The New Carbon Deep

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These days many are justifiably concerned about pandemic plague.
Seriously, do we call this horrific advent the “Red Death”?
It may not be Ebola, but our viral history says the days will happen. Perhaps you already know and acknowledge that your own DNA confirms this. Viro-evolutionary mechanisms are a disturbing and interesting field of study at least to me.

What We Should Acknowledge

Psychologically the expectations of our shared experience often tend to deceive us. Human group memory is notably short sighted. We all edit our personal memory to be positive, but more significantly to we edit it to become more predictable.  We create the arm chair quarterback effect in our daily lives. We double down in a state of groupthink. False frames and expectation illusions are particularly true of human institutional responses to crisis. The institutions operate to help us cope with the common, the rational, and predictable not the unexpected.  

Surprise! In the last weeks a couple of notable new pieces of both interesting and fundamental scientific discovery occurred. Gee wiz? Who would have thought?

Missed by That Much

Due to a new careful study of “mesophyll diffusion” - the fundamental biology of the process of how trees and plant processes CO2  it appears we have to acknowledge that plants suck up significantly higher levels of carbon dioxide than previously thought.

The current global climate models grossly underestimate this amount of plant absorbed CO2 by 16%. For some reason there’s a time and reality break between the fundamental science and our theoretical science. This happens far more often than science communities want to admit.

Conceptual Reality

The climate model “experts” immediately responded that this significant difference doesn’t make a difference. Well, we can rest assured that new fundamental scientific realities don’t affect their results. These same experts and models have never come close to predicting actual measured physical results anyway.

The bewildering complexity of the Earth’s carbon cycle must be recognized. Here there are other invisible hands at work. Unfortunately this fact is often lost in the oft expressed popular spin positions of global warming and climate change.

One of most significant issues is our lack of fundamental understanding of processes going on in the deep ocean. The Deep serves as the world’s largest carbon sink. Our concept of life in the depths just got a fundamental adjustment.

New Reefs to Navigate

Back in August we got news on the latest discovery of methane vent systems off the US East coast. Similar systems exist all over the deep ocean floor. Deep ocean methane sinks all seem to be associated with large carbonite rock formations. Why?

Geoscientists at Cal Tech studied the mysterious rocks from similar structures off Oregon. In mid-October the scientists announced the discovery that methane munching microbes were creating these immense rock formations. Yes, they entomb themselves and consume a lot of methane producing the rock itself.

Left unsaid and to our future conjecture and study is how much of the rock we live on in some places was manufactured in part this way? You could lose your marbles considering that.

A Case of the Munchies

Hmmm…These surprising “new” microbe colonies that have existed for geologic ages may consume 90% of the methane released from deep ocean methane sinks. As methane is 30% percent more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere, we’re cooler for it. Of course, there is yet another entirely new ecology related to this undiscovered country. Way cool.