Termites produce more CO2 each year than all living things combined

Termite and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Facts:

Scientists have calculated that termites alone produce ten times as much carbon dioxide as all the fossil fuels burned in the whole world in a year.

Pound for pound, the weight of all the termites in the world is greater than the total weight of humans.

Scientists estimate that, worldwide, termites may release over 150 million tons of methane gas into the atmosphere annually. In our lower atmosphere this methane then reacts to form carbon dioxide and ozone.

It is estimated that for every human on Earth there may be 1000 pounds of termites.

On the average Termites expel gas composed of about 59% nitrogen, 21% hydrogen, 9% carbon dioxide, 7% methane, and 4% oxygen.

It is thought “There are 2,600 different species of termites, and it is estimated that there are at least a million billion individual termites on Earth, that they emit two and four percent of the global carbon dioxide and methane budget, respectively-both mediated directly or indirectly by their microbes.

http://termitedetector.com/detection.cfm

Thanks to E Stephens for this link


18 thoughts on “Termites produce more CO2 each year than all living things combined

  1. What is the minimum CO2ppm for plant growth 270? Below that plants cannot exist. We have about 390ppm right now this is close to Cursed Earth levels where life is just hanging on. We need to double CO2 ppm not lower it.

    • 150 PPM is where plants (and then the animals) have an extinction level event. We were very close (10% away) from not having this conversation. During the last glaciation CO2 got down to 170-180 PPM. Way too close for comfort. A nice buffer before we go into the next glaciation of 600-800 PPM would be just fine by me.

      270 PPM is the pre-industrial “stable” level that was arbitrarily chosen by the pro-AGW believers. They chose to ignore that our 20 million year low in CO2 and the 30 million year low in CO2 in the Permian bookend 250 million years with CO2 aroung 1000+ PPM.

  2. That is an amazing fact. I wonder if other scientists would try to refute it?
    Of course the “total weight of humans “…whatever that is….is not the same thing as the fossil fuels used by the human race.
    This posting needs more precision.

  3. If one clicks the link,these are the bullet points. They require more discussion.

    Termite and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Facts:

    • Termites produce more Carbon Dioxide (CO2) each year than all living things combined.

    • Scientists have calculated that termites alone produce ten times as much carbon dioxide as all the fossil fuels burned in the whole world in a year.

    • Pound for pound, the weight of all the termites in the world is greater than the total weight of humans.

    • Scientists estimate that, worldwide, termites may release over 150 million tons of methane gas into the atmosphere annually. In our lower atmosphere this methane then reacts to form carbon dioxide and ozone.

    • It is estimated that for every human on Earth there may be 1000 pounds of termites.

    • On the average Termites expel gas composed of about 59% nitrogen, 21% hydrogen, 9% carbon dioxide, 7% methane, and 4% oxygen.

    • It is thought “There are 2,600 different species of termites, and it is estimated that there are at least a million billion individual termites on Earth, that they emit two and four percent of the global carbon dioxide and methane budget, respectively-both mediated directly or indirectly by their microbes.

    • Termites eat cellulose, but they can not digest it without the help of microorganisms in their gut. Single-celled protozoan are the primary organisms that break the bonds that turn cellulose into units of glucose, and from there, the termite can break the glucose bonds, release the energy, and give off carbon dioxide and water.

    • The Science magazine reports that termites annually generate more than twice as much carbon dioxide as mankind does burning fossil fuels. One termite species annually emits 600,000 metric tons of formic acid into the atmosphere, an amount equal to the combined contributions of automobiles, refuse combustion and vegetation.

    • The damage caused by wood-destroying insects has an important economic effect. Nationwide, the cost of control and repair of damage nears $5 billion per year; the outlay in California and Hawaii exceeds $1 billion per year (Brier et al. 1988, Su and Scheffrahn 1990). In California, subterranean and drywood termites are responsible for >95% of all costs resulting from wood-destroying insects (Brier 1987, Rust et al. 1988). Damage by drywood termites is more common in southern California (Wilcox 1979).

  4. …and here’s another unappreciated source of Co2 plus other gases. We’ve recently seen figures for Bardarbunga volcano of approx. 44,000 tons a day, what of all the others, and they have no idea of the sub-marine ones?
    He has other interesting observations too, e.g. until we know what the standard natural variability of the Earth’s climate is, over the very long term, how can we begin to state that man has had an impact.
    http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/long-invisible-research-shows-volcanic-co2-levels-are-staggering.html

  5. But … the UN can’t tax their polluting little hind ends, and are immune to CAGW propaganda, so this is a moot point.

  6. This links to a Termite control company site. There is no scientific source given.
    This is a bit like the IPCC using eco tourism travel brochures as evidence in its reports.
    IAN should make it clear that there is no sci facts to back this up given.

  7. Other facts about CO2 to discuss with your green socialist or green facist relatives this Christmas are:

    All organisms that breathe including humans expel CO2. All organisms upon death expel CO2; and all flora upon death expels CO2. Every time a layer of dirt is disturbed it releases locked up CO2.

    Of course, if you really want to embarrass them, always back your argument with at least one source, and then watch them become extremely emotional and lose control in front of you, whilst at the same time you remain calm and passive. I love it, it’s great sport, especially when they then reach for their mobile phone, and you remind them about them being personally responsible for increased CO2 levels for charging the phone.

  8. And this shows how absurd it is to state that CO2 controls global climate. It is the same as to say that number of insects literally controls Ice Age cycles…

  9. ………and ,of course, if we rely on wind turbines for electricity in this “non-CO2 future”, what happens when there is NO WIND???

    People will INEVITABLY use old-fashioned OIL LAMPS and CANDLES for light………..BUT HEY !!! HANG ON THERE !! BOTH OIL LAMPS AND CANDLES PRODUCE THAT DREADED, EVIL CO2 WHEN THEY BURN……..SO OIL LAMPS AND CANDLES WILL HAVE TO BE BANNED AS WELL, IN THIS BRAVE NEW WORLD !!!!!

    WHAT THEN??? WHERE WILL LIGHT COME FROM BETWEEN DUSK AND DAWN EACH DAY ??
    CAN GREENIES PLEASE SHED LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT ??

  10. I have come to believe the government’s of U.S. and Europe already aware that there is no need for concern about CO2. It is pushed to create enough fear amount the public that the public have to accept doing with less and it is their fault.

    As other poorer countries under cut China in cheap goods, Americans and Europeansee will continue to drop in life-style. The CON is tone get everyone to believe their sinkingame in quality of life is saving the earth and not from incompetence, corruption and greed of their governments and “SUPER RICH”.

  11. Just remember that all facts that we know are from our experience, as a species, interacting with the remainder of the world. What most science – especially “climate science” – is based on is observation of your surroundings and then “best guess” about the remainder. Climate information from the past, before we had empirical evidence, is based on “proxies,” calibrated against what we know through observation.

    The first assumption of a proxy is that you, in fact, are selecting it to represent what it actually is capable of giving you “approximate” information for. this is sort of like studying the length of people’s little fingers and determining from this the length of their toes. You might actually be able to do that, in a general manner, but exactly how accurate is the information?

    The problem with climate science is that this approximate information is treated as if it is empirical – that it gives valid information, thus the ice cores yields a temperature record of the world, a carbon dioxide record of the world, a humidity record of the world, and God alone knows what other information is gathered and blessed as accurate “by proxy.” I hit the tipping point regarding proxies, in honesty, when I read that there was a proxy being studied in the sediment layers of the ocean that gives them the temperature of the water at 700 meters below the surface. It is sort of very similar to finding “a piece of a hip bone, a claw, and a part of vertebrae” and drawing me a picture of the animal that it came from, complete with colored hide.

    There is actually no way to “know” how much carbon dioxide is given off by “all the termites in the world.” There is also no way of knowing how many termites there really are, either. you can make estimates, calculate values from samples, and project those values against your estimates, but you are getting a “proxy guess” since we don’t even know how many species of termites there are, nor whether or not the ones we do know are representative, for a fact, of the remainder.

    I have said, at other times, what Man knows can be represented by a pail of water, and what Man THINKS he knows by the water in the Great Lakes, and what Man doesn’t know by the water in the Pacific Ocean. Yet we pass judgment on the world and make decisions that will change human history based more on what we THINK we know than what we do. And that is why I get frightened when people start tampering with genetics and acting like they KNOW what they are doing.

  12. I’m a little skeptical of any article which quotes scientists without describing who the scientists are, who they are affiliated with, etc. For all I know these so-called scientists could be geologists or marine biologists who, obviously, know very little if anything about termites and their effect on CO2 emissions.

  13. Ok think on this: The great and the good have already stitched up CO2 as the (trace) gas to be fixed and taxed. There is already talk, regarding geo engineering fixes to cool the World climate. The problem with fixing the warmth from a Sun powered Solar Maximum is the amount of material to be injected into the stratosphere, to fix a non existent problem. Fixing non existing problems causes the law of unintended consequences to come into play.
    One of the causes of an ICE age could be Man himself playing God with his chemistry set, trying to fix a non existent problem, caused by a Green terrorist using tree rings as an Oracle and completely barking up the wrong Government funded Hockey Stick.

  14. Plants would really really appreciate atmospheric CO2 between 1500 – 2000 ppm.

    We are currently in a CO2 starvation era. The higher levels in CO2 (aside from the figure fudging) are due to the out-gassing from warming oceans during this interglacial.

    The Royal Society: Carbon dioxide starvation, the development of C4 ecosystems, and mammalian evolution

    Carbon starvation in glacial trees recovered from the La Brea tar pits, southern California

    Impact of lower atmospheric carbon dioxide on tropical mountain ecosystems “Carbon limitation due to lower ambient CO2 partial pressures had a significant impact on the distribution of forest on the tropical mountains, in addition to climate. Hence, tree line elevation should not be used to infer palaeotemperatures.”

    In other words C3 plants are limited in elevation due to the partial pressure of CO2 especially during the depths of glaciation.

    As the earth descends into a Milankovitch cycle cooling for thousands of years, The cooling oceans will suck up all the atmospheric CO2 and the earth will again be at the critical life killing CO2 starvation level.

    CAGW will not prevent the earth from cooling. If you want to quote scientists, all they say is mankind’s CO2 may prevent the descent into full glaciation. (The Ruddiman’s Hypothesis)

    Can we predict the duration of an interglacial?
    P. C. Tzedakis, E.W. Wolff, L. C. Skinner, V. Brovkin, D. A. Hodell, J. F. McManus, and D. Raynaud

    The definitive study:

    A Pliocene-Pleistocene stack of 57 globally distributed benthic D18O records
    Lisiecki & Raymo
    ABSTRACT
    We present a 5.3-Myr stack (the ‘‘LR04’’ stack) of benthic d18O records from 57 globally distributed sites aligned by an automated graphic correlation algorithm. This is the first benthic d18O stack composed of more than three records to extend beyond 850 ka,…

    RESULTS
    Recent research has focused on MIS 11 as a possible analog for the present interglacial [e.g., Loutre and Berger, 2003; EPICA Community Members, 2004] because both occur during times of low eccentricity. The LR04 age model establishes that MIS 11 spans two precession cycles, with d18O values below 3.6% for 20 kyr, from 398 – 418 ka. In comparison, stages 9 and 5 remained below 3.6% for 13 and 12 kyr, respectively, and the Holocene interglacial has lasted 11 kyr so far. In the LR04 age model, the average LSR of 29 sites is the same from 398– 418 ka as from 250–650 ka; consequently, stage 11 is unlikely to be artificially stretched. However, the 21 June insolation minimum at 65°N during MIS 11 is only 489 W/m2, much less pronounced than the present minimum of 474 W/m2. In addition, current insolation values are not predicted to return to the high values of late MIS 11 for another 65 kyr. We propose that this effectively precludes a ‘‘double precession cycle’’ interglacial [e.g., Raymo, 1997] in the Holocene without human influence.

    [For those who think the Holocene will go long as MIS11 did]
    The stack’s phase relative to precession in this interval demonstrates that northern hemisphere insolation was the major driver of benthic d18O change by at least 4.1 Ma, perhaps through northern deep-water formation or the growth of small northern glaciers. Precession response is not significantly coherent prior to 4.1 Ma, presumably due to weaker d18O response, but our phase estimates are still indicative of northern hemisphere forcing……
    http://large.stanford.edu/publications/coal/references/docs/Lisiecki_Raymo_2005_Pal.pdf

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