Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sheep and Global Warming

I kid you not, OK maybe a little. Check out the Sheep Albedo Feedback hypothesis over at Real Climate. I'm going to throw away my compact fluorescent light bulbs right way. No wait can't do that! What about the the Mercury? The proof is in the accompanying graph! Makes about as much sense as blaming evolution for Columbine and no one would do that? Right?

Actually albedo or light reflected away from the Earth is an important factor in global heat budgets and one of the concerns about the melting of the arctic ice pack is the potential decrease in albedo. Light energy being absorbed by the Earth's surface can indeed increase temperatures. Bad news potentially for those folks who think planting trees is the solution to global warming. See this link from Scientific American for more details.

So sorry you SUV owners can't offset your carbon footprint by planting trees. Besides I suspect lots of these tree planting schemes may merely be about planting quick growing trees that may simply spread impoverished managed tree farms, useless for preserving biodiversity. A related article in Green Business News notes that corporate tree planting schemes have come under increasing attack and don't deliver on their promises as a way to offset our carbon footprint.

Other links:
How Coldplay's green hopes died in the arid soil of India