Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Forests Growing Fast, Scientists Stumped

A newly published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found evidence that eastern US forests are growing faster than they have in the past 225 years. The researchers conclude,
"The chief culprit appears to be climate change, more specifically, the rising levels of atmospheric CO2, higher temperatures and longer growing seasons. due to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide."
Culprit? Wasn't a major Earth problem the 'fact' that the forests weren't growing fast enough to replace themselves in order to make enough oxygen for humans to breath? Now the forests are growing faster and that's a problem. Hmmm...
For more than 20 years forest ecologist Geoffrey Parker has tracked the growth of 55 stands of mixed hardwood forest plots in Maryland. The plots range in size, and some are as large as 2 acres. Parker's research is based at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, 26 miles east of the nation's capital.

Parker's tree censuses have revealed that the forest is packing on weight at a much faster rate than expected. He and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute postdoctoral fellow Sean McMahon discovered that, on average, the forest is growing an additional 2 tons per acre annually. That is the equivalent of a tree with a diameter of 2 feet sprouting up over a year.

Forests and their soils store the majority of the Earth's terrestrial carbon stock. Small changes in their growth rate can have significant ramifications in weather patterns, nutrient cycles, climate change and biodiversity.
Science Daily says,
"It was not enough to document the faster growth rate; Parker and McMahon wanted to know why it might be happening. "We made a list of reasons these forests could be growing faster and then ruled half of them out," said Parker. The ones that remained included increased temperature, a longer growing season and increased levels of atmospheric CO2."
This is disturbing. Oh, not the conclusion that increased CO2, warmer temps, and longer growing seasons are the cause of the faster than normal growth. No, no. What's disturbing is that the researchers got from elementary school through university without knowing that increased CO2, warmer temps, and longer growing seasons would do exactly what they 'discovered', a discovery any farmer or nurseryman could have told them in a fraction of the time and probably without cost.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Mike's America said...

The Earth finds it's own balance. If CO2 gets out of balance, the trees grow faster and right the wrong.

The Warmists seem to have forgotten this.

Anonymous said...

I neverwaste my time trying to explain temperature cycles to climate change nutroots. I just ask them t ended the last ice age. Don