The Number Series Strikes Again: 229 This Time

by Bill Chameides | February 28th, 2012
posted by Erica Rowell (Editor)

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Even though I’m in Singapore, our investigation into the number 229 took us to Ireland, home to some 229 species of liverwort, a class of mosslike plants that help break down soil and rocks. (Photo: Ceridwen/ via Wiki Commons)

How do we choose them? Hint #1: I’m in Sinagpore. Hint #2: This number doesn’t come around very often.

So what about 229?

First, There’s This About $229 Billion

A headline from says that in 2009 “polluting facilities” cost Europeans $229 billion.

That number gets a bit fudged in the actual article, which states that the European Environment Agency estimated the loss at between $137 billion and $226 billion. Even so, nothing to sneeze at, but cough? Could be.

And Then There’s 229 Billion Tons of Carbon

That’s how much carbon is stored above ground in tropical forests, according to a recent paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change by Alessandro Baccini of the Woods Hole Research Center and colleagues.

The estimate, based on satellite measurements, puts about 20 percent more carbon in tropical forests than earlier studies have.

Great that forests are storing all that carbon, but it also means that there’s that much more at stake — that is, there’s more carbon that could go up in smoke from deforestation.

There Are Also 229 Species …

… of moss in Bulgaria’s Central Balkan National Park.

… of birds found in Taiwan’s Guandu Nature Park, helping make it an important bird area.

… of liverworts in all of Ireland.

But There’s Only One Gliese 229B

It’s the first known of its type of failed star called the methane brown dwarf. (See an image of Gliese 229B.)

Discovered by astronomers in 1995, Gliese 229B is about 19 light-years away from all the moss, birds and liverworts our little planet can conjure up.

filed under: animals, deforestation, faculty, forests, oil, plants, pollution
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