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Breakthrough in climate research

by Ivan Seeking
Tags: breakthrough, climate, research
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Ivan Seeking
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Jan21-05, 12:53 AM
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...Recent reports of laboratory experiments have stated that the micro-organisms responsible for soil carbon decomposition gradually acclimatise to an increase in heat and adjust the rate at which carbon is released into the atmosphere, such that it is effectively released at a steady rate. However, this does not agree with long-established rules of physical chemistry that predict that as the climate warms these reactions should speed up, resulting in an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide released.

The team of researchers at Bristol University and the Natural Environment Research Council's QUEST programme, the Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry in Germany, and the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, has now managed to solve the puzzle, bringing the apparent contradictions from laboratory experiments in line with theoretical predictions [continued]
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releas...-bic011905.php
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Jan21-05, 01:36 AM
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From the link, "A long standing puzzle ...." --- bit of a puzzle what puzzle is being discussed. Reading further, "Recent reports of laboratory experiments have stated that the micro-organisms responsible for soil carbon decomposition gradually acclimatise to an increase in heat and adjust the rate at which carbon is released into the atmosphere, such that it is effectively released at a steady rate," is apparently the puzzle when contrasted to standard chemical reaction rate theory.

"The new results predict that since the micro-organisms are not keeping the release of carbon dioxide from the soil at a steady state, as previously thought, ...." Not results, an observation that soil carbon is a mixture of many things, not predict, but assert, and the precis makes no reference to any experimental work showing a non-steady state release --- this sentence makes no sense.

Humboldt observed reductions in metabolic rates as T increased in the early 19th century, no big news on that score --- 'tain't a problem in simple chemical kinetics, 'tis a problem in reduction of enzymatic activities as T increases, somewhat more for the biochemmers to address than simply applying Arrhenius.

This reads like an executive summary of a funding proposal --- some folks want $2-3M for the next couple years to instrument the compost heaps in their back yards, and at the end of that time will conclude that biological processes do not proceed at rates that can be described by the Arrhenius rate law.


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