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Tea bags for global warming

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Created by decrepit A week ago, 10 Jun 2019
decrepit
WA, 9172 posts
10 Jun 2019 4:04PM
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From new scientist.
The full article is here, but if you don't use an add blocker you may regret clicking on it.
www.newscientist.com/article/mg24232330-400-how-teabags-became-a-secret-weapon-in-the-fight-against-climate-change/


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It may seem bizarre, but burying teabags is all the rage among ecologists. "It's like a treasure hunt, trying to find them after you've left them somewhere for a year, sometimes two years," says Isla Myers-Smith at the University of Edinburgh, UK, who supervises Thomas's research. "I like a good treasure hunt," she says.

Of course, there is more to it than fun. Teabags, it turns out, provide an ingenious window onto a largely hidden world: soil. When soil litter - dead leaves, twigs and other organic material - decomposes, it emits carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. Being able to measure the rate at which this happens is important - and nowhere more so than in the Arctic, where the tundra holds vast quantities of carbon and is emitting it into the air at an accelerating rate as the land heats up. Sizing up this problem should allow us to better predict the ramifications of a warmer world, and chart a course to avert disastrous climate change.

So how did teabags become a secret weapon in understanding the biggest problem the world faces? It started in 2010, when Joost Keuskamp and Judith Sarneel at Utrecht University in the Netherlands had a eureka moment. Both study soil decomposition, and their research entails painstakingly sewing or gluing together the seams of hundreds of tiny bags, filling them with dead plant material, then weighing and burying them in the ground. The ecologists later dig up the bags and reweigh them to track the progress of decay. During a well-earned tea break, the pair were bemoaning the tedium of this time-consuming job. If only there were some way to avoid it, they mused, while staring into the depths of their teacups.

Teabags! It was a genius idea. Not only would using them bypass all the sewing and gluing, but if ecologists everywhere buried the same type and brand of teabag instead of homemade litterbags, it would also give them a standard piece of kit with which to do their studies.

Soil decomposition occurs when microorganisms, including fungi and bacteria, digest dead plant material, transforming it into nutrients and releasing carbon dioxide. The rate of decay depends on environmental conditions such as humidity, temperature, soil acidity and nutrient content, together with the chemical properties of the litter and the types of microorganisms present. It is a two-stage process. Typically, decay is fast at first, as microbes consume all the easily degraded organic material. In the next phase, the decomposition rate is slower because the material left behind is more resistant and takes longer to break down.

Foghorn
WA, 139 posts
10 Jun 2019 5:58PM
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So what now? A carbon tax on composting.

Mr Milk
NSW, 1531 posts
10 Jun 2019 11:38PM
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The article was about 2 things. A way to estimate the rate of decomposition of organic matter in the tundra. And the potential climate impact of tundra change. If the organic matter is not accumulating at the same rate as it is decomposing, then atmospheric CO2 increases. Got nothing to do with tax.
PS What is the difference between tax and duty? Duty is a four letter word

eppo
WA, 7041 posts
11 Jun 2019 10:15PM
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What's the carbon footprint on a teabag? Don't answer that because I don't give two sh1ts about either.

petermac33
WA, 5027 posts
11 Jun 2019 10:53PM
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I use dried herbs for my tea and use a strainer - healthy choice.

Perhaps that's why they publish such a BS article.

decrepit
WA, 9172 posts
12 Jun 2019 8:25AM
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petermac33 said..
Perhaps that's why they publish such a BS article.


Pete if you think it's BS it must be true science.

evlPanda
NSW, 8707 posts
12 Jun 2019 10:49AM
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decrepit said..



petermac33 said..
Perhaps that's why they publish such a BS article.



Pete if you think it's BS it must be true science.



Pete is Dunning-Kruger in full effect.

Sadly, it's very common. If it matches someone's own opinion then it is correct, else false. Their opinion is the absolute truth. Other people's opinions, facts, and observations are incorrect, by default, unless they already agree with their own.

Some people, and small children, cannot even entertain the idea that they are wrong. It just hurts too much to think about.

Most of us grow out of it and live by the motto of something not unlike "I have no ****ing idea".

PaulWA
WA, 24 posts
Friday , 14 Jun 2019 8:33AM
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I have just been waiting for how kitesurfing is involved in this topic....(back in my box I go)



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Forums > General Discussion   Shooting the breeze...


"Tea bags for global warming" started by decrepit