Oct. 07, 94 Oxygen levels in relation to amount of forests in ancient times

I find it strange that with all the great hubbub about deforestation there is no mention of the largest carbon dioxide sink on the planet, the oceans. There should be concern about the destruction of rain forests, the medicinal importance and the bio-diversity of these areas should not be taken lightly. As far as their impact as a CO2 sink and global warming trends that it will produce, I think there is too much significance assigned to them than is warranted. New growth forests have higher metabolic rates than old forests. If the rain forests are deforested then there would have to be total sterilization of the ground in order for NOTHING to grow there again. This is unlikely and new growth with start on a large scale which will contribute in a greater degree to the CO2 being metabolized than the “old growth” rain forests that had previously occupied the same area.
Don’t worry folks. Let’s us not be so vain as to think that Mother will not find a balance on her own and that “We” could destroy her. Mother will find her own way. The old girl has seen some pretty cataclysmic events over the millions of years (i.e. asteriods the size of Texas, for one) and she has rebounded very nicely.
Let us stop for a moment and not always have to have a demon to fight. The big bad Soviet Union has become a non-threat so now we have to turn inwards and attack each other. Give the fear mongering a rest for a while and let’s work on easing the ills that plague us as individuals. This last paragraph was specifically written to stir emotional response. I find it best to do this in order to get responses.

>>> Let’s us not be so vain as to think that other will not find a balance on her own and that “We” could destroy her. Mother will find her own way. The old girl has seen some pretty cataclysmic events over the millions of years (i.e. asteriods the size of Texas, for one) and she has rebounded very nicely.

On this point, you’re absolutely right. Good ol’ Ma Earth is going to be just fine, with or without us. But when the eco-folks say “Save the Earth” what they really mean is “Save Humanity.” An Earth that “rebounds very nicely” without us is pretty much useless so far as the human population is concerned.

Agree with dwtno. When the “asteroid the size of Texas” hit ol’ Mom, the dominant life form on the planet, the dinosaurs, was obliterated.

In theory, there’s no difference between practice and theory, but in practice, there is.

Folks the point is that if the earth is harmed by the puny inhabitants that reside on this mudball, the gradual effects of what we do to Her will right themselves LONG before they get to the level of a Asteriod the size of Texas (or even Rhode Island for that matter). That will probably not mean the annihilation of all inhabitants. It could mean that a large number of Us will be turned into humus. Credit also has to be given where it is due and Humans as a whole are a VERY adaptable creature, much more so than large, cold blooded reptiles.
The up-shot of this very long winded diatribe is that:

  1. If a asteriod the size of Texas does hit the Earth we are toast.
  2. Even if we all used three cans of hairspray, and chopped down twenty trees a day, it would be unlikely that we would reach the point of destuction of the aformentioned 'Lil Texas smacking into Mother.
  3. and finally. I don’t see the panic over making one’s hair look great and pruning the bushes in the yard.

T.G. Facilitator

An asteroid the size of TEXAS wiped out the dinosaurs? I think somebody has watched the movie Armageddon once too often.

The impactor that created the great underwater crater in the Yucatan Peninsula – the event currently favored among catastrophists as the trigger for the end of the Cretaceous period – would have been about 10 kilometers across, by most calculations. The biggest asteroid we’ve EVER discovered is Ceres, and it’s only about 700 kilometers across. Texas is over 1000 kilometers across.

Of course, when talking about a big space rock the “size” of Texas, we must remember that rocks have width, length, AND depth. We know how wide (east to west) Texas is. We know how long (north to south) Texas is. But how DEEP does Texas go? Does it extend in a Texas-shaped cone all the way to the center of the Earth? Does it end just below the topsoil? A big rock with the surface area of Texas and the thickness of Saran Wrap [TM] wouldn’t weigh very much (and might make a nice kite).

hey there Tracer. Can a guy get a little creative license here. It’s obvious from the comment on nice hair and trimming the bushes that I am trying to bring a little levity to the topic. Lighten up.
From now on the aformentioned asteriod refered to as 'Lil Texas will be named “The Asteriod That Measures 350km Across And Is Roughly Cylindrical” or TATM350KMAAIRC. Better?

folks, the dominant form of life on the planet has never been dinosaurs or people (well, if we’re going to use dinosuars, we probably ought to say mammals), whether you measure by biomass or by species longevity (that is, one way, extinction, or another, replacement, you probably won’t find homo sapiens here in a million years) So, we shouldn’t oversetimate our power to control life on this planet. However, we can in fact create ecological problems that directly impact our lifestyles–most of the history of civilization is an example. (if interested you might read Marvin Harris’s Cannibals and KIngs) Sure, given the bigger picture the Earth will recover from our deforestation, and yes, the Ocean is a far greater CO2 sink, but you need to think in terms of tipping points–small changes which disturb local equilibriums–ie deforestation that leads to reduced rain/less water holding capacity/less favorable conditions for people–a fairly common event in human history–and small changes that lead to short-term distortion of larger equilibrium events, such as increases in greenhouse gases that raise temperature levels, that raise water levels making it uncomfortable on the coast and change weather patterns.
So yes, small changes in the rainforest can lead to significant problems even though more carbon is in the ocean.
And keep in mind–it’s not just the metabolic rate of forests that we’re talking about–old growth forests trap a tremendous amount of carbon as part of the biomass and keeping it from being atmospheric CO2. In order to be as effective in reducing CO2, young forests need higher metabolic rates in order to be as effective as crbon sinks.

To bring the Russians in for illustrative purposes, I’ve never been terribly worried about the possibility of WW III, the great nuclear holocaust, actually occurring. But if you were worried when they were the Soviets, you should stay worried because they still have nuclear weapons.
And, more importantly, if you’re a NATO soldier in Kosovo, you might want to worry more because Russian soldiers have guns than because they have nuclear weapons. (My way of saying that the little things–like carbon sinks in the rainforest–can matter even when compared to the big things, like carbon sinks in the oceans.
Finally, that’s a catchy name for an asteriod, the TATME350 . . . thing, especially as Time Warner has probably copyrighted the “Little Teaxas” and all subsequent variations.

And really finally, where else but in Science Fiction will you find someone worried about the carbon sink in the ocean–check out Mother of Storms by John Barnes

I think we’re a little more worried about plain ol’ MOM
then we are mother earth. Or atleast her decendants. I worry
alot about what our impact is on the invironment for us as well as all our worldly family. I mean blowing it for our selfs would be bad enough but ruining it for the rest of our “Don’t rock the boat”
fellow earth creatures ?? For shame. We couldn’t live with that!
But i’ve been wondering,
In these global warming models,
Isn’t there more clouds thus more rain thus more plant life thus thus and so on.
I mean do they factor this in.
It’s been raining like crazy here and by the time I get my lawn mowed I think our worries will be over. Well, 'cept for Russia.
I’m worried more about them then ever since we got Irag & Yugoslavia almost or at war and Russia & China possible threats.
Thru history all a nation needs is a good backer or supplier ( or just the right tools for the job however they got them ) And what about those meteors. We hit defcon 3 because of one in peace time. Now would not be a good time for a badly reported near miss.
Oh well. We can enjoy or fret.
I think I’ll go to bed and enjoy.
I think we got other folks paid to fret.


[[Credit also has to be given where it is due and Humans as a whole are a VERY adaptable creature, much more so than large, cold blooded reptiles. ]] T.G Facilitator
Isn’t the thinking these days that the dinosaurs, like birds, were warm-blooded? Or is that still a pretty controversial thesis?