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Careful Where You Put That Tree 190

Ant writes "Wired News is reporting that according to Stanford University's atmospheric scientist Ken Caldeira, forests in the wrong location can actually make the Earth hotter. From the article: 'Plants absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, so scientists and policy makers have long assumed new forest growth helps combat global warming. At an American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco earlier this month, however, Caldeira rolled out a provocative new finding: Trees may be good at capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but their dark leaves are also very efficient at soaking up sunlight, which is later released as heat. At certain latitudes, the net effect of these two processes is warming, rather than cooling.'"
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Careful Where You Put That Tree

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  • Solution: (Score:5, Funny)

    by Poromenos1 ( 830658 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @09:33AM (#14335737) Homepage
    Plant them in antarctica! That's where all the problem is, and it gets way too little sun. Problem solved!
  • duh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    all insignificant chit-chat. We have only one environmental problem in this world en that is the huge number of people on this planet.
    All other problems are just secundary manifestations of this one.
    • Don't worry. If we go on like this, that problem will be solved too!
    • BROKEN MODERATION SYSTEM!!! Mod Parent Up, not down.

      On 2005-12-25, 11:02, the parent comment is at -1, Troll. But, it is exactly correct, and very insightful.

      To repeat: "We have only one environmental problem in this world, and that is the huge number of people on this planet. All other problems are just secondary manifestations of this one."

      Merry Christmas!
    • ......the huge number of people on this planet.....

      That's what jerk named Ehrlich said already 40 or so years ago. Something about a population bomb. The climate has not changed all that much since then. If the warming were proportional to the population increase since then, we should have all been cooked by now and run out of things to eat and drink. The world has always had doom and gloom, the sky is falling soothsayers. Predicitions about the world running out of oil and other resources have been around
  • Uhhh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 25, 2005 @09:37AM (#14335748)
    It's not the trees we need to worry about, it's those phytoplankton in the oceans. Whales eat them (therefore we need to nuke the whales).
    • Nuke? Why waste all that tasty whale meat? I say we all come together and have a global whale barbecue.

      It's about unity, man! Unity!

    • Seriously, I was wondering if it's not the tree we need to worry about, but asphalt instead. It consumes no CO2 and absorbs much more heat than leaves. Of course it all depend on how much asphalt we are going to put in tropical latitudes. It melts quite easily there i guess.
      • Props to parent for hitting the nail on the head. If trees are "the problem" they why the hell is it so much cooler in the countryside than in the city, or even a large town, where it is noticably much warmer? I've noticed this for decades, and have long just assumed it was the concrete and asphalt covering everything in urban areas. The ground can't dissipate heat nearly as well through that stuff. No doubt someone here has more knowledge on the subject than me (geologists?), so feel free to chime in here.
  • I'm so torn (Score:5, Funny)

    by mcgroarty ( 633843 ) <brian.mcgroarty@ ... m minus math_god> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @09:40AM (#14335758) Homepage
    This past week, the New York Times reported on an article in Nature that explained how industrial and automobile pollutants may turn out to have a cooling impact, owing to long-standing misestimation of their ability to deflect the sun's heat.

    See, here's where I'm torn: I happen to like global warming. It would be good for farming and would make a greater percentage of the civilized world comfortable for our aging population. But the part where I'm torn is that the articles I'm reading this week tell me that to get my wish, I do precisely what the environmentalists have been urging since the 80s. Drive less and plant more trees, but this time in support of global warming!

    • Re:I'm so torn (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Andy Dodd ( 701 )
      "It would be good for farming and would make a greater percentage of the civilized world comfortable for our aging population."

      Except that it won't.

      a) Rising ocean levels mean less total landmass.
      b) For every bit of cold region that becomes livable due to global warming, there's an equal if not greater amount of landmass that gets turned into unlivable and unfarmable desert.
      c) Even small increases in temperature can cause significant changes in the weather. One word that sums this up well: Katrina.
      • Not to mention that just because a cold region becomes warm enough for farming doesn't mean its soil, sunlight, and other aspects will be good for any plants. Tundra soil is no good for farming, and though the earth may be retaining more heat, it's light that matters to plants, of which there is less annually in the more extreme latitudes.

        Of course, the GP was joking anyway, so...
      • Re:I'm so torn (Score:5, Informative)

        by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @02:24PM (#14336471)
        "c) Even small increases in temperature can cause significant changes in the weather. One word that sums this up well: Katrina."

        Climatologists have said that at the current rate of global warming a net change in hurricane severity is still quite a ways off.

        Katrina was bad only because of where it hit. Any other category 3 would've done the same thing to the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was a category 4 and tore up large chunks of Florida. Not only would Andrew have done to New Orleans what Katrina did, it probably would've been worse, since Katrina was only a category 3 when it hit land for the second time (it was only a category 1 when it hit Florida).

        The strongest recorded storm at the time of landfall between 1992 and 2005 was a category 4 (Andrew), not a category 3 (Katrina). Storm severity was worse 13 years ago, when the globe was marginally cooler. Katrina was not a direct result of global warming, it was just an average storm that hit a very ill prepared area.

      • Re:I'm so torn (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Khaed ( 544779 )
        I live on the Gulf Coast, so I feel qualified to call bullshit on point C. Camille and Frederic came right around the times when scientists were whinging about Global Cooling. Both were pretty damn bad. Had Camille hit New Orleans the way Katrina did, New Orleans would have been totally destroyed. As it is, only certain areas in New Orleans got destroyed. Most of the French Quarter came out okay. Most damage from Katrina was storm surge. Almost no one living north of I-10 lost their home. -- too far from th
      • ....For every bit of cold region that becomes livable due to global warming, there's an equal if not greater amount of landmass that gets turned into unlivable and unfarmable desert.....

        Climate is a bit more complicated than that. Warmer ocean water evaporates more and that evaporation will come down as rain in areas that get very little right now. There is evidence that our planet was much warmer in the past. Where do you think the fossil fuels came from? We are now burning the buried remains of life-forms
    • Re:I'm so torn (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm hoping all that about liking global warming was purely sarcasm, because if global warming does occur,
      1. the polar ice caps will melt and coastal areas will vanish undersea,
      2. thousands of species will find their habitat inhospitable and may go extinct,
      3. tropical storms will become much more intense,
      4. diseases like malaria will spread over wider areas,
      5. and many more bad things will happen [wikipedia.org].

      I think that's a bit of a heavy price to pay just for warming up your winters a little. Man, just wear a sweater or someth

    • Do as before, it&#180;s good what you do, do the best you can

      - save energy
      - use insulation, improve insulation, (it works as a two way effect,
      a good insulation stops heat from escaping in the winter,
      and in summer stops heat from wandering in (with a house with a good insulation
      you need less power too heat up your house in the winter, and you need less
      power for your aircooler in the summer, because the chill is preserved as in
      a fridge )

      The problem is, that the processes involved in trees and the hole cli
    • by SEWilco ( 27983 )
      1. Trees in northern latitudes cause warming.
      2. Soot and haze cause cooling.
      3. Burning trees causes soot and haze.
      4. Burn the forest, save the Earth.

      This message brought to you by the Prairie Restoration Force.

    • Global warming also means more severe storms with more tornadoes. There have been tornadoes that have literally ripped gashes into the earth, including fields. All that convection adds fuel to the fire.
    • Re:I'm so torn (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
      The story also fails to note that huge swaths of temperate Europe and North America *used* to be forested, which are now cleared and in use as farmland.

      Tho I feel compelled to point out that both the somewhat warmer climate of the early middle ages, and the "Little Ice Age" that followed (and helped bring on the "Dark Ages") happened before most of these primeval forests were cut.

      How many more contradictions can the theory of locally-controlled global warming support, before the sun gets disgusted with the
  • right but.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Danzigism ( 881294 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @09:43AM (#14335760)
    Of course, but cutting down trees certainly won't save the environment either.. Trees do not deplete our ozone.. they simply freshen the air, and clear up part of the atmosphere where smog, and other air pollution rests..

    a big part of their argument is that the smog acts almost as if its sunblock.. ultimately making the temperature on earth cooler.. but you can't honestly say, that we need to pollute more, just so we can have our sunblock on ;-) we need to be thinking LONGTERM which is the most important factor.. yes, if we slowly decrease our use of gas-guzzlin' bitches, it will get hotter on earth.. if we plant trees, it will clean up the polluted air which acts as our sunblock, making the earth much hotter.. but hey, we better start now, because it'll be twice as hot, if we wait too long..

    • Of course, but cutting down trees certainly won't save the environment either.. Trees do not deplete our ozone.. they simply freshen the air, and clear up part of the atmosphere where smog, and other air pollution rests..

      Not to mention help prevent erosion and landslides.
    • Trees do not deplete our ozone.

      Ozone? what does any of this have to do with ozone?

      • Re:right but.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by skids ( 119237 )

        He jumped threading... it's a reference to the comment that smog reflects heat. Which really doesn't say anything about greenhouse gasses, just aerosols -- greenhouse gasses still warm the earth. But aerosols may cool it by causing brighter clouding. I don't think that's particularly worth it, because the pollutants in question, as a batch, also deplete ozone, and have numerous direct effects on human health and the biosphere. Typical NYT pollyannaism, taking a Nature article like that out of context to
    • You don't cut the trees, you just paint them white :)
  • by wombatmobile ( 623057 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @09:48AM (#14335770)

    "planting trees has a variety of environmental benefits unrelated to global warming, such as restoring threatened animal habitats and preventing the erosion of topsoil."
    -- Carbonfund spokesman Craig Coulter

    • This is only anecdotal evidence, but in evergreen forests in the North East, the forests actually are much cooler than the open areas. Sometime in summer, walk into a densely forested area and it can be 10 degrees cooler. Even if the trees are just acting as shade, I don't think they're doing much of anything to increase the temperature. Maybe it's different in other parts of the world but surely the total tree-heat is millions of times less than BURNING things.
  • by Wingfield ( 872389 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @09:57AM (#14335786)
    We must run frantically to this new train of thought, and cut down all trees. However, before doing that, we must destroy any evidence that trees were ever beneficial in the first place. Minitrue will deal with this. 2+2=5
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @09:57AM (#14335787) Journal
    It would seem then, that the reforestation of large tracts of former farmland in the Northeastern USA over the last 150 years or so isn't neccessarily a good thing, climate-wise?


    • It would seem then, that the reforestation of large tracts of former farmland in the Northeastern USA over the last 150 years or so isn't neccessarily a good thing, climate-wise?

      I don't think you can say "climate-wise". Maybe tree-locally temperature-wise it is hotter than if it were a giant mirror there or maybe desert is all that can be asserted.

      I'm not sure what the article is comparing against. So, instead of green trees if there were white or glass concrete buildings? It can't be parking lots sin

      • by jcr ( 53032 )
        So, instead of green trees if there were white or glass concrete buildings?

        Farmland, more likely.


        • Um, how are green corn, or green soybeans, or green cabbage, or brown dirt between the rows supposed to be an improvement over green trees? The only thing that would have an advantage would be dry, yellow grass. Which, incidentally, can get awfully warm.

          Leaves aren't heat-radiating surfaces: every single leaf is liquid-cooled. Heat isn't going to be radiated to any significant extent: it'll be carried into the core of the tree, along with the products of photosynthesis.

    • I kinda suspect their calculations were done with respect to a spherical conifer forest of uniform density. So to speak.

      Did they take into account the fact that many trees in temperate forests don't actually have leaves for a significant portion of the year?

  • by toupsie ( 88295 )
    After reading years of Global Warming articles, I realize there is nothing man can do about it. Nature is a much greater force than mankind. It was here before we arrived on the scene and will be here after we all die out from a virulent disease born from unsanitized telephones. My worry is that all the efforts lead by environmentalists will lead to a massive ice age due to over compensation and Mother Nature's bad disposition about being screwed with.

    Someone still has to explain to me how Mars has a Glob

    • Paradoxically, global warming might lead to an ice age in Europe because the gulf stream will stop flowing due to a lower heat gradient. This will at least lead to harsher winters (which might call for even more fuel burning under the current housing conditions)
    • Nature is a much greater force than mankind.
      My worry is that all the efforts lead by environmentalists will lead to a massive ice age due to over compensation and Mother Nature's bad disposition about being screwed with.

      If nature is a greater force than mankind, then how would the efforts of environmentalists have any impact at all?
  • Too late I already got my christmas tree, oh well I guess I should throw it out... wait! your meant to do that on new years.. doh doh doh doh doh :P
  • by pinkboi ( 533214 ) <magusofthedark@yaho o . c om> on Sunday December 25, 2005 @10:41AM (#14335873) Homepage
    The change in the atmospheric composition is happening rapidly while new forests are not appearing rapidly. Climate change is okay as long as it doesn't happen so fast humankind and the critters and plants we share the planet with can't adjust in time. Rather than worrying about minor influences, we should look at the biggest influences (hell, water vapor contributes to global warming). This research, however, should stop people from thinking they can plant their way out of the situation.
  • tradeoffs.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zogger ( 617870 )
    .....if you look at all the benefits, the trade is worth it. Trees-plants in general- are very necessary for the health of the planet over-all, and provide us with numerous useful products. Well, yes,this is obvious, but still, I wouldn't be afraid of planting more trees. Growing plants are one of the only ways we have currently to harness nuclear fusion, which is the sunshine we receive. So the question really gets to more energy-good or bad? From my perspective, more energy wins. Like where is the problem
  • by bujoojoo ( 161227 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @10:43AM (#14335879)
    Forests now cause global warming? Next they'll say that volcanoes cause global cooli... Uh, nevermind...
    • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jcuervo ( 715139 )

      You should not use your fireplace, because scientists now believe that, contrary to popular opinion, fireplaces actually remove heat from houses. Really, that's what scientists believe. In fact many scientists actually use their fireplaces to cool their houses in the summer. If you visit a scientist's house on a sultry August day, you'll find a cheerful fire roaring on the hearth and the scientist sitting nearby, remarking on how cool he is and drinking heavily. -- Dave Barry, "Postpetrol

  • by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @10:48AM (#14335888)
    If in the name of lower greenhouse gas emissions we start putting photovoltaic cells all over the place, won't their dark surfaces do the same thing as the trees?
  • and.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by HellYeahAutomaton ( 815542 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @10:52AM (#14335901)
    Somewhere ... deep within the hollows of suburbia ... a logging company executive is feeling cautiously optimistic for 2006.
  • I can see the headlines now...

    U.S. leads world in new woodlands increases that cause global warming - Largest increase in history under President Bush!

  • Oh, come on. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bleckywelcky ( 518520 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @11:07AM (#14335944)
    Without even reading the article, think about this logically. What is most of the land mass in the world covered with? Trees, shrubs, plants, etc. There are a few extremely arid places that don't grow trees, but they probably did at one point in time. And at higher elevations, the growth can't survive, but that is a small percentage by area. But even in the very dry southwestern USA, plants grow all over the place. So, if the idea of this article is to caution everyone's eco-planning policies so that they don't go planting trees carelessly, then I call B.S. Now if someone was arguing for terraforming the Sahara or is trying to analyze large swaths of plankton or algae on the surface of the ocean, this might be useful. But your average tree-hugger doesn't need to be worried with this. We've cut down many more acres of trees for farms, plantations, subdivisions, and buildings in the last 100 or so years than we have planted.
    • I call B.S. too. On a very hot summer day you can feel a very noticable *decrease* in temperature if you drive through a hardwood forest. Much of the heat absorbed is converted into food for the plant and ends up being stored in the plant fibers (where do people think the energy released while burning wood comes from?) Evaporative cooling also has an effect. On the same day go stand in the middle of a large blacktop parking lot. Then tell me which one has the biggest warming effect. Who wrote TFA? We
  • by Cygnusx12 ( 524532 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @11:19AM (#14335969)
    From the TFA ...

    but their dark leaves are also very efficient at soaking up sunlight, which is later released as heat. At certain latitudes, the net effect of these two processes is warming, rather than cooling.

    What sort of trees did they use in their simulation? Did They reforest with an even mixture of what trees where natively found in the region? Or even the altitude? The article doesn't say.

    Anyone who has spent some time in the woods knows a forest is diverse system. within a few miles walk in New England, you can found varieties of spruce, maple, cherry, oak, among others. All prospering in environments suitable for each. Did their simulation reflect this? Did their simulation reflect "natural" clearing? (Forest fires, die off, etc etc)?

    IANAG (not a geologist), but wouldn't there be evidence that North America would've been actually warmer some 400 years ago? I've read that the early settlers would say a squirrel could go from Maine to kentucky, and never touch the ground. Isn't earth warming currently at fractions of this rate? (with all of man's humble efforts?).

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @11:20AM (#14335971) Homepage Journal
    Just like the 'research' on eggs, just wait another week and they will be good for you.

  • by farrellj ( 563 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @11:24AM (#14335985) Homepage Journal
    "Watch out for that T*R*E*E!"

    - George J.

  • by RoffleTheWaffle ( 916980 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @11:30AM (#14335996) Journal
    That makes a lot of sense, but I have to wonder if other dark things we tend to place in the sun aren't in fact contributing a great deal to the global warming problem, in addition to other factors such as greenhouse gases... I wonder how much more heat is retained in areas with tar roofs and black-top streets and parking lots, as opposed to areas with gravel and dirt roads and shingled/fiberglass roofs.

    That aside, this is a very interesting finding. There's no doubt in my mind that the logging industry will use this as an excuse to ramp up production in the face of opposition from environmentalists, but it could also be useful in helping us understand how to control our own climate naturally. Maybe certain kinds of trees and plants reflect more heat than others. Maybe certain arrangements and placements of trees and plants are cooler or hotter than others. Landscaping for climate control, anyone?
    • And don't forget the old maxims about planting a tree next to your house. The tree absorbs/reflects/whatever the heat coming onto your house, thus reducing your cooling bill in the summer, thus reducing the amount of fuel spent on keeping your house cool, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas created in burning that fuel, etc. etc. Planting trees may not have a direct effect on cooling, but the long-term process points in a better direction.
    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
      Actually, whilst RTFAing, I was inspired to wonder if this study had logging interests behind it.

      The problem with localized landscaping is that it fails to take microclimates into account. Frex, Santa Clarita (the next valley north of L.A.'s San Fernando Valley) is actually the terminus of a river valley that reaches all the way to the Pacific Ocean without significant interruption. Used to be at 2.30 every afternoon the ocean wind arrived and cooled the SCV down, making summer afternoons pleasant (rather t
  • shady research (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    don't trees shade the ground from getting hot? if the trees are getting hot and the ground isn't, what is the difference between trees and no trees?

    happy christian bastardized pagan holiday.
    its really siberian shaman reindeer piss drinking day.

    /drinks up
  • My experience (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Working in my chile field (a whopping 15' x 30') the air above it feels noticibly more humid, I assume because of the water vapor being transpired from the leaves. Evaporation means cooling and the air within the plant canopy _is_ cooler not, I believe, just from the soil being shaded by the canopy but because the of the evaporative cooling of the leaves. Additionally, the leaves, although 'dark' are not as dark as the soil. (Now, around northern New Mexico the soil can be pretty red, and if I remember corr
  • How do the trees produce MORE heat than just the sunlight hitting, say, the ground? Presumably the energy is going to all become heat eventually, so it doesn't matter if the trees are doing it instead of the ground, right?
    • You could say the same thing about concrete or asphalt right? Heat soaked up and re-radiated later isn't exactly the same as heat reflected. Which is "bad" or "worse" gets complicated and is location dependant.

      It's the gist of the article is actually pretty simple: Planting a tree in the north because you cut one down in the south isn't parity. While the C02 consumption might be the same the overall effect on climate isn't. If you want to "buy back" the CO2 you are dumping into the air with your car, p
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @02:15PM (#14336454) Journal
    So we don't even know for sure if trees (and their ability to absorb CO2) are net warmers or coolers of the environment....yet we should sign on for hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars in programs which will 'reduce global warming'?


    Look, I think that it's patently obvious that 5 billion people cooking things, burning fuels, and generally living energy-intensive lives must be warming the planet (whether this is moreso than natural cycles is up for debate). But the whole 'Kyoto' religion smacks of Environmentalist's "Intelligent Design" - ie 'we don't really know WTF we are talking about, but just trust us, this is the RIGHT thing to do!'

    Coupled with a healthy dose of white, western intellectualist guilt, and ample resentment of the first world by the third world, (with a dash of anti-globalization thrown in) and I see Kyoto and the efforts to effectively hobble Western Industrial societies as little more than a post-colonial revenge.

    We hear many, many stories about how the industrial western societies (mainly the US) have ruined and continue to ruin the world. I'd say that an increase in average human lifespan in 1900 of 44 to whatever it is now (82) is a good thing, brought on entirely through the benefits of industrialized, advanced western societies.

    Of course, at the root, environmentalists would be afraid to admit it, but they'd ultimately probably prefer a goodly chunk of these still-living humans to die.
  • Where do you think the CO2 goes to, anyway? Most of the trees, leaves and roots rot - they are turned back into CO2 by fungi and bacteria. Much of the rest burns up: remember the wildfires of the Western US this year? Tropical forests have very little organic matter in the ground. If they were soaking up CO2, they would be sitting on top of huge layers of branches and leaves etc. Stable tropical and temperate forests have nearly no net CO2 absorption.

    The only thing that matters is NET soakin up of CO2. Ther
  • by MSG ( 12810 )
    Common sense, and personal experience don't bear that out. If you're in the middle of a city, on a bright, sunny day, it's going to be *real* fucking hot. Much hotter there than in arid regions in the same general area. Grasslands will be cooler. Forested areas tend to be much cooler, often strait out cold.

    Clearly, plants absorb sunlight, and some of what they absorb will be radiated as heat, but there's a lot more going on in their ecosystem than that. Before we start worrying about heat absorbed and
  • by Lazarian ( 906722 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @03:07PM (#14336601)
    I wonder if that study should have taken into account at how the absorbed heat is utilised by trees. Is the absorption of sunlight by chlorophyl to synthesize sugars for plant metabolism an endothermic reaction? If it is, then that heat is used to build biomass that has the end result of absorbing atmospheric CO2 and giving off oxygen. I'm willing to bet that higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere would be a larger problem than forested areas being somewheres they hadn't been before - the effect of them could be damaging, but in a more localised manner.

    I'm sure there's logging lobbyist groups creaming themselves over this. But the article seems, at least to me, a statement that nature is an increasingly complex and delicate system that we may never fully understand. But even for those that aren't biologists, even the most base layman can understand that you don't need to be a mechanic to know that if you throw a wrench into a running engine, it will come to a grinding halt.

    The last line of the article sums it up the best: "The less we interfere with the system, the more likely we are to have a healthy planet."
  • Trees are storage devices for solar energy. Every inch a tree grows represents a huge amount of sunlight converted to solids in the form of the materials of the tree. When we burn wood, we're releasing that energy - tanstaafl, you know.

    Anyone who has been downhill from a forested hill in Missouri during high summer knows that trees store energy; you can detect a significant temperature gradient from the concrete to the trees - even though concrete has a much higher albedo than the leaves and needles of most
  • Bottom line (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stan Vassilev ( 939229 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @03:27PM (#14336671)
    Black cars and clothes are the reason for global warming. There we go.

    But, honestly, even though it may be true, and if it's a lie, then in every lie there's a bit of truth... it just sounds more like an excuse for ecoligal negligence more than anything.

    "Hey check it out, SOME trees COULD be bad, so feel free to cut 'em all".
  • Pack heat in magical giant heat bags and then release in space with every space mission, when it occurs.

    Sounds good enough for a patent. One day, I'll be a rich guy.
  • by SteeldrivingJon ( 842919 ) on Sunday December 25, 2005 @10:28PM (#14337833) Homepage Journal

    The problem with the theory is that each leaf is part of a massive liquid cooling system. The heat is far more likely to be transported into the core of the tree, along with the products of photosynthesis, than it is to be reradiated.

    If you roll around on a green lawn in summer, the grass is cool. Leaves on a tree are also cool, in my experience, it's just rather difficult to roll around on them because they're so spread out.

    But dead grass? Not cool. No water flow, so no cooling.
  • In economics, the sticker cost is never the true cost. It is the sticker cost AND the oppurtunity cost. Something is glaringly missing from this: Yes, the dark green of trees absorb heat instead of reflecting it. But how much does the dark brown of barren soil absorb? What about green grass, which is the same color as trees and thus should absorb the same amount of sunlight?

    The idea of dark colors absorbing sunlight instead of reflecting is well known, but generally in the context of when arctic ice mel

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