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I’ve got that sinking feeling

Science Magazine April 27, 2007 page 567: In an article titled – Revisiting Carbon Flux through the oceans twilight zone – by K Buesseler, et al. “The oceanic biological pump drives sequestration of carbon dioxide in the deep sea via sinking particles. Rapid biological consumption and remineralization of carbon in the “twilight zone” (depths between the euphotic zone and 1000 meters) reduce the efficiency of sequestration. …measured a transfer efficiency of sinking particulate organic carbon between 150 and 500 meters of 20 and 50% at two contrasting sites. This large variability in transfer efficiency is poorly represented in biogeochemical models. If applied globally, this is equivalent to a difference in carbon sequestrations of more than 3 petagrams of carbon per year.”

Now the amount of petagrams of carbon has probably little meaning to the average person. Fortunately the authors also include this statement in their section on implications and conclusions.

“For comparison global anthropogenic emissions of Carbon are 6 to 7 Pg (petagrams) Carbon per year. Certainly the entire ocean is not characterized by either single transfer efficiency, however, this calculation shows that, …transfer efficiency would have a large impact on the magnitude of ocean carbon sequestration and hence be a substantial feedback on the climate.” In this quote, several symbols for variables are replaced with their names for clarity. This convenience does not alter the importance of this finding.

Correction of the models would reduce the estimated carbon in atmosphere by as much as 50%. This would have a major impact on the temperature change estimated by these models. I would expect that these results will be attacked or ignored by those wishing to scare the public into modifying their behavior in a manner they believe is correct.

By A Bialystock

Where has Scientific Objectivity Gone?

Nature Magazine April 26, 2007 page1079: An article entitled –Resource use efficiency and plant invasion in low resource systems. – The authors Funk, J and Vitousek P, State, “Invasive species represent on of the most serious threats to bio diversity and ecosystem function worldwide, and understanding the mechanism by which invasive species outperforms native species is crucial to controlling their spread.” The first clause in this sentence was taken from a report written by the World Resources Institute.

Later in this same paper the authors make this statement. “Across all habitats, invasive species showed higher rates of carbon assimilation relative to native species. Higher assimilation rates for invaders corresponded with higher light use efficiency, instantaneous nitrogen-use efficiency and instantaneous energy-use efficiency in the light and nutrient limited systems. …Collectively, these species can outperform native species in low resource environments.”

Could it be that Funk and Vitousek are incapable of making the obvious connection that the invasive species is a better adapted species than the native species? If that is the case, why are we protecting the native species? Further, the species is more efficient than the native species at sequestering carbon dioxide. Is the ivory tower so isolated that they are unaware that the invasive species may help solve the global warming threat?

Their tests clearly show that the invasive species is better adapted to its environment. An object scientist would have to seriously consider that maybe their work indicates that biodiversity, a corner stone to the environmental movement, is not as important to a healthy environment as previously though regardless of what the World Resources Institute says.

Change is the only thing constant in the universe. Trying to stop change is counter to natural selection and the natural world. Artificially removing a more efficient species based on the concept that biodiversity is important to the environment ignores the fact that the most fruitful periods in the history of this planet have always followed major extinctions.

Common objectivity would have at least considered the alternative that biodiversity is counter productive to evolution of a better life form. Better, being defined as one that is more in tune with its environment.

By D. J. Dodds

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