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More trees do not always create a cooler planet, Clark University geographer finds

Clark researchers discover some US forests add to global warming

CLARK UNIVERSITY

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WORCESTER, Mass. — New research by Christopher A. Williams, an environmental scientist and professor in Clark University‘s Graduate School of Geography, reveals that deforestation in the U.S. does not always cause planetary warming, as is commonly assumed; instead, in some places, it actually cools the planet. A peer-reviewed study by Williams and his team, “Climate Impacts of U.S. Forest Loss Span Net Warming to Net Cooling,” published today (Feb. 12) in Science Advances. The team’s discovery has important implications for policy and management efforts that are turning to forests to mitigate climate change.

It is well established that forests soak up carbon dioxide from the air and store it in wood and soils, slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; however, that is not their only effect on climate. Forests also tend to be darker than other surfaces, said Professor Williams, causing them to absorb more sunlight and retain heat, a process known as “the albedo effect.”

“We found that in some parts of the country like the Intermountain West, more forest actually leads to a hotter planet when we consider the full climate impacts from both carbon and albedo effects,” said Professor Williams. It is important to consider the albedo effect of forests alongside their well-known carbon storage when aiming to cool the planet, he adds.

The research was funded by two grants from NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System. Williams and his research team — comprising data scientist Huan Gu, Ph.D. from The Climate Corporation and Tong Jiao, Ph.D. — found that for approximately one quarter of the country, forest loss causes a persistent net cooling because the albedo effect outweighs the carbon effect. They also discovered that loss of forests east of the Mississippi River and in Pacific Coast states caused planetary warming, while forest loss in the Intermountain and Rocky Mountain West tended to lead to a net cooling.

According to Professor Williams, scientists have known for some time that expanding forest cover cannot be assumed to cool the planet or to mitigate global warming. However, this has not always been appreciated broadly.

“If we fail to consider both the carbon and the albedo effects, large-scale tree-planting initiatives, such as Canada’s 2Billion Trees Initiative and The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign, could end up placing trees in locations that are counterproductive for cooling the climate system,” said Professor Williams.

“It is all about putting the right trees in the right place,” said Williams, “and studies like ours can help identify where the potential for cooling is greatest.”

Every year, approximately one million acres of forest are being converted to non-forest areas across the lower 48 states of the U.S.; this is largely due to suburban and exurban expansion and development. Professor Williams’ team found that the net climate impact of a full 15 years of forest losses amounts to about 17% of a single year of U.S. fossil fuel emissions.

Williams’ research team used state-of-the-art satellite remote sensing to bring a detailed, observational perspective to examine this problem that had previously been assessed mostly with computer models. The three researchers pinpointed the locations of forest loss and identified what those sites became — urban, agricultural, grassland, shrubland, pasture, or something else. They then quantified how much forest biomass carbon was released to the atmosphere, and how much additional sunlight was reflected out to space. By comparing these two effects they measured the net impact of deforestation on the climate system.

The new datasets and methods used in Professor Williams’ study show that the tools are available to take the albedo effect into account. The Clark team hopes to generate actionable datasets to share with land managers and policymakers worldwide within the next one or two years, to help ensure that their tree-planting efforts focus on the right places and have the intended effects.

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Founded in 1887, Clark University is a liberal arts-based research university that prepares its students to meet tomorrow’s most daunting challenges and embrace its greatest opportunities. Through 33 undergraduate majors, more than 30 advanced degree programs, and nationally recognized community partnerships, Clark fuses rigorous scholarship with authentic world and workplace experiences that empower our learning community to pursue lives and careers of meaning and consequence. Clark’s academic departments and institutes develop solutions to complex global problems across the disciplines.
http://www.clarku.edu

More information, including a copy of the paper, can be found online at the Science Advances press package at http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/sciadvances/.

For more about Professor Williams’ research, publications, and appointments, visit these links:

Nature turns to Professor Williams for expertise on forests, climate change (2019)

Natural Climate Solutions reduce global warming (2018)

Geography professor selected for top-level carbon research program’s science leadership group (2017)

Study: Ecosystems slow the rate of rising CO2 concentration (2016)

Researchers: Global warming leads to drier air, stressed plants (2016)

Clark geographer in Australia to study climate change, drought and the death of trees (2016)

Clark geographer awarded NASA grants to study carbon release, uptake in U.S. forests (2014)

New Clark study on clearcuts shows surprising trends in carbon, water (2013)

From EurekAlert!

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February 14, 2021 2:22 am

Climate hymn book update.
“Deny CO2 greening and tree increase”
has now been superseded by
“Trees are bad”.

alastair gray
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
February 14, 2021 3:09 am

NOT SO MUCH BAD AS DOUBLEPLUSUNGOOD. YOUR DOUBLETHINK IS GOOD BUT WATCH OUT FOR MINDFULWELLBEINGNESDUCKSPEAK
BIG BROTHER HAS SPOKEN

meiggs
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 6:16 am

Sounds mo’ like Big Sister too me.

Reply to  meiggs
February 15, 2021 12:11 am

Aunt Karen.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
February 14, 2021 9:10 am

All plants are bad and must be slowly starved by denying them CO2. (/s)
That is the stark reality of the efforts to curtail fossil fuels.

What really underlies that type of thinking is, the efforts to suppress human populations, via starvation and death from exposure.

n.n
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
February 14, 2021 11:16 am

The Profits are of the Progressive Church/Synagogue/Mosque/Temple/Corporation/Clinic, where they advocate for Planned Parent/hood the wicked solution, cannibalize her profitable parts, and sequester her carbon pollutants, again, and again, and again. It’s the Green New Deal to complement the New Deal that effectively captured capital and flattened (i.e. delayed) economic recovery. Whack a wind turbine, and go green to save a bird, a bat. Clear the Green Blight.

S.K. Dodsland
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
February 14, 2021 11:59 am

Another example of NASA’s Orwellian double speak.

They are losing credibility by the day.

RoHa
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
February 15, 2021 9:47 pm

That’s why we must cut them all down to provide fuel for the Drax power station and clear land for wind turbines and solar panels. How else can we save the natural world?

February 14, 2021 2:33 am

More trees do not always create a cooler planet, but they always produce a better planet. In any case, why would we need a ‘cooler’ planet when the most fertile and habitable parts are the warmest parts.

S.K. Dodsland
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
February 14, 2021 11:42 am

Warm is good, cold is bad. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, the earth is cooling and we can only hope the higher level of atmospheric co2 promotes as much agricultural production as the cooler temperatures suppresses.

pulsar
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
February 15, 2021 4:37 am

“More trees do not always create a cooler planet, but they always produce a better planet.”
Completely agree. Forests creates a stabilizing effect on climate. A Goldilocks zone. Neither too cold nor too hot. The densest forests are rain forests because the climate is controlled by the forest that creates their own rain. It is a region where the climate has the least variability season to season and year to year compared to other types of micro-climates.

Ron Long
February 14, 2021 2:39 am

If trees breath in CO2 and breathe out O2 I say plant more trees.

alastair gray
Reply to  Ron Long
February 14, 2021 3:24 am

They dont.They, just like you and I they breath in Oxygen and combine it with glucose in cellular processes like animals and emit CO2, I believe mainly at night
In photosynthesis they absorb CO2 and photons and water which interact to make Chlorophyl which makes leaves which absorb CO2 etc.but only during the day.
Three are terms called respiration and transpiration that in Google seemed to get mangled together in sloppy definition also involving water and water vapour transport
I would e interested to know from an expert how much of each gas O2 and CO2 is absorbed and emitted during different parts of the day night cycle. Any volunteers?

Ron Long
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 4:24 am

Alastair Gray, it is true that trees are net converters of CO2 to O2, however, that is not the net balance story. Both microbes and rotting (oxidation) processes are quite variable and might allow net oxygen or consume it. The Amazon rainforest turns out to be a net consumer, according to several reports I read, and other reports say neutral. The only viable net oxygen positive is to bury the plant material before it rots, and this is the origin of coal.

Reply to  Ron Long
February 14, 2021 7:32 am

The original carbon capture!

Philo
Reply to  Ron Long
February 14, 2021 8:01 am

Corner that Carbon. Tie it up in SUGARS and CELLULOSE!
Bury in the Ground. Hope it turns into Coal.
We’ve Got A Winner!

alastair gray
Reply to  Ron Long
February 14, 2021 9:45 am

I was just pointing out that trees operate on two cycles Photosynthesis during the day using sunlight water and CO2 to generate cholesterol which works like blood to a plant transporting nutrients and oxygenated chemicals. Respiration tales place at night when Glucose combines with oxygen just like us to perform metabolic magic generating CO2 as waste. Trouble with being a physicist you don’t get all the biochemistry at your mother’s knee so pardon my simplicity. I am sure that the net result is Trees as CO2 sinks but agree you need to look at it on hundred plus year cycle

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Ron Long
February 14, 2021 1:24 pm

There is about zero chance any trees alive now will become coal.
Places where there is a large accumulation of peat have a slight chance of doing so, but that is generally not from trees, but from other types of plant life.
Coal is from the carboniferous period because at that time, trees had far more lignin than they have now, and no organisms had yet evolved the enzymes needed to break down lignin or cellulose.
Since the Carboniferous period, very little in the way of coal has formed.
Over 90% of all the coal that has ever formed came from that one period of time, which was from ~359 to ~299 million years ago.
IOW, during those 60 million years, at least ten times more coal formed than in the 300 million years since, or the billions of years prior.
Surprising, init?

Last edited 8 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
OweninGA
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 14, 2021 2:34 pm

Not to mention that bacteria evolved after that period, with the ability to break down lignin and eat wood before it can fossilize.

tty
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 15, 2021 9:26 am

“Since the Carboniferous period, very little in the way of coal has formed.”

Most coal isCarboniferous true, but not <i>very</i> little is younger.

The very large coal deposits in Australia are Permian and so are the coal deposits in South Africa. The Brown Coal in Germany is Paleogene-Neogene.

Rick C
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 8:28 am

Well wood is primarily cellulose which is made of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. About 50% of the mass is carbon and the rest is hydrogen and oxygen in almost the same 2:1 ratio as water (H2O). The carbon comes from CO2. The hydrogen comes from water. Thus, when the plant combines CO2 and H2O to make the sugars that form cellulose most of the O2 in the CO2 is left over and expelled. Before plant life capable of photosynthesis evolved the earth’s atmosphere was virtually all nitrogen, carbon dioxide and water. Plants are responsible for creating and maintaining our ~21% O2 concentration.

alastair gray
Reply to  Rick C
February 14, 2021 9:36 am

Hi Rick

Lungs of the planet?

At school, like you, I was always told that the tropical forests were the lungs of the planet and working in homeostasis they took the CO2 that we animals produced and sequestered it in the forests. at the same time restoring the oxygen to us and without that we would pretty soon use up all the oxygen in the world. So, lets look at the numbers
From Google
Total mass of atmosphere = 5 X10^18 kg of which about 20% is oxygen and 0.04% is CO2
So total Oxygen in atmosphere = 1 x10^15 Tonnes
Total CO2 in atmosphere is 2 x 10^12 Tonnes
Again, from Google
Total mass of biomass on earth =550 x10^9 Tonnes. Assume this is all carbon and burn it all in one massive conflagration.
1 tonne of carbon produces 3 tonnes of CO2
 This would produce 1.65 x 10^13 tonnes of CO2 raising CO2 level by a factor of about 10 to about 4000 ppm or 0.4%
And would use up about 1.1 x10^13 tonnes of O2 or roughly about 1 % of the oxygen in the atmosphere.

So, this Armageddon catastrophe would make hardly any difference to the atmosphere’s composition,  although it would destroy all life on earth.
I really don’t know what the atmosheric composition of an abiogenic earth would look like. Probably much the same as the current one because pretty much everything that can rust already has rusted up .

so –  Lungs of the planet? Not really, but do let us look after the trees or help nature to do it for us by keeping a nice healthy level of CO2 in the atmosphere about 600-800 ppm or so. There is a homeostasis of some sort between the plant and animal worlds – like dead salmon fertilise Alaskan forests etc

Rick C
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 1:02 pm

Alastair: No real dispute here. Obviously the vast majority of carbon from early earth CO2 was sequestered in the form of lime stone, coal, oil, natural gas, etc. primarily by living organisms. But the energy from sunlight ultimately powered the process of stripping the carbon from CO2 and returning O2 to the atmosphere. The carbon cycle as generally depicted in science textbooks is not in dispute as far as I know.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rick C
February 14, 2021 1:13 pm

Radioisotope studies have shown conclusively that the O2 comes from the H2O, not from the CO2.
The oxygen in CO2 becomes the oxygen in the resulting glucose molecules.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 1:44 pm

1 tonne of carbon produces 3 tonnes of CO2″

More than that, actually.
Atomic weight of carbon is about 12, molecular weight of CO2 is about 44.
So closer to 3.6 tons of CO2 from one ton of C.

Alastair gray
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 15, 2021 3:36 pm

Agreed i was just being quick and dirty

chemman
Reply to  Rick C
February 14, 2021 9:39 am

Actually plankton (photosynthetic microorgansisms) are responsible for over 50% of O2 production.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rick C
February 14, 2021 1:10 pm

Trees start out as seeds and become huge pieces of wood.
Anyone who wonders if that overall absorbs CO2 from the air, needs to think harder.

OweninGA
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 14, 2021 2:37 pm

but then the tree dies and is eaten by fungus and bacteria and termites to release that CO2 back into the atmosphere.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  OweninGA
February 14, 2021 4:21 pm

And new trees grow to replace them.
Meanwhile, soil gets thicker.
Converting non-forest to forest is a net absorption of CO2.
Converting forest to non-forest releases CO2.
The general greening of the planet seen from space represents a net increase in CO2 uptake.
The biosphere is currently in a state of CO2 starvation.
More CO2 available will translate into a more massive biosphere.
The rest is just details

OweninGA
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 14, 2021 5:13 pm

I agree, but we can’t exclude inconvenient points just because it is part of a much larger, incredibly complex and intertwined biosphere. That is what the other side always does and I want to make sure we all stay on the big picture.

I asked one of my biology colleagues what the CO2 level was when the beasty she was going on about evolved. She didn’t know, so I told her and she did not believe me. Those shelled creatures have endured far higher temperatures in the past and far higher CO2 concentrations. She responded with the ocean acidification talking point (she was talking about crabs) and I informed her the daily PH change in the inland estuaries she studies was an order of magnitude larger than the less than 0.1 change she was worried about. Since she is someone who does actually get her boots dirty, I told her she should go measure it on her next trip to the shore. We’ll see.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  OweninGA
February 14, 2021 9:01 pm

The shells of crabs are made of a carbohydrate called chitin.
pH has no effect on chitin.
So even alarmists who believe in the made up non problem they invented called ocean acidification, would have a hard time making any case that CO2 increasing could possibly effect crabs.

chemman
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 9:37 am

Photosynthesis encompasses a light cycle that require photons and a dark cycle that doesn’t need photons. The dark cycle doesn’t need to occur at night.
The light cycle uses photons to split water to make hydrogen ions and O2. The chlorophyll captures the photons and isn’t manufactured during the light cycle.

gringojay
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 12:17 pm

As for the issue of O2 to CO2 cycling by different plants: the O2 used depends on varying factors beyond just the growth stage of any plant (ex: how much photo-respiration is occurring, the rate of mitochondrial respiration and per-oxide reactions). Some factors are: as temperatures rise above the plants optimal there is increased respiration, in excessive light for the plants optimal more oxygen radicals form, in low temperatures reduced phosphate delivery to chloroplast limits O2 response, & when ATP production deficient electrons are shunted in a Mehler reaction to O2 for steps toward supplemental ATP.

The only constant ratio I can say is that for every 1 Mole (molecular weight, not molecule) of CO2 assimilated 1 Mole (molecular weight, not molecule) of O2 is released as a consequence of photo-synthesis water splitting step. At night (& to a smaller degree) during “dark” respiration O2 is used in crucial processes like organic acids & ATP production.

Last edited 8 months ago by gringojay
Bruce Cobb
February 14, 2021 2:40 am

Chris Williams is out of his tree.

Alexy Scherbakoff
February 14, 2021 2:57 am

Best place to plant the trees is where the sun doesn’t shine. Lots of natural fertiliser there also.

Peta of Newark
February 14, 2021 3:11 am

Perfect complete total utter pure rocket-grade vacuous contrived & confused lazy & magically-conceived GARBAGE.
Even for kinder-garden Science

Please please please someone, get this clown ## a hand-held solar power meter before muppets like it consign us all to hell.

Albedo recipe

  1. Take you and Solar Meter somewhere
  2. Anywhere
  3. Anytime the sun is above the horizon
  4. Hold meter facing flat up.
  5. Note reading
  6. Turn meter completely face down
  7. Note reading
  8. Divide one by other = Albedo
  9. Go To step 1 somewhere and or sometime different

Well less than $100
Here‘s mine at AMZN UK tho I went via ebay

## We do now understand now how the Scary Clown Meme (just get that Kiss Curl) got its legs.
Listen to your kids, they recognise Scary Clowns, they still have The Strong Survival Instinct that is destroyed by sugar/ alcohol consumption AND, will Tell It Like It Is….
viz. These muppets are dangerous, even if they can’t explain why
Eisenhower knew, both how and why

Yes, sugar-eating Turkeys REALLY DO, Vote For Christmas
Clowns vote for Biden

Last edited 8 months ago by Peta of Newark
Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 14, 2021 3:41 am

Maybe you noticed, prices for China-made or delivered-from ‘stuff’ have gone quite insane these last 2 months, esp for here in UK.
I paid £54.95 for my Solar Meter, circa 18 months ago

So what happened..

  1. Perfect lack of shipping containers at China – thank you Covid
  2. Chinese sellers are now required to register with UK tax collection (HMRC) agency
  3. No cardboard to pack the products in, thank you Biomass Burners
  4. What cardboard there is is being stolen out of garbage bins (on its way to recycling) by Organised Crime as it is now worth so much (look for Beige Gold) Thank you Biomass Burners AND Boris Johnson & Lord Deben just for starters. The Crime Gangs either get it made into Planet Saving Briqettes for lah-de-dah people to burn in Chinese made fake stoves, or export it to, hahaha, China
  5. If any ships bearing steel containers and said containers contain cardboard-packaged goods ever do threaten to Darken Consumer’s Doors, The Complete Train Wreck That Is Brexit (and Covid) leaves those ships sitting out in the North Sea, unable to dock, for weeks on end.

While the clowns who organised and so diligently maintain, that Complete Chaos genuinely believe they can control the weather by building (grotesquely overpriced) windmills….
Stuff Massachusetts as any sort of capital for Will Breaking, just get out of bed in a morning, any morning, every morning, here in the UK.

Last edited 8 months ago by Peta of Newark
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 14, 2021 6:27 am

Brexit has left Britain’s position exactly like that of Poland in the 1930’s – sandwiched between two hostile dictatorships east and west. Next decade could be interesting…

peter schell
February 14, 2021 3:18 am

Living in Canada, and commenting on threads there, I have noticed something about Canadian activists. First they really, really, love the fact that Canadian’s produce the most emissions per/capita of any nation on earth. We are bad, bad, boys and need to double down on renewables. This despite the fact that Canada produces only about 1.6% of the worlds emissions.

The second thing is that when you mention that Canada has one of the largest Boreal forests in the world and maybe this mitigates those per/capita emission, if not actually making Canada a net sink rather than a producer, they will inform you with no argument allowed that trees are not a net sink. All the CO2 they absorb goes back into the atmosphere when they die or are cut down. So they do not mitigate our sins one little bit.

We are bad, bad, boys and must pay the price for our sins.

And then they can turn on a dime and cheer on the Prime Minister’s plan to plant two billion or more, trees, with taxpayer dollars, as a significant means of reducing our carbon footprint.

Last edited 8 months ago by peter schell
Sparko
Reply to  peter schell
February 14, 2021 7:00 am

Orwell described it as the memory hole. It’s classic leftist behaviour to have no ability to look at the whole picture

OldGreyGuy
Reply to  peter schell
February 14, 2021 2:31 pm

Hang on, our activists in Australia keep telling us that we produce the most emissions per/capita of any nation on earth?

Don’t tell me that activists tell lies to get there way?

migueldelrio
February 14, 2021 3:39 am

Were it not for a process called “photosynthesis,” all the absorbed light would be wasted as heat.

Joseph Zorzin
February 14, 2021 4:01 am

“More information, including a copy of the paper, can be found online at the Science Advances press package at http://www.eurekalert.org/jrnls/sciadvances/.”

Can’t get in there- requires a password.

fretslider
February 14, 2021 4:03 am

The Ash tree in my garden just laughed

alastair gray
Reply to  fretslider
February 14, 2021 4:17 am

What a son of a beech

fretslider
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 4:29 am

A real mutherfraxinus

Bruce Cobb
February 14, 2021 4:49 am

When the measure of whether something is good or not, and to what extent, is based on the idiotic notion of whether or not it warms (bad) or cools (good) the planet, all science, and indeed rational thought or even common sense flies out the window and you have entered The Climate Zone. Any and all things are possible then. Down is up, and up is down.

Tom
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 14, 2021 7:41 am

It’s even worse. Down is up, except when it’s down, or not. And Up is down, except when it’s actually up (duh!).

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 14, 2021 8:32 am

Your first sentence is a very good comment and should be kept in mind always. Looking at problems with a single measure is never good.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 14, 2021 1:51 pm

When the measure of whether something is good or not, and to what extent, is based on the idiotic notion of whether or not it warms…”

True dat!

Rod Evans
February 14, 2021 5:06 am

One of the greatest gifts WUWT brings to us, is the awareness that no matter how idiotic an idea might be, some character in some state funded UNI will present it as remarkable science based fact.
They will be seeking grants to make hockey sticks out of tree rings next. Did you know you can forge tree rings? You just need a special computer anvil that hides the decline, during the later forging processes…

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Rod Evans
February 14, 2021 7:16 am

Fossil remnant trees make the best hockey sticks

Philo
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
February 14, 2021 8:10 am

Coal works pretty well as a puck. It teaches you to aim carefully and fakeout the goalie. Othewise the puck shatters or it misses the goal entirely.

Coal for a stick needs to be turned into carbon fiber thread and epoxy glue to make carbon fiber sticks. Strong enough to break an arm and still miss the goal.

Steve Keohane
February 14, 2021 5:14 am

Brings to mind a paper from a few years back that discussed how forests control their own temperature.

Steve Case
February 14, 2021 5:31 am

This ridiculous peer reviewed study is right up there with the ones that say that foods grown in higher concentrations of CO2 are less nutritious.

February 14, 2021 5:45 am

I miss a very important process not mentioned here:
Evaporation (not just in rain forrests) and the respective cooling.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 14, 2021 6:31 am

Exactly – that’s the most important process of all.
Renders the albedo effect almost irrelevant.
Earth’s land surface was mostly arid till plants spread over it and especially trees.
Transpiration humidifies the air and plants & trees create humic soils out of glacier-powdered rock. Conveniently, there was 100 million years of deep glaciation (Cryogenian) just before the Cambrian explosion and the appearance of plants.
Trees are good
Trees are good
Trees are good
Trees are good…

Timbersfine
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
February 14, 2021 8:58 pm

Revitalized ecology is good
topographically tuned revegetation is good
higher grain yields per acre is good
sustainable agroforestry is good
Reducing broad scale mining damage is good
fuel efficiency is good
consuming less is good
healthy environment is good
knowledge of the World, history, is

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Krishna Gans
February 14, 2021 1:59 pm

When it comes from plants and trees, it is called transpiration.
They also left out the part about creating a more moderate temperature regime, via less diurnal and even annual swings in temp.
And the part about decreasing runoff of precipitation, building up soil which contains lots of carbon, increasing soil moisture and also groundwater due to enhanced retention rather than runoff and evaporation (transpiration from plants generally lower than evaporation from exposed ground surfaces), reducing erosion, and providing habitat.
Plus a bunch of other stuff.

I think the purpose of this line of “research” is to have an answer to those who wonder why the green agenda does not seem to include much in the way of actual mitigation of the devil gas…like planting trees instead of whining and protesting all day, and seeking to control everyone and everything, while impoverishing us while they are at it.

Flight Level
February 14, 2021 5:53 am

Why freezing is better than being cozy at first place? Where would all those scholars be if the ice age had continued to this day?

Why Californians move to Texas and not Nome ?

Scissor
February 14, 2021 5:59 am

Frankly, I’m not sure we should aim to cool the planet. My furnace is working hard this morning to warm my house, where outside it’s setting or tying cold records.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Scissor
February 14, 2021 4:55 pm

I am sure. We should definitely not do it.
Warmth is life. Cold is death.

D Boss
February 14, 2021 6:07 am

This is utterly ludicrous on it’s face. Nowhere is it mentioned that trees and all plants for that matter, ABSORB solar energy to accomplish photosynthesis!

Splitting CO2 molecules and producing glucose requires 686 kcal (2874 kJ) per mole of glucose (180 grams). This energy comes from the sun, and is stored in the glucose, an hydrocarbon “fuel”.

https://www.biology-pages.info/B/BalanceSheet.html

Next on it’s face again, has no one every been out in the country and spent time at an interface between a forest and some grass or pasture? Jeepers, the forest is ALWAYS cooler than on the pasture, in direct sunlight! Yes the forest floor is in the shade, but if this idiot’s theory were correct the darker forest canopy would make a thermal and draw in warmer air from the pasture! Yes, the forest transpires so there’s more humidity under the canopy, but the “thermal” effect if were true would exhaust this “coolness” upwards. Utter nonsense!

Has no one every gone to a beach? – Tell me, is the sand hotter than walking on the grass leading up to the sand when in bare feet? The sand has a higher albedo than the grass, as in it reflects more light – but the grass is cooler – why, because it’s also absorbing energy to photosynthesize!

Yes, at night the plants respirate and convert some glucose to energy – to stay alive, but on balance they do not consume all the energy they stored during the day, else they could not grow! – duhhh!

This is a testament to the axiom of what the letters behind your name means when “schooled”: BSc, MSc and PhD – being Bull Schist, More Schist, and Piled higher and Deeper!

gringojay
Reply to  D Boss
February 14, 2021 11:34 am

Respiration usually is considered to happen at night & is sometimes called “dark respiration”; however, a bit of this respiration does occur during the day. Then there is “photo-respiration”, which occurs during the daylight &, coincidently, occurs relatively less in elevated CO2.

Respiration is so important because it is crucial for creating organic acids; which in turn are required for internal reactions performing synthesis. Respiration, incidentally, spins off some heat. A simplified representation of respiration is: CH2O (from photosynthesis) + O2 –> via intermediary catalysts –> CO2 + H20 + energy (heat).

A dark leaf has approximately 30% less ATP than during daylight. It is this “dark” respiration that sustains the ratio of ADP to ATP as almost the same ratio during daytime. The result is that protein synthesis can continue in the dark.

Respiration involves sugar/starch from photosynthesis getting formed into pyruvate & that intermediate molecule of pyruvate is substrate for processes. Byproducts of CO2 & NADH are formed; then NADH in the mitochondria uses O2 in a dynamic leading to ADP becoming ATP.

Some internal plant CO2 is released by plants. Different plants, at different life stages, release CO2 into their environment in different amounts from different parts of the same plant.

[ Photo-respiration (occurs during light) involves mitochondria releasing CO2. A simplified representation of photo-respiration is: 2 glycine + H2O + NAD+ –> serine + NH3 + CO2 + 2 NADH. A photo-respiration provided NADH is of practical use by the plant in reactions for generating 3ATP; of which 1 ATP is used for glutamine synthesis & 2 ATP is used for sugar (sucrose) synthesis.]

alastair gray
Reply to  gringojay
February 14, 2021 1:01 pm

Thanks Gringojay I learned something today

Timbersfine
Reply to  alastair gray
February 14, 2021 3:52 pm

I would like to learn more….

Do Broad scale forests effect climate and weather to the extent forest loss is cause of perceived climate variability in recent times (say 100 years) across the world?

Increasing cold snap spells, increasing dry hot days ….

Do ecologists think CO2 is the main driver, or could it be global forest loss?

Alastair gray
Reply to  Timbersfine
February 15, 2021 3:57 pm

Well as i said above I am no great believer in either forests or CO2 as the climate dial. Arhenius the father of AGW did his calculations in 18896and 1905 This predated bya long way the quantum mechanical theory of molecular IRabsorption spectra Redo the sums properly as Wijngarden an Hopper recently and GHG absorption is close to saturation
It would seem that forests are more likely to influence climate through their effects on eater cycles than anything else so keep on planting trees Dont trash good agricultural land to do it
Look to your databases for hotdays cold days etc Their is not mch of any trend

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  D Boss
February 14, 2021 2:03 pm

Forests are cooler during the day, yes and for sure.
But they are also warmer at night.
Cooler when it is hot, but warmer when it is cold.
IOW…more moderate.

Duker
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 14, 2021 6:23 pm

Yes. Its still the same energy, the sunlight has got to the surface of the earth, its either warming the ground or the air near the surface or both, but it varies over the day night cycle.
Then theres the movement of the wind which follows the gradient from cooler to the warmer , which is effectively moving the near surface heat around anyway.
I dont think his theories play out when you consider say larger than km2. The earth is far more self regulating than these ‘micro-climate’ studies suggest

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Duker
February 14, 2021 9:09 pm

I think they did not do any actual studies.
Models do not count as a study.

Timbersfine
Reply to  D Boss
February 14, 2021 3:43 pm

Thank you for bringing some science into the explanation of energy movement in trees.
What is your opinion on extensive global land use change (forest loss in particular) on climate ?

fretslider
February 14, 2021 6:13 am

“It is all about putting the right trees in the right place”

How did nature ever manage without Hom sap? I look forward to Prof Williams’ next further glimpses of the obvious

we have awarded more Ph.D.s in geography than any other institution.

If only they were worth having.

Sparko
February 14, 2021 6:44 am

It’s almost as if he’d discovered the warming effect of orchards !!

Pat from kerbob
February 14, 2021 7:13 am

This ad has been brought to you by the biomass generating council of America
Burning trees cools the planet, act accordingly

DMacKenzie
February 14, 2021 7:17 am

The new datasets and methods used in Professor Williams’ study show that the tools are available to take the albedo effect into account.”
Really now…..the difference in albedo between snow covered ground and pine forest has been known for a long time. Are the liberal arts colleges only finding this out now? Some more numbers on cloud cover over boreal forest as a result of transpiration would provide some more continuance of where we are today….

February 14, 2021 7:30 am

I think it’s beyond “well established” that trees use atmospheric carbon, certainly better established than carbon dioxide role in greenhouse scenarios or even greenhouse scenarios themselves.

Richard M
February 14, 2021 7:36 am

He needs to redo his calculations and remove the part where CO2 does any significant warming. This has now been tested scientifically and the warming is trivial.

https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation.aspx?paperid=99608

This experiment clearly demonstrates how the heat capacity of an IR absorbing surface minimizes the GHE’s warming ability.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Richard M
February 14, 2021 9:34 am

This paper was published almost a year ago. Surely it has been debunked in the alarmist press many times???

OweninGA
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
February 14, 2021 2:46 pm

That it has been collectively ignored tells you they haven’t yet figured out exactly how to wave their hands to make that inconvenient fact go away.

Mike
Reply to  Richard M
February 14, 2021 6:30 pm

The atmosphere is not a chamber.

Michael
February 14, 2021 7:37 am

Who peer reviewed this article and what were their comments? It seems some fundamental considerations are missing based on this article. Cant get to the article.

Michael
Reply to  Michael
February 14, 2021 7:41 am

meant who peer reviewed the study.

Alan
February 14, 2021 9:04 am

I read about this in Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” back in the early’80’s.

February 14, 2021 9:30 am

OCEANS PRODUCE MORE O2 THAN TREES AND PLANTS. Trees may be too greedy – CO2 Matters Too – Trees may be taking more than their fair CO2 share? Scientists discover another extinct tree – a conifer – in Louisiana – claim man could be responsible since he caused the American Elm and American Chestnut to go extinct.

Andy Pattullo
February 14, 2021 10:45 am

“Williams’ research team used state-of-the-art satellite remote sensing to bring a detailed, observational perspective to examine this problem that had previously been assessed mostly with computer models.”

After which it, appears they modeled the impact on global temperature assuming the widely advertised CO2 control knob was just as effective in reality as in the horribly deficient climate models. Calling any academic work “research” that relies primarily on unvalidated models is a misuse of the term. This is purely theorizing. Until it is turned into real research with observational evidence of the claimed outcomes it is as likely to be accurate as a fortune tellers prophecies.

Karl Johan Grimstad
Reply to  Andy Pattullo
February 14, 2021 12:56 pm
From an ecological standpoint, I find it sad to read that this misunderstanding is spreading. No more carbon dioxide in wood is the basis of the soil, the soil is made up of dead plant residues from the annual photosynthesis.The annual fall does not manage to break down due to the cold wintertime, therefore the volume of the soil grows. If more trees are planted then these are primarily dependent on the nourishment that exists in the soil, which is the prerequisite for photosynthesis to contribute to trees binding CO2, the nourishment and CO2 they get together with water from the soil to transport the nourishment into the trees.

While these newly planted trees grow and bind CO2 then they breathe and they do so as long as it is alive, it does not stop breathing even though it is grown, as is the case with all creatures. This breath is what goes on in the carbon cycle and is the basis for new biomass to grow, now we disregard physical and chemical mechanisms that also release and bind carbon. Both Biological physical and chemical mechanisms vary in dynamics with temperature.
So CO2 comes from the Earth via the breathing of all organisms to the atmosphere. The volume of the carbon cycle increases as the volume of the living biomass increases, the more that breathes the more the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere grows. This demonization of CO2 belongs nowhere, scientists have not yet shown whether or how much CO2 affects the temperature

John F Hultquist
February 14, 2021 11:31 am

About 15 years ago planting trees was seen as a big deal to save the planet. Then someone noted that the dark trunks of trees warmed even in the winter – as do dark fence posts. Hold your hand against one, if you want proof. Thus, the push for millions of new (subsidized) trees faded.
Now I note that Justin Trudeau wants Canada to plant 2 billion trees to add to the 318 billion there now:
http://greenblizzard.com/2015/09/30/how-many-trees-in-the-canada/

That will help. – winking smiley face – Poe’s Law

This PanicGreen thing is getting redundant.  

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  John F Hultquist
February 14, 2021 12:29 pm

It’s beyond stupid

Coincidentally, that is also a description of Justin Trudeau

February 14, 2021 11:48 am

Has Professor Williams and scientists Huan Gu, Ph.D. from The Climate Corporation and Tong Jiao, Ph.D. spent any time in a forest?
Maybe they should!

Doonman
February 14, 2021 12:26 pm

It is all about putting the right trees in the right place, said Williams.

Exactly! All trees should be planted in Botswana using Botswana labor and prices while claiming carbon credits in US dollars.

ATheoK
February 14, 2021 1:06 pm

Formatting, bolding and italics are mine to highlight their ‘words’ and ‘phrases’.

“Williams’ research team used state-of-the-art satellite remote sensing to bring a detailed, observational perspective to examine this problem that had previously been assessed mostly with computer models.

The three researchers pinpointed the locations of forest loss and identified what those sites became — urban, agricultural, grassland, shrubland, pasture, or something else.

They then quantified how much forest biomass carbon was released to the atmosphere, and how much additional sunlight was reflected out to space.

By comparing these two effects they measured the net impact of deforestation on the climate system.

The new datasets and methods used in Professor Williams’ study show that the tools are available to take the albedo effect into account.

The Clark team hopes to generate actionable datasets to share with land managers and policymakers worldwide within the next one or two years, to help ensure that their tree-planting efforts focus on the right places and have the intended effects.”

State of the art satellite remote sensing…
They’ve just changed the form of the models used to confirm their gross assumptions.

It’s called Confirmation Bias.

Their goal, before finishing their research is to influence land managers and politicians… That tells everything right there.

Every year, approximately one million acres of forest are being converted to non-forest areas across the lower 48 states”

One million acres… Approximately 1,562 square miles or 4,047 square kilometers.
That’s a square chunk of land approximately 39.5 miles per side or 64 kilometers per side.

And that is before their error bounds for “state-of-the-art satellite remote sensing” are defined and presented.

I have to assume they are including trees felled for Drax in their totals.
I also assume that their ability to differentiate between crops and woodlands to be questionable. Which begs how many acres are assumed “deforested” that were not forested to begin with.

fred250
February 14, 2021 1:22 pm

“We found that in some parts of the country like the Intermountain West, more forest actually leads to a hotter planet”

.

What sort of scientist says something as moronically stupid as that.

Its a LOCAL effect, does not make “the planet” do anything.

OweninGA
February 14, 2021 2:31 pm

I think their use of the albedo effect here may be not all it is cracked up to be. Plants naturally have a lower albedo – they have been designed by evolution to absorb as much light of particular wavelengths as possible in order to feed themselves. The light they absorb is converted into sugars and used by the plant’s metabolism to turn that sugar into tree. The process of making that sugar is quite endothermic which is a cooling effect.

They are confusing the conventional albedo effect on inert materials with conversion to sensible heat, butlike most biological processes, this is a chemical intervention and actually leads to localized cooling. I think someone is just trying to find a means to demonize the greening of the planet.

Timbersfine
February 14, 2021 3:38 pm

How much this paywalled fudge highlights the opportunity for knowledgeable ecologists and natural science experts to enhance the debate on physical global changes.
40% of forests globally gone by humans to agriculture grazing and deserted. Plainly speaking from what I can see, remove a forest, rainfall decline, increase surface run off, dryer in summer, frosts, higher winds, baking heat. Cut a forest down where a creek flows, that creek ecology collapses too.

A forest creates its own climate as much as is position in the world. Forests are primary in the water cycle.

The history of the cedars of Lebanon are a warning bell, it’s story is chilling ….

A forest is stable and a self repairing ecology, it is filled with life, take it away …

Personally I prefer earth to mars.

Alastair gray
Reply to  Timbersfine
February 15, 2021 4:07 pm

I agree with that Recent CO2 fertilisation also greens semi desert and restores water cycle. The real tragedy of AGW hysteria is that it interferes with sensible ecological stewardship so bioethanol from corn and replacing equatorial forest with palmoil does huge damage andraises food prices

Nicholas McGinley
February 14, 2021 5:00 pm

The big takeaway from this type of abject nonsense is that stupid and crazy is a very unfortunate admixture of traits.

Last edited 8 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
John in Cairns
February 14, 2021 6:21 pm

They are completely ignoring the large fraction of absorbed sunlight that is used by plants in photosynthesis to fuel the increased growth due to increased availability of CO2. Foliage in colder climates tend to be darker to facilitate this process. In the tropics ,warmed leaves transpire much more water, leading to increased evaporative cooling. My experience in the tropics is that trees and foliage definitely cause cooling of the surrounding atmosphere. The temperature is always lower inside a forest than outside.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  John in Cairns
February 14, 2021 9:15 pm

Except at night.

Bdam149 user
February 14, 2021 8:04 pm

Much of the energy absorbed goes into making sugar not heat. Do pine needles and leaves get as hot as black metal or a stone surface? I don’t think so. Did he actually measure air temperatures or is he just theorizing?

OweninGA
Reply to  Bdam149 user
February 15, 2021 5:22 pm

They measure albedo from satellite imagery and used that in the straight radiative equations. They treated it like a green rock instead of living beings.

tty
February 15, 2021 9:19 am

The really weird thing is that they seem to be unaware that the main reason that forests cool the local climate is their transpiration of water to the atmosphere.

C. Earl Jantzi
February 17, 2021 6:19 am

How can ALL these “educated idjets” fail a 4th grade science test that shows that ALL green plants on Earth, that operate the photosynthesis cycle that supports(food supply) ALL life on planet Earth, use CO2 in that process, and without that CO2, there is NO photosynthesis, NO food cycle, and NO animal life on Earth?

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