the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Woah, Really Dumb.

Posted by Jeff Id on January 23, 2009

In the middle of the decade long cooling trend, you know the one which has buried the northern US in feet of snow, our illustrious scientists have determined that the recent ‘global warming’ is killing trees at twice the normal rate. This one got me off so a bit of Venting is in order for sure.

Scientists say global warming may be killing trees in West twice as fast as usual

For now, the percentage of trees dying each year is small, so doubling the rate means an increase of only 1 or 2 percent per year. But over time, small increases can add up, said Dr. Phillip van Mantgem, U.S. Geological Survey researcher and co-leader of the research team.

Ok, one or two percent per year. Are you seriously saying you can predict the trend is “global warming related” from this small variance. How about this interpretation. — Please give us money, we’re on your side. We love global warming.

“If current trends continue, forests will become sparser over time,” van Mantgem said. “Simple projections of forest stand structure indicate that average tree age will eventually decrease by half, and this will potentially lead to decreasing average tree size.”If current trends continue, forests will become sparser over time,” van Mantgem said. “Simple projections of forest stand structure indicate that average tree age will eventually decrease by half, and this will potentially lead to decreasing average tree size.”

Ok I’ll be translator in cheif.

IF current not really known but still assumed trends continue, forests will become sparser over both an instantaneous and very very long time. Projecting our already poorly known trend well beyond the point where it has any possilble meaning means that the average tree age will decrease by half.

GOAL! this guy makes the quote list. Good competition for Hansen simply because of the idiot scale.

The researchers considered a number of possible causes for rising death rates, including changes in forest density and increased air pollution. But because rising mortality rates were so widespread — found even in areas free of logging and air pollution, for instance — these causes seemed unlikely. Instead, regional climate change emerged as the most likely culprit. In the past few decades, average temperatures rose by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit, which researchers said could have a major affect on tree health.

Yup, I’m sure these researchers have perfectly even counts of the happy little baby treees, so 1 percent is well outside the confidence interval of the data. Clearly the lack of squirrel poop fertilizer isn’t the problem, ITS GLOBAL WARMING. Come on now. Does this guy take the lead in the contest category for most ridiculous claim of 2009? Hell if I was Hansen, I’d give up on even trying and go into a fit of depression.

Temperatures are indeed in flux. According to a separate study, published this week in Nature by UC Berkeley and other scientists, the hottest day of the year has shifted nearly two days earlier.

Not last year, and probably not this year either.

I’m going to go trephine my skull to let the pressure out.

12 Responses to “Woah, Really Dumb.”

  1. vivendi said

    “average temperatures rose by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit”
    Is this true? Is GISS data based on average temperatures, i.e. is it the “global” temperature the average of all local daily averages? I think not.
    Do trees in any given forest sense global temperatures? If yes, are they sensing GISS, RSS, or UAH?

    What exactly is it van Mantgem doesn’t understand?

  2. WhyNot said

    I’m not the smartest guy on this planet, maybe I’m even in the lowest 10th percentile, but I was wondering is it possible to correlate the growth in stupidity and ignorance with global temperature change? Maybe correlate it to CO2 increases instead, it could be easier!?!?!? Upon completion, you could prove CO2 is a poison and breathing it causes neurological disorders with the primary symptom of irreversible degradation to IQ and the ability to reason! If only Ben Fraklin stores were still around I could buy a “Dr.” and get published…..

  3. Hal said

    Hi Jeff

    It looks like all the global warming quotes in the Mercury News article came from interviews with 2 of the authors. After quickly scanning the article itself, I couldn’t find any references to climate change.

    These guys know that if they jump on the alarmist bandwagon they can get publicity, let’s face it, this bland and boring subject wouldn’t get any press on its own.

    Their study is in a small area in the Sierras, they even gave the lat/long (118 35 W,36 35 N), one could look at nearby stations and see whether this guys quote can be substantiated:

    “Rising temperatures have resulted in more of each year’s precipitation coming as rain rather than snow,” said Nathan Stephenson, a USGS ecologist and co-leader of the study.

    On the other hand, who cares.


  4. Matt Y. said

    I don’t know Jeff, this guy has some pretty stiff competition. Mann recently coauthored a study showing the Acrtic is really warming — using satellite data which shows the Antarctic has been cooling since 1978 — to statistically infer a warming trend. Raw data showing cooling ==> Mannian statistics ==> warming trend! Hard to beat that!

  5. Jeff Id said

    I think the latest antarctic study will turn out to have some problems, I’ve read the paper. The UAH data as close as it can get to the cap shows a downtrend, ice has grown and Watts has a great letter up on his blog from a weatherman in the area.

    Dr. McIntyre said the data will be released next week for the paper. I’m going to try and get into it a bit myself depending on what is published.

    It’s amazing Mann will use any old tree as a thermometer yet ignored the ice growth. Maybe its hot ice.

  6. AEGeneral said

    But over time, small increases can add up

    Having passed 75% of the CPA exam now, I thought I’d scrutinize this statement and offer my expert opinion.

    He is absolutely correct. Over time, small increases can add up. Sometimes they never increase beyond a large increase. But other times, they can become super big increases. And even other times, they can become super-duper big increases!

    Think Extra Value Meal here. Got it? Good.

    Here’s another way of looking at it:

    Trees are good, and George Washington chopped down trees. Therefore, George Washington caused global warming. Not that I blame him, the Delaware was pretty freaking cold when he had to cross it.

    What does that have to do with small increases? It’s history. History is all about increases and decreases and miscreases and all that stuff.

    That concludes today’s lesson. Quiz Monday.

  7. Jeff Id said

    #6 Sure, a really long time.

    But if you measure a tiny area and record a tiny difference you’d better do a good job insuring your count is good. Can you imaging counting trees in a small area, finding a very fractional difference, sitting in an office with your buddy and talk yourself out of every other possibility and conclude —- Global Warming.

    Well if it’s global warming, lets project it out a hundred years. OMG, half the trees. These guys were baked off their butts when they did this one.

  8. WhyNot said

    I’m not very good at math but I can add, subtract, divide and multiply. So I took the CPA exam, thinking it would be a cake walk. It was, I ACED it!!! It only took 10 times, but I got 10% right each time. Anybody need financial advice?

  9. Curt said

    As a Californian, I have followed the issues with the Sierra Nevada mountains the most. Over the 20th Century, the instrumental record shows absolutely no warming in the Sierras. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch. The trend line for the century is about as close to zero as it could possibly be, and definitely 0.0 degrees/decade rounded to the closest tenth. I have seen this data from both federal and state sources.

    Now, if you look at the last quarter of a century, there is a positive trend, so the statement that “In the past few decades, average temperatures rose by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit” could well be true. But, it was starting from a relatively cold period in the century. So much for context…

    And for more context, keep this in mind: Between 1000CE and 1200CE (coincident with the “Medieval Warm Period” that supposedly was limited to the North Atlantic), tree lines in the Sierras were 1000 – 1500 ft (300 – 500 m) higher than they are today, which implies temperatures of 5-6F (3+C) higher than 20th Century temps.

  10. Let’s separate out the GW nonsense and talk forests. The heritage condition was open, park-like forests with old trees maintained by anthropogenic fire. In the absence of frequent, seasonal aboriginal burning, dense thickets of young trees have invaded the formerly open stands.

    Density (trees/acre) has increased but average tree size has decreased. Right? More litttle trees pulls the average down. The additional competition (not GW) has stressed the older cohorts and those trees are dying. Few new seedlings are invading because the ground is fully occupied. Hence of late, density is also decreasing. Our forests are getting sparser, younger, and shorter, on average. I know that seems counter-intuitive, but those are the facts.

    In the absence of forest management due to endless appeals and lawsuits by enviro groups, our now fuel-laden, thicket forests are prone to catastrophic wildfires. Modern forest fires are not light-burning ground fires like the historical aboriginal fires — they are so severe as to kill all the trees and cook the seed banks in the soil. Forest that burn severely are often replaced by brush as a result.

    The former anthropogenic fire regimes created forest development pathways that led to long-lived (old, large) trees. The modern catastrophic fire regimes lead to short-lived forests and/or forest conversion to brush.

    Hence Van Mantgem’s conclusions are broadly correct; he just has the mechanisms all screwed up. GW is not impacting our forests, abandonment of traditional stewardship is. We can save our forests, but we have to care for them or they will be incinerated.

  11. Jeff Id said

    I’m no expert so I am very interested.

    The former anthropogenic fire regimes created forest development pathways that led to long-lived (old, large) trees.

    Would you mind expanding on this? What were the former regimes?

  12. …[C]limate provides either a favorable or unfavorable physical environment for certain plants to grow. It does not dictate which plants grow in that environment. Similarly, climate does not dictate human behavior. It only sets temporary limits. Human innovations in technique and technology can and do push back those limits. Therefore, climate is not the sole determinant nor even in many cases the dominate force in guiding the development of particular ecosystems. American Indians selectively hunted, gathered plants, and fired habitats in North America for at least 12,000 years. Unquestionably, humans played an important role in shaping North America’s forest ecosystems. — Thomas M. Bonnicksen, M. Kat Anderson, Henry T. Lewis, Charles E. Kay, and Ruthann Knudson. 1999. Native American influences on the development of forest ecosystems.

    The new paradigm in ecology respects and studies historical human influences. For the entire Holocene and even before, humanity has been resident in and manipulating ecosystems of the Americas, and for an even longer time everywhere else. We are the Masters of Fire and the Keystone Predators. Wilderness is a myth. Landscape-scale burning has been the norm since the dawn of Homo sapiens in the savannas of Africa. Fire has been a hominid tool for perhaps as much as 2 million years, long before H. sapiens evolved.

    People make fire, fire consumes carbon and emits CO2. Been happening on a major worldwide scale for a long, long time.

    Jeff, I recommend you visit one of our websites, W.I.S.E. Colloquium: History of Western Landscapes, for a tour of cutting-edge reports on anthropogenic fire research.

    Then visit SOS Forests and use phrases like “forest development pathways” in the the search applet.

    Stand-replacement fire is not the historical development pathway that led to our old-growth forests. Old-growth forests of today are strongly multi-cohort, and the older trees arose under a different ecological pathway, one of regular, frequent, seasonal anthropogenic fire.

    Formerly forests were open and park-like with widely spaced trees. Because frequent, light-burning fires in open, park-like forests did not kill all the trees, individual trees lived for incredibly long lifespans. Those conditions gave rise to ancient trees. Modern forest conditions preclude the opportunity for trees to attain great ages.

    To save our old-growth, and to restore the development pathways that lead to old trees, we must also restore the appropriate forest conditions and historical disturbances.

    Thank you for this opportunity to toot our horn. Like you, we are trying to educate people and open up minds.

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