Fossil leaves show high atmospheric carbon spurred ancient ‘global greening’

A unique New Zealand deposit opens insights into how modern climate change may proceed

EARTH INSTITUTE AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

IMAGE
IMAGE: A 23-MILLION-YEAR-OLD LEAF PRESERVED IN A ONETIME NEW ZEALAND LAKE BED, KEY TO PAST ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS. ONE CAN SEE VEINS, GLANDS ALONG THE TEETH, AND HOLES GNAWED BY INSECTS, WITH… view more CREDIT: JENNIFER BANNISTER/UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO

Scientists studying leaves from a 23-million-year-old forest have for the first time linked high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide with increased plant growth, and the hot climate off the time. The finding adds to the understanding of how rising CO2 heats the earth, and how the dynamics of plant life could shift within decades, when CO2 levels may closely mirror those of the distant past.

Scientists retrieved the leaves from a unique onetime New Zealand lake bed that holds the remains of plants, algae, spiders, beetle, flies, fungi and other living things from a warm period known as the early Miocene. Scientists have long postulated that CO2 was high then, and some plants could harvest it more efficiently for photosynthesis. This is the first study to show that those things actually happened in tandem. The findings were published this week in the journal Climate of the Past.

“The amazing thing is that these leaves are basically mummified, so we have their original chemical compositions, and can see all their fine features under a microscope,” said lead author Tammo Reichgelt, an adjunct scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and assistant professor of geosciences at the University of Connecticut. “Evidence has been building that CO2 was high then, but there have been paradoxes.”

The so-called “carbon fertilization effect” has vast implications. Lab and field experiments have shown that when CO2 levels rise, many plants increase their rate of photosynthesis, because they can more efficiently remove carbon from the air, and conserve water while doing so. Indeed, a 2016 study based on NASA satellite data shows a “global greening” effect mainly due to rising levels of manmade CO2 over recent decades; a quarter to a half of the planet’s vegetated lands have seen increases in leaf volume on trees and plants since about 1980. The effect is expected to continue as CO2 levels rise.

This might seem like good news, but the reality is more complex. Increased CO2 absorption will not come close to compensating for what humans are pouring into the air. Not all plants can take advantage, and among those who do, the results can vary depending on temperature and availability of water or nutrients. And, there is evidence that when some major crops photosynthesize more rapidly, they absorb relatively less calcium, iron, zinc and other minerals vital for human nutrition. Because much of today’s plant life evolved in a temperate, low-CO2 world, some natural and agricultural ecosystems could be upended by higher CO2 levels, along with the rising temperatures and shifts in precipitation they bring. “How it plays out is anyone’s guess,” said Reichgelt. “It’s another layer of stress for plants. It might be great for some, and horrible for others.”

The deposit is located in a small, long-extinct volcanic crater now located on a farm near the southern New Zealand city of Dunedin. The crater, about a kilometer across, once held an isolated lake where successive layers of sediments built up from the surrounding environment. The feature was recognized only within about the last 15 years; scientists dubbed it Foulden Maar. Recognizing it as a scientific gold mine, they have been studying it ever since. Some have also been fighting an actual mining company that wants to strip the deposit for livestock feed.

In the new study, the researchers took samples from a 2009 drill core that penetrated 100 meters to near the bottom of the now-dry lake bed. Larded in between whitish annual layers of silica-rich algae that bloomed each spring for 120,000 years are alternating blackish layers of organic matter that fell in during other seasons. These include countless leaves from a subtropical evergreen forest. They are preserved so perfectly that scientists can see microscopic veins and stomata, the pores by which leaves take in air and concurrently release water during photosynthesis. Unlike most fossils, the leaves also retain their original chemical compositions. It is the only such known deposit in the Southern Hemisphere, and far better preserved than the few similar ones known from the north.

The Miocene has long been a source of confusion for paleoclimate researchers. Average global temperatures are thought to have been 3 to 7 degrees C hotter than today, and ice largely disappeared at the poles. Yet many proxies, mainly derived from marine organisms, have suggested CO2 levels were only about 300 parts per million-similar to those of preindustrial human times, and not enough to account for such warming. With evidence of high CO2 elusive, scientists have speculated that previous proxy measurements must be off.

Based on the new study and a related previous one also at Foulden Maar, the researchers were able to get at this conundrum. They analyzed the carbon isotopes within leaves from a half-dozen tree species found at various levels in the deposit. This helped them zero in on the carbon content of the atmosphere at the time. They also analyzed the geometry of the leaves’ stomata and other anatomical features, and compared these with modern leaves. By combining all the data into a model, they found that atmospheric CO2 was not 300ppm, but about 450-a good match for the temperature data. Second, they showed that the trees were super-efficient at sucking in carbon through the stomata, without leaking much water through the same route-a factor that all plants must account for. This allowed them to grow in marginal areas that otherwise would have been too dry for forests. The researchers say this higher efficiency was very likely mirrored in forests across the northern temperate latitudes, with their far greater landmasses.

Human emissions have now pushed CO2 levels to about 415 parts per million, and they will almost certainly reach 450 by about 2040-identical to those experienced by the Foulden Maar forest. Estimates of the resulting temperature increases over decades and centuries vary, but the new study suggests that most are in the ballpark.

“It all fits together, it all makes sense,” said study coauthor William D’Andrea, a paleoclimate scientist at Lamont-Doherty. In addition to showing how plants might react directly to CO2, “this should give us more confidence about how temperatures will change with CO2 levels,” he said.

Study coauthor Daphne Lee, a paleontologist at New Zealand’s University of Otago, led the charge to study Foulden Maar’s rich ecosystem after it came to light. More recently, she became an unexpected defender of the maar, when a company with owners in Malaysia and the United Kingdom announced plans to strip-mine the deposit for use as a feed additive for for pigs, ducks and other intensively farmed animals. With many more discoveries probably to be made, scientists were horrified, and allied themselves with locals who feared noise and dust. The Dunedin city council is now looking into buying the land to protect it.

###

The study was also coauthored by Ailín del Valdivia-McCarthy, a former intern at Lamont-Doherty; Bethany Fox of the University of Huddersfield; Jennifer Bannister of the University of Otago; John Conran of the University of Adelaide; and William Lee of the University of Auckland.

The paper, ‘Elevated CO2 increased leaf-level productivity and water use efficiency in the early Miocene,’ can be obtained from the authors or media@egu.eu.

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is Columbia University’s home for Earth science research. Its scientists develop fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution and future of the natural world, from the planet’s deepest interior to the outer reaches of its atmosphere, on every continent and in every ocean, providing a rational basis for the difficult choices facing humanity. http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu | @LamontEarth

The Earth Institute, Columbia University mobilizes the sciences, education and public policy to achieve a sustainable earth. http://www.earth.columbia.edu.

From EurekAlert!

80 thoughts on “Fossil leaves show high atmospheric carbon spurred ancient ‘global greening’

  1. Read this article this morning in my news feeds. Shocking how many people don’t understand that more plant food means more plants.

    • I have been reading this and maybe a hundred or more sites since the on line universe has existed and everyday I am amazed at the level of irrational thought I am exposed to. Your post is of course rational and will be dismissed by many but maybe not here.

      • Yeah – the effort to explain away that basic fact could not illustrate more clearly the predetermined conclusions under which these people operate.

        • Indeed.

          Yet many proxies, mainly derived from marine organisms, have suggested CO2 levels were only about 300 parts per million-similar to those of preindustrial human times, and not enough to account for such warming. With evidence of high CO2 elusive, scientists have speculated that previous proxy measurements must be off.

          So they can now say , without batting an eyelid, that CO2 was the only cause of any variation of climate throughout geological history. When existing proxy data does not fit their spurious, unscientific assumptions, they once again conclude the data must be wrong. Rather than realising that their hypothesis has been disproved.

          Second, they showed that the trees were super-efficient at sucking in carbon through the stomata, without leaking much water through the same route-a factor that all plants must account for.

          So something else in the data did not fit and they got around this by arbitrarily calling the trees “super efficient”. ie inexplicably far more efficient at capturing CO2 and not losing water than any other plants we have ever seen. They presumably thing Superman comics are based on a real person.

          Bottom line: expect the earth to be 7 degrees C “hotter than today” by 2040. If you did not realise this was politicised horse shit already, this is the give away line.

    • Equally shocking is how in the face of solid evidence across the millennia that Temperature Increases lead and cause CO2 Increases (with a substantial lead time) the alarmist climate ‘scientists’ speak consistently incorrectly of CO2 causing those temperature rises.

      But hey, when did fact matter in the use of ‘Climate’ to try and create a marxist society controlled by the UN and its long sought after unelected and unaccountable global government.

      • “Equally shocking is how in the face of solid evidence across the millennia that Temperature Increases lead and cause CO2 Increases (with a substantial lead time) the alarmist climate ‘scientists’ speak consistently incorrectly of CO2 causing those temperature rises.”

        Correct – there is so much academic nonsense published these days that we may need to re-create the Roman Vomitorium – to provide relief for competent scientists after they peruse such odious drivel.

    • CO2 followed global warming; it didn’t cause it.

      Part of the Miocene interrupted the long ccooling from Earth’s Eocene height, due to tectonics. A small plate moved between South America and Antarctica, making the former and future deep Drake Passage more shallow. Antarctic ice sheets, which had formed at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, when deep channels opened between SA and Oz and Antarctica, making the Southern Ocean, temporarily retreated.

  2. Then of course, we have the NOAA Climate Reference System which reveals that the contiguous US has not warmed on single whit for the past 20 years while atmospheric CO2 increased from about 360 PPM to about 415 ppm, or 15e%. Perhaps CO2 is taking a rest from its past labors, at least in the USA?

    • “Then of course, we have the NOAA Climate Reference System which reveals that the contiguous US has not warmed on single whit for the past 20 years while atmospheric CO2 increased from about 360 PPM to about 415 ppm”

      On top of that, the United States has been in a temperatue decline since the 1930’s. We are cooler now than then. All the while, CO2 has been steadily increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere.

      I wonder how these authors can explain that discrepancy. Maybe the U.S. is special and we don’t have to worry about all those potential dire temperature increases. That’s for everybody else.

      I must say, that 23-million-year-old leaf sure did look well-preserved. That doesn’t help the author’s case, though.

      • “I wonder how these authors can explain that discrepancy”

        They can’t and won’t because of a carefully inculcated ability to suspend belief in facts or science – there are none so blind as those who will not see.

  3. Quote
    “..The Miocene has long been a source of confusion for paleoclimate researchers. Average global temperatures are thought to have been 3 to 7 degrees C hotter than today, and ice largely disappeared at the poles. Yet many proxies, mainly derived from marine organisms, have suggested CO2 levels were only about 300 parts per million-similar to those of preindustrial human times, and not enough to account for such warming. With evidence of high CO2 elusive, scientists have speculated that previous proxy measurements must be off…”

    BINGO!

    This is only a paradox if you believe the climate scare narrative. If you don’t, it is not necessary a paradox.
    It’s called natural warming. Simple.

    I don’t remember who said this, but…
    “If the evidence changes, I change my mind. What do you do sir?”

    • “Average global temperatures are thought to have been 3 to 7 degrees C hotter than today,”
      It wasn’t hotter, it was warmer [or less cold]. Or Earth would have a more uniform global temperature.
      In our Ice Age the only region which has uniform temperature is the tropical ocean {or in tropical island paradises}.
      Or in tropics where it’s drier or in deserts, then one has more extremes in temperature. A tropical desert can be both very hot and pretty cold- they have extreme temperature- and it can snow in tropical desert.
      It’s never going to snow on the tropical ocean, nor does the tropical ocean ever get hot. The warmest ocean air over ocean ever gets is about 35 C [95 F}. the hottest land temperatures gets is about 50 C [122 F} and ground temperature of 70 C. The hottest ever recorded was 134 F in 1913 [“According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the highest registered air temperature on Earth was 56.7 °C (134.1 °F) in Furnace Creek Ranch, California, located in the Death Valley desert in the United States, on 10 July 1913”]. The latitude of Furnace Creek Ranch, California is 36.4501° N. And Tropical Zone is within 23.5 degrees north and south. Deserts are around 30 degree latitude north or south due to mostly descending dry air {and other factors}.
      And global warming IS less dry air.
      Less dry air is less deserts and less extreme temperatures {mostly less cold weather, but also less hot weather.
      So, Earth “3 to 7 degrees C **warmer** means Furnace Creek Ranch record would be never be surpassed. Because it’s extreme temperature are caused by drier desert conditions. Though it’s also because it’s below sea level. Or if when Earth was 3 to 7 degrees C **warmer** and have regions with lower elevation then it could be hotter.

      Now, one can get hotter conditions due to what is called the Urban Heat island effect. Or “the highest registered air temperature ” depends how you measure air temperature. Or if measuring air temperature in parking lot it would not count as “the highest registered air temperature” as such surrounding can cause the air to be hotter compared to areas without parking lots. Urban heat island can increase average temperature by as much as 10 C, but this mostly in regards to warmer night time temperatures.
      Or if you are human worried about hot temperatures or much warmer nights, then Urban heat island effects are the biggest effects one could actually notice.

  4. No matter what their conclusions are, Mark Twain’s quote comes to mind:

    There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

    • Nearly as perceptive as Thomas Huxley. My two favourites of his:

      – The great tragedy of science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. [Collected Essays, 1894, Biogenesis and Abiogenesis]

      – Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed. [Speech at the Natural History Museum, on the unveiling of a statue of Charles Darwin. Quoted in Herbert Spencer, ‘The Factors of Organic Evolution’, The Nineteenth Century (April/May 1886)]

      or, from Johann Goethe:

      As soon as any one belongs to a narrow creed in science, every unprejudiced and true perception is gone. [Conversation (18 May 1824), with Johann Peter Eckermanns, in Conversations with Goethe (1850) ]

  5. This is all basic biology. It’s not even ‘in depth’ or ‘complicated’ biology. Amatuer indoor and greenhouse plant growers know better than these New Zealand scientists. The study itself is extremely and obviously biased in its interpretations, so I don’t understand how these people have a job as scientists.

    • Greenhouses use over 1000 ppm CO2 to cultivate marijuana that is very potent. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the Lamont-Doherty researchers have been testing cannabis strength with CO2 fertilization. As a control, they compare the results obtained from magic mushrooms.

    • I don’t understand how these people have a job as scientists.

      If they didn’t parrot the “CO2 causes warming” message, they probably wouldn’t have jobs as scientists for very long. This is now equivalent to a papal encyclical in the 17th century, or the thoughts of the Comrade General Secretary in the former Soviet Union. If you’re in the academic world, ignore them at your risk.

  6. Paragraph 2 of this article (and subject study) is in error. Carbon Dioxide does not lead to increased temperatures. Increased temperatures lead to increased CO2 in the atmosphere primarily due to the gasification of dissolved CO2 in the oceans per Henry’s Law. The works of Dr. Oleg Sorothkin and George V. CHilingar how conclusively that CO2 leads to cooling not warming. See “The Evolution of the Earth’s Climate,” Chilingar, Sorothkin, et al., at: https://climatecite.com/the-evolution-of-the-earths-climate/

    • It is such an easy error to make in this day of the devil molecule, CO2, and its demon-henchmen in academia/politics.

  7. Another poorly done research project. They are claiming elevated Miocene CO2 levels in a volcanic crater and extrapolating it to the whole world. It is irresponsible to extrapolate from one locality to the whole world. This deposit is located in an extinct volcano that was apparently active during the early-Miocene. It is possible that CO2 was escaping at the site, as is happening today on the western flanks of the Long Valley Caldera (Calif.), and other places in the world, notably Africa. Thus, the CO2 concentration may have been locally elevated and not representative of the region, let alone the world. One needs to be cautious about being over zealous about proving their beliefs. It seems that T. C. Chamberlain’s The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses was not a part of their undergraduate curriculum.

    “The researchers say this higher efficiency was VERY LIKELY mirrored in forests across the northern temperate latitudes, with their far greater landmasses.”

    This is speculation that is potentially verifiable. The reviewers of the paper should have asked that evidence supporting the speculation be provided. There are plenty of leaves preserved in Miocene ash and lake beds in the northern hemisphere. The early-Miocene was a time of active vulcanism, following an even more active Oligocene.

    • No the leaves were growing outside the crater in the air and then fell into the water were they were preserved. They can look at the structure of the leaf to determine atmospheric CO2 levels. Yes CO2 leaves were probably higher in the water. But it is very hard today to find significant CO2 increase the air near active volcanos. The winds just mix the atmosphere so well that it is really hard to see a CO2 increase within a few miles of a vent.
      https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/climateqa/mauna-loa-co2-record/

      • Steven
        You said, “But it is very hard today to find significant CO2 increase the air near active volcanos.” That is not true. Most notably, the CO2 observatory on Mauna Loa routinely deletes measurements that are obviously contaminated by local CO2 emissions. Your linked NASA article supports that. I already pointed out the existence of life-threatening emissions in a campground on the western flanks of the Long Valley Caldera in California. Even if plants were only subject to intermittent high concentrations of CO2, I would expect the plant’s stomata to adapt to the average, rather than the minimum or maximum.

        I have difficulty envisioning leaves being blown into the lake from miles away. Most probably, the abundance of water encouraged a ring of vegetation around the volcanic lake and the leaves and insects from that encircling vegetation were the proximate source of the organic sediments. The pristine condition of the leaf shown argues against them having been tumbled along on the ground for any significant distance.

  8. If these global warmiss would pay attention to evolving nuclear technology, such as small modular molten saalt reactors, instead of wedding themselves to crappy renewables, they would be able to solve any problems created by excessive atmospheric CO2. The solution is right in front of their noses.

    • ColMosby,

      But they really don’t want to reduce CO2, That is only a tool to destroy modern industrial society and by extension capitalism.

      SO, nuclear would allow modern technological society to continue, and they can’t allow that.
      Crummy intermittent power will prevent any advanced technology and industry from flourishing and bring socialist misery to all.

  9. The finding adds to the understanding of how rising CO2 heats the earth, …

    Or perhaps how a spontaneously warming earth increased CO2 levels.

    The direction of causality is always assigned in AGW-land.

    • If this wasn’t just a local elevation of CO2, as it is in a volcanic caldera. One does wonder if CO2 didn’t continue to leak out. In any case, dismissing the marine proxies for one site that supports their beliefs is part and parcel of the climate religion.

    • I disagree with the conclusions of CO2 causing the temp rise.

      They admit the poles were generally free of ice. What does that mean? Sea temps must have been quite a bit higher than now. What happens when sea temps rise? The ocean outgases CO2.

      End result? Higher temps then higher CO2.

  10. We have known for decades that Aotearoa was warmer in the Miocene – there are fossil coconuts in Northland.
    What could have caused the warmth ?

    Too hard for me at this hour.

  11. ” The finding adds to the understanding of how rising CO2 heats the earth, …”

    The unstated, and unproven, assumption is that there is more than a correlation between warming and CO2. They are attempting to quantify the relationship between two variables that may well be a spurious correlation. That is best shown in the Antarctic ice cores that show increasing temperatures before the CO2 concentrations increase.

    The best arguments for supporting the role of anthropogenic CO2 in driving warming rests on isotopic ratios. However, the arguments I have read do an incomplete job of accounting for isotopic fractionation with the outgassing of CO2 from tropical oceans, which favors the release of 12C over 13C, based on energy requirements. Similarly, fractionation can be expected in areas of CO2 sinks at high latitudes.

    • No tipping point!

      No tipping points at 7,000ppm of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere, and no tipping points at 450ppm of CO2.

  12. So, will these alarmists finally concede there is no strong relationship between CO2 and global temperatures if higher CO2 levels were present with the same or lower global temperatures? Probably not, since that is already the case.

    • Of course not! If Miocene heat can be, ahem, *proven* to result from 450ppm CO2, that’s just perfect for them. Hundreds of meters of sea level rise due to CO2 rising another 35ppm. Never mind that if 35ppm were going to give us 6-7C temperature rise, what should have happened from the 135ppm rise going from 280ppm to 415ppm? Something like a 25C rise? Yeah, it all adds up alright.

      It’s just another typical steaming pile of EurekAlert! rubbish of course.

  13. Which came first the chicken or the egg.

    Just more proof that CO2 follows Temperature and not the other way around.

    And CO2 levels over 400 are not dangerous to the environment rejoice and drill baby drill.

  14. “Some have also been fighting an actual mining company that wants to strip the deposit for livestock feed.“

    As opposed to “virtua” mining? Or fake mining?
    The article’s author betrays a mindset, i.e. mining bad, with that unneeded word.

  15. 23 million years old. sure thing. I got some cheap beachfront in Florida for everyone who believes that. I am taking offers, non-refundable.

  16. The coming century will see some disasters. Among them might be a global-cooling-level volcano. Or the current Sun Cycle 25 is a fizzle like 24, and a new solar minimum emerges in just ten years.

    We can discount concern over of the Sun going mini-nova. The very few survivors underground at the time revert to stone age.
    We can discount a serious asteroid strike. A dino-level-extinction will be a new stone age if any survive.
    A big CME is remotely possible. All the copper wires everywhere melt. All satellites fail. No prep for that.

    Forgive me for giving unasked-for advice. There is only one reality: right now. Carpe Diem.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Look to this day
    for it is life
    the very life of life.
    In its brief course lie all
    the realities and truths of existence
    the joy of growth
    the splendor of action
    the glory of power.

    For yesterday is but a memory
    And tomorrow is only a vision.
    But today well lived
    makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
    and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

    Look well, therefore, to this day.

    – ancient Sanskrit poem – attributed to Kalidasa

    • Thanks for the poem Old George.

      It makes such a contrast from this scientific paper.

      Another commenter makes the point that these authors appear to have lost or never learned the basics of the philosophy of science. I have marked many undergraduate final papers at a reasonably well known university. My only major observation to the chief examiner has been that the students don’t appear to fall back on the philosophy of science when they themselves are asked to critic a paper in an exam. It appears to me that they are not taught the philosophy of science to a level that allows them to use it for critical assessment.

      In my day job I try to make the philosophy of science (specifically Karl Popper’s “The Logic of Scientific Discovery”) is the foundation of all that I do or say.

      From the paper:

      “This might seem like good news, but the reality is more complex. Increased CO2 absorption will not come close to compensating for what humans are pouring into the air.”

      This is not a scientific statement, and the entire paper should have been rejected on the basis of this unsupported idiotic sentence and it emotive style. It an embarrassment to the journal in question

  17. Only in the disturbed minds of Global Warmunists could greening of the planet be a bad thing. Heck, they even think the slight warmup since the LIA is “dangerous” and will “destroy the planet”. We’ve got both warming AND increased CO2. That’s a definite win-win for all life, especially man.

    • Yes, it is mind boggling how they tie themselves into logical pretzels in saying that CO2 promotes plant growth but that is not a good thing. Things were optimal when we had 300 ppm any any deviation is the road to perdition.

  18. From the article: “The Miocene has long been a source of confusion for paleoclimate researchers. Average global temperatures are thought to have been 3 to 7 degrees C hotter than today, and ice largely disappeared at the poles. Yet many proxies, mainly derived from marine organisms, have suggested CO2 levels were only about 300 parts per million-similar to those of preindustrial human times, and not enough to account for such warming.”

    What CO2 level is enough to account for such warming?

    This author implies he knows how much warmth a certain amount of CO2 adds to the Earth’s atmosphere. I would submit, that he does not, in fact, know this number. I would submit that noone knows this number.

    The author is basing his conclusion on unsubstantiated assumptions about how CO2 interacts with the Earth’s atmosphere.

  19. ““It all fits together, it all makes sense,” said study coauthor William D’Andrea, a paleoclimate scientist at Lamont-Doherty. In addition to showing how plants might react directly to CO2, “this should give us more confidence about how temperatures will change with CO2 levels,” he said.”

    Well, will the temperatues change by 3C, or 7C? As you say in the article: “Average global temperatures are thought to have been 3 to 7 degrees C hotter than today”. So is that the best you can do at narrowing down the temperature range, 3 to 7 degrees C? That tells us nothing.

    Do you expect the Earth to be 3 to 7 degrees C hotter when we reach 450ppm in the not-too-distant future? That’s what you are implying. I think you are *way* off.

    I don’t think you have fit anything together as far as CO2 and the Earth’s temperatures are concerned. Your celebration is premature.

  20. Hi,
    There were two jewels to ponder, at the beginning of this article:
    First:
    “The finding adds to the understanding of how rising CO2 heats the earth, …” Where I finally got the idea! CO2 heats the earth and the earth then warms the Earth — fair & square!
    The second:
    “… “global greening” effect mainly due to rising levels of manmade CO2 over recent decades; a quarter to a half of the planet’s vegetated lands have seen increases in leaf volume on trees and plants since about 1980.” just turn off my appetite for reading any more; sorry.
    Bye now,
    JaKo

  21. “This might seem like good news, but the reality is more complex. Increased CO2 absorption will not come close to compensating for what humans are pouring into the air.”

    Of course there can be NO good news, not even a wiff of it.

    Remember not so long ago when humans stopped POURING CO² into the air…..errr it still poured into the air.

    “Not all plants can take advantage, and among those who do, the results can vary depending on temperature and availability of water or nutrients.”

    The majority of plants will take advantage, and that majority will grow where it’s good for them to grow, where temperature, water and nutrients are plentiful.

    The Amazon, the Congo, the Sumatran rainforest, the Bialowieza forest of Europe, the Daintree rainforest of Australia millions of years old, the list goes on.
    All will take advantage and continue the Global Greening as pointed out in your alarmist article.

    “….some natural and agricultural ecosystems could be upended by higher CO2 levels”

    Really? where? which ones? upended by adding what? another 100ppm, 200ppm of CO²…..

    …..you’re off your rocker.

  22. Once again we get a prediction that increased CO2 is going to cause us all to starve because of decreased harvests.

    “And, there is evidence that when some major crops photosynthesize more rapidly, they absorb relatively less calcium, iron, zinc and other minerals vital for human nutrition. Because much of today’s plant life evolved in a temperate, low-CO2 world, some natural and agricultural ecosystems could be upended by higher CO2 levels, along with the rising temperatures and shifts in precipitation they bring. “How it plays out is anyone’s guess,” said Reichgelt. “It’s another layer of stress for plants. It might be great for some, and horrible for others.””

    So there *is* going to be a tipping point where our currently increasing global harvests every year will start going down. We don’t know what the tipping point is but we *KNOW* it exists.

    I can go the the local county fair and get the same kind of prediction from the lady with the crystal ball!

  23. Isn’t it convenient how their revised CO2 estimate just “happened” to coincide with what today’s MODELS are predicting and that the value they derived just happens to be a few decades in the future under the current emissions regime? Except that today’s models are running hot, suggesting CO2 would need to be much higher to supposedly attain their estimated temperature. And their interpretation of leaf structure and chemistry supposedly provides an accurate estimate of atmospheric CO2 23 million years ago. Also, how did they derive a global average temperature from samples collected from a single New Zealand lake bed on a remote island in the South Pacific?

  24. Nearly as perceptive as Thomas Huxley. My two favourites of his:

    – The great tragedy of science – the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. [Collected Essays, 1894, Biogenesis and Abiogenesis]

    – Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed. [Speech at the Natural History Museum, on the unveiling of a statue of Charles Darwin. Quoted in Herbert Spencer, ‘The Factors of Organic Evolution’, The Nineteenth Century (April/May 1886)]

    or, from Johann Goethe:

    As soon as any one belongs to a narrow creed in science, every unprejudiced and true perception is gone. [Conversation (18 May 1824), with Johann Peter Eckermanns, in Conversations with Goethe (1850) ]

  25. “Human emissions have now pushed CO2 levels to about 415 parts per million, and they will almost certainly reach 450 by about 2040-identical to those experienced by the Foulden Maar forest.”

    Let’s cut some leaves, and measure CO2 levels that way.
    Why do it from a mountain top and mess with flasks of air.

    The big difference between a 23-million-year-old forest and our present forests, is we in Ice Age, and 23 million years ago we were not.
    And when not in Ice Age, you have less deserts and more forests.
    And our ocean temperature is about 3.5 C and 23 millions years ago the ocean was close to 10 C.
    In last couple million years of our Ice Age the ocean temperature has been in the temperature range of 1 to 5 C

  26. CO2 levels 23 million years ago were around 450ppm. If nothing changes, CO2 levels in the modern era will reach 450ppm in about 20 years.
    Ergo, the world will be as hot as it was 23 million years ago, in 20 years.

    Once again, the climate scientist assumes that absolutely nothing else in the world has changed during the last 23 million years.

    • the worlds CO2 levels were 450 ppm BECAUSE the world was warmer not the other way around. This is just more proof.

  27. Quote from William D’Andrea.
    “this should give us more confidence about how temperatures will change with CO2 levels,” he said.
    Here is what he should have said, which would have resolved his uncertainty about the role of CO2.

    “this should give us confidence about how CO2 levels will change with temperature.”
    Correction from, Rod D’Vera

  28. The important bit of the above:

    ‘This might seem like good news, but the reality is more complex. Increased CO2 absorption will not come close to compensating for what humans are pouring into the air. Not all plants can take advantage, and among those who do, the results can vary depending on temperature and availability of water or nutrients. And, there is evidence that when some major crops photosynthesize more rapidly, they absorb relatively less calcium, iron, zinc and other minerals vital for human nutrition.’

    so not all plants benefit and there are disbenefits as regards human nutrition. Then of course there are the impacts of droughts, storms to consider…

    • Griff,

      How do you know that the plants that benefit aren’t those most important for food?

      Go read up on evolution sometime.

      What about droughts and storms? We haven’t seen any noticeable increase in either up to this point. Do you believe we will reach a tipping point that will cause these to increase drastically?

      Remember, inland CA and the central US have been semi-arid deserts for literally centuries if not millenia. Hurricanes have inundated Florida for centuries if not millenia. You can tell from the trees and grasses around the US that their climates have been the same for literally centuries if not millenia. The prairie grasses of the central plains have evolved over literal centuries to develop the root systems to survive the dry conditions of a semi-arid desert. It’s the same with the savannahs of central Africa.

      There is literally *NO* evidence that this is going to change over the next century. “Average global temperature” is meaningless. You can’t tell from the average if the minimum temps are going up, a good thing, or if maximum temps are going up. Not having paid attention in 6th grade math you don’t see to have a good grasp of that. You just assume that if the average is going up then that must mean the maximums are going up.

    • Again, since you are so intentionally dense, more plant food means more plants, more plants means more oxygen and people/animal food. I understand you are too stupid to grasp such basic and simple facts, I will just keep repeating them at you till you go away again. Remember, you left and declared you would never return, and yet here you are spewing stupidity yet again.

  29. I am a little confused. We have research that CO2 is not a driver of global warming but follows natural climate change. It would appear from the gist of the story that the authors believe that C02 is now a driving factor.

  30. More CO2 is not universally good for plants. From the Aug 20th Watts article on similar theme:

    “Increased CO2 absorption will not come close to compensating for what humans are pouring into the air. Not all plants can take advantage, and among those who do, the results can vary depending on temperature and availability of water or nutrients. And, there is evidence that when some major crops photosynthesize more rapidly, they absorb relatively less calcium, iron, zinc and other minerals vital for human nutrition. Because much of today’s plant life evolved in a temperate, low-CO2 world, some natural and agricultural ecosystems could be upended by higher CO2 levels, along with the rising temperatures and shifts in precipitation they bring. “How it plays out is anyone’s guess,” said Reichgelt. “It’s another layer of stress for plants. It might be great for some, and horrible for others.” ”

    And that’s before you add in the impacts of drought, storm and wildfire.

    • More Co2 means more plants, more plants means more oxygen and food, more Co2 is a positive. Tell whatever lies you want, griffie, more Co2 is a positive. Now cry about that some more and tell more lies. It is all you got.

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