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Two quite different climate science stories caught my eye this week, below is a sampling of both.
A paper in Chemosphere finds a little-discussed benefit of the effect of increased carbon dioxide on plant growth: At higher levels of carbon dioxide, plants remove greater amounts of toxins from the soil and at a faster pace. Soil contamination by heavy metals, including cadmium and lead, is a serious problem in many parts of the world. In China, it is estimated more than 20 million hectares of land are contaminated.
In controlled tests, the Chinese researchers involved in the study sowed black locust seeds in pots in open-top chambers maintained under ambient carbon dioxide levels of 385 parts per million (ppm) or elevated levels of 700 ppm. At 30-day intervals, 30, 60, and 90 days after the locust seeds sprouted, the researchers collected samples from each treatment. They found black locust grown under higher carbon dioxide levels were “associated with greater removal of heavy metals from … soils relative to ambient CO2 … [with] improvements in the microenvironment suggest[ing] that elevated carbon dioxide could benefit soil fertility … under heavy metal stress.”
That is: The plants studied remove from the soil greater amounts of toxins under conditions of elevated carbon dioxide levels, thus improving the soil’s fertility – its ability to grow crops and other useful plants suppressed under conditions of high heavy metal contamination.
In 2016 the U.K.’s Guardian reported on a survey led by researchers at George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication concerning the views of broadcast meteorologists on climate change and humanity’s role in it. The lead author of the survey was Edward Maibach, one of 20 academics who signed on to a letter to U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse arguing climate skeptics should be prosecuted for racketeering.
Nearly all weathercasters who responded to the 2016 survey said they believe climate change is happening, although just 67 percent said they thought humans were responsible for most climate change.
This year’s version of the survey by the same group shows the percentage of meteorologists certain humans are causing climate change to have fallen precipitously in the last year. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of broadcast meteorologists who responded to the survey and said they believe humans have caused most or all of the present climate changes fell from 67 percent to less than half, only 49 percent. In 2017, only 15 percent of the meteorologists responding to the survey thought climate change was largely or entirely man-made, falling from 29 percent in 2016. Twenty-one percent of respondents think climate change is more or less equally caused by human activity and natural events, while another 21 percent think climate change has been primarily or entirely due to natural events.
There are many other interesting finding’s in the survey and I encourage interested readers to peruse it at their leisure and perhaps to even read Australian science writer Jo Nova’s take on import of the two years survey’s differing findings.
Not surprisingly, considering it’s decidedly leftist, alarmist slant, The Guardian failed to report on this years survey. Among broadcast meteorologists, there never was a 97 percent consensus humans are causing dangerous climate change, and evidently even that tide is turning. Today, not even a majority of them support that view. If the views of broadcast meteorologists are any indication, the forces of climate realism are rising.