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Earth Science

Pine Forest Vapor Particles Can Limit Climate Change 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the can-you-smell-what-ain't-cooking? dept.
Solo-Malee writes "New research suggests a strong link between the powerful smell of pine trees and climate change. Scientists say they've found a mechanism by which these scented vapors turn into aerosols above boreal forests. These particles promote cooling by reflecting sunlight back into space and helping clouds to form."
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Pine Forest Vapor Particles Can Limit Climate Change

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    So we just need to produce pine fresh aerosol to fix the global warming? Well thats ironic to say the least.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So we just need to produce pine fresh aerosol to fix the global warming? Well thats ironic to say the least.

      Why? An analogy I have seen is climate as a car speeding towards a cliff, and that waiting to get more data isn't enough.
      The suggested solution have been to remove the foot from the pedal and eventually the car will come to a halt.
      If I were to agree with the analogy I wouldn't just release the gas, I would hit the brake. That would be an active solution.
      Actively trying to prevent global warming by releasing chemicals that reverse the effect of greenhouse gases would be like braking.

      The problem is that there

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sjwt (161428)

        You must be new here, or don't you remember the whole Aerosols are bad for Ozone and contribute to global warming form the 80's and 90s.

      • by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @08:34AM (#46356257)
        Yes, the climate is changing, and evidence suggests it is following a warming trend. However, I *personally* do not fully attribute that change to anthropocentric causes. In light of these three statements, I am firmly opposed to knee-jerk high cost outcome-vague reactionary measures that serve to drastically affect the economic stability of the nation, or even the world. I am however, in favor of further study, while implementing 'gentle' changes, ie, more efficient power generation, reduction of emissions as quickly as is cost feasible, development of more efficient homes, tools, and machines to reduce our energy needs, etc. The bizarre and potentially harmful ideas people are floating as serious solutions to global warming are absolutely terrifying. I have seen serious proposals ranging from genetically re-engineering cows and kangaroos(?) to produce less methane, to blanketing the seas with iron oxide to cause algae blooms to absorb carbon, to anchoring giant mylar bags of C02 to the ocean floor, to scattering reflective particles in the stratosphere to reflect sunlight back into space. These, along with a host of other ideas, are beyond insane. I don't claim that global warming is a complete farce, but ideas like this, in the off chance that we are actually *wrong* could do immense and possibly irreparable damage to the environment in their own ways. Effectively, in terms of climate change 'repair' we need a planetary version of the Hippocratic oath. "First, Do No Harm." any corrective action we take simply must not put the planet at further risk down the road. However, that is not an excuse to do nothing, greater energy efficiency across the board, and cleaner energy production are a must, and a long term benefit to humanity, no mater the final result of 'climate change science'. All that said, Planting more trees is about the most sound and reasonable activity we can take to help balance our planets climate. Macedonia probably should be the figurehead for this. http://www.reuters.com/article... [reuters.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          "However, I *personally* do not fully attribute that change to anthropocentric causes."

          Argument from personal incredulity is a fallacy.

          "I am firmly opposed to knee-jerk high cost outcome-vague reactionary measures that serve to drastically affect the economic stability of the nation, or even the world."

          However, you have no idea whether these claims

          1) knee-jerk
          2) high cost
          3) outcome-vague
          4) reactionary measures

          are actually the case. Care to cite any that are any of these?

          You also presume without evidence the

        • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @11:45AM (#46358693) Homepage Journal

          Prepare to get roundly vilified for your reasonable approach to climate change. The Priests of AGW don't take kindly to heretical thinking such as reason and logic.

        • by Kremmy (793693)
          This article paired with the fact that we've destroyed most of the forests on this planet tells me that we've probably outright killed our environment, us, humans, massive deforestation, the ecosphere doesn't flow like it used to. we gummed up the gulf of mexico with oil, that slowed ocean currents world wide. Yeah climate change isn't all us but we sure as hell have been the ones to destroy our own environment.
      • by Immerman (2627577)

        >If people were really concerned about the environment then it would be irrelevant if global warming was man made or not, if a natural climate changed with lead to catastrophic consequences we would still have to do something about it.

        I think you're missing the forest for the trees - if global warming were not man-made then it would still be a crisis, but a crisis we would have no particular reason to believe we could fix - after all we're talking millions(billions?) of times more energy per year being a

      • Why? An analogy I have seen is climate as a car speeding towards a cliff, and that waiting to get more data isn't enough. The suggested solution have been to remove the foot from the pedal and eventually the car will come to a halt. If I were to agree with the analogy I wouldn't just release the gas, I would hit the brake. That would be an active solution. Actively trying to prevent global warming by releasing chemicals that reverse the effect of greenhouse gases would be like braking.

        The problem is that there is a political movement that is more concerned with reducing human impact on the environment than with actually saving it, they give fuel to the other side that doesn't care about the environment but just want the hippies to leave their back yard.

        If people were really concerned about the environment then it would be irrelevant if global warming was man made or not, if a natural climate changed with lead to catastrophic consequences we would still have to do something about it.

        Too bad the environment is not so discreet a system as your car. If we are brilliant at one thing, it is underestimating the unintended consequences of our actions. So no, let's not rush out an fill the air with pine forest vapor.

  • Complicated (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tsa (15680) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @05:58AM (#46355647) Homepage

    The world keeps amazing us because the way it works is ever more complicated than we thought.

  • by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @06:15AM (#46355707) Homepage

    The blight of the Mountain Pine Beetle has caused collosal damage to the pine forests of western North America, thwarting any supposed vapor particle limitation of climate change:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Aha! So it's actually ENTOMOgenic climate change.

      Someone get the torches and the pitchforks, we've got some scapebeetles to lynch.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Aha! So it's actually ENTOMOgenic climate change.

        Nope. Those beetles are able to survive in these regions because of the lack of hard freezes to kill them back (global warming) and they're able to attack the trees because they have been weakened by drought (global warming, deforestation).

        The pines are losing out to man-made climate change like everything else.

        From my house, you can see somewhere from dozens to hundreds of dying pines. I can see a lot of pines from here on a hill in Lake County, CA. None of them look good.

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          Nope. Those beetles are able to survive in these regions because of the lack of hard freezes to kill them back (global warming) and they're able to attack the trees because they have been weakened by drought (global warming, deforestation).

          I keep hearing that the "lack of hard freezes" is what kills them back, how odd that it's still a problem in places like Alberta, where the temperature easily gets down to -30 to -50C, and they *still* survive. Seems that there's something wrong with the belief that cold kills them, and they're surviving anyway.

    • Trees all across the globe have been "migrating" pole-wards (and upwards) since about 1970, however insect pests can migrate faster. It may be just coincidence but the notorious tree-ring proxy record becomes unreliable around 1960 ( in that it diverges from the instrumental record ).

      Last I heard there were over 30 thousand species of plants and animals where the records are good enough to show they have significantly shifted their range in response to the warmer climate. Trees on low plains will need to
    • by gzuckier (1155781)

      Similar to the effect of H. sapiens.

  • by srussia (884021) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @06:17AM (#46355719)
    Pine tree air-freshener in my Range Rover!
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @06:59AM (#46355839)

    Everyone knows this - it's why you see that bluish haze above northern forests (Maine, looking at you) in the summer, the turpenes coming off the trees make natural smog in the sunlight.

    • by Type44Q (1233630)

      hat bluish haze above northern forests (Maine, looking at you)

      Duh, that's pot smoke (Maine, looking at you). :p

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      This is also old news in fine particle research circles (but so is every bit of science news by the time it reaches Slashdot :) Also, most of the current news you see on fine particles is about their negative effects -- for example, burning organic fuels kills a lot of people directly, rather than via global warming. On the other hand there are decades-old experiments on cloud seeding which also have an environmentally questionable reputation.
  • "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." [rationalwiki.org]
    Terpenes [wikipedia.org] are a well known component of aerosol away from cities, and studied since many years. Nothing new in the headline, after all...
    • "Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do." [rationalwiki.org] Terpenes [wikipedia.org] are a well known component of aerosol away from cities, and studied since many years. Nothing new in the headline, after all...

      Yes, these are the terpenes that Reagan and James Watt (Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, not the inventor) were referring to. While they were sorta correct that you can't eliminate all the VOCs that contribute to smog by curtailing their emission by human activities, it was presented in the "complete solution or nothing at all" sort of fallacy. The whole thing got widely ridiculed -- albeit for the wrong reasons, even though it deserved it -- and Reagan distanced himself, throwing Watt under the bus. Or

  • by tlambert (566799) on Thursday February 27, 2014 @07:21AM (#46355901)

    I learned 2 things from this article...

    (1) Apparently cars with pine tree air fresheners really *are* cool...

    (2) The actual cause of winter is all the christmas tree smell caused by growing them in the first place, and winter goes away after we cut them down, hold them hostage for a couple of weeks, and then release them, after which it starts warming up again...

    Science: It's not just for breakfast any more!

  • by vrhino (2987119)
    I thought we cut all of those trees down to make newspaper - before the newspapers went away
  • That all we need to do is to replace existing robots with Robot 1-X?
  • Shouldn't it be "Pine Forest Vapor Particles Can *Cause* Climate Change"?
  • The nannies do not want you or your trees vaping as the young'uns might start smoking.

  • If you've ever been in the chipper room at a pulp plant, you can appreciate how wonderful that smell is, much better than PineSol or anything else that ever came out of a bottle.
  • I've been faithfully following science stories on the BBC site for years now, and this one stands out like a sore thumb. Until now, they almost always interviewed independent UK scientists to help them interpret the impact of the original research in a new and noteworthy publication. Specifically, they almost always interview a scientist who downplays the impact, and usually also one who is more excited about it. I've always assumed this was part of their journalistic standard, and a shining example for a l

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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