Category Archives: reports

May 16th, 1972- “Carbon and the Biosphere” symposium

Forty three years ago a hundred scientists gathered for a three day symposium on the “carbon budget” of the planet, and how it was changing.
We have known about this problem for a looooooong time.

AEC Symposium Series 

Technical Information Center, Office of Information Services' 
Proceedings of the 24th Brookhaven Symposium in Biology, Upton, New York 
May 16-18, 1972 

Sponsored by Brookhaven National Laboratory 

George M. Woodwell 
Erene V. Pecan 
August 1973 
Published by 
Technical Information Center, Office of Information Services 

Available as CONF-720510 for $10.60 from 

National Technical Information Service 
U. S. Department of Commerce 
Springfield, Virginia 22151 

International Standard Book Number 0-87079-006-4 
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 73-600092 
AEC Distribution Category UC-48 

The change that man is making in the world carbon budget is among the most abrupt and fundamental changes that the biosphere has experienced in all of world history. The change is in the stuff of life itself and is by now common knowledge. The starkly simple, upward-trending graphs of the C0 2 content of air  at Mauna Loa have become a part of the educated man's background in science. But the implications of the change are far less clear than the fact of change. Why has the change not been more?  Or less? Where does the carbon go? What does the future hold? 

The topic is of unquestioned importance and has been addressed recently by various learned groups (SCEP,* 1970; SMIC,t 1971; and at the Nobel Symposium 20, i 1971). These studies have emphasized that prediction is dependent not only on 
collaboration among scientists of diverse disciplines but on new knowledge: the biosphere is poorly known. 

More than a hundred scientists gathered at Brookhaven National Laboratory from May 16 to 18, 1972, under the auspices of the 24th Brookhaven Symposium in Biology to make a new appraisal of the world carbon budget. The appraisal was incomplete. Despite an explicit attempt to include it, there was no treatment of one of the largest and most active pools of carbon: humus and peat. Nonetheless, this publication includes specific attempts at presenting the most modern estimates of various dimensions of the biota, including both biomass and productivity. Many of these estimates are crude, a fact that emphasizes only that the science of the biosphere is still primitive, despite its obvious importance.

Also on this day

2011 Ukipper MEP tells Taiwanese parliament CC is doubted… Comedy gold!!


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Jan 12, 2000: National Academies of Science and Engineering release Another Report

On January 12th, 2000 the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science and of Engineering releases a report with new evidence that “Helps Reconcile Global Warming Discrepancies; Confirms That Earth’s Surface Temperature Is Rising.” For all the good that will do.

Context:Throughout the 90s satellite data that appeared to show that “Global Warming Isn’t Happening” was rolled out with depressing frequency. After this report, and others (see a skeptical science bust-a-myth page here), that particular meme was, if not totally retired, then at least relegated to the darker corners of the interwebz.

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

Other things that happened on this day:

1983 – Carroll Wilson, author of “Inadvertent Climate Modification: Report of the Study of Man’s Impact on Climate.” died

2007  – Lawrence Solomon writes an article for his “Deniers” column that implies that Nigel Weiss, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics thinks the “world is about to enter a cooling period.”  It takes Weiss three months to get an apology and correction.  See Hoggan, 2009, page 158-161