The Carbon Brief is an unashamedly Global Warming religious website which carries articles like “Unseasonal summer doesn't make climate models wrong”, “How to write a Daily Mail article about climate change”, “Analysing the '900 papers supporting climate scepticism': 9 out of top 10 authors linked to ExxonMobil”, “This week's top six rebuttals to David Rose's 'warming has stopped' claim” and “Climate change causes children to shrink”.
This week it carried this story by someone called Roz Pidcock ...
Global worming: are earthworms contributing to climate change?
It may not be all about us humans - earthworms could be contributing to climate change too, according to a new study. What's more, the research warns worm populations are set to boom in the next few decades. So should we be worrying about worm-induced warming?
Well, probably not in the grand scheme of things - but the humble earthworm does have more to do with greenhouse gas emissions than you might think. Earthworms don't produce much in the way of emissions themselves. But the soil they live in does - and worms play a big part in soil.
In the new study, published in “Nature Climate Change”, researchers in Holland, the United States and Colombia compiled the results of 237 separate experiments from other published studies to explore earthworms' role in global greenhouse gas emissions.
About 20 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions and two thirds of nitrous oxide emissions come from soil. Emissions are produced by a number of natural biological processes involving plant roots and the microorganisms that live in the ground. The authors of the study refer to earthworms as soil ecosystem engineers. This is in part because they affect the physical structure of the soil by burrowing - making it more porous. Earthworms also interact with the microbes that produce the bulk of carbon dioxide emissions.
The presence of worms affects how much carbon dioxide is produced in the soil and how much escapes to the atmosphere. Scientists are concerned that earthworms increase greenhouse gas emissions - and that earthworm numbers are on the rise. Nitrous oxide is another powerful greenhouse gas. Bacteria in the earthworms' gut produce nitrous oxide and emissions from worm-infested soil can be three times as high as from soil without any worms, the paper says.
Earthworms' influence on global climate is likely to get bigger, say the scientists - although in the grand scheme of things it will remain relatively small. According to the paper: "Over the next few decades, earthworm presence is likely to increase in ecosystems worldwide. For example, large parts of North American forest soils are now being invaded by earthworms for the first time since the last glaciation".
The growing use of organic fertilisers increases will provide more food for earthworms, the study says. On top of that, the move away from conventional land cultivation could also boost numbers.
So there you have it. It ain't us, it's worms. I think we all knew that really, deep in our hearts.
On the other hand the same
So, it may not be true but if it is it's the worms wot dun it. We enjoyed this pithy response from a Daily Mail reader to a story about climate: “We have been going in and out of ice ages for tens of thousands of years. We did not see global warming after WW2 when cities were burning every night for years, in fact we saw very cold winters (1947). We simply do not have enough data to conclude that we are responsible for global warming. Were you aware it was considerably warmer during the iron age and Roman times? Did we cause that too? By the way, I am a scientist.”
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