Comment 10k: the winner!

A rush of controversial comments has pushed the burn rate up, and we're over the 10k barrier. You can all stop now :-).

And I'm pleased to say that I have a worthy winner, with no need for me to fudge it (not that I would have done so, oh no indeed): Hank Roberts, with "Your willingness to identify yourself publicly is likely to depend on personal experience..." from von S getting tired of the ranters?. Eli misses by 1 - soooooo close, better luck for 20k.

Now all we have to do is decide on the prize. Which should, I think, either be a guest post or a post by me on a subject of Hank's choice.

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oshit .... I already say everything I want to say, by leaving my cuckoo's eggs in other bloggers' nests to hatch (grin).

If I blog it'll be for other old folks who own little parcels of wildland, have worked on restoration, and need as I will to hand it off to others who'll do the same. (Thoreau, the measure of one's wealth is what he can afford to leave alone.) But that's for later, I hope.

William, do you have any contacts among the biologists working on what's happening with sea ice ecosystems? I'd love to see more on that. Lots of remote sensing work.

I recall Dr. Bitz over at RC a few years ago saying that her work on sea ice cover was very interesting to the ecologists, but I never saw any more about that. Primary productivity, the base of the food chain,,

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=biological+productivity+sea+i…

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmarsys.2009.12.012

http://solas-int.org/news/newsletter/files/issue10.pdf#page=6.

Hey, fate made a great choice. Take the guest post, Hank!

Oh, didn't read closely enough ...

Now all we have to do is decide on the prize. Which should, I think, either be a guest post or a post by me on a subject of Hank's choice.

I think the prize should be to let Hank choose between the two ...

If I stop now how can I post a comment stating that I've stopped?

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 03 Feb 2010 #permalink

I think Hank should ask WMC to write a post on why he thinks SMcI is doing a damned fine job of auditing and then Hank respond in true Oxford/Cambridge Union debate style putting the reverse case. Or if Hank prefers, t'other way round.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. ;-)

So, I asked if William has contacts who might do a guest piece on biological processes -- primary productivity starting with algae growing under sea ice for example, one of the photosynthetic bases of the food chain, that works with rates of change of sunlight and fresh meltwater availability and breeding times of organisms that eat the algae, and larger organisms that come to eat those. Dr. Bitz mentioned that ecologists were interested in her sea ice melt studies, back in 2006? at RC; Dr. Le Quere has written about modeling the biological feedbacks.

My guess, this is the next interesting area for the IPCC to take on, really confronting how life on earth changes as biological and ecological processes. We've just about devastated the shallow oceans and are going aggressively to work destroying the deeps.

Say goodbye:
http://www.popfi.com/2010/01/26/the-worlds-ugliest-endangered-fish/

The knowledge and effort is a bit more advanced in managing topsoil than in managing the oceans.

I wonder if anyone's looked for analogies; we've eliminated the top predators both on land and at sea, and done an utterly inept job of replacing them, so we've degraded rather than sustained the ecology.

See also my cranky and irate comments about sustainable grazing/holistic resource management recently at RC; references at
http://www.unccd.int/search/search_results.php?query=sustainable+land+m…

I can't do a guest post, I don't know enough about _anything_.

"I can't do a guest post, I don't know enough about _anything_."

Doesn't stop 90% of the blogosphere. Anyway, you know enough about a lot to (a) beat that same percentage in terms of useful content and (b) start an interesting discussion, at the very least.

Maybe I'll just keep this going 'til William shuts it down.
I promise not to do any nasty HTML tricks in this thread.

My basic question is, how much living mass does the planet support now; did we lose a lot since industrialization started (forests, topsoil, fisheries, how much did all those whales and passenger pigeons weigh, and how much did they eat, and convert?) And if we doubled the mass of the biosphere, how much CO2 would we pull out of the atmosphere?

This isn't simple. Maybe I can chat up Jim Bouldin when he has time on this, that'd be a welcome thread to see.

Biological stocks grow about 3 percent a year, I think-- that was the basis for the 'Chicago School' argument that it would be good economics to clearcut the whales, scrap the whaling fleet, and put all the money into sophisticated financial instruments that increase in value far faster than natural resources. We know how that worked out.

Longterm, biology is what we have. We could do a far better job managing it sustainably. But the cheaters always show up; maybe the Fermi Paradox is due to the inevitable development of economics?

http://www.youtube.com/user/tptweb

Hank, you're looking at a much bigger picture than I'd ever even thought of. Coming up with an understanding of the entirety of the ecosystem seems infinitely difficult.

By carrot eater (not verified) on 04 Feb 2010 #permalink

Hank can have a free post at my place too if he wants. Hank has been such a nice guy and an important contributor, come to think about it how about declaring February 28th Hank Roberts day, where he gets a free post on all the good climate blogs.

The people have spoken. We want more Hank.

By carrot eater (not verified) on 06 Feb 2010 #permalink

OT and FAO Hank. Have you seen Werner Herzog's "Encounters At The End Of The World"? If not I do recommend it. I've no idea what the professionals think of it (tbh I'm not sure I want to know), but to this layman it's superb. The DVD extras are worth seeing too.

Hopefully our esteemed host allows this through as I can only contact you via someone's blog comments.

Speaking of restoring biomass, this could explain a lot about why CO2 is building up, if it's correct. Remember all but the "right" whale sank after death, carrying biomass to the deep ocean.

And -- there may have been one helluva lot more whales than the whalers want you to think about, consuming all that krill and plankton and giant squids, depending on species.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20527461.200-lost-leviathans-hunt…

Similar calculation can be done for example asking what if the buffalo returned and the Great Plains of the US were restored to tallgrass prairie, building topsoil back (I recall mention of 15' losses since plowing started, and somewhere long ago I saw a picture of a little memorial pioneer building --standing on a column of original soil, high above the surrounding agricultural area.

Look at those whale numbers and the stories about how they're currently being politicized.

F'ing incredible. What would intelligent life do with this?