The Little Ice Age – Back to the Future

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

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What’s Natural

By Jim Steele

Extreme scientists and politicians warn we will suffer catastrophic climate change if the earth’s average temperature rises 2.7°F above the Little Ice Age average. They claim we are in a climate crisis because average temperature has already warmed by 1.5°F since 1850 AD. Guided by climate fear, politicians fund whacky engineering schemes to shade the earth with mirrors or aerosols to lower temperatures. But the cooler Little Ice Age endured a much more disastrous climate.

The Little Ice Age coincides with the pre-industrial period. The Little Ice Age spanned a period from 1300 AD to 1850 AD, but the exact timing varies. It was a time of great droughts, retreating tree lines, and agricultural failures leading to massive global famines and rampant epidemics. Meanwhile advancing glaciers demolished European villages and farms and extensive sea ice blocked harbors and prevented trade.

Dr. Michael Mann who preaches dire predictions wrought by global warming described the Little Ice Age as a period of widespread “famine, disease, and increased child mortality in Europe during the 17th–19th century, probably related, at least in part, to colder temperatures and altered weather conditions.” In contrast to current models suggesting global warming will cause wild weather swings, Mann concluded “the Little Ice Age may have been more significant in terms of increased variability of the climate”. Indeed, historical documents from the Little Ice Age describe wild climate swings with extremely cold winters followed by very warm summers, and cold wet years followed by cold dry years.

A series of Little Ice Age droughts lasting several decades devastated Asia between the mid 1300s and 1400s. Resulting famines caused significant societal upheaval within India, China, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia. Bad weather resulted in the Great Famine of 1315-1317 which decimated Europe causing extreme levels of crime, disease, mass death, cannibalism and infanticide. The North American tree-ring data reveal megadroughts lasting several decades during the cool 1500s. The Victorian Great Drought from 1876 to 1878 brought great suffering across much of the tropics with India devastated the most. More than 30 million people are thought to have died at this time from famine worldwide.

The Little Ice Age droughts and famines forced great societal upheaval, and the resulting climate change refugees were forced to seek better lands. But those movements also spread horrendous epidemics. Wild climate swings brought cold and dry weather to central Asia. That forced the Mongols to search for better grazing. As they invaded new territories they spread the Bubonic plague which had devastated parts of Asia earlier. In the 1300s the Mongols passed the plague to Italian merchant ships who then brought it to Europe where it quickly killed one third of Europe’s population. European explorers looking for new trade routes brought smallpox to the Americas, causing small native tribes to go extinct and decimating 25% to 50% of larger tribes. Introduced diseases rapidly reduced Mexico’s population from 30 million to 3 million.

By the 1700s a new killer began to dominate – accidental hypothermia. When indoor temperatures fall below 48°F for prolonged periods, the human body struggles to keep warm, setting off a series of reactions that causes stress and can result in heart attacks. As recently as the 1960s in Great Britain, 20,000 elderly and malnourished people who lacked central heating died from accidental hypothermia. As people with poor heating faced bouts of extreme cold in the 1700s, accidental hypothermia was rampant.

What caused the tragic climate changes of the Little Ice Age? Some scientists suggest lower solar output associated with periods of fewer sunspots. Increasing solar output then reversed the cooling and warmed the 20th century world. As solar output is now falling to the lows of the Little Ice Age, a natural experiment is now in progress testing that solar theory. However other scientists suggest it was rising CO2 that delivered the world from the Little Ice Age.

Increasing CO2 also has a beneficial fertilization effect that is greening the earth. The 20th century warming, whether natural or driven by rising CO2 concentrations, has lengthened the growing season. Famines are being eliminated. Tree-lines stopped retreating and trees are now reclaiming territory lost over the past 500 years. So why is it that now we face a climate crisis?

At the end of the 1300’s Great Famine and the Bubonic Plague epidemic, the earth sustained 350 million people. With today’s advances in technology and milder growing conditions, record high crop yields are now feeding a human population that ballooned to over 7.6 billion.

So, the notion that cooler times represent the “good old days” and we are now in a warmer climate crisis seems truly absurd.

Jim Steele is retired director of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus, SFSU

and authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

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Human Activity in China and India Dominates the Greening of Earth, NASA Study Shows

From NASA Ames:
BLUF: “Once people realize there’s a problem, they tend to fix it…In the 70s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn’t good; in the 90s, people realized it; and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That’s what we see in the satellite data.” –Rama Nemani, NASA’s Ames Research Center

Human Activity in China and India Dominates the Greening of Earth, NASA Study Shows

Feb. 11, 2019
A map showing increases in leaf area per year, represented in green. India and China stand out with large areas of dark green.
Over the last two decades, the Earth has seen an increase in foliage around the planet, measured in average leaf area per year on plants and trees. Data from NASA satellites shows that China and India are leading the increase in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries.
Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

The world is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, and data from NASA satellites has revealed a counterintuitive source for much of this new foliage: China and India. A new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world’s biggest populations are leading the increase in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries.

The greening phenomenon was first detected using satellite data in the mid-1990s by Ranga Myneni of Boston University and colleagues, but they did not know whether human activity was one of its chief, direct causes. This new insight was made possible by a nearly 20-year-long data record from a NASA instrument orbiting the Earth on two satellites. It’s called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, and its high-resolution data provides very accurate information, helping researchers work out details of what’s happening with Earth’s vegetation, down to the level of 500 meters, or about 1,600 feet, on the ground.

A world map showing the trend in annual average leaf area, in percent per decade (2000-2017)
The world is a greener place than it was 20 years ago, as shown on this map, where areas with the greatest increase in foliage are indicated in dark green. Data from a NASA instrument orbiting Earth aboard two satellites show that human activity in China and India dominate this greening of the planet.
Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

Taken all together, the greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s – a 5% increase.

“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation – a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation,” said Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, in Massachusetts, and lead author of the study.

An advantage of the MODIS satellite sensor is the intensive coverage it provides, both in space and time: MODIS has captured as many as four shots of every place on Earth, every day for the last 20 years.

“This long-term data lets us dig deeper,” said Rama Nemani, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley, and a co-author of the new work. “When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance. Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing.”

China’s outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there – and 82% of the greening seen in India – comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.

Land area used to grow crops is comparable in China and India – more than 770,000 square miles – and has not changed much since the early 2000s. Yet these regions have greatly increased both their annual total green leaf area and their food production. This was achieved through multiple cropping practices, where a field is replanted to produce another harvest several times a year. Production of grains, vegetables, fruits and more have increased by about 35-40% since 2000 to feed their large populations.

How the greening trend may change in the future depends on numerous factors, both on a global scale and the local human level. For example, increased food production in India is facilitated by groundwater irrigation. If the groundwater is depleted, this trend may change.

“But, now that we know direct human influence is a key driver of the greening Earth, we need to factor this into our climate models,” Nemani said. “This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action.”

The researchers point out that the gain in greenness seen around the world and dominated by India and China does not offset the damage from loss of natural vegetation in tropical regions, such as Brazil and Indonesia. The consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems remain.

Overall, Nemani sees a positive message in the new findings. “Once people realize there’s a problem, they tend to fix it,” he said. “In the 70s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn’t good; in the 90s, people realized it; and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That’s what we see in the satellite data.”

This research was published online, Feb. 11, 2019, in the journal Nature Sustainability.

Bar chart showing that China and India are leading the increase in greening of the planet, due to human activity
Credits: NASA Earth Observatory

For news media:

Members of the news media interested in covering this topic should get in touch with the science representative on the NASA Ames media contacts page.

Author: Abby Tabor, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley

Last Updated: Feb. 11, 2019
Editor: Abigail Tabor

Storage wars

[Hifast Note: The study conclusions and statements by the researchers are perplexing.  The comment thread (here) at WUWT is better than the article.]

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

From EurekAlert!

UC Santa Barbara researcher conducts first-ever global-scale evaluation of the role of soil minerals in carbon storage

University of California – Santa Barbara

One answer to our greenhouse gas challenges may be right under our feet: Soil scientists Oliver Chadwick of UC Santa Barbara and Marc Kramer of Washington State University have found that minerals in soil can hold on to a significant amount of carbon pulled from the atmosphere. It’s a mechanism that could potentially be exploited as the world tries to shift its carbon economy.

“We’ve known for quite a long time that the carbon stored on minerals is the carbon that sticks around for a long time,” said Chadwick, co-author of the paper, “Climate-driven thresholds in reactive mineral retention of soil carbon at the global scale,” published in the journal Nature Climate Change. How much carbon the soil can take and how much it can keep, he said, are dependent on factors including temperature and moisture.

“When plants photosynthesize, they draw carbon out of the atmosphere, then they die and their organic matter is incorporated in the soil,” Chadwick explained. “Bacteria decompose that organic matter, releasing carbon that can either go right back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide or it can get held on the surface of soil minerals.”

Water plays a significant role in the soil’s ability to retain carbon, say the researchers. Chadwick and Kramer consulted soil profiles from the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and from a globally representative archived data set for this first-ever global-scale evaluation of the role soil plays in producing dissolved organic matter and storing it on minerals. Wetter climates are more conducive to formation of minerals that are effective at storing carbon, therefore much of the Earth’s estimated 600 billion metric tons of soil-bound carbon is found in the wet forests and tropical zones. Arid places, meanwhile, tend to have a “negative water balance” and can thus store far less organic carbon. According to Chadwick, the findings suggest that even a small, strategic change in the water balance could drive greater carbon storage.

“That’s not as easy as it sounds, because water is dear,” Chadwick said, and in places where a shift in soil moisture could tip the water balance from negative to positive — like the desert — there’s not enough water to begin with. “So, it doesn’t actually make any sense to spread a lot of water out over the landscape because water is hugely valuable,” he added.

Climate change is another driver to consider. As the Earth warms, microbial activity increases and, in turn, so does the potential for carbon to be released back into the atmosphere at a greater rate than photosynthesis can draw it out. Increased evaporation due to a warmer climate also decreases the amount of water in the soil available to dissolve and move carbon to minerals deep below the surface.

There is still a lot to investigate and several hurdles to overcome as soil scientists everywhere consider ways to tip the balance of the Earth’s soil from carbon source to carbon sink, but according to these researchers, understanding this relatively little-known but highly significant carbon storage pathway is a start.

“We know less about the soils on Earth than we do about the surface of Mars,” said Kramer. “Before we can start thinking about storing carbon in the ground, we need to actually understand how it gets there and how likely it is to stick around. This finding highlights a major breakthrough in our understanding.”

Among the next steps for the scientists is to date the mineral-stored carbon in the soil to better understand how long these reactive (typically iron and aluminum) minerals can keep carbon out of the air. “Which is really important if we’re going to put effort into trying to store carbon in the soil,” Chadwick said. “Is it going to stay there long enough to matter? If we put it in and it comes out five years later, it’s not solving our problem, and we ought to be barking up a different tree.”

The Social Benefit Of Carbon

Skating Under The Ice

Cross-posted from Watts Up With That, where I publish my scientific work.

After my recent post on the futility of the US cutting down on CO2 emissions, I got to thinking about what is called the “social cost of carbon”. (In passing, even the name is a lie. It’s actually the supposed cost of carbon DIOXIDE, not carbon … salesmanship and “framing” applied to what should be science. But I digress …)

According to the Environmental Defense Fund the “social cost of carbon” is:

… the dollar value of the total damages from emitting one ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The current central estimate of the social cost of carbon is roughly $40 per ton.

Now, for me, discussing the “social cost of carbon” is a dereliction of scientific duty because it is only half of an analysis.

A real analysis is where you draw a vertical…

View original post 2,254 more words

More CO2 – More Photosynthesis – More Greening

sunshine hours

Someone decided to study plants that have grown for generations near high CO2 springs.

Normally these studies look at FACE experiments and then criticize those experiments because they are only single generation.

Guess what they found.?

In a new meta-analysis, Saban et al. took a different approach and assessed all of the data collected for plant response to high CO2 concentration from plants grown for multiple generations over many decades in naturally high CO2 springs. Such springs are found across the world – with 23 highlighted here- and many have been the focus of studies on the physiological responses of plants to rising CO2, similar to those undertaken in FACE experiment. Comparing these two approaches, plants subjected to higher CO2against plant lineages that have had time to acclimate, has never been done before.

High CO2 springs harbour a vast array of plant types…

View original post 103 more words

The most amazing greening on Earth – thanks to increased Carbon Dioxide

From Watts Up With That:

by Patrick J. Michaels

We’ve long been fond of showing the satellite evidence for planetary greening caused by increasing carbon dioxide, particularly the work of Zhu et al.(2016):

Figure 1: Trends in Leaf Area Index around the planet. Note the units are in hundredths (10-2) of meters per square meter. An increase of 25 (Purple, right end of scale) is actually an annual change of .025 square meters per year. Note that the largest greenings are in fact over the South American, African, and Australasian tropical rainforests.

The variable usually shown is the Leaf Area Index (LAI), an interesting measure of vegetation density. A value of 1.00 means that one square meter of the sensed vegetation, if the leaves were spread out, would entirely cover a square meter.

Plants with exceedingly dense vegetation (think of your over-fertilized tomato plants by the end of summer) have LAI values far in excess of 1.0, and some, such as sparse grasslands, may be quite a bit less than 1.0, indicating the presence of a lot of bare ground.

A new paper by Simon Munier, of France’s Centre National de Recherches Météorologiques, and several co-authors, segregates satellite-sensed LAI data into different vegetation types, taken over the period 1999-2015. This allows the researchers to quantitatively determine the amount of greening that is taking place over time, depending upon the vegetation type.

A note on LAI: when applied to crop plants, it doesn’t necessarily directly correlate to the yield or productivity of the plant. Think about those over-fertilized tomatoes again. Gardeners often complain that they have huge vegetation masses (i.e. large LAI’s) but few fruit. However, if the vegetation in question is in fact consumed entirely as an agricultural product (think lettuce, for example) the LAI in fact is a direct measure of agricultural productivity.

The most common vegetation type on earth—grassland—is often agricultural in usage. Many are either directly grazed, or, as is the case for the most productive ones, harvested for hay which is then consumed when pasture is no longer growing enough to support cattle or sheep. Rapidly increasing grassland LAI values are therefore a very useful greening of the earth.

Munier’s team divided the satellite data into that sensing broadleaf (deciduous) forests, evergreen forest types, summer and winter crops, and grasslands. Their 17-year time series provides average LAI values as well as temporal trends.

The cool part of the paper is its Figure 8, showing mean and trend values worldwide for the LAI in six vegetation types:

Figure 2:  Average LAI value for the six vegetation types (given quantitatively in the lower left corner of each map) and the trend in LAI per year, on the right. The +/- is the spatial  standard deviation, which is generally large because soil, terrain, and weather difference clearly influence LAI and vegetation health.  Nonetheless, all the trend values are significant at the p-value<.01 These seemingly arcane figures reveal a spectacular greening of the world’s grasslands. See text for details.

The details are in the numbers. The average (1999-2015) grassland LAI is 0.55, meaning its ground cover worldwide averages less than complete. The trend, of 0.0279 square meters per year, is a remarkable 5.0% per year. Over the 17-year period of record, this means that grassland LAI increased by 85%. According to Munier et al., grassland, as the most common vegetation type, covers 31% of the global continental surface measured (Antarctica was not sampled). This is a remarkable greening.

The aforementioned Zhu et al. study performed a factor analysis to determine the causes. According to the paper,

Factorial simulations with multiple global ecosystem models suggest that CO2 fertilization effects explain 70% of the observed greening trend, followed by nitrogen deposition (9%), climate change (8%) and land cover change (LCC) (4%). CO2 fertilization effects explain most of the greening trends in the tropics, whereas climate change resulted in greening of the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau.

In other words, 78 [70 + 8] percent of observed planetary greening is caused by carbon dioxide and its effect upon climate.

We have repeatedly demonstrated (within here, for example) that about a half of a degree (C) of observed planetary warming is ascribable to anthropogenerated changes in the atmosphere. The main result appears to be a planet that is becoming so much greener that it is readily apparent from space.

Oh noes! More CO2 will cause plants to thicken their leaves

From Watts Up With That:

High CO2 levels cause plants to thicken their leaves, could worsen climate change effects

Plant scientists have observed that when levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rise, most plants do something unusual: They thicken their leaves.

And since human activity is raising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, thick-leafed plants appear to be in our future.

But the consequences of this physiological response go far beyond heftier leaves on many plants. Two University of Washington scientists have discovered that plants with thicker leaves may exacerbate the effects of climate change because they would be less efficient in sequestering atmospheric carbon, a fact that climate change models to date have not taken into account.

In a paper published Oct. 1 in the journal Global Biogeochemical Cycles, the researchers report that, when they incorporated this information into global climate models under the high atmospheric carbon dioxide levels expected later this century, the global “carbon sink” contributed by plants was less productive — leaving about 5.8 extra petagrams, or 6.39 million tons, of carbon in the atmosphere per year. Those levels are similar to the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere each year due to human-generated fossil fuel emissions — 8 petagrams, or 8.8 million tons.

“Plants are flexible and respond to different environmental conditions,” said senior author Abigail Swann, a UW assistant professor of atmospheric sciences and biology. “But until now, no one had tried to quantify how this type of response to climate change will alter the impact that plants have on our planet.”

In addition to a weakening plant carbon sink, the simulations run by Swann and Marlies Kovenock, a UW doctoral student in biology, indicated that global temperatures could rise an extra 0.3 to 1.4 degrees Celsius beyond what has already been projected to occur by scientists studying climate change.

“If this single trait — leaf thickness — in high carbon dioxide levels has such a significant impact on the course of future climate change, we believe that global climate models should take other aspects of plant physiology and plant behavior into account when trying to forecast what the climate will look like later this century,” said Kovenock, who is lead author on the paper.

Scientists don’t know why plants thicken their leaves when carbon dioxide levels rise in the atmosphere. But the response has been documented across many different types of plant species, such as woody trees; staple crops like wheat, rice and potatoes; and other plants that undergo C3 carbon fixation, the form of photosynthesis that accounts for about 95 percent of photosynthetic activity on Earth.

Leaves can thicken by as much as a third, which changes the ratio of surface area to mass in the leaf and alters plant activities like photosynthesis, gas exchange, evaporative cooling and sugar storage. Plants are crucial modulators of their environment — without them, Earth’s atmosphere wouldn’t contain the oxygen that we breathe — and Kovenock and Swann believed that this critical and predictable leaf-thickening response was an ideal starting point to try to understand how widespread changes to plant physiology will affect Earth’s climate.

“Plant biologists have gathered large amounts of data about the leaf-thickening response to high carbon dioxide levels, including atmospheric carbon dioxide levels that we will see later this century,” said Kovenock. “We decided to incorporate the known physiological effects of leaf thickening into climate models to find out what effect, if any, this would have on a global scale.”

A 2009 paper by researchers in Europe and Australia collected and catalogued data from years of experiments on how plant leaves change in response to different environmental conditions. Kovenock and Swann incorporated the collated data on carbon dioxide responses into Earth-system models that are widely used in modeling the effect of diverse factors on global climate patterns.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today hovers around 410 parts per million. Within a century, it may rise as high as 900 ppm. The carbon dioxide level that Kovenock and Swann simulated with thickened leaves was just 710 ppm. They also discovered the effects were worse in specific global regions. Parts of Eurasia and the Amazon basin, for example, showed a higher minimum increase in temperature. In these regions, thicker leaves may hamper evaporative cooling by plants or cloud formation, said Kovenock.

Swann and Kovenock hope that this study shows that it is necessary to consider plant responses to climate change in projections of future climate. There are many other changes in plant physiology and behavior under climate change that researchers could model next.

“We now know that even seemingly small alterations in plants such as this can have a global impact on climate, but we need more data on plant responses to simulate how plants will change with high accuracy,” said Swann. “People are not the only organisms that can influence climate.”

###

From the UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the UW.


Somehow, I just can’t let this disastrous news worry me, and did they consider that leaves that are 33% thicker store more carbon in the leaf?

Latest climate complaint: Arctic plants are getting “too tall”

From Watts Up With That:

Plants in the Arctic are growing taller because of climate change, according to research from a global scientific collaboration.

While the region is usually thought of as a vast, desolate landscape of ice, it is in fact home to hundreds of species of low-lying shrubs, grasses and other plants that play a critical role in carbon cycling and energy balance.

Now, a team of experts led by the University of Edinburgh has discovered that the effects of climate change are behind an increase in plant height across the tundra over the past 30 years.

Species spread

As well as the Arctic’s native plants growing in stature, in the southern reaches of the Arctic taller species of plants are spreading across the tundra.

Vernal sweetgrass, which is common in lowland Europe, has now moved in to sites in Iceland and Sweden.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F) in Frankfurt led the international team of 130 scientists in the project, funded by NERC.

More than 60,000 data observations from hundreds of sites across the Arctic and alpine tundra were analysed to produce the findings, which were published in Nature.

Fast-changing

Rapid climate warming in the Arctic and alpine regions is driving changes in the structure and composition of plant communities.

This has important consequences for how this vast and sensitive ecosystem functions.

Arctic regions have long been a focus for climate change research, as the permafrost lying under the northern latitudes contains 30 to 50 percent of the world’s soil carbon.

Taller plants trap more snow, which insulates the underlying soil and prevents it from freezing as quickly in winter.

An increase in taller plants could speed up the thawing of this frozen carbon bank, and lead to an increase in the release of greenhouse gases.

“We found that the increase in height didn’t happen in just a few sites, it was nearly everywhere across the tundra. If taller plants continue to increase at the current rate, the plant community height could increase by 20 to 60 percent by the end of the century.”

Anne BjorkmanClimate Research Centre (BiK-F), Frankfurt

 

Quantifying the link between environment and plant traits is critical to understanding the consequences of climate change, but such research has rarely extended into the Northern hemisphere, home to the planet’s coldest tundra ecosystems. This is the first time that a biome-scale study has been carried out to get to the root of the critical role that plants play in this rapidly warming part of the planet.

Isla Myers-SmithSchool of Geosciences

The team now has a comprehensive data set on Arctic tundra plants, collected from sites in Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia.

Alpine sites in the European Alps and Colorado Rockies were also included in the study.

The team assessed relationships between temperature, soil moisture and key traits that represent plants’ form and function.

Plant height and leaf area were analysed and tracked, along with specific leaf area, leaf nitrogen content and leaf dry matter content, as well as woodiness and evergreenness.

Surprisingly, only height was found to increase strongly over time.

Plant traits were strongly influenced by moisture levels in addition to temperature.

While most climate change models and research have focused on increasing temperatures, our research has shown that soil moisture can play a much greater role in changing plant traits than we previously thought. We need to understand more about soil moisture in the Arctic. Precipitation is likely to increase in the region, but that’s just one factor that affects soil moisture levels.

Isla Myers-SmithSchool of Geosciences

This research is a vital step in improving our understanding of how Arctic and alpine vegetation is responding to climate change. Shrub growth and expansion could have a profound impact not only on the Arctic ecosystem, but also further afield if it results in an increase in the release of greenhouse gases.”

Helen BeadmanHead of Polar, Climate and Weather, Natural Environment Research Council

The most amazing greening on Earth

Climate Etc.

by Patrick J. Michaels

We’ve long been fond of showing the satellite evidence for planetary greening caused by increasing carbon dioxide, particularly the work of Zhu et al.(2016):

View original post 713 more words