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Why I am an Anthropogenic Global Warming Sceptic: Michael Hammer

I HAVE been asked several times ‘why am I so sceptical of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis’?  There are many reasons, some of which I have documented in previous articles at this weblog, but these have relied on sometimes complex calculations which I admit can be difficult to appreciate.  So I would like to outline here a few of my reasons based only on simple consistency with the AGW proponents’ own data.

1.  The AGW movement claims there has been a global temperature rise of 0.5C over the last 60 years and that this is due to increasing CO2.  Both AGW proponents and sceptics accept that the relationship between energy retained and CO2 concentration is logarithmic (a constant increase in retained energy for each doubling of CO2).  The AGW movement data also shows that since 1900 CO2 has risen by very close to half a doubling  over this 60 year period.

IPCC have claimed in their 4th assessment report (summary for policy makers), that the most likely temperature rise by 2070, when CO2 will have risen by a further half doubling to twice the level in 1900, is a further 3C rise  (page 12).  Why would the first half doubling give 0.5C rise while the second half doubling gives 3C or 6 times as much rise?

2.  One claim I have heard is that it takes the climate a long time to respond to the change in CO2 concentration and we have not yet seen the entire rise from the first half doubling.  The same IPCC 4th assessment report (page 12, 13 and 14) indicates that if CO2 were stabilised at the current level, the temperature would rise by a further 0.2C over 2 decades stabilising at 0.7C above the 1900 level. 

If the current temperature rise is not yet at the equilibrium level then for the business as usual scenario the temperature rise by 2070 will also not be at the equilibrium level.  Yet the IPCC data suggests the equilibrium rise from the first half doubling is not even one quarter of the less than equilibrium rise from the second half doubling.  To me this is illogical.

3.   IPCC claim an increase in retained energy of around 3.7 watts/sqM for each doubling of CO2 (1.66 watts/sqM for the current rise page 4).  They admit this is much too small to result in a 3+ degree temperature rise.  The large temperature rise is based on claims of very large net positive feedback in the climate system.  

Yet, every natural stable system I can think of exhibits net negative feedback.   Indeed the terms stability and negative feedback are synonymous since negative feedback is what causes stability.  By contrast, positive feedback causes instability (such as tipping points where a large change in output occurs for a small change in input).   Stability does not mean zero change, it means the response to changes in input are small enough and sufficiently controlled so as to not cause system destruction or runaway.  If you want to argue that the climate system is not stable then I would why it has remained conducive to continued life on this planet for billions of years.  This is despite all the change in CO2 levels, volcanic eruptions, changes in solar output and orbital changes over the millennia.  To me, that is a very good definition of climate stability.

4.  The AGW modellers claim cloud feedback is positive.   AGW advocates seem to divide clouds into two categories, low clouds and high clouds.  Every report I have read acknowledges that low clouds cause cooling.  With regard to high clouds there is some dispute but the AGW modellers claim they cause warming.  Further they claim a warming planet results in a bias away from low clouds and towards high clouds thus exacerbating  warming, hence contributing to positive feedback.

At the same time they claim constant relative humidity in their models.  This means that as the temperature rises, more water must be evaporating.  Now unless we want to predict that the amount of water in the atmosphere is going to continuously rise until the oceans are suspended over our heads, more evaporation must imply more precipitation ie: more rain.  However, rain only comes from low clouds not high clouds, so more rain means more low cloud mass not less low cloud mass.  This contradicts the previous position.  If the claim is that both increase, then that means significantly more cloud mass in total.  Clouds are the biggest contributor to Earth’s albedo (the fraction of incoming solar energy reflected back out to space).  Rising total cloudiness means increasing albedo and the albedo is very strongly cooling.  The albedo already causes 100 watts/sqM to be reflected away from Earth.  To cancel out the entire impact claimed by IPCC for doubling CO2 only requires an increase in cloudiness from 60% to 62.4%.

An increase in temperature, leading to more evaporation, in turn leading to more cloudiness which reduces the solar input to Earth thus reducing temperatures is a description of negative feedback not positive feedback.

5.  The claimed “proof” of positive feedback is a model prediction of a hot spot in the tropics at mid troposphere levels.  However all the experimental evidence from many, many measurements has failed to find any evidence of such a hot spot.  In science, a clear prediction that is falsified experimentally means the underlying hypothesis on which the prediction is based is wrong.

6.  The reports documenting man’s CO2 emission use some scarily large numbers but these have to be viewed in the light of the overall system size.  For example, a million dollars is an extremely large amount of money for a private individual but it is almost petty cash for a government.  If we want to put the numbers into perspective we need to relate them to the size of the system.  Why not express CO2 quantities in terms of how many PPM 1 year’s emissions will raise or lower the atmospheric CO2 level (if all of it stayed in the atmosphere).  We could call that PPM equivalents.

In those terms, human emissions amount to about 2.7 PPM equivalents.  Now NASA have published a diagram showing annual CO2 transfers for the planet.  This shows terrestrial plants absorbing about 61 PPM equivalents.  We know that both rising CO2 and rising temperature favour faster plant growth.  That’s why horticulturalists artificially raise CO2 levels in glass houses to about 1000 PPM.  It is also why plants grow faster in the tropics than in cooler locations on earth.  More to the point, a recent study showed average plant growth has accelerated by about 6% over the last 30 years.  A 6% increase in plant growth means a 6% increase in absorbed CO2, from 61PPM equivalents to 64.7 PPM equivalents.  This means that human emissions have increased by 2.7 PPM equivalents but plants have increased their absorption by an extra 3.7 PPM equivalents over the same period.  The increased plant growth is consuming more than 100% of human emissions.  Is there another (natural) factor contributing to CO2 increases?

This response, more CO2 leading to faster plant growth which in turn consumes more CO2 is another example of the widespread bias towards negative feedback I alluded to earlier.   Apart from which, is increased plant growth and thus agricultural productivity bad?  I would have thought it was highly desirable.
7.  The AGW hypothesis is based on temperature rises between about 1975 and 1998 or about 25 years worth of data.  This is claimed to be definitive yet the last 10 years worth of data shows falling global temperatures.  This is claimed to be a short term aberration and of no consequence.  I do not see how 25 years can be considered definitive beyond dispute while 10 years of data is a short term aberration, too short to be significant.  I would have thought at least a 10:1 ratio would be necessary to make such a claim.

8.  If I adopt this 10:1 ratio by looking at the last 100 years worth of data I find 1910-1940 temperatures rising while CO2 was not.  1940 to 1975 temperatures falling while CO2 rising, 1975 to 1998 temperatures rising while CO2 rising and 1998 to 2009 temperatures falling while CO2 rising.   Three quarters of the period shows no correlation or negative correlation with CO2 and only one quarter shows positive correlation.  I do not understand how one can claim a hypothesis proven when ¾ of the data set disagrees with it.  To me it is the clearest proof that the hypothesis is wrong.

9.  For the last 10 years the global temperature data shows either no atmospheric temperature rise or indeed a falling global temperature.  Recently this has been claimed to be due to a combination of a quiet sun and changes in ocean circulation superimposed on the underlying warming trend.  The further claim is that when these effects reverse, warming will start again with a vengeance. 

If these natural processes can cancel out the impact of AGW then they are as powerful as AGW.  If they can overwhelm the impact of AGW to cause cooling they are more powerful, yet IPCC and other AGW proponents have claimed in previous assessment reports that solar influences are only a minor contributor compared to CO2. 

The  sun was unusually active during the latter half of the 20th century in contrast to its current inactivity and the ocean circulation was the opposite of what is now happening.  Thus the natural effects claimed to be causing cooling now would have been causing warming in the late 20th century.  If these natural effects are as large as the AGW impact then they would have caused half the observed 20th century warming.  If the natural effects now outweigh the AGW impact to cause cooling then they would have been responsible for more than half the observed 20th century warming.

This is not only in contradiction of the earlier IPCC claims, it also means that the actual impact of CO2 increases since 1900 is much less than the claimed 0.5C.  At most 0.25C and possibly much less even than that.

If in fact the temperature returns to the long term average over the next few years (as seems to be increasingly likely), it suggests that these natural processes were responsible for essentially all the observed temperature changes over the 20th century with negligible impact from CO2 changes.

10.  I have looked at the raw temperature record for the USA (USHCN data) and the Bureau of Meteorology data for Victoria, Australia.  Both show fluctuations of temperature with time but zero underlying trend for the last century.  By contrast, the official IPCC endorsed data shows a strong underlying upwards trend.  When I investigate why the difference, I find that the raw data has been adjusted for several supposed factors and every one of these adjustments created a warming trend.  This implies that the claimed warming trend is due to the adjustments, not the raw data.  In any less controversial scientific issue, such a result would be viewed with the greatest possible scepticism and would be extremely unlikely to be accepted.

When I examine the raw temperature data record for cities compared with nearby suburban or rural areas, I  find an extremely high signature of urban heat island effect.  Yet the people doing the temperature adjustments claim that urban heat island effects are negligible and do not require correction.  This is despite the fact that a significant proportion of the measurement stations are in cities. 

Such a clear factor not corrected for while other more subtle claimed factors are corrected casts further doubt on the correction protocol.  If there is an upwards bias in the corrections, it means the claimed warming trend is exaggerated and may in fact not exist at all.

11.  The mainstream media keep reporting that the current situation is increasingly dire and is much worse than even the previous pessimistic projections.  When I examine this statement I find that previous projections predicted rapid atmospheric warming during the last 10 years whereas in fact we have had cooling.  They predicted rapid increase in rate of rise of sea level when in fact the rate of sea level rise has recently declined.  They predicted a very rapid increase in Arctic summer sea ice loss whereas in fact, for the last 2 years, it has been increasing.  They predicted a rapid rise in hurricane incidence and severity when in fact there has been a decline.  To me the media’s many claims are not supportable.  I also consider it to be beyond simple error.  At best it is unpardonable gross carelessness in checking the data they are reporting and at worst it is deliberate bias in reporting.

12.  More recently, in response to the data showing no warming for the last 10 years, I have seen new claims that global land temperatures are now deemed irrelevant.  The newly discovered measure of importance is the rise in ocean temperature, since it is now claimed that this is by far the largest planetary heat sink.  If that claim is true, it makes all the previous data claiming to show strong global warming over the period 1975 to 1998 also irrelevant.  To suggest that from 1975 to 1998, the energy went into warming the land and air and then abruptly in 1998 it stopped doing that and the heat instead went into heating the oceans is, to me, completely absurd.  Nature simply does not work that way.  It is like claiming you put the kettle on, for the first minute the energy goes into heating the water and then abruptly it stops heating the water and starts heating the room instead.

13.  Looking further at the claim of warming ocean temperatures.  Late last century it was realised that the method of measuring ocean temperatures was extremely inaccurate and unreliable.  To overcome that, a sophisticated, global system of buoys was designed and implemented at very considerable cost and effort.  These buoys repeatedly dive down to measure temperatures  and then resurface to report back findings  This network is called the Argo network and it became operational in 2003.  Since becoming operational, it has shown ocean cooling.  Yet the scientists who claim ongoing ocean warming exclude the Argo data and the satellite data instead relying entirely on the earlier poor reliability methods.

The same scientific community which claimed a method was inaccurate and unreliable, designed and implemented  a new high accuracy measurement system, are now rejecting the new high accuracy data in favour of the older data they themselves viewed as unreliable.  How can that be justified?  Why is the data from the older less reliable method correct, while results from the new, high accuracy methodology are wrong?  What does that say about the scientists who designed the Argo system but apparently don’t trust its output?  To me it suggests selecting data to prove a favoured hypothesis, commonly called cherry picking.

Some sites are talking about “correcting” the Argo data.  Why should a carefully thought out, brand new, high accuracy system already require adjustment to its outputs?  Was a mistake made in the design?  Why are the proposed adjustments again in the direction of exacerbating the claimed warming?  When the raw data contradicts the hypothesis yet the “adjustments and corrections” all reverse that result so as to support the championed hypothesis, it’s time to start worrying.

14.  What mankind is doing by consuming fossil fuels is recycling CO2 that used to be in the atmosphere but got trapped in the distant past.  Is there a “correct” level of CO2?  What I have read suggests that the Earth was a more verdant place before the CO2 got locked up in fossil fuels.  Would the Earth be more or less pleasant a place if the carbon currently locked up in fossil fuels were again available to the biosphere.  Not just for humans but for all living things, plants and animals.  Surely we should consider that before we pick some arbitrary recent point in time and declare that the CO2 level at that time is the ideal to be maintained at all costs.

FROM a slightly different but related perspective, I see the AGW story continuously changing.  When one measure no longer trends the wanted way, a change is made to a new measure (change from surface to ocean temperatures and ocean acidity).  In one report, an effect is claimed to be negligible when that suits the hypothesis yet the same measure is later used as a reason to explain away embarrassing trends (Solar influence and ocean currents).  All the observed effects are very moderate (less than 0.5C) if present at all yet hysteria is generated on the basis of hypothesised extreme future outcomes (up to 6C rise and 10 meter sea level rises).  Outcomes far enough in the future so as to be un-testable yet close enough to impact people being born today.  Claims based on abstract models that fail even short term validation tests.   As a practicing scientist, I have seen this scenario more than once before, changing benchmarks and indicative parameters, rewriting predictions and predicted causes after the event, excusing erroneous predictions.  These are clear signs of propping up a false hypothesis.

There does seem to be clear evidence that temperature changed several times over the 20th century both up and down.  There is far less evidence for any underlying upwards trend due to CO2 and many reasons to question the data analysis that tries to demonstrate such a trend.
One of the arguments I often hear is “well even if AGW is not absolutely proven we should take action just in case its correct” – the precautionary principle.  I see two reasons to disagree with that. 

Firstly, if rising CO2 should bring about some warming it is by no means certain that this would be catastrophically bad or for that matter whether it would be bad at all.  It seems quite likely to me that the cure would be worse than the disease. 

Secondly, and to me much more importantly, there is another issue we need to consider and that is the law of unintended consequences.  Briefly this states that whenever you take action there will always be consequences you did not consider in advance and did not intend.  Since there are many more ways to be wrong than to be right there is a better than 50:50 chance that these consequences will be bad.  If the original action is based on a false premise it greatly increases the risk of bad unintended consequences.  The precautionary principle is based on the belief that there is no down side to taking action.  The law of unintended consequences tells us that there is always a down side and the cost versus benefit always needs to be carefully evaluated before acting. 

We are already seeing some very bad unintended consequences of the action taken so far over global warming.  The government driven initiative to use less fossil fuel by diluting it with ethanol is causing massive forest clearing the Amazon basin (to grow the ethanol feedstock) and is very significantly raising food prices causing even worse starvation in 3rd world countries.  Terrible as it is, this has not greatly impacted on western society but the next phase most certainly will.

There is another very serious unintended consequence that I would like to raise here; one that concerns me very deeply.  When I listen to the public AGW debate  I hear very high profile politicians and prominent public figures calling for people who openly disagree with AGW to be put on trial for treason.  I hear many cases of people losing their jobs because of voicing sceptical opinions.  I hear prominent global warming advocates refusing to enter into debates or trying to avoid debates by claiming the science is settled, and by claiming we do not have time, we have only weeks to act.  I hear AGW advocates resorting to personal attacks against people who disagree rather than addressing the technical issues they raise. 

I hear AGW proponents claiming to be the under funded underdogs, fighting to protect the planet against greedy capitalists, yet the reality is their funding is at least 1000 times greater than the sceptics funding.  I see many reports of scientists refusing to release their workings, thus preventing review of their methodology, despite the fact that their work was funded by public money. 

I see how the established media abandons balance in reporting by strongly favouring proponents of AGW, ignoring or denigrating sceptics and forcing most onto blog sites like this one.  I hear some environmental groups and activists publicly claim that its OK and even necessary to exaggerate the threat so as to get the public to engage. I see the courts condoning acts of vandalism and even violence against essential public infrastructure.  I see high profile public figures supporting such acts and claiming them to be reasonable and justified. 

In short I see our society abandoning some of our most vital democratic freedoms over this hysteria:  Free speech, impartial enforcement of the law, balance in reporting, freedom of information.  These are freedoms our forebears gave their lives to bequeath to us, they are our most valuable inheritance and we seem to be throwing them away over an unproven hysterical hypothesis.

More recently I have read articles from England advocating individual ration cards for petrol, heating oil, gas, electricity.  Is water and food next?  War time austerity as an ongoing future way of life?  A return to the agrarian poverty of the middle ages?  I note the new film “Not evil just wrong” has had to be distributed via the internet rather than traditional media.  One step from distribution through an underground network?  Will that apply to all future sceptical writing?   What about other writing contrary to the popular opinion of the day?

These are the issues that differentiate between a free democracy and a totalitarian regime and the further one goes down this path the harder it is to pull back.  History has shown us that the disease is far easier to acquire than to get rid of.


Notes and Links

Michael Hammer graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering Science and Master of Engineering Science from Melbourne University.  Since 1976 he has been working in the field of spectroscopy with the last 25 years devoted to full time research for a large multinational spectroscopy company.

To read more from Mr Hammer click here and scroll down:


197 Responses to “Why I am an Anthropogenic Global Warming Sceptic: Michael Hammer”

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  1. Comment from: SJT

    From 13% to 40% that’s a huge variation, it makes me wonder how well the physics and maths deals with the seasonal and locational variations in CO2 concentrations in the air. Air is a mixture not a compond so the task is like measuring tides levels on a thousand beaches over a year -. tricky. And what happens to the CO2 in the air? Does it well down – like the fog coming off dry ice – and collect in hollows? And in the upper atmosphere do the molecules come apart to become atoms of oxygen and carbon? And all those carbon sinks, waves, sea weed, coral, algae, trees, snails, microbes, insects … who really knows what is happening. And yet here we are talking about a substance that makes up 0. 038% of the volume of the earth’s atmospheric [Wikipedia on carbon dioxide] … and we are talking about possible 1% changes within that figure.

    All you are saying is that because you can’t understand it, they can’t.

  2. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    re Comment from: Luke September 24th, 2009 at 8:19 am claiming that I “just ignored and kept ranting. Remember how these denialists work – just keep repeating the same olf bullshit over and over. Leave it for 6 months and bring it up again. Real science is beyond these dudes’”

    Luke you disappoint me: I have dealt at some length with that ppt presentation by Turcotte et al. at my original Mauna Loa thread last week. It is to say the least disingenuous of you to cite it without mentioning some of its obvious faults. That is not the way academe used to work when I was young – any paper with known faults should not be recommended to the unwary, as you just did, without mentioning those faults, of which these are just a few;

    1. It has not been published and was not peer-reviewed.

    2. It claims to “Consider hourly temperature observations at [Mauna Loa] observatory for 1997-2006.” Those records do not exist on a daily, monthly and annual basis, if they did, they would be reported by NOAA’s site for that Observatory, which states explicitly that almost all monthly records since 1992 are incomplete, and that as a result, no annual totals are available since 1992. BTW, if that Observatory (sic) cannot maintain a daily record of temperarure, why should we believe its quite possibly equally fictitious [CO2] records?

    3. Thus their Slides 3-5 are misleading with their claim they are based on a 30-year series of noon temperatures from 1977 (see my #2). Nevertheless they are fun, with their declining T trends (overlooked by Luke), despite the burgeoning [CO2].

    4. Slide 7 is their best: it shows correctly that the average annual increase in [CO2] was of the order of 1.5 ppm p.a., but also that the Temperature Trend at ML is a stunning +0.22 oC p.a., or 2.2 oC per decade, which will result in an increase of 8.8 by 2050 (double the current average), and a total increase of 20 oC by 2100, by when Mauna Loa will be hotter than Dubai. Well done, Luke, I am sure you will bring this stunning Science to the attention of your Kev and Pen asap, proving as it does that we are way beyond tipping points.

    Dear Luke, you are good at scouring the literature for articles that support your world view with its latent eugenicism, and hopeless at critical evaluation thereof. That is no doubt why you are a good public servant, that being one who knows what the Secretary or Minister or PM want to hear. Penny Wong’s Parkinson and Swan’s Henry are Australia’s own embodiments of Sir Humphrey with you able to offer backup as and when.

  3. Comment from: Luke

    Tim Tim Tim

    I’m watching ear to ear watching you squirm

    (1) true but good enough for an invited AGU paper
    (2) speculative tosh
    (3) rampant opinion of yours
    (4) your extrapolation – noone elses

    but funny how other islands showing similar trends – latter slides. Isn’t micromet such fun – hahahahahahahahaha

    Give it away mate.

  4. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    Luke’s responses to my points: “(1) true but good enough for an invited AGU paper
    (2) speculative tosh
    (3) rampant opinion of yours
    (4) your extrapolation – noone elses”


    1. So what? must have been met with some derision.

    (2) Check NOAA’s site for ML temperature data

    (3) check 2 out of their 3 slides 3-5.

    (4). I know that Australian and State public servants have difficulties with numbers, which is why their budget forecasts are always wrong. But I thought even you could see that a 0.22 oC p.a. trend increase in temperature implies 2.2 over 10 years, so 8.8 to 2050, and 11.0 from 2050 to 2100, for a total of 20 plus current not quite 8, so actual c 27.8 oC by 2100, hotter than Dubai or even Darwin.

    Ever admitted to have been wrong?

  5. Comment from: steven guth

    I’ve printed out SJT’s article and will look at more depth.

    But what gets me suspicious is that there is just not enough variation in the yearly figures. Is it true that huge flash fires are equal every year around the globe? Adding equal amounts of extra CO2 every year? And three or four points that are used as THE total world wide sample … that is like taking only 3 or 4 locations on the planet to make measurments of the age of people. And that 95% of the atmosphere statement. What is the 95% measured in – height above sea level, volume or mass of air? And if it is height where does the atmosphere end?

    Remember we currently still lost in the world of mean averages and the statistics to create them. Variablity is more the issue in climate.

    And how accurate are the measuement tools? After all 370 to 375 ppm is a tiny, tiny amount. Easy to see if I write it as 1,000,000 as the total and 5 as the shift.

    Loved the graphs, good examples of how axis can be cut so as to make it appear that a the drop in the bucket is a huge amount. 5 in 1,000,000 that is 1 drop in 200,000 drops … more like a drop in a bathtub. … And, frankly, it is things like that that make me suspicious that things not mentioned about the recording protcol are also being pushed.

  6. Comment from: steven guth

    Read the below, it is from page two of the document that was suggested ….

    What I read this to mean is “That we select the data that shows what we want and drop the rest as ‘suspect’ and make an excuse for dropping it.” … as said the lack of data variablity worried me …

    Of course, there is the question of throwing out of “suspect” values when averaging the hourly data. Some data are “suspect”, because they differ too much from the (expected) average of the previous (and following) data with more than a given (3 sigma) difference, or when mechanical/physical problems occur, or when there is wind from the wrong direction (land side in the case of coastal stations), etc. In many cases, the source of the deviation is known. All the data still are available in the hourly averages of 4 raw measurements, but are “flagged” and not used for daily, monthly and yearly averages. More on this in next items.

  7. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen

    steven guth September 24th, 2009 at 9:38 pm


    If you are interested in “global” CO2 levels, then it is advisable to measure where there not too much local disturbances. The best point in that way is the South Pole, be it that that gives some mechanical problems, but the record there is near as long as at Mauna Loa (MLO), they started first, but there is a gap of a few years in the data.

    All current stations (MLO since 1959) measure CO2 with 10 second intervals, the voltage readings are compared to the voltage readings of three (in early days two) reference gases, each measured every hour, and the result gives an average and sdv over the hour. These results are stored and eventually “flagged” if the data have a more than expected deviation (sdv within an hour, hour to hour variation, mechanical problems,…).

    What is the expected value at MLO? besides the small increase per year (about 2 ppmv), the largest change is the NH seasonal exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and the oceans and vegetation (the latter gives the main change). The strongest seasonal change is in the months June and October, about 3 ppmv. That means about 0.1 ppmv/day, or 0.004 ppmv/hour. The latter far below the detection capability of the measurements.

    Thus if there is a large varibility and uptick (+4 ppmv) measured, from experience they know that this is when volcanic vents and downslope wind mixes in. These data are not of any interest for global values (they may be of interest for volcanic people), therefore these are not used for daily/monthly/yearly averages. The same for upslope wind (mainly in the afternoon) which is slightly depleted (-4 ppmv).

    But even if you use all MLO values (including the outliers), that gives the same result for yearly averages and slope as with the “cleaned” averages, within a few tenths of a ppmv.

    Thus MLO and the other 9 baseline stations (and some 70+ other stations) all over the world show the same results with and without selecting, within a few ppmv, the largest difference being between the NH and SH, due to the slow exchange of air masses between the hemispheres, and the one sided emissions (90% in the NH).

    The main variability in the monthly/yearly averaged CO2 readings is caused by the ocean surface temperature. Other effects like peat burning, if large enough, will be noticed, but in this particular case coincide with the CO2 peak caused by the huge 1997-1998 El Niño event, thus it is difficult to know individual contributions.

    Anyway, the CO2 measurements are sharp enough to even find a slight cycle in the CO2 measurements coinciding with the moon cycle…

  8. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen

    Some addition:

    In the early days, the measurements were continuous loggers, and averages were manually calculated for 15 minute intervals, compared with the regular injection of reference gases.
    Nowadays everything is computerised with 10-second samples and more reference gases (3 i.s.o. 2) and extra checks (a 4th reference gas outside the normal range, injected every 25th hour) are built in.

    Raw hourly data for four baseline stations (Barrow, Mauna Loa, Samoa, South Pole, up to 2008) can be found at:

  9. Comment from: Iowa Tea Party Patriots Blog » Political Global Warming should be dead

    [...] and more claims and predictions have failed peer review by other scientists. Here is one of the best summaries of the identified problems. After reading that summary, you should realize that we the people are [...]

  10. Comment from: steven guth

    I find the concept of ‘background air’ not satisfactory. It’s like measuring the average height of people for the planet in front of a japanese resturant in Toyko with a good 1/10 mm ruler. Lots is happening out there in the rest of the world to CO2. Back and forth, fires, earth venting, interactions, high and low and this is just left out of the straw man measurements to proport to show the mean ‘average’ situation for the whole planet.

    The system of creating a level mean average curve for the air samples also does not impress me. If a party of Swedes comes into the Toyko resturant we just ignore them. They shouldn’t be in Tokyo – so they just don’t exsist.

    As said, the variablity is the Climate Change issue and this has been manipulated out of the system.

    To understand where I am coming from please look at my web site article. It loads slowly because it is in ‘word’

    To me the exciting thing is the ‘proto-water’ idea, anyone have any suggestions about it?

  11. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen

    steven guth September 25th, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Steven, you need to make a differentiation between measurements and fluxes of CO2.

    Fluxes of CO2 are near large sources and sinks, which are mainly influencing the first few hundred meters over land. Fluxes from/to the oceans are far slower, see e.g.:
    where you can see that the flux passing the ocean surface varies between +1 and -3 mol/m2 per year. Reason why one finds about the same CO2 levels worldwide over the oceans and at any altitude over a few hundred meters, only modulated by the huge seasonal exchanges and the addition by humans. Thus in large parts (over 97%) of the atmosphere, one can measure the same level of CO2 within a few ppmv.

    The individual fluxes are far less known, although currently over 400 CO2 measurement points (including tall towers and flights) are dedicated for that purpose.

    Measuring CO2 for global averages is done as far away from fluxes as possible. That is where air is already mixed over large areas, preferentially in the middle of the oceans and in the middle of a CO2 desert: the South Pole.

    Thus in your example: one is measuring the average length of the global population at a lot of airports in the transit hall (where you find a rather global mix of people), but any group of locals passing by is excempted, based on their “passport”.

    I have read your document, is rather general, but I am quite skeptical about your ‘proto-water’…

  12. Comment from: steven guth

    But, but, the whole huge system of air mixing on the planet earth is in constant flux. ‘Backgrounds’ are special cases, straw men made to make measurements seem a part of the whole.

    And the leveling out of variablity to get average means – a thing that seems to be done even in the ‘special’ quiet patches – is just a way of getting the required base averages that the whole current system of CO2 measurment relies upon. I don’t think that the system is doing a very good job of gettting the ‘earth’ average … We may agreee to disagree.

    Flux IS the system – not a special case. And the number of fluxs is huge … and many of them, I would suggest, are still unknown.

    Proto water, I am not skeptical about. It’s more than a flux, I would suggest, it seems to be a core variable.

  13. Comment from: SJT

    But, but, the whole huge system of air mixing on the planet earth is in constant flux. ‘Backgrounds’ are special cases, straw men made to make measurements seem a part of the whole.

    CO2 is stable, and the global circulation mixes it in to the whole atmosphere. Independent measurements at different sites around the globe all come up with roughly the same answer. At Mauna Loa in Hawii, or Cape Grim on the island of Tasmania in Australia. The fluxes are huge, but the amazing thing is how the global ecosystem has come to a rough balance between all those fluxes. Otherwise life would not be surviving as it does at the moment.

  14. Comment from: steven guth

    Please, if CO2 is stable in the global situation WHY is there a need to adjust the figures to get the stablity the “backgound’ model needs?

    My I suggest that the 400 new flux measuring points on buildings and the other new locations – besides presenting a huge maths challange (which I am sure will keep many employed for a long time) is now indicating that the huge swings will make the ‘mean averages’ model hard to keep alive by using the maths ‘leveling’ arrangements currently being used in the CO2 ‘backgound’ model.

    I have made this suggestion because I notice that the CO2 ‘background’ measurement model is now being dropped in favour of a new ‘model’ where CO2 is calculated from fuel and coal USE.

    This of course assumes that the input from human coal and fuel burning somehow adds to the CO2 levels in a direct, smooth and simple relationship – which then go on to CAUSE progressive climate change. All the other known and unknow CO2 inputs and outputs are seemingly just ignored as not having an effect on the situation.

    Two more points.

    I believe the CO2 issue is just a minor problem within the whole climate warming concept. But the CO2 issue bothers me because we are being made to accept a whole new monetary system on the basis of carbon credits. This is an issue with unknow consquences that I see as worrysome to say the least.

    And two,
    I’ve just finished the draft of a book on the Nazi time. And it scares me that the popular Nazi concept, “The Jews are destroying Germany, we need a policy to solve this problem.” Has horrifying parallels to the CO2 and climate change issue. How easy – I wonder – was it to get scientific research funds to add to the body of knowlege (already well established) that the Jews where the Cause of Germany’s woes. BTW not all Germans believed in the dangerous, inferior Jew theory but few in the establishment dared to speak out – and needless to say, they couldn’t get their opinions or research results published in the popular press or in a peer reviewed journal.

    …. point two is a thought for the tea pot patriots!

  15. Comment from: Michael Hammer

    Steven Guth;

    Your point 2 is exactly what worries me the most and what I was alluding to in the latter part of my article. My parents were in Germany up till 1939 (victims of the holocaust) when they managed to get out. What is happening now is starting to feel very similar to the buildup they described to me of that time in Germany. As I said, totalitarianism does not need a premeditated dictator pulling the strings. An hysterical belief based agenda even when promulgated in all innocence is enough. The times will create a suitable dictator all primed and ready at the appropriate moment.

    That is why assassinating a dictator rarely achieves anything, theres always another waiting in the wings more than ready to take over.

    By the way, to forstall the likes of Luke et al, no I am not suggesting we are heading towards another holocaust (Nazi style) but I do fear we are heading towards an unprecedented and dictatorial intrusion into all aspects of our lives ourely in support of an ideology wich does not stand up to rational scrutiny. Once it starts, it will be almost impossible to stop until our society is irrretrievably damaged or destroyed.

    If the science is so clear and certain why not have a free and open debate. That would prove the issue. Trouble is believers do not want their faith subject to impartial scrutiny because deep down they know it will not stand up.

  16. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen

    steven guth September 25th, 2009 at 9:06 am

    There is no “background model” for CO2. There are several circulation models, where fluxes are guestimated (based on d13C and O2 variations), but with large margins of error. See e.g.:
    But the “background” CO2 is what simply is measured at 70+ sites all over the world, where 10 “baseline” stations are used for global averaging, because of the length of their record and rigorous calibration and maintenance procedures.

    No one adjusts the figures of what is measured at any of the baseline stations, except for instrument errors and calibration gas errors. The data which are not used for averaging are these which are clearly contaminated by local sources and sinks or instrument failure. These are of no interest for global levels and trends.

    But even so: do the math yourself: calculate the average and trend of all the data and compare that to the average and trend of only the “clean” (non-flagged) data. I have done that for 2004, there simply is no difference over a few tenths of a ppmv (while the 50+ years trend is over 60 ppmv).

    In 97% of the atmosphere, CO2 levels are the same, except for seasonal modulation, despite the huge fluxes within and in/out 3% of the atmosphere. CO2 measurements above 500 m during flights over Colorado show the same levels of CO2 at the same day as at Mauna Loa, 6,000 km away, within a tenth of a ppmv. Thus one can say that there is a “background” CO2 level, wether one selects the data of interest or not.

  17. Comment from: SJT

    I’ve just finished the draft of a book on the Nazi time. And it scares me that the popular Nazi concept, “The Jews are destroying Germany, we need a policy to solve this problem.” Has horrifying parallels to the CO2 and climate change issue. How easy – I wonder – was it to get scientific research funds to add to the body of knowlege (already well established) that the Jews where the Cause of Germany’s woes. BTW not all Germans believed in the dangerous, inferior Jew theory but few in the establishment dared to speak out – and needless to say, they couldn’t get their opinions or research results published in the popular press or in a peer reviewed journal.

    You can’t be serious can you? It’s like saying hitler drove a black car, therefore all people who drive black cars are Nazis.

  18. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen

    steven guth September 25th, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Part 2 (part 1 is now in the spam filter, but Jennifer will recover it soon I suppose):

    You are confusing the CO2 measurements with the emissions. The latter are based on fossil fuel inventories (which are quite accurate, because of tax income…) and fuel efficiencies. The measured increase in the atmosphere is about 53% of what humans emit into the atmosphere. That excludes non-human net sources, as nature as a whole is a net sink for CO2, not a source.

    If one plots the accumulated emissions against the accumulation in the atmosphere, that is a near fit at 53% of the emissions since about 1900. The first 60 years are based on ice core measurements, thereafter on MLO data. The near fit again is an indication that humans are at the base of the increase, as no known natural process is able to follow the emissions in such a straight way. See: and

  19. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen


    Sorry, but the Nazi comparison doesn’t good to the debate. I am offended too by the “denialist” smear used first by the warmers, but don’t use the same type of arguments to smear the other side. Please keep it on scientific arguments!


  20. Comment from: Michael Hammer


    I agree that smearing the other side is counter productive. In my comment however I thought I specifically pointed out that I was not trying to do that. I acknowledged that they were acting sincerely in what they think is the best of motives. However I believe the course of events is becoming dangerous and has some of the hallmarks which historically led to totalitarianism.

    I feel that this is something that needs to be pointed out and brought to the attention of the general public. As a further example, 2 days after I sent the article to Jennifer for posting I read in Icecap of a company in England which has (not will, or is considering, but has – past tense) required its employees to submit private (ie: home) energy useage documentation on a quarterly basis. If the individual has used more than a quota set by the company, that employee is fined and his or her pay docked. The article did not say it specifically but I gather reading between the lines that it might be on a voluntary basis so far but there are plenty of examples where voluntary becomes compulsory with time. All that is necessary is that the first group endorse the scheme as worthwhile and if they really were volunteers they are already committed. Of course, if they were not volunteers then the coercian is already with us.

    That company which is world wide is now planning to implement the scheme in other countries including America and is talking to the FTSE 100 companies about the scheme. This seems to me a significant escallation.

    I have seen the situation here in Melbourne where now people are being urged to inform on those who do not adhere rigidly to the current water restrictions. Sure people should obey the restrictions but informing on your neighbour was one of the very significant developments of other totalitarian developments incuding I am sad to say the events in Germany in the 1930′s and 1940′s. It breeds a state of fear where no one trusts anyone else which is one of the hallmarks of totalitarianism. The scheme I refer to above has enormous potential to impose moral compulsion on those not in favour and such moral compulsion can be almost as severe as physical compulsion.

    Sorry if I appear to be overly concerned with this but it does worry me and I feel it is an issue that needs to be raised.

    It is no good waiting until the situation materialises – its too late then. If it is to be prevented itis necessary to see the signs early on. Alas, I think this is already beyond early on, we are entering the middle phase. The science is important and most of my effort goes into that but I think we also have a duty to raise these issues as well.

  21. Comment from: steven guth


    Dear Michael, my parents too exited from Austria about the same time as yours. I’ve travelled about and read lots, mediated some and I concur with your concern and assessment. Have you come across Anna Bramwell the historian and the links she shows between the Nazis and the start of the Green Movement? Not popular but she is at Oxford, so it is hard to argue with her! I used her ‘Blood and Soil’ book in my story. I can email you, I’m….

    Dear Ferdinand,

    To take sceince and/or religion out of politics is a good idea. But I don’t think we live in a perfect world where this has happened.

    OK, I may be a too critcal. But, why is the so called perfect ‘background’ data adjusted before it is worked on? This query of mine is still unanswered .

    In my misspent youth I did a bit of experimental Psychology and the only time I got the sort of smooth results like the years long constant 53% you mentioned was when I massaged the data inputs … “Oh that rat wasn’t healthy today, I shouldn’t have run it!” The rats were line breed for many generations, the variables were few and well known – I venture to say the weather is far more complex a system than rats in a maze looking for water.

    Sorry, I did not make clear what I wanted to say. It was, “That the public perception of the CO2 accumalation data is being changed from direct measurement of the air that surrounds us to accepting the concept that the CO2 build up is directly, and only directly realted to the use of fuel and coal”.

    Hence, like the new temperature measurments that cast doubt on the heating affect, I suspect that the newer CO2 levels (when adjusted to make allowances for the ‘flux effect’) will in fact show some results that may cast doubt on the ‘background’ CO2 model with its steadly rising CO2 levels.

    Sea level data has also become more realistic thanks to new far better measurement systems.

    I hope that my point is clearer now. I’m writing fast and stumbling over my thoughts.

  22. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen

    steven guth September 25th, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Steven, my first message didn’t came through, but the essence is that the data are not adjusted, only the local contaminated data are not used for averaging. But even if you use all data (including the local outliers), you will find the same average and trend within a few ppmv, while the overall trend is 60 ppmv over the past 50+ years in 95% of the atmosphere.

    In the same period, we emitted some 110 ppmv CO2. Which makes it clear that we are indeed at the origin of the increase. That is no matter of perception, but of simple mass balance…

    The interesting point is that the whole CO2 cycle seems to react as a simpel, straightforward first order system in dynamic equilibrium and that the year-by-year variation in sink capacity (mainly by temperature variations) is quite modest (+/-1.5 ppmv) compared to the emissions (+4 ppmv) and the increase in the atmosphere (+2 ppmv).

    There are some new NASA satellites going around which measured CO2 in the mid troposphere, and the Japanese which measure over land from the bottom up on the whole column. The first were adjusted with the… baseline station (and balloon and flight) CO2 data. The second preliminary results show a low bias, and are going to be adjusted the same way. The positive point is that we will see more of the worldwide fluxes over land, but the drawback is that the accuracy is not enormous, compared to direct atmospheric measurements.

    Thus in total, the new measurements will not show anything different than we know today about the background CO2 levels (including seasonal changes), but may shed more light on where the main ground based fluxes are.

    See: for an animation of the AIRS results, compared to MLO and for a discussion of the Japanese satellite results.

  23. Comment from: Michael Hammer


    The practice of adjusting data acquired using a different measurement technique so as to make it match the older data worries me because if there is an error or inaccuracy in the older data the practice perpetuates it.

    Having said that, spectroscopic measurement of CO2 would seem to me to be a fairly simple procedure and one that is easy to reference to absoute. Having read one of the references you cited it would seem the approch described is scientifically sound. Possibly the air around Mauna Loa is being contaminated by volcanic activity. If that were the case I would expect to see a large amount of noise in the data. especially at time scales of hours and days as the winds change. The published data that I have seen does not show this noise. If it is there and being removed by selective exclusion of some data then that is dishonest science. It is easy to establish a measurement precision. If the variation is significantly larger than that it is valid data and needs to be included – indeed highlighted since it indicates a possible problem with the measurement – such as contamination or poor mixing of the air. As part of my research at work I did try an experiment once to try and improve precision by obtaining a first pass mean using all the data, using distance from this mean to exclude the outfliers and then computing a new mean and standard deviation using the remaining data. It produced unacceptable shifts in the mean ie: it biased the result.

    I do not have any data suggesting that measurements are being selectively excluded or modified, then again I don’t have any data to suggest they are not. Personally I tend to accept the Mauna Loa data. To me the biggest factor suggesting it is anthropogenic in origin is the time scale which is consistent with the buildup of human emissions.

    What intrigues me is the older chemical analysis data. Much of that is excluded by AGW proponents on the basis that it is contaminated or was the reuslt of poor methodology. I find it suspicious that the portion of the data declared reliable just happens to be the values that support the AGW hypothesis and the people doing the selecting are those most interested in proving the hypothesis. Any reasonable review would find that an unacceptable situation.

    I put very little weight on the ice core data other than to discount the emphasis the AGW proponents have put on it. There is too much we don’t know about causes of these events and the time constants are too different from what we are dealing with here. Lets not forget they talk about 800 yar lags but here we are talking about events spanning only 20 years. Its too easy to discuss qualitatively and lose that distinction. For example to suggest that the warming is driving CO2. Maybe it is but you can’t use the ice core records as evidence because they showed it took 800 years and here we are talking about months to a very few years at most. The thing I do put weight on is that the AGW proponents put lots of weight on the data when it seems to support their case and then discard it when it seems not to support the case. That behaviour is suggestive to me.

    I must confess that to me the situation seems very simple. CO2 is a green house gas. Increasing its concentration in the atmosphere will cause some increase in retained heat – it must. The argument that it is a very small fraction of the atmopshere is not a valid one because the effect of that fraction is not small (2000+ absorbance at line centre). You might as well argue that an LD50 dose of Botullism could not possibly harm one because it is such a small fraction of our weight. The critical question is HOW MUCH additional heating will it cause. To get to the IPCC and other alarmist predictons one needs to posulate massive positive feedback in the climate system. For reasons I have already documented I disbelieve net positive feedback and certainly disbelieve net positive feedback of the degree that would be required.

    I can only see three ways of approaching the problem. Firstly theoretical calculations which I have tried to do but find few can follow or are interested in. Secondly by looking for short term (10-100 year) correlations which I have also documented, some in the article of this thread. Thirdly by testing the proponents data for internal consistency which I have also tried to do again some documented in the article of this thread. On all three counts I find what to me are compelling reasons to be highly sceptical of the AGW proponent claims. I suspect they are grossly exaggerated so as to make the case compelling enough to force action (and its this that worries me so much). If they claimed a further 0.25 – 0.5C rise by 2070 above todays values I would probably agree but then there would be no crisis to address. I do not disagree with the concept of AGW only with the claimed magnitude of the effect.

  24. Comment from: steven guth

    As part of my understanding of how the universe is constructed I find it amazing that the air-CO2 balance can be so even. Does a major fire in southern australia (adding maybe 20% to global CO2) result in a 20% increase in phytoplankton in the sea? From what has been said these sort of mechanisms must be at play. But then why don’t the same organisms devour the human produced CO2? Bad taste?


    I feel I should add my experience to the cut below …

    ……..As part of my research at work I did try an experiment once to try and improve precision by obtaining a first pass mean using all the data, using distance from this mean to exclude the outfliers and then computing a new mean and standard deviation using the remaining data. It produced unacceptable shifts in the mean ie: it biased the result.

    The above is also my experince. Leaving out the results of the rats that were ‘sick’ baised the results to blases, but it did get me the results that were expected from previous research. Naturally I became cynical about rat driven experimental psychology (which is what the professor was trying to teach!) I can add that my rat experience changed for being a believer in ‘stimulus response’ psychology to becoming a Fruedian … it was more fun too!

    I am just apply my experince to my assessment of the CO2 figures and how they are arrived at.

    My family’s survial background, like Michael’s has made me suspicous of policies planted on us by Goverments. And as set out in my web artilce I can see much wrong with the whole AGW theory. At a minium it causes us to ignore many other issues that are contibuting to environmental degredation – issues that it are often easy and cost effective to do something about. I live on the ‘land’ (as australians say) and I see this around me every day.

    To me the real climate change issue is the ever likely large volcanic explosion and the food less ‘dark ages’ winter this would produce. These occur pretty regularly and the word ‘overdue’ has been used.

  25. Comment from: Michael Hammer

    Hi Steve;

    Specific case in point. My father was walking down the street one day when he heard 2 people talking – criticising the Nazi regime. He saw there was a “police officer” within earshot so he went to them and said, “be careful what you say you are being overheard”. At which point all 3 were arrested. That is how he ended up in a concentration camp.

    I must say you make a good point about the stability of CO2 concentration. The seasonal cycle is extremely marked which shows both that the measurement technique is sensitive and the atmosphere responds quickly to changes in input (by the way another indicator that the CO2 residence time is very short – relevant to jennifers thread “why I am a global warming sceptic part 3″). Have there been any significant erruptions in the last 20-30 years – I thought there had been. Did they show up in the record? If they did not then it cannot be just heavy filtering because that would have removed the seasonal variation. It would imply data modification which in my book pretty much invalidates the entire record. I need to go back and check whether there were any eruptions (Pinatubo springs to mind) and whether these showed up the in Mauna Lao data. (Tracking CO2 changes has not been a strong interest of mine).

  26. Comment from: steven guth


    I think much of the problem with all climate material is the ‘average mean’ concept. which is why we were taught that ‘median averages’ are a good idea. Randomness does not do well with ‘means’ which why they are trancated and so to say “cleaned up”.

    I think – and it’s my guess – that “they” are changing the public’s perception of the CO2 issue to human inputs rather than sticking to the accepted ‘background’ CO2 concept is a sign that some of the emperor’s clothes are missing. I wonder what? As you suggest – data modification?

    And the “they”? Who are they? I wish I knew. In the long ago ages before TV their once was a Minister of Information who is accredited with saying. ‘Give me 5 years and I they will believe anything’ His name started with G.

    I would like your personal email -I have stuff I would enjoy sharing with you.

  27. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    Re CO2 and volcanoes, both St Helens and Pinatubo appear to have led to slight decreases in – but without reversing – the usual upward trend of [CO2]. Over a long period the dominant force on variations in the growth of [CO2] is whether it is a time of El Nino or La Nina, because of their impact on global uptakes of [CO2], with an almost perfect R2 correlation, but the current global recession has also had an impact (by reducing the volume of fossil fuel emissions).

  28. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    I have just done the log linear growth rate for the growth of [CO2] at Mauna Loa 1959-2008, it’s less than 0.41% p.a. Yet ALL IPCC and other AGW texts eg Garnaut + Stern + Solomon + Meinshausens + Steffen and other Stasi et al claim this growth rate will be at least 1.0% pa throughout this century.

  29. Comment from: Antony Clark

    Please, Mr Hammer, as a professional spectroscopist, can you tell us anything about the absorbtion spectra of mixtures the atmpospheric gases that contain varying amounts of carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, and associated ions. I noted that while many treat the relationship linear, others consider it might be logarithmic. Is it not possible to settle the issue by experiment? Has that been done? Where are the experimental results?

  30. Comment from: Michael Hammer


    Your data is a surprise. My understanding is that volcanoes release copious amounts of CO2 as essentially a step function (ie: large amount in a very short time) Surely that should cause a transient global increase in atmospheric CO2 yet you say it led to a decrease (or at least a decrease in the rate of increase). Isn’t that the wrong way round.

    If the volcano really did cause a transient decrease, what does that say about our understanding of CO2 mechanisms in the atmosphere. With regard to el ninos and la ninas which caused an increae in atmospheric CO2 and which a decrease?

    Something does not seem to tie up correctly

  31. Comment from: SJT

    Your data is a surprise. My understanding is that volcanoes release copious amounts of CO2 as essentially a step function (ie: large amount in a very short time) Surely that should cause a transient global increase in atmospheric CO2 yet you say it led to a decrease (or at least a decrease in the rate of increase). Isn’t that the wrong way round.

    If the volcano really did cause a transient decrease, what does that say about our understanding of CO2 mechanisms in the atmosphere. With regard to el ninos and la ninas which caused an increae in atmospheric CO2 and which a decrease?

    It releases particles into the atmosphere, which causes cooling in the short term. The lifetime of particles is a lot short than CO2. When Mt StHelens went up, there was apparently a lot of excitement in the modeling community because it meant they could test their models predictions against the measured response.

  32. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    Wonders never cease; for once SJT has it right and we are in perfect agreement!

    Mike, the El Ninos tend to raise [CO2] becuae the associated droughts across wide swathes of the land surface area reduce crop outputs and yields and reduce thereby the uptakes of [CO2], while La Ninas have the opposite effect.

    All of this is beyond the comprehension of IPCC (AR4, WG1, p.624 Lead jerks Randall & Wood, supported by an army of lesser jerks including the usual Australian suspects like Andrew Pitman and some of the Stasi mob Meinshausen, Rahmstorf) which as ever thinks the mean from an aggregation of models backcasting and forecasting ENSO proves how good they are even though each one has it wrong by a wide margin (Fig.8.13b).

    At no point does AR4 notice the precise correlation between rates of change in [CO2] and in ENSO – but then people like Pitman have no statistical competence.

    But then that’s climate science.

    BTW, I think the time has come to name and shame the “experts” of AR4 with their pathetic inability to undertake basic applied statistics.

  33. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen


    Again in defence of the CO2 measurements:

    I have been in process (automation) engineering all my working life and agree, just averaging may give a bias, but letting spikes through into your control algorithm is a condition for disaster…

    In the case of Mauna Loa, the origin of the spikes is known (downslope wind for volcanic degassing: about +4 ppmv, upslope wind with depleted levels by vegetation: about -4 ppmv). I don’t see a scientific problem with discarding these data for averaging, as these are not part of what we are interested in: the long time, if possible global, trend.

    I have plotted both the full raw hourly average dataset and the “cleaned” dataset for MLO in 2004, there is hardly any difference in trend or average, only the first is noisier: and

    Thus there is no data modification at all, only throwing out the outliers with known origin, which are influenced by local contamination.

    About the older chemical data: most were rather accurate (+/- 10 ppmv), but many were taken on land near huge sources and sinks (towns, vegetation). Calendar used smart selection criteria (like: not intended for agricultural purposes) and found an average 300-320 ppmv over a long period, long before “global warming” was an item at all (he and others saw more CO2 as beneficial). The estimates of Calendar were confirmed 60 years later by the ice core measurements.

    The Pinatubo eruption caused a CO2 injection of 42 to 234 Mt of CO2, according to Wolfe:
    Hard to measure, as that spreads immediately and local measurements were impossible at the time of eruption. But even the largest estimate of 234 Mt CO2, or about 60 MtC is the equivalent of 0.03 ppmv CO2 in the global atmosphere. That is below the detection limit of the CO2 measurements… Compare that to the 8 GtC (4 ppmv) humans emit per year. In fact, the opposite happened: the cooling increased oceans absorption and the diffusion of light increased photosynthesis leading to a lowering of the increase rate:

    I have not looked at the IPCC for the temperature-CO2 rate of change relationship (indeed the trend used by the models is overblown), but Pieter Tans of NOAA has a nice overview of that relationship here:
    Thus while there is a extremely good correlation between CO2 accumulation and accumulated emissions, the year-by-year variability in growth rate is modulated mainly by temperature variations.

  34. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    Ferdinand; I have the greatest respect for all your contributions, But none at all for Pieter Tans, with his failure to consider temperature changes at Mauna Loa itself vis a vis [CO2] measurements there conducted by himself. The man is regrettably a charlatan and rogue, at least until he explains why he (a) fails to ensure proper daily temperature measurements at his very own Observatory, and then (b) cites “global” temperatures doctored by James Hansen of GISS to ensure some vestigial correlation between [CO2] at ML and global temperature.

    When I visitited my local doctor with obvious high fever 2 days ago, I would not have been impressed if she had said well “I have Pieter Tans’ temperature at ML today and he has no fever so clearly you don’t.”

    Yet that is the level of the “science” of the IPCC.

    Not one of its 2500 Nobel prize winners has had the elemental scientific curiosity to ask that given the [CO2] at ML has risen by 71 ppm since 1958, what has been the correlation between that increase year-by-year and that of temperature at Mauna Loa? Tans has no answer, because since 1992 he simply could not be bothered to record on a daily basis the temperatures at ML.

    In that regard he is no worse than ALL 2500 authors and editors of AR4, not one of whom has ever bothered to evaluate temperature change at ANY LOCATION ON EARTH vis a vis Tans’ [CO2] measurements.

    I have previously reported the NIL correlation between Tans’ CO2 and temperatures at ML to 1992 (when he stopped ensuring daily temperature records). Is it that hard, beyond all the financial resources of the Clinton-Bush-Obama administrations, that not even the teaboy/girl (clearly beneath the dignity of Dr Tans) can be paid to record daily temperatures?

    But it is worse than that. Without being paid by Exxon, more’s the pity, I can reveal that there is ZERO correlation between changes in [CO2] and temperatures anywhere in California. This is an ongoing project of mine, so the results are preliminary, but so far I have Negative R2 (-0.008) and coefficient for changes in [CO2] and temperature at both Los Angeles Airport and Tustine Ervine Ranch (rural CA), and little better at LA Civic Centre.

    Evidently with all its resources the IPCC has not been able to find a single climate scientist capable (willing) of doing a regression of temperature changes anywhere on the planet against the ubiquitously identical changes in [CO2].

    I conclude that without exception all those who allowed their names to be appended to the IPCC’s AR4 are guilty of High Treason as defined by Paul Krugman in the NYT last July.

  35. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    Further evidence of the charlatanry of ALL involved in the IPCC’s AR4 and its cheerleaders both here and in Pittsburgh:

    The R2 for temperature changes in LA Civic Centre rises from 0.006 to 0.2 when we add LA electricity consumption to [CO2], with the T-stat and coefficient both negative for CO2.

    But then it is not fair to expect our Kev and Pen, let alone Gordon Brown and Barack Osama bin Laden, to understand regressions and their coefficients. However we can rely on the systemic dishonesty of their advisers, like Parkinson and Garnaut (DCC here) and Holdren (Washington), to supress such politically inconvenient information.

  36. Comment from: Ferdinand Engelbeen

    Tim Curtin September 26th, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Tim, calm down! No need to use such strong words. I have a high respect for Pieter Tans (of Dutch origin, I am Flemish), as he follwos the highest standards of science in maintaining a rigorous control on all CO2 measurements under his supervision spread over the world. That has nothing to do with what others at the IPCC and climate modellers do with the data. I can only hope that one day the temperature stations all over the world will be subject to the same standards.

    The CO2 data measured at Mauna Loa are more or less global CO2 levels. These are in no way influenced by local temperatures, which are measured btw with wind speed/direction and precipitation in the meteorological station adjacent to the MLO CO2 station, Pieter Tans has nothing to do with that. But these are influenced mainly – with some delay – by vegetation changes and ocean temperature changes over the seasons over the whole NH atmosphere. Thus IF there is a correlation, then one must compare the NH temperatures as a whole with the CO2 levels at MLO. Not the local temperature.

    Of course, the “global” temperature by Hansen’s GISS can be discuted, but the absolute temperature is of no interest here, it is the variability of the temperature that is directly correlated with the variability of the CO2 increase around the trend (which itself is a direct result of the emissions). This correlation is also found by several skeptics, here MacRae at Icecap:
    And here on this own site:
    With my reaction on March 26th, 2009 at 12:39 am

    The error made by several skeptics is to translate the correlation of temperature variability and CO2 increase variability to the cause of the trend itself, but one can’t deduce the cause of a trend by looking at the (often detrended!) derivative of the trend…

    So there is a near fit correlation between the accumulated emissions and the accumulation in the atmosphere and there is a good correlation between the derivative of the accumulation (the yearly increase) and the yearly variation in (global/NH/ocean temperature). Thus there is a high probability that the emissions are the cause of the increase and that temperature variations are the cause of the year by year variability of the increase. In both cases there is a plausible mechanism at work.

    I am a skeptic by nature, but I try to look at the evidence of both sides of the fence. Not everything written by “warmers” is wrong and not everything said by skeptics is right. It is just a matter of the right scientific arguments…

    About the influence of the excess CO2 on temperature: here I agree to a large extent with Michael that the IPCC/models/warmers by far exaggerate the “projections” of the future warming and that we may end (far) below the minimum that the models expect for 2xCO2.

  37. Comment from: steven guth

    From what I understand the stablity of the CO2 figures just shouldn’t be there.

    I was walking this morning – there is snow in the hills behind us – it sure isn’t warming around here! I did some reflective thinking.

    What, I wondered is pushing the stablity in the system? We have only looked at the biological CO2 cycle. And there must be something else or surely there would be lags. The clue I got was from the suggestion that near volcanos the CO2 disappears really quickly.

    So maybe there are some other processes going on?

    How about exchanges with sub atomic particles of the hydrogen that escapes from the earth?
    Or some interaction with the sun’s energy? Or some other energy on the planet that we havn’t given much thought?

    So has anyone expanded the CO2 cycle concept into physics and/or sub atomic particle chemistry?

  38. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    Ferdinand – I do have respect for Pieter Tans re his measuring of [CO2], although I am always doubtful about seasonally adjusted data, thankfully he does show the unadjusted. But he cannot be unaware that his measurements have attained enormous political significance – leading to the extraordinary upcoming circus in Copenhagen with its likely baleful consequences on living standards of all of us – because of the claimed 95% certainty that changing [CO2] causes climate change in terms of both precipitation and temperature. Surely it is not beyond his personal influence – or his intellectual curiosity – to ensure that those operating the met. station next door to his own lab. maintain a daily temperature record – they and he are colleagues after all, I assume all employed by NOAA. Or is it too difficult to take the daily readings from their electronic system? (I have friends here in Canberra who manage, and have noticed how their records now diverge from that at Canberra Airport (dutifully reported by our BoM to NOAA) since the huge expansion in carparks and buildings there over the last 5 -7years or so). Regrettably climate scientists show no interest in quality controls on their basic data.

    I fully accept that of course Tans’ CO2 data are not (much?) affected by local temperature variation – but the converse is what is claimed by the IPCC, and as I have said, if ML is pristine for CO2 then it should also qualify as an ideal temperature measuring station for the purest possible measurement of the Radiative Forcing effect on temperature (in Watts/sq. metre) from increases in [CO2]. For the NH data ML should be included, but is not – one can only assume it is deliberately excluded by NASA-GISS.

    Thus with respect I cannot agree when you say “IF there is a correlation, then one must compare the NH temperatures as a whole with the CO2 levels at MLO. Not the local temperature.” The problem with the “NH temperatures” is that they are literally a concoction by James Hansen of GISS and Phil Jones of HadleyCRUT, artfully doctored to show what they want to see, as Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts have documented in great detail. I myself have noted here and in 2 seminars I gave at ANU last year (see my website) that the “global” data excluded most of the tropics until 1960 or so, with less than 80% coverage of the globe before then, creating global “coolth” before 1960.

    In any case while you say “there is a good correlation between the derivative of the accumulation (the yearly increase) and the yearly variation in (global/NH/ocean temperature)”, I cannot see it, as R2 less than 0.5 indicates in general a false hypothesis (or one incorrectly specified). As my post just prior to yours notes, the R2 for a correlation between changes in [CO2] and changes in electricity consumption by location shows a marginally better fit than that for CO2 alone, albeit with a NEGATIVE coefficient on changes in [CO2] for LA Civic! If I can get data on transport fuel consumption in LA I suspect similar outcomes, better R2, and probably still negative for CO2!!

    Anyhow this is work in progress, and I will keep you posted, but just to repeat, a univariate correlation is unlikely to be applicable to the relationship between NH climate and changes in [CO2].

    BTW, I even have a formal qualification in Afrikaans, it used to be my second language, but did not take me far in Brussels on my annual visits there from 1976 to 1987!

  39. Comment from: Luke

    Tim – are you still spreading utter utter bullshit after having been slapped down by Turcotte et al. Did you see the other measuring stations doing the thing. hahahahahahahahaha

    Why debate when you can bullshit?

  40. Comment from: Tim Curtin

    Luke – it seems you are “still spreading utter utter bullshit..” after I slapped down Turcotte et al. for claiming that Mauna Loa Observatory will be the hottest spot on earth by 2100 with its ANNUAL temp. rise of 0.22 oC according to Turcotte et al.

    As for your “other measuring stations”, none of them show ANY impact of rising [CO2] on temperature.

    Luke, please name any single station anywhere on this planet where rising [CO2] correlates with rising temperature. I just did 3 in Arnold’s California where the correlation is NEGATIVE. Geddit?

    Luke’s only contribution to knowledge (do please forward to Wiki) is “hahahahahahahahaha”.

  41. Comment from: steven guth

    I don’t know if anyone is listening to me.

    But I do think I’m onto something with my suggestion that other variables beyond biololgical activity are involved in the CO2 cycle.

    Been in a limestone cave? The water that desolved the limestone was slightly acid – carbonic acid. Soda water? Full of CO2. Now, water is very reactive, and strange stuff. Forget ice, lets consider water, charged water molecules (as in thunderstorms when nitrogen is absorbed as well), water vapour (humididty) and I think there is a charged vapour state as well.

    Lots of water vapour in volcanoes, charged I bet. And those El Ninos, I have thought about them and ocean currents as well – see the last part of my climate change article.

    I suspect that much of the antartic weather that effects us – like the snow on the hills behhind canberra today – is driven by the huge karabatic winds that sweep out of antartica (and are ignored becuse our models are northern hemisphere based) Surely the water particles assocaited with these winds are charged.

    And I bet charged water – in whatever form – absorbs CO2 like crazy.

    Pressure does it too – soda water for sure…

    any takers??


    Link to article on climate

  42. Comment from: steven guth

    To continue with new ideas.

    1. Let’s assume that earth’s biological life is so hungry for CO2 that the minium of CO2 in the air (mixture) is quickly reached.

    2. This means that the inputs and outs of CO2 in the system are not important accept in given locations and in the short term.

    3. Let’s accept that the ‘background’ CO2 level has been rising.

    3. So may I suggest that the CO2 CARRYING CAPACITY of air is the critcal factor.

    4. So what has been gradually reducing the CO2 carrying capacity of air?

    ?????? My guess is that it is electronic somg???

    Has anyone checked CO2 levels near power lines, transformer farms, TV, Radio or radar masts? Or near nuclear facilites?????

  43. Comment from: steven guth

    opps, point 4 from my last post should read ……….

    4. So what has been gradually increasing the CO2 retention capacity in the air?

    … electonic smog

  44. Comment from: steven guth

    OK, no takers so far to my ‘why more CO2 suggestion.

    So let me repeat my propostion in more (and I hope better) words

    There are huge yearly CO2 input swings (like random fires) and the known seasonal swings in CO2. Why does this NOT SHOW up as variations in the “background” CO2 figures. The simple reason is that the figures have been ‘adusted’ so these are taken out – which, in my mind, throws the total validity of the measurement system to the winds.

    But people on this blog have assured me that the adjustments are not that great and are not destroying the validity of the data. I can accept that.

    So why no variations in background CO2??

    That’s where my new hypothosis comes in.

    1. I consider that currently biological life on this planet is so hungry for CO2 it grabs whatever it can get hold of really, really quickly.

    2. So for the base line “background” CO2 figure to make sense. It must indicate the last tiny amount CO2 that is locked into the air and is too hard for biological life to access … to ‘recover’ from the air.

    3. Again I assume the figures for “background” CO2 are accurate.

    4. So why has the ‘background’ CO2 level been on the slow rise?

    5. Because the retention ability of the air to hold CO2 has increased…. WHY, why?

    6. Of course I don’t know. But there are many suggestions for checking and testing – from … elctricity generation and power line transmission (it increase the ionic state of the air – so letting it drag in and hold more CO2) …. to … the action of new types of air borne bacteria … to … cosmic stuff linked to the activites of distant galaxies.

    7. my earlier suggestion is the world wide increase in electronic smog – radio, TV, phone and radar impulses excting the air and so allowing the retention of more CO2

    8. this hypothesis of CO2 retention is testable. (Mention my name when you apply for research funding … it won’t help, but it will make me feel good!)

    9. Alas this idea would destroy the game of ‘inputs out outputs’ and the even stranger game that what we humans burn makes a huge and real difference … And the even deadlier game of ‘carbon credits’. So my – or should I say “the” – retention CO2 model is not going to be quickly accepted.

    10. BUT I do think the CO2 retention idea fits the observed facts better than the current input and output model with it’s many unworkable unknows. The inputs and outputs game correlates just one activity – and one human activity at that – the burning of stuff. So many other inputs human and otherwise also correlate to CO2 ‘background’ obseravtions – but correlation IS NOT causation.

    11. NOT that increases in CO2 matter, but’s that is another story for another time…

    7. the one I suggested

  45. Comment from: steven guth

    I sent my blog details (as above) to some friends to see if they had any comments.

    David sent back an email which included the paragraph below.

    David is an inventor, an expert at micro currents in medical and other electronic equipment. I don’t know how good is his idea. But propostion is valid and yes, it should yield a testable experiment.

    Of course his answer does move towards giving me an answer to the of “how can the CO2 move so quickly through the biosphere?”


    If plants need CO2, they’ll get it; as a radio-type transmission more than by favorable winds that include CO2. CO2 (and everything else) is more than just “matter”. CO2 has other ways to exist as well as being observed as a gas. It is a set of resonant electro-magnetic facts. Has anybody calculated the weight of CO2, for example, needed to form just the bamboo that grows, every day, in a rain forrest? Where, at 0.03% (?) of the air, can such a large quantity of CO2 come from. Forrest winds don’t blow like hurricanes only in the evenings, continuously, to supply just one gas that is needed for plants to have substance. The weight of the still air, in a forest, does not support the amount of CO2 needed for the increase in plant life over the same time. Taking a minuscule percentage of gas, out of air, and replacing it with Oxygen, does not involve enough steam-physics and Newtonian inertia, of the air, to make the events have any credibility but, by some set of miracles yet to be explained properly, plants grow and carbon becomes part of many minerals.


    … And by way of explination David added this paragraph …

    A crystal set radio uses no batteries nor external power, instead gets its power, that it turns into audible sound, out of the sky, from the radio transmitter. The aerial of a crystal-set, to produce pleasant very quiet music in a small room (more power than needed for headphones) may be cross-section about 2mm; 30mm long. Take the cubic capacity of the wire, and divide that into the cubic capacity of the cubic area of the radio station’s influence, multiply that by the actual sound energy available for the room, and the wire has gathered how many times more power than its cubic capacity alone should collect? The aerial system is tuned to resonate with the radio station, similarly to the way a string on a piano is tuned to match other strings on the piano. Any energy, put into one member of a resonant group, gets distributed and shared by other members of the group. The stress in space, caused by the radio station, is relieved by resonant systems that soak up the transmitted energy, taking the stress away from nearby areas and rendering the stress into relatively harmless heat energy. Without resonance, radio-TV transmitting stations would have to output trillions (whatever) of Watts of power to equal what a few kiloWatts can do.

  46. Comment from: Mike M

    Because an increase of CO2, (and warmth too more often than not), causes faster plant growth – that means that plants are also absorbing solar energy at a faster rate. If increased CO2 causes plants to remove more solar energy from the radiation balance equation, (if it’s converted into a chemical energy potential then it ain’t heat no more), it is then CO2 acting as a NEGATIVE feedback. I would surmise that this effect is likely not a large one but certainly yet another that you will not find in any IPCC cited or James Hansen computer model. Little things add up…

  47. Comment from: Stephen Mooney

    There are four factors which need to be considered with regard to the cause of global warming, and not one as claimed by establishment science.

    The first is carbon emissions from Human activity. The second is carbon emissions from non-Human sources. The third is the increase in the emission of the Sun over time. And the fourth is the movement of the solar system within the Milky Way galaxy.

    The increase in the density of the emission within the solar system, and its absorption by the Earth, increases the density of the emission (gravitational) field of the Earth.
    The atmosphere of the Earth is retained by the Earth through the atmosphere’s interaction with the emission field of the Earth.
    It’s the increase in the density of the emission field of the Earth which underpins the increase in the density of atmosphere of the Earth, which in turn underpins the green house effect and global warming.
    If Human carbon emissions were reduced to zero, there would still be global warming because it’s a normal part of the evolution of the planet.
    The increase in the emission of the Sun occurs over an extended period of time.
    The movement of the solar system within the Milky Way galaxy sees it being subject to attraction which entails a variation of its impact upon the density of the emission within the solar system and thus a variation in its impact upon density of the Earth’s emission field and its average temperature.
    As the solar system moves into and out of a source of emission within the Milky Way galaxy, the average temperature experience by the Earth would go through periods of increase and decrease within an overall increase.
    This could explain the ice ages experiment by the Earth. Cold periods would be the norm, followed by periods of increased temperature within an overall increase in temperature. This is supported by the fact that the ice ages were increasingly less severe.
    Then there are carbon emissions from non-Human sources.
    Given the above, it’s untenable to claim that Human carbon emissions are the sole cause of global warming.
    If we say that non-Human sources alone are not the cause of the present rate of increase in the average temperature, and given that the increase in the emission of the Sun occurs over an extended period of time, this leaves Human activity and the movement of the solar system within the Milky Way galaxy as two possibilities as the cause of the present rate of the increase in the average temperature of the Earth.
    Until the science establishment can quantify the relative influence of these two factors, they can’t claim that the present rate of the increase in the average temperature of the Earth is caused by Human activity.
    To answer the inevitable response: not far-fetched, but fundamentally fetched.
    The fact that the science establishment has not even realized that the Milky Way galaxy can have an impact upon the Earth, is indicative of their lack of a truly fundamental perspective or paradigm.
    The fact that the emission of the Sun increases over time, and that gravity is caused by the absorption of emission, are realizations that are derived from the fundamental paradigm that integrates science.
    This is presented in the essay, “The Logic of the Universe (Debunking Physics and Discovering the Theory of Everything as the Paradigm of Science)”, located at:

    Stephen Mooney

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