Wednesday, September 13, 2006

post-drought genus

When did the term greenhouse effect go out of effect and become global warming? You wonder which indicators necessitated the change in terminology without you even noticing. Terminology is always in flux, you understand this, but you wonder if it can keep up with the changes. Today Block and Byrd told you something that you already knew; everthing is happening faster than the scientists had predicted. An example, and only one of many, is white spruce death seen in the joined expanse of Alaska and Canada's northern regions. Amber Soja, of the National Institute of Aerospace, attributes the rapid die-back of these trees to increased climate temperatures and consequential drought. As the trees dry out, they become susceptible to various pests like that insipid beetle we hear so much about. You also know about the additional threat of forest fires. You think about the year you drove through BC and had to roll up your windows because the smoke was too heavy. That same year you slept outside on the porch and woke up with ash in your mouth.

Soja brings up something you haven't heard before. You listen carefully. She explains that as temperatures rise, big old pools of carbon will be released from the bowels of the northern forests (not her words). The effect will be yes, even more heat.

(decidedly Post-Drought genus)

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