Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eli can retire Part XII - The commenters get something right

Another in our series, but this time the EPA and the commenters get it right

Comment (6-44):
Commenters (e.g., 2791, 10298) state their support for the Findings, noting the potential for increased stress from heat, drought, insects, and disease on plant and tree populations. Others (2599, 10081) from the western United States voice their support for the Findings and describe their experiences with hot summers and serious wildfires. Other commenters (e.g., 3421, 4748, 6894) state their support for the Findings and express concern about the effects of current and future extreme weather events on the forestry industry, including heat waves, droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes. One commenter (5844) describes how projected climate impacts, particularly the increased risk of wildfire on forestry and forest biodiversity will affect him personally given his enjoyment of hiking, camping, and communing with nature in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

A commenter (3501) states his support for the Findings, indicating that the western United States and Canada are already seeing widespread changes in the natural landscape due to climate change. Hotter temperatures are causing more frequent and persistent drought in the West, which contribute to forest fires and pine beetle infestations. A weather-related pine beetle infestation has decimated millions of acres of forest in the western United States Western US and Canada. At the current rate of destruction, 80% of the forests of British Columbia will have been destroyed within five years and the rest of the West will lose 50% of its forests by mid-century. The forest fire season in the West is now 78 days longer than 25 years ago and it is well recognized that our forest fires have become more frequent, more intense and more destructive.

Response (6-44):
We reviewed the comments provided and note they are generally consistent with the discussion of climate impacts on forestry in the TSD, although commenters do not provide specific references to support their claims. As summarized in the TSD and in our responses to previous comments in this volume, disturbances like wildfire and insect outbreaks are increasing and are likely to intensify in a warmer future with drier soils and longer growing seasons.
The Technical Support Document provides the background for this, of which Eli will quote a bit
10(d) Insects and Diseases
Insects and diseases are a natural part of forested ecosystems and outbreaks often have complex causes. The effects of insects and diseases can vary from defoliation and retarded growth, to timber damage, to massive forest diebacks. Insect life cycles can be a factor in pest outbreaks; and insect life cycles are sensitive to climate change. Many northern insects have a two-year life cycle, and warmer winter temperatures allow a larger fraction of overwintering larvae to survive. Recently, spruce budworm in Alaska has completed its life cycle in one year, rather than the previously observed duration of two years (Field et al., 2007). Recent warming trends in the United States have led to earlier spring activity of insects and proliferation of some species, such as the mountain pine beetle (Easterling et al., 2007).

During the 1990s, Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula experienced an outbreak of spruce bark beetle over 6,200 square miles (16,000 km2) with 10 to 20% tree mortality (Anisimov et al., 2007). Also following recent warming in Alaska, spruce budworm has reproduced farther north reaching problematic numbers (Anisimov et al., 2007). Climate change may indirectly affect insect outbreaks by affecting the overall health and productivity of trees. For example, susceptibility of trees to insects is increased when multi-year droughts degrade the trees’ ability to generate defensive chemicals (Field, et al., 2007). Warmer temperatures have already enhanced the opportunities for insect spread across the landscape in the United States and other world regions (Easterling et al., 2007).

The IPCC (Easterling et al., 2007) stated that modeling of future climate change impacts on insect and pathogen outbreaks remains limited. Nevertheless, the IPCC (Field et al., 2007) states with high confidence that, across North America, impacts of climate change on commercial forestry potential are likely to be sensitive to changes in disturbances from insects and diseases, as well as wildfires.

The CCSP report (Ryan et al., 2008) states that the ranges of the mountain pine beetle and southern pine beetle are projected to expand northward as a result of average temperature increases. Increased probability of spruce beetle outbreak as well as increase in climate suitability for mountain pine beetle attack in high-elevation ecosystems has also been projected in response to warming (Ryan et al., 2008).

Climate change can shift the current boundaries of insects and pathogens and modify tree physiology and tree defense. An increase in climate extremes may also promote plant disease and pest outbreaks (Easterling et al., 2007).
And so, we get to the scary bits To be continued. . .

72 comments:

David B. Benson said...

Some of the scary bits in Mark Lynas's "Six Degrees".

Anonymous said...

Yes. Certainly improper forest management had nothing to do with pine beetle infestation. It's all climate change.

Or not...

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05528.html

"Extreme cold temperatures also can reduce MPB populations. For winter mortality to be a significant factor, a severe freeze is necessary while the insect is in its most vulnerable stage; i.e., in the fall before the larvae have metabolized glycerols, or in late spring when the insect is molting into the pupal stage. For freezing temperatures to affect a large number of larvae during the middle of winter, temperatures of at least 30 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit) must be sustained for at least five days."

Now, since you all have all the answers, kindly point to the period in time when early fall or late spring temps in ANY part of the western US have reached those levels. It doesn't happen.

The IPCC and the EPA would do well to take a class in forestry and learn that fire is the forests friend, not a "disturbance." Fire is far more "natural" than no fire. Overqrown and overly dense forests are what foster beetle kill and outbreaks such as what we see today.

Long and short, AGW is a scapegoat--and a poor one at that--for poor work by humans. Not surprising.

Keep trying though. Too bad observations of reality trump this tripe.

Spock

Nick Stokes said...

Spock,
"have reached those levels"
Which levels? I think you're mis-reading. They're tough in midwinter, when it takes 30F below to damage them. In spring and fall, it takes a "severe freeze".

Anonymous said...

Nick,

No. I am not mis-reading. Not only do temps NEVER reach -30F during the winter, the "severe freeze" you speak of has no basis. What does that mean? It freezes often in the mountains of CO, in the fall and the spring. In fact, 0F is not uncommon for October. That should be "severe" enough one would think.

The fact is, the correlation between AGW and the pine beetle infestation is a known false premise for anyone living here. Overgrowth of the forest sue to poor management, and intentional fire prevention due to human movement into the forest are the primary factors. Drought has its place, but it is smaller than the problem of too many old trees in one place. Even if you were to blame drought, you would have to prove that it was caused by AGW rather than a normal cycle. Not possible.

No, global warming is a convenient excuse but it is not the problem. To try to point to it as the primary cause is a joke. At least to those of us who actually live here and can see it for ourselves. Virtually no experts consider the issue to be a result of human action. It is our lack of action in this case that is the problem.

Look at pictures of the CO Rockies from 80 or 100 years ago and you will see, very clearly, that the density of the forest has increased dramatically. Because we don't allow the forest to "live" a proper existence--i.e. we don't let the damn thing burn when it should--we suffer the consequences.

Temperature is the absolute most minor factor in this process because it never gets cold enough to eradicate the beetle. Which is why they have been, and will be, around for centuries.

Spock

Anonymous said...

Addendum: Never reach -30F FOR SUSTAINED PERIODS.

It does, at times, get that cold at night.

Spock

Michael Tobis said...

Mr. Spock,

This is well outside my expertise, but the passage you quote seems to me to contradict your summary of it.

It says that sustained very severe cold is necessary for mortality in midwinter, but only a single "severe" (but possibly less severe) freeze is needed in late spring or fall (nothing about "early" fall there.)

This is not to contradict you about other anthropogenic impacts; as I say I am no expert on forestry or invasive species, and such problems may well apply. However, the evidence you offer does not support your point that climate change is not involved.

Anonymous said...

Ok Michael,

First, I never stated that "climate change" was not involved. The climate is constantly changing, and as such, it would be silly to state that it has no bearing. We had severe drought in Colorado in the early '00s and there is no question it had an effect. But droughts have occurred for centuries so, that we had one was unfortunate, but not unprecedented. We have recovered nicely in the last 4-5 years. Around 110 percent reservoir storage as of 5/1 statewide with plenty of snow still to melt.

Now, with that said, kindly point to all the years where there has NOT been what most people would consider a "severe" freeze in the CO--or any other northern--high country. Fall goes from 9/21 to 12/21 so please include all temps during those dates. I suspect the average low is about 15-20F with extremes well into -F in certain areas like the Gunnison Valley where it is always freakishly cold. Which brings us to the next question. Which is, how would temp EVER really come into play regarding the beetle? Temps are never consistent across a region as large as the one affected. So there would always be pockets where the temps simply never get that cold. It is normal to have wide variations here, unlike what people see in more "normal" areas.

Again, "warming" is absolute BS when discussing this issue. Temp has no place in the discussion given that it has never been consistently cold enough to kill this species--or any other--OR THEY WOULD NOT EXIST!

The problems lie elsewhere. What I am saying does not, unfortunately, invalidate AGW. But this topic in no way supports it either.

If you believe it does, you are deluding yourselves, and doing your cause a disservice.

Spock

jyyh said...

is hoping the projected increase of extreme events in weather will keep the pests at bay, say, by surprise colds after an early spring (inducing insect activity), though is not very confident on that for most of the insects have wings and plants do not. Anyway the plants do take some damage from the warming (with extremes or not) as they may fall outside their optimum range (considering pests (molds, insects, polypores and such) and weather).

JohnMashey said...

Spock:
So go visit British Columbia, much of of which is still pretty undeveloped, [since most of the people live in one end of the province) and tell lumbermen it's all forest management and not temperature. Be warned that some of them know how to use axes and be ready to run fast.

The beetles have chewed up a lot of forests where nobody has ever logged or tried to stop a fire, they've been working their way progressively further North, and into Alberta. This is in synchrony with the vineyards pushing further North in the Okanagan Valley as it warms up there.

Colorado is *not* BC.

Anonymous said...

Some abstract extracts through the years related to the pine beetle discussion above:

Theoretical Explanation of Mountain Pine Beetle Dynamics in Lodgepole Pine Forests BERRYMAN AA (1976) Environmental Entomology, Volume 5, Number 6

"Analysis indicated that mountain pine beetle outbreaks are triggered by rapid declines in stand resistance resulting from climatic disturbances, insect defoliation, etc."

Modelling mountain pine beetle phenological response to temperature. Logan, J.A & Powell, J.A (2004) Information Report - Pacific Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service Issue: BC-X-399

"Univoltinism, associated with reproductive success for the mountain pine beetle, is related to stable fixed points of the developmental circle map. Univoltine fixed points are stable and robust in broad temperature bands, but lose stability suddenly to maladaptive cycles at the edges of these bands. This leads to the obvious observation that temperatures (weather) can be too cold for the mountain pine beetle to thrive, as well as the less obvious implication that it can also be too warm."

Climatology of winter cold spells in relation to mountain pine beetle mortality in British Columbia, Canada Stahl, K. et al. (2006) CLIMATE RESEARCH Volume: 32 Issue: 1

"Potential cold-mortality events were identified by comparing recorded daily minimum air temperatures with experimentally determined critical thresholds. Annual event frequency has declined over past decades, and between 1998 and 2001 temperatures did not reach the 100% MPB mortality thresholds at the stations analysed"

Chris S.

Anonymous said...

more:

Impact of minimum winter temperatures on the population dynamics of Dendroctonus frontalis Tran, J.K. et al. (2007) ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS Volume: 17 Issue: 3

" Analyses of beetle abundance data from 1987 to 2005 showed that minimum winter air temperature only explained 1.5% of the variance in interannual growth rates of beetle populations, indicating that it is but a weak driver of population dynamics in the southeastern United States as a whole. However, average population growth rate matched theoretical predictions of a process-based model of winter mortality from low temperatures; apparently our knowledge of population effects from winter temperatures is satisfactory, and may help to predict dynamics of northern populations, even while adding little to population predictions in southern forests. Recent episodes of D. frontalis outbreaks in northern forests may have been allowed by a warming trend from 1960 to 2004 of 3.3 degrees C in minimum winter air temperatures in the southeastern United States."

Modeling cold tolerance in the mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae Regniere J & Bentz B (2007) JOURNAL OF INSECT PHYSIOLOGY Volume: 53 Issue: 6

"Cold-induced mortality is a key factor driving mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, population dynamics...The level of cold-induced mortality predicted by the model and its relation to extreme winter temperature is in good agreement with a range of field and laboratory observations. Our model predicts that cold tolerance of D. ponderosae varies within a season, among seasons, and among geographic locations depending on local climate. This variability is an emergent property of the model, and has important implications for understanding the insect's response to seasonal fluctuations in temperature, as well as population response to climate change."

Movement of outbreak populations of mountain pine beetle: influences of spatiotemporal patterns and climate Aukema BH et al. (2008) ECOGRAPHY Volume: 31 Issue: 3

"We examine an outbreak of mountain pine beetle covering an 800 thousand ha area on the Chilcotin Plateau of British Columbia, Canada, during the 1970s and early 1980s. We present a model that incorporates the spatial and temporal arrangements of outbreaking insect populations, as well as various climatic factors that influence insect development. Onsets of eruptions of mountain pine beetle demonstrated landscape-level synchrony. On average, the presence of outbreaking populations was highly correlated with outbreaking populations within the nearest 18 km the same year and local populations within 6 km in the previous two years. After incorporating these spatial and temporal dependencies, we found that increasing temperatures contributed to explaining outbreak probabilities during this 15 yr outbreak."

Chris S.

Anonymous said...

one final paper:

Forecasting mountain pine beetle-overwintering mortality in a variable environment. Cooke, B.J. (2009) Mountain Pine Beetle Working Paper - Pacific Forestry Centre, Canadian Forest Service Issue: 2009-03

"Field and lab tests suggest the model should perform reasonably well during winters characterized by at least one severe cold snap. In 2006-07 the overwintering mortality rate across Alberta was predicted to be 79%, in close agreement with the observed survival rate of 81%. The model suggested that most of the mortality occurred in a single pulse late November 2006, when temperatures across the province dropped suddenly to a winter low between -32C and -38C. The following year, in 2007-08, a higher level of mortality was predicted and observed, largely a result of the severe cold snap of late January 2008, when temperatures dropped to a winter low between -35C and -47C. In both winters, mortality was predicted and observed to be much higher in northern than in southern Alberta...Putting these observations in context, a retrospective analysis of historical beetle winter weather in Alberta (1951-2008) indicates that the last two winters represent a temporary reversion back to "normal" (i.e., 1980s-style) winter climatic conditions. A return in the coming years to a positive warming trend in winter temperatures would pose a risk of increased potential of outbreaks and eastward range expansion."


Chris S.

dhogaza said...

Spock is terribly confused:

"No. I am not mis-reading. Not only do temps NEVER reach -30F during the winter, the "severe freeze" you speak of has no basis. What does that mean? It freezes often in the mountains of CO, in the fall and the spring. In fact, 0F is not uncommon for October. That should be "severe" enough one would think.

The fact is, the correlation between AGW and the pine beetle infestation is a known false premise for anyone living here. Overgrowth of the forest sue to poor management, and intentional fire prevention due to human movement into the forest are the primary factors. Drought has its place, but it is smaller than the problem of too many old trees in one place. Even if you were to blame drought, you would have to prove that it was caused by AGW rather than a normal cycle. Not possible."

Average rise in warming temperature is responsible for the northward and upward expansion of the pine bark beetle range. In other words, it's been expanding north far into the boreal forest where pine bark beetles have not been seen historically, and at higher elevations.

This doesn't say *anything* about the causes of increased outbreaks WITHIN THE PINE BARK BEETLE'S RANGE. Yes, forest management practices have a tremendous impact on the severity of outbreaks, and drought makes things worse.

But it has nothing to do with the RANGE of the species, which is what's being discussed.

Nowhere is it suggested that AGW is responsible for the pine bark beetle's range including CO. CO has been in the midst of the range for a very long time and no one says this has anything to do with global warming.

Quit arguing against strawmen.

dhogaza said...

"Again, "warming" is absolute BS when discussing this issue. Temp has no place in the discussion given that it has never been consistently cold enough to kill this species--or any other--OR THEY WOULD NOT EXIST! "

Spock's claiming that the high arctic isn't cold enough to kill them, because if it were, they wouldn't exist in colorado?

Weird logic by the pointy-eared one.

Anonymous said...


Overgrowth of the forest sue to poor management, and intentional fire prevention due to human movement into the forest are the primary factors.


Not at the higher elevation lodgepole-pine and spruce-fir forests, they aren't.

A few days ago, I attended a lecture given by Stephen Running of the University of Montana. He said that over the last 50 years, the minimum annual winter temperatures in the northern Rockies have risen by about 15 degrees F. Forests that in the past had almost never burned (high-elevation spruce-fir) are now burning like crazy each summer. He also said that 4 of the last 10 summers in Montana were "1 year in 50" fire seasons.

The high-elevation forests that are now the most heavily impacted almost never burned in the past (not enough time between snow-melt and the first fall snowfall for the forest to dry out enough). So rule out fire-supression. Also, the high-elevation forests are naturally very dense, as they have historically been too wet to support even low-intensity fires. So you can rule out logging restrictions.

Spock doesn't know what the heck he's talking about. He's totally clueless. If you want to find out what's really going on in the high-elevation forests of the Rockies, listen to the professional scientists, not ignorant loudmouths like "Spock". (That handle being an insult to the "real" Spock).


--caerbannog the anonybunny

Anonymous said...

caerbannog the anonybunny:

Ignorant loudmouth? Gee, to be as smart as an arrogant prick like yourself. One can dream.

Steven Running it would seem is, as a sharing participant in the same Nobel won by your friend Al, slightly biased in his opinions. I love all the "modeling" going on on this subject too. What would we do without those magical computer programs.

Let's say temperature is as important a factor as you, and he, state. Can you prove that any change in temps over the last 15 years is a result of AGW? I don't think you can. Your theory suggests that is the case, but that is just a theory. Just like you cannot attribute the droughts to anything more than natural variation.

Confused? I am confused. Confused by the fact that you folks simply cannot concede that not every ecological event is a result of AGW. The insect problem is far more complex than "it got warmer, so they don't die, and it's our fault."

Like it or not, the post gives the impression that AGW is the primary force behind this epidemic and that simply is not so. There are many factors at play. Do you honestly suggest that the boreal forests have NEVER seen a pine beetle? Even when the arctic was temperate? Or because it hasn't happened in "recorded" history we must be at fault?

You probably do believe that.

As for my "handle" it was chosen only to remain consistent with a previous post aimed at someone specific. Tough shit if you find it insulting. I find most of the arrogant rhetoric spouted by your ilk to be insulting.

"Professional scientists" are always right and are never to be questioned I guess is the take home message. I'll try to keep that in mind.

Spock

Anonymous said...

This old bird, is with Spock. The last time I flew up to BC, I'll bet you I musta ate a jillion beatles. I thought they were just like me; going for the good grub... little did I know? But hey, this is science. Catch you all later...

S said...

Spock: question scientists, but make sure your questions are good ones. Did anybody say that temperature is the only significant factor affecting pine beetle population dynamics? You're right -- there's a bunch of stuff happening and it's complicated (stop setting up strawmen). So to help figure it out, scientists use computer models. Those models support temperature playing an strong role. (Note that those models are supported by lab experiments.)

You say that AGW is simply not the primary force behind the epidemic. Okay, what's your evidence? Try to be convincing.

Having spent some time in the interior of British Columbia over the past 15 years, it's intuitive to me that planting monocultures of similarly aged pine stands also plays a role. But I'm not about to subscribe to a conspiracy theory that scientists who have done the work are biased by a connection to Al Gore. They have done the work. I have not.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that didn't take long to reduce Spock to a bathering imbecile. I'm impressed.

He must be really spooked if he had to fall back on the most base of denialist talking points of Nobels, Gore, and computer models as he demands that science provide "proof" while dismissing science as "just a theory".

exusian

Hank Roberts said...

Pauvre Spork!

-- "Anything but the IPCC" is a poor substitute for cites to facts and rational thought. He's no 'Spock'.

Here ya go, kid:

http://www.fs.fed.us/ccrc/topics/bark-beetles.shtml

"... Because elevated temperatures potentially influence the number of generations of these species reproducing in a single year, similar outbreaks could occur again as precipitation and temperature patterns continue to shift.

We have database models to describe and project the effect of temperature, but not other climate variables, on life-cycle timing of the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle (D. rufipennis Kirby). For both species, the influence of elevated temperatures on outbreak dynamics is most notable at higher elevations and latitudes where some beetles have shifted to completing their development in a single year (univoltine) rather than 2 or even 3 years. Assuming other inputs to the system remain constant, this decrease in generation time translates to a doubling in the rate of population growth.

Model predictions suggest that the greatest risk to spruce forests in the next 30 years will be in Alaska, where elevated temperatures caused outbreaks of spruce beetles in the mid 1990s, and at the highest elevations of the Western States where spruce (Picea spp.) grows. Proportionately, mountain pine beetles in high-elevation five-needle pine forests will also continue to increase. At low elevations, however, under a conservative climate change scenario, the amount of area in which we predict that mountain pine beetle populations will do well in the next 30 years could actually decrease as temperatures warm excessively and disrupt the insects’ seasonality. These predictions, however, are based on model simulations that assume a population must be 100 percent univoltine to be successful. Recent field data suggest mountain pine beetle outbreaks occur in forests with a mix of univoltine and semivoltine (2 years required for a single generation) beetles, and 100 percent univoltinism is not necessarily a requirement. We are revising our phenology model to address these issues...."

Marion Delgado said...

The Spock fellow (good nick for someone whose intelligence is fictional) had better not come to Alaska with that crap.

We're the #1 victim of beetles surviving where they never had before. And we did NOT mismanage our forests. At least half our fires every year are allowed to burn themselves out. Anyone who's lived in the interior knows that no matter where you live, at least one summer in every three will be partly ruined by being "smoked out" by a nearby fire.

It's utter nonsense, I repeat. Spock knows as much about the habitats of species as the people who did "Men in Trees" and put raccoons (which don't get as far north as Vancouver) in Alaska.

If you've been suffering Dunning-Kruger related delusions of competence in this area, "Spock," let's hope today begins a journey of self-discovery, re-evaluation, and real learning.

Jim Bouldin said...

Spock:

It's not an either/or proposition. This issue is a classic example of the kind of effect climate change will have, i.e. exacerbating and/or complicating already existing problems, making their understanding and resolution more difficult.

It is very true that altered disturbance regimes, primarily manifested as logging and fire reduction, have increased stress on tree populations in western North America, via an increase in competition. This decreases the resilience of individuals, via a decreased production of terpenes and other natural pesticides, as well as reduced sap flow rates, due to a lowered photosynthesis/respiration ratio. Both are vital in trees' insect resistance, which is essentially to flood them with poison. So land management practices are indeed very important.

At the same time, there IS, contrary to your statement above, definite evidence that reduced snowpack and spring runoff in W NA are both (1) real phenomena, and (2) at least partially due to AGW, as assessed using instrumental and tree ring data, and ensembles of GCM runs coupled to higher resolution hydrology models. The direct effect of increased dormant season minimum temperatures on insect over-wintering survival is a second positive effect on the insects.

It is the combination of the increased per-individual stress on the trees with the decreased stress on the beetle populations, that is responsible for what is now happening.

Much is known about bark beetles, which have a long history of study in ecology, due to their irruptive dynamics and commercial impact. They have a strongly non-linear impact on forests, even when the individual trees in those forests are healthy, which they are in many cases are now not.

Email me if you want more info and I'll send you what I can.

Marion Delgado said...

And for anyone who sympathizes with Spock, and is also getting the impression our take-home message is this:

"Professional scientists" are always right and are never to be questioned" I guess is the take home message. I'll try to keep that in mind. -- Spock

No. Our take-home message is in fact this:

The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's how the smart money bets. -- Damon Runyan

This translates into:

1. If all I know is that 99% of scientists think A is right, and only 1% think B, I'm going with A.

2. If all I know is that the scientists with what I consider relevant expertise think A is right, and the others who think B is right are mostly in non-applicable disciplines, I'm going with A.

3. If all I know is that, e.g., people with meteorology PhDs think A is right, and people who got enough college to become TV weathermen think B is right, I'm going with A.

4. If all I know is that people with years of experience in the relevant science AND who are current with it, preferably still publishing, think A is right, and people who have very little years of study and / or are emeritus and haven't been keeping up think B, I'm going with A.

5. If I know multiple combinations of these things, I'll go with "consensus of relevant scientists" first.

6. I won't interject my own hunches, intuitions, first impressions, or incredulity UNLESS I'm willing to devote at least a couple of months to getting myself up to speed. As I do, I'll note all my questions and objections. I'll try to inquire as to which are already answered, and where. I won't substitute my ego for other people's years of knowledge. That's not bowing to some scientist conspiracy, that's knowing my limitations.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

OK, first post at 4:03 on 5/13. Complete meltdown and reduced to Al-Gore-is-fat arguments at 10:24 on 5/14. Sheesh, what a wimp. They just don't make denialists like they used to.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to jump in once again to reiterate what an ignorant loudmouth "Spock" is.

It is my hope that the time I spent here replying to "Spock" was not entirely wasted. Every minute "Spock" that spends huffing and puffing on-line here is a minute that "Spock" isn't annoying his family members or co-workers. So if nothing else, I hope that I have provided "Spock's" family/co-workers a short respite from his ignorant braying.

"Spock" -- this post is not for your benefit; it's for the benefit of those who are unfortunate to have to deal with you in real life.


--caerbannog the anonybunny.

Tony Sidaway said...

Marion Delgado said it. On the one hand you have the consensus of scientists in the field and some evidence linking regional warming to adverse effects, and on the other hand you have some nameless Star Trek fan on teh internets. Who do I believe? Hm, tricky one, that.

Anonymous said...

All the above is why, Cannabis eats his Jung.

Anonymous said...

Nasty stuff. Would that be the inevitable change in gamma? We know that as temperature increases the naturally occuring CO2 will increase so the biosphere goes from being a sink to a source.

Have we passed a tipping point without realising it?

Little Mouse

Ron Broberg said...

"Spock" said: It's all climate change... or not

Fallacy of the False Dilemma
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

No "Spock" would make such an elementary logical blunder.

J Bowers said...

Spock says: "Let's say temperature is as important a factor as you, and he, state. Can you prove that any change in temps over the last 15 years is a result of AGW? I don't think you can."

Take a look at this stack of graphs and tell us which three things are not like the others over the last 130 years.

Anonymous said...

Ron wrote:

Fallacy of the False Dilemma
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

No "Spock" would make such an elementary logical blunder.


Interesting. By AGW logic there is but ONE option, not two or more.

Do you have a link that explains that state of mind?

caerbannog the anonybunny. Cute name. You're still an arrogant prick. The fact that you stoop to attempting to make the laughable connection that a person's opinion on one subject speaks to his or her quality as a human being speaks volumes about you. So now one must bow to the alter of AGW to be a good person to their friends and family? Who knew?

A little light reading for you...

http://www.worldpsychology.info/World%20Psychology/VirtualPsyFiles/nova_pagina_32.htm

Seventh Principle of World Psychology
Arrogance is Insane.
Never trust arrogant people.

Spock

J Bowers said...

Spock: "Interesting. By AGW logic there is but ONE option, not two or more.
Do you have a link that explains that state of mind?"


I posted a link just before your post. They're called "greenhouse gases".

dhogaza said...

"Arrogance is Insane.
Never trust arrogant people."

An interesting statement coming from someone making baseless, arrogant claims that a whole bunch of scientific research is wrong.

Don't worry, "spock", we don't trust you.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Spock,
I've always found that the ability of a person to accept the truth as indicated by the preponderance of the evidence is a pretty good indication of character. Your little meltdown hasn't done much to change my mind.

Anonymous said...

dhogaza,

Really? What scientific research--aside from that which blames warmer temps pretty much exclusively for the problem--did I claim was wrong? Take a look. I haven't evened questioned the overall theory of AGW, only the blanket claim that it is primarily responsible for this phenomenon. I believe the predictions to be hyperbolic, not that there is no cause and effect regarding human activity, just not catastrophic.

As for greenhouse gasses J., I saw your lovely link, and one would have to accept that they, and they alone, are the problem. Or that the global temps have been accurately measured over the last 100 years. If you believe that, so be it. I do not.

My claim, which has much basis in fact and research, is that 100+ years of overgrowth, under management, and overzealous fire prevention tactics has contributed as much, if not much more to the insect problem than warmer temps. You claim stronger fires are due strictly to drought and warmer temps--i.e. AGW--yet conveniently ignore the fact that recent fires might be stronger due to the massive amounts of added fuel from old, dying or already dead trees. Trees that would have normally been long gone if nature were to be allowed to run its course. I have read that major fires--otherwise known as "devastating" for the alarmist crowd--in the boreal forests run in the "once every century" time frame. When was the last? Have they been allowed to run as usual, or has the logging industry changed that? So many questions not asked. Gotta be the CO2, and only the CO2, right?

See, arrogance on my part would be if, like you, I claimed to have all the answers to the variations of nature. But I don't. And you do. The models tell you so. To the exclusion of any and all other beliefs. All I am saying is there is I think there is more to it than that. Hardly an arrogant statement considering it's true.

So continue with your confirmation bias, making sure to connect the dots to blame AGW on everything from pine beetles to disappearing lizards to rising sea levels--or is it sinking land, I can't remember? If the dust bowl event were to occur today instead of in the 1930s, I wonder what you would blame it on?

To assume that we humans are responsible for every ecological change we perceive as "negative" is the height of hubris and arrogance.

Spock

ps...a_ray...

Here is my problem with your statement..

"truth as indicated by the preponderance of the evidence"

What dictates that AGW is the cause of the problem? What makes it "truth" rather than theory?

As for my meltdown, I had pizza and a movie with my kids, a drink with my neighbor and will have a good sleep. No meltdown. This is a hobby.

And, though it likely matters not to those here, I actually live, and this is just a guess, a much lower "carbon footprint" lifestyle than most who visit this forum. Gas could be $20/gallon and I would not care. In other words, I have no agenda.

Wonder how many here can say that.

Eli, can you?

Ron Broberg said...

"Spock": Interesting. By AGW logic there is but ONE option, not two or more.

Really? What cartoon did you get that from?

Warmer winters allowing beetles to extend northward and higher in altitude ...

Warmer springs and falls allowing beetles to have multiple generations ...

Drought stress making it easier for beetles to eat through the phloem ...

Fire management encouraging too dense mono-populations in some forests ...

... all of these are parts of the puzzle. Only the "Spock" tries to eliminate the climate related pieces, to force the discussion into "all AGW or no AGW." The same "Spock" who is blatantly uninformed on actual mountain temperature patterns and presents laughably illogical arguments about beetle life-cycles.

It's been fun, Spock. Thanks for the laughs.

Anonymous said...

Where I live, in Trondheim, Norway, we've had large attacks from bird-cherry ermine caterpillars four years in a row (06-09), when it used to happen every 10 years or so. It'll be interesting to see if they're back this year after a cold winter and spring.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird-cherry_Ermine

Speedy.

Anonymous said...

"My claim, which has much basis in fact and research, is that 100+ years of overgrowth, under management, and overzealous fire prevention tactics has contributed as much, if not much more to the insect problem than warmer temps.", says 'Spock' and I'm wondering what sort of disconnection he has about the relationship of his houses' temperature and his living comfort.

Sorry, had to write something because the word verification had such a word.

Marion Delgado said...

Raccoons weren't as far as Vancouver in the source my sister and I checked when she saw "Men in Trees," although nowadays it is part of their range. If you look at the range, it still does not go very far north on the West Coast, and is still not officially as far north, on the west coast, as the Alaskan panhandle, just to clarify. In Alaska, we sort of look down on the TV depictions of Alaska, mostly made in Washington or Canada.

But Steve L. emailed me that they have raccoons in Vancouver, which is consistent with their range as I find it now. But even though raccoons will be in the panhandle some day, I agree with my sister that it's an inappropriate creature to have as something you'd go to Alaska and find.

Hank Roberts said...

Spock -- what Jim Bouldin said.

Marion Delgado said...

This is a red flag:

"What dictates that AGW is the cause of the problem? What makes it "truth" rather than theory?" suggests the old "only a theory" trope.

And truth as opposed to falsehood is meant there (hence the citing of evidence), not revealed truth as an article of faith.

Without some place for truth or falsehood in science, you wouldn't have categories like fraud.

In case, again, anyone sympathizes with the overall tropes here?

I was a wildland firefighter for years, in both Alaska and the lower 48. The restriction on letting fires burn came neither from the EPA nor the IPCC, neither of which have jurisdiction - that's probably the stupidest of the stupid things Spock posted. The state DNRs, the DOI, and the BLM have jurisdiction. Moreover, the cause of not letting natural fires burn is not environmentalism of any sort, but commercial interests, either in timbering or in valuable homes built in the woods.

This is the Teabagger Science approach to conservation, and it fails.

Anonymous said...

See Ronny, I never stated that climate had nothing do do with it. It is a piece of the puzzle. Never said that it wasn't. What I said was insect proliferation, migration and intensity of outbreak are not, in and of themselves, proof of anything specific, and most certainly not AGW. This is a site which purports to enlighten people regarding the dangers of climate change by anthropogenic causes, and to use the specter of the killer beetles is just a little disingenuous since there is no direct correlation. just more scaremongering.

Marion, exactly where did I ever state that it was the job of the EPA or the IPCC to manage forests? Do tell. Since it was the "stupidest of stupid things" I have said, kindly point out where I said it. Should be easy to locate. Also, where did I state that not letting fires burn had anything to do with environmentalism? I stated it was for the for the same reasons you mentioned. But good thing you got in there to point out it wasn't a "green" concept. Environmentalists are perfect. We all know that.

Last question and I will leave you jolly folks to have your party patting each other on the back. Why is it that the primary people honking about AGW in the blog world feel the need to be anonymous? Yet the primary skeptics have the balls to use their actual names. What is there to hide? Don't want folks to know you're funded by any groups which would give the perception of bias? I wonder.

It's been fun playing with you kids.

Spock

Anonymous said...

I had thought my meaning of truth was clear--the hypothesis that best fits the evidence...all of it.

And no one is suggesting that climate change is the only factor. A warmer climate, though, tends to make these other facors worse. If you look at the actual evidence, I think you will find this is true.

Ron Broberg said...

Some authors drop their patronyms
To post in public under pseudonym
"Spock" stops by
and wonders why
While waving 'bye' with phantom limbs.

Hmmmmm....? :D

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Spock asks, "Why is it that the primary people honking about AGW in the blog world feel the need to be anonymous?"

You mean pseudonyms like Gavin Schmidt and Mike Mann, an Michael Tobis...?

Spock continues, "Yet the primary skeptics have the balls to use their actual names."

Like, oh..Spock?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Spock says "See Ronny, I never stated that climate had nothing do do with it. It is a piece of the puzzle. Never said that it wasn't."

Well, it's hard not to surmise that sentiment from the language of your first post. If you want not to be misunderstood, it might help us if you would be more precise in your wording. Diffuse verbiage doesn't serve you well in a discussion where both science and the written communication of that science are important. A reader might mistake you for a business major. Objectively, argument for argument, it appears that you have extrapolated a local observation or deduction to the forest-beetle relationship everywhere. Perhaps it appears to you that the EPA and the commenters did something similar. One doubts though that the commenters would argue that a local biological relationship cannot be overridden by human intervention (often economic in origin), thereby smearing out AGW's effect on that relationship. /Kirk out.

carrot eater said...

The tempest that was Spock led to quite an inspired bit of poetry from Ron (a rhyming couplet with pseudonym??), and for that I am thankful.

Ron Broberg said...

And just in case anyone out-of-state is wondering, -30F is uncommon but not unheard of in Colorado. Just browsing USHCN for Colorado gives me several stations that have seen -30F (including Gunnison, Spock). ;-)

And I was looking for 5-day moving averages, not individual lows. However - that is the low. What I am unclear on is the complete definition of a "sustained -30F." I doubt that you can get a station in Colorado that has ever seen a 5 day run where the high was -30F, although the USHCN stations are probably all in mountain valleys, not on the slopes so don't take the USHCN as the final word on montain temps.

So Spock's skepticism about the winter lows not being sufficiently cold to play much of a role in controlling beetle population in Colorado is not misplaced. Certainly most south-slopes around 9000' or below are probably warm enough not trigger a winter kill in most years. But his knee-jerk exclamation that CO NEVER sees -30F is clearly wrong.

Anonymous said...

Never said it never got that cold, only that it was never sustained. See my addendum to that effect.

As for anonymous posting dilbert and Ron, my name is Bill Walsh. William actually. Does that make it better for you? And I don't have a blog espousing what I purport to be fact regarding, dare I say it, global issue. And listing a few who do use their real names does nothing to explain why others like Eli and Tamino hide behind pseudonyms. My question, which you conveniently avoided, is why? What is there to gain? Better question, what is there to hide?

Of course, that question, in my opinion, is rhetorical given that I know who both those people are in reality, and it seems fairly clear why they choose to at least try to remain anonymous. Wouldn't want to annoy those with the deep pockets, right?

Smacks of hypocrisy.

Spock/Bill

Anonymous said...

In the Northwest forests, clear cuts alter drainages. The soil temps in summer go to 100' F+. Surrounding growth suffers, trees go into stress. Beetles infest trees without deep root structures. Sap runs out of tress, killing them. Lots of food for the beetles and with the lighter-than-normal... winters that we have had over the last 25 years there are weak trees everywhere. The clear cuts from Missoula to Seattle are visable everywhere. Watersheds are hurting. It boils down to Forest Service practices, by any letter, everywhere as the major source of timber problems. And the agencies will study their problems to death. Stand on a clear cut in summer on the side of some mountain and see how hot it really can get in the mountains. I say this in the spirit of PNS, as an 'outsider'.

Ron Broberg said...

Bill - we understand that your question is rhetorical and an attempt to shift the discussion from the focus of this thread - which is a discussion of the *effects* of warming on western forests.

You began with a mischaracterization of the position of most in this thread by positing a strawman (and I quote): "Yes. Certainly improper forest management had nothing to do with pine beetle infestation. It's all climate change"

No one claimed that improper forest management had nothing to do with it.

Then you moved on "Temps in CO NEVER reach -30F" which is clearly wrong but concluded that post with "Temperature is the absolute most minor factor in this process " which is, in my opinion, a defensible position in Colorado.

Your next post allows that "climate change" is involved - but then you make some (frankly) silly arguments about why temps don't matter. In higher alt and lats, winter temps matter. In lower alts and lats, a longer year (allowing multiple generations) matter.

The next post again makes the argument that many factors are at play (a point we agree on), but complains that the Eli's original post makes it seem that AGW is the only cause of beetle problems. Eli's post is a repetition of the EPA's findings that was looking specifically at the effects of warming on the forests. That warming allows for an extension of beetle ranges to higher alts and latitudes and can in some cases allow multiple generations in its traditional ranges has not been disputed by you in any rational manner. The EPAs findings on this are not in (creditable) dispute - you just don't like that they don't also talk about forest management - but that is not the issue at hand.

So if the point you want to make here is that there are many factors affecting beetle population, most of us are in agreement. If you want to argue that forest management is a bigger factor than temperature profiles, you could make that case, there are good arguments and lines of evidence supporting that. But if you want to argue that warming temperatures don't encourage increased beetle populations and ranges - you have not made your case and the evidence does not support you.

Hank Roberts said...

There are many reasons people use pseudonyms. Using one consistently establishes a reputation. Did you ever read the Federalist Papers in gradeschool history class?

Another good recent example:
http://scienceblogs.com/effectmeasure/2010/05/blog_matters_who_is_revere.php

"... You know what we think, how we react, a lot about our life histories, how old some of us are, what we do for a living, our political and religious views, our areas of expertise, numerous opinions about a large variety of things, what makes us mad, what motivates us, etc., etc. How many people do you know all those things about? Knowing our names wouldn't tell you much more and might even be misleading...."

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Pseudonyms--lots of reasons. Sometimes I use them and sometimes not. I never used to use them until being stalked by a denialist asshat who complained to my employer, sent me harrassing emails at my workplace.

I have since determined that since much of the denialist crowd is unhinged, prudence is justified.

J Bowers said...

Spock says: "As for greenhouse gasses J., I saw your lovely link, and one would have to accept that they, and they alone, are the problem."

Aren't they? And there I was putting the composite together for ages and didn't notice.... except for...

If you're referring to the last 50 years, you so dead wrong oh pointy eared one (it wasn't Antarctic sea ice extent what did it, guv'n'or). And if you refer to the MWP, wait for the next version with insolation, a serious lack of volcanic eruptions and other bits and bobs.

willard said...

A best reason for pseudonyms is to hide the fact that we're all dogs.

Here's a dog that could turn into a creative machine:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/05/15/why-a-tale-of-a-post-modern-genius/

carrot eater said...

we're bunnies, you idiot, not dogs.

vicious bunnies with sharp pointy teeth.

Anonymous said...

Ron,

My rhetorical question was not intended to shift the discussion. It was a real question, albeit one to which I believe I know the answer. I simply believe using one's real name when attempting to state the validity of scientific information would be helpful in establishing credibility. And using one leads to the inevitable question of why. And I don't buy the "we're scared of the denialists" argument. What, is somebody going to hurt you because of your beliefs? That seems a bit over the top. Sorry if you are that paranoid. Even sorrier if there really those out there who have that much hatred and vitriol.

Not knowing who a person is when they put up a blog piece on an AGW ("alarmist" in the current lexicon) site pointing to insect migration as some proof of the AGW theory draws suspicion. Is the blogger in question an expert on forestry? Is he an entomologist? Or both? Or neither? In this case, I know he is neither.

Ron, again, I never stated temps never reach -30F. Well, I did, but I corrected myself in the very next post stating that those temps are never sustained.

Do I believe climate has not affected insect migration patterns? NO. It entirely and positively part of the process. Do I think that putting up the idea insect migration due to warmer AGW caused temps without honestly discussing the myriad other factors in play is a sketchy argument? Yes. It's the easy explanation, but not the only one, and that is where I have issue. AGW is always the easiest scapegoat.

Here in CO people like to point to the brown trees and say, "See, AGW is killing the forest! It never gets cold enough anymore!" But it is not that simple here, and I believe it is likely not so simple further north either. The forest is dying here, no doubt. But it isn't the first time, nor the last. Perhaps the most widespread in 100+ years, but there are other factors which have been discussed and it isn't because all of a sudden it's a few degrees warmer.

J. Bowers,

So any and all warming of the last 50 years is 100% caused by human activity, i.e. GHGs? Were it not for humans, the climate would have remained static? Because if GHGs are the lone issue, that is what you are saying. And I am skeptical that is the case.

As for your last statement about the next MWP and the severity of it with all "the other bits and bobs", can I borrow the time machine you used to see the future for more basic, and selfish, functions like getting powerball numbers?

Bill

Jim Bouldin said...

Good to see this discussion come round to something productive...and that pizza and beer were mentioned, which happens entirely too infrequently around here.

J Bowers said...

Bill says: "As for your last statement about the next MWP..."

?? Hmmm. I was talking about the next version of the composite of graphs. The one that'll have more forcings and feedbacks over the last 1300 years. Oh, if you'd care to point out what's been causing most of the warming over the past 50 years other than GHG's, feel free to do so. Like I said, it's not Antarctic sea ice extent.

J Bowers said...

...back to Bill: "Do I think that putting up the idea insect migration due to warmer AGW caused temps without honestly discussing the myriad other factors in play..."

What precisely makes up this myriad of other factors? A simple list will do.

Cue something like: "You don't even know them yourself?" and a complete sidestepping of an answer.

Anonymous said...

From http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5789/940, emphasis added.


Here, we show that large wildfire activity increased suddenly and markedly in the mid-1980s, with higher large-wildfire frequency, longer wildfire durations, and longer wildfire seasons. The greatest increases occurred in mid-elevation, Northern Rockies forests, where land-use histories have relatively little effect on fire risks and are strongly associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snowmelt.

...........

For example, the effects of fire exclusion are thought to be profound in forests that previously sustained frequent, low-intensity surface fires [such as Southwestern ponderosa pine and Sierra Nevada mixed conifer (2, 3, 10, 11)], but of little or no consequence in forests that previously sustained only very infrequent, high-severity crown fires (such as Northern Rockies lodgepole pine or spruce-fir (1, 5, 12)].

............

The overall importance of climate in wildfire activity underscores the urgency of ecological restoration and fuels management to reduce wildfire hazards to human communities and to mitigate ecological impacts of climate change in forests that have undergone substantial alterations due to past land uses. At the same time, however, large increases in wildfire driven by increased temperatures and earlier spring snowmelts in forests where land-use history had little impact on fire risks indicates that ecological restoration and fuels management alone will not be sufficient to reverse current wildfire trends.


--caerbannog the anonybunny

willard said...

Bunnies hiding behind pseudos like carrot eater. How clever!

Anonymous said...

caerbannog the anonybunny,

I thought you posted only for the benefit of others so they don't have to live with me. At least you managed to avoid the personal attack.

I notice that your emphasis only tells us that more fires are associated with warmer temps, fewer in colder, wetter years, not that they are caused by the temperature specifically. Only that they correlate which, frankly, is not surprising. Probably some sort of ignition source was involved too. I also notice that the article is 4 years old and contains this gem...


"Whether the changes observed in western hydroclimate and wildfire are the result of greenhouse gas–induced global warming or only an unusual natural fluctuation is beyond the scope of this work."


Now, given that the last 25 years I have lived in the western US there have been regional droughts which are not without precedent, and overall pretty stable snowfall and pack on average, I would suggest the intensity and frequency could have been mitigated were there not 100 previous years when Smoky Bear told us fire was bad.


With that said...

I presume you will accept UCAR as a reputable source? Note the date as it is a bit more recent than 2006 and, strangely, directly contradicts the final paragraph of your posted link...

http://www2.ucar.edu/news/prescribed-burns-may-help-reduce-us-carbon-footprint


"Wildfires often destroy large trees that store significant amounts of carbon. Prescribed fires are designed to burn underbrush and small trees, which store less carbon. By clearing out the underbrush, these controlled burns reduce the chances of subsequent high-severity wildfires, thereby protecting large trees and keeping more carbon locked up in the forest."

And...

"In the western United States, land managers for more than a century have focused on suppressing fires, which has led to comparatively dense forests that store large amounts of carbon. But these forests have become overgrown and vulnerable to large fires. Changes in climate, including hotter and drier weather in summer, are expected to spur increasingly large fires in the future."


Now, I left the "changes in climate" part in there so as to not be accused of cherry picking, though you can read the article yourself. The point is, it seems pretty clear that a better course of action in decades past would have put us in a position for less intense fire events now and in the future. Had we done this, the perception would likely not be that we are in trouble due to massive fires, because they wouldn't have been so massive. Since anthropogenic global warming is but a theory--though admittedly the "scientific consensus"--and not assured to happen--hence the "are expected" hedge--it would seem to me that there is plenty we could and should have done, and the issue of fire and pests is far more complex than, "it's warmer, because of us, for sure, and that's the primary, #1 problem, and it's our CO2-spewing fault, period."

Bill

J Bowers said...

Bill said: "Since anthropogenic global warming is but a theory..."

Which is good enough. Until another theory comes along which debunks AGW theory, the case against AGW is thus far non-existent.

Proof is for maths. Gravity is just another scientific theory.

Anonymous said...

I thought I got a whiff of smoke, so here I am...

#1. Does slash in the forest, outgas COO too?

#2. What does a graph of chainsaw sales over the last sixty years, world wide, look like?

When I was fresh outta the nest... my momma told me, "go where the biggest pile of food is at". Beatles don't like to work as hard as a starling, so they like the bark, softer that the sap wood. Dried out sapwood is their FAV. That's because their next stop, is the heartwood; oh no.( Watch for pitch-outs!

But hey, it is much easier to model the bugs, than it is to water a National Forest... I wonder if this is like the worlds coral reefs dying? How much pee, drugs, hormones, and the rest of the crap we pass through our bodies have on these, life forms? If it was that simple, I am sure someone in the sea of science would have done a big study on the world wide dive spots; that are dead & dying...if not; the next sound you hear will be the feet of scientists, as they run to the airports to begin the study of the OZ reefs; & the beach bunnies:) My what a footprint...say hi to Al.

I have to get busy now, the overnight temps are staying above 50' F. Everything is getting bigger but they do get tougher, all at the same time---go figure. That's the system we got though, what is a bird to do?

Flap---Flap-on...

Anonymous said...

Westerners should understand the difference between lower-elevation Ponderosa/Doug-fir forests and the higher elevation Lodgepole-pine and spruce/fir forests. Their fire regimes are very different.

Low-elevation forests have been greatly impacted by fire-suppression. Ponderosa forests have historically been subjected to frequent, low-intensity fires. Hence the ponderosa's thick bark and lack of low-hanging branches (adaptations to frequent ground-fires).

The case is very much different for lodgepole-pines. Lodgepoles have paper-thin bark that provides little protection from fire. The lodgepole pine fire strategy is to "burn rarely but intensely" and to grow back faster than the competition after a fire.

The average fire-return interval for Rocky-mountain lodgepole forests is on the order of a century or more -- so 20th-century fire-suppression efforts have not had the same impact on lodgepole forests that they have had on the drier, lower-elevation forests.

Furthermore, lodgepole forests are naturally very dense -- this can be verified by tracking down 19th-century historical photos. If you see a dense lodgepole forest, it's not that way because of fire suppression -- that is simply the natural state of a lodgepole forest.

When you get above the lodgepole belt into the spruce/fir regime, fire-suppression has played even less of a role. Spruce/fir forests historically have burned very rarely -- once every two centuries or more. Before global-warming kicked in, there just wasn't enough time between the melting of the previous winter's snowfall and the arrival of fall snowstorms for the forest to dry out enough to burn. But that has changed.

The massive fires seen in the higher elevations of the Rockies are due to climate-change, **not** fire-suppression.

Folks, next time you are in the Rockies, take a good hard look at a ponderosa pine. Note the thick bark; note the lack of low-hanging limbs on mature ponderosas. Then take a good hard look at a lodgepole pine. Note the paper-thin bark -- note the large number of low-hanging limbs. Ditto for blue-spruce and hemlock trees. Note the low-hanging limbs that reach the ground and can act as fire ladders. *Very* different from low-elevation ponderosas.

In summary -- low elevation forests like the Ponderosa/Doug-fir forests are adapted to frequent, low intensity fires.

Higher-elevation forests (lodgepole and spruce/fir) are adapted to very rare, high-intensity crown-fires.

Fire-suppression has greatly impacted the former, but *not* the latter. Up until the last decade or so, those higher elevation forests were *never* subjected to frequent fires.

In summary, anyone who thinks that we should have been trying to burn/thin lodgepole-pine and spruce/fir forests simply doesn't know what he's talking about.

Folks who want to learn more should bookmark this link: http://www.ucsd.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=18197

UCSD/Scripps will soon be making available at that link a recording of the Charles Keeling Memorial Lecture given by Dr. Stephen Running (a forestry/climate-change expert), the same lecture that I attended last week.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, the gravity comparison ran its course a few years back. Apples and oranges and you know it.

As to the screed by Anonymous, I guess these folks, in addition to all the others I have linked, don't know what they are talking about since they seem to be of the opinion that thinning and moderation of fire suppression practices will have a positive effect...

http://www.forrex.org/jem/ISS51/vol10_no2_art10.pdf

And from the article...

"Over the past century, the number of fires
in British Columbia has decreased and
the area attacked by MPB has increased."

And...

"Both long fire cycles and fire suppression
yield an older age-class structure that is
highly susceptible to beetle attack."

And...

"The combination of early harvesting and moderate
fire suppression yields a long-term forest structure
that minimizes both susceptibility and traversability
for MPB."

So, with regards to this comment...

"The massive fires seen in the higher elevations of the Rockies are due to climate-change, **not** fire-suppression."

...it would seem you have a little more evidence to sift through before you make such an unqualified blanket statement. Because there seems to be no shortage of forestry experts who disagree with your assertion that this is that simple.

Bill

Anonymous said...

"...it would seem you have a little more evidence to sift through before you make such an unqualified blanket statement. Because there seems to be no shortage of forestry experts who disagree with your assertion that this is that simple."

Bill: you might try reading comprehension: Anonymous above was quite clearly making a distinction between high altitude and low altitude forests (though maybe you missed the SEVEN paragraphs in which he mentioned these differences, sometimes even with asterisks). You have demonstrated no evidence that the forestry experts which you quoted were talking about high-altitude forests.

-M (not a forestry expert, but I do pride myself on basic reading comprehension abilities)

Anonymous said...

And what you seem to have missed, M, was the earlier posts discussing the relationship between forest management with no specific mention of altitude. Deciding to cherry pick data discussing ONLY high altitude forests would be, and is, disingenuous. Not to mention, he specifically discusses lodgepole pine. Perhaps, if you had actually read the linked article--there's that comprehension thing you're so proud of--you would have noticed the title...

"Effects of fire return rates on
traversability of lodgepole pine forests
for mountain pine beetle: Implications
for sustainable forest management"

See where it specifically addresses the very same tree he discusses? I can see where that might be confusing.

In addition, Anonymous demonstrated no evidence that forest issues IN GENERAL--the overall topic of the discussion--are not affected by other issues aside from climate change. I have provided more than enough data from many reputable sources that speaks to that fact.

You folks are a strange breed that you cannot simply admit when something really IS NOT a direct result of anthropogenic climate change. One track mind is a term that seem appropriate. It would be funny if it wasn't so strange. Says a lot about the alarmist frame of mind and speaks to the reason why I am so leery of those who have their blinders on and see only green. Climate has its place. But it is not the primary factor in issues regarding pests and fire events. And you cannot state, as Anonymous does, that these, or any events of this type, would be, or are worse due to temps. Even if you could, you would then have to take the additional step of making the blanket statement that all temp rise is due to AGW. In other words, none of this is natural. So that is two separate theories which BOTH must be true for the argument to fit. Then you must ignore all the other factors involved which are equally, if not more, important. Better to ignore those factors altogether anyway since it would detract from the sound of the siren.

Keep it up. I am sure you will convince each other since, with few exceptions, it would seem this tidy club is not really open to any rational discussion from anyone who is not already on board. Strictly the party line.

Bill

Anonymous said...

BillSpock seems obsessed with the notion that all environmental problems are anthropogenic, or at least promoting the idea that other people believe that to be the case. Where did you read that, BillSpock? Here?

For instance, what's up with this?

...you cannot state, as Anonymous does, that these, or any events of this type, would be, or are worse due to temps. Even if you could, you would then have to take the additional step of making the blanket statement that all temp rise is due to AGW. In other words, none of this is natural.

Why would anybody have to ascribe all climatic temperature rise as as AGW-related in order to form a connection between some amount of anthropogenic warming with some other process? Who besides you has promoted that notion? Why are are you so keen on portraying people you've never met as monomaniacs?

I think you've let people bitching about the environment get under your skin. Relax, already.

Anonymous said...

Bitching about the environment I don't mind. Environmentalism? All for it but it needs to be realistic and manageable. And possible.

Alarmism I have no time for and I find it to be counterproductive to actually getting something accomplished which has value.

It's been a gas. Greenhouse of course.

Bill

Jim Bouldin said...

"And you cannot state, as Anonymous does, that these, or any events of this type, would be, or are worse due to temps."

Wrong. Can, and have, and will again; fully supported by empirical data and ecological theory.

"Even if you could, you would then have to take the additional step of making the blanket statement that all temp rise is due to AGW"

Wrong again. Multiple interacting factors, already discussed that. Do you listen?

But then I guess you know more about it than Steve Running and anonymous and I do.