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New World post-pandemic reforestation helped start Little Ice Age, say Stanford scientists
www.physorg.com ^ | 12-18-2008 | Source: Stanford University

Posted on 12/18/2008 8:57:54 AM PST by Red Badger

The power of viruses is well documented in human history. Swarms of little viral Davids have repeatedly laid low the great Goliaths of human civilization, most famously in the devastating pandemics that swept the New World during European conquest and settlement.

In recent years, there has been growing evidence for the hypothesis that the effect of the pandemics in the Americas wasn't confined to killing indigenous peoples. Global climate appears to have been altered as well.

Stanford University researchers have conducted a comprehensive analysis of data detailing the amount of charcoal contained in soils and lake sediments at the sites of both pre-Columbian population centers in the Americas and in sparsely populated surrounding regions. They concluded that reforestation of agricultural lands-abandoned as the population collapsed-pulled so much carbon out of the atmosphere that it helped trigger a period of global cooling, at its most intense from approximately 1500 to 1750, known as the Little Ice Age.

"We estimate that the amount of carbon sequestered in the growing forests was about 10 to 50 percent of the total carbon that would have needed to come out of the atmosphere and oceans at that time to account for the observed changes in carbon dioxide concentrations," said Richard Nevle, visiting scholar in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Stanford. Nevle and Dennis Bird, professor in geological and environmental sciences, presented their study at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union on Dec. 17, 2008.

Nevle and Bird synthesized published data from charcoal records from 15 sediment cores extracted from lakes, soil samples from 17 population centers and 18 sites from the surrounding areas in Central and South America. They examined samples dating back 5,000 years.

What they found was a record of slowly increasing charcoal deposits, indicating increasing burning of forestland to convert it to cropland, as agricultural practices spread among the human population-until around 500 years ago: At that point, there was a precipitous drop in the amount of charcoal in the samples, coinciding with the precipitous drop in the human population in the Americas.

To verify their results, they checked their fire histories based on the charcoal data against records of carbon dioxide concentrations and carbon isotope ratios that were available.

"We looked at ice cores and tropical sponge records, which give us reliable proxies for the carbon isotope composition of atmospheric carbon dioxide. And it jumped out at us right away," Nevle said. "We saw a conspicuous increase in the isotope ratio of heavy carbon to light carbon. That gave us a sense that maybe we were looking at the right thing, because that is exactly what you would expect from reforestation."

During photosynthesis, plants prefer carbon dioxide containing the lighter isotope of carbon. Thus a massive reforestation event would not only decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but would also leave carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that was enriched in the heavy carbon isotope.

Other theories have been proposed to account for the cooling at the time of the Little Ice Age, as well as the anomalies in the concentration and carbon isotope ratios of atmospheric carbon dioxide associated with that period.

Variations in the amount of sunlight striking the Earth, caused by a drop in sunspot activity, could also be a factor in cooling down the globe, as could a flurry of volcanic activity in the late 16th century.

But the timing of these events doesn't fit with the observed onset of the carbon dioxide drop. These events don't begin until at least a century after carbon dioxide in the atmosphere began to decline and the ratio of heavy to light carbon isotopes in atmospheric carbon dioxide begins to increase.

Nevle and Bird don't attribute all of the cooling during the Little Ice Age to reforestation in the Americas.

"There are other causes at play," Nevle said. "But reforestation is certainly a first-order contributor."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agw; catastrophism; cooling; globalwarming; godsgravesglyphs; science; scientists; stanford; trees
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So, if we plat too many trees we'll all freeze to death?...................
1 posted on 12/18/2008 8:57:55 AM PST by Red Badger
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To: xcamel

Too many trees bad ping............


2 posted on 12/18/2008 8:58:31 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Red Badger

so the cure for global warming is pandemic?


3 posted on 12/18/2008 8:59:05 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (appeasement is collaboration.)
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To: Red Badger

To paraphrase Sarah Palin: “Log, baby, log!”


4 posted on 12/18/2008 8:59:13 AM PST by ZirconEncrustedTweezers (God helps those who help themselves. The government helps those who don't.)
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To: Red Badger
Photobucket
5 posted on 12/18/2008 9:00:02 AM PST by IrishPennant (Patriotism is strongest when accompanied by bad politics, loyal FRiends and great whiskey)
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To: the invisib1e hand

It would seem so.......Now everything is clear...........


6 posted on 12/18/2008 9:00:28 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Red Badger

It’s because South Korea reforested after most of its trees were taken during Japanese occupation.


7 posted on 12/18/2008 9:00:45 AM PST by Loud Mime ("Only the dead have seen the end of war" Plato)
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To: Loud Mime

Haiti is safe.........


8 posted on 12/18/2008 9:01:14 AM PST by Red Badger (I was sad because I had no shoes to throw, until I met a reporter who had no feet.....)
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To: Red Badger

Fire good. Trees bad.


9 posted on 12/18/2008 9:01:45 AM PST by null and void (Hey 0bama? There will be a pop quiz every day for the next four years...miss a question, people die.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
A large number of warmists, and their ilk, would welcome something like a global pandemic that would wipe out most of humanity (themselves excepted, of course).
10 posted on 12/18/2008 9:03:27 AM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: null and void

“Fire good. Trees bad.”

Trees wood. Wood burn. Circle of life. Life good.


11 posted on 12/18/2008 9:04:05 AM PST by shoutingandpointing
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To: Red Badger
Nevle and Bird synthesized published data from charcoal records from 15 sediment cores extracted from lakes, soil samples from 17 population centers and 18 sites from the surrounding areas in Central and South America.

Jeez, how low have academic standards gone? The numbers of data points (15, 17, 18) seem, IMHO, too low for defensible statistical accuracy.

12 posted on 12/18/2008 9:06:08 AM PST by rfp1234 (Phodopus campbelli: household ruler since July 2007.)
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To: shoutingandpointing
Sooooo....if the trees sucked all the CO2 out of the air...the oxygen content would go up and the earth would spontaneously combust?
13 posted on 12/18/2008 9:07:54 AM PST by spokeshave (0bambi wants to kill babies and raise taxes, Sarah wants to raise babies and kill taxes)
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To: Red Badger
"There are other causes at play," Nevle said. "But reforestation is certainly a first-order contributor."
He continued by stating "The prime contributer though, is the Bush Regime.
14 posted on 12/18/2008 9:08:36 AM PST by An.American.Expatriate (Here's my strategy on the War against Terrorism: We win, they lose. - with apologies to R.R.)
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To: the invisib1e hand

It seems to me that the ultimate goal of the far left is a massive reduction of human population, by whatever means necessary.

Abortion is one vector.

The promotion of homosexuality is another.


15 posted on 12/18/2008 9:09:05 AM PST by Pox
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To: Red Badger

*sigh*

/facepalm


16 posted on 12/18/2008 9:09:20 AM PST by RushIsMyTeddyBear
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To: Red Badger

Seriously though...

are these “scientists” suggeting that the way to stop global warming is to reduce population?


17 posted on 12/18/2008 9:11:21 AM PST by An.American.Expatriate (Here's my strategy on the War against Terrorism: We win, they lose. - with apologies to R.R.)
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To: Red Badger; Killing Time; Beowulf; Mr. Peabody; RW_Whacko; honolulugal; SideoutFred; Ole Okie; ...


FReepmail me to get on or off
Click on POGW graphic for full GW rundown
Dr. John Ray's
GREENIE WATCH



18 posted on 12/18/2008 9:16:30 AM PST by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: spokeshave

Apollo 1 all over again, I’m afraid. :(

(God rest Gus, Ed, and Roger.)


19 posted on 12/18/2008 9:16:37 AM PST by shoutingandpointing
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To: the invisib1e hand

Now you are on to something. All environmental wacko theory is built on the idea that there are too many people. The craziest is the idea that the earth can only support 1M people. Do the math on how many of us need to go to make that a reality.


20 posted on 12/18/2008 9:18:09 AM PST by redangus
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