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Scientists discover an extra 5 million square kilometers of forest , just like that.

Scientists apparently can’t predict where forests are right now, but weather patterns one hundred years from now, no problem. It’s nearly 60 years since the first satellite was launched, and we are still figuring out basic stuff down here on the surface — like which bits are forest.

People are willing to set up a two trillion dollar global market to trade carbon, but their carbon models are so primitive that giant “oops” moments are still happening on a regular basis. In 2014 Indian accountants discovered they’d missed nearly half the carbon given off from their lakes and rivers. In 2015, an accounting error reduced China’s emissions by twice Australia’s output. Then later that year Yale guys found 2.6 trillion trees. Blame global warming. Forests are appearing everywhere. Trees are even growing on farms capturing 0.75 gigaton of carbon that no one noticed til last year.

Billions of dollars of carbon credits are winking in and out of existence with every scientific study. Bank that botany! A single paper could change national GDP.

How did they find 5 million square kilometers of trees? They stopped assuming that satellite photos would be enough and they did a field survey instead. They went there. (Let’s call this crazy idea “observation” — it might catch on.)


Found: ‘lost’ forests covering an area two-thirds the size of Australia

A new global analysis of the distribution of forests and woodlands has “found” 467 million hectares of previously unreported forest – an area equivalent to 60% of the size of Australia.

The discovery increases the known amount of global forest cover by around 9%, and will significantly boost estimates of how much carbon is stored in plants worldwide.

The new forests were found by surveying “drylands” – so called because they receive much less water in precipitation than they lose through evaporation and plant transpiration. As we and our colleagues report today in the journal Science, these drylands contain 45% more forest than has been found in previous surveys.

…previous surveys were based on older, low-resolution satellite images that did not include ground validation.

There is no hint of irony here:

 Climate models suggest that dryland biomes could expand by 11-23% by the end of the this century, meaning they could cover more than half of Earth’s land surface.

h/t David B, GWPF

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