@nanomonkey I like the following method of making charcoal using stainless gastronorm containers with loose lids in a fire stove. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxBUqk2M3Y8
This research indicates when composted (activated/charged) that biochar forms a thin 200 nanometer organic coating composed of:
When repeatedly flushed its pores then released nitrates making it act like a slow-release organic fertilizer. Nitrogen fixing microbes living on the 200 nanometer organic surface and soil surrounding likely recharge those pores given enough moisture:
Other studies I've read show when applied to soil surfaces it lasts only tens to hundreds of years, and only thousands when buried where the soil is more anaerobic and the biochar is less likely to be preferentially eroded due to it's low bulk density.
Another study on wild fires showed that forests were nitrogen and phosphorus limited after them. And because of it's low density charcoal becomes concentrated in low points in landscapes when it rains.
The most interesting finding for me was how Terra Preta topsoil is being harvested and then left alone and found to grow back. I've theorised that so long as the subsurface biochar content didn't drop below the point where plants stop carbon priming the soil, then the plants would regenerate the soil carbon quickly, making it seem like the biochar was growing back by making deep dark soils again.
Here's one Australian example of adding raw aged-charcoal at 1.5% to a pasture soil surface with an existing soil organic carbon of 3.5%. It took 9 years to see priming effects from the charcoal. If that charcoal had been composted I imagine it would have been much faster.
When there's a strong rain storms in the spring, you have a double problem:
The rain quickly melts the snow
The ground is still frozen, so the rain and melt water immediately finds it's way to lakes and rivers without being significantly slowed down by ground absorbtion.
Thanks @Ben, that's quite interesting, I've never spent much time in snowy alpine regions here in Australia to see that, but we get something similar when we've had dry periods and then rain storms where the water sheets off rather than soaks into the soil and can lead to flooding.
@Ben I watch Wildly Intrepid Sailing out of Canada that were on Lake Erie in May during the ice melt when there was a storm and flood and the water raised 6 foot flooding their marina. Ice also crashed into the breakwall forming ice mountains, that was interesting. Life is like sailing is another one I watch just moved north of 60 but without a boat at the moment. The ice trees were really interesting. They also mentioned the Annual Snow King Festival with ice sculptures melted and had to be closed a month early. I guess all the snow melted a lot faster or earlier this year and the warmer moist atmosphere is bringing more storms?
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