Climate News: Warming in US Will Boost Western Wildfires; Harm Eastern Soil Fertility
Forest lands, which contain about 104 billion tons of carbon reserves, have been one of the biggest unknowns in climate change predictions. Northeastern woodlands that were once farm fields are currently one of Earth's beneficial carbon sinks, holding nearly 26 billion tons. But climate scientists worry that trees and soils could become sources of greenhouse gas emissions rather than repositories.
"Our results suggest that large stores of carbon that built up over the last century as forests recovered will erode with rising temperatures," said Susan Trumbore of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and UCI, who led the research team, which also included Margaret Torn, head of the Climate & Carbon Sciences Program at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
China's Emissions Much Larger Than Acknowledged
The gap between China's actual emissions and what's reported is as much as the annual emissions of all of Japan. From Nature Climate Change, via ThinkProgress:
China’s emission discrepancy in 2010 is equivalent to about 5% of the global total (in 2008) and higher than the CO2 emissions of the world’s fourth largest emitter—Japan, or the combined emissions of all African countries. The emission gap is mainly due to the inconsistencies of coal consumption between national and provincial statistics. For example, emissions caused by coal consumption contribute 71% of the emission discrepancy in 2010, whereas emissions from petroleum, natural gas and other fuels (including coke oven gas, other gas, other coking products, LPG, refinery gas and other petroleum products) account for 12%, 2% and 14%, respectively. The data situation is better when accounting cement processing emissions, which show a much smaller difference between provincial and national statistics.
Humans Are Main Cause of Global Oceans' Warming
In case you had any doubts, this research ought to put them to rest:
"By using a "multi-model ensemble," we were better able to characterize decadal-scale natural climate variability, which is a critical aspect of the detection and attribution of a human-caused climate change signal. What we are trying to do is determine if the observed warming pattern can be explained by natural variability alone," Gleckler said. "Although we performed a series of tests to account for the impact of various uncertainties, we found no evidence that simultaneous warming of the upper layers of all seven seas can be explained by natural climate variability alone. Humans have played a dominant role." (Science Daily)
Warming Will Whip Up Western US Wildfires - Decrease in Tropics
Almost all of North America and most of Europe will see an increase in wildfires by the year 2100, the scientists wrote in the journal Ecosphere, a publication of the Ecological Society of America. [...] Using satellite-based fire records and 16 different climate-change models, an international team of researchers found that while wildfires will increase in many temperate zones due to rising temperatures, fire risk may actually decrease around the equator, especially in tropical rainforests, because of increased rainfall.