TLDR Climate Stories #2

These are extremely short summaries of the studies, stories, etc. related to global warming/climate change that I found most interesting in recent weeks...

Study finds flaws in all 'contrarian' papers analyzed

Study Link: The authors attempt to replicate popular papers that disagree with the scientific consensus on global warming. They found flaws in each, and sample flaws were:
  • example is taking a 10,000 year period, trying to model it, and then keeping only the 4,000 year period that works and ignoring the 6,000 year period that doesn't
  • improper curve fitting/ example is using sinusoids with periods to model a time series that is too short for those sinusoids
  • bad example is not understanding the greenhouse effect...a common one is addressed here
TLDR...scientists are unable to replicate the results of popular contrarian papers when reviewing them

Study finds that we can't plant enough trees to stop global warming

Study Link: The authors analyzed best case scenarios for using tree farms and carbon storage to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Even after allowing much of our agricultural land and resources to be used for this instead of agriculture, they found that we could not really come close to offsetting our emissions and would blow past a 2 degree overall temperature increase. Most frightening to me...even if we converted 10% of all land used for agriculture to this and cut emissions pretty dramatically (RCP 45), we would still risk going over 2 degrees of warming by 2100 (figure 2 in the article).

TLDR...we have to dramatically cut emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere...simply planting trees to offset emissions is not a realistic solution

Study finds that our tropical forests are now producing carbon instead of removing it from the atmosphere

Study Link: Since plants remove carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, they are 'carbon sinks'. When they die, they release some if it back into the atmosphere. The study found that, mostly due to degradation and disturbance, tropical forests are now release more carbon into the atmosphere than they are removing which is bad given that we need to be removing carbon from the atmosphere. That link might be behind a paywall, so here is an article summarizing it. finds that tropical forests are now carbon sources instead of carbon sinks. 

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