The sky IS falling

A timely perspective article in Science this week addresses the issues of upper atmosphere change. ‘Upper’ atmosphere here is the stratosphere up to the ionosphere (~20 to 300 km). Laštovička et al point out that cooling trends are exactly as predicted by increasing greenhouse gas trends, and that the increase in density that this implies is causing various ionspheric layers to ‘fall’. This was highlighted a few years back by Jarvis et al (1998) and in New Scientist in 1999 (and I apologise for stealing their headline!).

The changes in the figure are related to the cooling seen in the lower stratospheric MSU-4 records (UAH or RSS), but the changes there (~ 15-20 km) are predominantly due to ozone depletion. The higher up one goes, the more important the CO2 related cooling is. It’s interesting to note that significant solar forcing would have exactly the opposite effect (it would cause a warming) – yet another reason to doubt that solar forcing is a significant factor in recent decades.

Update: The best explanation for the cooling trends can be found on ESPERE (alternative site), in particular, figure 3 (alt. version).

82 comments on this post.
  1. L. David Cooke:

    RE: #49

    Hey Ike;

    Take a look at the latest data in regards to the atmospheric water vapor in the vacinity of upper atmospheric Cirrus clouds that was published today. There is significant evidence of intrusion of warmer Stratosphere temperatures into the Troposphere during Cyclonic events and the inverse during Anti-cyclonic events which can be observered on the University of Colarado Lidar array. (And correlationg evidence from the CloudSat/Calipso A-Team devices.) Also, you might want to review the latest data regarding the apparent water vapor heat release over the Pacific article that came out the 20th of Nov. The evidence is clearly still in the hopper and you are correct it may be prudent to be more careful of what is asserted until all the data is in.

    Re: #50

    Hey Hank;

    Yes, you are correct the efficency of CFL (Comapct Florescent Lamps) may be slightly higher; however, the LED devices can be tuned in that the radiant divergence of the beam and being a point source provides a greater deal of flexability in the control of the diffusion of the light. The primary benefit is that they easily lend themselves to low voltage (hence, lower issue of bioharm or combustion) applications and through the use of inexpensive components, anyone can assemble their own solution to cover their individual needs.

    As you say I had used generalization, as most high efficiency systems are more complex, where the returned value for the investment usually cannot be justified by the average person. The best solution we can provide to the general public are ones that can be implemented by the average person.

    The more complex solutions can be reserved for corporations which generally have the technical capability on staff. The point being to move as much as you can towards the end goal. (Which most US citizens appear to have done within reason.) Now it is a matter of helping corporations make the move towards long standing infrastructure changes that also move them closer towards the end goal. (Many companies have made investments over the last 10 years that should have a life expectancy of 20 or more years. Allowing them to write off the costs early, if they implement a “greener” solution, would be a major step towards improving this situation.)

    So enough said on matters of renewables or alternatives, agreed?

    I have to say that the “Head in Clouds” articles are appearing to attract some interest. It’s too bad that there is not the historic background as could be found here or in the UKweatherworld, Science Digest, Science Daily or Live Science sites. Given time….

    Dave Cooke

  2. James:

    Re #48: I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make about landscape & similar lighting. It’s not so much the absolute amount of energy, but the cultural attitudes revealed: that it’s OK to throw away energy on something that not only provides no discernable benefit most of the time (except as an enhancement to the ego of the homeowner), but which is (as you mentioned) an annoyance to those neighbors who’d rather enjoy the night for its darkness.

  3. L. David Cooke:

    RE: #49

    Hey Ike;

    My apologies, the article URLs should be:

    And here is a little older link that seems to play in this as well:

    Dave Cooke

  4. Ike Solem:

    You say, “You have to keep in mind when I started getting involved in 2001 no one was considering water vapor to be a player in the GHG equation”

    That is one of the most absurd comments I’ve ever heard on this site. People were considering that what? 100 years ago? Of course, the polite thing is to say – ‘you’re highly mistaken on that one’ – so I’ll leave it at that.

    Let’s return to the orginal topic of “the sky is falling”; here’s a quote from the orginally cited perspective:

    “The increase in global surface air temperature during the 20th century has been attributed mainly to the increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. In the upper atmosphere, the radiative effects of greenhouse gases, particularly CO2, become more pronounced and produce a cooling rather than a warming effect. This effect is demonstrated by the CO2-dominated atmosphere of Venus, where the troposphere is more than twice as warm as Earth’s and the thermosphere is 4 to 5 times as cold. The cooling should cause the upper atmosphere to contract; we may thus expect a substantial decline in thermospheric density, as well as a downward displacement of ionospheric layers.”

    That’s the basic topic; the question then is whether or not this is happening on Earth. Again, from the link:

    “Thermal contraction of the upper atmosphere should result in a downward displacement of ionospheric layers. LaÅ¡toviÄ�ka and Bremer reviewed long-term trends in the lower ionosphere and found a positive trend in electron density at fixed heights, consistent with downward displacement. The maximum electron density of the E-layer and the F1- layer increased slightly (see the figure), and the height of the electron density maximum of the E-region decreased slightly, in qualitative agreement with model predictions. These ionospheric trends accelerated after 1980, providing support for their anthropogenic origin.

    The trends described above form a consistent pattern of global change in the upper atmosphere at heights above 50 km (see arrows in the figure). The upper atmosphere is generally cooling and contracting, and related changes in chemical composition are affecting the ionosphere. The dominant driver of these trends is increasing greenhouse forcing, although there may be contributions from anthropogenic changes of the ozone layer and long-term increase of geomagnetic activity throughout the 20th century. Thus, the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases influence the atmosphere at nearly all altitudes between ground and space, affecting not only life on the surface but also the spacebased technological systems on which we increasingly rely.”

    Thus, this whole topic provides yet another line of evidence that human-generated greenhouse gases are causing global warming. The only solution is to stop using fossil fuels and to replace them with wind, solar and sustainable (meaning minimal-fossil fuel input) biofuel technology, which is both economically and technologically feasible. (as well as energy conservation and reforestation strategies)

    Trying to inject disinformation into the discussion – well, that’s been going on ever since climate scientists first said, “Ah – hey everyone – we’ve got a problem here.”

  5. L. David Cooke:

    RE: #54

    Hey Ike;

    As to my comment regarding the water vapor, the point was that the popular press and the IPCC both did not address this at all until late 2003. Matter of fact, the IPCC did not seem to place much thought to the participation of water vapor until NASA-Colorado State paper regarding the SAGE II/III and Indoex studies. It appeared that the there were several studies done in the 1989 through 2000 time frame regarding water vapor which seemed to have been discarded.

    That the DOE supported, site, started expanding the downwelling pyrometer locations and increasing both the bandwidth and the frequency discrimination in the last 2 years have been very welcome additions. Adding in the Western Pacific sites in the last two years providing for providing ITCZ measurements is also a welcome event. When coupled with the recent NOAA and the NASA systems such as the IMaRS, EOS/POES, TRMM, AQUA/SeaWiFS, CloudSat, CERN’s CLOUD, and the 2006 NAMMA study a lot of recent new data is being added for improving the models of not only in regards to Huricane theory; but, even seem to be participating in the discussion regarding CC. So I reassert that yes the work into the participation of Water Vapor and Aerosols are just beginning.

    I have to say that the references to the E and F1 layer appears to be in question. The normal atmospheric skip radius at the lower RF frequencies would have diminished if there had been a lowering of these ionic bands, as the radiant reflective angles would have been sharper. This phenomenon has not been demonstrated to my knowledge. There appears to have been some decrease in the radius at the higher frequencies. This would seem to indicate some reduction in the height of the F2 layer; however, that has not appeared to have been significant according to QRP work I have seen.

    If the electron density has increased there should be a remarkable obserable extension of the normal summer EMI at the lower frequencies which also has not been noted, to my knowedge. So far I have not seen any reports coming out of the AARL indicating either of these occurrances. Do you have significant long term proof that decouples the electron density and the depressed ionspheric layer height changes from both daily, seasonal and Sunspot cycle ionic layer activity?

    As for bring Venus into this discussion, there is no basis unless you want to start talking about flooding the Stratosphere with Sulfuric Oxides. (As you know this idea has been proposed as a possible means of “shading” the earth as the CO2 levels continue to increase.) However, if you want to discuss the data that is being collected at the NCAR Lidar sites or by the CloudSat/Calipso devices, I would welcome this very much. The new data coming in has been difficult for a simple layman like me to completely grasp; however, it looks like there are some interesting new phenomena being discovered.

    Specifically Ike, injecting disinformation is not my intention. However, it has been indicated by by some that they have intentionally inflated the immediancy of action needed to be taken to avert a possible disaster in the hopes of pushing for a political solution of what is in by all evidence, IMHO, a technical problem. The problem any reasonable person has with the cries “The Sky is Falling” is that the inflation of claims comes at a time in which it is clear that activity regarding collecting and reviewing data is clearly evident and increasing. In the meantime, any reasonable action to reduce the use of combustion as the primary source of infrastructure energy would be an excellent idea. I have been contributing my talents towards reducing the “anthropogenic footprint” for over 35 years.

    Dave Cooke

  6. Hank Roberts:

    > IPCC … did not address [water vapor] until 2003

    What is your source for this belief? It’s so easy to prove wrong — paste it into Google and read the results. This is by no means the earliest date for an IPCC article, just the easiest to show.

    “Trust, but verify” –R. Reagan.

    … a basic description of the scientific understanding of the roles water vapor plays in the climate system.
    Houghton, J.T., G.J. Jenkins, and J.J. Ephraums (Eds.),
    Climate Change: The IPCC Scientific Assessment, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, U.K. Meteorological Office, Bracknell, England, 1990.

  7. Eli Rabett:

    With regard to when climate scientists talked about water vapor being an important greenhouse gas, loo at which references the 1978 calculation of Ramanathan and Coakley.

  8. L. David Cooke:

    RE: #56

    Hey Hank;

    I looked at the original charts in the IPCC 2001 report and I did not see water vapor or clouds included in the forcing or feedback contribution charts. Have you a reference for the original charts that defines the participation of either of these variables? Subsequent IPCC charts have included these variables; however, I did not see one posted until 2003, am I mistaken in this?

    Dave Cooke

  9. L. David Cooke:

    RE: #57

    Hey Eli;

    Based on what I could see the first true reference to cloud or water vapor participation in climate change was probably Arking et al 1991. Granted Ramanathan Coakley 1978 talked about the adiabatic process it did not appear to me that the body of the work was focused on Climate Change, it’s cause and mechanics.

    There was another study some time in 1980. However, most of the work, between 1989 and 2001, did not seem to be considered by the IPCC in the 2001 report. Matter of fact, when I started searching in 2001 I could not find any references that pointed to CC and water vapor participation. It did not appear until 2003 that earlier works began to become available for review by the general public.

    So if I misspoke, I will rephrase what I said in that there did not appear to be publicly available studies regarding Water Vapor CC participation until about 2003. There appeared that a majority of papers covering Water Vapor and Climate Change were not considered by the IPCC in 2001. Matter of fact, It did not seem to be available until around 2003. (I had missed the earlier works that addressed my concerns as I had not known that these studies even existed until you suggested the research of the Ramanathan and Coakley 1978 work. For that my thanks!)

    Dave Cooke

  10. Hank Roberts:

    Water vapor feedback and global warming

    IM Held, BJ Soden – Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 2000 –
    … Earth’s climate was under serious consideration, with both S Arrhenius (10) and
    TC Chamberlin (11) clearly recognizing the central importance of water vapor …

    Start with Arrhenius and work forward in the literature.

  11. William Astley:

    “… point out that cooling trends are exactly as predicted by increasing greenhouse gas trends,… It is interesting to note that significant solar forcing would have exactly the opposite effect(it would cause warming)” (of the upper atmosphere)

    Caution, before going out to buy some bubbly to celebrate the definitive proof that periodic solar variance is not a first order macroclimate forcing factor and that CO2 is the meanest biggest macroclimate forcing function of them all, it might be prudent to consider the facts and formal vetted analysis, as opposed to this comment from a possibly biased perspective.

    Recent vetted analysis supports the proposition that solar variance is a first order macroclimate driving function, which is under estimated in the standard climate modelling programs.

    From the paper by Scafetta and West, “Phenomenological solar contribution to the 1900 – 2000 global warming, published March 2006”

    Comment: Scaffetta and West used an analysis methodology that is model independent. A model independent analysis is useful in determining errors in basic model parameters. (Their method determines if the relative magnitude of different forcing factors is under or over estimated.)

    “We estimate that the sun contibruted as much as 45-50% of the 1900-2000 global warming, and 25-35% of the 1980-2000 global warming. These results, while confirming that anthropogenic-added climate forcing might have progressively played a dominant role in climate change during the last century, also suggested that the solar impact on climate change during the same period is signficantly stronger than what some theoretical models have predicted.”

    “The impact of solar variation on climate seems significantly stronger than predicted by some energy balance models. For example… estimate that the solar forcing might have approximately contributed 0.035C to 0.2C(1900-2000) which is two to ten times lower than what we have found.”

    From a second Scafetta and West Paper:

    “In any case, as some authors have already noted, Douglas and Clader, 2003, Scafetta and West, 2005, 2006) solar change effects are greater than what can be explained by several climate models (Stevens and North, 1996; IPCC 2001; Hansen et al, 2002; Foukal et al, 2004) For example, Douglas and Cader 2003; Scafetta and West 2006, found that the amplitude of the 11-year solar signature on the temperature record seems to be 3 times larger than theoretical predictions, and similar or larger factors are likely to persist at lower frequencies as well.”

    “Most of the sun-climate coupling mechanisms are probably still unknown. However, they should be incorporated into the climate models to better understand the real impact of the sun on climate because they might strongly amplify the effects of small solar increases.”

    The amplification factors would of course also amplify large reductions in solar activity, which is important, for those who are concerned about the possibility of sudden, sever and rapid global cooling.

  12. William Astley:

    Re: Further to my comment 61 that quoted Scafetta and West’s 2006 paper which provided support for the statement that: Increased solar activity may have been responsible for 45-50% of global warming 1900-2000 and may have been responsible for 25-35% of the 1980-2000 global warming.

    Scafetta and West’s 2006 paper noted that if their conclusions are correct, then the climatic effects of solar variance are currently under estimated in the climate models.

    Is it possible that there could be global cooling when the sun’s current cycle of high activity is complete?

    From Solanki, Usokin, Kromer, Shussler, and Beer’s, 2004 paper “Unusual activity of the Sun during recent decades compared to the previous 11,000 years”

    “According to our reconstruction, the level of solar activity during the last 70 years is exceptional, and the previous period of equally high activity occurred more than 8000 years ago. We find during the past 11,400 years the Sun spent only of the order of 10% of the time at a similar high level of magnetic activity and almost all of the earlier high-activity periods were shorter than the present episode.”

    and so I will not be accused of cherry picking from the same paper “… we (Solanki et al.) point out that solar variability is unlikely to have been the dominate cause of the strong warming during the past three decades (3).” (3) is a reference to Solanki’s 2003 paper “Can solar variability explain global warming since 1970?” Solanki’s conclusion is no, however, if Scafetta and West’s conclusion is correct, Solanki under estimates the solar variability forcing function.

  13. Grant:

    Re: #61

    Caution: before declaring that solar forcing is dramatically underestimated based on the publications of Scaffetta & West, it might be prudent to evaluate more critically the legitimacy of their methodology and conclusions.

    These were discussed at length in a previous post:

  14. William Astley:

    In reply to comment 61:
    “Caution: before declaring that solar forcing is dramatically underestimated based on the publications of Scaffetta & West, it might be prudent to evaluate more critically the legitimacy of their methodology and conclusions. These were discussed at length in a previous post:

    The author of the paper I quoted in my comment 61 “Scaffeta” replies directly and extensively to Rasmus’ criticism. Please see Scaffeta’s reply for your self, in the Real Climate section which is linked above, and then decide for your self as to whether Scaffeta’s methodology and selected time period is valid.


    [Response: Please keep repeat cut and pastes to a minimum. -gavin]

  15. L. David Cooke:

    RE: #48

    Hey All;

    James, specifically I wanted to correct my estimate for the resitor value for the LED light source. To keep the current and wattage low enough to be readily available you would want to use a value of approxiately 23,000 ohms and 1 watt. The estimate of the 470 ohm would require about a 50 watt resistor.

    My error I did not consider the load resistors series voltage drop of 115 pulsating VDC from a full wave bridge. At a pulsating 60 VDC from a half wave bridge you might be able to run with about a 12000 ohm resistor at 1 watt.

    If you employed a power transformer that dropped the voltage with a ratio of 10:1 you could get away with a 150 ohm 1/2 watt resistor on average. However you would have a waste of energy in the transformer that would reduce the over all efficiency.

    My appologies to all!

    Dave Cooke

  16. CapitalistImperialistPig:

    I think Uherik’s “simple explanation” is incorrect. In particular, the sentence: “If this [CO2 in the troposphere] absorption is really strong, the greenhouse gas blocks most of the outgoing infra-red radiation close to the Earth’s surface” looks bogus. At the center of the 670 cm^(-1) CO2 band there is no net transport of radiation into the stratosphere, as figure 3 clearly indicate, not be cause the thermal radiation is “trapped below” but because there is as much downwelling radiation as upwelling. The net result is that transport of thermal radiation from the troposphere neither heats nor cools in the CO2 band. The stratospheric cooling due to excess CO2 is almost entirely because the extra CO2 in the stratosphere makes it a better radiator.

    More detail at my site

  17. David Kidd:

    An “Independent” of Ausralias “Big Media” news site ( has this readers contribution today I have Pasted it across for your information and comment perhaps. the professor works at the University of Newcastle School of Social Sciences and is an expert in tourism. MLC indicates he is a Member of the Legislative Council of the state of New South Wales Known in some political circles as a “Losers Lounge” I know you have probably dealt with these issues before but I find it difficult to quickly put together a coherent rebuttal. Many Australians would disagree with Professor Jenkins and have adopted Flannery – Gore sympathies. Our government seems to be totally in the grip of the Coal lobby NSW MLC Prof Jon Jenkins writes: Re. “Legal action on climate change — let the lawsuits begin” (yesterday, item 11). Our resident “world is going to end” McHugh gets it wrong again when he says: “There are two questions: first, can specific, damaging events reasonably be tied to human-induced climate change, and; second, can the proportion of total global emissions over which the respondent has control (in this case around 6%) be reasonably expected to significantly impact on such events?” There are actually three questions: Is climate change actually happening, if so has it caused any damage and are human emissions of CO2 the cause? On the first question the answer is probably yes, the overall global temp appears to have risen about 0.5C and the oceans about 10mm over the past century. As to the second the answer is probably no specifically referring to hurricane activity mentioned by McHugh the actual frequency of severe hurricanes is less now than it has been in the past: Only 4 “highest category” storms have occurred in the last 10 years! This is as expected as there have been 67 category 3+ storms in the 155 years since 1850, you would expect ~4.3/decade. Also of the 18 category 4 storms to hit the US since 1850 only one has hit in the last 30 years, which is actually less than probability predicts (at least three should have). This year not a single storm hit the US anywhere! What was that about more severe storms again? As to the final question: In the 2003/4 survey conducted of the world’s top 600 climatologists, Professor Dennis Bray of the German Institute for Coastal Research found the following: Less than 1 in 10 (9.67%) of the world’s top climatologists strongly agreed that the recent warming was caused by human activity. This is confirmed in the most recent survey of the scientific literature in 2005 by Prof. Benny Peiser of Liverpool’s John Moores University who analysed the same set of 1,000 documents [cited by Naomi Oreskes and Gore] — and concluded that: “only one-third backed the consensus view, while only 1% did so explicitly.” Sounds like an open and shut case to me!

  18. Hank Roberts:

    The Arctic polar vortex exhibited widespread regions of low temperatures during the winter of 2005, resulting in significant ozone depletion by chlorine and bromine species. We show that chemical loss of column ozone (�O3) and the volume of Arctic vortex air cold enough to support the existence of polar stratospheric clouds (VPSC) both exceed levels found for any other Arctic winter during the past 40 years.

    Cold conditions and ozone loss in the lowermost Arctic stratosphere (e.g., between potential temperatures of 360 to 400 K) were particularly unusual compared to previous years. Measurements indicate �O3 = 121 ± 20 DU and that �O3 versus VPSC lies along an extension of the compact, near linear relation observed for previous Arctic winters.

    The maximum value of VPSC during five to ten year intervals exhibits a steady, monotonic increase over the past four decades, indicating that the coldest Arctic winters have become significantly colder, and hence are more conducive to ozone depletion by anthropogenic halogens.

  19. Hank Roberts:

    David Kidd, Peiser retracted nine months ago. Check your source.
    “Trust, but verify.” — R. Reagan.

  20. John L. McCormick:

    RE # 68

    Hank, You might be interested to read the link below which references the 2006 Antarctic ozone hole exhibiting some of the strongest stratospheric ozone depletion seen in recent years. Ozone amounts in the depletion layer are the lowest seen in the 21 year record of ozone profile measurements at the South Pole.

    There appears to be new interest in the Antarctic polar vortex tightening and pulling the jet stream poleward and thus affecting South Australia percip patterns.

    Anything to add? I would like to post more on the matter, soon.

  21. John L. McCormick:

    RE # 70

    Hank, if you access the link I posted, scroll down the page a bit. The article I mentioned is far below the top of that web page.

  22. Hank Roberts:

    This may suggests a argument against the “solar sunshade” engineering approach — we rely on solar UV to restore the ozone layer. We’re already expecting a low intensity solar cycle this time around (not referring to the ‘Russian Astronomer’ prediction of longterm cooling, but to the solar observatories’ predictions for the next 11-year sunspot cycle just starting now).

    I also wonder if this suggests anything to the people estimating the sensitivity of the response to doubling CO2 — since prior climate events didn’t include ozone catalysts.

    But I’m just puzzling over it, I have no expertise in any of this.

  23. John L. McCormick:

    RE # 72

    Hank, in the interest of luring other curious and knowing RC visitors to this topic of cooling upper stratosphere and wider ozone hole above the Antarctic, I offer this next link to:

    Can Ozone Depletion and Global Warming Interact to Produce Rapid Climate Change?

  24. Hank Roberts:

    David Kidd, are you checking your sources? You can.

    Bray’s survey was supposed to be emailed only to his scientist list, but the reply password got distributed on the climateskeptics mailing list. Bray doesn’t know who answered his survey. And even so, the results aren’t as you believe. Look at them:
    Comment at

    Where did you find the misstatement about Bray that you quoted above?

  25. Hank Roberts:

    Hmmm: New prediction, quite different than earlier this month.

    Scientists Predict Big Solar Cycle, VA – 4 hours ago
    … a physics-based prediction of the next solar cycle. …

    Solar Opposites: Forecasts for Sun’s Activity Disagree Wildly – Dec 18, 2006
    …the 12-person Solar Cycle 24 Prediction Panel– the upcoming sunspot cycle, the 24th since accurate records have been …

  26. Allan Yeomans:

    Yes….I think there is an easy to understand explanation for upper air cooling. The following is an extract from a new entry GLOBAL WARMING CAUSING VIOLENT HURRICANES. going on our website in January 2007. The actual website shows how we totally end global warming and still keep our cars and our standard of living.

    —To understand how global warming affects these phenomena we need a little poetic licence.

    Because the incoming sunlight is, for intents and purposes, unaffected by the atmosphere through which it passes, we can consider it simply as an independet heating process. We can thus visual it as a big electric blanket covering the ground surface. This then represents our solar energy input.

    The carbon dioxide, because it partially blankets off the infrared heat coming off the ground (our electric blanket)we will picture as a couple of woolen blankets, one near the ground and the other a bit above it. Now the lower blanket will be warm but will still receive some heat that manages to pass through the lower blanket. It’s not warm but it will have some warmth.

    Now spread an extra couple of blankets between our first two. These extra blankets represent the extra carbon dioxide we have been adding to the atmosphere for the last several decades.

    Now two things happen. The ground itself and the balnkets near the ground will get much hotter. However, the upper blanket we first put in place now has two new blankets insulating it from the warmth from the ground and our electric blanket. It will be cold.

    That’s exactly what is happening to our atmosphere. Ground temperatures and temperatures in the lower atmosphere have risen by just under one degree Celsius as a direct result of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. This is now generally acknowledged and openly discussed. But what nobody talks about, what few people are aware of, and even those that are are loathe to acknowledge, is the complementary reduction in temperatures at high and very high altitudes. Our very chilled upper blanket. In the Earth’s upper atmosphere temperatures have dropped alarmingly. At some heights average air temperatures have been dropping as much as a full 10 degrees Celsius, that’s 18 degrees Farenheit, every decade. (See Science The journal of the American Society for the Advancement of Science. Vol 314 of November 2006) —-

    The rest of the new entry at our website discussing the increased intensity that results form the exaggerated temperature gradients. Effects familiar to all glider pilots and any meteorologists worth his salt. Allan Yeomans

  27. Hank Roberts:

    Allan, needs editing;

    E.g from above, you wrote gave a link to your pages discussing:

    “… increased intensity that results form the exaggerated temperature gradients”

    — you probably wanted either “forms” or “from” there, I can’t tell which, for sense.

    and skimming from your website:

    “5 Remove all restrictions on land, clearing especially where soil fertility enhancement sequest more carbon than held in the original trees….”

    — can’t tell what “sequest” means, curious how success is defined and proven before ageeing to log anything I’m responsible for — trees don’t stop growing just because they’re ‘mature’ and I don’t think ‘useless’ describes a mature forest. A mature tree farm acreage, probably, I’d agree with you.

    Deep plowing, which I guess is your family’s longtime business, does make sense — I understand it as plowing without overturning the top surface? That is an interesting tool. I’d like to see serious attention to proving ways of recovering organic matter in the soils; nobody who hasn’t seen an undamaged soil can even imagine how thick and complicated and bouncy it is. So I like your ideas and will go back and look for research.

    Apropos of cites — I didn’t find the Science article you meant to cite, it’s a weekly so there would be four November 2006 issues, do you have a page number range, author and title?

  28. Allan Yeomans:

    For Hank Roberts

    Thanks for the note. Yes it should be “from”.
    “Sequester” is the usual but I have seen “sequest” used several times as the verb.
    The refrence is Science Vol 314 24 November 2006 page 1253. “The Sky is Falling In” is using the same reference. I also have a very old reference – maybe ten years old – but I ‘m still looking for it. I think it’s from a University or research station in Colorado.
    I think the Science one is the best.

  29. Allan Yeomans:

    Hank Roberts – on another point you mentioned

    I like FOREST SOILS AND NUTRIENT CYCLES Attiwill and Leeper. Melbourne University Press. It’s an excellent book on forest growth patterns. Geoffrey Leeper was Professor of Agricultural Chemistry at the University of Melbourne. They show that in a mature forest the net annual primary production (NPP) falls to zero. Green movements, environmental movements and oil interests insist as policy that the forest must never be harvested. It’s notable that if the timber was used then NPP would be positive.

    Growth in a mature forest is mainly in the leaves and foliage which are constantly being shed. Also trees die and new ones grow. But as a meaningful carbon sink, these forests are full. If carbon continued to accumulate in old growth forests, as some like to pretend, then where is the carbon that has been accumulating for the last few thousand years? No coal seams are being formed and forest litter is never ever more than a few inches deep. Thus, as a system to lower atmospheric carbon dioxide levels the forest is indeed, useless.

    Considering global warming, the mature forest, apart from just being an expensive and completely full carbon repository, it is actually a significant contributor to global warming. The rotting litter produces methane gas which is twenty times more potent a greenhouse gas as is CO2. The net effect is that a mature forest, such as those filling the Amazon Basin, is in effect in the constant process of converting harmful carbon dioxide into the much more harmful and dangerous gas, methane.

    I believe the best thing to do now with “threatened tropical rain forests” is to harvest all their timber, then clear the land, then grow organic sugarcane for ethanol production. And phase out oil. We should do this before the rain stops falling and the forests dry out and burn.

    We should be worrying about the entire Earth’s biosphere, not some supposedly rare swamp frogs or some blood sucking beetles living under rotting logs. Allan Yeomans

  30. Barton Paul Levenson:

    Re “I believe the best thing to do now with “threatened tropical rain forests” is to harvest all their timber, then clear the land, then grow organic sugarcane for ethanol production.”

    I can’t tell if this is meant as a parody or if you’re really serious about this. If the latter, I can only hope someone stops you before your ideas catch on.

  31. Hank Roberts:

    “God speed the plow…. By this wonderful provision, which is only man’s mastery over nature, the clouds are dispensing copious rains … [the plow] is the instrument which separates civilization from savagery; and converts a desert into a farm or garden…. To be more concise, Rain follows the plow.” — Charles Dana Wilber

  32. Allan Yeomans:

    In answer to Barton Paul Levenson’s objections.

    I believe global warming is the only really significant threat to the biodiversity on this planet. It is already destabilizing the entire biosphere.

    The Amazon Basin now experiences regular drought. The fires in Borneo show what happens when it stops raining in a rainforest..

    About half of Amazonia, planted to sugar cane and palm oil, would fuel all the America’s. We can keep the rest as a park. This way, at least we get to keep something that has a real chance of surviving. So, before it’s too late, I believe every log of wood and every stick of timber we should use. We should make into something we need. Or else we should just burn it for fuel. Either way, it is replacing fossil carbon products and that keeps the biosphere’s total carbon content down.

    You don’t agree? Then you must have more information than I have, and have thought it through very thoroughly. I do concede it is often extremely difficult not to embrace PR indoctrinations.

    I would most definitely appreciate access to any factual sources you have that support your objections. Allan Yeomans