Carbon Dioxide Level Passes Long-Feared Milestone

  • metta

    Posts: 39155

    May 10, 2013 7:59 PM GMT
    Carbon Dioxide Level Passes Long-Feared Milestone

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/science/earth/carbon-dioxide-level-passes-long-feared-milestone.html
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    May 11, 2013 9:32 AM GMT
    "the carbon dioxide level oscillated in a tight band, from about 180 parts per million in the depths of ice ages to about 280 during the warm periods between"

    But it says earlier it is written in the article that during the summer months when there is more leaf surface the CO2 levels go down. This seems like a contradiction because during warm periods like the Pliocene the CO2 levels were the highest recorded when the leaf surface was much greater than today.

    I am not a naysayer about global climate change but this does make me wonder what is really happening.
  • xKorix

    Posts: 607

    May 11, 2013 9:47 AM GMT
    Put an effin plant in you're house...problem solved.
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    May 11, 2013 4:33 PM GMT
    Unfortunately, despite the overwhelmingly demonstrable evidence that this is and will cause issues, until scientists can pin point specifics about what and when shifts will happen, politicians will sluff it off as speculation.

    I did my MA in Urban Planning and in the Urban Sustainability seminars it would frequently come up that because the definition of what's sustainable and/or green is subjective (I mean, just look at xKorix's post) people claim ownership of those terms and deem whatever insignificant actions they take as "green". Just like how junk food now slaps meaningless facts about how much iron is in Frosted Flakes or whatever.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    May 11, 2013 4:43 PM GMT
    Good thing we have an abundance of beautiful rain forests!.... Oh wait, we cut them down and made a myriad species of plant and animal life go extinct.icon_confused.gif
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    May 11, 2013 5:10 PM GMT
    xKorix saidPut an effin plant in you're house...problem solved.


    LOL
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    May 11, 2013 5:59 PM GMT
    alexander7 said"the carbon dioxide level oscillated in a tight band, from about 180 parts per million in the depths of ice ages to about 280 during the warm periods between"

    But it says earlier it is written in the article that during the summer months when there is more leaf surface the CO2 levels go down. This seems like a contradiction because during warm periods like the Pliocene the CO2 levels were the highest recorded when the leaf surface was much greater than today.

    I am not a naysayer about global climate change but this does make me wonder what is really happening.


    I'm no scientist but I still recall a grade school or junior high, earth science teacher imparting upon us that pollution is simply too much energy at the wrong place at the wrong time. I consider that concept even in my gardening. When the leaves fall they "pollute" the tidiness of the lawn. But then I gather them up and place them as mulch in areas without lawn so what is pollution in one moment is weed control & nutrient the next.

    So it makes sense to me that since the industrial revolution, so much carbon dioxide has littered our lawn without evolution having the time to mulch it. Too much in the wrong place and the wrong time.

    Could it be that not only was there more leaf surface at one time but also might it have been the qualities of those leaves. For instance, grasses only came into being about 67 million years ago and only widespread about 10 million years ago*. While within that, bamboo began to evolve just 30 million years back**.

    Meanwhile...

    "Bamboo minimizes CO2 and generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees. One hectare of bamboo sequesters 62 tons of carbon dioxide per year while one hectare of young forest only sequesters 15 tons of carbon dioxide per year" ***

    So there can be a huge difference between plants which could account more for carbon dioxide absorption than the quantity of their leaf surface.

    Add to that man made changes since the industrial revolution, the paving of available leaf surface areas ("According to a 2009 American Meteorological Study, nighttime temperatures can be as much as 14 degrees hotter in New York City than in rural areas 60 miles away."****) and deforestation.

    Maybe pollution is when we don't give evolution a chance to catch up.

    Blinky.gif

    "Without bamboo the land dies."~~saying

    * http://www.wisegeek.com/when-did-grass-evolve.htm
    ** [url]http://www.worldbamboo.net/wbcix/presentation/Clark,%20Lynn.pdf[/url]
    *** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo_textiles
    **** http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2010/07/13/no-more-pavement-the-problem-of-impervious-surfaces/
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    May 15, 2013 4:32 PM GMT
    alexander7 said"the carbon dioxide level oscillated in a tight band, from about 180 parts per million in the depths of ice ages to about 280 during the warm periods between"

    But it says earlier it is written in the article that during the summer months when there is more leaf surface the CO2 levels go down. This seems like a contradiction because during warm periods like the Pliocene the CO2 levels were the highest recorded when the leaf surface was much greater than today.

    I am not a naysayer about global climate change but this does make me wonder what is really happening.


    It reflects the difference between seasonal/yearly cycles vs. cycles that span millennia. Therefore, while the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may vary between summers and winters, the average concentration is higher in this era than say 8,000 years ago. The point that the article was trying to make is that the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere is highly correlated with the average temperature of the earth. So much so, that many experts have concluded it is causal.

    Now we come to the Pliocene Era. Assuming that you position that leaf surface area was much greater than today (and it probably was), it reflects an adaptation of plant life. Temperatures on average were higher which promoted plant growth, which over long periods of time resulted in lower carbon concentrations, which returned the earth to cooler temperatures. The difference now is that the human population is present and so dense that large areas of forest are routinely demolished for agriculture and other uses. This means that we cannot expect the same balancing adaptive response witnessed in the Pliocene.

    The big question most countries are facing now is do we devote resources to avoid the rise in global temperatures or do we devote resources to try to adapt to changing conditions? Based on political, economic, and cultural issues in the world coupled with the inaction (by many countries; not just big, bad USA) we have been observing for the last decade or so, I feel the latter is what the US government will ultimately decide to do.
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    May 15, 2013 7:15 PM GMT
    Yeah, I suppose Obama has a plan to adapt many of the major cities of the world to being partially under water. Venice anyone?

    I could be fun, yellow gondolas instead of taxis in New York.
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    May 15, 2013 7:18 PM GMT
    alexander7 saidYeah, I suppose Obama has a plan to adapt many of the major cities of the world to being partially under water. Venice anyone?

    I could be fun, yellow gondolas instead of taxis in New York.


    It's inevitable.
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    May 15, 2013 7:47 PM GMT
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    May 15, 2013 7:54 PM GMT
    There was an article several years ago stating the OCEANS were far more "the lungs of the planet" than the forests as far as CO2 sequestering was concerned...
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    May 16, 2013 2:45 AM GMT
    Outlands saidThere was an article several years ago stating the OCEANS were far more "the lungs of the planet" than the forests as far as CO2 sequestering was concerned...


    This is true. If memory serves correctly, it's partly because of the algae and partly because CO2 is somewhat soluble in water, which is why the oceans are becoming more acidic.

    HottJoe said
    alexander7 saidYeah, I suppose Obama has a plan to adapt many of the major cities of the world to being partially under water. Venice anyone?

    I could be fun, yellow gondolas instead of taxis in New York.


    It's inevitable.


    Unfortunately, I agree. It's a global problem, and the economic and political will just isn't there on a global scale.
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    May 17, 2013 5:01 PM GMT
    chlorofluorocarbons have a much larger impact on the environment than CO2 does.