The Available Evidence Does Not Support Fossil Fuels as the Source of Increasing Concentrations of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (Part 1)

BECAUSE the increase in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide has correlated with an increase in the use of fossil fuels, causation has been assumed.

Tom Quirk has tested this assumption including through an analysis of the time delay between northern and southern hemisphere variations in carbon dioxide.  In a new paper in the journal Energy and Environment he writes:

“Over the last 20 years substantial amounts of CO2 derived from fossil fuel have been released into the atmosphere. This has moved from 5.0 gigatonnes of carbon in 1980 to 6.2 gigatonnes  in 1990 to 7.0 gigatonnes in 2000…  Over 95% of this CO2 has been released in the Northern Hemisphere…

“A tracer for CO2 transport from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere was provided by 14C created by nuclear weapons testing in the 1950’s and 1960’s.The analysis of 14C in atmospheric CO2  showed that it took some years for exchanges of CO2 between the hemispheres before the 14C was uniformly distributed…

“If 75% of CO2 from fossil fuel is emitted north of latitude 30 then some time lag might be expected due to the sharp year-to-year variations in the estimated amounts left in the atmosphere. A simple model, following the example of the 14Cdata with a one year mixing time, would suggest a delay of 6 months for CO2 changes in concentration in the Northern Hemisphere to appear in the Southern Hemisphere.

“A correlation plot of …year on year differences of monthly measurements at Mauna Loa against those at the South Pole [shows]… the time difference is positive when the South Pole data leads the Mauna Loa data. Any negative bias (asymmetry in the plot) would indicate a delayed arrival of CO2 in the Southern Hemisphere.

“There does not appear to be any time difference between the hemispheres. This suggests that the annual increases [in atmospheric carbon dioxide] may be coming from a global or equatorial source.”

********************

Notes

‘Sources and Sinks of Carbon Dioxide’, by Tom Quirk, Energy and Environment, Volume 20, pages 103-119.  http://www.multi-science.co.uk/ee.htm

The abstract reads:

THE conventional representation of the impact on the atmosphere of the use of fossil fuels is to state that the annual increases in concentration of CO2 come from fossil fuels and the balance of some 50% of fossil fuel CO2 is absorbed in the oceans or on land by physical and chemical processes. An examination of the data from:  i) measurements of the fractionation of CO2 by way of Carbon-12 and Carbon-13 isotopes; ii) the seasonal variations of the concentration of CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere; and iii) the time delay between Northern and Southern Hemisphere variations in CO2, raises questions about the conventional explanation of the source of increased  atmospheric CO2. The results suggest that El Nino and the Southern Oscillation events produce major changes in the carbon isotope ratio in the atmosphere. This does not favour the continuous increase of CO2 from the use of fossil fuels as the source of isotope ratio changes. The constancy of seasonal variations in CO2 and the lack of time delays between the hemispheres suggest that fossil fuel derived CO2 is almost totally absorbed locally in the year it is emitted. This implies that natural variability of the climate is the prime cause of increasing CO2, not the emissions of CO2 from the use of fossil fuels.

Data drawn from the website http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm  .

Tom Quirk has a Master of Science from the University of Melbourne and Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Oxford.   His early career was spent in the UK and USA as an experimental research physicist, a University Lecturer and Fellow of three Oxford Colleges.

141 Responses to The Available Evidence Does Not Support Fossil Fuels as the Source of Increasing Concentrations of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (Part 1)

  1. jae March 25, 2009 at 1:17 am #

    If he’s correct, shouldn’t we soon start seeing a decrease in CO2, as temperatures decline?

  2. Mae March 25, 2009 at 1:51 am #

    jae:

    According to Anthony Watt’s post last week, CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa seems to have been declining since 2004 appearently in line with decreasing ocean temperatures.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/21/recent-ocean-heat-and-mlo-co2-trends/

  3. janama March 25, 2009 at 6:19 am #

    jae – that is exactly what Anthony is proposing at WUWT

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/21/recent-ocean-heat-and-mlo-co2-trends/#more-6378

  4. RW March 25, 2009 at 7:07 am #

    Two very simple questions that this theory needs to answer:

    1. where is all the fossil fuel CO2 going?
    2. why did whatever has raised CO2 concentrations from 280 to 387ppm not operate at any time during the previous 650,000 years?

  5. SJT March 25, 2009 at 7:10 am #

    In other words, he doesn’t believe the accepted, and obvious, science, but offers nothing at all in it’s place. Jennifer, your topics are getting far to Socraticaly Ironical again.

  6. Randall March 25, 2009 at 7:43 am #

    The 280 ppm estimate from indirect measurements is certainly biased low, to what extent is not known, but it could be significant.

  7. Malcolm Robinson March 25, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    The Vostok ice cores suggest that CO2 rises 800-1000 after temperature rises. The Medieval Warm Period is just this length of time ago, and therefore probably relevant to today’s rising CO2.

  8. cohenite March 25, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    “where is all the fossil fuel CO2 going?” Try Fig 7.3 p515 of AR4; as to the furphy of prior set in cement levels of CO2;

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/

    And;

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jdrake/Questioning_Climate/userfiles/Ice-core_corrections_report_1.pdf

    Measurement of CO2 concentration is always problematic; the “Standard Dry Air” SDA basis of measurement and comparison is at standard temperature and pressure which is a non-existent parameter; and as we are seeing, CO2 is not a well-mixed gas at all and will be defined by, amongst other variables, SH, or absolute humidity; SH can vary from 0 to 5% by volume of atmosphere; as the SH increases, the absolute amount of other gases, including CO2, decreases; to say therefore that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have remained stable and not been above 280ppm over the last 650my is fanciful; even if you assume past CO2 levels have not got above 280ppm the range of variation within that limit has been greater than the current increase;

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7193/full/nature06949.html

    Note the Luthi paper remarks on the difference between the Vostok and Dome ice records.

  9. toby March 25, 2009 at 8:08 am #

    It does fly in the face of common sense that the co2 we are emitting does not add to co2 levels. But his logic seems reasonable, so surely further research is warranted. BUT as we all know common sense is in short supply with many. It must be time for me to stop reading this blog for a while because I am once again letting SJT sniping get to me
    SJT do us all a favour and go and throw pies at another blog…you learn nothing here and simply annoy rasonable people. BUGGER OFF!

  10. Mark Ruseler March 25, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    There is one obvious reason that there is a delay in being able to measure the emissions of nuclear tests in the southern hemisphere. Volume. The amount of material from the tests is absolutely miniscule compared to the amount of CO2 that we are pumping into the atmosphere. To me it seems fanciful to extrapolate the results of these nuclear residues to produce a model for the dispersion of the MULTI BILLIONS of tonnes of carbon pollution. At the end of the day do we as a species believe the overwhelming number of scientists and act to mitigate our impact or do we believe the minority (funded mainly by the hydrocarbon industry) and do nothing and face the prospect of being wrong? Personally I prefer to act now instead of betting the “farm”

  11. Luke March 25, 2009 at 8:42 am #

    Lordy me – more recycled denialism – and E&E again too – hahahahahaha

    More sceptic drongoism

    Pity about

    Science 16 July 2004:
    Vol. 305. no. 5682, pp. 367 – 371

    The Oceanic Sink for Anthropogenic CO2
    Christopher L. Sabine,1* Richard A. Feely,1 Nicolas Gruber,2 Robert M. Key,3 Kitack Lee,4 John L. Bullister,1 Rik Wanninkhof,5 C. S. Wong,6 Douglas W. R. Wallace,7 Bronte Tilbrook,8 Frank J. Millero,9 Tsung-Hung Peng,5 Alexander Kozyr,10 Tsueno Ono,11 Aida F. Rios12

    Using inorganic carbon measurements from an international survey effort in the 1990s and a tracer-based separation technique, we estimate a global oceanic anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) sink for the period from 1800 to 1994 of 118 ± 19 petagrams of carbon. The oceanic sink accounts for ~48% of the total fossil-fuel and cement-manufacturing emissions, implying that the terrestrial biosphere was a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere of about 39 ± 28 petagrams of carbon for this period. The current fraction of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions stored in the ocean appears to be about one-third of the long-term potential.

    and

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=87

  12. Louis Hissink March 25, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    toby,

    There is not much we can do about SJT – ignoring it seems the best policy.

    He is actually a computer programmer in the AGO, so one gathered from his comments of a few years ago, so any whistle blower in that area might be interested in blowing his cover?

    As for our addition of CO2 not adding to the global CO2 levels, we are part and parcel of the biosphere, not an alien life form, so as part of a dynamic system it is then not unusual that our CO2 emissions are part of the natural cycle, including the burning of the fossil fuels.

    The Greenies regard humanity as a cancer on the Earth with the mining industry as a toxic virus and as a consequence are hell bent on destroying the latter, and culling the former.

    I wonder what social disaster needs to happen before people wake up.

  13. Louis Hissink March 25, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    More Lukian uncomprehending parroting of the litany many are now suspecting has been rigged to support a political agenda.

    Got some renewed dutch courage now Bligh has been returned , aye.

  14. cohenite March 25, 2009 at 8:57 am #

    Very good luke; so the ocean is the only sink? We’ve discussed Sabine before; consider; if the oceans mop up 48% of human emissions; what do the other sinks absorb?

  15. Eyrie March 25, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Mark Ruseler obviously doesn’t understand the concept of tracers. Followed by “carbon pollution” then the usual “funded by the fossil fuel industry” gibe and a misunderstanding of the precautionary principle.

    Thanks for taking the time to reveal your ignorance to the world, Mark.

    The farm we’re betting by attempting to reduce CO2 emissions (note CO2 not “carbon”) when there is scant evidence that there is a problem of any sort is the survival of technical civilization, the most successful and pleasant way to live that human beings have found.

  16. DHMO March 25, 2009 at 11:52 am #

    SJT and Luke often drop into a mode of being as insulting as possible. In fact an indicator that one is part of AGW activism is your language. On these blogs an abusive manner invariably indicates political/religious viewpoint. This is puzzling since to actually have any effect they need to use persuasive language otherwise it is a waste of their time. I suggest too they be totally ignored.

    I have asked this question before and never get an answer from AGW activists. I think it is simple question which should be easily answered if their arguments are true. Temperature has at most risen 0.7c in the last 100 years barely noticable. The warmist says this rise causes all manner of extreme changes in climate. Droughts, floods, hurricanes and so on. My question is at what time in the past was it that extreme weather events did not happen?

    For mine an abusive answer to this shows they have no answer as are also attempts to obfuscate. Where CO2 is coming from or going means nothing if at no time in human history was the world any different than the weather now.

  17. Steve Short March 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    I have the NOAA database for all monthly CO2 averages for MLO since 1982 and for all Southern Ocean stations since 1982. The South Pole station (SPO) has been operating all that time as well (noting some other modern stations haven’t).

    In 1998 the NOAA global annual average CO2 was 365.48 ppmv. The annual average that year for MLO was 0.279% higher at 366.50 ppmv. The elevation that year of CO2 at MLO above the global average was the highest recorded in the 27 years between 1982 and 2008- presumably as a consequence of the 1998 El Nino. That year the annual average CO2 level at SPO was 0.462% below the global average at 363.79 ppmv i.e. some 2.71 ppmv below that of MLO.

    The following year (1999) the global average CO2 was 367.57 ppmv. The annual average that year for MLO was only 0.154% higher than the global average, at 368.14 ppmv. Yet that year the annual average at SPO was still 0.511% below the global average, at 365.69 ppmv some 2.45 ppmv below that of MLO. This is consistent with a minor ‘catch up’ of SPO to MLO if one wants to look at it like that.

    The following year (2000) the global average CO2 was 368.77 ppmv. The annual average that year for MLO was 0.173% higher, at 369.41 ppmv. That year the annual average at SPO was still 0.525% below the global average, at 366.73 ppmv i.e. 2.68 ppmv below that at MLO.

    Looking at the preceding year 1997:

    In 1997 the NOAA global average CO2 was 362.75 ppmv. The elevation that year of CO2 at MLO above the global average was only 0.197% above the global average, at 363.56 ppmv. That year the annual average at SPO was 0.444% below the global average at 361.14 ppmv – 2.42 ppmv below that at MLO.

    I can see no sign whatsoever of the CO2 level at SPO ‘anticipating’ that at MLO.

    In the period 1982 – 2007 CO2 levels at SPO averaged 0.501±0.054% BELOW the global average whereas in the period 1982 – 2008 CO2 levels at MLO averaged 0.177±0.055% ABOVE the global average (errors at the ± one standard deviation level).

    As can thus be seen, each year CO2 levels rise (variously) all over the globe but there are distinct large scale regional factors which induce minor ‘noise’ on that trend. For example:

    Mauna Loa Station (MLO) is a site characterized by a prevailing wind from the northeast, a well known upwelling zone of the North East Pacific. Atmospheric CO2 levels at MLO only roughly approximate the Northern Hemispheric average and even less precisely approximate the global average.

    The SPO site lies below the great circumpolar Southern Ocean (SO) which is characterized in great part by relatively low water temperatures and high cyanobacterial primary productivity. It can be shown that CO2 levels over the period 1982 – 2007 at all stations (up to a modern number of 9 stations) averaged 0.480±0.065% below the global average (errors at the ± one standard deviation level).

    With all due respect to Tom I think there are major problems with his logic. It ignores the various major regional and geophysical factors *described above) for which good evidence indicates (again as shown above) we should not expect any direct temporal linkage, lagged or not, between CO2 levels at the individual MLO and SPO locations.

  18. J.Hansford March 25, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    It’s good to see competent science in action. The examination and reexamination of the fundamentals can reveal the flaws of previous oversight.

    It is indeed interesting, this lack of time delay in mixing of CO2 between the hemispheres. There undoubtedly should be a delay of some description….. Yet there appears to be none.

    It does need explaining…. It also raises other questions.

    That’s the thing with good science. You always end up understanding one thing but realize you have other questions posed….. It would be annoying if it wasn’t so interesting ; )

    That’s the difference between the climate realists and the AGW religious. The AGW mob think they know it all… They reject the fact that the climate system is complex and pretend that it can all be shown without a doubt on a computer model….. They mouth the words “complex system” but in their hearts, believe that they indeed know all.

    It reminds one of four year old’s playing in a sand pit with dinky toys….. Very involved and serious….. Lots of fun. Well the children have grown to adults…. but they are still playing in the sandpit. It is easier to play than to actually work.

  19. Nick Stokes March 25, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    Mae, janama, your elementary error is the kind of thing that Anthony Watt’s presentations encourage. He actually plots the time rate of change of CO2 conc, and claims, on poor evidence that that is going down. The average rate is still positive, and CO2 conc is going up.

  20. SJT March 25, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    “SJT and Luke often drop into a mode of being as insulting as possible. In fact an indicator that one is part of AGW activism is your language. On these blogs an abusive manner invariably indicates political/religious viewpoint.”

    No, just my disbelief meter has been broken from too much overuse. The number of people here who will be believe anything, and I mean anything, as long as it is not the case presented by the IPCC, is amazing. Doesn’t matter how loopy, unscientific, stupid or just simply wrong, it is, as long as it reinforces their need it’s accepted uncritically.

  21. Steve Short March 25, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    “It is indeed interesting, this lack of time delay in mixing of CO2 between the hemispheres. There undoubtedly should be a delay of some description….. Yet there appears to be none.”

    No, there has to be some delay.

    Otherwise the CO2 levels of the great Southern Ocean (SO) below 30S would not be capable of maintaining a relatively constant CO2 level some 0.480±0.065% below the global average over 27 years!!!

    Feel free to correct me if you think I’m wrong but IMHO this fact necessarily implies that:

    (1) In the NH there must be an area of roughly equivalent size to the SO where levels are also statistically ~0.5% above the global average.

    (2) There is a net CO2 mixing flux from NH -> SH.

    (3) However the SO is able to absorb CO2 at a FINITE RATE which ensures the atmospheric CO2 level over the SO is in a sort of steady state a full 1% of so below the atmospheric CO2 level of an area of roughly equivalent size in the NH.

    (4) This necessarily implies that the SO absorption rate is fast enough to keep ahead of a slower but finite inter-hemispheric mixing rate (defined as say from 60 N -> 60 S).

    It is useful to note that this average offset value for CO2 in the SO of 0.480±0.065% for the period 1982 – 2007 actually seems to be slowly increasing from around 0.35% in the early 1980s to about 0.55% in the early part of this decade i.e. about 0.1% per decade.

    Given this is a forcing effect working against complete mixing between the hemispheres, one might conclude that the primary productivity of the SO (to remove atmospheric CO2) is increasing NATURALLY at about 0.2% per decade in the face of (under the influence of ?) teh unquestionably rising global CO2.

    One might therefore speculate whether Greenpeace intends to sue the gadzillion cyanobacteria of the great Southern Ocean in an international court for demonstrably engaging in a dangerous and unpredictable geoengineering experiment on the high seas?

    OK, ok, I’m sorry- typically weak nerd humour.

    BTW – in 1987 – 1988 I was involved in a search for the Chernobyl fallout isotope Cs-137 in Australia. We found traces of it it (bioaccumulated in Crofton Weed along the sides of highways) about 2.5 years after Chernobyl blow its stack. This is a finite inter-hemispheric mixing rate if you will.

  22. cohenite March 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    Steve; so we have a consistent but variable negative difference between the totals of concentration of CO2 in the SO compared with the MLO/northern hemisphere; that is, the rate of increase in the SO is less than in the NH, so the gap between the hemispheres is widening, but both hemispheres are still increasing in terms of CO2 atmospheric concentration; as well as this basic difference there also appears to be a marked seasonal variation in the CO2 amount in the NH as well as C13 content;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/24/watching-co2-for-the-last-12-years-by-hemisphere/#more-5829

    The link suggests vegetation for the latter feature; does this mean that any cyanobacteria effect in the SO is constant and not seasonal or C13 indicative? Also, since C13 concentration is obstensibly the marker of ACO2 does this mean an ACO2 increase dominance in the NH, whereas in the SO there is no or less certainty in respect of what source, nature or anthropogenic, is causing the increase in CO2 levels?

  23. J.Hansford March 25, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Steve Short….. It appears that you have misread my context, probably not a hard thing to accomplish given the convolutions of my correspondence at times; )

    If you reread it you will find, that I am finding it curious that there is no time delay…. which is in accordance with you and what the eminent Tom Quirk is indicating…..

    Was not Tom Quirk looking for a delay in the appearance of Anthropogenic CO2 in the Southern Hemisphere as it mixed around the globe?….. and that he did not find that delay?

    It seems you also agree that there should be a delay. Your objection to Tom Quirk, is the mechanism and or reasonings for that delay it would appear?

    Or perhaps the problem lies within my own comprehension of what I have read?

  24. Richard Hill March 25, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    jae:

    According to Anthony Watt’s post last week, CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa seems to have been declining since 2004 appearently in line with decreasing ocean temperatures.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/21/recent-ocean-heat-and-mlo-co2-trends/

    I read the WUWT post to say that the rate of increase is declining. The absolute value
    is still increasing.

  25. Louis Hissink March 25, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    Given the lag time for CO2 is about 5 years, a decreasing rate of increase with a still increasing absolute value is no big deal – one expects the absolute to peak later.

    After all, the ice cores suggest the lag rate is 800 years.

    Which suggests the ice cores might have a problem.

  26. Steve Short March 25, 2009 at 8:18 pm #

    Hi Cohenite

    There is not really a mystery in the animated graph on Anthony Watts blog. What is happening is the following:

    (1) The NH has a much greater proportion of land than the SH.

    (2) This means the total NH photosynthesizing biomass has a higher proportion of land plants which interact directly with atmospheric CO2 and hence the bulk C12-C13-C14 fractionation process is more characteristic of land plants and more susceptible to both the annual land cycle of air/soil temperatures and short term differences in the input to the atmosphere of C-13 and C-14 by anthropogenic sources.

    (3) Land air/soil annual temperature cycles are more extreme than oceanic water temperature cycles overall (in the way they affect the metabolism of land plants).

    (4) Land variations in the levels of C-13 and C-14 versus C-12 in atmospheric CO2 are more extreme than over the oceans because most of humankind live on the land. Most of humankind also live in the NH.

    (5) This is why the NH exhibits a more variable level of C-13 and C-14 versus the major isotope C-12, showing a clear annual (seasonal) oscillation cycle.

    (6) Conversely, the SH is mostly ocean and hence its photosynthesizing biomass is dominated by oceanic cyanobacteria (blue green algae old term).

    (7) Unlike land plants oceanic cyanobacteria photosynthesize via the RUBISCO biochemical cycle. This means they fix CO2 NOT directly via atmospheric CO2 but via water dissolved molecular CO2(aq), which itself is in thermodynamic chemical equilibrium with bicarbonate (HCO3-) and carbonate (CO3-2) ions in the water (all three then comprising the pool of Dissolved Inorganic Carbon; DIC).

    (8) Most of the pool of DIC is therefore dominated by a bulk of older bicarbonate and carbonate which can exchange by diffusion and advective currents with the whole ocean.

    (9) The ocean also contains a greater diversity of photosynthesizing species such that there is a wider range of fractionations operating biochemically on C-13 and C-14 versus C-12 and hence there is an averaging out effect also at the biotic as well as water chemical level.

    (10) This is why the SH exhibits a much more constant level (%o) of C-13 dominated as it is by oceanic photosynthetic biomass accessing a pool of DIC dominated by a large ‘smoothing’ bulk of older carbon reflective of longer term averaged out levels of C-13 (and lower levels of C-14 as C-14 is radiogenic and continually decaying).

    This is the biogeospheric context in which Tom has made his inferences about modern global CO2 dynamics.

  27. Louis Hissink March 25, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Steve Short,

    OK, I read your post above, and while it is addressed to Cohenite, it might help to explain it for the usual idiots here in simpler terms.

    SJT, for example, might be overwhelmed.

    I only have one quibble – what you describe is assumed to occur within the thin film of the upper parts of the liquid coating, by comparison, a massive body of thermally and electromagnectically reactive matter, and rejecting any fluctuations in the physical parameters as background noise.

    You are like a coal miner’s canary taken underground to warn of a lack of oxygen – your focus on some surficial bacteria, and then deduce much great things while ignoring the waxing and waning underfoot.

  28. cohenite March 25, 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Thanks Steve; the alleged longevity of CO2 in the atmosphere and the alleged preferential constancy of ACO2 compared with the total reabsorption of ‘natural’ CO2, plus the alleged unnatural decline in C13 was, I think, a lynchpin of AGW; as usual, the ‘crisis’ and ‘evidence’ is in the models.

  29. Mae March 25, 2009 at 10:04 pm #

    Re: Nick Stokes and Richard Hill,

    you are absolutely correct, my phrasing is wrong. The comment should have read:

    “According to Anthony Watt’s post last week, the rate of CO2 increase as measured at Mauna Loa seems to have been declining since 2004 appearently in line with decreasing ocean temperatures.”

    I do think, however, that it is significant (short term, not a firm trend) that CO2, as measured at MLO, has been increasing at a smaller rate than in previous years despite the fact that overall anthropogenic CO2 output is not decreasing and, furthermore, that the short term trend of the absolute increase is also down which indicates a greater rate of absorption of CO2 than in previous years – which to me would indicate an ongoing cooling of the oceans as per the theory that a cooling ocean absorbs more CO2 while a warming ocean releases more CO2.

    You are right, of course, in this debate it is important to phrase statements with care lest they misrepresent the data and/or the conclusions drawn from it.

  30. SJT March 25, 2009 at 10:22 pm #


    Thanks Steve; the alleged longevity of CO2 in the atmosphere and the alleged preferential constancy of ACO2 compared with the total reabsorption of ‘natural’ CO2, plus the alleged unnatural decline in C13 was, I think, a lynchpin of AGW; as usual, the ‘crisis’ and ‘evidence’ is in the models.”

    You truly are thick, Cohenite, and though it has been explained to you a million times before, I’ll explain it one million plus one.

    No has claimed a ‘preferential constancy of ACO2 compared with the total reabsorption of ‘natural’ CO2.’ Your inability to understand what has been claimed just truly makes me wonder. The increase in CO2 content in the atmosphere over the natural level is due to ACO2, and that is all that has been claimed. Nature has no way of knowing if it is re-absorbing ACO2 or natural CO2. They are just absorbed in direct proportion to their level in the atmosphere.

  31. Dennis Webb March 25, 2009 at 10:26 pm #

    The paper can be bought here
    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mscp/ene/2009/00000020/F0020001/art00009

  32. cohenite March 25, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    Well, little will, what are the odds a molecule of ACO2 will be still in the atmosphere after one year?

  33. SJT March 25, 2009 at 10:57 pm #

    “Well, little will, what are the odds a molecule of ACO2 will be still in the atmosphere after one year?”

    Hang on, can’t you sort out one fact before moving the goal posts?

  34. jae March 25, 2009 at 11:40 pm #

    Nick:

    “Mae, janama, your elementary error is the kind of thing that Anthony Watt’s presentations encourage. He actually plots the time rate of change of CO2 conc, and claims, on poor evidence that that is going down. The average rate is still positive, and CO2 conc is going up.”

    I guess you meant jae, so I’ll bite.

    Understood. So far. Let’s see what happens during the next few years, before we get too certain of anything. I’m not gonna believe a computer model, that’s for sure. You got any evidence that a different trend will develop?

  35. jae March 25, 2009 at 11:42 pm #

    Make that “Do you have any evidence that a different trend will NOT develop?”

  36. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 12:39 am #

    Sorry that I have to put some objections in…

    A few of us had an extensive discussion about this paper by Tom Quirk. We had preferred to have a background discussion about his work with him before the publication, but it was already published.

    As this is a long reaction, I suppose that I need to send it in parts…

    Ferdinand Engelbeen

    —————-

    There are several assumptions in this work which render the conclusions void:

    From the introduction:

    “If there are two sources of CO2, the ocean and a biogenic or fossil fuel source then the average implies that some 4% to 33% of atmospheric CO2 has been derived from biogenic or fossil fuel sources.”

    One needs to look at the history of the d13C values: measurements in ice cores, firn and recently direct atmospheric, show a near steady state of d13C levels in the atmosphere of about -6.3 +/- 0.1 per mil in the period before 1850, decreasing faster and faster after 1850 with a d13C level below -8 per mil nowadays. Thus there was, except for a temperature induced variability, no change in d13C level until about 1850, neither in total CO2 (again derived from ice cores, firn and direct measurements). This shows that there was some kind of dynamic equilibrium between atmospheric and biogenic/oceanic compartiments with continuous and seasonal exchanges only modulated by temperature.
    See: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif

    As long as the conservation of mass holds, and the measured increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is less than what is calculated from fossil fuel use, it is impossible that there are two sources of CO2, without at the other side larger sinks which remove the “second source” completely plus near halve the human emissions in total mass of CO2. The oxygen balance (see Battle et.al.: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/287/5462/2467.pdf ) shows that the biosphere is removing about half of the total amount removed, thus the other about halve the amount is removed by the oceans, all other possible sinks being much too slow. Thus both the biosphere and the oceans are net sinks for CO2 and can’t be the cause of the CO2 increase of the atmosphere. Thus the above implication can’t be right, as there is no average of additions, but an average of one addition with two seasonal exchanges (between the atmosphere and the biosphere and between the atmosphere and the oceans surface) and one continuous exchange (with the deep oceans)…

    Section 2:

    No problems with figures 1 and 2. The problems start with fig. 3 and 4: By looking at the year by year change in d13C and CO2 levels, in fact one removes the trend which is of interest, and mainly looks at the variability around the trend. The main problem is in figure 9: The correlation between ENSO and d13C variability is relative good, but that only means that ENSO (in part) is responsible for the variability around the trend, not the trend itself! The same jumping to (wrong) conclusions was made by others, comparing temperature trends with the variability of the year by year increase of CO2: these have a quite good correlation, as there is a short term response of CO2 increase speed to temperature changes, but a only a small influence of temperature on the CO2 trend itself. Thus temperature is not the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, neither is temperature (or ENSO events) the cause of the d13C decrease.

    Have a look at the difference in appearance between looking at the variability of d13C on itself and the variability of d13C around the trend:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_var_trend.gif

    The standard error of the measuring method is about 0.03 per mil, the standard deviation of the measurements around the trend line is about 0.038 per mil. The graph makes it clear that one is studying the cause of the noise around the trend and not the cause of the trend itself…

    Section 3:

    Again no problem with Fig. 10, but the same problem with Fig. 11, where the derivative of the decrease is compared to the ENSO events, leading to the conclusion that the ENSO events are the dominant cause of the d13C decrease (which is impossible, as the oceans are positive contributors to d13C), while the only conclusion that may be made is that ENSO events (or with other words, _sea surface_ temperature) are the dominant cause of the variability around the d13C decrease…

    Section 4:

    Much is made from the supposed absence of change in seasonal variation. But that seems to be in error, as the seasonal cycle described is around the trend. In reality each end of a full seasonal cycle (as good as near each monthly average compared to the previous year) ends higher than the start of the same seasonal cycle. Thus the seasonal cycle shows a (continuous) addition of CO2, about half what the emissions added over a year, or with other words the seasonal cycle shows the same increase as the yearly averages, see the following graph of Mauna Loa values:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/mlo_co2_seasons.jpg

    Of course, again modulated by temperature variations… The rest of the emissions is absorbed by increased oceanic and biogenic uptake, but that has little to no effect on the amounts which are exchanged between the atmosphere and the oceans (90 GtC in / 92 GtC out) or the biosphere (60 GtC in / 62 GtC out), which are in seasonal opposing directions. The difference is visible mainly in the trend, not in the amplitude of the seasonal cycle.

    Section 5:

    Figure 17 shows an about 1.6 year half life time for a pulse of 14CO2 levels in the NH to mix with the SH. That is true for a one-time pulse. But a continuous addition, as is happening with CO2 in the NH, takes indefinitely to mix into the SH. That is the case as well as for absolute CO2 levels as for d13C levels.

    In the case of absolute levels the (increasing) delay nowadays is about 12 months:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg

    The correlation comparison doesn’t see a difference for multiples of 12 months, thus the conclusion that there is no lag is wrong… One need to compare trends, not correlations in this case, and the CO2 levels at the south pole reach the same values as the Mauna Loa values about one year later.

    Something similar for the d13C trends, but here even with longer delays (due to relative much smaller changes), as well as in altitude as in latitude and between the hemispheres:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_trends.jpg

    The delay between Barrow (ground level North Alaska) and La Jolla (ground level, mid-latitudes) is 1-5 years, with Mauna Loa (3,400 m) 5-8 years and with the south pole (3,000 m) 7-10 years.

    “If the increases in atmospheric CO2 are being driven by fossil fuel emissions then changes in the isotope ratio would be expected to occur first in the Northern Hemisphere and then move to the Southern Hemisphere. The result suggests that the changes in the isotope ratio start in the Southern Hemisphere. This suggests an equatorial or Southern source of CO2 emission.”

    This conclusion is wrong, as it is based on the variability around the trend, not the trends themselves. As one can see in the above trends, it is clear that the d13C decrease (from the emissions) is in the NH.

    Section 6, conclusions:

    Most of the conclusions are based on the variability around the trends and not on the trends themselves and a wrong approach of the real delay. That leads to conclusions which have no connection with the real causes of the CO2 increase and d13C decline…

    See further an extensive approach of the real causes of CO2 increase and d13C decrease at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

    Ferdinand Engelbeen and Jack Barrett

  37. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    Sorry that I have to put some objections in…

    A few of us had an extensive discussion about this paper by Tom Quirk. We had preferred to have a background discussion about his work with him before the publication, but it was already published.

    As this is a long reaction, I suppose that I need to send it in parts…

    Ferdinand Engelbeen

    —————-

    There are several assumptions in this work which render the conclusions void:

    From the introduction:

    “If there are two sources of CO2, the ocean and a biogenic or fossil fuel source then the average implies that some 4% to 33% of atmospheric CO2 has been derived from biogenic or fossil fuel sources.”

    One needs to look at the history of the d13C values: measurements in ice cores, firn and recently direct atmospheric, show a near steady state of d13C levels in the atmosphere of about -6.3 +/- 0.1 per mil in the period before 1850, decreasing faster and faster after 1850 with a d13C level below -8 per mil nowadays. Thus there was, except for a temperature induced variability, no change in d13C level until about 1850, neither in total CO2 (again derived from ice cores, firn and direct measurements). This shows that there was some kind of dynamic equilibrium between atmospheric and biogenic/oceanic compartiments with continuous and seasonal exchanges only modulated by temperature.
    See: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif

    As long as the conservation of mass holds, and the measured increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is less than what is calculated from fossil fuel use, it is impossible that there are two sources of CO2, without at the other side larger sinks which remove the “second source” completely plus near halve the human emissions in total mass of CO2. The oxygen balance (see Battle et.al.: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/287/5462/2467.pdf ) shows that the biosphere is removing about half of the total amount removed, thus the other about halve the amount is removed by the oceans, all other possible sinks being much too slow. Thus both the biosphere and the oceans are net sinks for CO2 and can’t be the cause of the CO2 increase of the atmosphere. Thus the above implication can’t be right, as there is no average of additions, but an average of one addition with two seasonal exchanges (between the atmosphere and the biosphere and between the atmosphere and the oceans surface) and one continuous exchange (with the deep oceans)…

    Section 2:

    No problems with figures 1 and 2. The problems start with fig. 3 and 4: By looking at the year by year change in d13C and CO2 levels, in fact one removes the trend which is of interest, and mainly looks at the variability around the trend. The main problem is in figure 9: The correlation between ENSO and d13C variability is relative good, but that only means that ENSO (in part) is responsible for the variability around the trend, not the trend itself! The same jumping to (wrong) conclusions was made by others, comparing temperature trends with the variability of the year by year increase of CO2: these have a quite good correlation, as there is a short term response of CO2 increase speed to temperature changes, but a only a small influence of temperature on the CO2 trend itself. Thus temperature is not the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, neither is temperature (or ENSO events) the cause of the d13C decrease.

    Have a look at the difference in appearance between looking at the variability of d13C on itself and the variability of d13C around the trend:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_var_trend.gif

    The standard error of the measuring method is about 0.03 per mil, the standard deviation of the measurements around the trend line is about 0.038 per mil. The graph makes it clear that one is studying the cause of the noise around the trend and not the cause of the trend itself…

  38. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 12:41 am #

    Part 2:

    Section 3:

    Again no problem with Fig. 10, but the same problem with Fig. 11, where the derivative of the decrease is compared to the ENSO events, leading to the conclusion that the ENSO events are the dominant cause of the d13C decrease (which is impossible, as the oceans are positive contributors to d13C), while the only conclusion that may be made is that ENSO events (or with other words, _sea surface_ temperature) are the dominant cause of the variability around the d13C decrease…

    Section 4:

    Much is made from the supposed absence of change in seasonal variation. But that seems to be in error, as the seasonal cycle described is around the trend. In reality each end of a full seasonal cycle (as good as near each monthly average compared to the previous year) ends higher than the start of the same seasonal cycle. Thus the seasonal cycle shows a (continuous) addition of CO2, about half what the emissions added over a year, or with other words the seasonal cycle shows the same increase as the yearly averages, see the following graph of Mauna Loa values:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/mlo_co2_seasons.jpg

    Of course, again modulated by temperature variations… The rest of the emissions is absorbed by increased oceanic and biogenic uptake, but that has little to no effect on the amounts which are exchanged between the atmosphere and the oceans (90 GtC in / 92 GtC out) or the biosphere (60 GtC in / 62 GtC out), which are in seasonal opposing directions. The difference is visible mainly in the trend, not in the amplitude of the seasonal cycle.

    Section 5:

    Figure 17 shows an about 1.6 year half life time for a pulse of 14CO2 levels in the NH to mix with the SH. That is true for a one-time pulse. But a continuous addition, as is happening with CO2 in the NH, takes indefinitely to mix into the SH. That is the case as well as for absolute CO2 levels as for d13C levels.

    In the case of absolute levels the (increasing) delay nowadays is about 12 months:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg

    The correlation comparison doesn’t see a difference for multiples of 12 months, thus the conclusion that there is no lag is wrong… One need to compare trends, not correlations in this case, and the CO2 levels at the south pole reach the same values as the Mauna Loa values about one year later.

    Something similar for the d13C trends, but here even with longer delays (due to relative much smaller changes), as well as in altitude as in latitude and between the hemispheres:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_trends.jpg

    The delay between Barrow (ground level North Alaska) and La Jolla (ground level, mid-latitudes) is 1-5 years, with Mauna Loa (3,400 m) 5-8 years and with the south pole (3,000 m) 7-10 years.

    “If the increases in atmospheric CO2 are being driven by fossil fuel emissions then changes in the isotope ratio would be expected to occur first in the Northern Hemisphere and then move to the Southern Hemisphere. The result suggests that the changes in the isotope ratio start in the Southern Hemisphere. This suggests an equatorial or Southern source of CO2 emission.”

    This conclusion is wrong, as it is based on the variability around the trend, not the trends themselves. As one can see in the above trends, it is clear that the d13C decrease (from the emissions) is in the NH.

    Section 6, conclusions:

    Most of the conclusions are based on the variability around the trends and not on the trends themselves and a wrong approach of the real delay. That leads to conclusions which have no connection with the real causes of the CO2 increase and d13C decline…

    See further an extensive approach of the real causes of CO2 increase and d13C decrease at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

    Ferdinand Engelbeen and Jack Barrett

  39. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 12:43 am #

    Part 2:

    Section 3:

    Again no problem with Fig. 10, but the same problem with Fig. 11, where the derivative of the decrease is compared to the ENSO events, leading to the conclusion that the ENSO events are the dominant cause of the d13C decrease (which is impossible, as the oceans are positive contributors to d13C), while the only conclusion that may be made is that ENSO events (or with other words, _sea surface_ temperature) are the dominant cause of the variability around the d13C decrease…

    Section 4:

    Much is made from the supposed absence of change in seasonal variation. But that seems to be in error, as the seasonal cycle described is around the trend. In reality each end of a full seasonal cycle (as good as near each monthly average compared to the previous year) ends higher than the start of the same seasonal cycle. Thus the seasonal cycle shows a (continuous) addition of CO2, about half what the emissions added over a year, or with other words the seasonal cycle shows the same increase as the yearly averages, see the following graph of Mauna Loa values:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/mlo_co2_seasons.jpg

    Of course, again modulated by temperature variations… The rest of the emissions is absorbed by increased oceanic and biogenic uptake, but that has little to no effect on the amounts which are exchanged between the atmosphere and the oceans (90 GtC in / 92 GtC out) or the biosphere (60 GtC in / 62 GtC out), which are in seasonal opposing directions. The difference is visible mainly in the trend, not in the amplitude of the seasonal cycle.

  40. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 12:44 am #

    Part 3:

    Section 5:

    Figure 17 shows an about 1.6 year half life time for a pulse of 14CO2 levels in the NH to mix with the SH. That is true for a one-time pulse. But a continuous addition, as is happening with CO2 in the NH, takes indefinitely to mix into the SH. That is the case as well as for absolute CO2 levels as for d13C levels.

    In the case of absolute levels the (increasing) delay nowadays is about 12 months:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg

    The correlation comparison doesn’t see a difference for multiples of 12 months, thus the conclusion that there is no lag is wrong… One need to compare trends, not correlations in this case, and the CO2 levels at the south pole reach the same values as the Mauna Loa values about one year later.

    Something similar for the d13C trends, but here even with longer delays (due to relative much smaller changes), as well as in altitude as in latitude and between the hemispheres:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_trends.jpg

    The delay between Barrow (ground level North Alaska) and La Jolla (ground level, mid-latitudes) is 1-5 years, with Mauna Loa (3,400 m) 5-8 years and with the south pole (3,000 m) 7-10 years.

    “If the increases in atmospheric CO2 are being driven by fossil fuel emissions then changes in the isotope ratio would be expected to occur first in the Northern Hemisphere and then move to the Southern Hemisphere. The result suggests that the changes in the isotope ratio start in the Southern Hemisphere. This suggests an equatorial or Southern source of CO2 emission.”

    This conclusion is wrong, as it is based on the variability around the trend, not the trends themselves. As one can see in the above trends, it is clear that the d13C decrease (from the emissions) is in the NH.

    Section 6, conclusions:

    Most of the conclusions are based on the variability around the trends and not on the trends themselves and a wrong approach of the real delay. That leads to conclusions which have no connection with the real causes of the CO2 increase and d13C decline…

    See further an extensive approach of the real causes of CO2 increase and d13C decrease at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

    Ferdinand Engelbeen and Jack Barrett

  41. VG March 26, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    Like: Nature is no longer a reliable source of information on this topic just read Steig et al recent antarctic warming padded, modelled fabricated temp and its completely debunking at Climate audit and WUTU Best Science blogs

  42. jae March 26, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    WOW! Thanks, Ferdinand and Jack.

  43. Mae March 26, 2009 at 4:00 am #

    Ferdinand and Jack,

    thank you for this detailed discussion of the paper. According to you, then, CO2 would not be increasing in the atmosphere if it weren’t for human emissions as nature is normally in balance and natural CO2 is absorbed/emitted at roughly the same rate. Did I understand this correctly?

    As you have been researching this in some detail, what would have caused the rise in CO2 as observed from the ice core data? Why did CO2 stay high for x number of centuries after temeratures fell? Do you think there is a natural limit to how much CO2 can be cleared from the atmosphere by CO2 sinks or do they rise up to the challenge, so to speak, and increase their uptake of CO2 in order to regain the previous balance (if there was one)?

    Do you have any comment on the sudden worldwide rise in methane levels observed last year? (Story in link below)

    http://www.tgdaily.com/html_tmp/content-view-39973-113.html

  44. Mae March 26, 2009 at 4:03 am #

    correction: temperatures not temeratures

  45. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 5:24 am #

    Mae,

    There was – according to ice cores – a dynamic equilibrium in atmospheric CO2, only affected by temperature variations. That seems to be around 8 ppmv/°C for the 420,000 years Vostok ice core (recently confirmed by the 800,000 years Dome C ice core):
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/Vostok_trends.gif
    The correlation is surprisingly linear, despite that a lot of underlying mechanisms are far from linear…

    The lag is a different (and mostly unresolved) problem: while the lag during warming periods is explainable as the about 800 year turnover time for deep ocean down/upwelling flows, the much longer delay of CO2 during periods of cooling towards a new ice age is difficult to explain, the more that methane does follow temperature far more closely, thus errors in ice age – gas age difference are not at the base of the lag…

    There are a few theories around, but none are satisfactory explaining what is observed. One theory sees that the lag at the end of the interglacial is directly correlated with the length of the interglacial, thus with the buildup of organic material, which may decay over longer periods, if the vegetation itself can’t grow anymore…

    About methane, difficult to comment on a one year (?) blip of 10 ppvb (0.5% of the scale). It is far more remarkable that methane levels didn’t rise anymore in the past decade… See:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/Photo_Gallery/GMD_Figures/ccgg_figures/tn/ch4_tr_global.png.html
    But here too: the high levels are from human emissions: the levels nowadays are around 1800 ppbv, but during the previous interglacial (the Eemian) with global temperatures about 2°C higher than today (Alaska and Siberia 5°C warmer…), methane levels were around 700 ppbv… It is suggested that the halt in increase is mainly from changing to “dry” rice growth in Asia.

  46. Peter March 26, 2009 at 5:52 am #

    RW: “why did whatever has raised CO2 concentrations from 280 to 387ppm not operate at any time during the previous 650,000 years?”

    I’m going to answer with a question I’ve asked many times but never got a satisfactory reply:

    What is it that caused CO2 concentrations to remain stable at around 280ppm for 650,000 years, despite many and huge changes in sinks and sources, biomass etc over that period?

  47. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 6:37 am #

    Mae,

    Forgot to add, the ice cores of extremely different accumulation rates (1.5 m/year ice equivalent per year for coastal Law Dome to a few mm per year for inland Vostok) and temperature (-20°C for Law Dome, -40°C for Vostok) show the same CO2 levels for the same gas age. For the past 1,000 years that results in the following graph:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_001kyr_large.jpg

    Although this looks like an upside down Mann graph, this one is based on real measurements, not on (selected and massaged) proxies…

    The graph ends at 335 ppmv, where the gas age of the bubbles in the ice cores of Law Dome is about from 1980. Thus there is an overlap of about 20 years between the air composition in the ice core and the atmospheric measurements at the south pole. From Etheridge e.a. (1996):
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_sp_co2.jpg

    For the full 800,000 years, the CO2 levels are changing as follows (with an average of 8 ppmv/°C):
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_800kyr_large.jpg

    I know there are some objections against ice cores going around on the Internet, mainly from Jaworowski (and Segalstad), but Jaworowski says a lot of things which are physically not possible: CO2 levels in ice cores should be reduced by leaking away via cracks, but how is it possible to measure 180-280 ppmv in ice cores, if the outside air contains 380 ppmv CO2 (and thus should leak into the ice core!)?
    See my comment on Jaworowski’s take on ice cores at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html

    (Peter, I suppose that answers your question too: there is a direct influence of temperature on CO2 levels: from 3 ppmv/°C on short term – around the current trend – to 8 ppmv/°C on -very- long term. The latter includes deep ocean flow/CO2 changes, ice sheet/vegetation area changes,…)

  48. Mae March 26, 2009 at 7:06 am #

    Ferdinand,

    thanks for the reply. Will look at the Dome C ice core data in detail once I finish with the solar influence papers. Your webpages on CO2 were very informative, thanks again.

  49. Hans Erren March 26, 2009 at 7:59 am #

    Anybody who thinks that the current rise of CO2 in the atmosphere (280-380ppm) is not of human origin needs to get some basic phics courses about conservation of mass, and som bookkeeping courses on net profit and sales.

    please read ferdinand Engelbeen, who obvoiusly was not asked by E&E as reviewer.
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

  50. Hans Erren March 26, 2009 at 8:00 am #

    Hello Ferdinand :-D

  51. cohenite March 26, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    I have followed Ferdinand’s comments at various sites about this crucial issue of the source of the increase in atmospheric CO2; his position has been argued for some time;

    http://www.radix.net/~bobg/faqs/scq.CO2rise.html

    Which is, there was a natural equilibrium between levels of CO2, temperature and sinks; this has now been upset by the burning of fossil fuels and this is indicated by both an exceptional increase, in both rapidity and type of CO2;

    http://www.bgc.mpg.de/service/iso_gas_lab/publications/PG_WB_IJMS.pdf

    See Fig 9 p17

    Of course AGW spruikers have latched onto this and argued;
    1 All the increase in CO2 concentration is due to humans
    2 This increase is exceptional
    3 This increase is responsible for AGW which will worsen with further ACO2
    4 The ACO2 is longlived and even if ACO2 is stopped now AGW effects will continue because of this longevity

    Ferdinand has looked at the relationship between temperature and CO2 levels;

    http://www.ferdinand-englebeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/epica5.gif

    I’ll leave it there and continue in another post

  52. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    Mae, I forgot to add, the ice cores of extremely different accumulation rates (1.5 m/year ice equivalent per year for coastal Law Dome to a few mm per year for inland Vostok) and temperature (-20°C for Law Dome, -40°C for Vostok) show the same CO2 levels for the same gas age. For the past 1,000 years that results in the following graph:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_001kyr_large.jpg

    Although this looks like an upside down Mann graph, this one is based on real measurements (only a few outliers from known problems were removed), not on (selected and massaged) proxies…

    The graph ends at 335 ppmv, where the gas age of the bubbles in the ice cores of Law Dome is about from 1980. Thus there is an overlap of about 20 years between the air composition in the ice core and the atmospheric measurements at the south pole. From Etheridge e.a. (1996):
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_sp_co2.jpg

    For the full 800,000 years, the CO2 levels are changing as follows (with an average of 8 ppmv/°C):
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_800kyr_large.jpg

    Peter, I suppose that answers your question too: there is a direct influence of temperature on CO2 levels: from 3 ppmv/°C on short term – around the current trend – to 8 ppmv/°C on -very- long term. The latter includes deep ocean flow/CO2 changes, ice sheet/vegetation area changes,… These ratio’s are not large enough to explain the current rise: the temperature increase since the LIA is about 0.8°C, good for about 6 ppmv increase, but we have a 100 ppmv increase since the start of the industrial revolution…

    Hallo Hans, nice to see you again…
    Indeed it is a pity that Tom’s work was not better discussed before publication… This reflects not so good on the credibility of the skeptics…

  53. Dubs March 26, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    Ferdinand, thanks for the extremely elaborate detail about how your statistical trend differs from their statistical trend because your assumption was better than their assumption. But despite all of the detail you are wrong, and the answer is 3. Why you say? Because I assumed it to be, and thus I am just as right as you. Don’t get pissed that I didn’t go through a bunch of motions, evaluate a bunch of trends, draw assumptions, and package those assumptions into a big long laborious post. From a standpoint of SCIENTIFIC PROOF, just yelling out 3 is just a more efficient version of what you did, and equally as valueless.

    FOLKS, STATISTICAL TRENDS ARE NOT SCIENCE, WHETHER THEY SUPPORT YOUR POSITIONS OR REFUTE THEM!!!!!!!!!!

    This debate continues to go from stupid to dumb on a near daily basis. If you call statistics proof, then the Models are right, Global Warming is happening, and the debate REALLY IS OVER. But if you are like me, you know that statistics PROVE NOTHING. PERIOD. Climate is thermodynamics, governed by precise laws that, when applied to a sound theory, give exact answers. Correlating trends are the furthest thing from that. Furthermore, I can shoot about 75 holes in Ferdinands assumptions and the assumptions in the in the paper, just from the quick skim I did. This is a joke. Rather than scientists demanding real data, everyone has been drawn into the alarmists’ fight, where scientific certainty WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

    I used to think this debate was about scientific integrity. Now I see that it is about jealousy. The IPCC never did a bit of science, just assumption and loose statistics, and got famous for it. And who cried foul? Other statisticians: Watts, Pielke, McKittrick, etc. So they all launched websites claiming superior assumptions, superior methods, but to date, they have not offered a shred of principled science giving their version of the story any more credibility than the IPCC. And this pattern continues to repeat itself in ever wider circles.

    I can give you 10 scientifically principled reasons why predicting CO2 levels (or the general idea of CO2 accumulation) is completely wrong and useless, why CO2 levels lag temperature changes, and why the multi-decade CO2 life cycle some claim are all totally bunk (here’s a hint: why haven’t we all been crushed by these gigatons of CO2 we’ve been emitting). But of course in so doing, I may contradict someone’s statistical assumptions and have a bunch of blogs spring up to assume statistically that I’m a jerk.

    The government owns you all, and you’ve proven yourselves ill equipped to really do anything about it but blog. Boooooorrrrrriiiiiinnnnngggggg!!!!!!

  54. cohenite March 26, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    The enhanced greenhouse effect is based on the lag between temperature increases and increases in CO2 with the consequent increases in CO2 causing slight additional warming sufficient to add enough water vapor to the system with pronounced +ve feedback from that water; but this lag relationship between temeprature and CO2 has been called into question;

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/30/co2-temperatures-and-ice-ages/#more-5392

    This paper shows there isn’t a lag relationship between temperature and CO2 because when temperature declines there is not a consistent response from CO2 levels. This not only disproves the EG effect but has ramifications for sink activity in mopping up CO2 when temperature is declining. Does this mean that CO2 is a long-lived gas? Not according to Segalstad;

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/ESEF3VO2.htm

    See section 9. In section 10 Segalstad looks at the issue of C13 in the atmosphere. There are a number of dubious aspects of a reliance on the record and the CO2 equilibrium it supposedly shows; both Jaworowski and Drake have looked at the accuracy of the CO2 records;

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jdrake/Questioning_Climate/userfiles/Ice-core_corrections_report_1.pdf

    The Drake paper finds an underestimation of past levels of CO2 with little relationship between CO2 levels and temperature, something that is evident over the 20thC and 21stC. It is interesting to note that Luthi’s paper, while not finding past CO2 levels as high as Drake [ie a maximum of 300ppm] also found little relationship between temperature and CO2 and also episodes where CO2 levels declined and increased rapidly.

    It is counterintuitive for ACO2 to be so different from natural CO2 to the extent that there is no or little capacity for sinks to reabsorb the human emissions; it is also problematic that there should be a situation where temperatures have slightly increased and yet the ocean remains a net absorber and not emitter of CO2.

  55. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 8:57 am #

    Cohenite,

    Thanks for your comment!

    Some reaction on your points:

    1 All the increase in CO2 concentration is due to humans
    2 This increase is exceptional
    3 This increase is responsible for AGW which will worsen with further ACO2
    4 The ACO2 is longlived and even if ACO2 is stopped now AGW effects will continue because of this longevity

    1. Based on all available scientific evidence, this is true and all observations fit this. All alternative explanations fail one or more observations.
    2. For the past few million years that indeed seems exceptional, on geological time spans, current CO2 levels are very low.
    3. Little, if any, proof exists for that. The much heard feedback of rising CO2 levels over the glacial-interglacial transitions is unmeasurable (see the right URL here:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/epica5.gif
    4. That is scaremongering. The long tail of thousands of years of “high” CO2 levels (as the IPCC tells us) after all emissions ceased, may be true for 10% of the increase in the atmosphere, if we burn all available oil and a lot of the available coal. Thus by far not applicable for the current increase in the atmosphere.

  56. Fred N March 26, 2009 at 9:19 am #

    Is this an early april fools or something?

    Then again this is the same journal that bought us the Beck co2 argument..

  57. Jan Pompe March 26, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    Ferdinand

    “1 All the increase in CO2 concentration is due to humans”

    1. Based on all available scientific evidence, this is true and all observations fit this. All alternative explanations fail one or more observations.

    But
    “Peter, I suppose that answers your question too: there is a direct influence of temperature on CO2 levels: from 3 ppmv/°C on short term – around the current trend – to 8 ppmv/°C on -very- long term. The latter includes deep ocean flow/CO2 changes, ice sheet/vegetation area changes,… These ratio’s are not large enough to explain the current rise: the temperature increase since the LIA is about 0.8°C, good for about 6 ppmv increase, but we have a 100 ppmv increase since the start of the industrial revolution…”

    So you are saying in one post all to current rise in CO2 has a human source but in another it’s some of the rise a contradiction I believe.

    I’m also wondering why, if there is an 800 year (or so lag) between surface temperature and CO2 level you are using the temperature rise since the LIA for your measure of the expected influence of surface temperature on CO2 levels?

  58. Dubl March 26, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    Jan, the reason for these contradictions is because we’ve been drawn into the Alarmist’s fight. Ferdinand and his types claim great scientific expertise, yet all they do is apply it to the claims of others and try to find holes. Problem is the IPCC freely makes assertions without any concern for accuracy, validity or consistency. So in the time it takes to diligently verify one, you forgot what the previous one claimed. This is why someone like Ferdinand, who by all counts is a “good guy” can’t get his facts any more straight than NBC. The Eemian period occurred 150,000 years ago and all available evidence indicates that it was ~5C hotter than today. So Ferdinand’s two statements, one about today’s CO2 level being exceptional and one suggesting a direct ratio between CO2 and temperatures are also obvious contradictions? But I give him a pass because he’s fighting the good fight.

    On the flip side, the better question to ask Ferdinand is “Why not do an ACTUAL EXPERIMENT?” How many times has the IPCC been criticized on these boards for never actually doing an experiment, just gathering and manipulating data? Yet Anthony Watts, Roger Pielke, Ferdinand and a host of others do THE EXACT SAME THING. The paper referenced in this article certainly is nothing but a treatment of existing data (hence: “Data drawn from the website http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm“).

    Want to ask some real questions? Try these?

    What holds our atmosphere in place?

    Why do clouds float?

    What maintains our standard atmospheric pressure at 1 ATM given these endless emissions?

    Why aren’t we crushed under the weight of these multi gigaton CO2 emissions that allegedly linger in our atmosphere indefinitely?

    This is where the answer lies. In the understanding of the fundamental forces that drive our climate. Statistical treatment of someone else’s data can’t answer these questions. And clearly these answers are NOT understood, otherwise someone could just do a math problem and set the whole issue to rest. But nobody wants to do that. They just want to manipulate someone else’s data, publish some loose conclusions, and get Blog-Famous. And thus, despite the many blogs, publishings, alarmist claims, and name calling, we never get any closer to resolving this inane debate. Sad.

    By the way, one more question: Jennifer, why do you keep ditching my posts?

  59. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Hello Jan,

    You ar right, 6 ppmv of the 100+ ppmv rise we see since the industrial revolution is from the temperature increase. That is not “all”. Anyway it is the bulk of the increase and temperature (or any other cause) can’t explain the rise, without violating one or more observations…

    The lag of 800 years is only true for the glacial – interglacial transition. For the opposite transition it can be up to 10,000 years. For the MWP-LIA cooling the lag was only 50 years and for the current variability around the trend, it is one to a few months.

    Even if the MWP CO2 levels would return today, that would give a drop in CO2 from current 385 ppmv to about 285 ppmv… See the Law Dome CO2 trend:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_1000yr.jpg

  60. Louis Hissink March 26, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    One other problem is how the ACO2 is estimated – from the assumption on CO2 isotopes one suspects, so that the assumption “All coal and oil is biogenic” in atmosphere has to be due to human emissions.

    It seems that the calculation estimating ACO2 yields one number that is greater than the CO2 “MEASURED” in the atmosphere. So where is the missing CO2? There isn’t any missing CO2.

    The calculation is wrong, or, the assumptions underpinning it are wrong.

  61. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 26, 2009 at 10:58 am #

    Dubs,

    No problem, although I didn’t use any statistics, only straightforward observations…

    And for “why haven’t we all been crushed by these gigatons of CO2 we’ve been emitting”:

    In fact we will be crushed even without that CO2, simply by the tons of oxygen and nitrogen over our head, if we hadn’t internally the same pressure as outside…

  62. Nick Stokes March 26, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    “I guess you meant jae, so I’ll bite.”
    No, I meant Mae. I let you off this time, because you only said we could expect it to decrease :)

    The others quoted WUWT and said it had decreased already. A natural misreading from the way WUWT presents things – you need to read the fine print there.

  63. jennifer March 26, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Just filing this note from a friend here:
    “• Residence time studies: CO2 doesn’t stay long in the atmosphere; an “accumulation slope” requires a residence time of centuries
    • Ocean CO2 reservoir 50 times greater than atmosphere’s
    • Gas solubility varies with temperature
    • Far less than predicted C12 in the atmosphere
    • Geological record mimics the same pattern
    • Little Ice Age in the recent past and warmer now
    • 3% annual human emissions, 97% natural, and that’s at the current rate, yet people have been blamed for the rise since 1850, when they were producing 0.6% of what we’re producing today.”

  64. Nick Stokes March 26, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

    Jennifer,
    Most of the points from this note are too vague to respond to. But on that last, we’ve burnt about 321 Gigatons carbon since 1751. And the increase in the air since then is about 210 Gt C.
    The argument about human emissions being 3% is silly. It sets it as a fraction of the ancient cycle of photosynthesis/respiration, which just moves carbon around. If it accumulated, on those figures, we’d be accumulating over 200 Gt every year. But it doesn’t. What we burn becomes new carbon in the system.

  65. Steve Short March 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    I haven’t put a lot of effort into reading Toms and Ferdinand’s stuff because of a high work load at present but Ferdinand’s stuff looks broadly technically correct to me.

    I worded my explanation of what happens regarding the contrast in C-13 and C-14 fractionation between the NH and SH very cautiously because I really didn’t want to start a big fight about Tom’s paper in E&E. But, sadly, it is clear to me Tom didn’t bother to do his homework on carbon isotope fractionation in the biogeosphere. As Ferdinand showed, his interpretation is quite naïve in terms of the (massive) body of literature on carbon isotope fractionation (which Tom largely ignored it seems).

    The area where I differ significantly from Ferdinand is that like most of the AGW crowd he tries hard to plays down how much carbon is being continually taken up and recycled through the global biota – both on land and in the ocean – but particularly the latter.

    There is a lot of good literature (ongoing) to show that there is a very large amount of carbon being turned over annually ‘surficially’ on the planet (in terms of total biomass and in terms of the amount of anthropogenic carbon being added). Sorry Louis – you are wrong.

    During this recycling both positive and negative heavier isotope fractionation continually takes place, depending on the species and the context. Again the literature on this is voluminous and ongoing.

    IMHO, the real reason why the AGW crowd don’t like to admit to how much carbon cycling is actually continually taking place through the global biota (both photosynthetic and aerobic decomposers) is because:

    (1) globally, photosynthetic activity (fixation of biomass) on both the land and oceans is demonstrably on the increase as a consequence of both the so-called CO2 fertilization effect AND the vastly increased anthropogenic N & P nutrient input to the continental shelves; and this in turn is

    (2) increasing both fixation of carbon on the continents and the magnitude of the oceanic sinking flux of fixed carbon; but MOST IMPORTANTLY is

    (3) increasing the flux of biogenic aerosols (DMS, isoprenes etc) being put into the atmosphere and hence the global concentration of CCN (Cloud Condensation Nuclei).

    The latter effect acts to reduce CO2 sensitivity by increasing the aerosol-sensitive SW tau, increasing both cloud density and cover, decreasing upper tropospheric specific humidity and SW albedo and will increasingly do so as the atmospheric level of CO2 rises!

    As George Carlin put it – the planet is doing just fine, it is the humans who are ****ed!

  66. Steve Short March 26, 2009 at 1:33 pm #

    Sorry typo. 2nd last paragraph should read:

    The latter effect acts to reduce CO2 sensitivity by increasing the aerosol-sensitive SW tau, increasing both cloud density and cover, decreasing upper tropospheric specific humidity and INCREASING SW albedo and will increasingly do so as the atmospheric level of CO2 rises!

  67. Reed Coray March 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    Last September I did a Least-Squares decomposition of the March 1958 through April 2008 Mauna Loa CO2 data into a few simple mathematical functions (offset, linear rate of change, quadratic rate of change, and two cosinusoids). That decomposition can be found at:

    http://s700.photobucket.com/albums/ww2/ReedCoray/

    The residuals (differences between the measured CO2 data and the model CO2 data) don’t appear to be random–as would be the case if (a) the model was complete, (b) the noise values associated with the various measurements were equal variance, but independent and zero mean. As such, it can be argued that something is amiss–likely the model is incomplete. Maybe someone on this website could look at the residuals (the last picture in the twenty-picture presentation) and associate the residual fluctuations with geological/anthropogenic events. I lack the background for such a task.

    I make no claims regarding the implications of that decomposition–that is, what physical phenomenon or phenomena are resposible for the Mauna Loa CO2 levels. However, I think it is worth noting that (a) two cosinusoidal frequencies are present in the CO2 data, and (b) those frequencies (1.000550 cycles per year and 2.000480 cycles per year) are remarkably close to an integer number of cycles per year. If someone could point me to “Excel-compatible” South Pole CO2 data similar to the Mauna Loa CO2 data, I’d be happy to attempt a similar decomposition of that data.

    Reed Coray

  68. Reed Coray March 26, 2009 at 1:36 pm #

    Last September I did a Least-Squares decomposition of the March 1958 through April 2008 Mauna Loa CO2 data into a few simple mathematical functions (offset, linear rate of change, quadratic rate of change, and two cosinusoids). That decomposition can be found at:

    http://s700.photobucket.com/albums/ww2/ReedCoray/

    The residuals (differences between the measured CO2 data and the model CO2 data) don’t appear to be random–as would be the case if (a) the model was complete, (b) the noise values associated with the various measurements were equal variance, but independent and zero mean. As such, it can be argued that something is amiss–likely the model is incomplete. Maybe someone on this website could look at the residuals (the last picture in the twenty-picture presentation) and associate the residual fluctuations with geological/anthropogenic events. I lack the background for such a task.

    I make no claims regarding the implications of that decomposition–that is, what physical phenomenon or phenomena are resposible for the Mauna Loa CO2 levels. However, I think it is worth noting that (a) two cosinusoidal frequencies are present in the CO2 data, and (b) those frequencies (1.000550 cycles per year and 2.000480 cycles per year) are remarkably close to an integer number of cycles per year. If someone could point me to “Excel-compatible” South Pole CO2 data similar to the Mauna Loa CO2 data, I’d be happy to attempt a similar decomposition of that data.

    Reed Coray

  69. stas peterson March 26, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    SJT,

    Dr. Georg Beck has shown that old scientific studies of the atmosphere published in reputable scientific journals, in the 18th and 19th centuries,agregatin to over 90,000 dailly mesuremnets, by diverse groups, shows that CO2 was never below 280 ppm. It varied all over the place up to highs after specific volcanic events like Krakatoa and Tombora to be as high as 440 ppm for a few years. But the laboratory measured average was about 335 ppm, without resorting to resorting to error-prone proxie analysis such as ice cores.

    Dr. Zbigniew Jawowroski, a world authority, and former IPCC chair of the ice core analysis group has always complained that CO2 measurement has not been corrected for the clathrate formation of CO2 under merely a few atmosphere of pressure, such as occurs as ice piles up. The CO2 in short gets depleted in ice core measurements and has not been corrected properly.

    He also notes that the marriage of the Mona Loa CO2 measures to ice core measures that we have all seen, is in a sense a a fake joining.

    To make it smooth they had to drop 82 years of data, to splice the two curves into one smooth rising curve. This was justified with some unsatisfactory scientific mumbo jumbo at the time, back in the late 1950s, and many look at the smooth curve and do not know the controversial background at all.

    As to the source of the rsing CO2, the ocean may have been out-gassing in the warm interlude of the past 50 years. Don’t forget we do not know the fluxes very well. The error range for Oceanic absorption/out-gassing is LARGER than the suggested human fossil generation annual contribution. Did you even know that?

  70. SJT March 26, 2009 at 3:20 pm #

    “But the laboratory measured average was about 335 ppm, without resorting to resorting to error-prone proxie analysis such as ice cores.”

    Yes, they were testing their own breath. Beck’s analysis is a pile of junk.

  71. gavin March 26, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    stas peterson; I also reckon SJT is on the ball with “they were testing their own breath”

    yes here we go again

    Reed Coray: Go see CO2 results from Cape Grim

  72. Steve Short March 26, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    “I make no claims regarding the implications of that decomposition–that is, what physical phenomenon or phenomena are resposible for the Mauna Loa CO2 levels. However, I think it is worth noting that (a) two cosinusoidal frequencies are present in the CO2 data, and (b) those frequencies (1.000550 cycles per year and 2.000480 cycles per year) are remarkably close to an integer number of cycles per year. If someone could point me to “Excel-compatible” South Pole CO2 data similar to the Mauna Loa CO2 data, I’d be happy to attempt a similar decomposition of that data.”

    Examination of data such as Chlorophyll a, SSTs, Diffuse Attenuation Coefficient at 490 nm (a measure of biomass in the top 50 m of the ocean) and other related parameters from the SeaWFS and Aqua satellites shows quite clearly that there are exactly two annual cycles of high cyanobacterial primary productivity in oceans of the NH. One of those annual phases (the larger) also coincides with the peak spring/summer land plant growing period in the NH. This is the source of the 2.000 cycles per year cosinusoidal frequency i.e. biotic.

    Why there should be two distinct NH oceanic consortia producing two annual phases of cyanobacterial blooming in the NH oceans (i.e. blooming in two distinct water temperature ranges) is an interesting and as yet unresolved question. Is it a modern adaptation to the hemisphere where most anthropogenic CO2 is being generated? Or is it (say) a paleo-evolved consequence of the timing of Fe and Si export in dusts from the (proportionately larger) NH continents e.g Sahara, Gobi etc?

    The other 1.000 cycle per year cosinusoidal frequency relates to the annual cycle of water temperatures and hence the solubility of CO2 in water i.e. physicochemical. Anthropogenic CO2 is generated at more or less the same rate all year round.

    The 2.000 cycles per year cosinusoidal is not evident in the SH i.e. there is only one consortium of cyanobacteria evolved to all bloom at more or less the same time. In the SH, oceans dominate over continents.

  73. Louis Hissink March 26, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    Steve Short,

    So now we have 13C and 14C as the critical isotopes?

    So how is ACO2 discriminated from NCO2? (N= Natural). On delta 13C or a new one based on 14C and 13C, and if that is the case, given the absolute quantities of 13C versa 14C, we are heading very quickly to another Langmuire instance of minute agents having tipping point effects.

  74. Ian George March 26, 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Can someone AGWer please explain why in the Eemian period the temps rose from -10C to almost 5C yet CO2 levels rose only 100ppm.
    According to the IPCC, the CO2 level has risen more than 100ppm in the last century but temps have risen only 1C. If CO2 is the primary driver, why the discrepancy? Maybe Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski is correct – measurements of CO2 based on ice core samples are faulty. And E G Beck might be right. Surely measurements of CO2 in the past can’t be that wrong – Cavendish measured the level of oxygen as about 21% in the late 1700s so the ability to measure air percentages was sound. There must be more significant factors which drive or balance the climate which are not being factored into the computer models.

  75. SJT March 26, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    ‘And E G Beck might be right. Surely measurements of CO2 in the past can’t be that wrong – ”

    It doesn’t matter how good your instrument is if you don’t know how to use it. The conditions for climate stability and climate change vary considerably depending on the circumstances. I don’t why the hang up about what happened in the past, we are measuring and determining what is happening now. We simply can’t know all the answers about the past and exactly what happened and why, much as we will never know exactly what happened with evolution. There are enough bits and pieces available to us to put together a good case.

  76. Julian Braggins March 26, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    With reference to the debunking of Jarowowski’s objections would someone please explain how the “faceted cavities” left by CO2 and N2 clathrates when they refill with present day atmospheric level gases are representitive of the atmosphere of formation at 700 plus meters depth ? I know only “clear ice” is used, evacuated , ground and the resulting gases measured, but as the pressure lowered, surely the near surface clathrates would explode, and the resulting cavities be orders of magnitude less than the volume of free air they represented?

  77. SJT March 26, 2009 at 7:57 pm #

    “So how is ACO2 discriminated from NCO2? (N= Natural). On delta 13C or a new one based on 14C and 13C, and if that is the case, given the absolute quantities of 13C versa 14C, we are heading very quickly to another Langmuire instance of minute agents having tipping point effects.”

    Once again Louis, you demonstrate your complete lack of understanding of what the case for AGW is.

  78. Nick Stokes March 26, 2009 at 9:04 pm #

    Ian George,
    I can’t explain offhand the temp rise in the Eemanian. But the thinking behind your question is wrong. The AGW proposition is that if you dig up and burn hundreds of Gt carbon, the resulting CO2 rise will force up temperatures. It does not say that all past temp rises must have been caused by CO2. In fact, that’s quite unlikely, because artificial forcing of CO2 is unique to our times.

  79. CoRev March 26, 2009 at 9:19 pm #

    Folks, finally a GREAT discussion with little of the carping! Except from the usual crowd. Steve Short and Cohenite, I always enjoy your responses, and am disappointed when you are too busy or put off to participate here.

    Jennifer, after a year of reviewing the many sites, I find yours to be one of the premier. Great job! Thanks.

  80. Ian George March 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm #

    Nick So let’s take a look closer to home. From 1910 – 1940 there was a CO2 increase of 10ppm which resulted in an 0.5C increase in temp. From 1978 – 2008 there was an increase of around 50ppm which resulted in a rise of 0.45 in temp. What caused the sudden rise back then? Obviously not CO2. I say again; what are the other factors that drive climate which are not included in the IPCC modelling. Of course CO2 will cause a marginal increase in temps (especially night time minimums) but not the extreme increases which are often touted by AGWers.
    SJT Can I paraphrase your statement, “It doesn’t matter how good your instrument is if you don’t know how to use it.” It doesn’t matter how good your computer is if you don’t know how to program it. They can’t get the temp increase correct, they predict a ‘hot spot’ which has not been found and they have ‘mispredicted’ the hurricane index. In reference to Beck, if Cavendish (in the 1700s) could get the oxygen level right, it would be fair to say that a later generation measuring CO2 levels wouldn’t be out by nearly 20%.

  81. SJT March 26, 2009 at 10:42 pm #

    The oxygen level in the atmosphere is far higher than the level of CO2. If you are breathing in the same room as you are measuring, that’s enough to throw out the measurements by a significant amount. Eli Rabett had a topic where they drove around some city taking random measurements. the readings, of course, were all over the place, depending on how close they were to some CO2 source. Beck is an ingoramous. The Mauna Loa readings have been duplicated in many places around the world, with all sites agreeing on the well mixed background level to within a few percent. Such fluctuations as Beck claims have never been observed.

  82. cohenite March 26, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    The AIRS map shows the hemispheric difference in atmospheric levels of CO2;

    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA09269_modest.jpg

    As well as the uneven mix of this supposedly well-mixed gas there are clear bands of higher concentrations of CO2 in the SH and ‘hot-spots’ of CO2 in the NH; it is clear there is net outgassing at these locations, and/or uptake by oceanic [predominantly] biota; given this, and Steve’s comments, it is likely that fractionation of C13 and C12 occurs so as to produce the noted decline in the C13 ratio; an interesting issue would be whether the levels of C13 are hemispherically differentiated; in any event this lessons the mantra, based on C13 levels, that the increase in CO2 is because of ACO2.

  83. janama March 26, 2009 at 11:07 pm #

    But if you look at the global pictures you will see a common thread – 30 degree lat.

    http://www.users.tpg.com.au/johnsay1/stuff/lat_1.jpg

    http://www.users.tpg.com.au/johnsay1/stuff/lat_2.jpg

    Pamela is onto it.

  84. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 27, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    There is a lot of reaction in a few hours here!

    Some remarks on the historical measurements of Ernst Beck: some methods were reasonable accurate (+/- 10 ppmv), others were aimed to measure exhaled air (2,000 ppmv) with an accuracy of +/- 150 ppmv. Measurements done over sea and coastal places (with wind from the sea) give similar values as the Antarctic ice cores. But the peaks, especially the 1942 peak (80 ppmv up and down in 15 years) is from measurements done in towns, forests and rice fields… Completely wrong places for measuring “background” CO2 levels. The more that other methods (ice cores, stomata data, coralline sponges) don’t show anything special around 1942 beyond the trend. See further my comment on Beck’s data at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html

    About Jaworowski: I haven’t found anything in what Jaworowski writes which isn’t to be taken with a lot of salt. E.g. cracks and leaks should lead to a decrease of CO2 in the measurements, according to him, but they find 180-280 ppmv inside and the outside world is 380 ppmv, thus cracks should lead to increased CO2 levels (which is observed…).
    And he obvious doesn’t know the difference between the age of the ice at a certain depth and the much younger age of the enclosed air at the same depth. Quite remarkable for an ice core specialist… See my comment on his findings here:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html

    Thus please don’t refer to the historical data sampled by Ernst Beck, a lot of these data are worthless and simply forget Jaworowski, what he says is completely wrong from begin to end.

  85. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 27, 2009 at 2:11 am #

    Dubl,

    Why are you spoiling our pleasure to have debating the number of angels on a pinhead?

    And we are doing a big experiment by burning a lot of fossil fuels in short time (if that is harmful or beneficial, that is the question…)

    Further about your “big” questions:

    “What holds our atmosphere in place?”
    Something that is called gravity, you may be aware of. All molecules have a mass and a maximum move speed. If that is over 11 m/s (for the earth), such molecules can escape to space. That is the case for the lightest molecule: hydrogen. For smaller planets and our moon, the escape speed is (much) lower, as there is less gravity to retain the molecules, therefore the moon has no atmosphere.

    “Why do clouds float?”
    Depends of the size of the water drops. Very small drops are floating in the air, due to the movements of air molecules. Larger drops are heavier and can’t float and drop out. One does call that rain.

    “What maintains our standard atmospheric pressure at 1 ATM given these endless emissions?”
    The accumulation of CO2 was from about 280 to about 385 ppmv, or from 0.028% to 0.038%. In air pressure that should give an increase from 1016 mbar to 1016.1 mbar, hardly measurable in the noise. The calculation is not completely right as the increase is in volume, not in weight, and the total volume increases too. Whatever it really is, it is hardly measurable.

    “Why aren’t we crushed under the weight of these multi gigaton CO2 emissions that allegedly linger in our atmosphere indefinitely?”
    Because we have inside the same pressure as outside. Think of an airplane taking off with a bad cabin pressure control, or a fast descend from a mountain road. Or deep diving without adjusting the pressure of the breathing apparatus (or without any equipment)

  86. Reed Coray March 27, 2009 at 3:42 am #

    I would like to thank Gavin (26 March 3:50 pm) for pointing me to the Cape Grim CO2 data; and to thank Steve Short (26 March 4:55 pm) for identifying a likely source of northern hemisphere atmospheric CO2 yearly and twice yearly fluctuations. I wish I had the background to understand everything Steve wrote, but my knowledge of biology is almost nonexistent.

    Reed Coray

  87. kuhnkat March 27, 2009 at 4:19 am #

    Nick Stokes declaimed:

    “Ian George,
    I can’t explain offhand the temp rise in the Eemanian. But the thinking behind your question is wrong. The AGW proposition is that if you dig up and burn hundreds of Gt carbon, the resulting CO2 rise will force up temperatures. It does not say that all past temp rises must have been caused by CO2. In fact, that’s quite unlikely, because artificial forcing of CO2 is unique to our times.”

    You can’t be seriously suggesting that the radiative physics between atmospheric anthro CO2 and natural Co2 are substantially different?? That NATURAL co2 is not going to give the Modeled temp increase??

  88. Ian George March 27, 2009 at 5:01 am #

    Ferdinand Engelbeen Even if, as you claim, CO2 never rose above 300ppm in the past, why was there such a huge variation in temps (almost 15C) during the last 600,000 years. It couldn’t have been CO2 that caused the variations in temps. Also in regards to measuring CO2 you say in part, “…. is from measurements done in towns, ………….… . Completely wrong places for measuring “background” CO2 levels.” Sounds like some of the weather stations we collect temperature data from now.
    SJT confirms this problem of data which is affected by urban environments with his “Eli Rabett had a topic where they drove around some city taking random measurements. The readings, of course, were all over the place, depending on how close they were to some CO2 source.”
    So I repeat – why the 0.5C from 1910-1940 with only 10ppm CO2 increase but then between 1940 – 1975, there was a drop of 0.1C in temp despite an increase of around 25ppm for CO2.

  89. kuhnkat March 27, 2009 at 5:22 am #

    Ferdinand E,

    you are obviously more knowledgeable than most of us on the subject of CO2, so I will ask you this question.

    http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/1996/Oct96/chr100296.html

    This is an article on the discovery that a full rain forest existed in the Brazilian basin during the ice age. It had been ASSUMED by many scientists that during the ice ages the tropics were mostly savannah.Savannah would be CONSISTENT with low CO2 levels. This directly contradicts the ASSUMPTIONS. There are also other paleo data on the stomata of plants that give ballpark estimates of CO2 levels. Why do these data tend to suggest that the earth probably never went below 200ppm much less down to 180ppm, yet, you appear to be so sure that the ice core data is at such a high level of confidence???

  90. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 27, 2009 at 7:14 am #

    Ian George,

    I don’t think that CO2 has the influence that most models give it (1.5-4.5°C/2xCO2). There is no measurable feedback effect of a drop of 40 ppmv CO2 at the end of the Eemian, see:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/eemian.html

    Thus if there is some help of CO2 in the increase/decrease of temperature, it is rather weak.
    The models include a larger influence of CO2, and for the 1945-1975 cooler period, they explain that with a huge cooling caused by aerosols as result of sulfate emissions (from coal and oil burning). But that too are quite sure overestimates. The cleanup of sulfate emissions in Europe didn’t cause a change in temperature as expected where the largest influence should be seen:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/aerosols.html

    What is more and more visible is that the PDO and other oceanic oscillations have a much larger influence on temperature than the extra CO2 or aerosols. The flat temperature in the period 1945-1975 and 2000-current are with a negative PDO and the uptick 1975-2000 was with a positive PDO (and NAO)… If it is the sun or not which triggers the switches is another unresolved question…

    The change from ice age to interglacial and back is mainly a question of combination of factors: a small change in the earth’s rotation around the sun and around its own axis gives some small changes in heat input and/or distribution. This can start some more ice formation, which has a higher albedo, thus reflecting more sunlight to space, thus making it colder, thus more ice,… until we are in an ice age where only the tropics are at near the same temperature as today. The opposite happens when a small increase in solar input/distribution starts to melt a part of one of the ice sheets,…

    According to the models, there must be some help from GHGs, but there is no measurable impact visible…

  91. Eyrie March 27, 2009 at 7:38 am #

    Ferdinand: According to the models, there must be some help from GHGs, but there is no measurable impact visible…

    Depends which GHGs you are talking about I guess. Maybe all the others besides water have little effect, being overwhelmed by H2O effects and hence not being distinguishable from noise in the paleo record?

    In which case we should not worry about a little extra CO2.

  92. Ian George March 27, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    Ferdinand Thanks for the above information. I read a report that if aerosols/sulfate emissions were cleaned up, temps could rise some 1.5C on top of the present increases so I thought a slowing of this global dimming effect may have resulted in some temp rise in recent decades.
    On another point, I too would like to see a decrease in the amount of fossil fuel used and that we move towards greener, more sustainable energy sources. However, it is frustrating that we put too much store on CO2 causing the problem – if this mantra is wrong, then credibility will be lost and green energy may be put on the backburner (so to speak). Both sides of the argument need to be more transparent and not make alarmist statements. Let real science and evidence be the driver of this debate.

  93. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 27, 2009 at 7:40 am #

    Kuhnkat,

    One need to be cautious with any form of historical measurements, and even more with proxies which may (or not) have a correlation with some ancient variable…

    Ice cores, although that are direct measurements of ancient atmospheres must be handled with utmost care, including up to a year relaxation to allow the deep cores to expand without cracks. If all preventions of contamination are taken, the results are OK within about 1.2 ppmv CO2 for adjacent ice cores and within 5 ppmv for distant ice cores, for the same average gas age.

    As current levels of CO2 show the same CO2 levels at the south pole as for the rest (95%) of the atmosphere within a year (despite fast changes in level), that gives confidence that ice cores show more or less global CO2 levels of ancient atmospheres…

    The main disadvantage of ice cores is the averaging of many years of CO2 levels, increasing from about 8 years (over the last century) for the fast accumulating Law Dome ice cores to 800 years for Vostok (over 420,000 years).

    I had a few (even recent) discussions with one of the authors of stomata (index) data series. There is one fundamental problem with stomata data (besides the accuracy of +/- 10 ppmv):

    By definition, leaves grow on plants on land. That gives already a positive bias (the average CO2 level in a forest over a day is 30-40 ppmv higher than background). That wouldn’t be a problem (stomata data are calibrated against ice cores…) if there were no changes in landscape over the (long) history (outside the calibration period). But one of the series investigated in The Netherlands (St. Odiliënberg) may have seen a change of marshes to forests and to agriculture over the centuries in the main wind direction…

    The over land CO2 bias also can explain the case of the presence of forests in the tropics, even at very low background CO2 levels…

  94. Steve Short March 27, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    “Ian George,

    I don’t think that CO2 has the influence that most models give it (1.5-4.5°C/2xCO2). There is no measurable feedback effect of a drop of 40 ppmv CO2 at the end of the Eemian, …..”

    Again well said Ferdinand. It is nice to see you conclude there is a reduced sensitivity to CO2 ‘than most models give it (1.5-4.5°C/2xCO2).’

  95. Nick Stokes March 27, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    kuhnkat asks me: “You can’t be seriously suggesting that the radiative physics between atmospheric anthro CO2 and natural Co2 are substantially different?? That NATURAL co2 is not going to give the Modeled temp increase??”
    No, certainly not. The reason why CO2 is not such a likely driver of past change is that there is no obvious reason why its concentration in the atmosphere should increase, apart from temperature. And if temperature is the cause, then it is operating as a feedback rather than a forcer. There’s only a rather fixed amount of CO2 in circulation between atmosphere, biosphere/land and ocean at any time, of order about 2000 Gt.

    What is unique about the present circumstances is that human activity has taken 320 Gt of fossil C and put it in the atmosphere. That is a very direct and forceful CO2 driver, which can’t be compared with any previous events. It’s not that that C has different properties; just that there is a lot of it.

  96. Tom Quirk March 27, 2009 at 9:50 am #

    Dear All

    I seem to have been pursued by Ferdinand Engelbeen all around the globe for my sins.

    I will only reply to the points about the analysis technique as I think everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.

    The technique that I have used to get rid of the seasonal variations is year on year differences. A technique often used by economists!

    This technique exposes the underlying trend but gets rid of annual variations. It can then be used to build up the trend line. It is the derivative of the trend line it is not fluctuations about the trend. This can be seen even by looking at the South Pole data of Figure 3 where the seasonal variations are small.

    The example in the paper of Figure 5 shows the behaviour of CO2 concentrations analysed using the same approach to get quarterly data points. It shows all the detail with a sharpness of using monthly measurements compared to the coarseness of Figure 1A which is the annual changes. The finer detail is lost in yearly measurements that also remove the seasonal variations.

    If you look at Figures 10 and 11, Figure 11 shows the derivative of the curve in Figure 10

    All the results of isotope changes and timing can be seen or derived from annual measurements however the finer details are lost.

    The behaviour of the seasonal variations of CO2 is exactly the opposite problem with a twist. It is clear that when the summer season ends the CO2 concentration is larger than the previous period but this is also true of the base of the trough. So the interesting question is whether the peak to trough spread increases year by year as more plants are created or bulk up as they take some part of the fossil fuel CO2 out of the atmosphere.

    You cannot and I did not take year on year differences as this would transfer any growth trend out of the seasonal variation residue. I took the averages of before and after peaks against the trough and before and after troughs against a central peak.

    This analysis of seasonal variations is not new. It was discussed by Woodwell et al in 1978 (Science 199, 141(1978)) with much the same conclusion.

    The analysis stands as found.

    How it is understood is for all of us

    Tom

  97. Steve Short March 27, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    “No, certainly not. The reason why CO2 is not such a likely driver of past change is that there is no obvious reason why its concentration in the atmosphere should increase, apart from temperature. And if temperature is the cause, then it is operating as a feedback rather than a forcer. There’s only a rather fixed amount of CO2 in circulation between atmosphere, biosphere/land and ocean at any time, of order about 2000 Gt.”

    I’m sorry, but I think that is a totally unsafe assumption Nick for the following very good reasons:

    (1) Putting aside actual so-called fossil carbon (i.e. shales, coal, oil, gas tar sands) which are all relatively unreactive geologically overall (unless those pesky humans dig them up and burn them) there are in fact (today) substantial pools of potentially more reactive ‘fixed’ carbon other than the active biosphere’s biomass. I refer to the carbon held in undersea methane hydrate deposits, the methane held in tundral permafrost, the organic carbon held in broad scale peat deposits, the organic carbon held in deep sea ooze deposits, the inorganic carbon held in outcropping karstic limestones, calcretes etc., etc.

    (2) There is plenty of paleological evidence that the Earths biomass has varied widely n magnitude over 100s of million of years, particularly as a result of shifts in the dispositions of the continents, major changes in average continental aridity (and hence land plant biomass), changes in the depths of oceans and degree of circulation available to oceans. For example, what body of carbon reduced dissolved to produce the episodes of bulk oceanic anoxia and atmospheric hydrogen sulfide? It wasn’t volcanos for sure. For example, like the closing of the Panama Isthmus before it, the opening of the Drake Passage only ~41 My ago had a profound effect on the Southern Ocean and on the biomass in the Southern Ocean as it enabled a full global distribution of scare Fe, Si and N-based nutrients – much of it sourced from the volcanos of the Southern Andes. It is implausible to suggest that major global geophysical changes and step shifts did not at least access significant proportions of the above-mentioned ‘non-fossil’ relatively accessible bulk pools of carbon (noting that today about 50% of the biomass carbon resides on the continents and about 48% in the oceans ±2% or so either way).

    (3) Even in just the last 400 My the partial pressure of CO2 has varied from less than half the present level up to at least 10 – 15 times the present level.

  98. cohenite March 27, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    Steve;

    “Even in just the last 400 My the partial pressure of CO2 has varied from less than half the present level up to at least 10 – 15 times the present level”

    Does that mean the conventional CO2 record is underdone;

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7193/fig_tab/nature06949_F2.html

  99. gavin March 27, 2009 at 10:50 am #

    “One need to be cautious with any form of historical measurements, and even more with proxies which may (or not) have a correlation with some ancient variable” is a classic statement by Ferdinand and its followed by a another quality post on the subject.

    Perhaps it would help Kuhnkat if I mentioned other difficulties in obtaining some scientific objective. There were many days when I drove round a sprawling city looking at instruments, checking systems and making measurements, occasionally doing the various types in one day. I could write a whole chapter on personal perception as applied to perceived instrument errors.

    Having assumed certain background readings for temp, humidity O2, CO2, Ph etc it was only necessary to bring client’s private gear into line with the better R&D Labs and UNIs (steady as she goes approach). However this question frequently arose; how long do we wait for readings to stabilise before some new change over runs the present situation?

    Standardizing a particular test every time with aging probes in often crappy conditions becomes a dream. Elitism in so called “scientific” labs becomes a problem too as rigid routines can miss important response factors that cloud normal measurements. We in industry however had an umbrella organisation with international connections called NATA with well established roots in mutual recognition procedures long before some of the scientific disciplines. It’s in this way I can claim that our industrial process control and appropriate standards of measurement quickly out grew other R&D.

    http://www.nata.asn.au/

    Note too in recent times all the above has travelled on the back of the space industry.

  100. Steve Short March 27, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    Hi Cohenite

    The paper you quote only refers to the last 800 ky i.e. approx. the 2nd half of the Pleistocene.

    I was referring to the last 400 My. I think you owe me an ‘Oops’ (;-)

  101. gavin March 27, 2009 at 11:48 am #

    Steve; imo cohenite is waiting with baited breath for that moment when we are tipped right over this warming peak

  102. Nick Stokes March 27, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Steve,
    First a typo (sort of) – I meant to say 2000 Gt C, not CO2, in circulation.
    I tried to qualify the phrase carefully. I don’t say that it is impossible for CO2 to be a driver, just that it’s not so likely. The reason is partly that there is not so much C in circulation; something approaching half of that is already currently in the atmosphere, so there’s no apparent big source, absent human activity. But of course, the qn then is, what does “in circulation” mean? You’ve listed lots of other carbon reserves. Now they are not currently exchanging C with the atmosphere, and there are various reasons for believing that they haven’t done so in the past (1 My say). Methane hydrates, if they gasified, would leave a big CH4 peak in the ice cores. Limestone requires much acid to liberate CO2 on a large scale, and there’s no obvious candidate. Peat and ooze would require some large scale upheaval to bring them in contact with oxygen.

    It’s hard to imagine anything other than climate itself which could cause the widespread rapid liberation of CO2 from any of its sources. Sure there are much slower processes like tectonic movements which can affect the biosphere etc. And on a scale of millions of years, other possibilities open up.

    The point I am really trying to make here is that there is currently a unique interference with carbon distribution, which it is said will lead to warming. You shouldn’t extend that to saying that all warming is caused by CO2. Some could, but it isn’t a leading candidate. And you always have to go a stage further – if it’s postulated that CO2 rise caused a certain warming, then what made the CO2 rise.

  103. Ferdinand Engelbeen March 27, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    reaction on comment from: Tom Quirk March 27th, 2009 at 9:50 am

    Dear Tom,

    Thanks for your reaction.

    I don’t think that we have much problems with the way the data are smoothed. But there are two main problems which make your conclusions not very likely:

    - The main problem is that you don’t compare ENSO events with the trend but with the derivative of the trend:

    From the paper (after Fig. 11, which shows the derivative of d13C changes at SPO compared to a simple step model (constant source of low d13C, combined with ENSO):

    “The correlation of changes in d13C with ENSO events and the comparison with a simple model of a series of cascades suggest that the changes in d13C in the atmosphere have little to do with the input of CO2 emissions from the continuous use of fossil fuels.”

    But you have a good correlation between ENSO and the derivative of the d13C decline, not the d13C decline itself, which is completely dominated by the “constant low d13C source”… In the trend itself, ENSO only is the cause of the noise, not the cause of the trend.

    - The second problem is the timing problem:

    From chapter 5:

    “There does not appear to be any time difference between the hemispheres. This suggests that the annual increases may be coming from a global or equatorial source.”

    But that is based on a correlation comparison. But the comparision doesn’t make any differentiation between zero and multiples of 12 months delays…

    For the different NH/SH stations there is a clear delay if you look at the real trends:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends_1995_2004.jpg

    It is quite clear that there is an over 12 months delay in CO2 levels between Mauna Loa and the south pole, thus the source is clearly in the NH, and your conclusion is wrong.

    Even more pronounced for the d13C changes:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_trends.jpg

    Where the delay is several years…

    Thus that are two main objections. I haven’t digged deeper in the lack of amplitude change of the seasonal variability as result of increasing CO2 sinks. Maybe of interest, but the two foregoing problems make your conclusions about the source of the CO2 increase and d13C decline unsubstantiated… The more that the oceans can’t be the cause of the d13C decline, as the (deep) oceans have a higher d13C level than the atmosphere…

    Regards,

    Ferdinand Engelbeen

  104. Reed Coray March 27, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    Reference: Steve Short March 26th, 2009 at 4:55

    Steve, I gave what you said some thought, and two things still puzzle me. First, you wrote
    “…there are exactly two annual cycles of high cyanobacterial primary productivity in oceans of the NH.” To me, the term “two annual cycles” implies two distinct sinusoids each with a period of one year (and hence a frequency of one cycle per year), but with different phases (i.e., different times at which the sinusoids “peak”) and/or different amplitudes. If this is what you meant, then the net (combined) behavior of these patterns is NOT a sinusoid at two cycles per year, but rather is a single sinusoid at one cycle per year.

    Mathematically, let f be the common frequency of two sinusoids, A the amplitude of the first sinusoid, g the phase of the first sinusoid, B the amplitude of the second sunsoid, and h the phase of the second sinusoid, then the sum of these two sinusoids will be a sinusoid with frequency f, amplitude C, and phase i — i.e.,

    A*COS(2*pi*f*t + g) + B*COS(2*pi*f*t + h) = C*COS(2*pi*f*t + i)

    where C = square root of [A*A + 2*A*B*COS(g - h) + B*B]
    and i is the angle (in radians) between 0 and 2*pi
    whose x component is A*COS(g) + B*COS(h), and
    whose y component is A*SIN(g) + B*SIN(h)

    It may be that the “CO2 patterns” associated with “high cyanobacterial primary productivity” are not sinusoids–maybe more like impulses. If they are “impulse like”, the spectrum would have components of various amplitudes at frequencies equal to all integer multiples of one cycle per year. But then, I would expect to see cyclical CO2 behavior at 3, 4, 5 … cycles per year. I don’t see such behavior in the residuals, but maybe it’s there and swamped by noise.

    However, if by the term “two annual cycles” you meant a single sinusoid with two complete oscillations per year, then such a phenomenon would have a period of one-half year and hence a frequency of two cycles per year. Would you please clarify what you meant by the term “two annual cycles”?

    Second, you wrote “One of those annual phases (the larger) also coincides with the peak spring/summer land plant growing period in the NH. This is the source of the 2.000 cycles per year cosinusoidal frequency i.e. biotic.” If I understand you, the cosinusoid at a frequency of two cycles per year should have a larger amplitude than the cosinusoid at a frequency of one cycle per year. This is opposite to my decomposition. The cosinusoid at frequency one cycle per year has an amplitude of 2.793 ppm and the cosinusoid at frequency two cycles per year has an amplitude of 0.776 ppm.

    Any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

    Reed Coray

  105. cohenite March 27, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    Steve; Yep, 2 oops actually; any such oops in that presentation; it’s on tommorrow.

    gavin; the only thing I’m waiting for is this hysteria to die down so I can go back to reading old Phantom comics and go surfing.

  106. SJT March 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    “- The main problem is that you don’t compare ENSO events with the trend but with the derivative of the trend:”

    I was puzzling over that, too.

  107. Mark A. York March 27, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    Still crazy after all these years. Just keep thinking there, Butch. The earth will be flattened yet.

  108. Andrew March 27, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

    The statement is made that

    “A tracer for CO2 transport from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere was provided by 14C created by nuclear weapons testing in the 1950’s and 1960’s.The analysis of 14C in atmospheric CO2 showed that it took some years for exchanges of CO2 between the hemispheres before the 14C was uniformly distributed…”

    This has an element of truth in that nuclear weapons did create large amounts of 14C and this did allow tracking of the atmosphere containing it. However Tom Quirk omitted to mention are a few other important facts.

    The nuclear weapons injected most of the 14C into the stratosphere and this certainly showed that there is very little mixing of the northern and southern hemisphere regions of the stratosphere. It is also known that there is very little mixing of the stratosphere and troposphere (the layer of atmosphere between ground level and the stratosphere).

    However most anthropogenic CO2 is released into the troposphere, and it is known that there is rapid mixing of the south and northern hemispheric regions of the troposphere through normal weather systems. This rapid mixing rather undermines his whole argument.

    Andrew

  109. Steve Short March 27, 2009 at 3:47 pm #

    Reed Coray

    “However, if by the term “two annual cycles” you meant a single sinusoid with two complete oscillations per year, then such a phenomenon would have a period of one-half year and hence a frequency of two cycles per year. Would you please clarify what you meant by the term “two annual cycles”?”

    Yes, sorry for the confusing language – I meant 2.0 cycles per year (one of larger amplitude,on of smaller).

    “The cosinusoid at frequency one cycle per year has an amplitude of 2.793 ppm and the cosinusoid at frequency two cycles per year has an amplitude of 0.776 ppm.”

    This is to be expected. The cosinusoid at frequency 1.0 cycle per year derives simply from physicochemical exchange of CO2 between atmosphere and ocean. The colder the water the higher the CO2 solubility and vice versa. This is a much more powerful flux than the overlaying balance of the biotic CO2 fluxes which abstract dissolved CO2 (CO2(aq)) (plus bicarbonate) from the water in (near surface) cyanobacterial photosynthesis and partly returns it to the water during the dark (aerobic) decay of sinking organic particles (principally dead cyanobacteria and dead zooplankton who have fed on them).

    Do you see any evidence that the 2.0 cycle per year cosinusoid has differing amplitudes between each of the two cycles? It is certainly evident in the NH satellite-sensed Chlorophyll a signal and the Diffuse Attenuation at 490 nm signal (a measure of total biomass in the top 50 m or so). Email me your address and I’ll send you example plots of these. You can then decide for yourself whether they are more like cycles or pulses.

  110. Christopher Hanley March 27, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    The temperature of this interglacial is well within historic precedent.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Ice_Age_Temperature.png

    Levels of atmospheric CO2, anthropogenic or otherwise, look like being irrelevant.

    Folks, enjoy it while it lasts

  111. Reed Coray March 28, 2009 at 1:51 am #

    Steve, March 27th, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    I’d be happy to see the plots you mentioned and to exchange E-mails with you. However, I don’t have your E-mail address, and I’m reluctant to post my E-mail address on this blog. I’m not sure how we overcome this difficulty. One way would be for you to post your E-mail address–but I understand if you too are reluctant. Maybe we can get Jennifer to act as a go between–she could E-mail you my Email address and vice-versa.

    Sincerely, Reed Coray

  112. Steve Short March 28, 2009 at 8:38 am #

    Hi Reed

    Please just click on my name at the top of my posts and it will take you directly to my company’s little web site front page which has an email address. Please note FYI that on this blog the few names that are highlighted in bold (bold blue in Firefox for me) at the top of each post will take you directly to that person’s web site. We are the hairy chested (dumb?) ones who don’t mind identifying our identity/bona fides in cyberspace. I have no intention of violating your privacy in public.

    Regards
    Steve

  113. Steve Short March 28, 2009 at 8:56 am #

    Hi Nick

    I broadly agree with you in respect of (say) the last 1 My. Although even there we do have to ask ourselves what event caused the mid-Pleistocene 40 ky glacial cycle to suddenly step jump up to 100 ky? This is a problem for your view.

    There seems to be no external perturbation which caused that and even the most contemporary thinking is reduce to invoking chaos theory:

    http://www.clim-past-discuss.net/5/237/2009/cpd-5-237-2009-print.pdf

    http://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/~gideonh/pppc/week3/Huybers%202006.pdf

    However, it is quite possible that drivers internal to the global climate system (thermal evolution of the Pacific, Heinrich events etc), played a part in that:

    adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004AGUFM.U31A0012M

    In this connection, we also have to consider whether, even in the Pleistocene, mobilization of pools of methane in permafrost and as hydrate in the relatively shallow Arctic Ocean occurred periodically e.g. as a consequence of the long term evolution of the PDO. I would say it is quite likely. Check out the latest New Scientist for the current orthodox AGW camp view on this. There is no doubt that atmospheric CH4 levels are presently on the rise again.

    Regards
    Steve

  114. Eyrie March 29, 2009 at 7:17 am #

    Andrew, It doesn’t matter where most of the C14 went when created. If you are tracing tropospheric CO2 movement you presumably measure tropospheric CO2 in both hemispheres.

    “and it is known that there is rapid mixing of the south and northern hemispheric regions of the troposphere through normal weather systems. This rapid mixing rather undermines his whole argument.”

    There is? Do you have a reference for that?

  115. Gordon Robertson March 29, 2009 at 9:28 am #

    SJT “In other words, he doesn’t believe the accepted, and obvious, science, but offers nothing at all in it’s place. Jennifer, your topics are getting far to Socraticaly Ironical again”.

    It’s a real stretch to consider proxy studies as science, or have you forgotten how easily Michael Mann’s hockey stick gibberish was uncloaked? I’d be willing to bet that any studies involving proxy data could be successfully countered.

    Cohenite supplied a link to an article by Jaworowski. One argument against his rebuttal a la clathrates was to ridicule him and not to debate the obvious: ice gets weird under tremendous pressure. Glaciers move downhill on ice that has become like plastic due to high pressure. Jaworowski, a world-class expert on ice cores, is only corroborating what Beck tried to point out: there is sound evidence that CO2 levels have been higher than today, within the past century.

    You are intimating that ice core proxies are a viable science. I think not. Anyone who can extract ice from a deep under the surface, and claim it represents conditions a few hundred years ago, never mind thousands of years ago, is not quite dealing with a full deck.

    To hear the ice proxy experts talk is more humourous than anything. One of them claimed it was possible to lower a thermometer down an ice borehole on a rope and detect the actual temperatures from way back when. I think even a pre-school child could see the flaw in that argument, yet people tend to hang onto every word those pseudo-scientists put out.

  116. Jan Pompe March 29, 2009 at 9:33 am #

    Eyrie, I think what Andrew has missed as have maybe one or two others, is that the much more spallation of N2 -> C14 occurs in the troposphere during a nuclear blast than in the stratosphere. While some will be injected into the stratosphere by no means all of it will. There remains more than enough in the troposphere to act as a tracer (a fact that Tom uses for his analysis) and to wreck the natural concentration for the purposes of carbon dating by nearly doubling the atmospheric concentration of C14 during the 50s and 60s.

    Tom cites two sources in his paper on 14CO2 distribution.

  117. Gordon Robertson March 29, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    toby “It must be time for me to stop reading this blog for a while because I am once again letting SJT sniping get to me”

    Trolls feed off frustration. Don’t feed the trolls, please. And stick around, there aren’t enough people interested in real science these days.

  118. Anne March 29, 2009 at 8:03 pm #

    I have read this post and all reactions. Some good explanations were given. However I am left with two burning questions that I hope someone can answer.

    1. Where do the fossil fuel CO2 emissions go?

    If there is a second source, and that source is the cause of rising CO2 levels, then there must also be an explanation where the CO2 emissions of fossil fuel burning go. What sink absorbs them? And why does that sink only absorb the f.f. CO2 and not the CO2 from ‘the other source’?

    2. What is ‘mystery source’ of CO2?

    Can you name and quantify the unknown source? It all seems so vague to me.

  119. SJT March 29, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    Anne,

    as with most junk science, it’s often not that hard to spot the obvious flaw.

  120. Louis Hissink March 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    Anne,

    1. It is an assumption that burning fossil fuels is an additional input to the carbon cycle. Carbon locked up in fossil fuel is carbon previously removed from the atmosphere and biosphere, so us burning it is nothing other than sustainable recycling by returning it to the biosphere.

    2. The existence of yet to be identified carbon sinks comes from badly understood science – the CO2 production is a calculation of human burning of CO2, and if that model produces results that are not confirmed by measurement, then the model has to be wrong, or incomplete, as we say in poh faced science jargon.

    As it is the calculations produce CO2 higher than what is being measured, so the pseudoscience assumes the calculation is correct, and Nature is wrong, and that there must be a hidden sink of CO2.

    The scientific method initially assumes an error in the model and hence calculations and no, there is no hidden CO2 sink, its the numbers and the modelling that have to be in error. Unless atmospheric CO2 estimates are in serious error and then we have a real problem.

  121. Gordon Robertson March 30, 2009 at 2:38 pm #

    Anne “Where do the fossil fuel CO2 emissions go?”

    The IPCC claims there is a possible +/- 20% error in their calculation of CO2 estimates. That’s pretty hefty when it comes to estimates and knowing IPCC methodology that is highly optimistic.

    Suppose for a minute that the -20% error is a possibility. Based on a 390 ppmv atmospheric CO2 density, that could be as low as 312 ppmv. I am very aware that the 390 ppmv is taken from direct atmospheric measurements but those densities are highly variable based on many factors. I’m just going on what the IPCC claimed in Figure 7.3 of Chapter 7, WG1, AR4. If their estimates of carbon in the carbon cycle are +/-20% then why shouldn’t their measured densities be off as well?

    We have seen the effect of that in satellite tropospheric measurments as opposed to land-based measurements. The satellites cover 95% of the atmosphere as opposed to a far lower percentage for the land-based equivalent. The satellites also show a far lower globally averaged warming than the land-based systems. Why should that not apply to CO2 measurements as well? It seems reasonable to me that a satellite measuring CO2 densities with a 95% cover would find a much lower CO2 density, maybe as much lower as 20%. Unfortunately, that satellite crashed on takeoff this February…or was it sabotaged?

    It’s not as if we have the technology to state positively that the global CO2 average density is 390 ppmv. It may be that high locally, but how about globally? I think the +/- 20% error could just as easily be applied to CO2 densities, especially considering that the main CO2 measurment system is located on a volcano spewing CO2. The rest are probably located on smoke stacks of major factories. Then there’s Beck’s collation that gives good evidence of CO2 densities having been higher as recently as 1940.

    Given that, the same +/-20% applied to the pre Industrial 280 ppmv, ‘could’ range as high as 324 ppmv. Jaworowski claimed that based on errors in ice core sampling theory, but he claimed a 30% to 50 % error. A 30% error would raise the 270 ppmv to 351 ppmv and a 50% error to 405 ppmv. Since one of Beck’s scientists claims to have measured that density directly in the 1940′s, I think that gives credence to Jaworowski’s claim.

    I realize, without SJT pointing out the obvious, that my math is highly speculative. I’m merely trying to point out that we may not even have a problem or that overly-zealous AGW types may have massaged the data a bit.

    Before you ask where the anthropogenic CO2 goes, a more appropriate question may be “how much is there in actuality”? If you insist on an answer, however, please consider the following. When an internal combustion engine burns gasoline or diesel fuel, producing CO2, it does not convert the fuel efficiently. A lot of it will produce carbon as soot rather than CO2. That is deposited in the muffler, on the road, on the sides of buildings, in human lungs, etc.

    There’s no way to tell where the rest of it goes immediately. That was the reson for launching the ill-fated satellite in February 2009. NASA admits that 50% of it goes missing and they don’t know why. I could tell them but I doubt if they’d listen.

  122. Eric Adler March 31, 2009 at 1:43 am #

    Comment from: Gordon Robertson March 30th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    “Anne “Where do the fossil fuel CO2 emissions go?”

    The IPCC claims there is a possible +/- 20% error in their calculation of CO2 estimates. That’s pretty hefty when it comes to estimates and knowing IPCC methodology that is highly optimistic.[/quote]
    As best I can tell, the error on the bar chart for human related emissions is about +/- 1 GT out of 8 GT. This results from the uncertainty in Deforestation.

    http://co2now.org/index.php/Know-the-Changing-Climate/Climate-Changes/ipcc-faq-human-responsibility-co2-ghg-concentration-increases.html

    [quote]Suppose for a minute that the -20% error is a possibility. Based on a 390 ppmv atmospheric CO2 density, that could be as low as 312 ppmv. I am very aware that the 390 ppmv is taken from direct atmospheric measurements but those densities are highly variable based on many factors. I’m just going on what the IPCC claimed in Figure 7.3 of Chapter 7, WG1, AR4. If their estimates of carbon in the carbon cycle are +/-20% then why shouldn’t their measured densities be off as well?”
    This is a nonsense argument. The 2 types of data are totally unrelated, and a 20% uncertainty in the estimate of CO2 change due to Deforestation is unrelated to the error in measurement of CO2 increase in PPM over the years, which is highly accurate based on spectroscopy, and duplicated at many sites over the globe.

    “We have seen the effect of that in satellite tropospheric measurments as opposed to land-based measurements. The satellites cover 95% of the atmosphere as opposed to a far lower percentage for the land-based equivalent. The satellites also show a far lower globally averaged warming than the land-based systems. Why should that not apply to CO2 measurements as well? It seems reasonable to me that a satellite measuring CO2 densities with a 95% cover would find a much lower CO2 density, maybe as much lower as 20%. Unfortunately, that satellite crashed on takeoff this February…or was it sabotaged?”
    I guess you ask “why not” because you wish to take the burden of proof of what you believe off of yourself and put it on others. Then you end with some kind of conspiracy theory. What a crock.

    [quote]It’s not as if we have the technology to state positively that the global CO2 average density is 390 ppmv. It may be that high locally, but how about globally? I think the +/- 20% error could just as easily be applied to CO2 densities, especially considering that the main CO2 measurment system is located on a volcano spewing CO2. The rest are probably located on smoke stacks of major factories. Then there’s Beck’s collation that gives good evidence of CO2 densities having been higher as recently as 1940.[/quote]
    You have no evidence for a 20% error in anything related to CO2 measurements. The scientists at MLO are able to eliminate measurements effected by the volcano itself, based on wind direction. You are standing history on its head. It is Beck who is using measurements close to industrial areas, influenced by local sources, and MLO, Barrow, and South Pole that have been placed strategically to eliminate the influence of local sources.

    [quote]Given that, the same +/-20% applied to the pre Industrial 280 ppmv, ‘could’ range as high as 324 ppmv. Jaworowski claimed that based on errors in ice core sampling theory, but he claimed a 30% to 50 % error. A 30% error would raise the 270 ppmv to 351 ppmv and a 50% error to 405 ppmv. Since one of Beck’s scientists claims to have measured that density directly in the 1940’s, I think that gives credence to Jaworowski’s claim.

    I realize, without SJT pointing out the obvious, that my math is highly speculative. I’m merely trying to point out that we may not even have a problem or that overly-zealous AGW types may have massaged the data a bit.[/quote]
    You are using dubious sources, misquote the error in human CO2 emissions estimates as 20% rather than the 13% error given by the IPCC, and arbitrarily ascribe that to some other totally unrelated measurements. Total BS is a better way to describe this, rather then the euphamism “highly speculative.”

    [quote]Before you ask where the anthropogenic CO2 goes, a more appropriate question may be “how much is there in actuality”? If you insist on an answer, however, please consider the following. When an internal combustion engine burns gasoline or diesel fuel, producing CO2, it does not convert the fuel efficiently. A lot of it will produce carbon as soot rather than CO2. That is deposited in the muffler, on the road, on the sides of buildings, in human lungs, etc.[/quote]
    This is totally silly. The fact that soot from some diesel engines is a medical problem does not mean that a the volume of soot is a significant error in the estimate of combustion.
    The IPCC bar chart on emissions show only a +/- .25% error on CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and cement.

    [quote]There’s no way to tell where the rest of it goes immediately. That was the reson for launching the ill-fated satellite in February 2009. NASA admits that 50% of it goes missing and they don’t know why. I could tell them but I doubt if they’d listen.[/quote]
    How can 50% of CO2 be missing? Could you provide a link or a quote from NASA about this.
    I think you are overestimating your knowledge and understanding of this subject, to put it charitably.

  123. Eric Adler March 31, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    The paper by Tom Quirk, claiming to prove that emissions due to human activity are not responsible for the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is total nonsense, .
    All of the fancy arguments about carbon isotopes are irrelevant.

    To show that emissions due to human industry and forestry are the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is a matter of simple arithmetic.

    Here is what we know:
    Annual human emissions due to industry and deforestation are about 8 +/- 1 GTons.
    The annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 4 GTons.
    There are to contributors to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    1) Human emissions
    2) The net result of Natural Emissions, which could be positive or negative in principle.

    Now for the simple equation .
    Change of CO2= Human emisisons + Natural emissions
    Substitution of known variables in the above equations with nominal values, gives
    4Gtons=8G tons- Natural emissions.

    Children in kindergarten can solve this equation and the solution is
    Natural emission = – 4 Gtons.
    This means that the natural environment is absorbing about 4Gtons of CO2 annually on average.
    If natural sources are absorbing CO2, the cannot be the reason for the increase.

  124. Gordon Robertson March 31, 2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Eric Adler “This is a nonsense argument. The 2 types of data are totally unrelated…”

    You need to read with a bit more attention, Eric. I pointed out the problem in my own argument already. The +/- 20% does not come from problems with deforestation, it is a disclaimer built in to Figure 7.3, Chapter 7, WG1, AR4 for CO2 fluxes into and out of the atmosphere. The IPCC is clearly claiming they cannot estimate CO2 fluxes any better than with a +/- 20% error. On the previous page they admitted the anthropogenic CO2 content was a fraction of the natural CO2 emissions and in Figure 7.3 they include their estimate of anthropogenic CO2 in the ocean, implying it is being recirculated. Only a ponce would do that and call it science.

    How could they do any better? How would anyone estimate the amount of CO2 entering and leaving the atmosphere? I stated, probably correctly, that the +/- 20% figure was highly optimistic given the IPCC penchant for selling the CO2 warming paradigm. Based on that conclusion, and the amount of fudging they do to get a globally-averaged warming, I thought it probable that their estimates of a 270 ppmv pre Industrial CO2 density and the current 390 ppmv density were in the same error range.

    How exactly do they arrive at exactly 270 ppmv pre-Industrial and 390 ppmv today? They do it with a whole lot of speculative math and proxy data, just as they do to guesstimate a 0.75 C globally-averaged warming over a century. Again, only an arrogant ponce would make such an assertion without generous error bars. The IPCC had the temerity to include error bars of a few tenths of a degree…pure arrogance.

    Aksofu has argued that they conveniently forgot to include the expected natural recovery warming from the Little Ice Age. He went on to claim that with errors, the warming we are experiencing today is already accounted for. The IPCC did not need to look for a smoking gun, there was one already pointed at it, the LIA.

    As I stated, I am very clear about the difference between the ppmv’s measured by CO2 detectors and the CO2 guesstimated to be flowing in and out of the atmosphere. The ppmv’s can be measured locally but the value measured is highly dependent on the immediate environment and locale, not to mention other variables. That 390 ppmv can change quickly. I am having a lot of trouble with 390 ppmv being declared a global quantity. How do they know that and what’s wrong with applying a +/- 20% quantity to such an unkown variable.

    In electronics, it’s common to rate resistors with tolerances from 0.01% to 20%. The finer tolerances are relatively assured because the resistors are made from material that holds its resistance well. The carbon types do not and their resistance can be out up to 20%. In the same manner, it’s easy to put a close tolerance on a measurable value but how do you measure CO2 all over the globe? I don’t think you can, anymore than anyone can claim one particular temperature for the globe. It’s a stupid inference to make.

    If the satellite that crashed in February 2009 had made it, we might have been in a better position to check the global CO2 density because it was designed for that. There’s just no way anyone can say for sure that the global CO2 density is 390 ppmv. That goes doubly for the claim that pre Industrial CO2 had a density of 270 ppmv. That’s a carefully contrived derivation that ignored good evidence to the contrary and which relies heavily on proxy ice core sampling.

    The more I read about global warming, the more I see a sad hoax. I don’t think it was a contrived hoax, more of a comedy of errors. Many well-intentioned people have put their feet in their mouths just to be onside.

  125. Gordon Robertson March 31, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    Eric Adler “Now for the simple equation . Change of CO2= Human emisisons + Natural emissions Substitution of known variables in the above equations with nominal values, gives
    4Gtons=8G tons- Natural emissions”.

    Maybe you could take your figures to the IPCC. In Figure 7.3, Chapter 7, WG1, AR4, they mathemtically and subjectively spell it out for you. I’m not going throught the math again but the IPCC figures anthropogenic CO2 is about 3% of total CO2. On the previous page, they put it in words, claiming anthropogenic CO2 is a few percent of the natural CO2 fluxes. I figure a few percent is closer to 3% than to your 50%.

    Anyway, please stay away from school children. They’ve had enough bs laid on them for one lifetime with this global warming pseudo-science.

  126. Andrew March 31, 2009 at 9:28 pm #

    Eyrie,
    You missed the point I was making. The conclusion of the studies of 14C distribution from nuclear tests was that the stratosphere took several years to equilibrate between hemispheres. They said nothing about rate of equilibration of the troposphere. Since the anthropogenic sources of CO2 almost wholly inject it into the troposphere, the assumption that it should take several years for the CO2 levels to equilibrate and upon which Tom Quirk based his analysis is not true.

    Jan Pompe

    You are correct in saying that 14C is produced in the troposphere. With atomic blasts yielding less than about 1Mton very little of the 14C enters the stratosphere. However above 1Mton almost all of the 14C produced in the troposphere is carried up by the rising heated air into the stratosphere. (1) 14C injected into the stratosphere did have a long residence time and did equilibrate over a number of years. However almost all the 14C injected into the troposphere settled out locally. Very little entered and equilibrated over the troposphere as a whole. Presumably this was why the authors were unable to make any conclusions about tropospheric mixing.

    Tom Quirk did not do any of the analyses. His statement “A tracer for CO2 transport from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere was provided by 14C created by nuclear weapons testing in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The analysis of 14C in atmospheric CO2 showed that it took some years for exchanges of CO2 between the hemispheres before the 14C was uniformly distributed…” is only true for the stratosphere. It is not true for the troposphere which is of interest for anthropogenic CO2. Hence the basic assumption of his analysis is false.

    (Note: 14C is not produced by spallation which is the breakdown of atoms of high atomic mass into much smaller ones. 14C is produced by the capture of a neutron by 14N to give 15N and the loss of a proton to give 14C.)

    In fact, it appears as if the north and south hemisphere regions of the troposphere equilibrate relatively quickly due to the Transequatorial trade winds and such phenomena as the Monsoons. It appears it probably takes about a year to equilibrate, (2)

    1. Albert L. Latter and Milton S. Plesset
    CARBON-14 PRODUCTION FROM NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1960 February; 46(2): 241–247.

    2. M.R. Manning, W.H. Melhuish
    Atmospheric d14C Record from Wellington
    National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Ltd.,
    Carbon dioxide Information Analysis Centre Web site at
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/welling.html

  127. Jan Pompe March 31, 2009 at 11:41 pm #

    Andrew “Note: 14C is not produced by spallation which is the breakdown of atoms of high atomic mass into much smaller ones”

    N15 -> C14 + H isn’t spallation?

    ” Very little entered and equilibrated over the troposphere as a whole.”

    If that was the case then why the problems with carbon dating due to the tests if it is all in the stratosphere? In fact one can tell the age of a body born after 1943 by comparison of C14 levels in tooth enamel.

    http://www.jyi.org/news/nb.php?id=509

    of course it helps to know which hemisphere the person was in when the teeth were formed

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Radiocarbon_bomb_spike.svg

    While Latter and Plesset did not look at mixing across the hemispheres there is data available if one adds this which you have omitted to the Wellington data.
    http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/cent-verm.html

    One can see from the above graph that it took about 5 years from the NH peak for equilibrium to be achieved you can see this also in Tom’s Fig 17 which charts the difference between the two data sets which shows it’s about 7 years.

  128. Eric Adler April 1, 2009 at 12:21 am #

    Comment from: Gordon Robertson March 31st, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    “Eric Adler “This is a nonsense argument. The 2 types of data are totally unrelated…”

    You need to read with a bit more attention, Eric. I pointed out the problem in my own argument already. The +/- 20% does not come from problems with deforestation, it is a disclaimer built in to Figure 7.3, Chapter 7, WG1, AR4 for CO2 fluxes into and out of the atmosphere. The IPCC is clearly claiming they cannot estimate CO2 fluxes any better than with a +/- 20% error. On the previous page they admitted the anthropogenic CO2 content was a fraction of the natural CO2 emissions and in Figure 7.3 they include their estimate of anthropogenic CO2 in the ocean, implying it is being recirculated. Only a ponce would do that and call it science.”

    Your 20% uncertainty is related to the total emissions, and the total absorption from the atmosphere. We do know the difference between the between the emissions and absorptions with much greater accuracy than 20%, because the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is measured more acccurately than that. We know the human caused emissions much more accurately than that as I have pointed out. By simple arithmetic we know the difference between natural emissions and natural absorption and can tell that the sign is negative.

    [quote]How could they do any better? How would anyone estimate the amount of CO2 entering and leaving the atmosphere? I stated, probably correctly, that the +/- 20% figure was highly optimistic given the IPCC penchant for selling the CO2 warming paradigm. Based on that conclusion, and the amount of fudging they do to get a globally-averaged warming, I thought it probable that their estimates of a 270 ppmv pre Industrial CO2 density and the current 390 ppmv density were in the same error range.[/quote]

    What you think is not based on any factual evidence.

    [quote]How exactly do they arrive at exactly 270 ppmv pre-Industrial and 390 ppmv today? They do it with a whole lot of speculative math and proxy data, just as they do to guesstimate a 0.75 C globally-averaged warming over a century. Again, only an arrogant ponce would make such an assertion without generous error bars. The IPCC had the temerity to include error bars of a few tenths of a degree…pure arrogance.[/quote]
    The pre industrial CO2 data is based on ice core data, and a number of chemical measurements made during the 19 and 20th century, as was shown by Callendar, once the data was scrubbed to eliminate samples downwind from contaminated areas.

    [quote]Aksofu has argued that they conveniently forgot to include the expected natural recovery warming from the Little Ice Age. He went on to claim that with errors, the warming we are experiencing today is already accounted for. The IPCC did not need to look for a smoking gun, there was one already pointed at it, the LIA.[/quote]
    You are mixing up temperature measurement issues with CO2 measurement issues. The concept of “recovering from the little ice age” whatever that means is irrelevant.

    [quote]As I stated, I am very clear about the difference between the ppmv’s measured by CO2 detectors and the CO2 guesstimated to be flowing in and out of the atmosphere. The ppmv’s can be measured locally but the value measured is highly dependent on the immediate environment and locale, not to mention other variables. That 390 ppmv can change quickly. I am having a lot of trouble with 390 ppmv being declared a global quantity. How do they know that and what’s wrong with applying a +/- 20% quantity to such an unkown variable.[/quote]
    The burden of proof is on you. After allowing for seasonal variations, the MLO, Barrow and South Pole facilities show the same annual increases in CO2 with a very slight lag.
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg

    [quote]In electronics, it’s common to rate resistors with tolerances from 0.01% to 20%. The finer tolerances are relatively assured because the resistors are made from material that holds its resistance well. The carbon types do not and their resistance can be out up to 20%. In the same manner, it’s easy to put a close tolerance on a measurable value but how do you measure CO2 all over the globe? I don’t think you can, anymore than anyone can claim one particular temperature for the globe. It’s a stupid inference to make.[/quote]
    The data from various CO2 sites shows that you are wrong, and CO2 increases in the atmosphere can be inferred from measurements with good accuracy.

    [quote]If the satellite that crashed in February 2009 had made it, we might have been in a better position to check the global CO2 density because it was designed for that. There’s just no way anyone can say for sure that the global CO2 density is 390 ppmv. That goes doubly for the claim that pre Industrial CO2 had a density of 270 ppmv. That’s a carefully contrived derivation that ignored good evidence to the contrary and which relies heavily on proxy ice core sampling.[/quote]
    The evidence to the contrary is not valid. The data shows that if one omits local sources of variation due to natural and human sources, the CO2 measurements show good agreement between distant stations.

    The more I read about global warming, the more I see a sad hoax. I don’t think it was a contrived hoax, more of a comedy of errors. Many well-intentioned people have put their feet in their mouths just to be onside.

  129. Eric Adler April 1, 2009 at 12:34 am #

    Comment from: Gordon Robertson March 31st, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    [quote]Eric Adler “Now for the simple equation . Change of CO2= Human emisisons + Natural emissions Substitution of known variables in the above equations with nominal values, gives
    4Gtons=8G tons- Natural emissions”.

    Maybe you could take your figures to the IPCC. In Figure 7.3, Chapter 7, WG1, AR4, they mathemtically and subjectively spell it out for you. I’m not going throught the math again but the IPCC figures anthropogenic CO2 is about 3% of total CO2. On the previous page, they put it in words, claiming anthropogenic CO2 is a few percent of the natural CO2 fluxes. I figure a few percent is closer to 3% than to your 50%.[/quote]
    I got my figures from the IPCC. They show in figure 1 that the anthropogenic sources from cement and fossil fuel consumptions are 8 +/- 1 GT with the uncertainty coming from deforestation. The uncertainty in the annual CO2 ppM increases in the atmosphere are quite small given the indentical data coming from the large numbers of sources around the world.
    Click on the following to see this data:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg

    [quote]Anyway, please stay away from school children. They’ve had enough bs laid on them for one lifetime with this global warming pseudo-science.[/quote]
    I talk to school children about this subject regularly. They need to understand the science behind this subject.

    They also need to understand why their parents generation is refusing to see and act on the real problem of AGW. Here is what is happening:

    http://www.draegerstiftung.de/HG/internet/SD/pdf/charts_marshall.pdf
    The Psychology of Denial
    Why do we find it so hard to act against
    climate change?

  130. Ferdinand Engelbeen April 1, 2009 at 1:36 am #

    Gordon Robertson March 31st, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Gordon,

    One need to make a differentiation between what is released to the atmosphere and taken away from the atmosphere due to the seasonal temperature changes within a year and what is a one-way addition from humans during a year.

    While the seasonal flows are huge (100 GtC back and forth between oceans and atmosphere, 50 GtC between the biosphere and the atmosphere), the endresult of these flows is zero over a year, if nothing more or less is released than taken away. Thus the absolute flows are of no interest, only the difference between inputs and outputs of the atmosphere is of interest. And that is calculated as the difference between emissions and what is measured in the atmosphere. The 3% of the natural flows is true, but not relevant at all.

    The measurements in the atmosphere are very accurate: less than +/-1 ppmv for each baseline station. That is better than 0.3% of the range.
    Baseline stations are as far as possible from local sources/sinks. When contamination is found (volcanic vents, upwind depleted by vegetation), these data are flagged and not used for averages. The baseline stations represent over 95% of the atmosphere…

    Stations within one hemisphere differ in yearly averages with less than 2 ppmv, the averages of the NH and the SH differ with about 3 ppmv (and growing lag), which points to a source in the NH (as good as the decreasing d13C levels show). The calculated emissions have a larger error margin, but even at minimum, there is not one year in the past 50 years that the emissions were smaller than the measured increase. Thus in every year, nature was a sink, not a source of CO2… See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg

    If you back-calculate the emissions vs. the increase in the atmosphere over the past 100+ years, the zero emission level is around 300 ppmv, not that far of what can be found in ice cores of 100 year old gas age. The enclosed air in the ice, if handled with care, indeed still is the same air as at closing time, the oldest now about 800,000 years ago. The levels are no proxies in this case but real levels.

    I have read what Jaworowski wrote about ice cores. What he says is simply physically impossible: how can you measure too low CO2 levels (according to him) 180-280 ppmv, because of cracks in the ice, while the outside world is at 380 ppmv? And as an ice core expert, he doesn’t even know that there is a difference between the age of the ice and the age of the exclosed air? See my comment on his take on ice cores:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html

    Similar problem with Beck’s data: ice core CO2 levels are within the huge range of data found at different places. The problem is that many historical measurements were performed near huge sources (factories, towns, agriculture,…), especially the measurements which led to the 1942 peak are suspect. Further other data from ice cores (Law Dome: 8 years resolution), stomata data and coralline sponges show no change in the 1935-1950 period of interest other than the influence of increasing CO2 levels with decreasing d13C. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html

  131. Steve Short April 2, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    Jan Pompe

    “N15 -> C14 + H isn’t spallation?”

    No, it is a thermal neutron reaction with nitrogen:

    1n + 14N -> 14C + 1H

  132. Bart December 1, 2009 at 5:11 pm #

    Too bad I came so late to this party. Nobody will likely ever read this.

    Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen April 1st, 2009 at 1:36 am

    While the seasonal flows are huge (100 GtC back and forth between oceans and atmosphere, 50 GtC between the biosphere and the atmosphere), the endresult of these flows is zero over a year, if nothing more or less is released than taken away. Thus the absolute flows are of no interest, only the difference between inputs and outputs of the atmosphere is of interest. And that is calculated as the difference between emissions and what is measured in the atmosphere. The 3% of the natural flows is true, but not relevant at all.

    Completely and utterly wrong. The fact that natural forces take out such an overwhelming amount of natural emissions places a limit on how slowly anthropogenic emissions will be removed, because nature does not discriminate between the two. Anthropogenic emissions will be removed with the same time vigor as the natural emissions.

  133. Old Chemist October 17, 2010 at 3:48 am #

    Ferdinand @ April 1st, 2009 at 1:36 am

    Two points —
    1) ice core data are unreliable for absolute CO2 atmospheric concentration determinations due to diffusion (CO2 is electrophilic; H2O is nucleophilic) see Ahn et al, J Glaciology, 54:685-695.

    2) stomatal changes are due to selection pressure. They are not an epigenetic consequence — they therefor will not reflect short term CO2 fluctuation.

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