Saturday, December 3, 2022

Climate wobble

I am not totally on-board with man-made climate change but I do believe that the climate has internal feedback mechanisms that can cause weather to go over-center like a fat-kid on a teeter-totter and stay pinned there for prolonged periods.

In time, the fat-kid will lose enough weight that the teeter-totter will "behave" until another fat-kid sits on one side of the pivot or the other.

So it seems prudent to hedge ones' bets just like one might have more than one kind of investment in your retirement portfolio.

Drought tolerance

If you make a slightly more than causal review of the research, much of what is called drought tolerance are adaptive responses to wild-fires.

The thinking is that drought stress makes trees more vulnerable to diseases and bugs. Dry, standing dead-wood makes for wild fires. Some trees have adaptations that allow them to dominate after a fire. A short, incomplete list includes:

  • Thick, fire-resistant bark
  • The ability to throw up stems from the roots
  • Latent buds at the base of the tree
  • Wood that rots slowly so the tree doesn't succumb while a burn wound is healing over.
  • Seeds that require heat before germinating

Some species have more than one strategy. Black Locust, for instance has thick bark in adults, throws up stems from roots, the wood rots slowly AND the seeds need exposure to heat to break-down the waterproof coating around them.

Other species (and gensus) are largely lacking these strategies except for a few rare individuals. Maples are an example of this.

Finding the rare individual

Suppose one were to engage in the Quixotic quest to produce a seedling orchard of southern oak species* that are tolerant of low-oxygen soils AND resistant to fire. These two characteristics rarely go together. Low-oxygen soils is code for "swamps" and wild-fires are a rare event in swamps. Oak species that grow in swamps are usually vulnerable to fire.

Southern North America is rich in oak species that are tolerant of flooded and low-oxygen soils: Overcup Oak, Willow Oak, Nuttall Oak, Water Oak, Pin Oak (palustris), Shingle Oak.

There are also some oak species that are notably resistant to fire: Bur Oak, Post Oak, Blackjack Oak, Gambels Oak, Shinnery Oak, Black Oak and in the north, Hills Oak.

One strategy would be to create hybrids of the two groups and then sort for flood tolerance and fire tolerance. 

Sometimes you will stumble across natural hybrids. Locally, there are trees that are intermediate in leaf characteristics between Shingle Oak and Black Oak. That might be an easy place to start.

How would you sort for fire-resistance?

One way is to snip the one-year-old seedling at ground-level which mimics what fire would do and to select the seedlings that are the quickest or most vigorous in their recovery. The individuals that have viable buds between the "seed-leaves" (cotyledon) and the surface or have the ability to throw shoots from roots should rise-and-shine.

Seeds are cheap. Growing them to adulthood before sorting them for stressors is expensive. The smart move is to find a way to sort seedlings at the youngest possible age. My thinking is that some individuals of "swamp species" might have genes lurking in the wood-pile from an earlier dalliance with a fire-tolerant species that might occasionally surface if you are looking for them.

The big win here is that snipping the seedlings near ground level increases the number of latent buds at the base (i.e. coppicing). So even if there is no discrimination between the seedlings, the snipped seedlings will, as individuals, have an enhanced bank of latent buds should they experience fire stress. It is analogous to root-pruning to increase the number of fine, feeder roots except it is to increase the individual's ability to recover from a fire.

*Southern species are likely to offer resilience to the stressors associated with wobble in the "hot" direction.


  1. People scream about how we are in a huge draught..... the worst one in 500 years. How markers buried in European rivers are showing for the first time in centuries. When you ask them what caused the draught that made these markers visible centuries ago they vapor lock. "Climate change" is just a euphemism for weather. The worlds weather has ALWAYS been variable. In Lake Tahoe there is a forest of trees....200 feet BELOW the surface. That means a thousand or more years ago there was another draught....that lowered that lake far enough to allow a forest to grow. What caused THAT draught. And do you think the current draught may be caused by the same thing that caused THAT ONE and not by humans? No...."climate change" is nothing but the biggest grifters scheme in the history of the planet and "global warming" is not man made. The ONLY thing with the power to affect our climate dramatically is the sun and the earth itself. Change the suns output by a fraction of a percent and weather changes drastically. Change the tilt of the earths axis a tiny bit...not even a degree and the climate will change. Humans are a very very minor issue for the planet. And the planet will be JUST FINE long after we have killed ourselves off.

    1. AMEN Dan!
      People who invest in a plan are almost never able to detect the scam down the road - too much vested. They will ignore everything contrary. Think about whole university departments chartered to address... a natural phenomenon?

      Millions in donations, dozens of new salaries, another dean, a new building on campus fer Chris'sakes... no, the scam will never, ever go away. Proof is irrelevant. Theres money involved, and lots of it!

      Then you look at the Dutch politicians, who have realized climate change is a club they can use to force any legislation they want, regardless of how insane - ahhh, there it is, power.

      Money, and power ..
      Its all about money and power. Same as every other time in history. Its easy to spot if you read books.

    2. My favorite chart is global average temperature over the last million years. It shows long periods of frozen solid interspersed with five regular brief spikes of warming. Each warming period looks just like the previous, warm to the same temperature and Short! Then a precipitatous playing to ice age. Guess where we are right now?

    3. on youtube think it is called suspicious observer explains sunspots and magnetic poles and how the sun seems to be the chief driver of weather interesting

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  4. The only man made climate change that needs to be talked about is the weather modification programs being carried out by the US government and the usual suspects for the last several decades.

    1. No fooling... China admits to trying to seed clouds over their desert areas, even claim limited successes. Publish that stuff in scientific journals. You really aren't paranoid if they are out to get you.

  5. The climate is far to complex to either modify or predict.
    Everything about climate change is a lie

  6. Locally, we can and do affect the climate - urban heat islands are very real, but they don't have a global effect.

    As mentioned elsewhere, the energy coming from the sun dwarfs man's energy output.

  7. That sent me down a rathole...LOL Pyrophytes is the actual term and there are some surprising members of that filum... Longleaf pine, Giant sequoia, Coast redwood, Cork oak, Venus fly trap, and White asphodel. The pines actually use fire to melt the resin and open the cones to 'spray' seeds around the tree.

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