When the order of the factors does affect the product. “A Changing Climate can affect the diversity of an ecosystem” Vs “Changing the diversity of an ecosystem can affect the Climate”. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
(13/08/2014. Comments added at the bottom of the page.)
The impact of land use and cover management is not coming only from the modifications of the physical properties of the soil being managed (Vegetative land cover, albedo, heat absorption and reflection, moisture content…) due to uses aimed for agriculture, forestry, urbanization, industrialization, water resources compartmentalization, … but also, by the materials released into the ground and into the atmosphere by the activities carried out (solid and liquid waste materials, aerosols, GHGs, NOs, SOs…). I am surprised by how much debate there is just to identify and unify conceptual postures, set the state of awareness and explore the implications about how much potential has what is being done overland, to interfere with the climatic energy budget and its distribution.
The oscillations we might find in our ecosystem could well be the result of mechanisms of resilience acting due to natural processes of variability that we can easily identify like solar activity, planetary seasonal tilt and position and sea-land thermal contrast. However, there have been identified already forces adding strength to natural processes coming from anthropogenic activity. Increasing the strength of natural processes could result in an increasing effect over natural oscillations breaking the “pendulum like pattern” of those oscillations. First by being more extreme in their amplitude, reaching lower or higher extremes of variance. Lately, if the perturbation is constant, unidirectional and strong enough, the oscillation might reach an inflexion point of no return. And that would be a new complete matter on its own.
Either way, in today’s debate, if the impact of human development in the climate is happening now or not, is not tackling the main question of foreseeing the real threat of happening sooner or later. And the later we understand how that can happen, the shorter is going to be the time frame reaction to do something about it. Unless… there is no debate about the existence of a real threat from considering human development as a force capable of having an impact in the climate…neither now, nor in the future.
So, at the end, When the order of the factors does affect the product, one question remains:
Is human development a real threat capable of having an impact in the climate at global scale?
(If you don´t feel like adding comments here, I would appreciate any indication to my email about the place where you might feel like sharing this topic so I can participate in the debate)