Almost from the beginning of scientific interest in the subject, study after study had concluded that soil erosion by both wind and water was a major environmental problem. In fact, in an article published in Science a decade and a half ago, Trimble and Crosson (2000)1 noted that "some sources have suggested that recent erosion is as great as or greater than that of the 1930s," just as some sources were suggesting that global temperatures were greater at that time than they were in the 1930s (Crowley, 2000; Mann 2000).
The remarkable feature of this long-held belief in continued high, or even increasing, soil erosion, in the words of Trimble and Crosson, was that "it was based mostly on models," just as the global warming scare was (and still is!) based mostly on models. Enlarging on this thesis, the two researchers indicated that little physical field-based evidence other than anecdotal statements had been offered to verify the high soil erosion estimates, noting that "it is questionable whether there has ever been another perceived public problem for which so much time, effort, and money were spent in light of so little scientific evidence," which almost begs one to suggest that the perceived public problem of CO2-induced global warming is no different. In fact, the "problem" of anthropogenic CO2 emissions has long since outstripped the soil erosion problem in terms of notoriety, even surpassing global terrorism and nuclear warfare in the minds of some politicians and climate alarmists. But the good news, according to Trimble and Crosson, was that "available field evidence suggests declines of soil erosion, some very precipitous, during the past six decades."
So what confused the issue for so many years? The problem was largely a failure to realize that most of the soil particles removed from one part of the land, by either wind or water, were later deposited in nearby areas, so that the net loss of soil was only a very small portion of that which was moved about by the forces of nature.