A number of geologists are searching for markers that might pinpoint to onset of the Anthropocene, as unlike others who have linked climate change on Earth to orbital forcing due to variation related to our planet's orbit around the sun, these folks believe that we have entered an age in which human activities are now "the most powerful force on the planet".
The authors ultimately dismiss all but two of the examples because the events were too local (rice farming in Asia) and happened over too long a time span (the extinction of large mammals), which are two main obstacles to a golden spike. The two dates that meet their standard are 1610 and 1964.
They'll doubtless get back to us when they've nailed it down.
Meanwhile, back here in the Pacific Northwest, a USFS study draws the amazing conclusion that post-fire logging removes fuels that might otherwise feed subsequent wildfires.
WENATCHEE, Wash. -
Harvesting fire-killed trees is an effective way to reduce woody fuels for up to four decades following wildfire in dry coniferous forests, a U.S. Forest Service study has found.
Who'd ever have guessed it? These findings aren't going to make the preservationists - who for decades have argued that leaving the dead trees in the forests is the most ecologically sound approach to forest management - especially smiley.
In what's certain to be a shock to their systems, preservationists have just been told that despite their insistence to the contrary, leaving the dead trees in the woods actually increases the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires. Worse yet, since laws require post-harvest replanting, and since you, growing trees sequester more carbon than dead trees, logging is actually better for the environment than leaving the dead trees in place.
Preservationists have their work cut out for them; they're going to have to come up with better reasons to oppose tree harvesting.