Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yet Another Cimate Model Issue

In another item of interest, ScienceDaily reports that soil studies of black carbon, the organic residue from burned and decomposed matter found in the earth, indicates that global climate models are consistently overestimating the release of carbon dioxide gas from black carbon. In fact, climate models are generally supposing a postive reinforcement of these releases, one in which warming leads to the release of more Co2 which in causes more warming. However in the largest study of black carbon ever conducted, it has been found that the Co2 remains sequester far longer than initally thought, perhaps as much as 2,000 years.

"Climate models try to incorporate these increases of carbon dioxide from soils as the planet warms, but results vary greatly when realistic estimates of black carbon in soils are included in the predictions, the study found. Soils include many forms of carbon, including organic carbon from leaf litter and vegetation and black carbon from the burning of organic matter. It takes a few years for organic carbon to decompose, as microbes eat it and convert it to carbon dioxide. But black carbon can take 1,000-2,000 years, on average, to convert to carbon dioxide.

By entering realistic estimates of stocks of black carbon in soil from two Australian savannas into a computer model that calculates carbon dioxide release from soil, the researchers found that carbon dioxide emissions from soils were reduced by about 20 percent over 100 years, as compared with simulations that did not take black carbon's long shelf life into account. The findings are significant because soils are by far the world's largest source of carbon dioxide, producing 10 times more carbon dioxide each year than all the carbon dioxide emissions from human activities combined. Small changes in how carbon emissions from soils are estimated, therefore, can have a large impact."

In addition, the modelers genreally assume a relatively uniform distibution of black carbon, but the new study shows that the substance can vary from as much as 80 percent in a soil sample to nearly zero. So what we have here, again, is a major Co2 source (actually THE major source. 10 times that produced by all of humanity), one completely out of the control of humanity, being over estimated in global climate models.

And Al Gore says "the science is settled." What a load.

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