Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Global warming is a 'good thing.' Arctic + 10 degrees = Karlukmun's very own pot plantation. Slaves included.

Top of the morning gents,

Dust bowls, heat waves and melting ice packs.

I don't think humans will be able to do anything to stop our cursed 100 year and 1,000 year weather cycles.

Mother Nature is a bitch. She nukes Africa with desertification with the Sahara Dessert expanding 100 miles every year. She ruins Alaska with tundrafication with most of our state slogged and clogged in nigger-heads, muskeg, hillocks, tussocks, and well basically useless mosquito infested sloppy tundra.

I live here. I hate the shit. I do arctic warming dances every fucking day.

Here's a bit of trivia that'll take a lot of hot air and steam outa yer global warming causality malarkey: Mt. St. Helens released more carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere than the entire industrial history of mankind.

You and I know that smog and soot levels in Los Angeles, London and New York are a result of extraordinary traffic, congestion and sheer numbers of exhaust sources, but insignificant to Earth's massive greenhouse gas production enhancing or restricting vegetative activity worldwide.

More carbon dioxide means more vegetation further towards the poles, more desertification in Africa and less tundrafication in Alaska, Canada and Russia. Everything in the natural sciences is a trade off or a compromise. Upside or downside depends on your ability to flex with the changes, roll with the punches.

Don't get me wrong, I hate air pollution just as much as the next guy and honk and make gagging gestures whenever I'm stuck behind any oil burning and oil smoking junker cars driven by Valley Trash PONTIAC Wiggers.

I ain't talking about that, I'm talking about the advantages of warming Alaska enough so we can grow our own produce forever freeing us from liquid lettuce, rotten squash and veggies that look like they were used as dildos by fat pear shaped white dyke bitches piling into Alaska by the thousands.

Alaska is filling up with broken divorcees and lesbos that fled the lesser 48 to escape sexual inadequacy, ridicule and stink finger loneliness hoping to hide amongst all us similarly smelling Alaskans with problem body odor.

Ain't no problem hiding yer yeast cheese discharge, chronic bull dike buddy viruses and bacteria infested penis gloppage all over yer forearm from us arctic dwellers, our babysitters and stepmoms already taught us to suck pig tits, lick dog butt and earned our red badges of courage. At the age of 5.

If we raise temps in the lesser 48 just 3 degrees we can increase agricultural output by almost 50%, if we raise Alaska's temps by 10 degrees we'll be set to kick some farmer butt with truly awesome squash, tobacco, and Matanuska Thunderfuck.

Looking out the back of my window I see whale crews hoisting and dragging bloody whales with the help of heavy equipment operators in bucket loaders and fork lifts.

The Fall hunt is the commercial whaling season so my Eskimo neighbors can use Scandinavian whale cannons, diesel tractors and some really cool fishing vessels armed with powerful engines and trick rigging.

Spring whaling takes place miles out on the ice shelf, so no tractors, no giant fishing vessels, just kayaks, harpoons and man-powered winch systems of pulleys and fat rope action.

I'm just one moron drunk with spirit that walks in hundreds of worlds.

If we warm up Alaska say another 5 degrees, I'll no longer enjoy a view of a bright red ice pack painted with sea mammal ass paint, but I will enjoy a view of hundreds of darkies working the fields picking my tobacco, barley, hops and gooner bud, fruits and vegetables.

I wonder what kind of new musical genres that'll inevitably come out of Alaskan Natives singing gospel drinking songs whilst picking my "weed, whites and wine" (Little Feat).

Missouri plantations in Alaska: my very own private Idaho. Analogous to them dope smoking maggot infested environmentalist whackos, flora-indigenous plant life is a dangerous entity, once you give them veggies a foot hold, they'll convert all yer shitty and mucky tundra into a veritable garden of Eden.

Us Ukpeagvik child pumpers will no longer be carnivorous meat shittin' mongoloids, we'll be vegetarian homosexual retards. (Can I possibly mix up more epitaphs and slurs?)

How do you convert millions of square miles of tundra peat into marijuana? Add a little warmth and tenderness and voila: we all got green thumbs, green teeth and red eyes.

Hunting cultures party and dance to migratory frequency modulation, agrarian cultures party and pillage to planting seasons and harvest time festivals of abundant amplitude.

Farmers are champs at green energy policy: all stalks, leaves, hulls and husks are fed to livestock with all the expected mondo manure roto-tilled back into their gardens.

Another spin-off byproduct is the recycling of moldy grain yields into white lightening and LSD rich ergot wheat rust into Microdot vitamin caplets.

Our progeny more than children of the corn, quite possibly children of the cron.

Global warming will make farmers out some of us, slaves out of the rest of us.

Is that kewl or twat?

Karl.

---

Is shrub growth adding to climate change in the Arctic?

By Richard A. Lovett
UNION-TRIBUNE
October 5, 2005

In 1999, Matthew Sturm of the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Alaska discovered a stack of Cold War-era reconnaissance photos of Alaska's North Slope, about to be discarded by his agency's Anchorage office.

Sturm had them shipped to Fairbanks and gave them to Kenneth Tape, a graduate student at the University of Alaska. The photos were eye-catching partly because they were huge: 9-by-18-inch prints taken with a 100-pound camera. But they were also keys to understanding how the Arctic landscape has changed in the years since they were made.

U.S. Navy

This Cold War-era photo from the late 1940s shows tundra with typical low-growing mosses and lichen near the Noatak River in northwest Alaska.
On the North Slope, there are no hurricanes, fires, glacial advances and retreats, or other disturbances that might cause plant communities to shift over time. That meant that any changes in the vegetation couldn't simply be due to regrowth on previously disturbed land. They had to be due to something else operating on a large scale, presumably climate.

To determine just what had changed, Tape's team equipped an airplane and set out to duplicate 200 of the 5,000 old prints. What they found was stunning: More than 185 of the locations had become noticeably brushier. The North Slope was still largely ground-hugging tundra, but shrubs such as willow, alder and dwarf birch had, on average, expanded their range by 39 percent.

The same area by the late 1990s had been transformed into a brushier landscape of alder, willow and birch shrubs. Increased shrubbery appears to be contributing even more to Arctic warming, by altering snow cover and melting permafrost.
"As the shrubs increase, lichens and herbs are losing out," Tape said, at last fall's meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

That's significant because caribou eat the smaller plants, while shrubs draw moose. The change appears to be happening so quickly that the local languages have barely had time to adapt. "The word for moose in the Inuit language is essentially 'big caribou,' " Tape says.

But the spread of shrubs may be doing a lot more than simply shifting wildlife habitat. It may also be helping to speed the process of Arctic warming by altering snow cover and changing the region's albedo. Albedo is simply a scientific measure of the terrain's brightness: Technically, it is the fraction of sunlight that is reflected back into space. "People go to ski areas and put on sunglasses for the very fact that the albedo is high," says Sturm. "But typically you don't see them reaching for sunglasses in a grassy field." But albedo does more than simply affect brightness. Low-albedo surfaces get warm faster in the sun than high albedo ones. That's why dark pavement gets hot on summer days. Previous studies have found that taller, leafier plants tend to be darker, reducing albedo by about 25 percent, and significantly increasing the amount of solar heating. But the most recent research shows that shrubs have an even larger effect in the winter.

In the Sierra Nevada, shrubs are too deeply buried under the snow to affect the albedo. But Arctic snow rarely piles more than waist deep and is often shallower. Thus, while short tundra plants spend most of the long Arctic winter buried in a white blanket, the upper branches of shrubs rise above the snow. And because these branches are dark, they can reduce the albedo by as much as 75 percent, Sturm said.

Sturm's team rigged trolleylike cables to carry an albedo meter across plots of natural vegetation near Nome, Alaska. The research site was in a transition zone between forest and tundra, where all types of vegetation lay close enough together for all the plots to experience the same winter weather.

Small shrubs didn't affect the albedo, Sturm discovered, because, like tundra, they were buried by snow. "But at some point, they get stiff and tall enough that instead of a beautiful, white snowfield, you get branches sticking up," he says.

When the study first came out in the Sept. 7 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, it was criticized by people who pointed out that during the heart of the Arctic winter, there's not enough daylight for the albedo to matter. But Sturm's only oversight was in not reminding people that the Arctic winter isn't limited to the 24-hour darkness of December and January.

"I've spent much of my life in the winter working with a headlamp," he laughs. "If anyone would know it's dark in the high north, it's me!"

What matters, he says, are the "swing" seasons of fall and spring. "They are very sunny."

In fact, during the course of taking albedo measurements, Sturm discovered that in the spring, melting began several weeks earlier in shrubby regions than in unbroken tundra. "And you notice things like warm branches breaking out of the snow on a hot day," he says.

On the other hand, the same sun-warmed branches shaded the last remnants of the snow beneath them. The result was that while melting started earlier in shrubby areas, the last of the snow melted at the same time as in open terrain. Another surprise was that the dark branches of shrubs reduce the albedo by nearly two-thirds as much as the dark boughs of trees.

That's an important discovery, Sturm says, because shrubs can invade large tracts of land in the course of a few decades, while forests take much longer to expand their range. "So, through a simple growth of shrubs, we can have a profound impact on Arctic climate, just by darkening the landscape," he says.

Feedback effect

It also appears to be a self-perpetuating effect because, by warming the winter climate, the shrubs appear to be creating conditions conducive for even more explosive growth in the future. Sturm's study did not measure the amount by which the albedo effect elevates local temperatures, but he estimates that it is probably on the order of a couple of degrees centigrade.

In addition, shrubs trap snowdrifts that insulate their roots from the bitterest cold of the dark midwinter months.

Other researchers applaud the study for providing increased understanding of how global warming is affecting the Arctic. "It's really valuable information for the modelers," says Steve Hastings, an ecologist at San Diego State University. Real-life field data, he says, makes it possible to fine-tune climate models, allowing what were once little more than guesses to better zero in more precisely on what the future may hold.

The biggest concern among climate modelers is how changes in the Arctic are affecting the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

For thousands of years, plants have been growing and dying in the Arctic, with their remains settling into the soil. Instead of decomposing and releasing carbon dioxide back into the air, these remains have accumulated as a huge store of peat, locked in the Arctic permafrost.

Were it not for the albedo effect, the jury would still be out on whether shrubs contribute to permafrost melting. Their tendency to create snowdrifts insulates the ground from the deepest cold and prevents it from freezing as deeply as might otherwise be the case. But they also shade the ground in the summer, reducing the impact of solar heating.

It is unclear which of these two factors is stronger, says Frederick Nelson, a geographer at the University of Delaware. But the albedo effect alters the balance by warming large tracts of lands. That contributes to the ongoing warming of the Arctic, speeding the rate at which the permafrost is melting. Permafrost melting is a problem to Arctic residents because it causes land subsidence, ruining roads and buildings. But, in a disturbingly self-perpetuating process, permafrost melting may also contribute to further warming. That's because it exposes increasing quantities of that stored peat to bacterial decomposition that might release huge quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

"Historically, the Arctic has been a carbon sink, taking in more carbon than it's releasing and storing it in the deep freeze for 7,000 years," says Hastings. The present warming trend is akin to "pulling the plug" on the freezer. "All of that stuff is melting and decomposing," Hastings says.

CO2 threshold

Of course, it's not quite that simple. The summers of 1995 and 1996 were two of the warmest on record, but instead of releasing carbon dioxide, the Arctic temporarily went back to storing it. The reason, Hastings hypothesizes, is that the decomposition of plant matter from melted permafrost releases more than carbon dioxide: It also releases nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Temporarily, a spike in these nutrients fuels rampant plant growth, which pulls more carbon dioxide out of the air than decomposition is putting into it.

But, while this might repeat again in the future, it appears to be a temporary phenomenon. For the next few decades, most researchers expect that the Arctic will release more carbon dioxide than plant growth absorbs.

Meanwhile, human releases of carbon dioxide could also increase. "It's not going to be long before China is going to start producing every bit as much carbon dioxide per person as we do," Hastings says. "We need to look at this as a scientific question and try the best we can to put political viewpoints aside."

What the recent findings about shrubs contribute to the "scientific question" is a demonstration that, at least in the Arctic, changes can occur quickly, with self-perpetuating feedbacks that can quickly accelerate. "You shouldn't think of systems as moving on trajectories that are nice and smooth," Sturm says. "These systems almost always have thresholds."

In the case of his study, he notes, "As soon as shrubs get big enough to poke above the snow, they begin to change the winter environment in ways that change it even more."

The real question is whether these changes will be slow or explosive. "Our study indicates the latter," Sturm says.

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