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Study reveals ancient greenhouse gas emission


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#1    questionmark

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:22 PM

LA Times said:


Centuries before the Industrial Revolution or the recognition of global warming, the ancient Roman and Chinese empires were already producing powerful greenhouse gases through their daily toil, according to a new study.

The burning of plant matter to cook food, clear cropland and process metals released millions of tons of methane gas into the atmosphere each year during several periods of pre-industrial history, according to the study, published Thursday in the journal Nature.

Although the quantity of methane produced back then pales in comparison with the emissions released today —the total amount is roughly 70 times greater now — the findings suggest that man's footprint on the climate is larger than previously realized. Until now, it was assumed by scientists that human activity began increasing greenhouse gas levels only after the year 1750.

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#2    spud the mackem

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 07:27 PM

The planet is retaliating at present but,it has plenty of time,We Dont.

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#3    Idano

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 12:47 PM

We have been releasing greenhouse gases since we discovered fire. And if you want to count..uhm flatulence .our entire existence.

Edited by Idano, 06 October 2012 - 12:49 PM.


#4    gOOgLer

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:43 PM

I produce green gas every time I eat beans. Romans ate beans to.


#5    Bavarian Raven

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 02:24 PM

Quote

The burning of plant matter to cook food

Burning of plant matter should not affect the carbon cycle and therefore global climate change - at least not on that scale. It's the burning of coal and oil, etc, which has carbon that was sequestered millions of years ago, when atmospheric CO2 was at a much higher level that causes the problems. :unsure2: Processing metals, thats another story though...


#6    pallidin

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:58 PM

View PostBavarian Raven, on 06 October 2012 - 02:24 PM, said:

Burning of plant matter should not affect the carbon cycle and therefore global climate change - at least not on that scale. It's the burning of coal and oil, etc, which has carbon that was sequestered millions of years ago, when atmospheric CO2 was at a much higher level that causes the problems. :unsure2: Processing metals, thats another story though...

I would tend to agree.
The contribution of greenhouse gases by the ancients would have been minimal at best.
The blame should solely rest on modern, highly excessive fuel generation techniques involving the burring of coal and petroleum to generate electricity and to power vehicles. Along with massive deforestation, of course.

This is a modern problem.


#7    Br Cornelius

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 05:05 PM

View Postpallidin, on 06 October 2012 - 04:58 PM, said:

I would tend to agree.
The contribution of greenhouse gases by the ancients would have been minimal at best.
The blame should solely rest on modern, highly excessive fuel generation techniques involving the burring of coal and petroleum to generate electricity and to power vehicles. Along with massive deforestation, of course.

This is a modern problem.
I would dispute this contention. Man has been changing land use extensively for the last 8000yrs and this will have had a significant perturbing influence on the climate. It is highly likely that the Roman Warm period and Medieval warm period were at least partly attributable to land use change of burning of extensive areas of forest for agriculture. The collapse of the Roman Empire probably directly caused the decline in climate associated with the Dark Ages - as cultured agriculture was abandoned and large areas of forest regrew.  

There have been a number of peer reviewed studies on this very subject.

This is what is so concerning about current climate change, as it combines the effects of land use change and the release of large volumes of sequestered ancient carbon in one almighty wallop to the system.

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#8    Bavarian Raven

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:03 PM

Quote

I would dispute this contention. Man has been changing land use extensively for the last 8000yrs and this will have had a significant perturbing influence on the climate. It is highly likely that the Roman Warm period and Medieval warm period were at least partly attributable to land use change of burning of extensive areas of forest for agriculture. The collapse of the Roman Empire probably directly caused the decline in climate associated with the Dark Ages - as cultured agriculture was abandoned and large areas of forest regrew.  

But the carbon released from the burning of wood doesn't alter the global climate in a significant way (for carbon trapped in trees/released from burning/decomposition is carbon that was trapped recently). You need to be burning coal or oil or the such, which was created from carbon stored away at a time the atm. had a larger CO2 concentration.

That being said, if you removed enough trees you could change the albedo and things like that, altering the climate and the such. But that's not the same as green house gas related climate change.


#9    newsoul

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 01:51 AM

Well we homo sapiens have as of last year over took and passed the cow as the most flatulent animal on the planet producing the most methane ass gas ever. Now who says farts are funny?


#10    questionmark

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 07:22 AM

View PostBavarian Raven, on 06 October 2012 - 09:03 PM, said:

But the carbon released from the burning of wood doesn't alter the global climate in a significant way (for carbon trapped in trees/released from burning/decomposition is carbon that was trapped recently). You need to be burning coal or oil or the such, which was created from carbon stored away at a time the atm. had a larger CO2 concentration.

That being said, if you removed enough trees you could change the albedo and things like that, altering the climate and the such. But that's not the same as green house gas related climate change.

That depends, if you are burning those plants that ultimately have to recover the carbon, i.e. trees, then it could affect the carbon content in the atmosphere quite well. Large parts of Europe (and not only Europe, but there we have written constancy) were deforested.

And as food for thought, according to the Vostock ice cores during the Roman warm period we had about 360 ppm in the atmosphere, during the medieval optimal somewhere around 380 ppm, right now we have about 400 ppm and rising.

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#11    Br Cornelius

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 08:33 AM

View PostBavarian Raven, on 06 October 2012 - 09:03 PM, said:

But the carbon released from the burning of wood doesn't alter the global climate in a significant way (for carbon trapped in trees/released from burning/decomposition is carbon that was trapped recently). You need to be burning coal or oil or the such, which was created from carbon stored away at a time the atm. had a larger CO2 concentration.

That being said, if you removed enough trees you could change the albedo and things like that, altering the climate and the such. But that's not the same as green house gas related climate change.

The soil under trees is the main sequestering mechanism - especially in the temperate zone. Cutting down the trees may release up to a thousand years worth of sequestered plant and soil carbon - more than enough to effect the climate on a short time scale. This is why it maps so well to previous anthropogenic climate changes as discussed in the article.

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#12    Little Fish

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 10:32 PM

so now the realisation that the Roman Warm Period is a problem for the alarmists hockey stick so they try and "blame" it on man, surprised they didn't try and just delete it, like they tried to with the Medieval Warm Period. Did it occur to anyone that warm periods make food more bountiful which itself leads to prosperity and empires, colder periods lead to lack of food and thus political instability. reversal of cause and effect (again). this story is nonsense based on pseudoscience. getting desperate.


#13    Doug1o29

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:51 PM

View PostBavarian Raven, on 06 October 2012 - 09:03 PM, said:

But the carbon released from the burning of wood doesn't alter the global climate in a significant way (for carbon trapped in trees/released from burning/decomposition is carbon that was trapped recently). You need to be burning coal or oil or the such, which was created from carbon stored away at a time the atm. had a larger CO2 concentration.
The problem isn't the burning of wood as fuel; it's the changes in soil biota, particularly fungi, that result from cutting the tree.  Soil organics decay into CO2 without anything there to replace them.  In America, the east side of the Great Plains were burned about every five years by paleo-Indians (Fire scar studies from tree rings.).  That alters the biochemistry of the soil.  I'm inclined to think these effects were minor compared to modern industrial pollution, but they were still there.
Doug

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#14    Doug1o29

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 02:53 PM

View PostLittle Fish, on 10 October 2012 - 10:32 PM, said:

so now the realisation that the Roman Warm Period is a problem for the alarmists hockey stick so they try and "blame" it on man, surprised they didn't try and just delete it, like they tried to with the Medieval Warm Period. Did it occur to anyone that warm periods make food more bountiful which itself leads to prosperity and empires, colder periods lead to lack of food and thus political instability. reversal of cause and effect (again). this story is nonsense based on pseudoscience. getting desperate.
In what way is the Roman Warm Period a problem?  Or the Medieval Warm Period, either?
Doug

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#15    Br Cornelius

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 04:49 PM

View PostDoug1o29, on 11 October 2012 - 02:53 PM, said:

In what way is the Roman Warm Period a problem?  Or the Medieval Warm Period, either?
Doug
I've maintained this position for a few years now - based on my understanding of the data.

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