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Did the Romans produce greenhouse gases ?

Posted on Saturday, 6 October, 2012 | Comment icon 17 comments | News tip by: questionmark

Image credit: CC 3.0 R N Marshman

A new study has revealed that the production of greenhouse gases was not limited to the modern age.

When we think of global warming we tend to think of factories churning out greenhouse gases in to the atmosphere, but now it seems that the production of such gases was prevalent long before industrialization and long before anyone knew anything about climate change. The ancient Roman and Chinese empires would have been prime contributers, burning large amounts of plant matter and releasing millions of tons of methane gas in to the atmosphere.

"The quantities are much smaller, because there were fewer people on Earth," said study leader Celia Sapart. "But the amount of methane emitted per person was significant."

"Sapart's conclusions were based on an analysis of ice core samples from Greenland."

  View: Full article |  Source: LA Times

  Discuss: View comments (17)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by newsoul on 7 October, 2012, 1:51
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?
Comment icon #9 Posted by questionmark on 7 October, 2012, 7:22
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.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Br Cornelius on 7 October, 2012, 8:33
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
Comment icon #11 Posted by Little Fish on 10 October, 2012, 22:32
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.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Doug1o29 on 11 October, 2012, 14:51
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
Comment icon #13 Posted by Doug1o29 on 11 October, 2012, 14:53
In what way is the Roman Warm Period a problem? Or the Medieval Warm Period, either? Doug
Comment icon #14 Posted by Br Cornelius on 11 October, 2012, 16:49
I've maintained this position for a few years now - based on my understanding of the data. Br Cornelius
Comment icon #15 Posted by BFB on 12 October, 2012, 14:59
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).
Comment icon #16 Posted by Doug1o29 on 12 October, 2012, 16:02
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 ... [More]

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