Feeds

back to article Global warming dirt-carbon peril models are wrong, say boffins

The world may not be doomed after all, according to top American dirt scientists. Soil-dwelling microbes, expected in climate models to go into CO2-spewing "overdrive" as the world warms, refused to do so in experiments. Researchers started a greenhouse warming experiment in Alaska's boreal forest in 2005. Credit: Steven D …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Happy

There's alwas the possibility....

While we humans are very good at trying our damdest to bugger-up the ecology of this planet, whether it be poisoning the sees (not that it matters any more because we've dragged out and and/or killed anything and everything that actually lived in there), raping the rain forests, over-farming fragile local ecologies and turning them to desert, throwing toxic waste all over the place, and pouring oil into the sea, etc etc, it might just be that the planet is actually more robust when it comes to the climate. Could it be that if it wasn't, then we probably wouldn't be here in the first place?

Oh, hang on - where's the tax revenue opportunities with that way of thinking?

10
5

Re: There's alwas the possibility....

>>Could it be that if it wasn't, then we probably wouldn't be here in the first place?

Good (and oft' posed) question, while there's obviously no actual answer for this question, you must take two things into account when considering the possiblities;

1. Some species have died out

2. As the population and useof resources increase we have a greater impact on the environment.

Number 1 is often dismissed as, "Well dinosaurs could hardly be in control of their fate, could they?" meaning that they couldn't have protected themselves from environmental issues as they had no control of their environment, while this is true, does this mean we do? and if we do have control of the environment (make it better) then we obviously can make it worse.

Number 2 is the big unknown that people fuss about, while it's almost predictable that every few months somebody will come of with [yet] another fact that may affect the environment and turns out to have a minor (or no) effect, this is because, yes the world won't jump two degrees if you buy strawberries that were grown in a heated glasshouse, it's the cumulative effect that we just can't predict, but it's just common sense to do something that has less impact on the environment (no matter how minor).

0
0
Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

Damn! another thermogeddon theory gone

if this keeps up, the next ice age will be here later than expected in 1970. Larry Nivens story "Fallen Angels" might be closer to reality than first thought.

Paris because she is a more reliable model

2
2

That sounded...

Too much like you're interested in science - prepare to be turned in to the authorities, you enemy of nature!

Good book that - though of course I read it, many years ago, on my palm pilot rather than on paper.

ttfn

0
0
Megaphone

So where's the big conspiracy then?

Here you go. US Government funded research and the results for this one particular experiment show results that show one particular aspect of climate change isn't as bad as was feared.

Is it covered up? Are the scientists being condemned by global warming jihadists? No. It's science. They did research and published the results. I'm sure they're not in fear of their jobs for publishing this and I'm sure there wasn't political pressure to make their results fit in better with the big picture.

Perhaps you shouldn't just assume there's a huge conspiracy of climate change people wanting to hide the evidence that it's all a load of crap. Maybe, just maybe, the 90+% of scientists who think we should be worried about it are actually right.

Jolyon (waiting for those thumbs-downs from the clarksontards)

23
13

Science, for a change

But its fair to say that the majority of science reports that are published in the mainstream media are heavily biased, regardless of subject. Even if global warming is of purely human origin, most of the research I have seen only covers a miniscule area/ test sample, and then expanded to predict global meltdown next year. The sad fact is that very few scientists are truly unbiased, and try to make fact fit their beliefs. This works for both the pro-global warming and naysayer camps. People get pissed off when they see half-baked research, or misquoted research, used to fit personal belief rather than accurate science.

The first piece I saw on it was back in the 80's, and it confidently predicted that by the turn of the millenium the UK would be reduced by a few small islands made from Snowdonia, the Penines and the Scottish Highlands.

2
0
Troll

90%

Really? Did it take long to ask ever scientist? or is that 90% just a figure pulled out your ear.

Or by the brackets comment are you just trolling?

2
2
Gold badge

Doesn't need to be a conspiracy.

Seen stuff like this before. It will be published. People will talk about it a bit. It will be forgetten. Chances are that there _might_ be similar follow-up reasearch somewhere, but probably not. I'm not suggesting that there is a conspiracy, or trying to work out the reason why things have happened the way they have, I'm just remembering what I've seen.

The overwhelming opinion that I form is that the climate change models have a number of inconsistancies in them (the model says one thing, but reasearch papers say another). We really don't know that much about how the climate works. Also what the climate is doing now, it has done cyclicly several times in the past, long before man's industrial or automobile revolutions.

As for Clarkson, he is humerous to watch occasionally, just like squirals that eat fermented fruit.

3
1
Silver badge
Boffin

Warning - irrational thinker alert...

"...Perhaps you shouldn't just assume there's a huge conspiracy of climate change people wanting to hide the evidence that it's all a load of crap. Maybe, just maybe, the 90+% of scientists who think we should be worried about it are actually right."

Perhaps you shouldn't just assume that 90% of scientists think there's a problem any more. As new evidence like this comes in, and as the original 'evidence' in the IPCC report is comprehensively trashed, proper scientists change their minds.

Activists, who are also the ones who started this whole crazy claim that truth depends on the numbers of signatures you can get on a petition, tend not to change their minds when presented with contrary evidence.

I wonder which one you are?

6
5
Stop

unfortunately

this is just yet another in the "show one side of the story" elreg science report. Nothing wrong with this article, but you never see any articles on here showing the other side.

1
2
Thumb Up

Good Point :-)

Agreed Jolyon.

Also - I was under the impression that the Reg (or some of it's journos) thought that *all* these computer models were not trustworthy or meaningful and require plenty of FUD layered onto them.

e.g. The recent article on the Volcanic Ash and the Met office.

This new model/research is apparently trustworthy AND meaningful.

It seems to me as though it matters which way the evidence points round here as to which science stories get positive or negative commentary.

In order to get more balance and seem less partisan, I'd like to see the Reg use a respected and authoritative source/journalist/scientist to help them them with some real expertise on their coverage of climate related stories.

What do others think?

Steve.

4
1

Cover up?

Well, the proof is in the pudding. What really matters is that this work and its effects on the science are openly discussed in the next IPCC report. We'll have to wait and see, but I'm not holding my breath.

Unfortunately the IPCC reviewers appear to have a tendancy to sideline anything that dilutes their climate change message and replace it with some alarmist nonsense about glaciers.

1
1
Joke

well, to be fair

To be fair, the research hasn't been published yet. Let's see what happens a week in!

0
1
Bod
Bronze badge
Jobs Horns

90%

90% of statistics are made up 90% of the time.

iHate, because I'm sure Jobs is behind it all and he believes that Adobe is causing climate change and the only way to solve it is to rid the world of everything non-Apple and turn us all into polo-neck wearing eco-techno-hippies.

0
0

Red herring?

Not that I'm a believer in immediate and drastic climate change, but isn't this a bit of a red herring? If the locals are having trouble with the heat they'll either adapt or get replaced by heat tolerant Southerners or Lowlanders, depending on the spot, and it will be status quo again re carbon turnover.

Personally I reckon we could do with a few more degrees after the winter we've just had.

2
2
Anonymous Coward

Simple Conclusion

The only conclusion we can draw from this is that scientists actually know very little about the whole dynamic of CO2 induced climate change. And yet most of them (at least the scaremongering, politically motivated mob) present all their theories as hard fact. Of course even the bits the scientists admit they aren't sure about are presented by politicians and the media as had fact as long as they can be used to spread FUD.

So we now have a body in the UK responsible for statistics and they enthusistically brow beat politicians who misuse or misrepresent statistics. What we also need is a similar body which can call politicians to account for misusing or misrepresenting scientific research.

12
10

Slightly more complex conclusion...

Actually most of "them" present their findings with regard to anthropogenic climate change in terms of a balance of probabilities. This bit of research is good news, as far as it goes. However the balance of probability remains is that human activity is affecting the climate. Combine that with the precautionary principal and it is rather to early to say "Oh that's OK then we don't need to change the way we do business."

2
1

Hmm.

In all the forecasts I've read, 'just a few degrees' (assuming we're talking celsius here) of human caused warming is the _problem_, not the trigger for the problem. Any further warming caused by carbon being released from soil after that initial few degrees warming is more in the 'icing on the cake' column. 'Just a few degrees' of human-caused warming is liable to produce enough problems all on its own...

14
3
Anonymous Coward

You're missing the point

One of the problems the doom mongers have is that even their worst case theories can only come up with a change of a fraction of a degree over decades. It doesn't matter if you look at it from the point of view of their political masters taxing us for carbon usage or their own ongoing funding, nobody is really going to panic over half a degree over 50 years. However if they add in some positive feedback loops then they can claim a few degrees over the same period.

This latest research takes away one of their positive feedback loops and effectively reverses it. The fact that life has survived this long would suggest that there must be negative feedback loops in operation within the whole climate system otherwise once the temperature rose in the past it would have kept going up. It didn't it rose a bit then came back down. Take for example the period during the viking expansion known to some as the "little climactic optimum". During that period history tells us the weather was warmer to the extent that the coast of Greenland really was green. The extended period of warm weather greatly aided the Viking expansion. If the possibly discredited theory of increased soil enzyme activity were true then the temperature would have kept on going up and up back then, but it didn't.

4
3

Incorrect

The fear, and many of the predictions, is of a "tipping point" where the amount of CO2 we've added to the atmosphere causes heating that causes CO2 production by nature to increase, causing more heating, that causes CO2 production by nature to increase etc. etc. This is called runaway warming.

Knock on effects then include the salinity of the ocean being reduced due to ice melting, ice melting causing shifts in major currents like the gulf stream, increased water vapour accelerating heating, desertification changing weather patterns, extreme weather events, sea level rises and more. For this to be consistent with historical records, this would have to somehow lead to an ice-age (there are various ways to get there).

If increased warming due to increased anthropogenic CO2 emissions does not cause as much increase in CO2 production as predicted then the models are not correct even to within their error limits, and runaway warming is less likely. It's an interesting result.

2
1

Well, sure, but

Well sure, but we seem to be talking about different problems. As far as I know the whole 'runaway warming' concept has always been something of a supposition, and - as I said - the understanding I've got from casual reading on the topic is that mostly scientists are worried about the direct increase in warming caused by human activity. I didn't get the impression that, if there's no runaway warming, there's no problem.

0
0
Grenade

Quick !!!

somebody tell the goverment so they can hide it because it makes them look silly !!!

4
10

Money

Dunno about looking silly, but now there are carbon trading schemes in existence there's real money involved and lots of it. Carbon trading may or may not have been an ingenious way to create value out of something that had no intrinsic value, but if there is real money involved anyone on the receiving end is going to be vigourously defending it.

If we could convince enough people that there was value in used cigarette butts and chewed chewing gum, imagine how clean the streets would be.

1
0
WTF?

WHO CARES??

Humanity is doomed long term anyway.

You really think ANYTHING you say will stop humans from their pittifull, selfish, selfdestructive behaviour??

WRONG!!!

1
2

It does kind of make sense

Having organisms that keep their environment stable is an ideal way of surviving. If CO2 raises the global temperature, than why would an organism output more CO2 in a warmer climate? Cooking your environment is not a good to thrive.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Phew!

We can relax and let those farts out after all.

1
0
Thumb Up

Daisyworld

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daisyworld

http://library.thinkquest.org/C003763/flash/gaia1.htm

Which goes to show just how clever good old James Lovelock is.

Were seeing the same effect here - the soil is regulating itself

2
0
Big Brother

I agree... But that is not the point.

The global warming stuff IS an elite scam.

The trouble is they are being found out now, so there will have to be a war or a new disease release to ensure that total control continues to move in their direction.

0
0
jai
Silver badge

surprising...

must be quite a shock to all these scientists to discover that having been around for 4.5 billion years, the Earth's ecosystem is actually fully developed to cope with such changes and maintain it's balance which has kept all of us alive for the last few million years

2
2

Of course we won't know the real problem(s) until it happens.

Models are only so good and, almost by definition, cannot be as complex as the thing that are trying to model and, lets face it, the earth is a pretty complex object.

I hope my children (etc.) won't judge us too harshly.

ttfn

1
0

I hope that experiment's properly controlled.

There are a lot of other factors beside temperature that change inside a greenhouse. Off the top of my head: rainfall, humidity, wind speed, available nitrogen, UV exposure, light intensity / diffusion... It doesn't look like an awfully well controlled greenhouse to me.

1
1
Silver badge
Stop

Sorry to swim against this mass tide of skepicism....

....but I wonder if the scientists in question monitored CO2 levels inside the greenhouses? It seems to me that a closed environment like that would result in a rapid rise in CO2 to the level where soil microbes' metabolisms might slow down?

Just a thought, like. If the results are surprising, look at the method, first and foremost.

GJC

1
1
Happy

Re: Closed Environment

As they are simply using wood and polysheet (from picture and article), then you cannot create a fully "closed system"; ie - no air (N2, CO2, O2, trace gases, etc) in or out.

An actually, the whole point of having it with in the "greenhouse" is to ensure that CO2 is concentrated to the points that the models predict must occur to produce run-away warming.

So, although it is not a closed system, the whole point of the experiment was to see the results of the microbes metabolisms when the level of CO2 rose.

So, yes - your surmise here is exactly what the experimenters thought, and directly opposite of the expectations of this aspect of the climate models. Thank you. You are not swimming against it - you concisely expressed what the tide is trying to explain.

0
0
Silver badge

Imagine that. Yet another feedback mechanism

embedded in the web of factors that holds everything together. Who'd a thunk it?

Answer: At least 50% of commenters here at El Reg.

3
0
Thumb Down

Same old bias from el reg

You only ever seem to report on climate news that reinforces your predefined narrative. For example, I've yet to see any coverage on El Reg of this story:

Dr. Andrew Weaver, one of the most respected climate scientists in Canada and one of the best climate modellers in the world, has launched a libel suit against the National Post newspaper and its publisher, editors and three writers. The suit is for "a series of unjustified libels based on grossly irresponsible falsehoods that have gone viral on the Internet."

http://www.desmogblog.com/climate-scientist-sues-national-post

5
2
Silver badge

Iceland to the rescue!

If Eyjafjallajökull and Co. are anything like Tambora, we'll be looking for all the degrees we can get.

0
0

So if the earth warms by 5 degrees...

...we'll be just fine and dandy because these microbes won't cause the release of as much carbon as was originally thought??

0
0
Silver badge

Conclusion

From the abstract..

"We conclude that the soil-carbon response to climate warming depends on the efficiency of soil microbes in using carbon."

..and i'd advise reading some of the paper before going along with the, somewhat strained, conclusions of this article - or at least the apparent inferences made.

4
2
Dead Vulture

Please do not disturb the animals

Don't prod the nutjobs like that... they'll claw at you for having the temerity to exhibit some intelligence by not taking the idiotic ramblings of the Reg at face value and looking at the source.

0
0
Gold badge
Thumb Up

Tricky stuff this proper science

Takes time.

Needs careful evaluation.

So it seems *another* assumption that *all* these models seem to rely on is not quite as the developers *assume*

What should make *any* one livid is *not* that a fairly small group of scientists have scared *millions* out of governments promoting their doom watch agenda or that government plan to collect *billions* to "fix" the problem.

It's that they didn't run these sorts of apparently elementary tests to anchor the models *first*.

Thumbs up for some proper science conducted in a hysteria free way.

3
2
Anonymous Coward

A bit of good news.

Hope it extrapolates across other CO2 producing species.

Hmmm, so far, one sensible comment and a whole bunch of clueless, wannabe-politicians. What a surprise.

1
1

Computer models << Reality

It's impossible to *reliably* model what will happen because some latent lifeform will spring up under the new conditions, and either eat or belch CO2. They don't know. They do not know. They don't know.

Or to quote comic Lewis Black (on a slightly unrelated topic): THEY DON'T KNOW!

1
1

Life will continue

I'm getting fed-up with this run-away end-up-like-Mars green house effect. All the carbon we are burning as fossil fuels existed before in the atmosphere, and it was life forms that removed it an put it underground. Hence if we put it back into the atmosphere there is no reason not to believe that life will continue.

1
2
Silver badge
Flame

Sorry for boring you Bob

But it's a run-away end-up-like Venus greenhouse effect.

1
1

But what life?

Assuming man-made global warming is a real affect (which I have an open mind on), the argument that there will still be life on Earth at the end of it all offers little comfort.

If human activities do actually lead to extreme and continuing climate change, either we will decide to stop at some point, or the changes will force us to. Wars over scarce resources will disrupt civilisation, industry will cease, the population will die out etc etc. Maybe there will be a global nuclear war for good measure.

Whatever, there will still be life at the end of it, just not necessarily human life. I am playing devil's advocate here, but under this model gaia won't save us, it will kill us for the good of the planet.

0
0

I know zip but I deny it !

I see we have the usual share of folks who don't know much about the science but who are sure that climate change is a hoax / a conspiracy / another excuse for a tax.

Have a read of this news item from Reuters: http://bit.ly/bjdVIM

2
1
Stop

Healthy scepticism.

I'd rather have healthy scepticism and defend that against the tirade of doom merchants insisting our extinction is inevitable than automatically believe whatever publicity mad media whore shouts the loudest.

I’ll be the one looking at the facts or lack of and leave others to hide under the bed crying like a little girls.

1
1

The nature or nature.. :)

Even if Good would give as full perfect equations how does Universe work - we as humans

will not be able so get perfect results with the power of all supercomputers together..

Why ?

The closest of reality description are differential non linear equations and we can not calculate

results with enough precision. So even our knowlage is absolute and measurment and equation

are perfect we do no have perfect results ! But it is not all...

The randomnes and chaos appears in simplest problems and even simplest calculations are

unpredictable in long distance of time !

Hence our knowlage is not perfect and we do not have absolute supercomputers and rules and

mesurments and chaos.. we struggle to predict the weather for the next day !

Whoever says it can predict the climate is a next Nostradamus or weapons of mass warming owner :)

Hope it would help.

Greg

0
0
Bronze badge
Alert

Hmz

I always thought the overdrive theory was related to the methane locked up in the ground in Siberia and under the ocean and whatnot - when you get past a certain temp the permafrost melts and releases stupid ammounts of methane and you have a big problem because it's way way worse than CO2.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/5321046.stm

Never heard this theory before, not totally convinced by the commonly accepted science part.

0
0
Joke

Modern Science

http://www.gocomics.com/nonsequitur/2010/04/22/

Says everything you need to know about any science stats that you read in the meedja

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.