August 29, 2009

If a tree falls....or stands

It never ceases to amaze me that in the effort to create alarm and panic the global warming aka climate change crowd are constantly finding themselves in contradiction to themselves. There are many examples of this, recently I remember the case of the "which way does the wind blow" but there have been countless examples of these contradictions.

Now we have the contradiction on whether CO2 induced global warming is good or bad for our forests. Common sense and
real science would seem to make this question seem silly, but silliness is the new reality in science when it comes to global warming. Let's take a couple of recent stories to illustrate the point.

The first is from the AP, an apocalyptic article on the future of forests called
A couple of highlights or low lights will give you the flavor of the article.
As far as the eye can see, it's all infested," forester Rob Legare said, looking out over the thick woods of the Alsek River valley.

Beetles and fire, twin plagues, are consuming northern forests in what scientists say is a preview of the future, in a century growing warmer, as the land grows drier, trees grow weaker and pests, abetted by milder winters, grow stronger.

Dying, burning forests would then only add to the warming.

It's here in the sub-Arctic and Arctic — in Alaska, across Siberia, in northernmost Europe, and in the Yukon and elsewhere in northern Canada — that Earth's climate is changing most rapidly. While average temperatures globally rose 0.74 degrees Celsius (1.3 degrees Fahrenheit) in the past century, the far north experienced warming at twice that rate or greater.

My God it makes you want to throw a rope around a branch of one of these poor creatures and hang yourself less your very breath continue to destroy the world. As you can see from the AP article we are destroying the northern forest with our greedy existence:
Dominoes may already be falling in western North America.

From Colorado to Washington state, an unprecedented, years-long epidemic of mountain pine beetle has killed 2.6 million hectares (6.5 million acres) of forest. The insect has struck even more devastatingly to the north, in British Columbia, where clouds of beetles have laid waste to 14 million hectares (35 million acres) — twice the area of Ireland. It is expected to kill 80 percent of the Canadian province's lodgepole pines before it's finished.

Farther north, in the Yukon, the pine beetle isn't endemic — yet. Here it's the spruce bark beetle that has eaten its way through 400,000 hectares (1 million acres) of woodland, and even more in neighboring Alaska, in a 15-year-old epidemic unmatched in its longevity and extent.

"It's a fingerprint of climate change," Aynslie Ogden, senior researcher for the Yukon Forest Management Branch, said in Whitehorse, the territorial capital. "The intensity and severity and magnitude of the infestation is outside the normal."

As you can see lest we do something soon the bugs which somehow are increasing in their devastating appetite due to mankind's lust for advancement will soon destroy our majestic forest, but it is worse:

In an authoritative 2007 assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.N.-sponsored scientific network, cited multiple studies linking the spread of wildfires to warmer, drier conditions.

This June, in the latest such study, as early flames flared in California's wildfire season, Harvard scientists said the area burned in the U.S. West could increase by 50 percent by the 2050s, even under the best-case warming scenario projected by the IPCC.

In Siberia, "fire has been increasing, and there's an earlier fire season," Soja, of the U.S. National Institute of Aerospace, reported from the Sukachev Institute of Forestry in Krasnoyarsk. Her research this summer found that a warmer, drier climate appears to be stifling regrowth of burned-out areas on the Siberian forest's southern edge, turning them to grasslands.

In Canada, area burned is double what it was in the 1970s, despite greater firefighting capacity and some recent favorable weather, said Mike Flannigan, a fire researcher for the Canadian Forest Service.

He cited three key reasons: warmer temperatures are drying the forests, lengthening the fire season and generating more lightning, cause of the worst wilderness fires.

As you can plainly see man's inhumanity to....tree knows no bounds. Global warming is spiraling out of control causing the destruction of the worlds forest-right?

Well don't tie that hangman's knot quite yet. In an article from the BBC which I posted the other day it seems that perhaps the trees are doing a bit better than the AP article above would have you believe

Trees advance in a warming world

According to the BBC article:

Trees around the world are colonising new territories in response to highertemperatures.

From the US west coast to northern Siberia and south-east
Asia, trees are growing at higher elevations, and at higher latitudes as the
climate warms.

Of 166 sites studied, trees are advancing at more than
half, while they are receding at just two sites.

In fact they even have a nifty little map from the actual scientific study, showing that forests are either advancing in this warming world, or at least maintaining their normal territory.

Looking at the map and reading the previous AP article one wonders if they perhaps visited the wrong forests. Anyway, the BBC article scientists were surprised to find that a majority of the forests were doing just fine because of the warmer temperatures-especially in winter:

Most important, they found that treelines had advanced into previously inhospitable habitat at 87 sites.

The treelines remained stable at 77 sites, while trees had retreated at just two locations.

Crucially, the trees do not seem to be responding to warmer summer temperatures.

"We expected growing season warming to be the dominant driver," says Harsch.

"But we found that it was not, winter temperature was."

That could be because trees that have advanced during warm summers can more easily survive the odd cooler summer. Whereas those that advanced during warmer winters may not survive a particularly cold winter, making winter temperatures the limiting factor.

So it would seem that despite the beetles and fires, climate change is having an over all beneficial affect. I wonder if the BBC will call the AP and fill them in on this? I doubt it, the BBC will soon have a report on the devastation of trees by climate change, guarantee it.



  1. There is no way climate change is having a beneficial effect on the forest when higher temperatures are causing wildfires in BC (including the Gulf Islands), California, Spain, France, Corsica, Sardinia, Greece, Australia, and Italy to burn out of control. Greece has recently called its fires an "ecological disaster", as did Australia earlier this year.

    It doesn't look as though the forests are gaining ground in BC or anywhere else. To be sure, trees are able to grow higher up mountains and farther north as temperatures rise, but they cannot keep pace with the losses caused by fires, pests , ground level ozone, and logging.
    The amount of forests cover globally has been and still is decreasing.

    There are fires and forest pests, and then there is Man, the virulent two-legged enemy of the Earth's forests.

    Go to Google Earth and check out BC. The patchwork of clear-cuts is incredible. Check out the rainforest losses in the tropics as well. Look for yourself. Look back at maps of Africa showing the vast forests of the Condo, and then look at a recent map and you'll see how much we've ripped out. Look at deforestation in the Amazon, Burma, Philippines, Malaysia, Madagaska, Ecuador, Borneo, etc., and you will see that forests are decreasing everywhere. You'll also see deserts growing where the forests we cut down once stood. A certain amount of skepticism is healthy, but at some point one has to check facts and not just form an ignorant opinion.

  2. Correction: "condo" should read "Congo".

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