"Scientists consider "Nature" to be one of the premier journals for
publishing their very best, most paradigm-shifting research. An article in
that prestigious journal is a highlight in the career of any up and coming
researcher. But with the advent of global warming hysteria, some
Nature editors have apparently decided their primary mission is to
influence international policy. In recent years, this once proud journal has
published some global warming "science" that wouldn't pass muster at your
local 8th-grade science fair (OK, that's too harsh. Local high school
science fair.). How does that happen in light of the scientific peer
review process-in which fellow researchers vet submissions for their
soundness? It's a simple matter of journal editors selecting the "right"
--World Climate Report, 28 May 2001

"As to why the press stories generated by the Nature papers were so
negative, and why the scientists who produced the papers wrote so
disparagingly about the potential for forests to sequester carbon, is
anybody's guess. There was, of course, great pressure upon the United
States to forsake this approach to reducing the rate-of-rise of the air's
CO2 content during the last round of Kyoto Protocol negotiations; and
those sentiments still prevail among many national governments
(particularly in Europe), as well as within both pseudo and serious
environmental organizations worldwide.  Consequently, the papers in
question appeared within a highly-charged political context that may not
have been conducive to a dispassionate discussion of the data they
contained. Even if the world was not running hot, political passions
were; and they may well have gotten in the way of rational thinking."
--Craig D. Idso & Keith E. Idso, 30 May 2001

"The greenhouse industry and the media loves to announce weather
records, especially 'hot' records (the hottest here, the driest there
etc.), but become strangely silent when 'cold' records are broken (such as
the coldest winter in 50 years this year in Russia). This morning (23
May 2001), Tasmania scored a record low temperature for May. Early this
morning, Launceston Airport in northern Tasmania reached a minimum
temperature of  - 4.8°C accompanied by a severe frost. According to
the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in Hobart, Tasmania, this is an
all-time record low temperature for May. The previous record low for May
was set on 31st May 1959 (the last day of autumn), with a temperature of
-4.7° C."
--John L. Daly, 23 May 2001

    Andrew Yee <>

    Andrew Yee <>

    Eurekalert, 29 May 2001

    New Scientist, 23 May 2001

    CO2 Science Magazine, 30 May 2001

    CO2 Science Magazine, 30 May 2001

    CO2 Science Magazine, 30 May 2001

    CO2 Science Magazine, 30 May 2001

    World Climate Report, 28 May 2001

     World Climate Report, 28 May 2001

     Tech Central Station, 28 May 2001

     BBC News Online, 23 May 2001

     Andrew Yee <>



From Andrew Yee <>

Pennsylvania State University
University Park, Pennsylvania

A'ndrea Elyse Messer, (814) 865-9481,
Vicki Fong, (814) 865-9481,

May 29, 2001

Vegetation Key to Accurate Climate Modeling

Boston, Mass. -- Linking vegetation models to climate models when
approximating the Earth's past and future climates may make climate
predictions more accurate and could provide a better picture of the effects
of global warming on the Earth, according to Penn State researchers.

"Recent studies show that if accurate vegetation is not included in global
climate models, anomalies of up to 4 degrees Fahrenheit and a third of an
inch of rain per day can occur," says Persaram O. Batra, Penn State graduate
student in geosciences.

The way that vegetation is incorporated into a climate model is important.
The worst case is of course when vegetation is completely ignored. Assigning
uniform fixed vegetation, i.e. grass land or mixed forest, to the land
masses does get vegetation into the model, but not accurately. A better
choice would be to assign fixed accurate vegetation to land masses, putting
where there was grassland and coniferous forest where there were coniferous
forests. While this is a good option, it is still a static one. The best
incorporation of vegetation is accurate, interactively modeled vegetation
data that can influence and be influenced by the climate model.

Atmospheric global climate models often do not, in themselves, include
vegetation data, but can be linked to separate vegetation models. The
climate model values of such variables as temperature and precipitation are
fed into the vegetation model, which produces a vegetation cover for the
Earth deciding where tundra, savannahs, temperate and tropical forests would
occur. This data, and the effects on climate, including variables like
temperature changes and reflectivity are fed back into the climate model
that is adjusted and the process is repeated numerous times.

Batra, David Pollard, research associate, and Eric Barron, professor of
geosciences and director, Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences'
Environment Institute, looked at four different vegetation models and linked
them to the GENESIS atmospheric global climate model. 

"We were looking at three time periods in the past, that of the Miocene, 20
million years ago, oxygen isotope stage three between 30 and 42 thousand
years ago, and the last glacial maximum 21,000 years ago," Batra told
attendees at the spring meeting of the American Geophysical Union today (May
29) in Boston.

Batra compared the results of the four vegetation models to what is known
about actual vegetation during those time periods on Earth. Information on
vegetation during the last glacial maximum is fairly complete, but what is
known about the Miocene is less complete.

"We want to see how robust the various vegetation models are at different
time periods," says Batra. "Then we can use the best models to see how
climate change would affect vegetation patterns in the future."

Vegetation can have a substantial impact on climate. If an area is covered
with tundra type vegetation, the high reflectivity of the snow, when it
falls, will cool that area of the planet. However, if that same area is
covered with coniferous forests, the snow would fall to the ground and the
dark surface of the treetops would absorb more of the sun's energy and warm,
rather than cool, the area.

The researchers found that none of the climate models tested were perfect
and that some differences occurred between the models. Some models did
better in modeling tropical vegetation while others were better at temperate
vegetation. Also, some of the vegetation models consider the effects of
carbon dioxide on plants, while others ignore carbon dioxide.

Because plant growth and type is dependent on the levels of carbon dioxide
and carbon dioxide serves as a greenhouse gas, the researchers believe that
its inclusion in the vegetation models may be important.

Atmospheric global climate models are large, complex computer programs that
are only as accurate as the data they have and the variables they cover.
Adding vegetation into the mix, provides a better picture of the
interconnected changes that occur as climate changes.


EDITORS: Mr. Batra may be reached at (814) 865-9912 or at by email.


From Andrew Yee <>

Office of News Services
University of Colorado-Boulder

Jeffrey Hicke, (303) 735-4097,
Jim Scott, (303) 492-3114

May 29, 2001


An analysis of vegetation growth in North America between 1982 and 1998
using satellite observations indicates a significant increase in the rate at
which carbon is being taken up by plants, according to a new study.

University of Colorado at Boulder Research Associate Jeffrey Hicke, who led
the study, said it is still unclear why North American vegetation growth has
been increasing in the last two decades. "But we definitely are seeing an
increase in carbon uptake that could generate a carbon sink similar to those
observed by other researchers."

Carbon sinks, or storage areas, include the atmosphere, the oceans and the
terrestrial environment, said Hicke, a research associate in CU-Boulder's
department of geological sciences. A 1995 study led by CU-Boulder indicated
the equivalent of about half of the world's fossil-fuel emissions was
absorbed by terrestrial vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere in 1992 and

The results of a new study on the subject by Hicke, CU-Boulder geological
sciences department Assistant Professor Greg Asner and the California
Institute of Technology's James Randerson were presented at the annual
spring meeting of the American Geophysical Union held May 29 to June 2 in
Boston. Other study co-authors included Chris Field of the Carnegie
Institute of Washington at Palo Alto, Calif. and Compton J. Tucker and
Sietse Los of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"There definitely is a limit to how much carbon dioxide plants can soak up,"
said Hicke. He said the amount of future uptake of carbon by North American
vegetation will depend on the mechanisms that are driving the processes,
which still need to be identified.

A study published in the May 24 issue of Nature by Duke University
scientists indicated the ability of pine trees to absorb significant amounts
of CO2 dropped markedly after three years in part because plant nutrients
and water were depleted.

The levels of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere have been rising since the
Industrial Revolution began in the late 18th century, climbing from about
280 parts per million to 350 PPM today.

"Solid evidence that the increase in atmospheric CO2 has caused warming is
only now appearing," said Hicke. But the vast majority of atmospheric
scientists believe increasing C02 and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases
released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity have contributed
to climate warming over the past century, he said.

The U.S. regions where vegetation productivity showed the largest increases
in the new study were managed forests in the Southeast and croplands and
grasslands on the Central Plains.

Two other areas also showing increases were forests in southeast Canada --
which are recovering from insect damage -- and western Canada and Alaska.
Recent warming in the northwest part of the continent appears to have
triggered earlier annual snowmelt and an earlier beginning to the growing
season, Hicke said.

The observations were made in the visible and near-infrared bands of
instruments on board several generations of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration's Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer
satellites. Tucker and Los from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center produced
the satellite measurements.

"With the models and techniques we employed, we can't assess the specific
contribution of CO2 fertilization to the stimulation of plant growth," said
Hicke. He said increased growth of Southeast forests could be due to
advanced agricultural practices, including more efficient fertilizers and
improved genetic stock.

The Central Plains grasslands increase could be due to increasing
precipitation in recent years, he said. But better fertilization and
irrigation practices also have triggered increases in cropland vegetation in
this region, said Hicke.

"It is likely that changing land use practices, the stimulation of
vegetation growth by increased atmospheric CO2 and climate change are the
primary causes of the recent U.S. vegetation increases," he said. 

"There has been a big thrust recently to understand the role and cycle of
CO2," said Hicke. "But the science is so complex, I don't think we will have
any definitive answers any time soon."

The Bush Administration's March abandonment of a campaign pledge to curtail
CO2 emissions by U.S. industry played a pivotal role in the April failure of
the world's nations to ratify the Kyoto Protocol that would have reduced
global CO2 emissions.

Note to Editors: Hicke will present results of the study on Friday, June 1,
at the AGU meeting in Boston. The AGU Press Room telephone number is (617)


From Eurekalert, 29 May 2001


Contact: Reed Noss
Society for Conservation Biology

Kyoto's global warming controls could harm forests

To help reduce global warming, the Kyoto Protocol encourages countries to
remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by planting more trees. But the
Protocol fails to consider conservation, and countries could meet their
commitment by replacing mature forests with rapidly-growing plantations.

"Replacement of old forests with plantations is a 'perverse incentive' of
the Kyoto Protocol," says Reed Noss of Conservation Science, Inc. in
Corvallis, Oregon, in the June issue of Conservation Biology. "The protocol
could easily do more harm than good unless accompanied by strong incentives
to protect biodiversity."

While the U.S. commitment is now in doubt under the Bush administration, the
government had planned to meet half its annual commitment through land-based
carbon sinks. Noss urges countries to conserve old-growth forests and to put
any tree plantations on marginal agricultural lands.

Noss also considered how to protect forests during climate change. The good
news is that forests have already survived many periods of dramatic warming
and cooling, in part by shifting, contracting and expanding their ranges.

The bad news is that it will be harder for trees and other species in
today's fragmented and degraded forests to shift their ranges in response to
climate change.

To help forests adapt to climate change, Noss recommends two main
approaches. First, we should maintain or restore connections between
forests. These include elevational corridors so species can move up or down
mountains as necessary, as well as corridors along the Mississippi Valley
and other major north-south river valleys that allowed dispersal during past
climate changes.

Second, we should protect climate refugia, which are areas that harbored
species during past climate changes. Probable climate refugia include the
southern Appalachians and the Klamath-Siskiyou region of California and
Oregon; Iberia, Italy and the Balkans; and rock outcrops, cool slopes and
many other small areas.

For faxes of papers, contact Robin Meadows

For more information about the Society for Conservation Biology:


From New Scientist, 23 May 2001

Forests are not about to save the planet from greenhouse effect by soaking
up carbon dioxide.

Under experimental conditions, extra doses of carbon dioxide encourage trees
to grow faster. This has led to the idea that, as atmospheric levels of the
gas rise due to industrial pollution, fast-growing forests could absorb some
of the gas and slow down global warming.

Researchers have dubbed this the "CO2 fertilisation effect", and the forests
"carbon sinks". But new research published this week by two teams of
researchers suggests there is a big difference between what happens in
greenhouse experiments and the real world.

The first team bathed trees in extra CO2 on research plots at Duke
University in Durham, North Carolina. The trees grew faster for three years,
but then reverted to their former growth rates. They only resumed faster
growth when they were dosed with nitrogen fertiliser.

Supply and demand

In the real world, Ram Oren and colleagues conclude, "forest growth is
limited by nutrient supply, in particular nitrogen", as much as CO2. Most
forests are unlikely to be able to turn the extra CO2 in the air into plant

And even where trees do grow faster and take up more CO2, most of it returns
to the air again before long, warns William Schlesinger, also of Duke

In the second study, Schlesinger found that almost half of the CO2 absorbed
by trees goes to form foliage rather than wood. Once the leaves fall to the
ground, most of their carbon decays and returns to the air within three
years - very little is taken up in soils.

"Carbon going into the soil has a rapid turnover time, so it seems we should
not expect carbon in the soil to increase significantly," said Eric Davidson
of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, who reviewed the new
studies for Nature.

Abandoned land

Climate analysts have estimated that around a fifth of industrial emissions
of CO2 are reabsorbed by vegetation on land. The question is: where and how?

Davidson says the studies suggest that CO2-fertilisation cannot be
responsible. It is also unlikely that acid rain is supplying extra nitrogen
to allow trees to grow taller, he says. "Soils immobilise most of the
nitrogen inputs".

More likely, he concludes, the CO2 is being absorbed by "the regrowth of
forests on abandoned farm land and forest land harvested a few decades ago"
in Europe and North America.

More at: Nature (vol 411, p 431, 466, 469)

Correspondence about this story should be directed to

1900 GMT, 23 May 2001

Fred Pearce


From CO2 Science Magazine, 30 May 2001

With the publication last week of two papers in Nature that purport to show
little CO2-induced enhancement of forest growth and soil carbon
sequestration (1, 2), the world of carbon sinks has been turned on its head.
To read the reports of the new research in the popular press, one gets the
impression that the very concept of biological carbon sinks is now defunct.
It is said, for example, that "trees and soils do not automatically absorb
and retain much carbon dioxide" (3), that "forests' impact on carbon dioxide
may not materialize in any important way" (4), and that people who think
"forests can be used to absorb excess carbon dioxide accumulating in the
Earth's atmosphere and contributing to global warming may have to think
again" (5).

The impression one gets from reading these reports, as evidenced by the very
titles of some of them - "Tree-planting no defense against global warming"
(6) and "Trees no savior for global warming" (7) - is that planting trees
and allowing them to grow does extremely little in terms of removing CO2
from the atmosphere and sequestering its carbon in long-lived plant tissues
and soils.  Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

Almost all of us have seen with our own eyes, and can thus vouch for the
fact, that little seedlings typically grow into much larger trees; and
almost half of the dry mass of those trees comes from the carbon of the CO2
they extract from the air, as is explicitly indicated in Reference 1. Hence,
if it's a plant and it's growing, you can be assured it's removing CO2 from
the atmosphere and tucking away much of that CO2's carbon in its tissues, as
well as a portion of it in the soil in which the plant is rooted.

What the two Nature studies describe is something quite different. By means
of FACE technology, they investigate the degree to which extra CO2 in the
air enables trees to produce extra biomass that removes an additional amount
of CO2 from the atmosphere above and beyond the large and visibly-obvious
amount trees are currently removing from the air.  Hence, to say, as another
report does, that "two new studies are challenging the idea that planting
forests could be a cheap way to absorb emissions of carbon dioxide" (8), is
to miss - or misconstrue - the more limited message of the findings of the
new papers, which only address the question of the incremental enhancement
of carbon sequestration caused by an incremental enrichment of the
atmosphere's CO2 concentration.  Even without any CO2-induced enhancement of
their growth rates, for example, the current productivity of earth's trees
is clearly large enough that "planting forests" can have - and indeed does
have - a tremendous impact on the air's CO2 concentration.

Yet even within this more limited domain of applicability, there are
important questions that must be addressed before the findings of the
commotion-causing studies can be considered to be robust.  In the Oren et
al. (1) report, for example, the woody biomass of the trees' trunks,
branches and roots was calculated from trunk-diameter-based allometric
equations derived for the particular loblolly pine trees of the forest
ecosystem they studied, which is a valid approach to take.  But the
equations they employed were derived from data obtained only on trees
growing in ambient air, which could well be a serious misstep; for the same
equations may not apply to trees growing in CO2-enriched air.

In an analogous open-top-chamber study - but of well-watered and fertilized
sour orange trees growing in air of either 400 or 700 ppm CO2 - Idso and
Kimball (9) determined that a single trunk-diameter-based equation did
indeed accurately describe the above-ground woody biomass - actually
biovolume - of the trees of both CO2 treatments.  But it is by no means
certain that the same would be true for loblolly pine trees, especially if
the trees were rooted in soil of low nutrient content that is sometimes
saturated with water and at other times quite deficient in this essential
resource (1,2).

Then there's the question of root biomass.  In the case of the well-watered
and fertilized sour orange trees studied by Idso and Kimball (10), the
percentage growth stimulation of the CO2-enriched trees was essentially
identical both above- and below-ground, which would indeed imply that the
one-equation-fits-all-plant-parts approach employed by Oren et al. (1) for
calculating the whole-plant (trunk, branch and root) biomass of CO2-enriched
trees would indeed be appropriate for well-watered and fertilized sour
orange trees.  But, again, it may not be true for loblolly pine trees,
especially when growing in soil of low nitrogen content, which generally
leads to greater CO2-induced increases in below-ground biomass than in
above-ground biomass (11).

In a study of the effects of a 300 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2
concentration on yellow poplar trees growing in a soil that was
significantly deficient in nitrogen, for example, Norby et al. (12) could
detect no significant biomass increases in any above-ground plant parts
after 2.7 growing seasons, which is an even more extreme finding than that
reported by Oren et al. (1) for the latter part of their experiment.
Nevertheless, Norby et al. did detect a 37% increase in tap root biomass and
a 119% increase in fine root biomass.  And in the very same ecosystem
studied by Oren et al. (1), Matamala and Schlesinger (13) documented an 86%
increase in loblolly pine tree fine-root biomass in response to but a 200
ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which would roughly
correspond to a 129% biomass increase for a 300 ppm increase in atmospheric
CO2 concentration, such as that employed in the experiment of Norby et al.
(12).  Hence, it is very possible, if not highly probable, that both the
fine and the larger-than-fine roots of the CO2-enriched trees studied by
Oren et al. (1) did indeed experience significantly greater increases in
biomass than did the trees' trunks and branches, contrary to what the
researchers assumed in their paper.

Another concern about the Oren et al. analysis is that the woody biomass
values they reported were derived from their calculated biovolume results by
multiplying the latter numbers by experimentally-derived wood density (mass
per volume) values, which they indicate were nearly 8% less in the
CO2-enriched trees than in the ambient-treatment trees.  But in studies of
the very same species (Pinus taeda L.), two groups of researchers found no
detectable differences in the wood densities of ambient and CO2-enriched
trees (14,15), while two other groups actually reported increases that were
as high as 15% in the wood density of the CO2-inriched trees (16,17).
Likewise, in studies of another pine species (Pinus radiata D. Don.), one
research group again found no differences in the densities of the wood of
ambient-grown and CO2-enriched trees (18), while another group found the
wood density of the CO2-enriched trees to be 5 to 6% greater (19).  And in
studies of still other species of trees, researchers have found either no
wood density differences (16,20) or increases of 4% (21), 6% (21), 7% (22),
8% (23), 13% (20) and 33% (14).  Hence, Oren et al.'s "lone report" of a
CO2-induced decrease in wood density seems highly suspect.

What are the potential consequences of these observations? Merely assuming
atmospheric CO2 enrichment to have had no effect on the wood density of the
loblolly pine trees studied by Oren et al. would raise their reported 6 to
7% CO2-induced increases in woody biomass over the last few years of their
study to 15 to 16% increases. Assuming a conservative 5% increase in the
wood density of the CO2-enriched trees would further elevate the CO2-induced
biomass increases to 21 to 22%, which for the more-commonly-employed
experimental CO2 increase of 300 ppm would roughly correspond to woody
biomass increases of 32 to 33%.

Additionally, these CO2-induced biomass increases should probably be raised
even higher, in light of the likelihood that the CO2-enriched trees of the
Oren et al. study produced significantly more root tissue than what their
ambient-treatment-derived allometric equations predicted, due to the low
soil fertility of their experimental site, which generally favors greater
below-ground growth than above-ground growth under conditions of atmospheric
CO2 enrichment.  In the study of Jach et al. (24), for example, another
species of pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) growing on a nutrient poor soil had
its root biomass increased by fully three times more than its trunk biomass
as a consequence of atmospheric CO2 enrichment experienced over a period of
three years.

The soil carbon data of the study of Schlesinger and Lichter (2) may also be
interpreted in a significantly different manner from that employed by its
authors.  The total carbon content of the uppermost 30 cm of the soil
profile - which according to the authors includes "nearly all of the root
biomass" - can be determined from their data to have been 15.5% greater in
the CO2-enriched plots than in the ambient control plots after the first
three years of their experiment.  Although this result was noted by the
authors to not be significant in a strict statistical sense, the difference
is nevertheless substantial.  Adjusted to a 300 ppm enrichment of the air's
CO2 content, for example, it amounts to an increase of roughly 23%.

Much more important, of course, are the changes in soil carbon content
experienced in the ambient and CO2-enriched plots since the start of the
differential CO2 treatments.  In fact, this is the only true measure of the
impact of the experimental elevation of the air's CO2 content upon the
soil's ability to sequester carbon.  The only reported data that can be used
to investigate this phenomenon, however, are the percent carbon (%C) values
for the top 15 cm of the soil profile, which at the start of the study were
determined to be 1.432% in the control plots and 1.542% in the CO2-enriched
plots, with the difference between them being claimed by Schlesinger and
Lichter (2) to be "not significantly different."  After three years,
however, the %C in the control plots was reduced to 1.31%, while the %C in
the CO2-enriched plots was increased to 1.59%; and in this case the
difference between the latter two values was determined to be statistically

Taking these four numbers at their face values, we can calculate the
relative changes in the %C of the top 15 cm of soil in the ambient and
CO2-enriched plots over the first three years of the experiment.  For the
ambient plots, the result is a relative decline of 8.5%; while for the
CO2-enriched plots, the result is a relative increase of 3.1%.  Since the
initial %C values of the two treatments were deemed to be not significantly
different from each other, however, we could also have calculated the
relative changes over the course of the experiment from the average of the
two pre-treatment %C values, which is 1.487%.  Redoing the math then gives a
relative ambient-treatment %C decline of 11.9% and a relative CO2-enriched
%C increase of 6.9%.

Viewed in this light, the importance of atmospheric CO2 enrichment to soil
carbon sequestration is immediately obvious.  Under the site-specific
conditions of the study in question, the soils of the forest plots growing
in ambient air were actually losing carbon, i.e., they were carbon sources;
while the soils of the plots exposed to the extra 200 ppm of CO2 were
gaining carbon, i.e., they were carbon sinks.

So what's the bottom line? In terms of trees, just a little less than half
of the biomass that comprises their tissues is carbon that was acquired from
the air. Hence, trees are indeed substantial carbon sinks; and the more of
them there are, and the faster they grow, the more CO2 they remove from the
atmosphere.  In terms of carbon sequestration in soils, there are many
complex and competing factors that come together to determine what is
occurring in this underground realm.  In general, however, the greater the
productivity of the forest, the greater will be the input of organic matter
to the soil and the greater will be the potential for carbon sequestration

Superimposed upon these general "rules of thumb" are the effects of
atmospheric CO2 enrichment, which typically enhances the carbon sequestering
prowess of both trees and soils.  And in the case of soils, as is evident
from the data of Schlesinger and Lichter (2), extra atmospheric CO2 can
sometimes turn a soil that is losing carbon into a soil that is gaining

As to why the press stories generated by the Nature papers were so negative,
and why the scientists who produced the papers wrote so disparagingly about
the potential for forests to sequester carbon, is anybody's guess. There
was, of course, great pressure upon the United States to forsake this
approach to reducing the rate-of-rise of the air's CO2 content during the
last round of Kyoto Protocol negotiations; and those sentiments still
prevail among many national governments (particularly in Europe), as well as
within both pseudo and serious environmental organizations worldwide.
Consequently, the papers in question appeared within a highly-charged
political context that may not have been conducive to a dispassionate
discussion of the data they contained.  Even if the world was not running
hot, political passions were; and they may well have gotten in the way of
rational thinking.

Dr. Craig D. Idso, President 
Dr. Keith E. Idso, Vice President 

1. Oren, R., Ellsworth, D.S., Johnsen, K.H., Phillips, N., Ewers, B.E.,
Maier, C., Schafer K.V.R., McCarthy, H., Hendrey, G., McNulty, S.G. and
Katul, G.G.  2001.  Soil fertility limits carbon sequestration by forest
ecosystems in a CO2-enriched atmosphere.  Nature 411: 469-472.
2. Schlesinger, W.H. and Lichter, J.  2001.  Limited carbon storage in soil
and litter of experimental forest plots under increased atmospheric CO2.
Nature 411: 466-469.

3. Kirby, A.  23 May 2001.  Carbon sinks 'may not help much.'  BBC News.

4. Verrengia, J.B.  23 May 2001.  Global warming carbon experiments.
Associated Press.

5. Reaney, P.  23 May 2001.  Scientists query future power of 'carbon
sinks.'  Reuters.

6. Anonymous.  23 May 2001.  Tree-planting no defense against global
warming: studies.  AFP.

7. Spotts, P.N.  25 May 2001.  Trees no savior for global warming.  The
Christian Science Monitor.

8. Revkin, A.C.  24 May 2001.  Studies challenge role of trees in curbing
greenhouse gases.  The New York Times.

9. Idso, S.B. and Kimball, B.A.  1992.  Aboveground inventory of sour orange
trees exposed to different atmospheric CO2 concentrations for 3 full years.
Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 60: 145-151.

10. Idso, S.B. and Kimball, B.A.  1991.  Effects of two and a half years of
atmospheric CO2 enrichment on the root density distribution of
three-year-old sour orange trees.  Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 55:

11. Waring, R.H. and Schlesinger, W.H.  1985.  Forest Ecosystems: Concepts
and Management.  Academic Press, Orlando, FL.

12. Norby, R.J., Gunderson, C.A., Wullschleger, S.D., O'Neill, E.G. and
McCracken, M.K.  1992.  Productivity and compensatory responses of
yellow-poplar trees in elevated CO2.  Nature 357: 322-324.

13. Matamala, R. and Schlesinger, W.H.  2000.  Effects of elevated
atmospheric CO2 on fine root production and activity in an intact temperate
forest ecosystem.  Global Change Biology 6: 967-979.

14. Rogers, H.H., Bingham, G.E., Cure, J.D., Smith, J.M. and Surano, K.A.
1983.  Response of selected plant species to elevated carbon dioxide in the
field.  Journal of Environmental Quality 12: 569-574.

15. Telewski, F.W. and Strain, B.R.  1987.  Densitometric and ring width
analysis of 3-year-old Pinus taeda L. and Liquidambar styraciflua L. grown
under three levels of CO2 and two water regimes.  In: Jacoby, G.C. and
Hornbeck, J.W. (Eds.) Proceedings of the International Symposium on
Ecological Aspects of Tree Ring Analysis.  U.S. Dept. of Energy DOE/CONF
8608144, pp. 494-500.

16. Doyle, T.W.  1987.  Seedling response to CO2 enrichment under stressed
and non-stressed conditions.  In: Jacoby, G.C. and Hornbeck, J.S. (Eds.)
Proceedings of the International Symposium on Ecological Aspects of Tree
Ring Analysis.  U.S. Dept. of Energy DOE/CONF 8608144. National Technical
Information Service, Springfield, VA, pp. 501-506.

17. Telewski, F.W., Swanson, R.T., Strain, B.R. and Burns, J.M.  1999.  Wood
properties and ring width responses to long-term atmospheric CO2 enrichment
in field-grown loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.).  Plant, Cell and Environment
22: 213-219.

18. Donaldson, L.A., Hollinger, D., Middleton, T.M. and Souter, E.D.  1987.
Effect of CO2 enrichment on wood structure in Pinus radiata D. Don.
International Association of Wood Anatomists Bulletin, New Series 8:

19. Conroy, J.P., Milham, P.J., Mazur, M. and Barlow, E.W.R.  1990.  Growth,
dry matter partitioning and wood properties of Pinus radiata D. Don. after 2
years of CO2 enrichment.  Plant, Cell and Environment 13: 329-337.

20. Cuelmans, R.  1998.  Responses of trees to climate change.  In: Peter,
D., Maracchi, G. and Ghazi, A. (Eds.) Course on Climate Change Impact on
Agriculture and Forestry, Office for Official Publications of the EC,
Luxembourg, pp. 507-517.

21. Tognetti, R., Johnson, J.D., Michelozzi, M. and Raschi, A.  1998.
Response of foliar metabolism in mature trees of Quercus pubescens and
Quercus ilex to long-term elevated CO2.  Environmental and Experimental
Botany 39: 233-245.

22. Norby, R.J., Wullschleger, S.D. and Gunderson, C.A.  1996.  Tree
responses to elevated CO2 and implications for forests.  In: Koch, G.W. and
Mooney, H.A. (Eds.) Carbon Dioxide and Terrestrial Ecosystems. Academic
Press, New York, NY, pp. 1-21.

23. Hattenschwiler, S., Schweingruber, F.H. and Korner, C.  1996.  Tree ring
responses to elevated CO2 and increased N deposition in Picea abies.  Plant,
Cell and Environment 19: 1369-1378.

24. Jach, M.E., Laureysens, I. and Ceulmans, R.  2000.  Above- and
below-ground production of young Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) trees
after three years of growth in the field under elevated CO2.  Annals of
Botany 85: 789-798.
Copyright © 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


From CO2 Science Magazine, 30 May 2001

How much of an influence the sun exerts on earth's climate has long been a
topic of heated discussion in the area of global climate change.  The
primary reason for differing opinions on the subject derives from the facts
that (1) numerous studies have demonstrated a correlation between various
measures of solar activity and climatic phenomena, and (2) the amount of
solar radiative forcing reported in these studies is generally found to be
so small that it is difficult to see how it could possibly produce climatic
effects of the magnitude observed.  Supporters of solar effects theories
thus generally contend that various feedback mechanisms may amplify the
initial solar perturbation to the extent that significant changes in climate
do indeed result.  In this summary we highlight some of the recent
scientific literature that demonstrates the viability of such solar-climate

Many solar-climate studies utilize tree-ring records of 14C as a measure of
solar activity, because solar activity (including variations in the number
of sunspots and the brightness of the sun) influences the production and
amount of 14C, such that periods of higher solar activity yield a lower
production and atmospheric burden of 14C (Perry and Hsu, 2000). This being
the case, it can be appreciated that as trees remove carbon from the
atmosphere and sequester it in their tissues, they are recording a history
of solar activity that could be influencing earth's atmosphere-ocean system.
Thus, the history of 14C contained in tree rings has been examined by a
number of authors as a proxy indicator of solar activity and compared with
various indices of climate.

A good example of this type of work is the study of Hong et al. (2000), who
developed a 6000-year high-resolution delta18O record from plant cellulose
deposited in a peat bog in the Jilin Province of China (42° 20' N, 126° 22'
E) from which they inferred the temperature history of that location over
the past six millennia.  In comparing this record with changes in
atmospheric 14C derived from tree rings, the authors found a "remarkable,
nearly one to one, correspondence," which led them to conclude that the
temperature history of this region over the past 6000 years was "forced
mainly by solar variability."  Similar conclusions have been drawn by Karlén
(1998), who analyzed changes in the sizes of glaciers and the altitude of
the alpine tree-limit, as well as variations in the width of tree rings in
Scandinavia, over the last 10,000 years.  When comparing these data with
tree-ring 14C anomalies, they too observed strong correlations.

Other 14C studies reveal a solar influence in Oman and Mexico.  Neff et al.
(2001) investigated the relationship between a 14C tree-ring record and a
delta18O proxy record of monsoon rainfall intensity as recorded in calcite
delta18O data obtained from a stalagmite in northern Oman for the period
9,600-6,100 years ago, reporting an "extremely strong" relationship between
the two data sets.  Comparison of lake sediment core data taken from
Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and a 14C tree-ring record covering the past 2600
years revealed similar periodicities, leading Hodell et al. (2001) to
conclude that "a significant component of century-scale variability in
Yucatan droughts is explained by solar forcing."

More examples of a solar forcing of drought come from Yu and Ito (1999),
Dean and Schwalb (2000), Black et al. (1999) and Verschuren et al. (2000).
Yu and Ito (1999) report that recurring intervals of drought in the Great
Plains of North America occur with periodicities of 100, 130, 200 and 400
years and that they line up "in surprising detail" with several solar
indices, leading them to seriously consider "solar variability as the major
cause of century-scale drought frequency in the northern Great Plains."
Dean and Schwalb (2000) report similar solar-related drought conditions with
periodicities of 200 and 400 years for the Great Plains; and Black et al.
(1999) report finding a solar related influence on climate variability in
the North Atlantic, which, they contend, "may play a role in triggering
changes in the frequency and persistence of drought over North America."  In
addition, Verschuren et al. (2000) report a solar-drought link for
equatorial east Africa, noting that all three of the severest drought events
of the past 700 years there were "broadly coeval with phases of high solar
radiation, and the intervening periods of increased moisture were coeval
with phases of low solar radiation."

Many other researchers have also commented on a solar-climate link. Vaganov
et al. (2000) reported finding a significant correlation between solar
activity and temperature over the past 600 years in the Asian subarctic,
while Domak et al. (2001) make a case for similar solar influences over the
past 13,000 years, based upon radiocarbon and spectral analyses of data from
an ocean sediment core on the inner continental shelf of the western
Antarctic Peninsula.  In addition, Rozelot (2001) examined variations in the
sun's radius and compared them to temperature records of the past four
centuries, finding that "warm periods on Earth correlate well with smaller
apparent diameter of the Sun and colder ones with a bigger Sun."

With respect to more recent solar and climatic history, Lockwood et al.
(1999) determined that, contemporaneously with the warming of the earth, the
sun's total magnetic flux rose by a factor of 1.41 over the period 1964-1996
and by a factor of 2.3 since 1901.  Commenting on this finding, Parker
(1999) noted that the doubling of the magnetic field of the sun over the
past century was accompanied by a doubling of the number of sunspots, and
that one consequence of the latter phenomenon is a much more vigorous sun
that is slightly brighter, which caused him to wonder "to what extent the
solar brightening has contributed to the increase in atmospheric temperature
and CO2."  Likewise, Broecker (1999) wonders if cycles in the solar wind
might not have been responsible for the warming of the 1980s and 90s.

How do small changes in solar activity, as discussed above, influence
climate?  Chambers et al. (1999), Van Geel et al. (1999), Tobias and Weiss
(2000) and Solanki et al. (2000) have each identified viable "multiplier
effects" that can operate on solar rhythms in such a way that minor
variations in solar activity can be reflected in more significant variations
within the earth's atmosphere. Principal among these phenomena is the effect
of cosmic rays on cloud cover.  Recently, for example, Kniveton and Todd
(2001) reported "evidence of a statistically strong relationship between
cosmic ray flux, precipitation and precipitation efficiency over ocean
surfaces at mid to high latitudes."  Not surprisingly, however, a review of
the models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to predict
future greenhouse gas-induced global warming revealed such processes to be
inadequately represented and even ignored (Chambers et al., 1999).

In view of these many observations, and with respect to the claims that have
been raised about potential CO2-induced global warming in many governmental
and political circles, we agree with Parker (1999) that "it is essential to
check to what extent the facts support these conclusions [about CO2 and
global warming] before embarking on drastic, perilous and perhaps misguided
plans for global action."


Black, D.E., Peterson, L.C., Overpeck, J.T., Kaplan, A., Evans, M.N. and
Kashgarian, M.  1999.  Eight centuries of North Atlantic Ocean atmosphere
variability.  Science 286: 1709-1713.

Broecker, W.  1999.  Climate change prediction.  Science 283: 179.

Chambers, F.M., Ogle, M.I. and Blackford, J.J.  1999.  Palaeoenvironmental
evidence for solar forcing of Holocene climate: linkages to solar science.
Progress in Physical Geography 23: 181-204.

Dean, W.E. and Schwalb, A.  2000.  Holocene environmental and climatic
change in the Northern Great Plains as recorded in the geochemistry of
sediments in Pickerel Lake, South Dakota.  Quaternary International 67:

Domack, E., Leventer, A., Dunbar, R., Taylor, F., Brachfeld, S., Sjunneskog,
C. and ODP Leg 178 Scientific Party.  2001.  Chronology of the Palmer Deep
site, Antarctic Peninsula: A Holocene palaeoenvironmental reference for the
circum-Antarctic.  The Holocene 11: 1-9.

Hodell, D.A., Brenner, M., Curtis, J.H. and Guilderson, T.  2001.  Solar
forcing of drought frequency in the Maya lowlands.  Science 292: 1367-1370.

Hong, Y.T., Jiang, H.B., Liu, T.S., Zhou, L.P., Beer, J., Li, H.D., Leng,
X.T., Hong, B. and Qin, X.G.  2000.  Response of climate to solar forcing
recorded in a 6000-year delta18O time-series of Chinese peat cellulose.  The
Holocene 10: 1-7.

Karlén, W.  1998.  Climate variations and the enhanced greenhouse effect.
Ambio 27: 270-274.

Kniveton, D.R. and Todd, M.C.  2001.  On the relationship of cosmic ray flux
and precipitation.  Geophysical Research Letters 28: 1527-1530.

Lockwood, M., Stamper, R. and Wild, M.N.  1999.  A doubling of the Sun's
coronal magnetic field during the past 100 years.  Nature 399: 437-439.

Neff, U., Burns, S.J., Mangini, A., Mudelsee, M., Fleitmann, D and Matter,
A.  2001.  Strong coherence between solar variability and the monsoon in
Oman between 9 and 6 kyr ago.  Nature 411: 290-293.

Parker, E.N.  1999.  Sunny side of global warming.  Nature 399: 416-417.

Perry, C.A. and Hsu, K.J.  2000.  Geophysical, archaeological, and
historical evidence support a solar-output model for climate change.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 97: 12433-12438.

Rozelot, J.P.  2001.  Possible links between the solar radius variations and
the Earth's climate evolution over the past four centuries.  Journal of
Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 63: 375-386.

Solanki, S.K., Schussler, M. and Fligge, M.  2000.  Evolution of the sun's
large-scale magnetic field since the Maunder minimum.  Nature 408: 445-447.

Tobias, S.M. and Weiss, N.O.  2000.  Resonant interactions between solar
activity and climate.  Journal of Climate 13: 3745-3759.

Vaganov, E.A., Briffa, K.R., Naurzbaev, M.M., Schweingruber, F.H., Shiyatov,
S.G. and Shishov, V.V.  2000.  Long-term climatic changes in the arctic
region of the Northern Hemisphere.  Doklady Earth Sciences 375: 1314-1317.

Van Geel, B., Raspopov, O.M., Renssen, H., van der Plicht, J., Dergachev,
V.A. and Meijer, H.A.J.  1999.  The role of solar forcing upon climate
change.  Quaternary Science Reviews 18: 331-338.

Verschuren, D., Laird, K.R. and Cumming, B.F.  2000.  Rainfall and drought
in equatorial east Africa during the past 1,100 years.  Nature 403: 410-414.

Yu, Z. and Ito, E.  1999.  Possible solar forcing of century-scale drought
frequency in the northern Great Plains.  Geology 27: 263-266.
Copyright © 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


From CO2 Science Magazine, 30 May 2001

Neff, U., Burns, S.J., Mangini, A., Mudelsee, M., Fleitmann, D and Matter,
A.  2001.  Strong coherence between solar variability and the monsoon in
Oman between 9 and 6 kyr ago.  Nature 411: 290-293.

What was done
For the period 9,600-6,100 years before present, the authors investigated
the relationship between a 14C tree-ring record and a delta18O proxy record
of monsoon rainfall intensity as recorded in calcite delta18O data obtained
from a stalagmite in northern Oman.

What was learned
The correlation between the two data sets was reported to be "extremely
strong," and a spectral analysis of the data revealed statistically
significant periodicities centered on 779, 205, 134 and 87 years for the
delta18O record and periodicities of 206, 148, 126, 89, 26 and 10.4 years
for the 14C record.

What it means
Because variations in 14C tree-ring records are generally attributed to
variations in solar activity and intensity, and because of this particular
14C record's strong correlation with the delta18O record, as well as the
closely corresponding results of the spectral analyses, the authors conclude
there is "solid evidence" that both signals (the 14C and delta18O records)
are responding to solar forcing.  The physical mechanism by which slight
changes in solar activity are amplified to the point that they can affect
the precipitation pattern of this or any other region remains elusive,
however, demonstrating we still have much to learn about earth's climate
system, even when it is clear which factor (solar variability) must be the
driver of the observed climate change (because climate change on earth
cannot possibly influence what occurs on the sun).
Copyright © 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


From CO2 Science Magazine, 30 May 2001

Kniveton, D.R. and Todd, M.C. 2001. On the relationship of cosmic ray flux
and precipitation.  Geophysical Research Letters 28: 1527-1530.

What was done
Previous work has suggested that increased (decreased) cosmic ray flux at
the solar minimum (maximum) causes increased (decreased) ice-nucleation,
precipitation efficiency and precipitation at high geomagnetic latitudes and
decreased (increased) ice-nucleation, precipitation efficiency and
precipitation at low geomagnetic latitudes. Using cosmic ray data recorded
by ground based neutron monitors, global precipitation data from the Climate
Predictions Center Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP) project, and
estimates of monthly global moisture from the National Centers for
Environmental Prediction (NCEP) reanalysis project, the authors set out to
evaluate whether there is any empirical evidence to support the hypothesis
that solar variability (determined by changes in cosmic ray flux) is linked
to climate change (manifested by changes in precipitation and precipitation
efficiency) over the period 1979-1999.

What was learned
The authors report there is "evidence of a statistically strong relationship
between cosmic ray flux (CFR), precipitation (P) and precipitation
efficiency (PE) over ocean surfaces at mid to high latitudes," as variations
in both precipitation and precipitation efficiency for mid to high latitudes
showed a close relationship in both phase and magnitude with variations in
cosmic ray flux, varying 7-9% during the solar cycle of the 1980s.  Other
potential factors that might explain the trends in precipitation and
precipitation efficiency were ruled out due to poorer statistical

What it means
This study suggests that small changes in solar output can induce
significant changes in earth's climate. With empirical evidence mounting for
a solar-induced cloud and water vapor climate feedback (see Solar Climate
Effects and Extraterrestrial Climate Effects in our Subject Index), and
given the fact that the total magnetic flux leaving the sun has risen by a
factor of 1.41 over the period 1964-1996 and by a factor of 2.3 since 1901
(see Additional Evidence for a Solar-Climate Link), climate modelers should
be paying more attention to these phenomena and incorporating them into
their general circulation models of the atmosphere; for it could be that
much, if not all, of the 20th century warming had its origins in solar
variability and not the historical rise in the air's CO2 concentration.
Copyright © 2001.  Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change


From World Climate Report, 28 May 2001

Scientists consider "Nature" to be one of the premier journals for
publishing their very best, most paradigm-shifting research. An article in
that prestigious journal is a highlight in the career of any up and coming

But with the advent of global warming hysteria, some Nature editors have
apparently decided their primary mission is to influence international
policy. In recent years, this once proud journal has published some global
warming "science" that wouldn't pass muster at your local 8th-grade science
fair (OK, that's too harsh. Local high school science fair.).

How does that happen in light of the scientific peer review process-in which
fellow researchers vet submissions for their soundness? It's a simple matter
of journal editors selecting the "right" reviewers. Almost any manuscript
can be published (or rejected) if an editor wants it to be. In Nature, for
example-a British publication that routinely editorializes on the U.S.
government's intransigence on the Kyoto Protocol-it's hardly surprising that
the editors publish several new global warming scare stories each month.
Pick an obscure bird or butterfly that had population declines for a year or
two, claim that, "although much study remains to be done," the declines
could be related to global warming, send it off to Nature, and you're one
giant step closer to tenure. And the resulting press brouhaha, with you at
center stage, won't hurt your cause, either.

Such context explains the recent Nature paper entitled, "Emperor Penguins
and Climate Change," by French scientists Christophe Barbraud and Henri
Weimerskirch. Instead of operating in our usual mode of telling you what
they did and why they're wrong, let's just look at some of their graphs,
which we took directly from the paper. Figure 1 (top) shows average winter
and summer temperatures recorded near the Dumont d'Urville Station's emperor
penguin colony in Terre Adélie, Antarctica. The bottom portion of Figure 1
shows a large decline in the number of breeding pairs. But please note:
There is no evidence of warming or cooling in summer; there is no evidence
of warming or cooling in winter. Yet given the paper's title, how many of
you think that the authors uncovered no relationship between penguins and

Figure 1. Historical record of summer and winter temperature in the penguin
colony (top) and number of breeding pairs observed (bottom).

Now let's look at Figure 2, a plot of modeled survival estimates of adult
male and female penguins against annual sea-surface temperature (SST)
departures, using data from 1982-1988. The authors write:

...SST accounted for most (89.8%) of this yearly variation in survival.
Emperor penguins survived less when SSTs were higher...To our knowledge,
this is the first time that the consequences of changes in major oceanic
parameters on the dynamics of an Antarctic large predator have been
identified, and particularly that the proximate and ultimate factors
affecting the dynamics of the population have been documented.
Figure 2. Sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies vs. survival probability
of adult penguins. Notice how this relationship is unduly influenced by the
observations from a single very warm year.

They have seven years of data. Seven! Seven data points do not provide
enough information to meet any standard of statistical robustness. And
furthermore, one of their data points is unduly influential: Removing it
from the analysis greatly weakens their conclusion. The authors go on to
link penguin population changes to sea ice extent, and conclude that
"emperor penguins may be very susceptible to environmental variability
[emphasis ours-why not just say what you mean? -Eds.] and that further
long-lasting coupled anomalies are likely to affect their populations."

Next comes the press barrage. Here's the coverage from the on-line National
Geographic News May 9 (beneath a photograph of an adult penguin feeding its

...researchers have shown that an abnormally long warm spell in the Southern
Ocean during the late 1970s contributed to a decline in the population of
emperor penguins...
Terre Adélie experiences a warming period every four or five years that
generally lasts about a year. In the late 1970s, however, the warming
continued for several years...
Weimerskirch thinks the unusually warm spell was probably the result of
global warming. [Again, see Figure 1. -Eds.]

And here's what the BBC had to say a day later (beneath the requisite
picture of cute penguins):

French scientists have warned that penguins in the Antarctic could
be very susceptible to changes in climate and could be threatened by any
long-term temperature shifts. The researchers made their remarks after
observing a dramatic decline in the population of one bird colony, which
coincided with an abnormal warm period in the Southern Ocean in the
1970s. [Reminder: See Figure 1. -Eds.]

To the BBC's credit, its reporters found some British researchers who
weren't quite so willing to jump on the global warming/penguin bandwagon.
But to the unknowing public, the damage has been done. Just another piece of
mounting evidence that global warming is having major ecological impacts.

What's unusual about this particular instance is that the authors are not to
blame. They made no effort to hide the fact that there is obviously no
relationship between the penguin die-off and temperature. Since their
underlying premise was that this event was caused by climate change, it
became possible to find the mechanism despite the mountain of evidence
against it that was staring them in the face. Perhaps they should be

This episode is reminiscent of Stephen Jay Gould's account of a scientist
named Morton in his book The Mismeasure of Man. Morton, who was convinced
that cranial capacity was a measure of intelligence and that European males
were of superior intellect, filled skulls of different races and sexes with
BBs to estimate the volume of each skull in his collection. According to
Gould, Morton tightly packed the white male skulls with BBs but was less
enthusiastic in filling the nonwhite male skulls. Gould found it interesting
that Morton fully documented his results and methods, suggesting that Morton
was completely unaware that he was biasing his own experiment. (In an ironic
twist, later research on Morton's results suggest that Gould himself may
have exaggerated the extent of Morton's biases.)

Clearly, the authors of the penguin paper, and the editors and reviewers for
Nature, see a global warming signature in Figure 1 that completely eludes
us. Is that because of our scientific preconceptions or theirs?

One of the fundamental tenets of science is that all results must be viewed
with a healthy dose of skepticism. Numerous statistical tests have been
devised to overcome that skepticism-to persuade a wary reviewer that a set
of results could only very rarely arise by random chance alone. One warm
year in a seven-year sample, as Figure 2 shows, provides zero statistical
evidence of a climate change impact. The sample is simply not large enough
to support any conclusions. But when political expediency trumps scientific
scrutiny, healthy skepticism is casually dismissed. And so, apparently, is
the credibility of one of the world's great science journals.


Barbraud, C., and H. Weimerskirch, 2001. Emperor penguins and climate
change, Nature, 411, 183-186.

Gould, S.J., 1981, The Mismeasure of Man, W.W. Norton & Co.


From World Climate Report, 28 May 2001

By Robert C. Balling Jr., Ph.D.
Arizona State University

A current issue of New Phytologist is completely devoted to the effect of
elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on the global ecosystem. Not
surprisingly, several of those articles deal exclusively with wheat growth
rates; indeed, wheat is very popular with the scientific set, thanks to its
responsiveness to weather and climate.

In the first study, a team of scientists from the Netherlands, Argentina,
Denmark, and Germany built a sophisticated computer model of wheat-growth
processes. They tested that model using wheat grown at CO2 levels of 410
parts per million (ppm) and 680 ppm. Among their many findings, Rodriguez
and colleagues reported that "elevated CO2 promoted final biomass by 12
percent" and "photosynthesis was increased by 33 percent" when CO2 was
higher. Radiation use efficiency, they found, increased by 39 percent when
atmospheric carbon dioxide rose.

Scientists from Arizona, Germany, and Nebraska developed a numerical model
of wheat growth that they compared with their model simulations to wheat
grown in central Arizona with natural and elevated (550 ppm) atmospheric CO2
concentrations. Grossman-Clarke and colleagues noted from the outset that
many previous studies had shown "an average increase in growth and yield of
about 30 percent" when CO2 doubled. In discussing final grain biomass, they
found that "This translates in a CO2 effect of 12 [percent] and 15 percent
for the measurements and the simulations, respectively, under unlimited
water supply and the higher values of 25 [percent] and 34 percent under
water limitation." Furthermore, "The CO2 effect on grain mass is clearly
higher under water limitation for both the measured and simulated results."
They found that root biomass increased under elevated CO2, which gave the
plants a competitive advantage in terms of water uptake.

And finally, a team of scientists from Washington and Arizona grew spring
wheat over four different growing seasons in central Arizona in field plots
with atmospheric CO2 concentrations maintained at natural (near 350 ppm) and
550 ppm. The levels of irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer varied. When the
nitrogen levels were low, the grain quality and bread-making quality were
negatively impacted by lower CO2. But they concluded that "with ample
nitrogen fertilizer, the effects will be minor."

These three articles show us that with elevated atmospheric CO2
concentrations, a) wheat biomass will increase, b) wheat increases its
overall growth efficiency, and c) with adequate fertilizer, future grain
quality need not suffer.


Grossman-Clarke, S., et al.,. 2001. Modelling a spring wheat crop under
elevated CO2 and drought. New Phytologist, 150, 315-335.

Kimball, B.A., et al.,. 2001. Elevated CO2, drought and soil nitrogen
effects on wheat grain quality. New Phytologist, 150, 295-303.

Rodriguez, D., et al., 2001. Modelling the response of wheat canopy
assimilation to atmospheric CO2 concentrations. New Phytologist, 150,


From Tech Central Station, 28 May 2001

"New research findings have identified declines in the extent of
Arctic sea ice and its thickness over the past several decades. The average
thickness from the ice surface to the bottom of the ice pack has declined
by about 40 percent. A related study ... estimate(s) the probability
that the observed trends could be caused entirely by natural variability is
less than 2 percent. This research suggests that human activities are very
likely contributing to the loss of Arctic ice."

That is how the U.S. Global Change Research Program public relations
department characterized one of the group's top accomplishments last year.
The report of the Arctic meltdown was greeted with doomsday headlines and as
confirmation of humans being the source of global warming. In January, the
World Resources Institute even trumpeted that finding as a reason President
George W. Bush should resume climate talks and seek ratification of the 1997
Kyoto Protocol, an action that would require a 30 percent cut in U.S. fossil
fuel use at substantial cost to workers and the economy.

In recent weeks, though, there's been some good news about Arctic ice that
the media have chosen to ignore. A Swedish researcher, performing a
re-examination of the data garnered on Arctic ice by U.S. submarine
measurements, reported in Geophysical Research Letters in March that there
has been no thinning of ice in the Arctic Sea for the last dozen years. In
April, at an international meeting of Arctic scientists, Greg Holloway, a
Canadian scientist who has studied the Arctic for decades, provided a reason
for the discrepancy: Arctic ice oscillates with the winds in 50 year cycles.
The submarines' measurements didn't take the movement into account.

The point of this is not to say that the initial Arctic ice study was bad
science or that the most recent reports are free of flaws. It is to caution
the public and policymakers against being rushed to action by scaremongers
and the media who broadcast their message. For the science of climate
change, despite what proponents of the theory of global warming claim, is
hardly settled. It is filled with uncertainty.

This is not a narrowly held view. It was the message delivered in a National
Academy of Science's report, "Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways
for the Next Decade." The report issued in 1999 was requested by the
government as a critique of the first decade of research into global climate
change and as a guide for the next decade.

It's important to appreciate the efforts of scientists drawn together to
explore issues of public import.  And the media often pick up NAS findings
and report them to the public. What was noticeable about the "Pathways"
report and subsequent follow-ups is the absence of attention by the press.
The question is why? Is it because this report upset - as do the studies on
Arctic ice -- the preconceived notions that the science of climate change is
settled and mankind is its cause?

A key conclusion of the NAS scientists was that "a great deal more needs to
be understood ... about global environmental change before we concentrate on
'mitigation' science." It warned that: "Anthropogenic global change (that
is, climate changes caused by mankind) cannot be assessed without adequate
understanding and documentation of natural climate variability on
time-scales of years to centuries - in other words, without adequate
baseline understanding."  It found that "the impressive, and abrupt, swings
in climate recorded over the past several thousand years may, if anything,
understate the potential for natural climate variability."

The report noted uncertainties in measurement of sea level and temperature.
It posed a dozen research questions about greenhouse gases that needed
answering. It raised serious reservations about the modeling being used as
confirmation of global warming. It called for better observations of
conditions on the lands, oceans and in the atmosphere before drawing
meaningful conclusions. Follow up NAS reports have reiterated many of these
same reservations. A report "The Science of Regional and Global Change:
Putting Knowledge to Work," for example, noted: "We still do not have
sufficient knowledge or analytical capability to fully assess the magnitude
of ... (environmental) changes."

Such findings point to the need not for rapid action by policymakers, as
pushed by certain European diplomats and environmental organizations, but
for more research on climate and its variability. And those researchers
shouldn't be pressured by politics or encouraged by publicity to find a
particular answer. They should be given the space, the time, the funding and
support to seek and find the truth.

The science of climate change today does not call for rash action that could
raise havoc with economies worldwide and even cause worse damage to the
environment over time. Indeed, the science tells us such self-inflicted
economic damage is unnecessary, unwarranted and foolish. It is time that
story came out.

Copyright 2001,


From the BBC News Online, 23 May 2001

Dykes could save Siberian city

A second wave of flood water is heading along the River Lena towards the
Siberian city of Yakutsk, but officials expect fortified dykes to protect
the city after bombing loosened a blockage downstream.

Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said water levels were dropping and that
the effects of Wednesday's wave "won't be as catastrophic" as the one that
hit on Tuesday.

Officials said they expected the crest to hit Yakutsk around 5pm local time

Inundations upstream have killed five people and left two others missing in
the city of Lensk.

The floods are the worst in a century
Emergency workers spent Tuesday frantically reinforcing dykes in Yakutsk, a
city of 200,000 inhabitants some 4,830km (3,000 miles) east of Moscow.

Thousands of people have already been evacuated, but some people are
refusing to leave their houses in for fear of looting, taking refuge instead
in their attics and on roofs.

The floods - the worst to hit Siberia for a century - were triggered by a
spring thaw after a particularly harsh winter.

The waters rose to record levels on Tuesday morning, but subsided after
bombers and helicopter gunships were used to blast away ice jams in the vast
River Lena.

Reinforcing dykes

Emergency workers in Yakutsk have been using heavy trucks to dump sand in
dykes around residential areas.

Hospital patients who are able to walk were sent home to prepare for the
emergency, while others have been moved to higher floors.

Bombs were used to break up the ice
City authorities have opened 35 evacuation centres with capacity for 20,000

People in nearby villages have driven their livestock onto higher ground,
but some cattle have drowned.

In one district of Yakutsk, where the water reached the windows of
one-storey wooden houses, the mood was almost festive, as people huddled in
boats and drank vodka.

In the city centre, rescue workers have been diving around in buses
broadcasting flood warnings over loudspeakers. Schools and factories are
closed and the sale of alcohol in shops and restaurants has been banned.

"If the water hits the city, it will be very cold and people will start
warming themselves up in the usual Russian way. It will be much easier for
us to save them if they are sober," a regional spokeswoman said.

Wiped out

Floodwaters from the river Lena, Russia's fourth longest, devastated the
town of Lensk last week.
In Lensk thousands of people are homeless and 1,800 homes destroyed.
Emergency officials there have set up camps, and are handing out bread,
water and hot meals.

Though spring flooding happens every year in Russia, the current exceptional
levels could devastate Yakutsk, which is built on a forest of mainly wooden

"What happened this year is basically what you would expect to see every 100
years," said Lev Kuchment of the Institute for Water Problems in Moscow.

Before the floods, scientists predicted the thaw of the permafrost resulting
from climate change could destroy most of the city's buildings by 2030.

Copyright 2001, BBC


From Andrew Yee <>

News Service
American Chemical Society
Washington, D.C.

Beverly Hassell,, 202-872-4065


One hour of grass cutting equals 100 miles worth of auto pollution

The air pollution from cutting grass for an hour with a gasoline-powered
lawn mower is about the same as that from a 100-mile automobile ride,
according to a new study from Sweden, which recommends using catalytic
converters on mowers. The report is the first to compare lawn mower
pollution with auto mileage, according to the researchers.

The recommendation is reported in the June 1 issue of Environmental Science
& Technology, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the
world's largest scientific society.

One significant pollutant from mowers is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,
or PAHs, said Roger Westerholm, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Stockholm
University in Stockholm, Sweden. He claims such emissions, similar for both
riding and push mowers, can be cut more than 80 percent using a catalytic
converter like those used in automobiles.

Westerholm found that the worst case of lawn mower PAH emissions totaled
more than 4,000 micrograms per hour using unleaded fuel without a catalytic
converter. Average emissions dropped to nearly 800 micrograms over the same
time period with the addition of a catalytic converter, he said. Some PAHs,
including a few in lawn mower emissions, are classified as probable
carcinogens by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Obviously, if catalysts will become mandatory on lawn mower engines, and
possibly other small engines as well, a significant reduction of exhaust
components will be achieved," Westerholm said.

In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the so-called
"Phase I" rules, which mandated a 32 percent reduction in emissions for
small "non-road" engines. This affects all engines less than 25 horsepower
produced after 1997, including mowers, leaf blowers and chain saws.
According to an EPA study prior to the Clean Air Act of 1990, small engines
from lawn and garden equipment make up nearly 9 percent of some types of air
pollution. While current mowers meet the reduced emissions standards,
catalytic converters would lower emissions levels further, Westerholm said.

In the Swedish testing, the researchers used regular unleaded fuel in a
typical four-stroke, four horsepower lawn mower engine and found, after one
hour, that the PAH emissions are similar to a modern gasoline-powered car
driving approximately 150 kilometers (93 miles). A typical push-type lawn
mower is run for an average of 25 hours per year, according to the Outdoor
Power Equipment Institute. A higher-octane fuel known as alkylate also was
tested and resulted in lower emissions. Alkylate is difficult to find in the
United States and significantly more expensive than regular unleaded fuel in

Catalytic converters are already available on some European mowers,
Westerholm reported. The pollution-control devices have been required on
U.S. made cars since the late 1970s.

"Using a catalyst would help prevent most emissions from small engines," he
said. "Of course, people could also use an electrical-powered lawn mower

The research cited above was funded by the Swedish Environmental Protection

                 # # #

The online version of the research paper cited above was initially published
May 4 on the journal's Web site. Journalists can arrange access to this site
by sending an email to or calling the contact person for
this release.

Roger Westerholm, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of
analytical chemistry at Stockholm University in Stockholm, Sweden.

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