Stefan

3 Degrees More: The Impending Hot Season and How Nature Can Help Us Prevent It

3 Degrees More: The Impending Hot Season and How Nature Can Help Us Prevent It

I wrote two chapters in this book “3 Degrees more” about nature based solutions to climate change – one about carbon sequestration in the soils, and the other about the potential of vegetation to cool the climate.

This open access book describes in detail what life on this planet would be like if its average surface temperature were to rise 3 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial level. On this basis, the book argues that it is imperative to keep this temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. It then lays out a detailed plan of what politically feasible, cost-effective measures should now be taken to achieve this goal. In this context, the book provides detailed discussions of climate finance, climate education and nature-based solutions. The book has been translated into English from the original German version published in 2022, and contains an original foreword and preface.

https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-031-58144-1

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How 8,000 Food Forests Grew Africa’s Great Green Wall

How 8,000 Food Forests Grew Africa’s Great Green Wall

Permaculture instructor Andrew Millison journeys to Senegal to see a movement of forest gardens which are contributing to Africa’s Great Green Wall. Andrew accompanies the organization Planet Wild to visit the excellent work of Trees for the Future. Planet Wild is funding the planting of 40,000 trees in this project so we are here to assess the system and report on the situation on the ground.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LCTVO_Y5Rs

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Sadhguru’s Plan to plant 2.42 BILLION trees

Sadhguru’s Plan to plant 2.42 BILLION trees

Permaculture Instructor Andrew Millison visits the largest reforestation project in the world in the Southern Indian States of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka with the Isha Foundation, founded by Sadhguru. Andrew spent 5 days traveling around the Cauvery River watershed looking at the work of the Isha Foundations’ Cauvery Calling project, touring farms, nurseries, temples, and talking with Isha’s field agents. Andrew then went to Isha’s ashram in Tennessee and was able to directly question Sadhguru about the project.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adTsC7RPlUs

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A Century of Reforestation Reduced Anthropogenic Warming in the Eastern United States

A Century of Reforestation Reduced Anthropogenic Warming in the Eastern United States

Trees, forests, vegetation cools the planet! We have stated that again and again. Here is another very interesting study, underlining the function of vegetation for the climate:

In the course of global warming due to climate change, temperatures in North America have risen by an average of 0.7 degrees Celsius. Except on the US East Coast, which cooled by around 0.3 degrees Celsius between 1900 and 2000, which scientists refer to as a “warming hole”.

The forests on the US East Coast cooled the surface temperatures of the ground by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius each year. Weather stations surrounded by forests were up to 1 degree cooler than locations that were not reforested. The reforestation program of the 20th century was therefore a gigantic success story for the climate.

https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1029/2023EF003663

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Rehydrating Planet Earth | Manuscripts Submission

Rehydrating Planet Earth | Manuscripts Submission

Frontiers is looking for paper submission on the subject “Rehydrating Planet Ear”. Perhaps interesting for somebody reading this blog? Pretty cool thing it’ll be, that final publication!
“We are particularly interested in the synthesis of watershed or landscape level restoration efforts that provide vivid examples of how the scaling up of restoration efforts can have synergistic effects on water cycling or recycling that small-scale projects cannot attain on their own. We seek 12-20 manuscripts from scientists from a diversity of continents, countries, climates, and cultures that synthesize the science behind restoration of the water cycle as viewed from their area of expertise, their culture, and their ecosystem(s) of study. Contributions are invited but not limited to the following themes:
• Upscaling hydrological effects of localized restoration to the global water budget
• Effects of vegetation and large-scale restoration on hydrology and climate feedbacks
• Effects of soil management on hydrology and climate
• Restoration of freshwater ecosystems and hydrology
• Precipitation recycling and harvesting
• Dryland evapotranspiration
• Restoration of local water balances
• Distribution of ecohydrological processes”
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Solar cells produce rain – weather models show the effects

Solar cells produce rain – weather models show the effects

Solar parks with gigantic dimensions are particularly worthwhile in dry, inhospitable areas with many hours of sunshine. A study using weather models shows that the dark areas can ultimately produce rain in arid areas:

Air inevitably rises above such a large and warming area. This creates convection currents, which are responsible for cloud formation. Only one more ingredient is missing: moisture in the air. And this is exactly what is found in the Persian Gulf, together with winds that bring movement into play in higher layers of air. As a result, conditions regularly come together that provide 0.4 inches (10 millimeters) of rain over an area around three times the size of the underlying solar surface. In Maine, this would correspond to a very rainy day. In the United Arab Emirates, this is the rainfall of the entire summer.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Solar-cells-produce-rain-weather-models-show-the-effects.801941.0.html

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The human factor in water disasters

The human factor in water disasters

Interesting article from Erica Gies: “Decisions about land use and infrastructure have left little space for water, amplifying the effects of natural disasters and climate change.”

  • Society has dammed and diverted two-thirds of the world’s large rivers, drained as much of 87% of global wetlands and degraded 75% of Earth’s land area.
  • A study found that, from 1992 to 2019, humans have encroached on 600,000 square kilometres of floodplains — an area about the size of Ukraine. In taking space from water, such development causes rivers to rise and places people living nearby at higher risk of flooding.
  • for every 1% increase in paved area, annual flood magnitude in nearby rivers increases by 3.3% from run-off.
  • … has found another way that deforestation reduces rain. The surface roughness of mixed-species forests makes them better than tree plantations or crops at slowing wind, and thereby makes it more likely that vapour will condense into rain
  • … European settlers and their descendants dried out land by killing beavers that created wetlands across 10% of North America, overgrazing animals they brought with them, and overpumping ground water so that plant roots could no longer reach it.
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The impact of hot soils on the climate

The impact of hot soils on the climate

The last post on heat extremes in soils states (from the press release of the scientific publication):

When the temperature in the soil is higher than in the air, additional heat is released to the lower atmosphere – causing temperatures in the atmosphere to rise. “Soil temperature acts as a factor in the feedback loop between soil moisture and temperature and can thus intensify heat waves in certain regions”.

I find this sentence particularly interesting because I suspect that the explanation behind it is the effect of the Stefan-Boltzmann law, and thus the role that land destruction has on the climate.

Of course we know that when nature is destroyed there is an important switch between the production of latent energy (LE; energy bound in water vapor) and sensible heat (“hot air”). Nature produces a lot of LE that can rise vertically into higher parts of the atmosphere without being impeded by naturally occurring or anthropogenic greenhouse gases, where condensation allows some of this released energy to escape into space.

Here is a drawing of mine that shows this:

The Stefan-Boltzmann law describes the intensity of thermal radiation emitted by matter as a function of the temperature of the matter. For an ideal absorber/radiator or black body, the Stefan-Boltzmann law states that the total energy emitted per unit area per unit time is directly proportional to the fourth power of the temperature of the black body, T:

If an area with a forest is 20°C warm, a vegetated field is 35°C warm and an open field is 50°C warm [the three have equal distances of 15°C], the difference in radiant power in W/m2 is 95 for forest/vegetated field and 110 for vegetated field/open field [so not equal, but “exponentially” increasing], see my graph below:

 

What does this mean now? The natural (as well as the anthropogenic) GHG effect is based on the “reflection” of incoming short-wave solar radiation into outgoing long-wave radiation by GHGs and clouds. If we now create warm surfaces on vast landscapes instead of water vapor that would pass through the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which emit long-wave radiation with its fourth power, which is reflected by the greenhouse gases and largely held in the lower part of the atmosphere, we increase the warming of the atmosphere enormously.

Question: How high would the warming effect of anthropogenic greenhouse gases in the atmosphere be without “land use change” as opposed to “land use change”? What role does the altered energy cycle – linked to the water cycle – play in anthropogenic climate change?

In my opinion, 4th power energy radiation and its influence on (naturally occurring, but also anthropogenically added) greenhouse gases is the key to the argument that greened versus ungreened/open/concreted areas are to be distinguished. And have not yet been taken into account in the climate change debate.

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Heat extremes in the soil are underestimated, according to new study

Heat extremes in the soil are underestimated, according to new study

Interesting study: “For a long time, little attention was paid to soil temperatures because, in contrast to near-surface air temperatures, there was hardly any reliable data available due to the significantly more complex measurement process. A research team led by the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) has now established not only that ground and air temperatures can differ, but also that climate change has a much greater impact on the intensity and frequency of heat extremes in the ground than in the air. This is particularly the case in Central Europe, they write in the journal Nature Climate Change. ”

  • Heat extremes occur much faster in the ground than in the air
  • According to the station data, the intensity of heat extremes in Central Europe is increasing 0.7 degrees Celsius/decade faster in the ground than in the air.
  • The number of days with heat extremes is increasing twice as fast in the ground as in the air.
  • The decisive factor here is soil moisture, which plays an important thermal role in the exchange between air and soil temperatures.
  • If the temperature in the soil is higher than in the air, additional heat is released into the lower atmosphere – causing temperatures in the atmosphere to rise. “Soil temperature acts as a factor in the feedback loop between soil moisture and temperature and can thus intensify heat waves in certain regions”

https://www.ufz.de/index.php?de=36336&webc_pm=32/2023

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Deforestation has big impact on regional temperatures, study of Brazilian Amazon shows

Deforestation has big impact on regional temperatures, study of Brazilian Amazon shows

Research highlights benefits forests bring surrounding regions in terms of cooler air and more rainfall.

Deforestation has a far greater impact on regional temperatures than previously believed, according to a new study of the Brazilian Amazon that shows agricultural businesses would be among the biggest beneficiaries of forest conservation.

The paper demonstrated Amazon deforestation causes warming at distances up to 60 miles (100km) away. The greater the forest clearance, the higher the temperature.

More recently, research at a greater scale demonstrated that the Amazon was coupled with the South American monsoon and that continued deforestation could reduce regional precipitation by 30% with dire consequences for food production.

Using satellite data and artificial intelligence, the authors found a 0.7C increase in temperature for each 10-percentage point loss of forest within a radius of 60 miles.

“We show that regional forest loss increases warming by more than a factor of four with serious consequences for the remaining Amazon forest and the people living there.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/oct/30/deforestation-has-big-impact-on-regional-temperatures-study-of-brazilian-amazon-shows

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A revelation about trees is messing with climate calculations

A revelation about trees is messing with climate calculations

Trees make clouds by releasing small quantities of vapors called “sesquiterpenes.” Scientists are learning more—and it’s making climate models hazy.

Half of Earth’s cloud cover forms around stuff like sand, salt, soot, smoke, and dust. The other half nucleates around vapors released by living things or machines, like the sulfur dioxide that arises from burning fossil fuels.

Trees emit natural volatiles like isoprene and monoterpenes, which can spark cloud-forming chemical reactions.

The team shows that sesquiterpenes are more effective than expected for seeding clouds. A mere 1-to-50 ratio of sesquiterpene to other volatiles doubled cloud formation.

https://www.wired.com/story/a-revelation-about-trees-is-messing-with-climate-calculations/

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Scientists prove clear link between deforestation and local drop in rainfall

Scientists prove clear link between deforestation and local drop in rainfall

Very important article on the link between deforestation, evapotranspiration and rainfall:

Even at a small scale, they found an impact, but the decline became more pronounced when the affected area was greater than 50km squared (2,500 sq km). At the largest measured scale of 200km squared (40,000 sq km), the study discovered rainfall was 0.25 percentage points lower each month for every 1 percentage point loss of forest.

This can enter into a vicious cycle, as reductions in rainfall lead to further forest loss, increased fire vulnerability and weaker carbon drawdown.

One of the authors, Prof Dominick Spracklen of the University of Leeds, said 25% to 50% of the rain that fell in the Amazon came from precipitation recycling by the trees. Although the forest is sometimes described as the “lungs of the world”, it functions far more like a heart that pumps water around the region.

He said the local impact of this reduced water recycling was far more obvious, immediate and persuasive to governments and corporations in the global south than arguments about carbon sequestration, which was seen as having more benefits to industrial countries in the northern hemisphere.

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Origin and fate of atmospheric moisture over continents

Origin and fate of atmospheric moisture over continents

Very interesting presentation of Hubert Savenije (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands) at the 2012 General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union. It is very fascinating research showing how much rain on land stems from the recycling of water on land (“precipitation recycling”) – and that is partially huge! Combine this with the “flying rivers” from Antonio Nobre (and others) and the biotic pump from Anastassia Makarieva (and others) – and its a perfect set for nature doing its best to develop and maintain perfect growing conditions for itself (see Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis).

On the first graphic from their paper, one can see how much of the precipitation falling on land stems from evapotranspiration from land. On the second one can see how much a region participates through evapotranspiration to the precipitations somewhere else.




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The quest to figure out the origin of rain

The quest to figure out the origin of rain

Alpha Lo has written a very interesting paper (her part I, here part II) on the way scientists tried to explore, analyse and estimate where the rain comes from (the ocean or/and the land), respectively how much from the one and the other, and what role vegetation plays in this context.

In addition, he wrote a fascinating piece called “The climate model approximation that could fundamentally change the climate movement“. Worth reading. All of these!

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The impacts of land degradation

The impacts of land degradation

This graphics [1] very nicely outline the consequences of large-scale logging – and then later monocultural afforestation – on the landscape. Without forest, no more soil, no water absorption, ergo soil erosion, silting, (flash) floods. Coniferous forest monocultures do only help in the short term – they do not form fertile soil, and are harvested in clear-cutting. Solution: Diverse permanent forests. Hmm, that’s not so difficult to understand, is it?!

[1] https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/28-07-2023/the-side-eye-deeper-roots

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Millan Millan and the Mystery of the Missing Mediterranean Storms

Millan Millan and the Mystery of the Missing Mediterranean Storms

Great article [1] which portrays the reasons, how and why the approach to climate change, which at the beginning analysed both land changes and greenhouse gases changed to only consider the latter. Starting with a MIT publication called “Inadvertent Climate Modification: Study of Man’s Impact on Climate” in 1971 and a WMO publication “Proceedings of the World Climate Conference: Conference of Experts on Climate and Mankind” in 1979, land use changes were in equal discussion with greenhouse gases. But the “Charney Report” report titled “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment“, which solely focused on GHG, changed completely the dialogue.

It’s only GHG, and water vapour as a feedback factor. Hardly anything to find in respect to land use changes (“destruction of nature”) as a principal driver due to changes in the water cycle and in the redistribution of solar radiation (the ratio of latent energy vs sensible heat). But these factors – water, energy and carbon – are closely intertwined, as I show in this graph [2].

[1] https://www.resilience.org/stories/2023-07-17/millan-millan-and-the-mystery-of-the-missing-mediterranean-storms/
[2] https://climate-landscapes.org/the-cycles-of-ca…losely-coupled-2

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The cycles of carbon, water and energy are closely coupled

The cycles of carbon, water and energy are closely coupled

Nature can’t be seen and analyzed linearly. She is always more complex. That’s why we must look at how the cycles of carbon, water and energy are closely coupled. Here is a draft sketch of mine to show this. How is incoming solar radiation transformed on the ground – producing latent energy (therefore water is needed) or sensible heat? Sensible heat means higher reradiation from the land into the atmosphere – a key factor for the greenhouse effect. The higher the reradiation, the higher the GHG effect.

Latent energy – that is water vapour – build clouds, reflecting solar radiation (positive!), transporting that solar energy from the ground into the higher atmosphere (positive!), which can dissipate partly into outer space (positive!). And the clouds can bring rain (positive!).

Sensible heat is producing a lot of hot air (negative!), increasing long-wave reradiation (negative!), building eventually high pressure zones which can block incoming low pressure zones which would bring precipitations (negative!).

Just to name a few consequences. For more, check out my UNEP paper “Working with plants, soils and water to cool the climate and rehydrate Earth’s landscapes” [1], my presentation “Planting water” [2], our project “Climate Landscapes” [3].

[1] bit.ly/3zeukPb
[2] www.youtu.be/tBmtIPhh7UI
[3] www.climate-landscapes.org

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Podcast: What if water is more important than carbon?

Podcast: What if water is more important than carbon?

Great podcast [1]: “A conversation with Alpha Lo, physicist and writer of the Climate Water Project, about the importance of slowing water down, the connection between drought, fire, and floods, and the massive role water plays in heating and cooling our planet. Trees create rain not the other way around. There is just so much to learn about water in all its forms, what it does when it’s part of a healthy watercycle or what it does when it isn’t (e.g. massive floods around the world). With Alpha Lo we try to start to unpack the massive role water plays in heating and cooling of our planet and argue why we should absolutely pay way more attention to water and the watercycle. Potentially it is more important and relevant in the climate discussion than carbon.

[1] https://investinginregenerativeagriculture.com/2023/07/21/alpha-lo/

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Must-see: Regenerating Life

Must-see: Regenerating Life

Regenerating life“: Great documentary by John Feldman on the role of vegetation and healthy soils for climate cooling and the strengthening of the small water cycle. It is a powerful told story, which looks at many aspects of nature’s role producing the right conditions for life. It tells another story of climate change, and the potential we have in changing the path towards the future.

It’s not yet available as such, but you can support the project towards public screening, including sub-titles, and get the access to the film.

My most important take-aways:

Walter Jehne: “Irrespective how many greenhouse gas molecules are in the air, the thing that determines the GHG effect is the amount of reradiation coming from the earth.”

Satish Kumar: “If you want to solve the problems of climate change, you dont’t need any technology, you don’t need anything else, you just take care of the soil.

So how come the earth has a beautiful temperature suited to life?  It’s because life, the vast biodiversity which exists on the planet, cycles shape-shifting energy and energy transporting water through the soils and trees, through the atmosphere, and back again, warming and cooling, creating its own moist temperature control space. Earth wouldn’t have a temperature suited for life if it didn’t have life cycling water.

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