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Earth ‘losing fight against global warming’

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    Earth ‘losing fight against global warming’ By Jenifer Johnston http://www.sundayherald.com/51146 THE Earth is losing its natural resistance to global
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 9, 2005
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      Earth �losing fight against global warming�


      By Jenifer Johnston

      http://www.sundayherald.com/51146


      THE Earth is losing its natural resistance to global warming as the
      oceans and forests reach capacity in their ability to soak up carbon
      emissions, say scientists.
      Using a new computer model, researchers �fast- forwarded� 100 years to
      reveal that unless emissions are curbed, land and seas � the �sinks� for
      carbon dioxide � will become steadily less effective at removing carbon
      from the atmosphere, causing the planet to heat faster and increasing
      temperatures and droughts.

      Lead researcher Dr Inez Fung of the University of California, Berkeley,
      told the Sunday Herald the model debunks one argument put forward by
      global-warming sceptics that plants will flourish and the oceans bloom in
      a warmer environment.

      �Our work shows that if we keep going on our current course of fossil
      fuel emissions, the land and oceans will not be able to slow the rise of
      carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the way they are doing now. Land and
      oceans absorb about half of the carbon dioxide produced by human activity
      at the moment. If we accelerate our emissions, the saturation rate will
      increase,� she said.

      Fung�s model suggests that as heat and droughts increase, plants cut back
      their intake of carbon dioxide to save water. Ultimately, they stop
      absorbing it at all. Similarly, as the oceans heat up they struggle to
      absorb carbon dioxide which then collects near the surface, further
      preventing absorption and accelerating global warming.

      Using data from 1982 onwards, Fung said the northern hemisphere has
      �greened� each spring and summer as the climate has warmed, leading to
      more atmospheric CO2 being absorbed by plants.

      However, since 1994, as droughts have made the world hotter and drier,
      plants have been unable to cope. Even though plants could take in more
      CO2 in spring, that has been offset by decreasing CO2 uptake during
      summers which have become increasingly dry, literally �browning� the
      Earth.

      �We�re saying �hold on a second � plants may not be happier in a warmer
      and drier world�. This negative effect of hot, dry summers completely
      wiped out the benefits of warm, wet springs. If you look at satellite
      pictures of the Earth over this time you can actually see this happening
      now,� Fung said.

      Fung�s planet model predicts that by 2050 � as the biosphere struggles to
      absorb CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere by humans burning fossil
      fuels faster and faster � the planet will not be able to keep up, and
      that, at a low estimate, global temperatures will rise 1.4�C .

      �The Earth has a natural rate of absorption that you just cannot
      accelerate � you can�t make the land accept more CO2 just because more is
      being released,� she said. �If the rate of fossil fuel emissions is too
      high, the carbon storage capacity of the land and oceans decreases and
      climate warming accelerates.�

      Last week the World Wildlife Federation warned that Scotland�s average
      temperature for 2005 is 1�C above average. Overall, Scotland�s average
      annual temperature has increased by 1�C in the past four decades.

      Friends of the Earth Scotland�s Dr Dan Barlow warned: �It is not
      surprising that the Earth�s ability to deal with rising carbon emissions
      has limits and it is increasingly clear that we have a very narrow window
      in which to act to avert climate chaos.�

      Dr David Reay of the Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental Science
      at the University of Edinburgh said the study�s predictions are �clearly
      important�.

      �As scientists we�re aware that you cannot keep pumping CO2 into the
      atmosphere and expect the Earth to keep absorbing it. This study is very
      important in terms of giving us a window on the future,� he said.

      Fung, one of the world�s leading climate scientists, has spent decades
      studying the carbon cycle of the planet, producing a sophisticated model
      which takes into account the tiniest of details, such as the salinity of
      oceans and forest floor litter decomposition rates and the effects of
      temperature, rainfall, clouds and wind speed on these kinds of
      interactions.

      She told the Sunday Herald: �The Earth is entering a climate space we�ve
      never seen before � we don�t know where the threshold is. You might think
      that a one or two degree increase is not all that much but if we�re on
      the threshold, it could make a big difference.�

      07 August 2005
    • Pat Neuman
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClimateArchive/message/2073 ... carbon ... years to ... the sinks for ... carbon ... increasing ... Berkeley, ... by ... bloom
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 30, 2005
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        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ClimateArchive/message/2073

        --- In ClimateArchive@yahoogroups.com, mtneuman@j... wrote:
        >
        >
        > Earth `losing fight against global warming'
        >
        > > 07 August 2005
        > By Jenifer Johnston
        >
        > http://www.sundayherald.com/51146
        >
        >
        > THE Earth is losing its natural resistance to global warming as the
        > oceans and forests reach capacity in their ability to soak up
        carbon
        > emissions, say scientists.
        > Using a new computer model, researchers "fast- forwarded" 100
        years to
        > reveal that unless emissions are curbed, land and seas –
        the "sinks" for
        > carbon dioxide – will become steadily less effective at removing
        carbon
        > from the atmosphere, causing the planet to heat faster and
        increasing
        > temperatures and droughts.
        >
        > Lead researcher Dr Inez Fung of the University of California,
        Berkeley,
        > told the Sunday Herald the model debunks one argument put forward
        by
        > global-warming sceptics that plants will flourish and the oceans
        bloom in
        > a warmer environment.
        >
        > "Our work shows that if we keep going on our current course of
        fossil
        > fuel emissions, the land and oceans will not be able to slow the
        rise of
        > carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the way they are doing now. Land
        and
        > oceans absorb about half of the carbon dioxide produced by human
        activity
        > at the moment. If we accelerate our emissions, the saturation rate
        will
        > increase," she said.
        >
        > Fung's model suggests that as heat and droughts increase, plants
        cut back
        > their intake of carbon dioxide to save water. Ultimately, they stop
        > absorbing it at all. Similarly, as the oceans heat up they
        struggle to
        > absorb carbon dioxide which then collects near the surface, further
        > preventing absorption and accelerating global warming.
        >
        > Using data from 1982 onwards, Fung said the northern hemisphere has
        > "greened" each spring and summer as the climate has warmed,
        leading to
        > more atmospheric CO2 being absorbed by plants.
        >
        > However, since 1994, as droughts have made the world hotter and
        drier,
        > plants have been unable to cope. Even though plants could take in
        more
        > CO2 in spring, that has been offset by decreasing CO2 uptake during
        > summers which have become increasingly dry, literally "browning"
        the
        > Earth.
        >
        > "We're saying `hold on a second – plants may not be happier in a
        warmer
        > and drier world'. This negative effect of hot, dry summers
        completely
        > wiped out the benefits of warm, wet springs. If you look at
        satellite
        > pictures of the Earth over this time you can actually see this
        happening
        > now," Fung said.
        >
        > Fung's planet model predicts that by 2050 – as the biosphere
        struggles to
        > absorb CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere by humans burning
        fossil
        > fuels faster and faster – the planet will not be able to keep up,
        and
        > that, at a low estimate, global temperatures will rise 1.4°C .
        >
        > "The Earth has a natural rate of absorption that you just cannot
        > accelerate – you can't make the land accept more CO2 just because
        more is
        > being released," she said. "If the rate of fossil fuel emissions
        is too
        > high, the carbon storage capacity of the land and oceans decreases
        and
        > climate warming accelerates."
        >
        > Last week the World Wildlife Federation warned that Scotland's
        average
        > temperature for 2005 is 1°C above average. Overall, Scotland's
        average
        > annual temperature has increased by 1°C in the past four decades.
        >
        > Friends of the Earth Scotland's Dr Dan Barlow warned: "It is not
        > surprising that the Earth's ability to deal with rising carbon
        emissions
        > has limits and it is increasingly clear that we have a very narrow
        window
        > in which to act to avert climate chaos."
        >
        > Dr David Reay of the Institute of Atmospheric and Environmental
        Science
        > at the University of Edinburgh said the study's predictions
        are "clearly
        > important".
        >
        > "As scientists we're aware that you cannot keep pumping CO2 into
        the
        > atmosphere and expect the Earth to keep absorbing it. This study
        is very
        > important in terms of giving us a window on the future," he said.
        >
        > Fung, one of the world's leading climate scientists, has spent
        decades
        > studying the carbon cycle of the planet, producing a sophisticated
        model
        > which takes into account the tiniest of details, such as the
        salinity of
        > oceans and forest floor litter decomposition rates and the effects
        of
        > temperature, rainfall, clouds and wind speed on these kinds of
        > interactions.
        >
        > She told the Sunday Herald: "The Earth is entering a climate space
        we've
        > never seen before … we don't know where the threshold is. You
        might think
        > that a one or two degree increase is not all that much but if
        we're on
        > the threshold, it could make a big difference."
        >
        > 07 August 2005
        >
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