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Study reveals ancient greenhouse gas emission

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

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Posted (edited)

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

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

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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...

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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.

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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.

Br Cornelius

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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.

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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?

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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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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.

Br Cornelius

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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.

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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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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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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.

Br Cornelius

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In what way is the Roman Warm Period a problem? Or the Medieval Warm Period, either?

Doug

I think what LF is referring to is that our great Mann didn't find any significant RWP(No RWP actually) or MWP when he made his 2000yr temperature reconstruction, some years ago(If remember right its his 2003 paper).

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I think what LF is referring to is that our great Mann didn't find any significant RWP(No RWP actually) or MWP when he made his 2000yr temperature reconstruction, some years ago(If remember right its his 2003 paper).

I have that paper right here in front of me. There are four chronologies developed from 41 proxies. These extend from about 200 AD to 2000 AD. The Medieval Warm Period shows up in the Southern Hemisphere, Global and combined Northern-Southern chronologies. It is present in the Northern Hemisphere Chronology too, but very faint. The Roman Warm Period shows up in the combined Northern-Southern chronologies, but not in the others.

The proxies used employ conservative standardization methods with regard to preserving MILLENIAL-SCALE temperature variability. In other words, they are not intended to preserve or show temperature oscillations the size of the RWP or MWP. This doesn't mean they aren't there, just that the methods used won't show them. Researchers know this, especially as it says so right in the paper. But people who aren't familiar with normal data variability often try to make a study show something it doesn't. Little Fish would not know of this without reading the paper. It is not mentioned in the abstract.

In the past, most proxies were collected in the Northern Hemisphere, so people tend to think that what happens here, happens everywhere. The RWP and MWP are usually more-pronounced in Northern Hemisphere reconstructions. But when you average in proxies from all over the world, the balance changes.

One question I have regarding these two warm periods: during the RWP, sea levels averaged 5.6 feet higher than modern, higher than at any time since. Presumably, that's because warmer temps melted more glaciers, raising sea levels. Why then didn't we get a much larger sea level rise during the MWP? Wasn't it as warm? Or was it limited to Europe and other places where there are few glaciers that can melt and raise sea levels? Sea levels take time to respond to climate. Was it simply that the MWP was over so fast that sea level didn't have a chance to reach equilibrium?

And that still leaves the question unanswered: How does either the Roman or Medieval Warm Periods refute global warming?

Doug

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