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For all we know, Al Bundy's socks may be the cure for the global climate crisis.

Will the war for global warming ever be won? That depends on the amount of information we can harvest, analyze and extrapolate from. In all likelihood, the only way we will know for certain if the Earth is heading for a global warming disaster is by waiting another few thousand years and looking at history books.

But, for those not comfortable with the wait and see approach, scientists continue to plunge into one of the crucial factors thought to govern global (I’m trying not to snicker) climate change, the global carbon sink system. Roughly composed of just about every living and even more dead things, these parts of local, regional and whole-Earth ecosystems are under high scrutiny as researchers try to understand how present day climate change will further affect future climate change. The popular idea seems to be that global warming is like a snowball rolling downhill – as it rolls it picks up more snow and eventually hits something and explodes. Exploding is bad for the Earth, honest.

From the University of Colorado at Boulder comes a study supporting the theory that extended growing seasons may not be the boon for the carbon sink that many have previously thought. At least not for subalpine conifers such as the lodgepole pine, subalpine fir and Englemann spruce. It turns out these trees depend much more upon snowmelt for their summer water fix than rainfall, and in years where spring comes early due to mild winters and low snowfall, the trees actually take in less carbon dioxide over the year than when spring arrives late with heavy snow still on the ground. Up to 60% of their internal water supply from stems and needles was identified to be from spring snowmelt rather than rainfall in the fall months. We can thank our friends the hydrogen and oxygen atoms for this precise identification work.

Since around 70% of the western USA’s carbon sink is found in these subalpine forest ranges, watching the snow caps shrink yearly would definitely affect their ability to operate to capacity, should this study be accurate. Facts don’t lie; snow good, carbon dioxide bad.

On a somewhat brighter note, according to researchers at the National Oceanographic Center, Southampton, another very large and poorly understood carbon sink may be completely underestimated in present carbon cycle models. Echinoderms, which comprise a vast portion of the ocean’s calcium carbonate dump, may sequester much more carbon yearly than previously thought.

Echinoderms suck in carbon from seawater to form their skeletal systems and include such happy marine animals as star fish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. When these animals find the end of their lifecycle, they typically sink to the ocean floor with their captured carbon and become indefinitely buried in the sediments. Some of the calcium carbonate finds its way back up the “biological carbon pump,” but probably much less than is taken down to the depths.

This could mean that the ocean is once again showing itself to be far more excellent at helping regulate global carbon levels, or it could just mean scientists still don’t really understand what’s going on in there.

If these studies only prove one thing it is that we, as a global community, race, organism and observer still have very little understanding in the way all of our ecosystems work together to regulate the Earth’s climate. It’s far too early for any sane person to jump on the “we’re melting, melting” or “Minnesota never left the ice age, what’s your problem” camps. There simply aren’t enough data to concretely support any given theory with certainty and these kinds of discoveries are shining examples of why.

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RE: The World is Too Big
By cocoman on 1/11/2010 12:28:56 PM , Rating: 2
I think all this global warming is a marketing campaign to cover the real truth. Global warming is natural cycle of our planet, but we want to change the planets climate to our needs.

If the planet gets warmer the sea level gets higher, and since most cities are on the coast it would cost xillons of $/€ to relocate the people and create barriers to the sea rise. So the simple solution: Modify the planets climate so that it keeps the temperature and therefore the sea level that we want.

The enviromentalist would be outraged by intervining in mother natures work and then you would have popular and political opinion aginst it because of the high costs. Also people never listen to warnings until its too late.

So what do you do?
Just spend a few millions on a few known faces and a campaign in which you tell people that the global warming is our fault and that we have to fix it. So you have all the envirmentalists and the public opinion in your favor to play god with the climate and they will spend xillions of $/€ willingly and will even sleep better at night.

Be sure that it will not stop by just getting to 0 CO2 emissions. After that they will say it is not enough and we will start actively altering the climate the way China is doing.

On a more serious note:
CO2 makes things hotter. I work on an industrial refrigeration company and we have to take into account its warming effects in calculations.

And also TheEinstein, you sound like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory. The US was the last developed country to enter the global warming hysteria. Europe, specially Germany, and Japan were on it long before the US, so don´t blame it on the democrats.

RE: The World is Too Big
By TheEinstein on 1/13/2010 1:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
The global warming conspiracy was started in the United States, it spread to Europe where they were more than willing to believe it compared to the average American citizen, and is being pushed back into our nation.

As for the sea water argument...

I laugh at you sir. Your very funny.

As for your carbon dioxide versus refrigeration argument, I further laugh at you, and mock you for making such a silly bald faced lie. I have done security in enough facilities with need to handle refrigeration of certain area's to know that the atmosphere content is not a worry. Change the variance of any of the major gases, and it is not an issue. The entire falacy of your argument is based upon the premise that you are an 'expert' in a 'field' which has need to monitor, where it clearly is not an issue.

As for warnings and such, I call you out there to. They have tried the 10 year horror prediction...

New York City is still around, no water eating away at it...

I still see the Netherlands when I check Google Earth, so I guess it is still around also.

They have tried the 50 year scare, and it has come up wanting after 15 years so far... so this to will not be a big worry, nor will it pan out.

The 200 year scare... well I assume if the dire predictions ever do happen, 200 years is sufficient warning that living in the Big Easy might be a bad thing...

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