On 6/15/2013 10:16 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
On Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 08:44:12PM -0700, meekerdb wrote:
On 6/15/2013 5:15 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
The point of this calculation is the very favorable rate of
exchange between carbon in the atmosphere and carbon in the soil.
To stop the carbon in the atmosphere from increasing, we only need
to grow the biomass in the soil by a hundredth of an inch per
year. Good topsoil contains about ten percent biomass,
[Schlesinger, 1977], so a hundredth of an inch of biomass growth
means about a tenth of an inch of topsoil. Changes in farming
practices such as no-till farming, avoiding the use of the plow,
cause biomass to grow at least as fast as this.
I find this dubious. Sure the natural biomass/CO2 cycle is huge and
so a 1% shift could cancel fossil fuel burning; the problem is that
the shift has been going the other way (decreasing the land area
used to accumulate biomass, also in Schlesinger 1977) and changing
that will require drastic world-wide measures - which deniers like
Dyson are going to delay indefinitely by providing excuses as to why
no action is necessary.
I'm not sure that is what Dyson is doing though. If anything, I would
say he is asking for more research into biospheric effects on global
This is rather different from your average climate change denier who
would prefer that such research was not done at all.
But he's not motivating research by saying global warming is not a big problem and there
are more important things to worry about. And I see not support for his claim that
no-till farming will cause "biomass to grow at least as fast" as necessary. It's
certainly not in Schlesinger's paper which is discussing the increase in CO2 due to the
loss of world wide biomass.
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