Click below link to go back 25 years to the to the origon of my concept
A two degrees temperature rise in the biosphere is as monumental
as being a little bit pregnant.
And this child will live for a thousand years
The problem is: Keep it, or get rid of it ?
A plan to totally end global warming and climate change.
(It's sad but no Plan B by anybody, anywhere in the world, is known to exist )
COSTS OF GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE are now ---
Let's have a dose of common sense. The heating is caused by the excess carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. We have increased it from 275 ppm to 400 ppm. So effectively we've already double glazed half the planet. So the argument for emissions reduction is just an argument on whether we should slow down the rate we double glaze the other half. We're being taken for fools. But not any longer! It's all about too much carbon dioxide changing the heat optics of the atmosphere.
FIRST: Start taking it out
SECOND: Stop putting it in
THIRD: Start knowing your enemy
FIRST: START TAKING IT OUT
The most important and urgent thing we have to do is remove the accumulated excess carbon dioxide from the air. And that's actually easy. We pay our farmers $10 a tonne for increasing the fertility of their soils which is called “soil carbon sequestration”. Getting levels back to pre industrial levels would cost the world about $10 trillion over 10 years. That's $1 trillion per year, and currently damage costs are $1.2 trillion per year and rising rapidely.
I am an experienced meteorologist and have a comprehensive understanding of physics and atmospheric optics. Additionally I have been deeply involved in the agricultural industry, especially related to the rapid enhancement in the fertility of agricultural soils.
By serendipitously combining these two very different disciplines and doing the relevant arithmetic it suddenly became apparent to me that by slightly modifying our agricultural practices we had a “weapon”. It could be a very powerful weapon to combat the looming threat of massive destabilization of the Earth's weather systems. A massive destabilization caused by, what would appear to be only minor increases in the temperature of the Earth's biosphere.
I wrote a paper on my theories which I presented at a forum at the Esalen Center in California on the Future of Sustainable Agricultural in the United States for the Next Twenty-five Years. I then gave numerous lectures throughout the US and Australia on the concepts. And so my concept of “soil carbon sequestration” was borne. Additionally I argued for a rapid switch to, nuclear energy for power and biofuels for transport. The total arguments have since been dubbed the “Yeomans Solution” to climate change. Sadly there is absolutely no other viable solution proposed by anybody, anywhere.
. Up till now, much of carbon dioxide over load in the atmosphere has been soaking into the oceans to become carbonic acid, which basically is dilute soda water. The acidity is now high enough to seriously interfere with the formation of the bony skin structure of the oceans crustacean life forms; prawns crabs oysters lobsters mussels etc. It also is seriously limiting the formation of reef corrals. The oceans can't take any more. As at December 2013, half the Australian Great Barrier Reef corral life is gone. In two decades there will be no living corral in the Great Barrier Reef.
SECOND: STOP PUTTING IT IN
We stop putting carbon dioxide in by ceasing to use fossil carbon for energy. We switch to biofuels for transport, and nuclear, (with a slight help from renewablys) for power. But that naturally puts the geocarbon people out of business and they understand what could happen to them. So they call in their advertising / public relations people to make sure it doesn't happen.
Everybody knows that nuclear energy power plants are incredibly dangerous.
Every knows that nuclear waste is very deadly and the stays deadly for thousands
Everybody knows that as a result here is a huge an expensive problem
Everybody knows that plutonium never before existed in nature before man made it.
Everybody knows that plutonium is the most deadly material on the planet.
Everybody knows that any exposure at all to nuclear radiation is likely to
Everybody knows that nuclear energy is unsustainable because we'll
Everybody knows that the reactor in a nuclear power station can go critical and become a nuclear bomb.
Everybody knows that the problems of the hydrogen fusion reactor are almost solved and such a reactor will run on water for ever, and will produces no radioactive waste
Everybody knows that ethanol and biofuels can destroy your car's engine.
Everybody know that growing biofuels will sabotarge world food production
Everybody knows that the Amazon rain forests are saving the world
Everybody knows that you must save the tropical rain forests and not
Because you are reading this, then you're probably one of the few, who are not one of the many gullible and unthinking everybodys that believe these "accepted truths".
I believe ending global warming has to start somewhere of significance, and that's Australia. Second only to China, Australia has the largest area of agricultural land of any nation on Earth. I believe the role model for ending global warming should be created here. Its size is one reason, the other is our federal structure can be manipulated if enough serious and intelligent people have the will and push hard enough. And when the crunch comes, that's what Australians are good at. And indeed, the crunch has come.
THIRD: START KNOWING YOUR ENEMY
To restore the optical characteristics of the Earth's atmosphere to prevent global warming and to remove the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere requires the geocarbon fuel industries and the agrochemical industries to go out of business. That has to happen. Not over night but at least within the next 20 years while other energy systems come on line. Soil carbon sequestration gives us that 20 years.
But the geocarbon fuel and the agrochemical organizations don't intend for that to happen. And, like the cigarette companies, to hell with the consequences.
The geocarbon fuel and the agrochemical organization are the enemy. Losing the war against them will cost more lives and more money than all the wars in history combined. We will have destabilized world weather and ocean current systems for at least several centuries.
Their strategy is to manage and manipulating information and to create a public opinion that is hopelessly confused and pathetically indecisive. Telling lies outright won't work. A regularly used technique is to decide an appropriate lie that suits the marketing objective then promote it by suggestion and innuendo. With this system, true facts are often buried by simply by criticizing the messenger. Commonly some specific point in an argument where accuracy is not fully determined, then that indetermination is highlighted so as to suggest or imply that, what the populace might see as an unfortunate truth is painted as a mass of inaccuracies. For the geocarbon and agrochemical marketing gurus, doubt and confusion must reign supreme as the objective in all technical media and “information” releases.
It's called “perception management”. Look it up.
It's not quite advertising. Advertising distorts the truth to suit the message, but there is always a basic truth in advertising, albeit often small. With perception management a suitable lie is actually created. It is generally utterly devoid of any truth. And it is never promoted as truth. Truth is simply implied. Critics are themselves criticized and supporters are canonized: Until the lie becomes an accepted truth. The epitome of perception management is to ultimately have the manufactured lie so accepted as to become “common knowledge” in the public arena.
To tell a lie and make it believable, you need a lot of money. You spend the money influencing the media, for that is where public opinion is manufactured. And you need money to influence the people we elect and the people who work in our governmental institutions to ensure that the laws we live by a suitably structured and friendly.
The money available to continuously fund the pro-fossil carbon industries' advertising, public relations and image creation campaign in Australia is huge. And it's there to buy utter confusion or irreconcilable doubt in our minds.
The amount of money is huge. These are the figures for just Australia.
Australia burns 1,000,000 barrels of oil a day.
And the real problem is, we in Australia, go on believing them!
And the real problem there is, the Americans also, go on believing them!
The Minister should inform his bureaucracy to include the following
"The sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide into soil by increasing the organic matter content of that soil by any means selected by the land holder."
But even that won't do it. Even with this included on the Positive List no land holder is allow to do anything that would allow him to earn Carbon Credits as supposedly "promised" under the CFI Act 101 of 2011.
There is a "Catch 22" in operation. Each farmer has still to submit for approval a “Methodology”. The Methodology must nominate how changes in carbon levels in the soil, in the nominated areas are measured, how the measuring is supervised and what is the nature of the soil tests to be used. Sounds OK? These seem sensible and reasonable requirements.
But now comes the insanity .
It is idiotic that our Government actively discouraged farmers from solving the problems. But they do. The farmer can't go out and try something new, or even something old, or something he's just heard about. He can't experiment, he can't develop systems, he can't be inventive. It's madness; but our farmers have to nominate exactly what the procedure is going to be used, before he starts and before he knows. A farmers is not allowed to develop any system for increasing the fertility of his soil even if it works and he can demonstrate the results by the testing procedures he is already bound by, and has agreed to.
There are probably hundreds of ways our farmer can increase the fertility of his soil; but if it has not been written up by some university type and then endlessly peer reviewed then the Department of the Environment determines it doesn't officially exist.
And don‘t let up when they tell you not to worry, as they have successfully passed the buck.
SECOND: Stop putting it in.
In principal this is about nuclear energy and biofuels so let's look at some factual nuclear information to get some understanding and to clear the air a little.
The only time people have died from radiation from a reactor failure was at Chernobyl, and it was due to Russia's poor workmanship, miscommunication, and low oversight and incredible an irresponsibility stupidity. Total deaths were 48 and these were mostly workers who came in to help.
The disaster at Fukushima was a unique result of an earthquake-induced tsunami coupled with ancient technology — but was brought under control. There has been not one death directly attributable to the nuclear power plant or to nuclear fuel. The known deaths are: one man fell of a ladder and another guy had a heart attack.
Costs now are: $1,200 billion per year, and climbing
Fixing it: $285 + $750 = $1,035 per year for 20 years, and it's all over.
THIRD: START KNOWING YOUR ENEMY
"How does soil carbon sequestration work?
How do you take the carbon dioxide out of the air
And give me an "in a nut shell" answer."
Happily it's a completely natural process
1 Cows eat grass.
2 One bite, and the grass plant immediately sheds a few roots.
3 The cows produce waste.
4 Soil microbes and earth worms eat dead grass roots and cow's waste,
5 Grasses grow best in humus rich soil. So it's full circle, back to the cow.
That's why the most fertile soils in the world are the grasslands of the world, the steppes, the savannahs, and the prairies. And every one of those grasslands had some type of grazing animal living on it; often for a million years or more. Thus grassland ecosystems automatically create their own humus rich, hugely fertile top soils. It doesn't happen in forests so forest soils always slowly self-destruct.
Hard rock, near the surface, weathers down and becomes “subsoil”. Subsoil is biologically inert. But when humus is created in that subsoil, then it becomes “topsoil”. It's a 50 million year old process.
The chemistry is straight forward. Both living plant materials and soil humus are about half carbon. Carbon dioxide in the air is about one third carbon. Using carbon dioxide from the air, water from the ground, and sunlight from space, the chlorophyll in a blade of grass, or any other green leaf, manufactures living plant materials.
Herbivores eat grass, carnivores eat herbivores. We're omnivores; we can eat both.
Below is all "work in progress" as at 3 January 2014 on trying to get the new people in government here to think constructively. .
The Australian Government has a Carbon Farming Initiative Act No 101 of 2011. And unbelievable as it may sound, currently according the fine print, officials of the Department of the Environment are not permitted to recognize carbon farming.
Taking carbon dioxide out of the air and creating fertile soil is not accepted. Is the newly elected Government going to something about the only chance we have of fixing the mess in time?
But this Country really needs is a general, overriding approval that says---
(Now back to the original text)
Taking carbon out of the air by increasing the fertility of agricultural soils is the most sane, sensible and economical method of combating global warming imaginable. I know the numbers. I dreamed up the idea a quarter of a century ago. And then publicised it widely both here and in the US.
Here is a copy of a protocol I submitted to the Department of the Environment in Australia a few weeks ago. One problem of increasing the fertility of soil is that the farmer stops buying expensive agrochemical chemicals. And those people do have pull. We'll se how much over the comming weeks and months
But it might be possible to get it okayed, as the legal barriers put in by the previous government aren't absolutely watertight. I'm sure Greg Hunt, the current Minister for the Environment could make it happen if he ignores the agrochemical industries lobbying and just does it. And I do have some confidence in the gentleman.
There's a “positive list” of what “acceptable”. It's in the Act. Off that list and it doesn't qualify as a carbon sink. Improving soil is not on the magic list. Illogical? Yes. And illogical is a polite word. And yes I have read the 300 page long CFI Act. And trust me, that Act is worse than illogical.
The next thing to do after the general approval ( that is being put on the “positive list”) is to have a full soil testing protocol approved. Levels naturally do have to be testable periodically. But strangely again, there is no practical workable testing system as yet approved, in this case, anywhere in the world.
Australia would be the first.
Below is the protocol I submitted to the Australian Department of the Environment a few weeks ago. They looked at their “positive list” and said (four weeks later) automatic rejection. It still took four weeks even with irreversible global warming fast approaching.
What is needed is for this (or somethng very similar to it) to be added to the "posotive list" ------
The sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide into soil by increasing the organic matter content of that soil by any means selected by the land holder .
--- and it should be done quickly..
That may sound broad but it should be, and the reality is that it's still virtually impossible to cheat. It means the soil carbon promise in the Action Plan can proceed. It doesn't need a legislative amendment, just a “make it happen” directive.
This is the protocol I wrote that was "automatically" rejected. It took a lot of time and effort to assemble
Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is modifying its optical properties causing more solar energy to be retained in the biosphere. The excess heat is in turn destabilizing world weather systems.
Enhancing the fertility of the world's agricultural soils could entrap more carbon dioxide than any other sequestration system currently proposed and thus combat this excess heating of the Earth's biosphere.
Financially rewarding land owners is the most effective means of encouraging the process of sequestration of CO2 into their soils. The sequestration occurs by enhancing the fertility and the organic matter content of those soils.
For a reward system to operate the changes in the carbon content of the soil must be capable of being measured and monitored in a practical and reasonably efficient way. A protocol is therefore needed to ensure consistency and accuracy in measurement.
In Australia such a protocol must meet the requirements of the Australian Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee (DOIC). The Federal Government announced the formation of DOIC on 27 October 2010. As at September 2013 no approval has ever been issued to any specific body or organization for a protocol to monitor the carbon levels in agricultural soils in Australia. No current soil carbon analysis system used by any organization, for any reason, anywhere in the world is sufficiently reliable nor sufficiently practical to have been adopted and approved for use in Australia by the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee.
Existing soil analysis systems nominate that various soil samples be collected from specific depth bands within the soil profile. The soil densities at these specific depths then become an essential requirement in calculating levels of soil carbon. This requirement is considered excessively cumbersome.
Existing systems and equipment for measuring soil carbon contents test soil samples of less than 10 grams. Such equipment requires skilled personnel to operate. Generally such equipment needs to be housed and operated under laboratory conditions.
Soil testing procedures currently in use were designed to test soils for the mineral content of nutritional elements. Mineral content is fundamentally determined by the historic geological formation of the subsoil materials. Subsoils can be consistent and remarkably similar sometimes over many millions of hectares. It is presumed that tiny samples suffice for such tests.
Soil organic matter content can and often does vary from paddock to paddock. Soil organic matter content can often be orders of magnitude larger than individual nutritional elements in soils, but such elements are generally more consistently distributed.
For significant soil carbon sequestration vast areas of land will have to be monitored. Testing for changes in organic matter content using soil samples of a few grams are inadequate when land areas might be measured in hundreds of hectares.
While meaningful and believable results are a prerequisite for a reward based soil carbon sequestration system, excessively small test samples must cast considerable doubt on basic accuracies.
The Yeomans Protocol is designed to avoid the above noted difficulties.
The objective of this protocol is to define a procedure whereby soils in areas typical of sizes common in agriculture can be tested for changes in soil carbon content on a per hectare basis. Those changes then form the basis on which rewards can be paid to relevant land holders.
It is a requirement of this protocol that test samples can be obtained in a practical, believable and acceptable manner and that testing procedures applied to those samples will produce information of sufficient consistency and accuracy to instill acceptable trust in the procedures.
It is a requirement that field sample test locations be determined in an acceptable and random manner.
It is a further requirement in this protocol that a Loss On Ignition procedure be used to determine a base measurement of soil organic carbon for the land area being observed and to determine changes in those measurements over time and that these changes are the determinants on which reward payments to land holders will be calculated. It is an additional requirement that individual samples for test should be of sufficient size to generally preclude errors due to the inherent variability in tiny samples of agricultural soils. It is therefore advocated that sample weights should exceed 500 grams.
It should be appreciated that in monitoring the soil carbon sequestration into enhanced soil fertility for reward based incentives, it is only necessary and only relevant to know the changes in the total weight per unit of area of the carbon based material in the soil. Therefore the surface area of test samples and the arithmetic relationship of those surface areas to the specific land area being tested is the only information required. (To illustrate - the organic matter content in a sample under a 100 mm by 100 mm square, when multiplied by one million is the organic matter content of one hectare of land)
The depth of sampling is irrelevant provided it is the same for each test in the test series and this test sample depth never exceeds the depth of the first year's sampling. If, for some reason it is desired to increase sampling depth in the future then new base test readings have to be established.
Within this protocol it is a requirement that testing is regularly repeated, and therefore past results are constantly subject to effective revalidation. Errors in any one year and possible over-payments in any one year are automatically adjusted the following year.
A person or a group is required to monitor test procedures and to approve and authorize test results submitted to the applicable payment authority.
The qualifications and reliability of the test personnel must be determined by the payment authority who should then give the necessary approval to such personnel.
However, to a significant extent the protocol, here described, is self correcting in that errors or exaggerations in test results in any one year, will be observed in test results for subsequent years, and payments can be adjusted accordingly.
As an additional safeguard if required, a checking person from the relevant Payment Authority can randomly test or observe test sequences and ensure relevant protocols are being observed. An authorizing person or group therefore does not require detailed engineering, or agricultural or chemical training. That they be of sufficient reliability is all that is basically required. Thus a licensed surveyor or a governmentally appointed agronomist, or in Australia a Land Care group, a licensed real estate valuator, a Justice of the Peace, a police officer, a court officer or any reputable person belonging to an organization known to the payment authority, should be acceptable.
To avoid excessive variations in test results that might occur with unusual land topography it is suggested that an agronomist be consulted to advise on initial test hole location patterns. This is not considered to be essential due to the self correcting nature of the protocol. It is recommended only for the practicality and consistency of the test procedures.
FIELD SAMPLING LOCATIONS
The specific land area or paddock under test should be well defined; for example with fences, or bordered by roads, by creeks, by power lines poles, by contour or irrigations drains, or by using GPS coordinates.
The specific land area or paddock, the “Paddock” should then be subdivided into a number of smaller sub-divisional areas, the “Subdivides”. At least 4 Subdivides should be created, preferably all with easily locatable corners. The Subdivides have to be of approximately equal area. Farming activities such as cropping or cultivation procedures within an individual Subdivide should preferably be consistent. This is advisable as later random sampling locations must not cross major soil treatment barriers. If this is not possible then additional sampling is to be done on either side of the treatment barrier and those samples averaged to give an acceptably accurate representation of the soils in the overall Subdivide.
A suitable procedure would be that the approximate geometrical center of the Subdivides be initially determined and noted; for example with a peg or a GPS coordinate.
For the first year and it also being the year in which a soil fertility base line becomes established, this first test series is most important and should be undertaken most diligently.
A sample should be obtained from each Subdivide and that sample should be located a suitable direction and a suitable distance away from the geometrical centre. For example one quarter the distance north to the north boundary of the Subdivide. These samples are then bulked to become Sample A.
Another series of samples are to be similarly taken an equal distance south. These samples are separately combined to become Sample B.
Both samples are tested for Loss On Ignition (LOI).
From these tests the LOI weight per hectare can be calculated for each test sample.
Should the weight per hectare vary excessively then a further series of tests should be taken at 90 0 to the previous locations that, in this example, would be east and west. Both samples are tested for Loss On Ignition (LOI).
Again, should the weight per hectare vary excessively then a further series of tests should be taken using the same directions but moving out to half the distance to the relevant boundary.
All test results are combined to give the base line LOI organic matter content of the soil in the Paddock in tonnes.
Future tests are always to be conducted at approximately the same time of the year to avoid possible seasonal effects, although these are generally expected to be only minor.
For the next test series, this generally to be the following year, the procedures are to be essentially the same with the variations being that the test directions are to be rotated a random number of degrees and the distance out from the geometrical centre is to become a random percentage of the distance to the relevant boundary. It is suggested that the random bearings vary in ten degrees increments and the random distances vary in ten percent increments.
It subsequent years, after the first year's test, the field test samples can be all bulked, unless the land holder desires more detailed information.
It should be appreciated that the method of test hole locations need not follow the above procedures. The only necessity is that the method of locating test holes must, as near as is practical, give good and accurate representation of the nature of the soils within the test areas. Also that the specific locations must be located using a predetermined and agreed random system of location.
The locations, and the specific location procedures, must be recorded each time.
SOIL SAMPLES – DEPTH and SIZING
As the only significant reason for this protocol is to utilize the information collected to encourage the sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide by increasing the organic carbon content of soil; it follows that it is pointless to only monitor soils at depths significantly less than 300 mm or one foot. In this protocol 300 mm is nominated as the minimum depth for sampling. Exceptions are only permissible where consistent geological or manmade depth limits have been created, e.g. soil located on a concrete pad.
The recommended depth for this protocol is between 300 mm and 600 mm.
It is logical that for the initial sampling to determine a base reading, the depth of sampling should be the maximum practical for the Paddock in consideration.
In this protocol determinations are calculated using the surface area of the Paddock and the surface area under which the sample soil is collected. It follows that in any subsequent year, for convenience, shallower depths can be used. The reason being that if the original sampling depth is not exceeded, then the organic carbon content under the test selected surface area can never accidentally exceed the base readings. It can only be exceeded if definite and significant increases in the soil carbon content of the soil have occurred.
The sample can be any geometric shape of known surface area however a round sample is generally more convenient. Such a sample should have a minimum diameter of 75 mm. However it is recommended that core diameters should be a minimum of 100 mm but 150 mm would be advised. There is no objection within this protocol for larger diameters or for variation in actual hole shapes. It is appreciated that the larger the area of the test hole, the higher the expected accuracy.
Farm post hole diggers are effective and are suggested for sample collection.
It is an absolute requirement that all the material from a test hole must be collected for analysis. It is suggested that a sheet of some flexible material, such as canvas can have a hole cut in it the diameter of the drill or auger. This then could be laid on the ground over where the sample is to be taken. The auger is then located so as to pass through the hole. All the material from the core is then conveniently trapped on the canvas sheet.
If a large and uncommon rock is encountered that would prevent full core depth being obtained, an alternate core should be obtained at some small and random distance from the failed hole. However if such large rocks are particularly common and would be expected to be encountered in similar numbers in subsequent years then when a rock is encountered, the drilling can be stopped at the depth of encounter, and the already collected soil from these holes should be considered as typical samples for the Subdivide, and their bulk should be considered as the bulk from those obtaining the nominated depth.
Loose rocks and stones collected in samples can be brushed and the soil returned to the sample. The rocks and stones can then be discarded. This can be done at any convenient time.
Plant material must be discarded before material testing. This also can and should be done at all convenient times.
The samples from a Subdivide are then bulked. The bulked material is then divided and subdivided. A reputable sample splitter, such as a riffle splitter or chute splitter or Jones type splitter, commonly used in assaying for minerals in mining, is ideal. Alternatively a “cone and quarter” technique can be used, but although suitable, the cone and splitter technique is considered slightly less accurate.
The subdividing ratios must be noted. Subdividing the sample is continued until a sample, or a number of samples of sizes suitable to the capacity of the LOI testing equipment are obtained. Sample sizes above 1,000 grams and not exceeding 2,000 grams amply suit this protocol. The practice of testing samples weighing less than 10 grams is seen as not particularly believable, and in Australia it is not (at this time September 2013) accepted for any proposed payment determinations.
If considerable delays are expected between collection and testing it is advisable to store the samples at reduced temperatures, but not below 4 o C. It should be noted that the probability is that delays would slightly decrease the measurable carbon content. Any decreases would be to the disadvantage of the land holder; not to the government agency involved.
The possibility of slight increases in mass from delays in testing is considered extremely unlikely.
Within this protocol test procedures are regularly being repeated, often on a yearly basis, therefore past results are constantly subject to effective revalidation. Errors in any one year, and possible over payments in any one year, are therefore automatically adjusted the following year.
In consequence a local policeman, a court officer, a local government agronomist, in Australia a Land Care group, or any similar respected body would be satisfactory to monitor procedures.
It is also suggested that deference should always be given to the land holder.
Enhancing the fertility of our managed lands and agricultural soils appears to be our only real and meaningful option to reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels. It is becoming apparent that the immediate and continued reductions in those levels is of extreme importance, and should commence as soon as possible.
LOSS ON IGNITION (LOI) PROCEDURE
A sample for testing must finally be screened or sieved through a 2 mm sieve prior to heating. Soil clods of all sizes must be broken down during or prior to the screening. Any remaining plant materials are best removed by hand during the screening process. Stones screened off during screening can be discarded.
For ease of screening, excessively wet or moist samples can be spread on a flat surface and air dried with a small fan. The fan air must not be heated as possible LOI effects might occur and compromise the weighing results. The drying procedure is to be conducted no more than a day prior to a LOI test.
The 2 mm sieve nomination is for two reasons. The first being that “soil” by convention is generally defined as that material capable of passing through a 2 mm sieve. The second is that the carbonaceous materials being monitored need to be in reasonably close proximity to the oxidizing gasses, and in larger particles oxygen penetration can be excessively inhibited.
In this protocol a test sample represents a known surface area and a known proportion of the area of the land being tested. The objective is to know the Loss On Ignition weight of the sample. From this, a weight, sufficiently representative of the organic matter content of the test land area, can readily be calculated. The LOI test is not to determine the ratio of the LOI weight to the soil weight, for in this protocol, this is irrelevant. It is ultimately to determine the LOI weight for a nominated area of land, which would be expressed in tonnes per hectare. This figure is then converted to tonnes of carbon by multiplying by 58% 1 and then converted to equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide by multiplying this answer by 3.67.
In this protocol, the actual specific weight of the sample does not enter the calculations. Only the actual weight losses themselves are relevant.
In all LOI type tests, it is a requirement that before weighing, samples are pre-heated to above 100 0 C, and held at those temperatures until the sample is assuredly dried. In all soil analysis systems it is a requirement to always weigh samples at some predetermined temperature.
In many systems, where soil chemical analysis is being studied, the sample is required to be cooled down to room temperature in a desiccator after drying and prior to weighing. In these systems, after heating to create a LOI, the sample again is required to be cooled in a desiccator to room temperature before again being weighed. This multiple handling of samples has to be undertaken with extreme care to avoid accidental errors.
To avoid these procedures and to enhance accuracy the Yeomans Carbon Still allows the weighing of the sample while it remains in the heating compartment and at the selected elevated temperature.
The Yeomans Carbon Still employs a balancing arm arrangement, in which at one end is a weighing tray, and at the other end is mounted a heating chamber that contains the sample to be tested.
The Yeomans Carbon Still is pre-balanced with supplied fixed weights so as to be slightly less than the weight of the internal container in the apparatus. A beaker is then placed on the weighing scales and water, or some other suitable and convenient material, such as sand, is added to bring the weight up so as to achieve an exact balance.
The use of laboratory weights can be dispensed with and a quantity of the selected weighing material can be added or subtracted from the balance arm to achieve a balanced and stable equilibrium at any time during the test procedures
In this protocol the test sample is to be dried in air at a temperature between 100 o C and 135 o C. The sample can then be cooled in a desiccator to room temperature, then quickly removed and weighed. Alternatively, if using a Yeomans Carbon Still, the sample can remain in the Carbon Still and be weighed while still at the drying temperature. The Yeomans Carbon Still is designed specifically to allow weighing to be undertaken at temperatures exceeding 100 o C.
After drying and weighing or balancing the sample is then heated to the desired LOI temperature and held at that temperature for a nominated time to ensure complete oxidation of all organic compounds. Within these procedures, if it was desired to determine the water content of a sample, this can be done. 2
In the Yeomans protocol 550 0 C 3 plus or minus 25 0 C is the preferred temperature to ensure total oxidation of the organic materials contained in the samples. 4
The resultant measured difference in weight being the LOI figure for the sample.
In the Yeomans Carbon Still the sample is weighed while still contained within the heating oven. Weighings are then always taken at temperatures slightly in excess of 100 0 C. This avoids any errors that could result from changes in sample moisture content.
To determine Loss On Ignition, the dried test sample, after weighing or after balancing the scales is brought to a temperature of 550 0 C plus or minus 25 0 C, and held at that temperature for sufficient time so that all particles within the sample become intimately exposed to air or oxygen, and complete oxidation occurs. 5
Additionally, in the Yeomans Carbon Still, air can be preheated to the desired temperature and then forced under pressure through the soil sample. The forced air flow facilitates accurate temperature control and even rapid temperature adjustment if required. But most importantly, it ensures quick and intimate contact of all soil organic materials with the oxidizing gas during the LOI heating procedure.
In practice, the sample must not be brought up to the 525 o C temperatures too rapidly, as rapid oxidation of the organic matter can easily occur, creating excessive heat. This can cause temperatures to rise rapidly and to exceed the 575 o C maximum temperature nominated in this protocol. Some rare soils are formed from base materials containing minerals that are chemically modified at these temperatures. E.g. they release chemically combined water at different temperatures. This can result in unforeseen weight errors. 6
To prevent such possible errors, the test sample is heated, in the intimate presence of air or oxygen, to approximately 300 o C to initiate oxidation and combustion of the materials within the test sample without undue overheating. Means must also be available to prevent this sudden and excessive oxidation. In the Yeomans Carbon Still this is achieved by reducing the flow and temperature of the supply air to the central container
Should forced cooling be necessary, as might occur with possible samples containing extremely high levels of combustible materials, then a cold inert gas 7 flow can replace, or be mixed with, the oxygen rich air, to maintain test temperatures in the nominated range.
When the majority of combustion appears to be substantially completed, temperatures are raised to the test nominated temperatures and held there until combustion is totally completed. Current practice, when not using a Yeomans Carbon Still, suggests the high temperatures should be held at least overnight, and often longer. Sample size has to be kept generally below 10 grams, or even as low as 5 grams to minimize this long time period for completing oxidation and stabilize LOI effects. By using very small samples procedural times can be kept down to down to several hours or possibly overnight.
The Yeomans Carbon Still uses pressurized forced convection to ensure rapid and effective and intimate soil air contact. Because of this the maximum temperatures need only be maintained for a recommended 8 minutes. However, for some soils, 6 minutes or even less will suffice. If extremely short time periods are employed then any incomplete combustion will be indicated by the existence of observable black carbon in the final sample.
When the test is conducted using a Yeomans Carbon Still the test sample is cooled by both disconnecting the electric heating element, and increasing the air flow by a factor of three times. Air at slightly above 100 0 C is forced through the unit until system temperatures settle at slightly above 100 0 C. The temperature range permitted is between 100 o C and 135 o C. At these temperatures any water absorption is less than measurable and all moisture effects can be ignored. The test container, with its sample is again balanced.
The weight decrease to achieve balance is determined by what quantity of water, or whatever material might be selected as the counter balancing material, is removed. This quantity is then weighed or measured to determine weight. This is then the LOI weight decrease, and is to be recorded.
Using comparative areas as in this protocol, and thus avoiding considerations of density, this LOI weight then represents the weight loss for a very specific and known land surface area. Thus the weight Loss On Ignition for the total land test area, or the Paddock, can be readily calculated and incentive payments determined.
Note 1 The percentage of carbon in soil organic matter varies, generally in a range between 50% and 60%. The 58% is a commonly used figure in agriculture and is nominated for use in this protocol simply for consistency.
Note 2 If it is of interest, the moisture content of the sample can be determined by balancing the arms and noting the weight loss before and after drying. A slight error will occur as the dried air is 100 0 C and the original moist sample had to be at room temperature. If room temperatures were 20 0 C the weight of water loss would be overstated by approximately 2 grams. In a 2,000 gram sample water content is often found to be some hundreds of grams.
Note 3 This temperature is the temperature recommended in EU standard TC WI :2003 (E) for Loss On Ignition testing for sludge, soil and bio-waste.
Note 4 It is noted that a publication of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers 2006 shows LOI of humic substances in some soils is not totally complete until 550 0 C. This research showed that LOI occurring after 525 0 C to be relatively small. The possible errors that might occur by variation in test temperatures in the nominated range in this protocol of between 525 0 C and 575 0 C are to be ignored the reason being as previously noted as follows: Within this protocol test procedures are regularly being repeated often on a yearly basis, therefore past results are constantly subject to effective revalidation. Errors in any one year, and possible over payments in any one year, are therefore automatically adjusted the following year
Note 5 It is appreciated that the subsoil materials from which the topsoil has formed, vary extensively. In some soils LOI may be substantially and significantly completed at lower temperatures. In such cases a lower maximum LOI temperature may be adopted if mutually agreed between the land holder and the testing authority. And again it is relevant that errors in any one year, and possible over payments in any one year, are automatically adjusted in subsequent years.
Note 6 In general the weight loss from heating pre-dried soils are small and do not vary as the organic matter content of the soil increases. Their effects are therefore included and allowed for by initially establishing the base line weight for LOI and other elevated temperature weight loss effects at the first year of testing. However, some rare soils and subsoils exist where weight loss from chemical changes in the mineral constituents of the soil are of such a magnitude that they mask the weight loss from LOI of the organic carbon constituents. A notable example are the soils in the Piedmont counties of Virginia, USA. These soils contain the mineral gibbsite (Al 2 O 3 • 3H 2 O) , and gibbsite has been reported to lose substantial amounts of water at temperatures as low as 300°C. As the objective of this protocol is to encourage and facilitate the rewarding of land holders for sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide into enhanced soil fertility, it is acceptable for variations in this protocol to be approved to cater for these effects. Such variations have to be mutually agreed between the land holder and the testing authority. In general no modification to this protocol should be disallowed if the variation does not artificially increase the indicated increases in soil organic carbon.
Note 7 Bottled argon could be used however bottled nitrogen is inexpensive and nitrogen is already present in the air flow. Nitrogen is recommended should the unlikely need for extreme cooling ever arise.
Note A This note is not in the application to the DOIC however it is relevant in understanding the status of soil carbon testing. There are several site selection systems discussed in the available literature. None were designed to be a practical, workable, efficient and inexpensive protocol for a reward based soil carbon sequestration protocol. They were designed to make it easy for year to year sampling and monitoring. Sample test locations within a small test area within a large farm area are usually randomly located but the location of the small test plot itself never varies. Its location is always known. And of course, known by the land owner. Additionally the unfortunate reality of most of these protocols is that their sampling complexities are a serious hindrance to the establishment of a workable system, and all for no real reason. Most do not cater for the requirement for repeatable random selection. Most are designed to select test areas typically of 25 metres square, in which a further subdivision down to, typically one hundred squares, is set out, and in which cores are taken at a whole series of nominated depths. Invariable they nominate core samples that are too small to trust for any reward payment system.
However there is one of possible value in monitoring soil carbon change: SOIL SAMPLING PROTOCOL TO CERTIFY THE CHANGES OF ORGANIC CARBON STOCKS IN MINERAL SOIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION Version 2 of 2007 Reference EUR 21576 EN/2.
It states that it was designed to obtain carbon levels and carbon storage in soils as nominated within the (unnecessarily complex) Kyoto protocols. In this protocol samples for testing in the various laboratories call for samples of 10 grams or less. Also in this EU protocol a huge number of field samples are stipulated and samples are required at many nominated and specific depths.
Any feed back or support or actual help would be appreciated
Allan Yeomans 11. 30 pm
COMMENTS BY LEADING ACADEMICS on Allan Yeomans' book PRIORITY ONE Together We Can Beat Global Warming . The book is often described as the bible on climate change. It is also the only major publication that shows that global warming is still fixable. It also recognizes and acknowledges that the window of opportunity to do so is closing fast. ..........read more
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