And you thought humans were special because they can control the climate. Move over Big-Coal, make way for the squirrels and beavers. They’ve been stirring up the soil releasing CO2, or damning up streams and producing methane.
Daily Mail — Richard Gray
Forget humans, RODENTS are the climate villains: Squirrels and beavers are contributing to global warming far more than previously thought
- Arctic ground squirrels churn up and warm soil in the Tundra, allowing carbon dioxide gas trapped in the ice to escape into the atmosphere
- Methane released from ponds created by beavers estimated to contribute 200 times more greenhouse gas to atmosphere than they did 100 years ago
- Climate scientists will have to tweak their models to include role of rodents
- Scientists insist that rodents role in global warming does not let humans off the hook but shows animals play more of a role than previously thought
Wake up climate simulators, it’s time to add rodent-forcings to the models. Along with anthropogenic forcing (and beaver-effects), that’s three vertebrate families down, and only 181 to go.
Squirrels have been around in some form for 40 million years, but in the last 100 they’ve become dangerous climate movers. Freaky timing that.
Amazing how the world survived with squirrels for so long, and without any windmills.
He [Nigel Golden, an ecologist at the University of Wisconsin] said the temperature of the ground around their burrows was higher than in the surrounding area.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: ‘They are soil engineers. They break down the soil when they are digging their burrows, they mix the top layer with the bottom layer, they are bringing oxygen to the soil and they are fertilizing the soil with their urine and their faeces.
‘We saw an increase in soil temperature in the soils where the arctic ground squirrels were occupying.
‘This is a major component. As that permafrost begins to warm, now microbes can have access to these previously frozen carbons that were in the soil.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/
h/t Eric Worrall :- )