TCS Daily


The Climate Forest for the Trees

By Anthony Lupo - February 15, 2006 12:00 AM

A recent article appearing in the journal Nature [1] discusses the finding of a new source of atmospheric methane from plant growth, in particular from forests. Methane is a greenhouse gas. Emissions of methane, like those of its more famous counterpart carbon dioxide, have been increasing during the last two centuries as the planet's population and economic activity have increased. Methane has also been linked to the recent increases in global temperatures, though the rate of increase for atmospheric methane has slowed in the last decade or so [2].

Forests, especially those with younger trees, serve to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, as many studies have shown. Some countries, such as the United States, are asking for carbon credit in any international carbon control schemes for maintaining healthy forests. That said, one of the reactions to this article from those who follow the global climate change debate and blame humanity for recent climate change has already taken the following form: Countries such as the United States should not be allowed to claim any 'carbon credit' for re-forestation. [3],[4].

However, in the Nature study, the authors themselves do not claim that this newly-found natural source of atmospheric methane is leading to an increase in greenhouse gasses. Instead, they try to account for this new "source" within the parameters of what is presently known about the methane budget in the climate system. In other words, this new source overlaps with other known sources of atmospheric methane, such as fossil fuel use, animal and rice agriculture, and landfills [2].

The Nature study also supports one of the main arguments that has been made for decades by scientists more skeptical of claims of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. These scientists have argued that the climate system is not simple to understand and that there is still a lot we need to learn. This lack of knowledge is an especially acute problem when we consider the interactions between one part of the climate system and another.

Some background information is in order here. Climate scientists look at the earth-atmosphere system as an integrated system that is generally thought of as being "closed"; that is not gaining or losing mass to outer space even if there is energy exchange between our planet and outer space.

The earth-atmosphere system is composed of five sub-systems, each of which exchange mass and energy with each other. These five sub-systems are the: a) atmosphere, b) oceans, c) ice - covered regions (cryosphere), d) land masses (lithosphere), and e) plant and animal life (biosphere). The complex interaction among these separate parts of the system has been problematic for climate modelers to represent adequately and is one of the reasons that these models are not considered entirely reliable for predicting future climate changes. It is the study of these kinds of physical processes where there are discoveries waiting to be made that will greatly advance our understanding of the environment, and will require the cooperative efforts of scientists with different specialties.

Additionally, the Nature study demonstrates that there is still more work to be done regarding the global budgets or cycles of both carbon dioxide and methane and how these cycles may have changed over the past century. So while there are those who will be tempted to use the Nature study to promote more of the doom and gloom global warming agenda, the study is actually a more powerful supporter of the skeptics' arguments.

Finally, this new publication should also put a large dent in the argument put forth by environmentalists (and some scientists themselves) that the science surrounding global warming is already settled and that the debate needs to shift to what needs to be done to address global warming.

[1] Keppler, F., J.T. G. Hamilton, M. Brab, and T. Rockmann, 2006: Methane emissions from terrestrial plant under aerobic conditions. Nature, 439, 187 - 191.

[2] Houghton, J.T., et al. (eds.), 2001. Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 857pp.

[3] Hirsch, T., 2006: Plants revealed as methane source. BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/

[4] Spotts, P.N., 2006: Do trees share the blame for global warming? The Christian Science Monitor, online, 19 January

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86 Comments

Less than alarming
Let's not lose any sleep over the fact that normal plant metabolism includes exuding small amounts of methane. This is something that's been going on for the past half billion years. It's part of the normal balance of life on earth. It's one of the reasons the planet doesn't freeze over in a ball of ice.

Instead, we might want to glance at what's new in our own lifetimes. Arctic permafrost has been frozen for the past 70,000 years. It's now starting to melt, and doing so rapidly. Such melting emits huge quantities of both methane and CO2-- on top of the normal background amount for the planet. Ergo there is now yet another source of new warming in our lives.

Once melted, it won't easily be re-frozen. Crunch the numbers, and see how much greenhouse gas is currently being held in the permafrost. Relative to the natural cycle for methane, I think you'll agree it's alarmingly great.

Not very alarming
We always hear this threat about the permafrost melting. It is always stated how it has been frozen for "x" number of years.

What about the time when it wasn't frozen. How come it wasn't frozen then? Something happened and then it froze.
Now, egads, it is once again becoming unfrozen.

Why is it that this time mankind has caused it, and what exactly is it that we can do to prevent it? I ask this as a question begged by the fact that we know it has gone through these cycles in the past without any human intervention.

No Subject
Science (the prectice, not the magazine) presents us with very serious evidence that (1) there is global warming, (2) global warming has enormous costs (covering coastal cities, turning farmland to desert, ..) (3) this global warming can be prevented by far less expensive changes in our economy. Of course, these could be wrong, but the risk of being wrong (unnecessarily selling the SUV) is less than the risk of being right (losing your home).

Global warming great
30 years ago in eastern SD the growing season was too short for soybeans.
Either the growing season has lengthened or soybeans mature faster, or both, but eastern SD is producing significan soybean crops, instead of oats (short season crop).
Central Canada might appreciate longer growing seasons as would Russia and China.
If you live on a beach, sell and move unless you are self insured.
Not too many poor indigent people live on America's coastlines any more.

oceans
Not sure it's entirely relevant, but I have read that there is an enormous amount of methane trapped in ooze at the bottom of the oceans. Occassionally it is released with dramatic results. As it rises to the surface it expands greatly in volume. Of course, the pressure steadily diminishes. In fact, there is a theory that large releases have been to blame for the sudden disppearances of ships at sea because the water "boils" for a short time with the gases and the buoyancy of the ship is lost in this. The ship suddenly sinks into the foam without any warning. There have been proposals to harness this gas, since the fuel potential is many times greater than global subterranean reserves. However, scientists are already worried that it can be inadvertently released with catastrophic results. The difference is that this methane is not particating in a living cycle the same as forests.

Crops
Here is my problem...most of what you said is very positive. Except when you suggest that coast dwellers sell up. But, if the climate is already so much more hosptiable to crops in places like SD, wouldn't the coast lines already be underwater?

Some say there are places being threatened by rising oceans, but everytime I try to actually FIND them, they disappear. Places like the Netherlands doesn't seem to be struggling any more than they were centuries ago. In fact, they have reclaimed a lot of land since WWII.

How bad can it be?

Personally, given the choice, I much prefer living during a warming trend than during a cooling trend. I just hope that the climatologists who are preticing a cooling in just a few decades are wrong. Bring on the better crops any day!

What about the time when it wasn't frozen.
When the North was not frozen, decay of organic matter was gradual and balanced by photosynthesis of living plants. So, the system was in a steady state - no problem.

The problem with the melt is that over the last 70000 years (or so they say) any organic matter was refrigerated and stored for better (read warmer) times to decay. This intensified decay process can not be balanced by the current-year worth of vegetation photosynthesizing. So, we do have a problem.

In simpler terms: you byu a lettuce every day. If you let it rot it will cause a little mess, but not a big deal. However, if you store the lettuces in the fridge until it is full and then cut the power, you are up for a big mess.

review? editing?
This article may have a point somewhere, but I wouldn't know. I left it about two-thirds through, no longer willing to invest my time in speculating. Does anyone actually review or edit the articles posted?

review? editing?
I'm with you j. Methinks the TRS is beginning to be so clannish that only certain people's articles are published no matter what. Many of the articles are as you described. I am thinking of looking elsewhere.

We're not in Kansas anymore...
Kansas City taking first environmental steps
The Kansas City Star, February 15, 2006

City Manager Wayne Cauthen has a vision: Kansas City becomes so green that it rivals the likes of Portland, Ore., Chicago, Minneapolis and Madison, Wisc., as a leader in environmental initiatives. Next week, the city’s environmental commission unveils a far-reaching citizen-based initiative to combat global warming.

The program is based on the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which has been signed by more than 200 mayors across the country, including Mayor Kay Barnes. It is an attempt to slow global warming. The mayors came up with the agreement after the United States spurned the Kyoto Protocol that was ratified by 141 nations. Those countries are introducing measures to try to stabilize dangerous greenhouse gas concentrations.

The commission hopes the mayor will be the water-bearer of their proposal to the city council. The proposal could have a rocky road because of its impact on large industry, commission members acknowledged at a meeting last week. To combat global warming, large industries and power plants would have to cut back on the huge amounts of carbon dioxide or CO2 they produce, which is a major contributor to global warming...

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/local/13871033.htm

Glub glub
SL-- You raise a fine point: if we're getting so much warmer now, why aren't we underwater already?

Give us time. There's an incredible amount of water tied up in ice at the poles, and ice melts very slowly even on a warm day. Look instead at the pack ice on the Arctic Ocean, which is a thin skin on the surface. It's already starting to melt hundreds of miles further north at the end of every summer than was ever the case before. And each year it will refreeze less thoroughly. The trend is toward major changes.

Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong per se with warm weather. V. Putin put it well when he said we might like a little global warming. The problem is that we put our civilization where it is because it is climate dependent. If we have to change everything and move to Canada there will be resource wars around the globe, as people with falling real estate values try to push into territory with rising values. GW might be very good for northern Saskatchewan, but it won't be very nice for the Rocky Mountain states, which will turn to desert by all evidence from past warming trends.

Billions of people depend on things staying more or less the same. If the tap runs dry they don't want to have to walk away from unsalable homes in search of fresh water.

Giant ocean farts
O-O, Ever heard of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum? We have very solid evidence that a very large deposit of marine clathrates (frozen & compacted methane) came unstuck from the ocean floor and caused a lot of adjustment problems for life on earth. That incident may in fact have been the signal incident that marked the boundary between the two geologic periods.

http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_02/

These things happen every so often. We can't avoid them, so far as we now know. But there are some things we CAN avoid, if we see them coming and take intelligent action.

very, very interesting
I'll tell you when this really clicked with me. A few years ago I was scuba diving in a lake. I was a little deeper than a weekend sport diver should have been. But, I was interested in reaching the original river bed. As the bottom leveled out I came upon a large flat area that was nothing but ooze. The light was dim, and you know it was cold over 100ft. But it was crystal clear with no turbidity. I looked across as bubbles percolated up from it. The ooze was so think I could shove my arm down into it up to my elbow. When I did it was like opening a can of 7-UP. Year after year after year, every season of dead algae filters down to blanket the bottom, one on top of another. I figured the ooze dated from the 50's.

Nothing alarming
The current warming trend is nothing more than a natural of the ANSO and PDO both being in their respective warm phases at the same time. Happens every few hundred years.

Artic ice
Artic ice is floating. It's melting, which is part of a well known natural cycle anyway, won't affect sea levels.
The antartic and Greenland glaciers are growing.

Drive them out
And drive those industries affected out of KC or out of state along with their tax base.

What 'Global Warming' Hysteria *really* is...
Comedian Bill Engvall has a bit where he talks about people who shoudl have 'a sign' to carry around, or wear.

The sign says 'I am an idiot.'

And during his routines, he describes talking with people who invariably end up being idiots, and the punch line is always '..and here's your sign.'


This ridiculous global warming hysteria, highlighted by the infantile railing against 'SUV's', and Big Capitalism's Big Destructive Economies (translation: United States Bad, everyone else in the world, better), is really just a more subtle form of the 'here's your sign' comedy routine.

The people screaming about global warming are, if you'll pardon the odd imagery, mental midgets of the tallest order.

To claim that humanity is dramatically altering a billions-of-years-old climate cycle is the intellectual equivalent of flatly declaring that mankind is adversely affecting the sun because of all the junk with which we have 'polluted' outer space - all the satellites, probes, spent rocket fuel, etc etc.

Communists and Luddites wish to throw the world into a self-made hell where their dreams of an agrarian utopia can finally be realized, and that can only happen if the capitalistic industrial societies are torn down.

They are doomed to failure, just as all communist ventures ultimately are. It's just more pathetic that so many of them don't even realize what gullible fools they are for being conned by this dreck.

So, next time you see someone squawking about 'global warming', or, since that has lost its magical cachet, ' sudden catastrophic climate change - attributable to the effects of man-made global warming', just remember the phrase - 'Here's your sign.'

postcript - Don't misunderstand me - I am no fan of pollution, and not opposed to efforts to be as 'clean' as possible. Just not at the cost of ruinous economic burdens, or in the loss of liberties. If the pursuit of a nice shiny new SUV will make me happier, then I will exercise my freedom and prerogative to buy and use one. I am all in favor of pursuing lawbreaking polluters, or egregious examples of environmental harm. There are plenty of sites like those around, the so-called 'superfund' sites. However, that is all common sense, and it leaves the utopian anti-capitalists cold, because it does not fulfill their *real* agenda, which is bringing about the downfall of the economic might of the ultimate historical capitalist United States.

We are not buying wht these lunatics are selling, and we never will. We are not going to commit suicide in order to please a horde of fools.

Arrogance
It also fits with the modern liberal's selfish view point.
"We humans (which includes me) are so powerful we can destroy the earth, but we (meaning I) can fix it if we all just...."
Nature (or God) is humbling and should truly make us feel insignificant.

Is the globe warming? Very Probably. Why?
That is the $100,000,000,000,000 question. If man's activity does play a part, how big of one?

Does all of man's destructive power combined have the power to evoke lasting change? Depends on what you consider lasting. 100 years or os, probably; 1,000 years, not likely; 10,000 years I highly doubt it.

But "natural" change can be devistating and can last for a very long time. Look at the various extinctions and other lasting changes caused by everything from volcanic action to ice ages. And there is little doubt that natural phenomen are playing a part in the noted global tempature change.

How long will this global warming last? what will the effects be? what part does man's activities play? can we change it? can we change it significantly? do we want to reverse it? These are just a few of the big questions we need to answer before we go screaming for some type of major human lifestyle change. But first we must know all the reasons why the earh is warming; ALL OF THEM!!

Before you start lecturing on global warming as a fraud..
...why don't you learn to spell "arctic" and "antarctic?"

and source your allegations.

and how do we discover "all the reasons..."
..if we close our ears to what the people who know the problem best are finding out unless it fits what we want to hear?

Speaking of hysteria...
The preceding post is a case study. Instead of looking at the facts and what the most eminent scientists in the field are saying, it spouts a wild conspiracy theory about a secret alliance of communists and luddites planning to take over the world and turn it into agricultural communes.

Here's a bulletin: the science behind this doesn't come from fringe cranks peddling make believe research out of the trunks of their electric cars. It comes from the best scientists at the best research universities in the country, backed up by painstaking data collection from NASA, NOAA and other agencies.

Instead of going on about "the utopian anti-capitalists ,,,*real* agenda, which is bringing about the downfall of the economic might of the ultimate historical capitalist United States," why not stick to the science and the actual proposals on the table? At least if you expect to be taken seriously.

Hey, we agree
That is all you do. You have no sources, misrepresent what the NAS has said and generally stick with your personal agenda.

The answer to your question is observation, study and use the resources available. Greenland ice pack, tree studies, etc. There are many resources to find out something about past trends and how they relate to the future. In short science.

Guess what, this is far from the warmest the earth has ever been. the 20th Century was probably not the warmest in the past 1,000 years.

The answers to my questions, and the many more out there, have yet to be found. But you disagree. You misrepresent the NAS as saying it is a done deal and we must stop all CO2 production in the industralized world or the earth will burn up.

Clue, they never said that; they didn't even infere it.

All scientific communities (including your beloved academy) agree, we need major study on the issue and quickly. The NAS only recommends finding ways to reduce GHG production, they don't say this will even slow GW.

Hey, I would like to see GHG reduced too, through technology and a natural shift away from petrolroleum. But this will take time. To do it right could take 25 to 50 years. Want to bet on whether or not letting technology do it's thing will work faster and better than Kyoto?

NAS Uncertainty
"Feedbacks that primarily affect global climate sensitivity
Cloud, water vapor, and lapse rate feedbacks as a group and ice-albedo
feedback are the feedback processes that seem most important in
determining the global mean climate sensitivity.
Cloud, Water Vapor, and Lapse Rate Feedbacks
Cloud feedback is one of the key uncertainties in projections of future
climates, and is responsible for a large fraction of the model-to-model
variation in climate sensitivity. Significant uncertainties remain in water
vapor and lapse rate feedback, but these are closely coupled to cloud..."
http://fermat.nap.edu/execsumm_pdf/10850.pdf

Such confident scientists! At least some admit they don't know.

So: we just take what you say on faith?
>Guess what, this is far from the warmest the earth has ever been. the 20th Century was probably not the warmest in the past 1,000 years.

source, please. I've already posted studies that say the opposite.

>. You misrepresent the NAS as saying it is a done deal and we must stop all CO2 production in the industralized world or the earth will burn up.

The NAS says nothing remotely of the kind, and neither do I, nor did I say anything of the kind. Please stop this straw man stuff.

>All scientific communities (including your beloved academy) agree, we need major study on the issue and quickly. The NAS only recommends finding ways to reduce GHG production, they don't say this will even slow GW

The NAS doesn't recommend specific policies. They state the best scientific knowledge. If you don't understand this, you shouldn't be posting.

>Hey, I would like to see GHG reduced too, through technology and a natural shift away from petrolroleum. But this will take time. To do it right could take 25 to 50 years. Want to bet on whether or not letting technology do it's thing will work faster and better than Kyoto?

That's part of the idea of Kyoto, creating incentives for this to happen. But don't let reality intrude on your partisan politics.

Sure, there's uncertainty
Have you ever wondered why the scientists frankly acknowledge the uncertainties in their work, but you don't?

The earth was warmer very recently....by northernguy
Greenland is called Greenland even though it is covered by ice because 500 hundred years ago when the vikings settled there it wasn't covered by ice. The colony died out when the average temperature dropped down to a level closer to what it is now. It's why Greenland belongs to Denmark which is over a thousand miles away.



Anyone who says melting sea ice will cause sea levels to rise disqualifies himself from informed commentary on possible climate change and its consequences.


Carbon is not something that is injected into the atmospere and slowly accumulates until the planet dies. There is a cycle of release and absorption which has been going on for millenia.


CO2 is not toxic and is necessary for the survival of the human race.


The gas composition of the atmosphere is way down the list of factors which influence the earth's heat load.


CO2 is way down the list of gases which impact on the atmospheric influence on global temperatures.


Human activity is way down the list of factors which impact on the amount of co2 in the atmosphere.


Modern industrial activity is way down the list of human activities which generate elevated co2 levels in the atmospere.


Not surprisingly those who announce the disastrous effects of industry generated increased atmospheric co2 levels advocate:


That the number of molecules of carbon in the atmosphere be counted.


That once they are counted policies should be adopted to reduce the atmosperic carbon molecule count by reducing modern industrial activity.


That a non-elected intenational agency with extreme authority be empowered to implement and enforce these policies.


That this body should be composed of a bureaucracy composed of the leading exponents and advocates of these policies.


That the first place to start is the American economy even though the American economy is the most energy efficient in the world.


That the resulting transfer of American power, wealth and prestige to other parts of the world would be at least as benficial to humanity as the reduction in co2 emmissions.


The kyoto accord fulfills all these requirements except reducing the number of carbon molecules in the atmosphere but what they hey!!

Northernguy

Reply to Roy
BUT - as you stated above: "the last time the earth warmed" ...before human activity...I just don't see it. I just can't believe that humans are causing this "catastrophy". After Reading Winchester's great book "Krakatoa" I felt so insignificant, so unimportant in a geologic sense.

I think the earth is a huge system that a little human activity has very little affect on. Volcanoes - now they emit!

Please check your facts
Most of Greenland has been covered by an ice sheet for hundreds of thousands of years.

"The gas composition of the atmosphere is way down the list of factors which influence the earth's heat load."

It's one of a number of factors, but it's been changing.

"Human activity is way down the list of factors which impact on the amount of co2 in the atmosphere."

But it is the factor which has produced a marked rise in the level of CO2 in the last 200 years, accelerating in the last 50 years.

"Modern industrial activity is way down the list of human activities which generate elevated co2 levels in the atmospere. "

Others include deforestation, especially burning of tropical forests.

"Not surprisingly those who announce the disastrous effects of industry generated increased atmospheric co2 levels advocate:


That the number of molecules of carbon in the atmosphere be counted."

Who advocates counting individual molecules?

"That once they are counted policies should be adopted to reduce the atmosperic carbon molecule count by reducing modern industrial activity."

That carbon emissions be reduced by various means.

"
That a non-elected intenational agency with extreme authority be empowered to implement and enforce these policies."

All internationall bodies are 'non-elected' given we don't have a world government. What is "extreme authority?"

"That this body should be composed of a bureaucracy composed of the leading exponents and advocates of these policies."

BAckup please.

"That the first place to start is the American economy even though the American economy is the most energy efficient in the world."

I believe that under KYoto America is not singled out more than Europe or Japan.

"That the resulting transfer of American power, wealth and prestige to other parts of the world would be at least as benficial to humanity as the reduction in co2 emmissions."

This is paranoid black helicopter projection.

"The kyoto accord fulfills all these requirements except reducing the number of carbon molecules in the atmosphere but what they hey!!
"

The first goal is to stop the increase. But why let the facts interfere with paranoia?

Growing or melting?
The great continental ice sheets are in fact growing. They are also melting. That's what happens with a general warming trend. Increased snowfall causes a net addition in the center of the shield, while the rate of calving icebergs at the margins also increases.

In colder periods you get less precipitation ("too cold to snow") and less melting at the edges.

Response to Suzy
Suzy-- More study could profitably replace belief in your view of how the world works. These are questions that people have answered, and that they are working to refine the answers. It pays to look at the science.

By every metric, human activity is now equal to or greater than natural forces at work on modifying the planet. We have taken about 90% of nearly every species of fish in the ocean-- a feat that would have been unbelievable a few years ago. We move more tons of dirt than nature does every year, other than slumping on the continental shelves. In otherwords, bulldozers moved more dirt around than Mount Pinatubo did in the year it erupted. We have already consumed about half of the recoverable liquid petroleum on earth, and converted it into work plus carbon dioxide.

We have cleared a significant proportion of the world's forest cover, changing the planet's albedo. We put more greenhouse gases into the air every year than all volcanos combined. The list goes on.

You have a magnificent resource at your disposal-- the search engine. Use it to check my assertions. This is a far better approach than either blindly believing me or blindly believing otherwise. Check it out.

The Great Hysteria
Passionately delivered, Wesley. But in terms of content, you might want to check to see how great a role man and his works play in the global scheme of things. We do now deliver more greenhouse gases into the air than any "natural" source. We do move more earth annually than any other force, including volcanos. We do change the albedo (reflectivity) of the planet's surface more than any other force. When it comes to modifying climate, humanity is now the dominant force at work.

The hysterical sorts that upset you so are only saying that as long as we ourselves are the major force at work, perhaps we could direct our efforts toward keeping the status quo. This is a nice planet, with nice weather. Let's not just change it for something unknown, to which we would have to adapt by changing everything.

Moving tons of something
You are moving tons of BS.
I frankly have a hard time believing your 'facts' without sources, data and context.
Have you seen the effects, locally of Pinatubo? It occurred over 10 years ago and the clean up continues. There are still tons and tons of ash to be pushed around by bulldozers.
As far as oil, every year it is said the reserves are nearly gone and yet the wells keep on pumping.
In the '70s, the Club of Rome said the planet would be starving. The reasons anyone is starving today have nothing to do with production.
As far as albedo, forests absorb heat from the sun, decreasing albedo, which increases global warming.
Every day new sources of greenhouse gases are being discovered. The science of where it all comes from, and where it all goes is far from definitive.
More study of the details, with accurate numbers, in context, might help you understand the world is a big place.

The moon is made of cheese.
The moon is made of cheese.
Check it out on google.moon.com.

Vikings in Greenland
http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/end_of_vikings_greenland.html

It was warm enough, over 1000 years ago for the Vikings to sail around the artic circle without worrying about icebergs.
Guess it was all the charcoal fires those Celts, and Normans and Saxons and Driuds were burning to raise the level of greenhouse gasses to melt that ice.

Uncertainty
Uncertainties are acknowledged because they do not KNOW.

Minor; but the most important subsystem to study was left out.
Environmental chemical science does indeed try to understand the environment by dissection the planet's major functions into "spheres". Science then seeks to understand what happens within a given sphere and how that influences the other subsystems.

The author states that there are 5 main subsystems; “a) atmosphere, b) oceans, c) ice - covered regions (cryosphere), d) land masses (lithosphere), and e) plant and animal life (biosphere).”

[Most texts place fresh-water, oceans, and ice-covered regions all in the one system, called the “hydrosphere”. The hydrosphere often includes transport mechanisms; evaporation, rain, hydrology, etc.. The main systems are thus anthrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere.]

He actually left out the most important sub-system, that one which is becoming the most influential of all. That would be the anthrosphere, AKA, the influence that man has on the planet.

It is almost impossible to design a valid study of any of the earth's systems without taking into account the influence of the other systems. So any study of the earth's natural systems is flawed without taking into account man's influence on them.

Arrogance again
There you go again. Thinking man is soo important.

One other system was left out, the earth's interior continuously belches out a lot of heat and gases at rifts and volcanoes that have probably not been quantified.
Also, the significant geothermal heat must be dissipated somehow.

Aaaaaaand...
Here's your sign.

Seriously, guy.

What is it you don't understand about the concept of not doing something monumentally stupid, such as ruining the one national economy which drives the rest of the world's economies, without being 100% absolutely positive that it is necessary?

Ingest this:

"Eight Reasons to End the Scam

Concern over “global warming” is overblown and misdirected. What follows are eight reasons why we should pull the plug on this scam before it destroys billions of dollars of wealth and millions of jobs.

1. Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth’s climate. More than 17,000 scientists have signed a petition circulated by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine saying, in part, “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” (Go to www.oism.org for the complete petition and names of signers.) Surveys of climatologists show similar skepticism.

2. Our most reliable sources of temperature data show no global warming trend. Satellite readings of temperatures in the lower troposphere (an area scientists predict would immediately reflect any global warming) show no warming since readings began 23 years ago. These readings are accurate to within 0.01ºC, and are consistent with data from weather balloons. Only land-based temperature stations show a warming trend, and these stations do not cover the entire globe, are often contaminated by heat generated by nearby urban development, and are subject to human error.

3. Global climate computer models are too crude to predict future climate changes. All predictions of global warming are based on computer models, not historical data. In order to get their models to produce predictions that are close to their designers’ expectations, modelers resort to “flux adjustments” that can be 25 times larger than the effect of doubling carbon dioxide concentrations, the supposed trigger for global warming. Richard A. Kerr, a writer for Science, says “climate modelers have been ‘cheating’ for so long it’s almost become respectable.”

4. The IPCC did not prove that human activities are causing global warming. Alarmists frequently quote the executive summaries of reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations organization, to support their predictions. But here is what the IPCC’s latest report, Climate Change 2001, actually says about predicting the future climate: “The Earth’s atmosphere-ocean dynamics is chaotic: its evolution is sensitive to small perturbations in initial conditions. This sensitivity limits our ability to predict the detailed evolution of weather; inevitable errors and uncertainties in the starting conditions of a weather forecast amplify through the forecast. As well as uncertainty in initial conditions, such predictions are also degraded by errors and uncertainties in our ability to represent accurately the significant climate processes.”

5. A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization. Temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period (roughly 800 to 1200 AD), which allowed the Vikings to settle presently inhospitable Greenland, were higher than even the worst-case scenario reported by the IPCC. The period from about 5000-3000 BC, known as the “climatic optimum,” was even warmer and marked “a time when mankind began to build its first civilizations,” observe James Plummer and Frances B. Smith in a study for Consumer Alert. “There is good reason to believe that a warmer climate would have a similar effect on the health and welfare of our own far more advanced and adaptable civilization today.”

6. Efforts to quickly reduce human greenhouse gas emissions would be costly and would not stop Earth’s climate from changing. Reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to 7 percent below 1990’s levels by the year 2012--the target set by the Kyoto Protocol--would require higher energy taxes and regulations causing the nation to lose 2.4 million jobs and $300 billion in annual economic output. Average household income nationwide would fall by $2,700, and state tax revenues would decline by $93.1 billion due to less taxable earned income and sales, and lower property values. Full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol by all participating nations would reduce global temperature in the year 2100 by a mere 0.14 degrees Celsius.

7. Efforts by state governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are even more expensive and threaten to bust state budgets. After raising their spending with reckless abandon during the 1990s, states now face a cumulative projected deficit of more than $90 billion. Incredibly, most states nevertheless persist in backing unnecessary and expensive greenhouse gas reduction programs. New Jersey, for example, collects $358 million a year in utility taxes to fund greenhouse gas reduction programs. Such programs will have no impact on global greenhouse gas emissions. All they do is destroy jobs and waste money.

8. The best strategy to pursue is “no regrets.” The alternative to demands for immediate action to “stop global warming” is not to do nothing. The best strategy is to invest in atmospheric research now and in reducing emissions sometime in the future if the science becomes more compelling. In the meantime, investments should be made to reduce emissions only when such investments make economic sense in their own right.

This strategy is called “no regrets,” and it is roughly what the Bush administration has been doing. The U.S. spends more on global warming research each year than the entire rest of the world combined, and American businesses are leading the way in demonstrating new technologies for reducing and sequestering greenhouse gas emissions.


Time for Common Sense

The global warming scare has enabled environmental advocacy groups to raise billions of dollars in contributions and government grants. It has given politicians (from Al Gore down) opportunities to pose as prophets of doom and slayers of evil corporations. And it has given bureaucrats at all levels of government, from the United Nations to city councils, powers that threaten our jobs and individual liberty.

It is time for common sense to return to the debate over protecting the environment. An excellent first step would be to end the “global warming” scam."

Sigh.

The problem with you utopian moonbats is that you think everyone who is not just like you is, ipso facto, stupid.

But the joke is, and has been for decades, on the radical socialist liberal 'elites'.

If you are not familiar with the children's story 'The Emperor's New Clothes', you should read it. It remains THE most apt description of the liberal mindset today.

Thanks for the cut-and-paste of old news but spare us the partisan namecalling
The only problem with the points is that most of them are inaccurate, outdated, irrelevent or simply partisan political accusations.

1. The Oregon declaration was a deliberately misleading questionnaire put out by a fringe survivalist outfit that's been completely exploded.

2. Our most reliable data does show a warming trend. There used to be a conflict between surface and stratosphere data - that proved to be an artifact. As for beneficial effects: this is making "maybe we'll get lucky" the world motto.

3. Global models can't yet predict consequences of change, but they converge on showing changes to come. Please consult the NAS.

4. Again, please consult the NAS climate change site for updated information.

5. The "Medieval warm period" was warm only in western Europe. Best historical climate data shows the 20th to be the warmest century as far back as the data can be trusted -- at least 1000 years, and likely beyond that. The warmest years on record are clustered right around now.

6. What is the source of these dire economic forecasts? Note that investment in new technology creates short term benefits as well as costs, which should be balanced.

7. Same with the state stuff.

8. "No regrets" is not doing nothing, and making all action totally voluntary, which is the Bush administration non-policy.

And is you think calling people who disagree with this stuff "utopian moonbats" makes your already weak argument nothing more than a partisan rant.

It was warmer than usual in Nortthern Europe
And colder elsewhere on the planet.

"Probably?"
"The earth's interior continuously belches out a lot of heat and gases at rifts and volcanoes that have probably not been quantified."

As a matter of fact, they have been accurately quantified, and are included in the calculations, which you could and should have looked up.

Source?

Hmm
Wow, a lot can change in less than 36 months, huh.

I notice how convenient it is for you to cite a 'misleading questionaire', while at the same time completely ignoring the 17,000+ signatures, *BY SCIENTISTS*, stating that Global Warming is not the trend you would like it to be.

However, oddly enough, that seems to contradict your only rationalization for placing complete trust in the scientists with whom you agree - ie 'They are scientists, so they must be trustworthy'.

Whatever, fella.

As for the other points in the paste, again, whatever.

The point is, a person can type 'global warming' and 'scam' in the same search on Google and find plenty of reasons to at least throttle back on this frenetic hand-wringing over the impending doom of global warming.

It's NOT a done deal, it is NOT a settled issue, and the science is NOT at a concensus. And policy based on conclusions that are, at best, half-baked, is BAD policy.

Point blank: are you seriously expecting people to believe that Kyoto would NOT have dire economic consequences for the people in this country ('this country' being the United States) ? Why did Mr. Hillary reject it then?

That's what you say, but...
Regarding the Oregon petition:
1. the "17,000 scientists" included only 83 percent who listed their degrees. Of those, only 13 percent had degrees in the disciplines at issue.
2. The petition was deceptively packaged with a cover letter that looked like peer-reviewed article from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences agreeing with the point of the petition.
3. The petition as presented didn't deny warming; it only denied "catastrophic heating," To bolster this, it presented evidence that was erroneous: " "Indeed, over the past two decades, when CO2 levels have been at their highest, global average temperatures have actually cooled slightly."
Problem: This was based on comparison of Satellite and Balloon data from 1979-99. At the time, this was not true: the data showed warming (+0.058 oC/decade). Since then the satellite record has been revised, and shows even more warming.

"However, oddly enough, that seems to contradict your only rationalization for placing complete trust in the scientists with whom you agree - ie 'They are scientists, so they must be trustworthy'.

And this is not what I'm saying. I've said that the scientific organization specifically charged with giving the U.S. the best scientific advice disagrees with you. I'm not trusting them "because they're scientists."

"he point is, a person can type 'global warming' and 'scam' in google"

You can type all kinds of things into Google. You'd clearly be amazed, but google is not a peer-reviewed scientific source. You can type "inferior races" or "jewish conspiracy" into google and find all kinds of things. That doesn't make what you find accurate.

""t's NOT a done deal, it is NOT a settled issue, and the science is NOT at a concensus. And policy based on conclusions that are, at best, half-baked, is BAD policy."

The capitals don't make your argument more convincing.

sure
and note that even in Northern Europe--
"The last 100 years is more striking than either [the Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age]. It is a period of widespread warmth affecting nearly all the records that we analysed from the same time," co-author Timothy Osborn told the BBC.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4698652.stm

regarding more recent predictions, see:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010720093052.htm

They don't know, but you do?
I mean, why are you so sure the uncertainties are going to resolved in a benign direction, that there's nothing to worry about?

Back at you
Why are you so sure the uncertainties are going to resolved in a catastrophic direction, and that there's everything to worry about?

Nothing better?
No journal articles?
You only cite biased news outlets.
Also, what caused the warming before the medieval ice age?

My my..
One might almost think you had studied under Ariana Puffington, you so skillfully dodge the real issues.

Let me ask you, again, point blank, straight up, no ambiguitiy:

Is it your position that the Kyoto treaty would NOT have an adverse effect on our economy?

Also, can you explain why Mr. Hillary rejected it?


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