Thursday, December 29, 2011
The boat will still be sinking, just a bid more rapidly I suspect. Case in point, consider the global devastation of the northern pine forests:
Trees are effectively the greatest CO2 warehouses ever created. For every metric ton of wood grown, 1.5 metric tons of CO2 is absorbed and one metric ton of oxygen is released.
...instability has reverberated on every forested continent as elevated temperatures in the past 40 years of just over 0.5 degrees Celsius on average are killing mature trees by the billions. In B.C., the mountain pine beetles have killed half the commercial forests in the last 15 years. Instead of absorbing CO2, these massive graveyards of dead trees are releasing 250 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere...
It doesn't even begin to end there; the spruce beetles in the far north of the province into Yukon and Alaska have taken full advantage of warming temperatures by speeding up their life cycles, which formerly took two years and now occurs within one year.
In Kluane National Park and Reserve, Yukon spruce beetles have accomplished something never recorded in modern or past times. Since the cold ecological constraint has been removed, spruce beetles have killed over 350,000 hectares of white spruce. Before this, the largest spruce attack was a modest 247 hectares in 1977.
The long-lived, thrifty high elevation forests of white bark and limber pines of B.C. have also been decimated by mountain pine beetles because, again, the cold-temperature barrier precluding attacks is no longer in situ. Mortality in parts of northern B.C. ranges from 72 per cent to 80 per cent.
These forests are crucial habitat for grizzly and black bears, and of paramount importance to retain winter snow-fall, slowly release spring melt back into the water cycle and replenish the Pacific Ocean, its salmon, eagles, wolves, bears and orcas.
Death rates of white bark and limber pines across the western United States are as high as 90 per cent.
The sentinels of the high country have become the tsunami sirens of global warming, showing ecologist, climatologist and physiologists that a warming world is irrevocably altering the landscape across the entire mountainous region of western North America.
... "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences." - Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm