Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Are shrubs causing global cooling?
I initially thought this story about shrubs might be an allusion to George Bush II. Leftists always thought they were enormously clever by referring to him as "Shrub". But it was not to be.
But some amusing nuttiness below anyway. I fully accept that shrubs are thriving these days. There is one in my front garden that certainly is. The known higher levels of CO2 would be the main cause of that. But the effect should be worldwide and not confined to the Arctic. But note what we read below:
"'While plants help to slow climate change in other parts of the world, in the Arctic, taller shrubs prevent snow from reflecting heat from the sun back into space, thereby warming the Earth's surface.'"
So plants worldwide must be doing well and we are told that "plants help to slow climate change" outside the Arctic. As there are a lot more plants outside the Arctic than it it, shrubs should in fact overall be COOLING the planet!
The usual illogic below
Shrubs growing in the Arctic may cause global warming to get worse, according to research. Scientists have found climate change has already resulted in an increase in shrubs across the tundra.
They say shrubs reduce the amount of sunlight reflected by snow as they provide a darker surface while they also alter the soil temperatures causing permafrost to thaw.
This can contribute to global warming by reducing the amount of heat from the sun that is reflected back into space.
Dr Isla Myers-Smith, a climate change scientist at the University of Edinburgh who led the study, said: 'Arctic shrub growth in the tundra is one of the most significant examples on Earth of the effect that climate change is having on ecosystems.
'Our findings show there is a lot of variation across this landscape. Understanding this should help improve predictions of climate change impacts across the tundra.'
The research, which is published in the journal Nature Climate Change, involved an international team of scientists studying vegetation changes at 37 sites in nine countries.
They analysed the annual growth rings in the plant stems of shrubs growing in the tundra to build up a 60 year record of the effects of climate on vegetation growth.
They found that as global temperatures have increased, the number of shrubs has increased and their distribution has moved further north. The type of shrubs has shifted in some areas to taller plants such as alder and willow.
The study also found that the changes appear to be happening faster in Europe and Russia than they are in North America.
The researchers warn that as these changes continue, it could accelerate the transformation of the arctic ecosystem.
Some animals like moose prefer to eat shrubs while others, such as caribou, live on the lichen and grass species that cover northern parts of the Arctic.
Kevin Guay, a researcher who took part in the study at the Woods Hole Research Centre in Falmouth, Massachusetts, said: 'While plants help to slow climate change in other parts of the world, in the Arctic, taller shrubs prevent snow from reflecting heat from the sun back into space, thereby warming the Earth's surface.'
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).