider this exchange.

    I did think that a change in emmision heights should be solely dependant on radiating greenhouse molecules – which would negate the need to include O2 – as it doesn’t radiate (according to IPCC). However, from some older posts on Raman spetroscopy they suggest that O2 does radiate, although not very well. In which case it would contribute to any change in emission height, as the O2/CO2 exchange does keep the number of radiating molecules the same. But by what extent?

    Anyway, I suppose my question is – as CO2/O2 are exchanged through growth or combstion, does this make any difference to global temperature, as the height of the emmision temperature won’t change? (assuming that O2 does radiate infra red and contributes to the height of emission temp)

    Thoughts welcome…

    • The question that needs to asked is why they have divided incoming solar radiation by 4 instead of 2 to get an average for a sphere, instead of the reality that only the hemisphere is in sunlight all the time.
      If you do that, sunlight has a power of only 240 watts/sqm and isn’t warm enough to melt ice.
      Incoming high energy light only equals outgoing low energy light AFTER weather has done it’s work in moving sensible and latent heat from the sun-warmed surface to the dark side.

      • The sunlight intensity at the surface (without clouds) varies with angle and decreases away from the equator. When that is taken into account, the “average” is divided by 4, but the local intensity at the equator is double the average. The only reason the poles get any sunlight is due to the tilt of the axis. Slso, 240 W/m2 is a lot of power, and can easily melt ice if it were continuous, and if the air temperature and wind were not too extreme.

        • Joseph E Postma says:
          2020/02/01 at 10:11 AM
          240 W/m2 is -18C and this CANNOT melt ice! hahahaha

          And yes…LOCAL INTENSITY is what actually drives the physics, melts the ice, creates the weather, etc.

          Continuous 240 W/m^2 (-18C) CANNOT melt ice. They’re saying that continuous -18C cant melt ice….lol.

    • Warming depends on both lapse rate and average altitude of radiation to space. The lapse rate does not change noticeably with the small changes in atmospheric composition with combustion, so the main effect is due to average altitude change of radiation. CO2 does have a noticeable effect here, but is far smaller than the problem quoted. In fact, due to negative feedback such as cloud changes, the net “so called” greenhouse effect is likely about 0.5 deg C per CO2 atmospheric doubling, and we are still far from the doubling.

      • Hi Leonard,

        Thanks for the reply. Just a follow up question, if I may.

        So in your answer, are you saying that the theoretical emission height is independent of Co2/O2 exchange and that the lapse rate variability is confined to GHG’s (O2 being a poor one and insignificant in this case)?

        Also….

        I’ve been trying to search the internet as to the reason why a flat surface disk is used when calculating the emission temperature. So far my search (including Hansens original 80’s report and Fouriers papers) suggests two reasons;

        1) The half-sphere incident angle maths was far too complicated for Fourier so he simplified it and Hansen continued to use it
        2) It’s an astronomical assumption due to the slow rotation of the Earth (from Wikipedia – which contradicts a Roy Spencer post I’ve read)

        However, in one of your comments above to Pablo you seem to suggest that the flat earth simplification is the result of spherical calculation that yields a similar result. I don’t suppose you have a source for this? I think it’s quite important to understand as it’s fundamental to the narrative that it creates – a passive atmosphere is capable of actively heating something warmer. I have immense trouble getting my head round that!

        Ta

  12. ” “This unintended benefit of global greening, and its potential transitory nature, suggests how much more daunting, and urgent, is the stated goal of keeping global warming to below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, especially given the trajectory of carbon emissions and history of inaction during the past decades,” says study coauthor Hans Tømmervik of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Norway.”

    Where do these people come from? Why is the greening a potential transitory effect? And where is the parallel analysis of how this greening has helped starving populations?

    A warmer climate and more green growth is a BENEFIT, not a curse! It extends life spans and makes life more bearable! Once again we see the idiotic claim that the average temperature going up means Earth is going to turn into a cinder! It’s an unsupported belief that maximum temperatures are going up and up and will cook us all! The AVERAGE temperature actually tells you *NOTHING* about what is happening at the edges (i.e. maximum and minimum) which is where we see the the actual impact on the environment. If maximums are moderating and minimums are going up how is that not a *good* thing? Such an environment would still show the *average* going up.

    I see the greening as a benefit. Fewer children starving! Why in Pete’s name would we want to stop that?

    • So far we see mildly and since 1920’s steadily declining extreme daily highs and upwardly trending overnight lows (fewer extremes at both ends) and milder temperatures and a LOT more plant growth on land and in the oceans.

      Ocean de-alkalinization is lost in the diurnal and seasonal (and wind dependent) noise.

      A case could be made to accelerate the burning of FF’s to increase all the good we’ve seen so far while at the same time accelerating 1.) Third World economic development and 2.) Urbanization everywhere, both of which is shown to reverse population growth (without coercion) from + to – in one generation. (Turns out that women seeing starlets on TV living Western style urban lives with few children catches on fast).

  13. Question:

    When did the “greening” start?

    Is the answer: “Right after the end of the LIA”?

    Question:

    When did the atmospheric carbon dioxide level begin to rise?

    Is the answer: “Right after the end of the LIA”?

    Question:

    When did human carbon dioxide emissions begin to add noticeably to the atmospheric level?

    Is the answer: “Around 70 plus years after the end of the LIA”?

    If answers are correct, then we may be contributing to the greening, but we are not the cause.

    Also makes me wonder, if we weren’t contributing to the atmospheric carbon dioxide level, what would it be now based on that first about 70 years worth of natural rise and how much greening would have occurred?

  14. So, by cooling the planet we are masking how fast we are warming it?

    You can’t have it both ways. That’s idiocy.

    In nature many/most things are multifactorial. The “whole picture” is what is.

    By any rational analysis the mostly polar nocturnal warming (which is part of an emergent cycle that rids the global heat engine of occasional excess heat) PLUS extensive “greening” in the complete absence of calamitous weather trends is not something to spend tens to hundreds of $Trillions on nor is it a reason to completely restructure the most successful (wealth…freedom…knowledge…security…peace) civilization in earth’s history.

  15. Global greenings contribution to climate change not only consist in photosynthesis and working with CO2.
    Reducing temperature shadowing the surface and reducing albedo may be more effecive in concern of temperature.
    Can’t find any hint about in that “study”

  16. humans are helping to increase the Earth’s plant and tree cover, which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and cools our planet. The boom of vegetation, fueled by greenhouse gas emissions, could be skewing our perception of how fast we’re warming the planet.

    In the diseased minds of the disciples of the global warming death cult, everything good is perniciously twisted to evil. A normal person would regard global greening by CO2 fertilisation of vegetation as a good thing. But the death-disciples have been indoctrinated that nothing associated with CO2 can be good. Ever. Even if this means nearly all life on earth.

    So for them, no – greening can’t be good. But what reveals the astounding depth of their sick death-morality is that CO2 greening is not just bad (however that is possible) – it’s also morally bad. Those dastardly plants are conspiring to deliberately and cunningly conceal global warming by absorbing man-made CO2, thus deceitfully minimising the CO2 warming effect.

    OK we get it – plants are evil.

    As well as sick and twisted, they are of course wrong. Plants do cool climate – granted – but not by a trivial effect on a trace gas, reducing CO2 in the air. Plants cool climate by transpiring water from the soil to the air, and further by generating and maintaining humic soil. Plants can and do change arid land to fertile moist and vegetated land.

    None of this of course stops plants being evil and right wing Trump-trees, for daring to conspire wickedly to show CO2 in a positive light. How dare you!

  17. I remember Christy’s paper on the irrigation of the Central Valley in California,

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3627.1

    As I recall, temperatures do not change EVENLY through the 24 hour day, With more plants, we can expect less warm days and warmer nights- with net overall warming. During the day, plants transpire, releasing water vapor to the air, reducing sensible heat but increasing latent heat thanks to the evaporation of water. At night, the land cools down ONLY UNTIL IT HITS THE DEWPOINT! Then, condensing water releases heat, maintaining the temperature balance as long as there is significant moisture in the air to act as a temperature buffer,

  18. So climate scientists have rediscovered photosynthesis and basic feedback mechanisms. Something that used to be taught in high school science classes.

  19. So the obvious conclusion now is, given these data:

    If you wanna be “green” be a carbon generating machine!

    Burnt that coal, gas, oil, and wood! Make the World Green Again – MWGA!!!

    I mean, this is really elementary, DUH! science here folks.

    Green plants require CO2 – not as “fertilizer” but as actual food and energy. The more CO-2 available, then the more greening we’ll get. And not only do green plants remove CO-2 from the ambient air, but they replace CO-2 with water vapor, which itself also promotes green plant growth.

    As any geologist or paleontologist or paleobotonist knows, when the Earth’s CO-2 concentration in our atmosphere was at a maximum, that was when our planet was greenest, with the most diversity of species, and most humid and supported the greatest biomass our planet has ever seen, during the age of the dinosaurs.

    And on the other hand, whenever the Earth is at its coldest, driest, and with least concentration of CO-2 in the atmosphere, that was when Earth had the least biomass, the least diversity of species, the most desert areas, and the least pleasant climate for most plants and animals.

    Again, I mean like, DUHH!!!!

  20. “….suggests how much more daunting, and urgent, is the stated goal of keeping global warming to below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius…” Evidence of their motives is pretty strong in that statement. Not scientific, merely a confirmation bias statement.

    • I’ve had to read several comments here before being able to fully grasp just how crude and pernicious is the sophistry employed by some who purport to be scientists.
      It is shocking to witness such shameless attempts to manipulate impressionable minds with complete desecrations of the truth.
      But, after the Greta phenomenon, nothing surprises me much anymore, in this field.

  21. You’re telling us plants grow better in warm climates rather than cold ones. Yeah, we see that every year, it’s the seasonal cycle.

  22. Green leaves convert sunlight to sugars while replacing carbon dioxide in the air with water vapor, which cools the Earth’s surface

    The ignorance of the author of this sentence is quite staggering. It’s “not even wrong” as we now say. OK, the news article writer is probably an arts graduate, but any even semi-educated person surely knows better. I learned about photosynthesis in primary school, for heaven’s sake. Perhaps they don’t do that any more.

    The more I look at it, the more I think that it’s not even not even wrong.

    • Transpiration raises water to the leaves to be combined with CO2 to make the sugars. Some water vapour enters the atmosphere by this process else the water wouldn’t rise, the more plants so the more water is transpired

    • Was going to post that same sentence. Beat me to it.

      I think whoever wrote that must have been trying to avoid giving credit to mankind’s CO2 for the greening effect. It just ends up being so very wrong.

  23. This entirely Good News had had to be carefully tempered as it isa bit against-the-grain of climate catastrophe.

    The fight to make global greening bad is one of the give-aways of the climate alarm movement — there can be nothing bad about global greening — yet, according to the likes of the CJR’s Covering Climate Now, it cannot be allowed to stand as a good news story.

    I had a whole series on The Fight Against Global Greening (scroll down to get to the series links).

  24. Actually, the biggest potential problem for humans is not necessarily temperature, rather soil erosion.

    Greening also acts against soil erosion, by increasing the number of root systems which bind soil together and increase its resistance to flood-associated topsoil loss.

    It is high time it was done. A US Professor at Columbia documented in the late 1940s how European ‘settlers’ in the US completely destroyed vast tracts of once fertile countryside by slash n burn replacement of trees with corn and cows. They denuded slopes of soil, created vast eroded gully systems and wiped out whole areas in under 20 years, moving on to their next vandalism project further west.

    I am sure the same story could be told all over the globe, I just have not found the relevant literature to back up what I actually read in print about vandalism in the USA (Go read ‘Trees as Crops’ by J. Russell Smith…..)

    Thing is, what you can destroy in 20 years may take 10,000 years to be regenerated by nature.

    I just wish mankind could realise how easy it is to destroy and how difficult it is to rebuild.

    If it could, maybe it would value what it already had, rather than blithely assuming that ‘it will all just grow back again easy enough’…..

  25. RISING CO2 LEVELS GREENING THE EARTH (COPY OF MY POST OF 29/11/19 AT 2.01 PM, TO ‘NO TRICKS ZONE’ “GREENING OF THE PLANET”.

    The Gaia Hypothesis postulates that the world is a self-regulating system that maintains the climate conditions necessary for life via the Carbon Cycle. The increased greening with rising CO2, if correct, could be strong evidence in support of Lovelock’s 1979 speculations about the “role of biota in maintaining a climatic homeostasis”.

  26. Greening is a darkening of the surface from the usual tan (bare dirt) or white (snow).

    To spacecraft sensors this would register as a change in the albedo (heat trapping ability) of the planet as a whole.

    Time and time again we have seen it demonstrated that there is no direct correspondence between co2 and temperature, only a vague hand wavey type of it got a little bit warm back in the 90’s.

    I’ll bet you anything you care to wager there is a direct one to one ratio between increased plant cover and global average temperature. Not talking about GISS. Not talking about Hadcrut. Those two outfits are as crooked as a hound dog’s leg.
    There is a one to one correlation between the greening of the planet and the temperature of the planet.

    These guys in the article are lost. They have the data right in front of them, too stupid to ask the right question. Too much ego in the room.

  27. And the chief cause of global greening we’re experiencing? It seems to be that rising carbon dioxide emissions are providing more and more fertilizer for plants, the researchers say. As a result, the boom of global greening since the early 1980s may have slowed the rate of global warming, the researchers say, possibly by as much as 0.2 to 0.25 degrees Celsius.

    A whole lot of people are being paid a whole lot of money for being a whole lot wrong.

    https://i.postimg.cc/523gBrc9/Dep-Ave-Detr-Int-Ann-Change-CO2-MME-v-ML.png

    https://i.postimg.cc/ZR1xYtNH/Derivatives-and-Trends-of-MME-v-ML-CO2.png

    The greening growth in ML CO2 comes from the ocean.

  28. Let me help interpret:
    “This unintended benefit of global greening…”
    Uh-oh, people are starting to figure out that co2 is actually a good thing.
    …and its potential transitory nature…”
    Just at the very moment we were getting ready to turn it off!!
    “…suggests how much more daunting, and urgent…”
    So we’d better hurry and get the co2 turned off right away!!

  29. These following rules summarize 40 years experience in climate studies.
    The study above epitomizes these rules.
    1. NOTHING positive occurs in the climate system. The negative anthropogenic influence is overwhelming .
    2. The disaster narrative insists that all climate events be defined as deleterious, without exception.
    3. Climate catastrophe requires that positive AND negative trends lead ultimately to future catastrophe
    4. Data inconsistent with the desired catastrophic narrative are reanalyzed. Consistent data is accepted.
    5. Reanalysis always results in the reanalyzed data giving a result closer to the desired narrative.
    6. Positive climate events too large to reanalyze or ignore are, by definition, “ironic” and “unintended”.
    7. All negative weather events are “extreme due to anthropogenic climate change.”
    8. Positive weather events, by definition, cannot occur.
    These rules are rarely broken.

    • Nicely summarised. And so darn obvious, when you put it like that.
      What pains me the most is the readiness with which the largely scientifically illiterate public swallows such garbage.
      I’m not a scientist, but I can discriminate between a good argument, based on established facts and clear reasoning, and one which is nothing more than a series of ideologically driven assertions, where data are either deployed as a smokescreen, or left out of account altogether, in service of the approved narrative.

  30. Researcher O.K. Atkin has published several plant CO2 papers with different teams over the years. He made calculations that plant release (efflux) of CO2 into the environment from various parts of the different kinds of plants is 3, or more, times than all the CO2 emitted in the world caused by human “burning” fossil fuels.

    Plants use some of the atmospheric assimilated CO2 made into “sugar” by photosynthesis internally to drive their life processes. Processing this sugar through what is called an internal “respiration” cycle generates CO2. This occurs not only in roots, but also in stems/branches.

    Although some of this internally generated CO2 is used by roots to finesse root zone pH putting CO2 out into the soil a lot of root generated CO2 goes up the plant stem vasculature (xylem). Moving upward it adds to stem/branch internally generated CO2 that also gets into the xylem channel; transpiration (water going upward inside plant) carries this dissolved CO2 gas along with other solutes.

    A portion of transpiration carried internally derived CO2 reaches the leaves (& petioles). The leaves’ expulsion (“efflux”) of this metabolic (“respiration”) derived CO2 is greater at night than during the day.

    This is because, in plants, light (day) it’s self inhibits the cycling of “sugar” through the metabolic pathway (Krebs cycle) creating CO2 as an end product. However, elevated temperature & also drought (alone or in combination) are known to even further reduce the metabolic cycling that generates internal CO2.

    Thus there is more internal CO2 generated during the dark (with different rates of the process occurring in time phases of ensuing darkness); but in the dark the plant vasculature (xylem) is undergoing less fluid transpiration upwards. When conditions during the day are good (high enough light, minimal stressors & a lot of carbon got fixed by the plants photosynthetically active tissue of leaves/green stems/green petioles) then one estimate is that although a lot of metabolic cycling occurred overnight up to 1/2 of that internally derived CO2 goes out of the leaf/stem/branch at one time or another.

    Some of the internally generated CO2 is used in green tissue, mostly leaves, for photosynthesis; this amount varies among plants & also in the context of plant stress parameters. For example: thin leaves have relatively greater internal CO2 going out & waxy leaves have relatively less internal CO2 going out.

    I read one estimate is that on average factoring in all terrestrial kinds of plants & environmental niches that 1.5% of the internally generated CO2 is put back out (efflux) from plants. And that elevated CO2 outside a plant leads to a quantitatively lesser percentage of efflux of it’s internally generated CO2; presumably since it is using more of that CO2 in reactions inside the plant.

  31. I remember this Christy/Norris paper regarding irrigation of California’s central valley,

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI3627.1

    The effect plants on temperature is not uniform throughout the day, With more plants, expect daytime temperature trends to be lower- plant transpiration puts more latent heat in the air due to plant transpiration,
    Expect nighttime temperatures to be warmer, As temperatures cool at night , they’ll hit the dewpoint, which will act as a buffer- keeping temperatures stable over a period of time,

  32. I have written numerous coments since 2013 here at WUWT on the ” Great Global Greening ^тм” and ” Garden of Eden Earth^тм”. I noted that the effect is exponential (fringing growth inwards into arid areas particularly) and that the chemical reaction of photosynthesis is endothermic (cooling), which the authors of this article don’t seem to know, or more likely didnt want to have mention of the cooling effect of the greening chemistry. Their “water vapor cooling” is additive after the fact of photosynthesis cooling.

    I made some back of envelope calculations on the significant the effect. It led me to the idea of “Garden of Eden Earth” by mid century. I don’t believe I attracted one comment from either warmist or sceptic. I guess I don’t get a line in the bibliography of the present “breakthrough” research.

    • Hi Gary Pearse, – I’d like to ask you why you think photosynthesis chemical reactions are “cooling”.

      After the light energy splits water & electrons from that get shuttled along there is another kind of light reaction occurring. There are electrons getting to the enzyme
      NADP+ to carry, while protons getting pumped to participate in the generation of ATP energy; both of which (NADP & ATP) are upstream of photosynthesis derived “sugar”.
      The leaf has tactical molecules to deal with

      More specific of a “heating” feature of photosynthesis is that plant mitochondria perform uncoupling; this is what we humans do when shiver to generate heat )instead of using mitochondria just to make ATP energy). The dynamic in plants does not involve shivering & is somewhat technical so anyone interested can read the introductory free full text available on-line of : “Mitochondrial uncoupling protein is required for efficient photosynthesis”.

      • gringojay: I thank you for the education on the details of photosynthesis. But lets look at the bulk result. On a previously barren spot a tree grows. One can take the tree and later burn it giving off the heat that was present formerly as sunshine. Think coal seams which are remains of destructively distilled plants. Indeed, the amount of carbon in the plant could be thought of as equivalent to anthracite as a minimum measure of this sequestered energy. Cheers, Gary

  33. Is it just me or are these “Climatologists” stunningly ignorant of the most basic scientific concepts?
    Limits to growth, being the first obvious one.
    More CO2=more plants,all other limits remaining constant.
    Who knew photosynthesis needs Carbon Dioxide?
    Then their endless outgassing about “furious forest fires” leaves me thinking the fire triangle is beyond their yen.
    Have any of them made a bonfire?

    Is current climatology a catch all for the mediocre and beta grade university graduates?
    frightened people who never leave the air conditioned caves of Academia?

    In the spirit of this woe and doom laden paper…Death to the trees.
    How dare they prosper when man used fossil fuels instead of wood for energy and provides/returns centuries sequestered carbon dioxide back to the food cycle.

    Obviously trees are the enemy.
    Of the Cult of Calamitous Climate that is.
    Interfering with the projected doom, crushing the computed gospel…Trees they mock us all.

  34. Man made catastrophic global warming via increased CO2 by 2 ppm per year is such a tenuous theory it can’t allow for a negative feedback. All the feedback cycles have to be positive and reinforce each other. All the predicted effects have to take place or it all unravels.

  35. An important point ignored in the article is the tangible benefit of better plant growth. Current estimates are that roughly $500 billion of the roughly $8 trillion of world wide annual commercial agriculture production is due to the CO2 added to the atmosphere since ~1820.

    Commercial greenhouses routinely add CO2 to improve quantity and quality of their products.

    This web site: http://co2science.org/ has an extensive database of peer-reviewed papers giving results of experiments on adding CO2 for specific plants: http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/plantgrowth.php

    Most of the experiments are done in the open air, not greenhouses. This is the FACE (Free Air Caron Enrichment) type of study.

  36. CO2 has no significant effect on climate.
    Simple calculations using data from Hitran show increased water vapor is about 10 times more effective than increased CO2 at ground level warming. Added cooling by increased CO2 well above the tropopause counters and perhaps exceeds the tiny added warming from more CO2 at ground level.
    Measured water vapor trend has been increasing faster than possible from feedback. https://watervaporandwarming.blogspot.com

  37. Carbon dioxide will make plants fat and give them diabetes.

    A carbon tax will save them from themselves.

    Yes, I am being sarcastic.

    • Hi Center-left horticulturist, – I do believe you are on to something here. Plant leaves are actually better leaf “sugar” insensitive, which is the inverse of how normally humans respond to blood sugar (diabetics are termed “insensitive” to blood sugar). In simplified terms: there are features about the level of leaf sugar that basically mean excessive sugar there reduces photosynthesis.

      A color photograph demonstrating this is Fig.2 in (2008) review “Sugar sensing and signaling”; free full text available on-line. The greened sprout in middle picture labelled “gin” is “insensitive” to sugar; which can be visually compared to the picture labelled “glo” representative of “hyper-sensitivity” to sugar.

      Obviously plants are adapted to deal with photosynthetic elaborated “sugar”; their commonest tactic is to redirect it from the leaves (“source” of sugar) to other parts of the plant (where that sugar can “sink” in). We see this tactic under elevated CO2 (eCO2) where relatively more carbon is fixed in the leaf favoring more “sugar” elaboration, & the eCO2 plants get thicker bases/more root.

      So your jest is actually true in the sense that eCO2 plants are getting “fat” because their leaves are “insensitive” to sugar. Thus they are better able to keep photosynthesizing & filling up the lower plant architecture (body) “sinks” more. WUWT readers may enjoy the free full text available on-line of (2001) “Sink regulation of photosynthesis”; laymen might find it an easier read than the other report cited immediately above regarding the photos.

  38. I think useful information for this topic could be in the following paper:

    Hermann Harde. What Humans Contribute to Atmospheric CO2: Comparison of
    Carbon Cycle Models with Observations. Earth Sciences. Vol. 8, No. 3, 2019,
    pp. 139-159. doi: 10.11648/j.earth.20190803.13

  39. Are the data from the new CO2 measuring satellite providing a better picture of the possible origins of the increased atmospheric CO2? I haven’t seen much mapping published recently.

  40. The reason I made the comment about satellite measurement of atmospheric CO2 is because of a NASA Earth Observatory internet entry entitled “Satellite Detects Human Contribution to Atmospheric CO2. That entry includes a map of the US showing the location of increased levels of CO2 caused by human activity. However the map of the human contribution shows almost no human contribution West of a North-South line from the Eastern border of North Dakota at the Canadian border to just East of the Big Bend area of Texas on the Mexican border. This is an almost exact correlation with the North-South line of division between the semi- arid area of the Western United States and the warm-rainy Southeastern part of the US and the cold-moist Northeast part of the US as shown on the US climate map in the World Atlas. This would appear to indicate that the so-called human contribution to the CO2 level was actually a vegetation contribution.

  41. “This unintended benefit of global greening, and its potential transitory nature, suggests how much more daunting, and urgent, is the stated goal of keeping global warming to below 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, especially given the trajectory of carbon emissions and history of inaction during the past decades,” –> “This unintended benefit of global greening, and its potential transitory nature, suggests how much more daunting, and urgent, is the stated goal of conscient keep up our duties as pioneer members on Earth,”

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