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posted by azrael on Saturday August 02 2014, @04:43AM   Printer-friendly
from the burning-stuff-produces-carbon-dioxide dept.

It has long been known that biomass burning -- burning forests to create agricultural lands, burning savannah as a ritual , slash-and-burn agriculture and wildfires -- figures into both climate change and public health.

But until the release of a new study by Stanford University Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, the degree of that contribution had never been comprehensively quantified.

Jacobson's research, detailed in a paper published July 30 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, is based on a three-dimensional computer model simulation of the impacts of biomass burning. His findings indicate that burning biomass is playing a much bigger role in climate change and human health issues than previously thought.

"We calculate that 5 to 10 percent of worldwide air pollution mortalities are due to biomass burning," Jacobson said. "That means that it causes the premature deaths of about 250,000 people each year."

Carbon, of course, is associated with global warming. Most carbon emissions linked to human activity are in the form of carbon dioxide gas (CO2), but other forms of carbon include the methane gas (CH4) and the particles generated by such fires -- the tiny bits of soot, called black carbon, and motes of associated substances known as brown carbon.

 
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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bradley13 on Saturday August 02 2014, @08:40AM

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 02 2014, @08:40AM (#76682) Homepage Journal

    I actually downloaded the paper and had a look. This is, sadly, typical of what passes for climate science. As near as I can tell from a quick look, the entire results of the paper are summed up in this sentence from the abstract:

    Transient 20 year simulations indicate BB may cause...

    "Simulations indicate", "may cause". The paper makes no effort to verify the results of the simulations against anything. All it does is create various simulations, run them, and use the results to attribute some portion of global warming and global mortalities to biomass burning. None of the results seem to provide any sort of verifiable predictions that would prove or disprove the correctness of the models.

    Ok, let's try another angle. The lead author is an engineer, maybe the modeling techniques themselves are innovative contributions to the field of modeling? Let's look at the descriptions of the models:

    In the first (Sim1), all processes were accounted for. In the second (Sim2), all processes except absorption..."

    That's the kind of information we have on the "1D" modeling techniques. For the "3D" models, we know a few of the parameters (example: "14 size bins ranging from 2nm to 50um"), but the models themselves are not described, and their direct results are not verified against reality.

    So...exactly what results does this paper contribute to scientific knowledge?

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  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Hairyfeet on Sunday August 03 2014, @01:00AM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Sunday August 03 2014, @01:00AM (#76819) Journal

    I may get hate for saying this but this is why ALL so called "science" on BOTH sides of the AGW debate needs to be taken with a mountain of salt! On the one side you have the big oil and coal with THEIR billions of dollars at stake and on the other you have Rev Al Gore (who is in bed with Goldman Sachs who have a really nice scam set up for cap and trade [nakedcapitalism.com]) which will make rev Al and GS several billion dollars in government mandated taxes through carbon credits so BOTH sides have every reason to use bogus figures, dodgy science, and outright bullshit to get their agenda passed...after all if YOU were gonna get billions if AGW legislation landed on side A of the fence wouldn't YOU do everything possible to get it to land on A?

    I have to say that at least we did learn something from Climategate and the attempts to silence debate by using politically charged doublespeak like "deniers" and "truthers" and that is that scientists at the end of the day are gonna care more about that grant money and where their next check is gonna come from (just like everybody else on the planet, shock!) than they are gonna care about making bogus science. For years we had this image of science left over from the 1950s, of scientists in lab coats that "only care about finding the truth!" and to hell with the consequences....look I'm not saying all scientists are hacks, I'm saying they are human and like every human whose last name isn't Gates or Buffet they have to worry about pissing off the guys writing the checks as do we all.

      So what we need to be doing is pointing out when they throw up articles like TFA based on "Simulations indicate", "may cause" dodgy science. because if its one thing we should all know by now its that these long term climate models are just not really useful for anything other than "what if" games and that all it takes is tweaking a single itty bitty variable in one of these to get wildly different results. If you wanna believe in one side or the other in the AGW debate? Fine just make sure you are basing your belief on a solid foundation and not junk science.

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