Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds
April 26, 2016
From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.
An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.
This image shows the change in leaf area across the globe from 1982-2015. Credits: Boston University/R. Myneni
Green leaves use energy from sunlight through photosynthesis to chemically combine carbon dioxide drawn in from the air with water and nutrients tapped from the ground to produce sugars, which are the main source of food, fiber and fuel for life on Earth. Studies have shown that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide increase photosynthesis, spurring plant growth.
However, carbon dioxide fertilization isn’t the only cause of increased plant growth—nitrogen, land cover change and climate change by way of global temperature, precipitation and sunlight changes all contribute to the greening effect. To determine the extent of carbon dioxide’s contribution, researchers ran the data for carbon dioxide and each of the other variables in isolation through several computer models that mimic the plant growth observed in the satellite data.
Results showed that carbon dioxide fertilization explains 70 percent of the greening effect, said co-author Ranga Myneni, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University. “The second most important driver is nitrogen, at 9 percent. So we see what an outsized role CO2 plays in this process.”
About 85 percent of Earth’s ice-free lands is covered by vegetation. The area covered by all the green leaves on Earth is equal to, on average, 32 percent of Earth’s total surface area – oceans, lands and permanent ice sheets combined. The extent of the greening over the past 35 years “has the ability to fundamentally change the cycling of water and carbon in the climate system,” said lead author Zaichun Zhu, a researcher from Peking University, China, who did the first half of this study with Myneni as a visiting scholar at Boston University.
Every year, about half of the 10 billion tons of carbon emitted into the atmosphere from human activities remains temporarily stored, in about equal parts, in the oceans and plants. “While our study did not address the connection between greening and carbon storage in plants, other studies have reported an increasing carbon sink on land since the 1980s, which is entirely consistent with the idea of a greening Earth,” said co-author Shilong Piao of the College of Urban and Environmental Sciences at Peking University.
While rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the air can be beneficial for plants, it is also the chief culprit of climate change. The gas, which traps heat in Earth’s atmosphere, has been increasing since the industrial age due to the burning of oil, gas, coal and wood for energy and is continuing to reach concentrations not seen in at least 500,000 years. The impacts of climate change include global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and sea ice as well as more severe weather events.
The beneficial impacts of carbon dioxide on plants may also be limited, said co-author Dr. Philippe Ciais, associate director of the Laboratory of Climate and Environmental Sciences, Gif-suv-Yvette, France. “Studies have shown that plants acclimatize, or adjust, to rising carbon dioxide concentration and the fertilization effect diminishes over time.”
“While the detection of greening is based on data, the attribution to various drivers is based on models,” said co-author Josep Canadell of the Oceans and Atmosphere Division in the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation in Canberra, Australia. Canadell added that while the models represent the best possible simulation of Earth system components, they are continually being improved.
Read the paper at Nature Climate Change: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3004.html
With so many college students, and especially so many blacks and women, majoring in fake, useless, worthless subjects that will leave them with nothing but huge amounts of debt that they will never be able to pay back from the low wages they will get from working at coffee shops and fast food restaurants after they graduate from college, here’s a wonderful story about someone who chose to study something that is actually useful in the real world. More people should follow Jasmine Burton’s lead and study STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects:
This plastic toilet could save lives
Jasmine Burton helped design an inexpensive, portable plastic toilet to address the lack of basic sanitation around the world.
January 22, 2016
Everybody poops. But not everyone has access to a toilet.
“It’s shocking that this basic necessity is unavailable to nearly half of the world,” said Jasmine Burton, founder and president of Atlanta-based Wish for WASH.
Burton, 23, was a freshman at Georgia Institute of Technology when she learned that as many as 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet.
It bothered her even more that this sanitation problem disproportionately affects women and young girls.
“Young girls in the developing world frequently drop out of school because there isn’t a toilet,” she said. “It angered me as a woman in higher education and as a product designer.”
Just 18 at the time, Burton channeled her feelings into a mission: She would design a toilet.
While at Georgia Tech, she collaborated with three other students to invent an inexpensive, eco-friendly mobile toilet that could convert waste into renewable energy. They called their sanitation system SafiChoo Toilet.
Made of plastic, the toilet is designed for sitting or squatting, which is a common practice in some countries. It can be placed directly on the ground, or it can be elevated by adding an attachable base. It can also function with or without water.
The system features a waste collection unit (that can go above or below ground), which separates the waste into liquids and solids. There’s also a manually-operated bidet that can be attached.
Burton said these features are intended to help curb contamination and the spread of diseases.
The SafiChoo toilet costs about $50. “That’s the highest price point we want it to be,” she said.
In 2014, Burton and her team won first place and $25,000 at the Georgia Tech InVention competition, the nation’s largest undergraduate invention competition.
“We didn’t think we’d win because products at the contest were always high-tech with super sexy designs,” she said. “Ours was a simple toilet.”
The win enabled Burton to pilot SafiChoo (which means clean toilet in Kiswahili) at a Kenyan refugee camp. She also launched Wish for WASH, the parent company of SafiChoo.
John Zegers, director at Georgia Center of Innovation for Manufacturing, contacted Burton after her InVention competition win. “We thought it was a great product that needed a little bit more development,” he said.
The Center gave a grant to Georgia Tech to develop a SafiChoo prototype and helped Burton’s team find an Atlanta-based manufacturer.
Zegers said he hopes that Wish for WASH is able to keep the toilet a Made in America product.
Burton is currently living in Lusaka, Zambia, as she tests the toilet there. The company is also running an Indiegogo campaign to support the Zambia pilot.
She hopes to begin selling the toilet to U.S.-based customers and to NGOs in 2017.
“It’s amazing when you see how many people have never used a toilet before and what [the SafiChoo Toilet] could mean for them,” she said.
If this is true and it can be used on a large scale, it’s fantastic news.
Plastic-Munching Bacteria Can Make Trash Biodegradable
March 10, 2016
A durable plastic called PET is considered a major environmental hazard because it’s highly resistant to breakdown. But researchers have found a potential new match for this hardy plastic: a newly discovered microbe that is astonishingly good at eating it.
An estimated 342 million tons (311 metric tons) of plastic are produced annually worldwide, and currently, only about 14 percent is collected for recycling, according to the World Economic Forum.
Most plastic degrades extraordinarily slowly, but PET — short for poly(ethylene terephthalate) — is especially durable, and about 61 million tons (56 metric tons) of the colorless plastic was produced worldwide in 2013 alone, according to the researchers.
Previously, the only species found to break down PET were rare fungi. Now, scientists in Japan have discovered bacteria that can biodegrade this hardy plastic.
“The bacterium is the first strain having a potential to degrade PET completely into carbon dioxide and water,” said study co-author Kohei Oda, an applied microbiologist at the Kyoto Institute of Technology in Japan.
The researchers collected 250 samples of PET debris from soil and wastewater from a plastic-bottle-recycling site. They scanned these samples for bacteria that could eat PET.
The scientists identified a new species of bacteria, which they named Ideonella sakaiensis 201-F6, that could almost completely break down a thin film of PET after six weeks at a temperature of 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). Appendages from the cells might have secreted compounds that helped to dissolve the plastic, the researchers said.
Genetic and biochemical analyses identified two key enzymes involved in the breakdown of PET. One enzyme worked with water to break down the plastic into an intermediate substance, which the other enzyme broke down into PET’s basic building blocks, the scientists said.
These findings could have a wide range of real-world applications, because bacteria should be easier to incorporate into devices to break down PET than fungi is. “We hope that we can develop a technology to handle such a lot of wasted PET,” Oda said.
In the future, the researchers would like to “improve the ability of the microorganisms to degrade,” Oda said.
It’s not known how these enzymes evolved, Oda said, and both enzymes bear little resemblance to the enzymes most closely related to them.
The scientists detailed their findings online today (March 10) in the journal Science.
Radical doomsayer environmentalists refuse to express joy at new NASA report which says Antarctic ice sheet has been gaining ice for decades
Uh oh. The radical doomsayer environmentalists who have been predicting melting ice caps for the past few decades are not going to like this at all – not one bit.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Instead, look for yourself. Read the news. Use whatever search engines you want.
You will not find a single example of celebration from any of the radical environmental doomsayer organizations that have been predicting the melting of the polar ice caps for the past few decades.
On the other hand, to those of us who like to look at things from a logical and rational perspective, this is great news – great news indeed.
NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses
October 30, 2015
According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.
Scientists say the possibility is very remote, but they may have found evidence of an artificial structure surrounding a star 1,481 light-years away from Earth. The Washington Post reports:
The strange star that has serious scientists talking about an alien megastructure
October 15, 2015
“It was kind of unbelievable that it was real data,” said Yale University astronomer Tabetha Boyajian. “We were scratching our heads. For any idea that came up there was always something that would argue against it.”
She was talking to the New Scientist about KIC 8462852, a distant star with a very unusual flickering habit. Something was making the star dim drastically every few years, and she wasn’t sure what….
… “When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright said. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”
To be sure, both Boyajian and Wright believe the possibility of alien megastructures around KIC 8462852 is very, very remote. It’s worthy of hypothesis, Wright told Slate, “but we should also approach it skeptically.”
Yet compared to the vast majority of supposed sightings of signs of extraterrestrial life, this one has some credibility….
… Volunteers marked it out as unusual in 2011, right after the program started: a star whose light curves seemed to dip tremendously at irregular intervals. At one point, about 800 days into the survey, the star’s brightness dropped by 15 percent. Later, around day 1,500, it dropped by a shocking 22 percent. Whatever was causing the dips, it could not have been a planet — even a Jupiter-sized planet, the biggest in our solar system, would only dim this star by 1 percent as it transited across…
… Scientists — at least, the ones who like to theorize about these things — have long said that an advanced alien civilization would be marked by its ability to harness the energy from its sun (rather than scrabbling over its planet’s resources like us puny earthlings). They envision something like a Dyson Sphere, a hypothetical megastructure first proposed by physicist Freeman Dyson that would orbit or even encompass a star, capturing its power and putting it to use.
Obviously, a Dyson sphere has never been spotted in real life, though they’re all over science fiction. But if one were to exist, it wouldn’t look like a metal ball around the sun — it would probably comprise a chain of smaller satellites or space habitats, something that would block its star’s light as weirdly and irregularly as the light of KIC 8462852 has been blocked. That’s why researchers who are interested in finding alien life are so excited about the finding.
Boyajian, Wright and Andrew Siemion, the director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, are now working on getting access to the massive radio dishes they can point at the star in search of the kinds of radio waves usually emitted by technology.
If they find them — well, that would be very big and very, very unlikely news.
Of course, the star in question is about 1,481 light-years away from Earth…
Perhaps biological evolution created homo sapiens for the purpose of putting carbon back into the atmosphere
By Patrick Moore
March 20, 2015
Editor’s Note: Patrick Moore, Ph.D., has been a leader in international environmentalism for more than 40 years. He cofounded Greenpeace.
Human Emissions Saved Planet
Over the past 150 million years, carbon dioxide had been drawn down steadily (by plants) from about 3,000 parts per million to about 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. If this trend continued, the carbon dioxide level would have become too low to support life on Earth. Human fossil fuel use and clearing land for crops have boosted carbon dioxide from its lowest level in the history of the Earth back to 400 parts per million today.
At 400 parts per million, all our food crops, forests, and natural ecosystems are still on a starvation diet for carbon dioxide. The optimum level of carbon dioxide for plant growth, given enough water and nutrients, is about 1,500 parts per million, nearly four times higher than today. Greenhouse growers inject carbon-dioxide to increase yields. Farms and forests will produce more if carbon-dioxide keeps rising.
Yale students cancel protest against fossil fuels so they can stay inside and be kept warm by fossil fuels
An organization of Yale students called “Fossil Free Yale” was formed to urge the university’s endowment to divest from coal, oil, and natural gas.
They were planning a protest against fossil fuels, but they canceled it due to cold weather.
So instead of protesting against fossil fuels, they are staying inside and being kept warm by the very same fossil fuels that they claim to be against.
If they want to make a credible case for opposing fossil fuels, I suggest they offer a realistic alternative. Specifically, I suggest they build a house that is powered entirely by whatever sources of energy they think are preferable to fossil fuels, and then spend eight hours each and every night for the entire winter sleeping in that house.
Wow! This guy is amazing!
The “sexist” shirt worn by rocket scientist Matt Taylor was actually made by a female friend who gave it to him for his birthday
So this rocket scientist named Matt Taylor lands a spacecraft on a comet – the first time that this has ever been done – and a bunch of people claiming to be “feminists” accuse him of “sexism” because he was wearing a shirt which depicts scantily clad women holding guns.
My first reaction to reading about this was that if these women are holding guns, they are not victims – they are empowered.
Then, when I looked at the shirt, I immediately saw that this was a richly detailed, beautiful, colorful piece of art. I know the difference between art and porn, and this is definitely not porn. It is art.
The shirt was handmade by a woman named Elly Prizeman, who is friends with Taylor, and who gave it to him for his birthday.
The people who falsely claimed the shirt was “sexist” bullied Taylor to the point that he cried on international television.
Prizeman said of this:
Dr. Matt Taylor is an amazing, kind, loving and sensitive person.
I never expected him to wear my gift to him for such a big event and was surprised and deeply moved that he did.
I made that shirt for his birthday last month as I make clothes just as a hobby and he asked if I would make him one.
He is a close and very loved friend so made sure I did this for his birthday present.
I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinion and having worked with people and events for a long time I have certainly learnt that you are never going to please everyone….
I am so proud of Matt and his achievements and the fact he is an interesting and very brave person to do what he did with the very sweet gesture he made towards my gift and to wear his individuality with pride.
It has certainly made history more exciting and bold.
The clothing industry has expressed interest in mass producing Prizeman’s shirt.
Here’s Taylor wearing the shirt. Click on the image to see a larger version. Image used under fair use and copied from http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/13/7213819/your-bowling-shirt-is-holding-back-progress
These two guys have been best friends since first grade. They both have engineering degrees, but both quit that field to work full time on their videos. They grew up in North Carolina, but recently moved to Los Angeles. Every weekday at 6 A.M. they put up a new 12 minute video – and they have hundreds of them going back a few years.
I’m Jewish by birth, agnostic by choice, and I have a strong interest in Jediism and Greek Mythology.
President Obama recently referred to
“… the many achievements and contributions of Muslim Americans to building the very fabric of our nation…”
Well, message boards and article comment sections all over the internet are flying with all sorts of criticism of Obama’s claim. Sadly, many of these people are claiming that Muslims have contributed nothing whatsoever to this great country of ours.
But the fact is that Obama does have a valid point.
Associated Press has just reported that the Obamacare approval rating is 26%.
Last month, Time magazine reported that 26% of Americans don’t know that the earth goes around the sun.
Uh oh. Too many white students are succeeding. That can’t be tolerated. Better cancel the gifted program, and bring these students down to the lowest common denominator. Who needs doctors, scientists, and engineers anyway?
The Washington Times reports:
NYC school cuts popular gifted program over lack of diversity
A popular gifted-student program at a New York City elementary school is getting the ax after school officials decided it lacked diversity.
PS 139 Principal Mary McDonald told parents in a letter Jan. 24 that Students of Academic Rigor, or SOAR, would no longer accept applications for incoming kindergartners, the New York Daily Newsreported.
“Our Kindergarten classes will be heterogeneously grouped to reflect the diversity of our student body and the community we live in,” Miss McDonald said in the letter posted on Flickr.com.
At least one parent described SOAR as largely white, while others disagreed, the report said.
One mother conceded the program did have a lot of white students, but worried gifted students now won’t be challenged enough.
“Where are they going to put the higher-level students? Sometimes, there are different levels, and teachers can’t handle all the levels in one class,” she told the Daily News.
In a follow-up letter sent to parents Monday, Miss McDonald wrote: “At PS 193, we believe that all children can learn and achieve high standards. We also know that we want all children at PS 193 to have equal access to high quality, challenging curriculum, and to have ample opportunities to master complex material and build academic and personal self-confidence. We also want our classes to reflect the diversity of our community. We believe we can have both: classrooms characterized by rigor and diversity.”
Global warming scientists finally admit that their computer models exaggerate the amount of global warming
I’ve always suspected that the computer models that scientists use to predict global warming were programmed to exaggerate the amount of global warming.
And now, the scientists who write these computer programs have finally admitted that that is indeed the case.
The Telegraph reports:
Top climate scientists admit global warming forecasts were wrong
Top climate scientists have admitted that their global warming forecasts are wrong and world is not heating at the rate they claimed it was in a key report.
One of the central issues is believed to be why the IPCC failed to account for the “pause” in global warming, which they admit that they did not predict in their computer models. Since 1997, world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase.
The summary also shows that scientist have now discovered that between 950 and 1250 AD, before the Industrial Revolution, parts of the world were as warm for decades at a time as they are now.
Despite a 2012 draft stating that the world is at it’s warmest for 1,300 years, the latest document states: “’Surface temperature reconstructions show multi-decadal intervals during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950-1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the late 20th Century.”
The 2007 report included predictions of a decline in Antarctic sea ice, but the latest document does not explain why this year it is at a record high.
The 2013 report states: “’Most models simulate a small decreasing trend in Antarctic sea ice extent, in contrast to the small increasing trend in observations…”
The Daily Mail reports:
World’s top climate scientists confess: Global warming is just QUARTER what we thought – and computers got the effects of greenhouse gases wrong
Leaked report reveals the world has warmed at quarter the rate claimed by IPCC in 2007
Scientists accept their computers may have exaggerated
A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.
The Mail on Sunday has obtained the final draft of a report to be published later this month by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ultimate watchdog whose massive, six-yearly ‘assessments’ are accepted by environmentalists, politicians and experts as the gospel of climate science.
Yet the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that over the past 15 years, recorded world temperatures have increased at only a quarter of the rate of IPCC claimed when it published its last assessment in 2007.
Back then, it said observed warming over the 15 years from 1990-2005 had taken place at a rate of 0.2C per decade, and it predicted this would continue for the following 20 years, on the basis of forecasts made by computer climate models.
But the new report says the observed warming over the more recent 15 years to 2012 was just 0.05C per decade – below almost all computer predictions.
They recognise the global warming ‘pause’ first reported by The Mail on Sunday last year is real – and concede that their computer models did not predict it. But they cannot explain why world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase since 1997.
They admit large parts of the world were as warm as they are now for decades at a time between 950 and 1250 AD – centuries before the Industrial Revolution, and when the population and CO2 levels were both much lower.
The IPCC admits that while computer models forecast a decline in Antarctic sea ice, it has actually grown to a new record high. Again, the IPCC cannot say why.
A forecast in the 2007 report that hurricanes would become more intense has simply been dropped, without mention.
This year has been one of the quietest hurricane seasons in history and the US is currently enjoying its longest-ever period – almost eight years – without a single hurricane of Category 3 or above making landfall.
I’m not going to give away any plot spoilers in this post, although I will approve spoiler comments for the comment section.
What I will say in this post is that this move is very cerebral and highly thought provoking. It’s slow paced, calm, and quiet. There is plenty of breathing room for contemplation. The character development is exceptionally well done, and some of the scenes are genuinely heartbreaking and moving. And then when I watched it a second time, I loved it even more.
You can watch the movie in its entirely at this link. I use the Firefox browser, and did not have any problems when I watched it as this link. I did get a few pop ups before the movie started, which I was easily able to close without any problems. Do not click on anything that has the words “play” or “download” because those buttons are not what they claim to be – they are actually links to ads. However, the arrow that’s on the middle of the film image, and the arrow that’s directly at the bottom left of the film image, do work, and will make the movie play.
Movie review: “Elysium” is implausible, because it’s based on a medical device manufacturer that does not employ any salespeople
Elysium has too many loud, noisy action scenes, and not enough calm, quiet, reflective scenes of thoughtful contemplation. It didn’t have any lines of dialogue that I can see myself wanting to quote in the future. None of the characters were particularly interesting. And if I was a child, I couldn’t see myself wanting to buy any of the action figures that might be based on this movie.
The machine that instantly cures cancer seems perfectly plausible. However, in the entire movie, we never find out the name of the corporation that manufactures this machine. And apparently, there is no team of trained salespeople traveling all over the world trying to sell this machine to hospitals in big cities. And that brings up the most unrealistic thing about this movie: Since when has there ever been a medical device manufacturer that did not employ any salespeople?
In this movie, there is no Bill Gates-type character who donates huge amounts of his own money to help the poor get medical care. In this movie, there are no rich people who massage their supersized egos by having entire hospital wings named in honor of their massive donations.
While it’s easy for me to imagine that a bunch of rich people would want to live in their own private space station, there’s no way that every rich person would want to live there – there would always be some holdouts who preferred to remain on earth. But in this movie, there are no holdouts.
If they wanted to make a point about poor people not being able to afford health care, the following would have been a lot more realistic: a poor person gets cancer. They go to the hospital, where one of these machines instantly cures their cancer. Then they get a ridiculously large bill that they could never possibly afford to pay. They lose their house. Their life savings is wiped out. They declare bankruptcy. That would be realistic.
But the idea that on the entire earth, there wouldn’t be even one hospital that had one of these machines, is completely ridiculous.
Serial liar Barack Obama tells cereal maker General Mills to stop advertising the truth about Cheerios
Barack Obama is a serial liar, which I have shown in Here are 226 examples of Barack Obama’s lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, etc.
But when a cereal maker tells the truth, Obama tells it to stop telling the truth.
For quite some time, advertisements for the breakfast cereal Cheerios made the true and accurate claim that eating Cheerios lowers a person’s cholesterol.
However, even though this claim is true and accurate, the Obama administration ordered General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, to stop making this claim in its commercials.
While speaking in Johannesburg, South Africa, President Obama said that global warming was “the biggest challenge we have environmentally” and that it was worse than “dirty water, dirty air.”
However, according to the World Health Organization, while global warming kills 140,000 people each year, air pollution kills 3 million people per year.
According to UNESCO, each year, contaminated water causes 4 billion cases of diarrhea, 120,000 cases of cholera, 300 million cases of malaria, 12 million cases of typhoid, 6 million cases of trachoma, 200 million cases of schistosomiesis, and more than 1 billion incidents of intestinal parasites.
You know what’s worse than global warming? How about living your entire life without ever having access to a toilet?
The World Health Organization says that dirty water is “the leading cause of disease and death around the world.”
That Obama would downplay these problems shows how scientifically illiterate he is.
That he would do so while giving a speech in Africa, which has the highest rate of water borne illness of any continent, shows how thoughtless and insensitive he is.
I’m a vegetarian. I view it as a personal choice, and I never tell anyone else what to eat or not eat.
When I see a live bird, I don’t think of it as being food. A dog or a cat does see it as food, which is why they they chase them, kill them, and eat them.
But cows – I always thought cows were vegetarians. And I still think they are. But I guess the label isn’t always 100% accurate.