14 May 2010

Amazing Time-Lapse Video of CO2 Effect on Plant Growth


Clearly, plants love CO2. Not only land plants, but sea sponges and photosynthetic plankton and sea bacteria throughout the oceans love CO2. Just a quick glance at the white chalk cliffs near Dover will tell you that sea life can make very good use of much higher concentrations of CO2 than humans have ever seen.

And yet, people who make a living by promoting a fear of CO2 continue to claim that CO2 is a pollutant, and that CO2 threatens land and sea life.
Rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide interfere with plants’ ability to convert nitrate into protein and could threaten food quality, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis.

The scientists suggest that, as global climate change intensifies, it will be critical for farmers to carefully manage nitrogen fertilization in order to prevent losses in crop productivity and quality.

The study, which examined the impact of increased carbon dioxide levels on wheat and the mustard plant Arabidopsis, will be published in the May 14 issue of the journal Science. _WUWT
Notice the careful fudging: "could threaten" food quality. Of course, given the "butterfly effect" of chaotic dynamics, your choosing to go out to the market for a quart of chocolate milk "could threaten" food quality for the future. The authors of the paper are therefore quite safe.

An earlier study at Stanford was able to demonstrate that a careful manipulating of Nitrogen, water, and temperature of crops was able to cause a paradoxical response to raising CO2 levels. But the added CO2 did not stunt the plant growth! It merely reduced the growth stimulation from the artificial manipulation (of water, temperature, and nitrogen) from 84% down to 40%. The reasons for this lesser stimulation of excess growth are no doubt complex, but when the phenomenon is expressed truthfully -- rather than apocalyptically -- it loses its alarmist overtones.

Rather than to manipulate growing conditions outside the realm of natural possibility in order to promote a fiction that CO2 is harming plant growth, would it not be better to perform honest and open experiments, and let the chips fall where they may? As in honest science? Or perhaps, there is no money in that type of thing these days.

Check out the plant growth database at CO2 Science


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Blogger Hell_Is_Like_Newark said...

I have read that some plants have genes that don't 'turn on' until CO2 hits a much higher levels, even higher than in that video below.

What happens if you push the concentration to 10k ppm or more?

Friday, 14 May, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

At that point, the plants start eating people and their pets. It's a small glitch that agricultural geneticists think they can solve well before atmospheric levels get that high.

Friday, 14 May, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great video!

But I'm a little confused. You increased the CO2 concentration by 282%, and the plants responded with 44% additional biomass. That's encouraging for the plants, but not enough to put a dent in CO2 levels in the atmosphere, and 1470 ppm CO2 would kill almost everything on earth except for plants. You're talking about 700 ppm MORE than at the beginning of the Jurassic period, when 70% of living species went extinct, sea levels rose until the entire central portion of the North American continent was submerged under warm tropical seas, and dense jungles (that would someday become oil) covered most of the landmasses on earth.

You're right about the effect on plants, though - I myself use CO2 in aquariums to grow aquatic plants. Plants LOVE CO2! I don't understand how any reputable scientist could make the statement that CO2 somehow inhibits plant growth. CO2 fertilization is well-understood.

I don't think anybody should be worried about the effect of atmospheric CO2 on plants. You're right to debunk that ludicrous claim.

However, we should be worried about the effect of CO2 on temperature, the effect of temperature on the density of saltwater, and the effect that 140 feet of seawater has on plants. They don't like that so much.

Friday, 14 May, 2010  
Blogger Kunoichi said...

"..., and 1470 ppm CO2 would kill almost everything on earth except for plants. "

I'm at a loss trying to figure out how you came to this conclusion. Greenhouse operations deliberatly have CO2 levels of 1500ppm, with no harm to those working in them. CO2 levels in nuclear submarines reach levels of 4000ppm with no harm to the crews operating them. Historic levels have been much higher, with little correlation to average global temperature.

Friday, 14 May, 2010  
Blogger al fin said...

Kunoichi: "This" confessed to being confused at the beginning of his comment. His assertion that "1470 ppm CO2 would kill almost everything on earth except for plants" was not a "conclusion" as such, since it was not preceded by a logical argument. Rather it was an emotional declaration of carbon-phobia, or carbon hysteria.

After a long media, academic, and political onslaught of mis-information designed to incite mass carbon hysteria, it is surprising that not everyone is as affected as "This."

As you say, most life on Earth evolved under conditions of higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations than we find today. It would be quite surprising to find atmospheres with 0.15% CO2 to be toxic to most forms of life on the planet.

Saturday, 15 May, 2010  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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