Study of hemispheric CO2 timing suggests that annual increases may be coming from a global or equatorial source

nasa_airs_co2_july03

Global map of CO2 - note the hemispheric differences - click for larger image

Reposted from Jennifer Marohasy

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.

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260 Responses to Study of hemispheric CO2 timing suggests that annual increases may be coming from a global or equatorial source

  1. MarcH says:

    I always knew it was just a quirk of nature!

  2. Sandy says:

    ” to 7.0 gigatonnes in 2000″
    I thought World production of wheat was around 100 gigatonnes, suggesting a biomass at harvest of around 700 gigatonnes.
    So in wheat alone Man strips more CO2 out of the air than he replaces with fossil fuels.
    If farmers collected the non-harvestable part of the wheat they could present it to power companies as ‘captured carbon’.
    Has anyone ever estimated the total annual growth of biomass? That 7.0 gigatonnes of guilt represents what proportion of the biomass’s CO2 turn over?

  3. Frank Lansner says:

    Simply amazing!!
    These severe problems for the CO2 hypothesis just keep coming!

    Tick tick tick

  4. Mike Bryant says:

    Another nail in the coffin. AGW is dead!

  5. evanmjones says:

    Well, the transport issue would explain why CO2 levels are considered to have dropped slightly during WWII, which is absurd, prima facie. They use an Antarctic ice core proxy for that period (never mind the problems with CO2 ice core proxies). That’s about as far away from the action as one can get. But we’ve always been told that CO2 distributes itself worldwide in no time flat.

    I have been banging on the WWII drum for a long time, bringing it up whenever CO2 measurements come into question.

  6. evanmjones says:

    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.

    That’s the gold speck. If that turns out to be true, a lot is answered.

    But one must also ask that if Anthropogenic CO2 is absorbed locally, then why does this posited natural CO2 accumulate? And if overall conditions create more capacity for CO2, then why is the anthropogenic stuff absorbed at all?

  7. Bill D says:

    It’s not clear that a simple model would tell much, since CO2 fluxes from fossil fuels are small relative to uptake and release from plants and bacteria, while the net changes are primarily due to burning fossil fuels. Using isotope ratios is still the best way to trace ancient carbon from fuels versus carbon in circulation.
    Sandy–I just did a Google quick Google search and found that World wheat production in on the order of hundreds of millions of tons. Gigatons are billions of tons, so CO2 release from fossil fuels is a 1000 times higher than wheat production. Check you numbers before posting.

  8. Bill D says:

    Actually, there are hundreds of scientific papers in which various sources and sinks for CO2 are calculated for a worldwide budget. The overall results can be found in basic biology, ecology and environmental science text books. The amounts of CO2 released by fossil fuels and sources and sinks from land biota are well established. The biggest source of incertainty is the amount of CO2 absorbed by the oceans and how this may vary seasonally and with weather conditions, such as El Nino. Both old and newer studies can be found by typing a key word or two into Google Scholar. You should at least look at a few of these studies before concluding that they don’t exist or are based on fantasy rather than good data.

  9. mark says:

    hi just to say Christchurch n.z on the 22nd march 2009 had a new record cold max air day temp by my records. max temp of 11.3c.

  10. Laurence Kirk says:

    If you look at the classical Keeling Curve from Mauna Loa, it shows CO2 concentration rising at a fairly constant rate, with an annual saw-tooth pattern overlain on top of that.

    If, as has sometimes been suggested, this saw toothed annual variation in atmospheric CO2 is a seasonal vegetation overprint, due to leaf growth and then leaf fall in the northern deciduous forests (the leaf growth absorbing CO2 and temporarily depressing the rising curve), we should also consider the next logical possibility:

    That the longer term, steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide may simply be due to another, bigger vegetative signal: our year-on-year, relentless destruction of the global forest cover.

    As anybody who has worked in the field in SE Asia, Indonesia, PNG or South America can attest, a great deal of this destruction is taking place in the equatorial regions and in the major southern hemisphere forests. And not only would this rob the land of an immense CO2 sink, mostly replacing it with mud and the occasional oil palm, but a lot of what is cut down is then immediately burnt.

    Here in Western Australia, we have replaced a lot of that forest with seasonal wheat, but I doubt if that is much of a substitute for the permanent eucalyptus forest that was there before.

    So, if we are looking for an equatorial or global cause for rising CO2 emissions, as this post implies, forest destruction should be a pretty good candidate.

    And looking at the oceans as an alternative candidate, I realise that by far the largest area of the planet is covered in ocean. But the ocean has a practically flat-surface interface with the atmosphere. Trees on the other hand stick right up into it, presenting a huge surface area to the air, which blows endlessly through their rustling leaves.

    As against the rippling West Australian wheat, which is closer in form to another ocean, and may be far more like one as far as CO2 absorbtion is concerned.

    With regards,

    Larry Kirk

    (Green AGW-Skeptic Geologist)

  11. janama says:

    Well it’s not related to human activity because Mongolia is surely not the Hub of Asia nor Adelaide the hub of Australia.

    Doesn’t the equatorial air rise as it’s heated, move north and south to around latitude 30 where it finally falls and returns to the equator as the trade winds?

    The equator and the Southern Hemisphere haven’t warmed one bit over the past 30 years – the only temp increase is in the northern hemisphere.

  12. Laurence Kirk says:

    Correction, para 5 line 2: for ‘emissions’, read ‘atmospheric concentrations’

  13. Bill D.,

    The paper acknowledges the sources you refer to, but suggests that in the scheme of things, that are not that significant.

    The paper suggests that emissions from fossil fuels and many other sources are fixed locally.

    The increase in carbon dioxide is driven by something else …

  14. Mike D. says:

    Bill D., I beg to differ. The amount of annual CO2 sequestration from land biota is NOT well known at all. Yes, there have been some models built and some guesstimates made, but there are billions of tons of missing sinks, which may include terrestrial biota. For that matter, the amount of atmospheric CO2 and the rate of change are not all that well known.

    There is a tendency to cite numbers with confidence, but that confidence is overstated, IMHO. The Quirk study is also data-lite, IMHO. His analysis is clever, and I would like to think his findings are valid, but I doubt the data too much.

    If Quirk’s findings are accurate, they imply that fossil fuel use in the NH is NOT the primary source of global atmospheric CO2 increase. That completely undermines a lot of common assumptions (and attendant political hair pulling). As you note, isotope (C13) theory is in contrast to Quirk’s findings, but there again the models are based on sparse data.

  15. Flanagan says:

    If I summarize this:

    - the guy says it takes one year for CO2 to reach the south pole
    - then he says that there is “no delay” between Mauna Loa and the South pole

    So what about this:

    - if it takes one year for CO2 to reach the south pole, then the south pole will show increases and decreases of the CO2 exactly at the same period of the year as Mauna Loa.

    Maybe it’s more subtle that that, but the paper is paying ($18), even the editorial of this “special issue” (by Bob Foster, who would have guessed?)…

  16. Andrew P says:

    Larry – I think you could be on to something here – maybe the relatively recent felling of forests in Indonesia and Malaysia (for palm oil plantations) could account for the significant ‘under-estimation’ of CO2 emmisions they made so much about in Copenhagen?

    By the way, your correction applies to para 6 line 2.

  17. Nick Stokes says:

    evanmjones
    But one must also ask that if Anthropogenic CO2 is absorbed locally, then why does this posited natural CO2 accumulate? And if overall conditions create more capacity for CO2, then why is the anthropogenic stuff absorbed at all?
    Absolutely! What kind of physical process would lead to manmade CO2 streaming into the ocean (or wherever) while some other CO2 is streaming out. And why would this natural source have been absent before the last century, and then cranked up at close to 150% of our rate of burning (assuming the proposition is that all manmade CO2 disappears somewhere).

    Do people who believe this really think that our CO2 birning and CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere are unconnected?

  18. Malcolm says:

    “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.”

    The dominating global factor are the extent of the oceans compared to land mass, where the southern seas are of a greater expanse than northern waters. Could it be that we are witnessing increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 due to the oceans, and this increase may actually be over a much longer period than initially realised.

  19. Sandy says:

    “Sandy–I just did a Google quick Google search and found that World wheat production in on the order of hundreds of millions of tons. Gigatons are billions of tons, so CO2 release from fossil fuels is a 1000 times higher than wheat production. Check you numbers before posting.”

    100s of millions of tonnes to single gigatonnes is of the order of ten (add in rice et al. !)
    For the millionth time don’t exaggerate :P

  20. Geoff Sherrington says:

    About a year ago I was writing on CA that (a) the atmospheric CO2 at the South Pole visually lags the barrow Arctic temp by about 4 years, but their altitudes are rather different (b) those charming little annual wriggles in the Mauna Loa data look horribly like artificial texture when they show up at the South Pole too, given the wind systems they must cross – and CO2 is said to be well-mixed in the atmosphere (c) even earlier, the literature about early data at Mauna Loa refer to abundant cherry picking and much more variation in CO2 and much higher values lower down on the island and (d) that if there really were genuine annual wiggles at the South Pole, I’d be looking for a CO2-ocean solubility system from nearby, not to the leaves of the trees of Canada.

  21. Dave S, UK says:

    Bill D – a quick check with references shows:

    A gigatonne according to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metric_ton is 1000 million tons.

    Also from Wiki, manmade CO2 in 2004 was about 27 000 million (=27Giga) tons of which the carbon content was 7 400 million (=7.4giga) tonnes.

    The worldwide production of wheat in 2008-2009 is about 656 million tons
    http://deltafarmpress.com/wheat/wheat-outlook-0611
    and the grown biomass at harvest is probably an order of magnitude larger – at least 7 000 million tonnes.

    Hence the two values are comparable and surely the total biomasss grown and harvested by humans across all crops must be much greater than the mass of carbon in the manmade CO2 production.

    Not all human grown biomass becomes CO2 of course, but I am sure that the AGW crowd have already worked out the numbers needed to show that biomass CO2 from any and all sources are negligible.

  22. Lindsay H says:

    Sandy (22:00:56) :

    ” to 7.0 gigatonnes in 2000″
    I thought World production of wheat was around 100 gigatonnes, suggesting a biomass at harvest of around 700 gigatonnes

    Nope about 2 billion tons

    http://earth-policy.net/Indicators/Grain/2006_data.htm#fig3

    But the biomass issue is an interesting one, my guess is the Biomass of the planet is relatively constant, if one takes in bacteria etc in soils into consideration, sunlight soils rainfall climate determine biomass.

  23. Lindsay H says:

    Co2 being absorbes locally is a possibility, we know that increased co2 causes an immediate growth response in plants, on a calm sunny day over the amazon the co2 content of the near atmosphere is almost zero, the plants remove it all and are in fact starved for co2, similar effects have been observed over growing crop fields, till the wind sturs things up.
    For the argument that some global or equatorial source is the cause of observed co2 levels at the equator and at the pole being similar within a close timeframe then the mechanism must involve the oceansin both absorbing and releasing co2.

  24. John A says:

    Can someone explain why the countries of Northern Africa have a persistently higher CO2 concentration that the heavily industrialized nations of Northern Europe?

    Anyone?

  25. DennisA says:

    After a major de-forestation in the UK, (15 million trees were ripped up overnight in the 1987 “Great Storm”), coincidentally the annual rate of increase at Mauna Loa fell for several years following. Ten year average 78-87 was 1.52 ppmv per annum, ten year average 88-97 was 1.45ppmv.

    Shouldn’t the rate have increased?

  26. tarpon says:

    I am sure glad we now have a president who recognizes the true place of real science in policy debates. This should shut down the lunacy, energy rationing and taxing, right?

  27. Allen63 says:

    Did the IPCC write that very roughly 97 percent of annual CO2 release is natural and 3 percent is anthropogenic? Of that 100 percent, roughly 98.5 percent is naturally absorbed (by various mechanisms). Only 1.5 percent remains to cause a rise in Global CO2.

    Some people seem to be saying that the 1.5 percent all comes from the human 3 percent — so, we’re to blame. That nature could single us out so precisely seems unlikely. Rather, it seems to me the sources of the “excess” 1.5 percent are distributed over all of nature. Thus, human causes are a tiny part of the equation. The above study seems to confirm that. If so, human solutions are likely to be ineffective.

  28. Chris Knight says:

    The huge surface area into which CO2 is absorbed is condensed water –

    clouds, fog and mist, dew, humid tropical atmospheres, cold surfaces, melting ice etc.,

    (and surface vegetation)

    - and not directly on land or ocean surfaces, which do not possess sufficient surface area in contact with free atmosphere to account for diurnal or seasonal CO2 concentration changes.

  29. Jerry says:

    Who is Tom Quirk? Jennifer has a small bio on him but it doesn’t appear that he is a “climate scientist”. I am afraid that will kill his cred with the AGW crew.

    “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.”

    Can anyone point me to more on his background? I am curious.

  30. Bruce Cobb says:

    Darn. I was hoping man was responsible for a good amount (50%, say) of the increased level of this completely beneficial gas. Gee, there goes even that tiny amount of entirely beneficial warming caused by man. Darn again.
    I guess we’ll just have to (shudder) adapt to whatever nature (including our sun) throws our way.
    If AGW gets any more nails in its coffin it will become a planet in its own right.
    But meanwhile, AGW – the political side is still, like a deranged headless monster crashing about, causing great confusion and destruction, and threatening even greater.

  31. Eric says:

    There is no doubt that the natural sources and sinks of CO2 are responsible for huge fluxes of CO2 into and out of the atmosphere, compared to the fossil fuel consumption, cement production and other human activities that emit CO2 into the atmosphere. These natural fluxes were in balance prior to the industrial revolution. At the present time, these fluxes are removing about 50% of the human emissions on an annual basis.

    It makes perfect sense to conclude that the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is due to human activity, and nature’s role is to absorb some of what humans are emitting into the atmosphere.

    If this description is correct, it doesn’t matter what the isotope ratios are, and the intricacies of the timing of natural cycle are irrelevant. This paper is an extreme example of nearsightedness, and mindless apologetics, in an attempt to debunk AGW.

  32. TerryBixler says:

    Even if true,which is very interesting, the EPA will regulate us and the government will tax us for our very existence. The agenda is settled, the science is not.

  33. Werner Weber says:

    The oceans take up the CO2, but they do the take-up in the cold waters of the higher latitudes. In the tropics, the warm waters may release CO2. We have ocean currents which circulate the water in great gyres from the cold to the warm tropics. The processes of take-up and release have always been present, even during the equilibrium of pre-industrial times. They are still present, probably enhanced over recent decades and would provide a steady source of CO2 in the tropics independent of the seasons. Isn’t this what Tom Quirk concludes?

  34. mark wagner says:

    If, as has sometimes been suggested, this saw toothed annual variation in atmospheric CO2 is a seasonal vegetation overprint

    could this not also be due to the fact that the globe warms during northern hemisphere summer (more land mass in the northern half of the globe) resulting in variations in ocean absorption or outgassing?

    due to the sheer size of the oceans, I would think it more likely an ocean-related signal.

  35. Mark says:

    Looks like “lag” might be turning into a pesky word for environmentalists.

  36. P Folkens says:

    Sandy (22:00:56) : “So in wheat alone Man strips more CO2 out of the air than he replaces with fossil fuels.”

    But “Man” puts it back in the form of respiring and those pesky bean and cheese burritos with flour tortillas. Well, actually that latter part is methane, which “they” say is a more powerful GHG.

  37. Mark says:

    This story reminded me of the lag between CO2 and temperature seen in ice core data and the fact that we are at or near the peak of a natural warming cycle as can be seen in the 3rd graph on the second page of the following link:
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/meetings/arctic2007/pdf/aws_hansen.pdf

    Since the earth has been warming on it’s own naturally (as seen in the above link) and since there is lag between CO2 and temperature of hundreds of years (Temperature changes hundreds of years before CO2 changes0, isn’t it possible that much of the rise in CO2 is occurring from the natural rise in the earth’s temperature?

  38. 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…

    Ferdinand Engelbeen and Jack Barrett

  39. Ron de Haan says:

    More madness to curb non existing Global Warming:
    Now they want to color the sky! Seriously.
    http://www.gizmag.com/colouring-sky-counter-global-warming/11319/

  40. Bigwig Rabbit says:

    Lucy Skywalker,

    That Al Gore article is obviously humor. Check the rest of the articles on the site. Also, why would Gore suddenly kill that goose (that lays his golden eggs)?

  41. nvw says:

    @ Larry Kirk (23:12:15)

    While I understand your concern over rainforest destruction, I think the debate is far from settled over whether there really are few and fewer trees. This article below caused sparked a debate at the NYT and there is quite a literature on regrowth rates in the Amazon.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/science/earth/30forest.html

  42. Ron de Haan says:

    Connecting the dots: Earth’s Magnetic Field and Climate Variability
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/EarthMagneticField.htm

    Tunguska – Connected to Global Warming?
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/Tunguska.htm

  43. Scientists have been studying carbon and carbon dating for many years and there is much solid information on atmospheric carbon content (14C) in particular and the increases/decreases during several time periods especially during the nuclear testing era.

    I always wondered why these studies are not incorporated into the analysis.

    Then here we are.

    schnurrp

    The reason that Cap and Trade is being left out of the budget is because the Democrats are peeling it off to allow the budget to pass quickly, they will simply leave a placeholder for the legislation to be crafted later as a comprehensive Energy Bill. This is an attempt to “remove a serious roadblock” and insure the Healthcare spending stays in.

    I wish someone would explain to me how spending a trillion on Healthcare ( as a down payment) will save money.

    Obama’s HealthCare IT initiative is just another huge Government program that will suck billions out of the budget on top of the unfunded liabilities of Medicare/Medicaid. It will never be accepted by private insurers and will be pushed back hard against by Doctors who believe in “Individualized Health Care” not statistically derived “best course of action by demographics” care.

  44. Dave Day says:

    Lucy,

    It’s NEXT Wednesday that’s April Fool’s day, girl. NEXT Wednesday.

  45. Smokey says:

    Eric,

    AGW is not debunked; it is simply inconsequential. Rather, it is the AGW/CO2-runaway global warming-climate catastrophe hypothesis that has been repeatedly debunked. So please don’t try to frame the argument by trying to push skeptics into that corner. We’re not stupid.

    It is widely acknowledged that increases in CO2 have a *slight* effect on temperature. But as we can clearly see, that effect is so tiny that it is overwhelmed by many other effects, some quite small themselves. In fact, the AGW effect is so small that it can not be reliably measured independent of other, larger effects. Basing policy on speculating about minor effects is wrong.

    Furthermore, CO2 is beneficial. It is not harmful in any way in the concentrations being discussed. More CO2 is better. We are only taking about an increase from just under 4 parts in ten thousand to around 5 parts in ten thousand of this beneficial plant fertilizer.

    No, the problem comes from all the dishonest alarmist scare-mongering. Climate alarmists are desperately trying to frighten the population into believing that a small increase in a minor trace gas will force the planet up against a vaguely described “tipping point,” followed by runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. Alarmists must take that position, and nothing less. Why?

    Because if they admitted the truth — that CO2 has been many, many times higher in the past without causing runaway global warming — then they lose all the power they are trying to accumulate by their fraudulent argument.

    If the truth about AGW were accepted — that it is minor, inconsequential, and temporary — it would merit no more than a few obscure articles, and the authors would point out that the beneficial effects far outweigh any harmful effects, if there even are any. No one would care about AGW if the truth about it were being told.

    So which is it, Eric? Is it your belief that an increase in CO2 will cause runaway global warming? And if so, what evidence [outside of always-wrong computer models] do you have to support your case? What empirical, real world evidence exists for your mythical “tipping point”?

    You’ve taken your AGW position. Now defend it.

  46. Mark T says:

    “Bill D (22:34:01) :
    Sandy–I just did a Google quick Google search and found that World wheat production in on the order of hundreds of millions of tons. Gigatons are billions of tons, so CO2 release from fossil fuels is a 1000 times higher than wheat production. Check you numbers before posting.”

    Not that I know anything about wheat production, but the difference between “hundreds of millions” and “billions” is only a factor of 10, not 1000. I agree, check your numbers before posting. ;)

    Mark

  47. Pamela Gray says:

    Oh! Oh! Oh! Pick me! Pick me! I know how it works!

    Trade winds kick up, blowing away surface warmed water leading to upwelling of nutrient rich cold water. Weather patterns from these strong trade winds leads to cooler, dryer temperatures on land, high surface winds, and dust. Iron laden dust blows onto the ocean surface thus setting up the perfect nursery for plankton to bloom. If this is an oceanic oscillation flip to cold (IE more La Nina’s than El Nino’s), conditions are wide spread, thus plankton blooms are wide spread and enormous. CO2 is absorbed in ever increasing vast quantities, as in linearly based on expanding plankton bloom. Fish and marine mammals now have an abundant food source: the plant plankton and animal plankton that feeds on the plants.

    The abstract below (have to pay to see the whole $#&^%$#$ thing) includes the calculation of CO2 absorption capacity of the plankton studied. Below that is the link to a study that demonstrates that observed fish counts coincide with oceanic oscillations, not catch rates!

    The reverse, IE warm oscillations, is ever decreasing plankton blooms thus CO2 decreases linearly in step with the decrease. And this happens GLOBALLY!

    She aims! She shoots! She SCORES!

    The Photosynthetic Capacity of the Phytoplankton in the Waters of a Coral Reef

    DJ Griffiths

    Abstract

    Phytoplankton are relatively scarce in surface waters in a region of the Great Barrier Reef near Lizard Island. The phytoplankton sampled have a high rate of photosynthetic efficiency (1.2 millimoles CO2 fixed per milligram chlorophyll a per hour), although between 30 and 50% of the total carbon fixed may be excreted in soluble form. The rate of photosynthetic CO2 fixation into the particulate fraction is sensitive to varying levels of oxygen, suggesting the existence of a photorespiratory mechanism, a factor which might significantly influence the photosynthetic productivity of the algae in these tropical waters.

    Australian Journal of Plant Physiology 3(1) 53 – 56

    http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/Y2787E/y2787e00.HTM

  48. Mike Kozuch says:

    Laurence Kirk “That the longer term, steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide may simply be due to another, bigger vegetative signal: our year-on-year, relentless destruction of the global forest cover.”

    My understanding is that forest areas are growing in North America, Europe, and the New York Times had an article on Jan.30 indicating that tropical forests around the world are growing at a very fast pace, because many farmers are moving to the cities.

  49. Pamela Gray says:

    Damn! In that last sentence I meant to say ever increasing atmospheric CO2 in linear step to ever decreasing plankton blooms. I was in such an excited state!

  50. J. Peden says:

    Lucy Skywalker:

    Report that Al Gore has recanted

    Looks like a hoax to me, though it states truth and thus might be a good way to convey it in a cartoonish way, which is what Gore essentially is anyway. Why not use his prime asset?

  51. Mark T says:

    Oh, didn’t notice, but Sandy already had the gotcha! :)

    Mark

  52. Jim Steele says:

    I am curious about a few things that maybe you al can help.

    1) Is their access to Mauna Loa’s raw data. They acknowledge adjusting data to match trends. The variations in monthly concentrations in raw data may provide hints about CO2 transport.(is any of the climate data raw?)

    2) C14 production has been demonstrated to negatively correlate with solar activity. Thus warmer temperatures due to increased solar activity would be accompanied by a decrease in the C14 concentration. I expect this would bias results of estimates of fossil CO2 from atmospheric ratios. Has that bias been controlled for in the estimates.

    3) I remember hearing several years ago that North America was a net CO2 sink. Can anyone verify that? I know there was a paper showing a large CO2 sink in North America that absorbed an estimated 50% of human emissions.

  53. Ron de Haan says:

    Smokey (06:52:27) :

    Smokey, I’ve got this strong feeling that we are turning in circles.

    CO2 is rising.
    The earth is cooling.

    No way CO2 is a driver of Global Temperatures.

    The AGW/Climate Change doctrine is a hoax.

    End of discussion.

  54. J. Peden says:

    OT: I wish someone would explain to me how spending a trillion on Healthcare ( as a down payment) will save money.

    The tax will be collected, then Healthcare will be rationed in an amount less than the tax. But you knew that. It sounds like the “down payment” will go towards setting up the bureaucracy to try to get everyone’s medical records, “adminsister” the rationing, and decide what is “worth” actually treating and in whom, and when treatment will occur, delay generally being “good”.

    Taxing the taxpayer then starving the taxpayer of Healthcare is the model. That’s the way Obama’s “economic growth” will occur – of course adding in the effects of the always popular green energy “jobs”, apparently at the expense of fossil fuel and nuclear energy development, and the hand-waving “education” panacea, which the Gov’t has already so skillfully manipulated to everyone’s great benefit over the past 40 years, and in fact standing as “proof” that the Healthcare model will “succeed” in like manner.

  55. jon says:

    We cannot deny the fact that we as humans are pumping large quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere … it appears to me that we do not know (and perhaps never will) how our contribution is distributed globally. I don’t think one can draw too many conclusions from this study.

    The argument about CO2 and its effect on climate is a different issue … but it seems from the ice core data that peaks in the concentration of CO2 are associated with the onset of ice ages!

  56. Magnus says:

    I’ve heard that Hansen was involved in the study and theory which says that the oceans can’t absorb that much CO2 because they get saturated. Do anyone know which theory and/or study this is?

  57. crosspatch says:

    I wonder if the ocean temperatures on the abyssal plains are still recovering from the LIA. This would result in a huge amount of sea water able to hold less CO2. While surface temperatures might be dropping, might it be possible for the very deep ocean to lag by a century or two?

  58. CO2 is clever: It is going southward, far away from those who want to capture it!
    :)
    Tell it Cap and Trade does not go anymore, it is dead.

  59. Pamela Gray says:

    The trade winds are caused by ever increasing uprising of heated surface air along the equator. My theory is that once things settle down enough (IE dust has dissipated, along with other types of atmospheric reflectors) to allow the Sun to do its fairly steady state thing on the equator, the surface heat becomes hotter and more wide spread which forces more of it to rise, leaving more space for northern and southern cooler air to rush in to take its place. The rising large (and getting larger) air then gets caught in our orbital spin and ends up blowing hard from East to West. Since it is up high, it eventually cools and ends up closer to the surface, but its speed is still great enough to blow the warm waters off and reveal colder waters from below. The trade winds stay around long enough to clean out the Sun’s heated surface. Eventually the equatorial band cools down enough from northern and southern flow that the upwelling of hot air ends and we slip back into less windy patterns, thus allowing the equator to heat up again. This probably happens in a noisy pattern both in terms of heating and cooling, which is why we still get El Nino’s and La Nina’s in both no wind and trade wind oscillating conditions. But the imbalance continues to feed the trend up or down till it runs out of energy and starts to reverse itself. This past century was dominated by low trade winds and more El Nino’s. We are looking more and more like we will be in the higher trade wind condition, setting up for more La Nina’s. Dryer air. More dust. More plankton. And less CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Rollar coaster ride anyone? Hang on. The scary part is just about to happen.

    And now for a weather update. We have had dust blowing up our skirts and over our heads here in northeast Oregon along with record lows being recorded in several places, and now it is snowing. We are expecting 3 to 5 inches on the ground.

  60. Ceolfrith says:

    25th March, it’s snowing in lowland Switzerland and the Swiss are saying it’s not natural for the time of year.

    Proves nothing but ain’t the weather baffling sometimes.

    Alternatively perhaps the Hansen effect is getting stronger, range from the UK to Switzerland – both with snow – approx 1000km.

  61. Chris R says:

    To Laurence Kirk,

    Your post of 23:12 included the following:

    “That the longer term, steady increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide may simply be due to another, bigger vegetative signal: our year-on-year, relentless destruction of the global forest cover.”

    Oh, Lord Stern let THAT particular cat out of the bag a while back when he conceded that deforestation caused more CO2 growth annually than the emissions of all forms of transportation combined. I will look for the exact quote; it was a throwaway line in an opinion piece written in the leftist British rag, the Guardian.

    Don’t let this cause you to rush out and contribute to the Rainforest Action Network, though. While their stance is laudable in principle, they seem to have no scruples about committing vandalism and bringing frivolous “greenmail” lawsuits.

  62. Terry Ward says:

    Baron von…

    Smokey (06:52:27) :

    The drive-bys don’t often return for more punishment when you let ‘em have it.
    Love your stuff.

    Ron de Haan (06:46:57) :

    Tesla caused Tunguska….

    http://www.world-mysteries.com/sci_tesla1.htm

    …and, lastly in the spirit of Lucy’s post…..

    (there is no less than a whole minute’s worth of warning about the impending profanity at the beginning of this hilarious out-take about deep-sea ichthyologists complaining of the cold but I fully understand if it doesn’t get past moderation)

    Building up to April 1st…..

  63. Pamela Gray says:

    Say, can we model this? Anyone have a good illustration program? I don’t but I can see this cycle (Sun’s heat breaks through to equatorial surface, heated air rises, northern and southern air rushing in, trade winds caught by Earth’s spin blow westward, warm ocean water blown away, cold water rising, cooler dryer air on land leading to dust blown over ocean waters, plankton bloom, fish population grows, CO2 absorbed in every greater amounts, peak is reached, trade winds die down, warm waters set up moist warm air on land, dust settles and no longer reaches ocean, plankton stops blooming, atmospheric CO2 rises steadily, Sun begins to penetrate and heat up equatorial surface again) clearly in my mind.

  64. Steve M. says:

    John A (03:20:04) :

    Can someone explain why the countries of Northern Africa have a persistently higher CO2 concentration that the heavily industrialized nations of Northern Europe?

    Anyone?

    Good question. Next question…why is the CO2 over China and India nice and low?

  65. Chris R says:

    I misremembered. Here is the exact Lord Stern quote. It was the Times, not the Guardian. November 14, 2008:

    “Cutting them down damages the
    land’s greatest carbon sink – trees are very efficient at sucking CO2
    from the atmosphere. Not only that, deforestation releases more carbon
    dioxide into the atmosphere every year than all the world’s cars,
    aircraft and ships combined.”

  66. Oliver Ramsay says:

    Smokey correctly characterizes the AGW situation, I think.
    Tracking carbon isotopes through the atmosphere is a worthwhile endeavor, no doubt, but it does seem evident that humanity’s contribution of CO2 is fact.
    The question is whether the result is drowning polar bears, withering crops and no decent ski-hills.
    Obviously, my incentive to disbelieve is the regular check from Exxon. What is not so obvious is the warm glow of self-importance felt by the burgeoning legions of graduate students spilling across the tundra and atolls. Combine that with a well-developed sense of guilt in a prosperous public and you don’t need a conspiracy.
    The psychology of impending doom is interesting, but so too, is the behavior of water.

  67. JeffK says:

    When talking about the amount of CO2 absorbed by agriculture remember, when using the weight of the harvest as a measure, you are going to come up way short. The *whole* mass of the plant needs to be accounted for (root, stalk, leaves, etc.) & not just the fruit which is harvested (wheat & corn kernals, etc.). This is especially true for corn. The weight & mass of the whole plant is much larger than what is harvested off of the cob. The mass of the whole plant is the result of the CO2 that is absorbed from the air – natural & man-made.

    Reguards,
    JeffK

  68. A little too much was deleted of the duplicate messages, here follows the first part, the second part is at (06:21:57)…

    Part 1:

    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…

  69. evanmjones wrote – if Anthropogenic CO2 is absorbed locally, then why does this posited natural CO2 accumulate?

    Surely what happens to the CO2 after it is emitted would be affected by the nature and geographical location of each source? For example, by:

    1. The rate at which CO2 is released
    2. The extent to which natural or artificial CO2 sinks are present in the local landscape
    3. The temperature at which the gas is emitted, and thus the rate at which it is moved away from the ground by convection
    4. Local wind conditions which tend to move the CO2 up, down, or around
    5. The effect of any other substances that the source is releasing at the same time

    How well are these issues understood? Do the climate models address them?

  70. jae says:

    Better check the comments from Ferdinand Engelbeen on Jenifer’s post.

  71. Mark Fawcett says:

    Eric (05:41:49) :
    …These natural fluxes were in balance prior to the industrial revolution…

    In balance? Really? I think any datasource for pre-industrial CO2 levels will show CO2 levels being anything but “in balance”.

    If by in balance you mean bouncing from ice-age to non-ice-age to ice-age then, yep, that’s in balance.

    Cheers

    Mark.

  72. Ron de Haan says:

    It’s not very difficult to point out massive sources of CO2 producing events world wide.
    Number one is population growth.

    One of it’s side effects can be observed here:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/category.php?cat_id=8

    This is the planet of earth, wind, water, fire and ice.

    CO2 is now used to gain political control over humanity and the world’s resources putting our blue planet in green shackles.

    http://www.klaus.cz/klaus2/asp/clanek.asp?id=IS0gccWYLKQK

    The AGW/Climate Change proponents who parrot the UN IPCC consensus tune are not only wrong, they are also stupid. They must know that the shackles will also be applied on them. They too will pay the price in terms of a further reduction of civil liberties, the loss of democracy and the enormous bills to be paid for using energy.

    They help to establish a world wide elite that believes that a reduction of the world population is necessary to save Gaia.

    It’s one minute to twelve to stop them so please, start usning your brain and stop being stupid.

    http://green-agenda.com

  73. RobP says:

    In response to (originally) Larry Kirk and various other posters on forest loss, I think we should not be so quick to dismiss cultivated crops as sinks for CO2 in the atmosphere.

    To link two threads in the comments, wheat production is on the order of 10 tonnes/ha (in Europe – but it makes it easier to calculate) so using tyhe assumption given elsewhere here, that would be around 7 tonnes of CO2 fixed per hectare – does anyone know how that would compare to the various kinds of forest? (old vs new and tropical vs temperate)

    Of course, most of the crop CO2 will be recycled in a shorter time-frame than the forests, but with yields of the major crops having increased something like 5 fold over the last 50 years, that’s a lot of CO2 going into a crop cycle of which a great deal will be fixed at any one time. .

    As for farmers growing crops and then keeping the straw as a carbon sink, it is already occurring to some extent in that farmers switching to no-till agriculture in Canada have been receiving carbon credits for the retained biomass (reportedly – I have no direct evidence I can quote).

    Rob

  74. gary gulrud says:

    Thank you for the post. The CO2 fluences are the soft underbelly of AGW.

  75. Pamela Gray says:

    My hunch is that this journal will become the center of attention fairly quickly unless dunderheads think that the recent attempt to fertilize oceans with iron proves that this tiny plant cannot be responsible for atmospheric CO2 levels (the response was indeed a bloom but short lived). They will walk away with a kernel of truth and throw the baby out with the bath water. We may have, in our attempt to stumble through an episode of “How Things Work”, uncovered a tiny but potentially mighty plant.

    Journal of Plankton Research
    http://plankt.oxfordjournals.org/

  76. AnonyMoose says:

    Sandy (22:00:56) :

    ” to 7.0 gigatonnes in 2000″
    I thought World production of wheat was around 100 gigatonnes, suggesting a biomass at harvest of around 700 gigatonnes.

    * in 2003: 549,433,727 Mt where Mt is “metric tons” or 549.4 million metric tons.
    * in 2003: 560.3 million metric tons
    * There may be a difference of 10% to other tons.

    I don’t know if the wheat plant weighs 6 times more than the seeds (thus biomass would be 7 times harvest), but even if everything above the root were harvested the farmers could encounter biomass difficulties. How much of the plant comes from the soil, rather than from CO2 and water? The soil has to be replenished, and usually the wheat roots and some of the stalk are returned to the soil.

  77. WrapUpWarm says:

    I don’t think this is too off topic but the post on Professor Hansen is too full. The link below is to the Guardian Newspaper and is an article by Pushker Kharecha and Jim Hansen. ” We never said biochar is a miracle cure”

    At the end of the article the following note is shown:-
    “Pushker Kharecha and Jim Hansen are at the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/mar/25/hansen-biochar-monbiot-response

  78. Tim L says:

    Smokey (06:52:27) :
    Nailed it!

  79. Bruce Cobb says:

    WRT the Al Gore article, it seems to be based on a couple of things that are real, but the author just ran wild with them.
    One is, that he recently pulled a slide from his presentation linking an increase in fires, floods and other calamities and warning the audience that global warming “is creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented.”
    The other is that he said, at a Web 2.0 Summit (whatever the heck that is) last November that he feared that his advocacy work, spearheaded by his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” has not done its job. “I feel, in a sense, I’ve failed badly,” he said. “Because even though there’s a greater sense of awareness, there is not anything anywhere close to an appropriate sense of urgency. This is an existential threat.”

    Saying he has “failed badly” in his mission to transmit the “appropriate sense of urgency” is certainly a far cry from admitting he was wrong.
    It’s nice to dream, though.

  80. Eric says:

    Smokey (06:52:27) :
    Wrote

    “Eric,

    AGW is not debunked; it is simply inconsequential. Rather, it is the AGW/CO2-runaway global warming-climate catastrophe hypothesis that has been repeatedly debunked. So please don’t try to frame the argument by trying to push skeptics into that corner. We’re not stupid.

    It is widely acknowledged that increases in CO2 have a *slight* effect on temperature. But as we can clearly see, that effect is so tiny that it is overwhelmed by many other effects, some quite small themselves. In fact, the AGW effect is so small that it can not be reliably measured independent of other, larger effects. Basing policy on speculating about minor effects is wrong.

    Furthermore, CO2 is beneficial. It is not harmful in any way in the concentrations being discussed. More CO2 is better. We are only taking about an increase from just under 4 parts in ten thousand to around 5 parts in ten thousand of this beneficial plant fertilizer.”

    I made 2 points about the abstract from Energy and Environment which is the subject of this web page.

    1) The isotope analysis and analysis of timing done in Quirk’s article is nearsighted and irrelevant. It is absurd to claim that it shows that human activity is not responsible for the observed increase of CO2 in the atmosphere Simple arithmetic definitively shows human activity is responsible for the increase in CO2 since the industrial age.
    If there is something wrong with this idea please explain why.
    In additiion Ferdinand Englebeen’s post explains why the analysis is incorrect.

    2) It shows that no idea is too absurd for some AGW ~snip~ to use to deny the reality of AGW. Their belief is so strong that simple reason has been ignored.

    If you want to dispute the points that I have made please go ahead.

    “No, the problem comes from all the dishonest alarmist scare-mongering. Climate alarmists are desperately trying to frighten the population into believing that a small increase in a minor trace gas will force the planet up against a vaguely described “tipping point,” followed by runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. Alarmists must take that position, and nothing less. Why?

    Because if they admitted the truth — that CO2 has been many, many times higher in the past without causing runaway global warming — then they lose all the power they are trying to accumulate by their fraudulent argument.

    If the truth about AGW were accepted — that it is minor, inconsequential, and temporary — it would merit no more than a few obscure articles, and the authors would point out that the beneficial effects far outweigh any harmful effects, if there even are any. No one would care about AGW if the truth about it were being told.

    So which is it, Eric? Is it your belief that an increase in CO2 will cause runaway global warming? And if so, what evidence [outside of always-wrong computer models] do you have to support your case? What empirical, real world evidence exists for your mythical “tipping point”?

    You’ve taken your AGW position. Now defend it.”

    I haven’t taken any AGW position in my above post. Why don’t you go back and read it.? I only pointed out that this argument made by some ~snip~ is so contrary to logic that it casts doubt on their ability to reason on the basis of simple arithmetic.
    Arguing the general question of AGW is not the subject of this web page.

  81. Tim says:

    This study is interesting – but like Nick Stokes above, I remain skeptical.

    I’m not a believer in catastrophic AGW but it seems pretty well established that massive burning of fossil fuels releases massive volumes of CO2 that end up in the atmosphere. I don’t think it is enough to say the are “absorbed locally” without a demonstrated (or at least hypothesized) mechanism/process to suggest why this would be. I also thought the isotope studies were pretty clear on attribution of rising CO2 to humans. Above someone said the data on which isotope studies are based is “sparse”. I had not heard that previously, but…

    I guess I would feel better about this study if 1) a local mechanism / process for absorption is described and 2) if a thorough analysis of the isotope studies indicates they are in error. Does anyone know of studies in these areas?

  82. Fredrik says:

    Hi,
    As to higher CO2-levels over north africa, arabia and western united states.

    Theese are dry places and CO2 is soluble in rain water, in high school we were sent out with ph-paper when it started to rain and after a few ours of raining.
    The observed lowering of ph in the early rain were probaly due to SO2 and NO2 in the air,
    However I think the principle to explain part of the CO2-map of the earth is there.

    Can this explain why the CO2 level is lower over antarctica and greenland? Or what is the physical reason? More sinks than sources?

    /Fredrik

  83. Pamela Gray says:

    Could it be that winds carry CO2 away from sources? It is possible that winds are to blame for some countries looking like major producers of CO2 when emissions based on fuel receipts would peg other countries, like China? I think CO2 buildup is a global thing but noisy based on address, not well mixed because winds are not well-mixed, and is based on a natural vegetative cycle tied to the oceans.

  84. George E. Smith says:

    Well I see in that color map, a global variation of more than 15 ppm of mid tropospheric CO2 abundance. (why do people keep on saying “by volume”). If they can identify the molecules as being of different species; why not just report abundance by molecular species. In the atmosphere there is only one volume; the total sample volume, so to measure any individual species by volume, you have to extractr every last specimen of a species from the sample, and none of any other species, and then reduce each to STP before you can measure its volume.

    Simply counting molecules allows you to use an infinitesimally smaller sample.

    But to get back to my point. The total range of CO2 abundance in this plot is about 15 years worth of annual baseline increases.

    That does not make me comfortable that the 15 ppm global spread is simply a lack of adequate mixing time from some transient event. That 15 ppm spread would seem to be a stable global pattern that is being maintained by global variables.

    Every time I have asked real world official actual accredited “climatologists” or “climate scientists”; you know those with the sheepskin that says they alone know what they are talking about, when it comes to climate; what is the variation of CO2 abundance, both over the globe, and with altitude in the atmosphere; the response has been:- “The atmosphere is well mixed, and CO2 has the same abundance everywhere.”

    Well my reasons for asking were of course to get clues as to where it is coming from and going to, and from time to time.

    Well obviously the atmosphere is NOT well mixed, and CO2 is certainly not the same everywhere in the atmosphere. And I dare say, that evidence that this is so, is of rather recent vintage.

    Like much of climate science, and its areas of interest; the Science is far from settled, and new revelations are taking place at an increasing clip.

    Maybe one day, climatology will be able to leave its brothers; astrology and economics, and join the mainstream of real science.

  85. Austin says:

    “And looking at the oceans as an alternative candidate, I realise that by far the largest area of the planet is covered in ocean. But the ocean has a practically flat-surface interface with the atmosphere. Trees on the other hand stick right up into it, presenting a huge surface area to the air, which blows endlessly through their rustling leaves.”

    I can tell you from working on fishing boats that the Ocean is not flat and that it is usually very windy – much more so than the land.

    No one knows much about the physical and chemical processes of the Ocean-air boundary.

    The bacterial biomass dwarfs all others in both the ocean and the land.

    I also think the CO2 release from volcanoes and thermal hotspots – both on land and in the ocean is poorly understood. A perusal of papers on CO2 outgassing for specific pools in Yellowstone when integrated across the whole park produces a stunning amount of CO2. Yellowstone is but one of several hundred geothermal spots across the globe.

  86. Roger Clague says:

    Smokey,

    You ask Eric to defend the AGW theory.
    He doesn’t need to. Reds and greens like it because of the policies it suggests, not the science.

    AGW is the default so it for us to falsify it and to propose better theories.

  87. Austin says:

    “I don’t know if the wheat plant weighs 6 times more than the seeds (thus biomass would be 7 times harvest), but even if everything above the root were harvested the farmers could encounter biomass difficulties. How much of the plant comes from the soil, rather than from CO2 and water? The soil has to be replenished, and usually the wheat roots and some of the stalk are returned to the soil.”

    What you are looking for is called Harvest Index, which is the ratio of crop yield to above ground dry matter. Below ground dry matter will usually be equal to that above ground – however we only know what me measure – we do not know the flux of carbon into the soil during growth. Many plants release sugars around their root systems to attract bacteria who release N and other nutrients.

    So the harvest:total dry matter ratio for wheat is around 1:2 + flux factor.

    Soil carbon content is a very large and poorly understood carbon sink.

  88. Roger Knights says:

    OT: Lobbyists Are First Winners in Obama’s Clean-Technology Push

    The stimulus bill, signed by President Barack Obama last month, includes $77.6 billion for clean-energy projects, according to the research firm IDC.

    Competition for government dollars will be intense, said Jon Sakoda, a partner at New Enterprise Associates in Chevy Chase, Maryland. NEA has 25 clean-energy startups in its portfolio, he said.

    “At least half have either hired lobbyists or will in the next three to six months,” Sakoda said.

    Cleantech Group, a San Francisco consulting and executive- search firm, says venture capitalists are bombarding it with requests to form a trade association. They want a permanent presence in Washington to lobby for the industry.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aNH.vsK2D.lQ&refer=home

  89. gary gulrud says:

    “What kind of physical process would lead to manmade CO2 streaming into the ocean (or wherever) while some other CO2 is streaming out.”

    Why night followed by day, Nick. PhD. confusing you?

  90. crosspatch says:

    To my mind it doesn’t matter if it is human produced or not. Nobody has shown that the CO2 is a problem of any kind.

    THAT is real problem with all of this. We can argue all day about how many angels can rest on a pin, but in the end does it really matter?

    There is no proof to date that there is any harm in the CO2 emissions. Oh, and how do you tell the difference between CO2 generated by coal seam fires and CO2 generated by coal power plants?

  91. Pamela Gray says:

    What if the CO2 we now have in the atmosphere is another necessary ingredient for the oscillating plankton bloom that produces the oscillating fish population boom? Were we to somehow (not likely but I am just musing here) reduce this CO2 and then the plankton bloom were to happen, it would be short lived due to insufficient CO2.

  92. Roger Knights says:

    “Growth of ‘Clean Coal’ as Energy Source Faces Challenges”

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/127840-growth-of-clean-coal-as-energy-source-faces-challenges

  93. Jim Steele (07:20:30) :

    I am curious about a few things that maybe you al can help.

    1) Is their access to Mauna Loa’s raw data. They acknowledge adjusting data to match trends. The variations in monthly concentrations in raw data may provide hints about CO2 transport.(is any of the climate data raw?)

    Raw hourly averages from several baseline stations, including Mauna Loa can be found at: ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/in-situ/ up to 2006. These are the directly calculated result of 40 minutes of air intake 10 second sampling raw voltages, compared to the voltages measured from 3 reference gases with known CO2 level in the same apparatus.
    These data may be flagged with specific flags for different circumstances which may indicate (local) contamination: instrument malfunction, upwind conditions (depleted by vegetation), volcanic outgassing (increased levels),… Flagged data are not used for daily, monthly or yearly averages. But including or excluding the flagged data has little effect (less than 0.1 ppmv) on the trends…
    More about quality control and procedures of Mauna Loa (and other stations) at: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html
    More about CO2 measurements and the cause of the increase at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

    2) C14 production has been demonstrated to negatively correlate with solar activity. Thus warmer temperatures due to increased solar activity would be accompanied by a decrease in the C14 concentration. I expect this would bias results of estimates of fossil CO2 from atmospheric ratios. Has that bias been controlled for in the estimates.

    The estimates of CO2 emissions are based on the sales of the different fossil fuels and their equivalent release of CO2 when burned, not on 14C levels. More reliable are the 13C/12C ratios, as these are stable isotopes. But then one need to know if the biosphere (which has near the same low 13C level) is a net absorber or a net source of CO2. That is found in the oxygen balance: if more oxygen is used than calculated from fossil fuel burning, then the biosphere is a net source of CO2. Or opposite if less oxygen is used than calculated. From the balance, it is clear that the biosphere is a net sink of CO2. See:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/5462/2467

    3) I remember hearing several years ago that North America was a net CO2 sink. Can anyone verify that? I know there was a paper showing a large CO2 sink in North America that absorbed an estimated 50% of human emissions.

    North America and Europe have reforested quite large parts of their land, which may compensate for CO2 releases, as long as the forests grow. But once the forest is mature, there is about as much release as there is uptake… But I have not seen exact figures for that…

  94. Andrew says:

    “Simple arithmetic definitively shows human activity is responsible for the increase in CO2 since the industrial age.”

    This is an assertion about simple arithmetic, yet the simple arithmetic suggested is not actually included in the post.

    In the interest of Science, please show us what simple arithmetic you are talking about. Should be easily postable by you, since it’s so simple.

    Andrew

  95. Nasif Nahle says:

    Jennifer Marohasy (23:46:35):

    The paper suggests that emissions from fossil fuels and many other sources are fixed locally.

    Yes, it’s correct and, besides the well-known sinks of carbon dioxide, sand is another powerful absorber of carbon dioxide which has not been considered by AGW modelers:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/320/5882/1409

    When these facts appear in peer reviewed papers, AGW proponents immediately bowl doubts on the genuineness of the results but not producing scientific arguments against, however.

    I’m planning to publish a graph where I made a comparison between the concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide on geologic timescale and the sea levels. I know you could guess what the result was. Indeed, carbon dioxide has been diminishing through time married with the decreases of sea level; however, my assessment indicates that the lowering of sea levels came first and decreases of the concentration of carbon dioxide came after. The latter bring to mind the information on hot water releases higher loads of carbon dioxide, while cold water releases small amounts of carbon dioxide.

  96. We must be thankful to Gwrs, and their prophet himself, that such a brainstorming place as WUWT exists.

  97. ET says:

    Seems to me that the oceans are the largest sink/source and vegetation is rather insignificant. Vostok shows that the temp drops, and CO2 stays elevated for ~800yrs. If trees were effective sinks, then CO2 should track temp rather than lag. Gotta be the oceans.

    Anyone have any data on how much CO2 vegetation sinks during the day, and sources at night?

  98. M White says:

    But this isn’t the kind of story that will make its way into the MSM, this is

    All-women team set for South Pole

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7962311.stm

    “The group plans to travel 800km (500 miles) over six weeks, braving sub -30C (-22F) temperatures to reach the heart of Antarctica, in an attempt to raise global awareness on global warming.”

    The only way it will change is when the lights go out, the old and vulnerable start to die and the polititions start fearing for their jobs

  99. Smokey says:

    Eric:

    It is absurd to claim that it shows that human activity is not responsible for the observed increase of CO2 in the atmosphere Simple arithmetic definitively shows human activity is responsible for the increase in CO2 since the industrial age.

    “Simple artihmetic” shows nothing but mindless correlation. Causation must be proven. And causation has taken about 4 – 5 torpedoes in the case of rising CO2 = rising temps; that ship is going down. Why? Because as CO2 continues to rise, global temperatures are falling.

    Also, the unbelievable claim that CO2 has remained at a steady 280 ppmv for a thousand or more years is baseless. See Beck, et al.: click

    It’s a big website, so take your time. And be aware that the scientists taking those quite accurate CO2 measurements were not doing it for grant money, but for the love of knowledge and because of their interest in science. Over 90,000 measurements were taken, and the results are far, far different than the steady state 280 ppmv claimed over the centuries by others.

    Finally, whether the CO2 produced by human avtivity can be quantified begs the previous question: is an increase in a minor trace gas bad, neutral, or good? The evidence indicates more CO2 is beneficial.

    The planet is starved of carbon dioxide geologically speaking, so more CO2 is better. Plants grow faster with higher levels of CO2. So unless you can provide empirical, real world evidence [not the always-inaccurate computer model "evidence"] showing conclusively that CO2 will cause runaway global warming, then there is nothing to be concerned about. Is there?

  100. John Galt says:

    @ Smokey

    Can anybody justify the IPCC using ice core data to estimate CO2 levels during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when many direct measurements were recorded? Any justification other than that was the only way to get data to support the predetermined conclusions?

    A related question: Has anybody ever studied whether Vostok is a location that is representative of global CO2 levels? How can it be claimed that ice core samples from one location accurately represent global CO2 levels?

  101. maksimovich says:

    Pamela Gray (07:06:40) :

    Long-term dynamics of chlorophyll concentration in the ocean surface layer (by space data)

    A. Shevyrnogova, and G. Vysotskayaa, Institute of Biophysics of SB RAS, Krasnoyarsk

    The information about atmospheric warming imparts particular significance to the task of determining the real-life dynamics of the biosphere. The actual contributions of the land and ocean biotas have not been accurately determined, although there is a great body of literature on the subject.

    The extensive scientific discussion of global warming causes a natural wish to relate this process to possible changes in the amount and dynamics of terrestrial and oceanic vegetation. Does this process influence variations in the amount and diversity of plants? Does it influence the pattern of their seasonal and long-term variations? It would seem that continuous elevation of CO2 and increase in the mean global temperature must cause permanent long-term changes in the amounts of phytopigments in the biosphere. But is this really so? What should be the direction of these changes?

    Thus, the initial task was to reveal long-term trends of phytopigment concentrations in the ocean. This task could be fulfilled based on daily satellite measurements conducted for many years.

    However, analysis of variations in phytopigment concentrations under different biogeographic conditions showed that the initial statement of the problem of studying linear or nonlinear trends was not quite correct. It has been found that on a global scale, the variations are oscillatory and the trends revealed for separate time periods must be just parts of a long-period oscillatory process. Moreover, these oscillations at different latitudes and in different times (e.g. in the time of CZCS and SeaWiFS functioning, in different seasons, etc.) are often in antiphase.

    Fig. 1 shows variations in the average chlorophyll concentration in the Global Ocean from 1998 to 2003. The latitude dependence of the obtained measurement data has been taken into account: the origin of this dependence is different area of pixels at different latitudes. The graph indicates that in the time period between 1998 and 2003 the average chlorophyll concentration in the Global Ocean reached its minimum in 1998. The maximum chlorophyll concentration was registered in 1999, subsequently stabilizing at 0.227–0.23 mg/m3. The variation of chlorophyll concentration from 0.231 to 0.228 mg/m3 between 1999 and 2000 is statistically significant, because it resulted from the calculation of a large body of pixel-to-pixel satellite data.

    An increase in chlorophyll concentration from 0.223 to 0.231 mg/m3 between 1998 and 1999 was 1.3%, which is a very large value for the area of the whole Global Ocean and thus cannot be accidental.

  102. Pamela Gray (10:22:12) :

    What if the CO2 we now have in the atmosphere is another necessary ingredient for the oscillating plankton bloom that produces the oscillating fish population boom? Were we to somehow (not likely but I am just musing here) reduce this CO2 and then the plankton bloom were to happen, it would be short lived due to insufficient CO2.

    Pamela, the ocean waters are extremely CO2 rich, compared to the atmosphere. CO2 is not the limiting factor there, even if it is largely bound CO2 (as -bi-carbonates). Iron and other nutritients in general are the limiting factors…

    Any idea how much algal blooms add to the ocean sink of CO2? The bloom itself does reduce (temporarely) the partial pressure of CO2 in the upper ocean waters, but indeed that ends mostly up in the food chain. Only what drops out towards deeper oceans is what makes the ultimate difference.

    For the North Atlantic, the “net community production” (as CO2 uptake) was measured over a longer period (18 years), thus including algal growth effects on CO2 uptake. See:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/298/5602/2374
    Fig. 4 in the full article shows the relationship with climatological circumstances, where a negative NAO gives more mixing with deeper layers (more nutritients) and higher productivity, thus a higher sink.
    This results in a variability of about +/- 50% around the average sink capacity of the North Atlantic.

  103. crosspatch says:

    “It is absurd to claim that it shows that human activity is not responsible for the observed increase of CO2 in the atmosphere ”

    It is equally absurd to claim that increased CO2 is having any significant impact on climate. So far we have no such evidence. None of the impacts that “the models” predict have come to pass in actual observation.

    If it isn’t having any detrimental impact, what is the point in pouring millions of dollars into all this study and arguing so much over the cause of it? What evidence there is suggests that atmospheric CO2 is more of a response to temperature change than a cause of it. There is also no indication that life on this planet was in any difficulty when CO2 levels were twice today’s levels or even time times today’s levels as they have been in the geological past.

    And we should be more worried about sea level drop from cooling than sea level rise from warming. Not a single coral reef on this planet can survive above sea level.

  104. anna v says:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/

    The White House is inviting you to post your questions on the economy and vote on submissions from others. The President will answer some of the most popular in an online town hall on Thursday.

    Note to US people: Not much time left to send in questions

  105. Laurence Kirk says:

    Re: John A (03:20:04) :

    ‘Can someone explain why the countries of Northern Africa have a persistently higher CO2 concentration that the heavily industrialized nations of Northern Europe?

    Anyone?’

    ..Possibly the drier atmosphere and lesser vegetation across North Africa absorbs less CO2? LK

    Re: Chris Knight (04:00:42) :

    “The huge surface area into which CO2 is absorbed is condensed water –

    clouds, fog and mist, dew, humid tropical atmospheres, cold surfaces, melting ice etc.,

    (and surface vegetation)

    - and not directly on land or ocean surfaces, which do not possess sufficient surface area in contact with free atmosphere to account for diurnal or seasonal CO2 concentration changes.”

    ..Chris, I take your point. It is a very good one. Regards, LK

    Re deforestation:

    Actually I am an evil mining geologist, who has long been defending himself by pointing out that you can barely see the vast Mt Newman iron ore mine on a Landsat image, whilst the rather trendy-lefty Western Suburbs of our local metropolis show up as a vast scar, and the inland agricultural devastation that feeds and funds them goes on almost forever.

    In 1986 I drove inland eastwards from Pontianak into western Kalimantan (Borneo), as far as Sanggau on the Kapuas river, and then spent a rather amazing two months just north of there mapping and sampling alluvial gold deposits in a virgin jungle of monstrous trees, teeming wildlife and scattered tiny Dayak settlements. The only thing that broke the spell though, was the constant scream of Stilhl chainsaws, and the sight of endless rafts of logs being poled and tugged, Candian-style, down the huge equatorial rivers.

    Ten years later, in 1996, I went back to look at another gold prospect, further inland, at a place called Nangapinoh. The frontier town of Sanngau was now a forgotten backwater, and it was a further two and a half hours drive inland from there before we reached the retreating jungle front. All that remained of the intervening magic wilderness that I had seen ten years before was a sea of brown mud, dotted with the shanty settlements of miserable ‘transmigrated’ Javanese, and very sparsely planted with oil palms. The only wildlife that I saw this time was from my shabby hotel window in Nangapinoh: a rather sad, old, balding orang utan, tethered by a chain around its neck to the steel verandah post of the next door balcony.

    Deforestaton was real. And such a great pity, that I couldn’t help concluding that, failing education and contraception, a severe cullling of our species might be the only effective environmental policy.

    But I don’t believe in anthropogenic global warming! It’s doesn’t seem to be very good science.

  106. Roger Sowell says:

    @Laurence Kirk (23:12:15) :

    “As anybody who has worked in the field in SE Asia, Indonesia, PNG or South America can attest, a great deal of this destruction is taking place in the equatorial regions and in the major southern hemisphere forests. And not only would this rob the land of an immense CO2 sink, mostly replacing it with mud and the occasional oil palm, but a lot of what is cut down is then immediately burnt.”

    I have worked extensively in the field in sub-tropical Brazil, the mouth of the Amazon near Belem, also Indonesia, and for many years in the hot southern U.S. states. The concept of cutting tropical forests down and having them “replaced with mud and the occasional oil palm” is a bunch of bull-****. It is dang near impossible to keep a bare patch of ground bare wherever there is warmth, sun, and rain. Ask any farmer. Some of the plant growth and re-growth is very fast. Kudzu plants in the southern U.S. grow at roughly one foot per DAY.

    One Brazilian company, a former client, harvests and plants a special Eucalyptus tree that grows one foot per month, twelve feet per year. (see http://www.Aracruz.com) When I was there in the early 1980’s they harvested 10,000 acres each year and replanted seedlings immediately. There was substantial unwanted growth of foreign plants that required removal, what we refer to as weeds.

    @nvw (06:46:01) :

    “While I understand your concern over rainforest destruction, I think the debate is far from settled over whether there really are few and fewer trees. This article below caused sparked a debate at the NYT and there is quite a literature on regrowth rates in the Amazon. .”

    See above. Regrowth rates are very high.

    Even in drought-stricken Southern California, where I live and work, burned areas from the frequent wildfires are green and growing within a year. I see this all the time, every year. This regrowth occurs with no assistance from humans, just natural processes of seeds blown by wind or carried by animals. This occurs even on very poor soils, such as steep hillsides with rock outcroppings.

    The existence proofs of short-lived bare dirt areas from deforestation or clear-cutting are yet another reason I find so many of the AGW positions are not credible. Who am I supposed to believe, the AGW scientists, or my lying eyes?

    Please, somebody tell me again that when the Amazon forests are cut down, that CO2 in the atmosphere goes up.

    City-boys, these AGW scientists. Somebody ought to take them on a field trip to a farm. Ask them to find and photograph the bare dirt areas.

    @ Pamela Gray,

    Pamela, I enjoy your comments immensely. However, I have a question regarding the trade winds blowing the hot surface ocean water away, then allowing cold underlaying water to rise. This seems rather implausible to me, as the warm surface water extends many feet deep, actually hundreds of feet from the temperature-depth maps I have seen. Is this truly the mechanism, and could you explain that more fully?

  107. Ohioholic says:

    “It has been found that on a global scale, the variations are oscillatory and the trends revealed for separate time periods must be just parts of a long-period oscillatory process.”

    Part of a larger, chaotic process?

  108. superDBA says:

    Oliver Ramsay (08:14:54) :

    Oliver! Where do I sign up for a regular check from Exxon, so I can have a reason to be a denier? Well, other than the fact that I don’t suffer from projection bias, and the fact that I can look at evidence with a halfway open mind and say: Hey, I don’t know for sure about AGW, and based on the evidence, neither do the alarmists.

    So to all alarmists out there:
    Until you have given all of your money to support AGW research and mitigation, and have given up all of your freedoms to live a carbon free lifestyle, git yer hand outta my pocket, and quit telling me how to live.

  109. Pamela Gray says:

    Could it be true that the largest body of CO2 eating vegetation is the ocean? And that oceanic plant growth is tied to large oscillating swings mediated by trade winds? Given the land based vegetation compared to an active global plankton bloom added to the already rich plant life in the oceans, I am beginning to think that forests and crops don’t hold a candle to the oceans. Were you to compare them right now, one would be thinking it is about even (it still probably favors the ocean plant life), but with cold water mixing, and the nutrients that event brings to surface dwelling oceanic plant life along with the dust that fertilizes the whole mariachi, I think the balance swings way wide to the side of the ocean. Maybe that red tide ain’t so toxic after all. Just don’t eat the shellfish.

  110. Henry Phipps says:

    JeffK (08:18:04) :
    “…..The *whole* mass of the plant needs to be accounted for (root, stalk, leaves, etc.) & not just the fruit which is harvested (wheat & corn kernals, etc.). This is especially true for corn. The weight & mass of the whole plant is much larger than what is harvested off of the cob.”
    I remember seeing a display at the University of Illinois when I was a kid where some incredibly patient person had painstakingly excavated and cleaned off the entire root system of a cornstalk. It was old style, non-hybrid corn which used to grow 10-12 feet high. The root system extended down about 15 feet below ground. Indeed, more of the plant mass was below than above ground.

  111. timbrom says:

    Tim

    CO2 from wherever doesn’t “end up” in the atmosphere. Or anywhere else. It enters a huge, complex and poorly understood cycle over a period of (depending on whom you believe) up to about 10 years or more than a 1000.

  112. CO2 goes up, releases its heat and comes down back. It would be interesting to see how this graph changes with time at different altitudes. (Provided it is not “classified”)

  113. John Galt says:

    @Eric

    The bottom line answer for AGW seems to be ‘carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas therefore it must be causing global warming’. The corollary to this is ‘man is burning fossil fuels and therefore all increases in atmospheric CO2 are human.’

    The climate is just not that simple. It’s not just wrong, it’s plain ignorant for anybody to assume the world is in a natural steady state. ‘Climate change’ is a meaningless phrase and ‘stopping climate change’ is absurd. Climate change is natural. It’s ongoing. The climate is supposed to change, it’s always changed and it always will change.

    I recall a Persian emperor who sent soldiers to the sea to whip the waves to stop the tide from rolling in. Fighting climate change is just as absurd and will have the same results.

  114. Andrew (10:36:17) :

    “Simple arithmetic definitively shows human activity is responsible for the increase in CO2 since the industrial age.”

    This is an assertion about simple arithmetic, yet the simple arithmetic suggested is not actually included in the post.

    In the interest of Science, please show us what simple arithmetic you are talking about. Should be easily postable by you, since it’s so simple.

    Andrew

    Andrew, the simple arithmetic is as follows:

    natural carbon sources + emissions = natural carbon sinks + increase in the air.

    Of this equation, only the emissions are known with reasonable accuracy and the increase in the atmosphere is known with good accuracy. Thus in average per year:

    natural carbon sources + 8 GtC = natural carbon sinks + 4 GtC

    or:

    natural carbon sources – natural carbon sinks = -4 GtC

    Or in other words, nature is a net sink for carbon and didn’t add one gram in total mass to the increase of carbon in the atmosphere over the past 50 years. But nature did exchange a lot of individual molecules between the oceans/biosphere and the atmosphere…

  115. DJ says:

    There are numerous independent threads which prove that the increase is a direct result of human emissions. This thread simply shows that the sceptic here choose not to read or understand basic science.

    The decline of this site into an imitation of the numerous industry advocacy and lobbying sites continues.

  116. maksimovich
    “The graph indicates that in the time period between 1998 and 2003 the average chlorophyll concentration in the Global Ocean reached its minimum in 1998.”
    Interesting indeed. The following paper confirms the well known fact, for us witnesses of el nino that sea “gets ill” during these events and then it happens what fishermen call the “red tide” (died plankton and other sea organisms) tinting the sea of red color.
    The following paper explains this phenomena as a result of acidification by H2SO4:
    http://www.scielo.org.pe/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1561-08882005000200002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es
    (you can get a good translation of it with google translator)

  117. janama says:

    Pamela

    “Scientists have found a temporary “chemical equator” that separates the heavily polluted air of the Northern Hemisphere from the cleaner air of the Southern Hemisphere over the Western Pacific — only it isn’t where they expected to find it. ”

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/080930-chemical-equator.html

  118. Smokey says:

    DJ (12:58:26),

    Since you claim that the increase in CO2 has been “proved” on “numerous” threads to have come from human activities, I would like to see that proof.

    Take your time.

  119. George E. Smith (09:41:54) :

    Well I see in that color map, a global variation of more than 15 ppm of mid tropospheric CO2 abundance. (why do people keep on saying “by volume”). If they can identify the molecules as being of different species; why not just report abundance by molecular species. In the atmosphere there is only one volume; the total sample volume, so to measure any individual species by volume, you have to extractr every last specimen of a species from the sample, and none of any other species, and then reduce each to STP before you can measure its volume.

    Simply counting molecules allows you to use an infinitesimally smaller sample.

    ppmv in dry air is used instead of ppm by weight (wet or dry), simply because every (ideal) gas has the same volume and the same number of molecules for the same amount of moles in the mix: one mole (~32 g) of oxygen has the same volume as one mole (~28 g) of nitrogen,… This makes calculations of mixing ratios easier, no matter the sample size.
    Why “dry”? Because water shows an enormous gradient from ground level up to high in the sky, the same volume of CO2 (compared to the O2/N2 level) would go up with height as the water vapor content drops. This is completely artificial, as the ratio between CO2 and O2/N2 doesn’t change with height…

    But to get back to my point. The total range of CO2 abundance in this plot is about 15 years worth of annual baseline increases.

    That does not make me comfortable that the 15 ppm global spread is simply a lack of adequate mixing time from some transient event. That 15 ppm spread would seem to be a stable global pattern that is being maintained by global variables.

    The AIRS map is just a snapshot in summer, a winter snapshot shows the opposite colors… If you look at the MLO data for the same time stamp and color on the map, you will see that the local CO2 levels match (no coincidence, the AIRS satellite data are calibrated with the ground stations and flight measurements!).
    See the seasonal variation from North to South at:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/Photo_Gallery/GMD_Figures/ccgg_figures/tn/co2_surface.png.html

  120. Eric says:

    Ferdinand,
    Thanks for saving me the trouble.
    I find it a strange phenomenon that seemingly intelligent people can’t grasp a simple concept like that. It cannot be lack of intelligence, but some emotion must be blocking the use of their intelligence. An unbiased 8 year old child could easily grasp the arithmentic.

  121. John Galt says:

    @ Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:55:50) :

    So carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be unchanged if not for man? How is it that CO2 has gone up and down in the past without man’s help?

    I recall a book and move called an ‘Inconvenient Truth’ that showed a graph of CO2 going up and down quite naturally for thousands and thousands of year. How do you explain that?

  122. Pamela Gray says:

    Roger, it is called upwelling. The thermocline (the variably mixed water that sits on top of deeper, denser, colder water) is disturbed by wave action from trade winds and axial spin, thus allowing the more nutrient rich and colder underlayer water access to the top. Go here for a really good explanation.

    http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/02quest/background/upwelling/upwelling.html

    And while I don’t like to send people to wiki, it sometimes has a pretty good explanation, which is the case for the thermocline. But take anything at wiki with a grain of salt, since it gets edited frequently.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermocline

  123. gonzojive says:

    Typical anti-warming hype. One single study of the dispersion of CO2 from a nuclear explosion does not necessarily mean CO2 will spread the same way in general. This is typically bogus.

  124. Nasif Nahle says:

    John Galt (12:55:30):

    @Eric

    …it’s plain ignorant for anybody to assume the world is in a natural steady state.

    Check! Earth has never been in a natural steady state (as the whole Universe is not static). Take a look at this graph:

    http://www.biocab.org/Geological_TS_SL_and_CO2.jpg

  125. Smokey (11:31:40) :

    Also, the unbelievable claim that CO2 has remained at a steady 280 ppmv for a thousand or more years is baseless. See Beck, et al.: click

    It’s a big website, so take your time. And be aware that the scientists taking those quite accurate CO2 measurements were not doing it for grant money, but for the love of knowledge and because of their interest in science. Over 90,000 measurements were taken, and the results are far, far different than the steady state 280 ppmv claimed over the centuries by others.

    Smokey,

    While I have a lot of admiration for Ernst Beck’s work, there are big problems with his conclusions, for the simple reason that many of the “high level” series which contribute to the 1942 peak (+80 ppmv and back in 15 years) are taken at places, completely unsuitable for such measurements (near towns, forests, rice fields). If you measure there today, you will find much higher CO2 levels too. See my comment at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html

  126. DJ says:

    Tamino explains it in a way which is accessible to most. http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/03/09/its-a-gas/ . Of course, the IPCC has a massive literature on this, which I know has not been read by most here.

    A few good authors to follow up include Enting, Law, Etheridge, Rayner – scientists who publish through peer review rather than E&E. Enting has even provided a nice list of his papers at http://www.ms.unimelb.edu.au/Staff/publications.php?PC_id=167 which include some proper CO2 inversions.

  127. Nasif Nahle says:

    Dear All,

    Here the link to the article:

    http://www.biocab.org/Carbon_Dioxide_Geological_Timescale.html#anchor_33

    Anthony Watts,

    Sorry for this self-promotion. :)

  128. Ohioholic says:

    One thing I notice looking at that graph is that flooded areas and CO2 have a better correlation than delta temp. Another is that the time series is severely skewed. I wish that the periods were a little more even, but point taken, nonetheless. Also, the flooded areas is at an all time low.

  129. John Galt (13:21:59) :

    So carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be unchanged if not for man? How is it that CO2 has gone up and down in the past without man’s help?

    I recall a book and move called an ‘Inconvenient Truth’ that showed a graph of CO2 going up and down quite naturally for thousands and thousands of year. How do you explain that?

    I suppose that I have repeatedly said that CO2 and temperature are in dynamic equilibrium: on short term, there is a direct response of CO2 around the trend of about 3 ppmv/°C, with a lag of only one month. For -very- long term that goes up to 8 ppmv/°C, remarkably linear, with a lag of 800 years to 10,000 years. That is even visible as a 6 ppmv dip of CO2 in the LIA cooling (with a lag of about 50 years) in the Law Dome ice core:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_1000yr.jpg

    Thus there is a nice, but limited causation of temperature changes on CO2 level changes over the past 800,000 years (the opposite causation is not measurable in the ice cores…). But the temperature is not the cause of the past 150 years increase of 100+ ppmv, as the temperature increase since the LIA is some 0.8°C, good for 6 ppmv increase…

  130. Andrew says:

    “natural carbon sources + emissions = natural carbon sinks + increase in the air.

    Of this equation, only the emissions are known with reasonable accuracy and the increase in the atmosphere is known with good accuracy.”

    Sorry, but don’t you need one side of this equation to be solved before you can solve the other?

    In other words, you have ? + emissions = ? + increase

    Besides you qualify the knowns with “reasonable” and “good”

    That makes the whole thing subjective, don’t you think?

    Andrew

  131. old construction worker says:

    Pamela Gray, your explanation makes more sense than CO2 drives the climate theory. By the way, I understand you also get excited when shoes go on sale.

  132. VG says:

    thanks to RC for this one can,t wait to sign up
    http://www.realclimate.org/docs/cato_adpdf

    This would be a very worthwhile effort I wonder if this is worth a story here?

  133. maksimovich says:

    Adolfo Giurfa (12:59:11) :

    ” el nino that sea “gets ill” during these events and then it happens what fishermen call the “red tide” (died plankton and other sea organisms) tinting the sea of red color.”

    The rise of the Haemo and Xanthotic chromatic ( blood/brown) species is usually a response to increased surface uvb.The usual “inhabitants’ defensive strategy is to swim deep.This creates a “market niche” where the “colour species” with enhanced pigmentation can exploit.

    The ability of biological species to adapt to adverse environments is one of the paradoxes of Ecological science.Hence the exclusion of some “players” from the” marketplace” will allow for smaller players to dominate the market due to enhanced adaptability.

    Brown being the new green in an ultraviolet world.

  134. Dan Murphy says:

    I had always hoped that I would have something of substance to add to one of these threads. In regards to the biomass of crops, or any other plants for that matter, the carbon comes almost exclusively from the atmosphere. In the process of photosynthesis, carbon in the air is absorbed (in the form of CO2), and converted into sugars. See here: http://books.google.com/books?id=I49cDRX5xLQC&pg=PA184&lpg=PA184&dq=plant+carbon+weight+scientist&source=bl&ots=au1DQXmaip&sig=zPHzvznYPUkxmMuWH_3d5Bsekss&hl=en&ei=za7KScvLHYnYsAO_18G4Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPA184,M1

    Dan Murphy

  135. Cold Play says:

    anna v (11:59:14) :

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/

    The White House is inviting you to post your questions on the economy and vote on submissions from others. The President will answer some of the most popular in an online town hall on Thursday.

    Note to US people: Not much time left to send in questions

    Dear Anna V

    I am not an American, yes I know bad luck then.

    You should post “We wont get fooled again”

  136. Craig Moore says:

    OT. Perhaps a scientist or two from WUWT discussions could help out here with the scientific-sounding spin question. http://leftinthewest.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=962448061C3C5E2D25EB7E50D4FE2D16?diaryId=2805

  137. From the main post:
    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.

    Without having studied carefully the whole shebang, it seems to me that one cannot easily distinguish a 6 months delay from a 18 month lead/delay, or any other multiples of 12 months. I was once waiting for a train that runs every hour and they announced that the next train was one hour late…

  138. Rob says:

    In 1800, there were 2.9 billion hectares of tropical forest worldwide. There are 1.5 billion hectares of tropical forest remaining.
    Between 1960-1990, 445 million hectares of tropical forest were cleared.
    Asia lost almost a third of its tropical forest cover between 1960-1980 — the world’s highest rate of forest clearance.
    Almost 90% of West Africa’s rainforest has been destroyed.
    We lose 50 species every day — 2 species per hour — due to tropical deforestation.
    more than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day.

    Is there a link.

    http://www.rainforestlive.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=214

  139. Smokey says:

    Rob,

    Thanks for explaining where much of the past century’s rise in CO2 came from. Now, as I’m sure you’re aware, the forests are being re-grown due to the influx of people from the countryside into cities.

    Also, your link had this: “In most tropical countries only one tree is replanted for every ten cut.”

    The reason for this is clear: land ownership by the State. If private property owners held the land, they would provide for the future by planting trees on their land. Private property = Conservation. State ownership = destruction of habitat. Even in California there is plenty of litter and trash in public parks, while adjoining private property is very clean by comparison. And private property generates property taxes; public lands suck up taxes.

    See the problem?

  140. DaveE says:

    WAY OT but this video has been getting a LOT of comments on YouTube.

    A speech in the EU parliament by a conservative MEP Daniel Hannan to Gordon Brown.

    DaveE.

  141. Leif,

    I fully agree, there is an about 12 month delay of CO2 levels from Mauna Loa to the south pole, which is reduced to zero if looking at correlations as Tom did…

    ————

    We had some years ago an inland helicopter flight in Greenland, starting exactly on scheduled time, until we heard that it was in fact three days late (due to bad weather…).

  142. evanmjones says:

    Of course, the IPCC has a massive literature on this, which I know has not been read by most here.

    If they read my posts, they have the gist of it. I have illustrated the IPCC version of the carbon cycle on many occasions.

    It looks logical to me, and I accept its basic premises . . . yet it may be wrong.

  143. Ohioholic says:

    “as the temperature increase since the LIA is some 0.8°C, good for 6 ppmv increase…”

    In other words, we are still dangerously close to another LIA?

  144. Cold Play says:

    Dear Pamela Gray

    Reading your post is analagous with missing a train and trying to chase it only to return to the station and miss the next train and to try to chase that one whilst you know the next one is coming and so on.

    Wrong analogy reading your posts is more like being caught in a tornado wearing roller skates.

    Now just like a child only yesterday I spin the globe on Google earth, and presented just the ocean and of course the memory of the earth being covered by two thirds by water came back.

    You may be on to something I shall go to sleep now and cuddle up with Schrodingers Cat.

  145. evanmjones says:

    I am still waiting for someone to explain how the IPCC concludes carbon emission were flat (or even slightly in decline) during WWII.

    That is an overlarge elephant in the room.

  146. Patrick Kirk says:

    @Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    The arithmetic that you have presented is seriously flawed. First you stated that only TWO of your terms are well defined and “known with reasonable accuracy”: Emissions (E) and the increase left in the air (I). That leaves natural carbon sources (A) and natural carbon sinks (B) undefined and as implied in you post, not known with any reasonable accuracy. Therefore our equation is expressed as follows:

    A+E=B+I, where E=8 Gt/yr. and I=4 Gt/yr.

    or

    A+8=B+4

    or

    A – B = -4

    Well, by the ‘simple arithmetic’ you’ve set up, mathematically speaking the difference between Natural Carbon Sources and Natural Carbon Sinks must always equal -4 Gt/yr.!

    This makes for a supreme demonstration of the problem with the AGW crowd. We DON’T know enough about Natural Carbon Sources and we DON’T know enough about Natural Carbon Sinks, but – by god! – we KNOW the increase in the atmosphere has to be man made!

    That is not sound science. It is conjecture. Combined with the demand to spend trillions in taxes and lifestyle changes, it has a strong degree of hubris to boot.

    PS Any unbiased 8 year-olds want to double check my arithmetic?

  147. Julie L says:

    I don’t know if anyone’s posted the link, but here ya go: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/magazine/29Dyson-t.html?em

    AGW denier! OMG!!!

  148. James P says:

    Ferdinand

    “natural carbon sources + emissions = natural carbon sinks + increase in the air.

    Of this equation, only the emissions are known with reasonable accuracy and the increase in the atmosphere is known with good accuracy.”

    So, by your own admission, the natural sources and sinks are not known, but you are assuming they remain constant!

    Simple arithmetic indeed…

    BTW, I heard Roger Harrabin reporting recently, from a suitably exotic location, that the extra CO2 was acidifying the oceans and in turn dissolving the coral. It’s some while since I did any chemistry, but I think it would require rather a lot of carbonic acid to do that, and (of course) he didn’t actually quote any figures to back up his assertion. The BBC were happy to fly him to somewhere nice and tropical, but the budget didn’t apparently run to a piece of Litmus paper.

  149. mr.artday says:

    I sure wish these “raise awareness” showoffs had to prove that awareness of whatever needed raising and whatever they were proposing to do would raise it and that “raised awareness” would solve some problem.

  150. Harold Pierce Jr says:

    ATTN: Ferdinand Englebeen

    RE: Reporting the Concentions of Atmospheric Gases.

    The concentration of gases in the atmosphere is reported for Standard Dry Air (SDA), which is air that contains only nitrogen, oxygen, the inert gases and carbon dioxide (i.e., the fixed gases) and is at STP (i.e., 273.2 K and 1 atm pressure). One cubic meter of SDA has 385 ml of carbon dioxide, i.e., 385 ppmv or 17.2 millimoles.

    Standard Dry Air exist nowhere on earth because real air or local air is never at STP and _always_ contains water vapor and varying amounts of clouds, the climatologists’ worst nightmares.

    The composition of real air is always site specific. In fact these is no unifrom temporal and spatial distribution of the fixed gases in absolute amounts per unit volume in the real atmosphere. The relative ratios of the fixed gases is quite uniform and is independent of site, elevation, local geography, etc. except for minor local variations, e.g., in big cities. This is origin of the term” well-mixed atmospheric gases”

    The ideal gas law is usually shown as PV = nRT which upon rearrangement is:
    n/V = P/TR. This means inter alia the absolute amount of the gases per unit volume will be a function of the weather.

    Absolute or specific humidity of water vapor can vary from about 0-5% by volume. Actually specific humidity is never, ever 0 %. Not even in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on the planet.

    Clouds are floating pools of liquid water in the atmosphere, and as they move about can release water vapor in an instant or take execess water vapor out the air, which can come down as rain, hail, or snow.

    The water droplets in clouds can readily absorb and release carbon dioxide, and these processes are a function of local temperature and pressure. Rain is sat with carbon dioxide and will bring it down to the surface of the earth.

    All of the above boil down to this: It is not possible to model climate in an atmosphere of real air with any useful skill and accuracy without making a great many simplifing assumptions.

  151. DJ says:

    Here is a recent paper on atmospheric CO2 budgets which appeared in the PNAS – perhaps the leading scientific journal – http://www.pnas.org/content/104/47/18866.abstract . It is just one of very many recent papers.

    The lack of a response by a sceptic in two years tells you that there is NO sceptic capable of refuting this and similar analyses. Instead they hide outside of the reach of peer review on blogs and E&E.

  152. Andrew (14:03:50) :

    In other words, you have ? + emissions = ? + increase

    Besides you qualify the knowns with “reasonable” and “good”

    That makes the whole thing subjective, don’t you think?

    Andrew

    Andrew,

    The emissions are as accurate as the fossil fuel sales inventories are known (that is a matter of taxes…). So these may be somewhat underestimated (due to under-the-counter sales…). But I have read somewhere an estimate of 4 +0.5/-0.25 ppmv for current average yearly emissions. The CO2 levels in the atmosphere are known to an accuracy of +/- 0.1 ppmv (for 95% of the atmosphere, the other 5% is undefined and practically udefinable).

    That are yearly values. The 50+ year trend is +60 ppmv, similar at all measuring places with the same +/- 0.1 ppmv absolute error, while the accumulated error in emissions may be fully or only partly systematic. Anyway, in all cases the emissions are near twice the increase in the atmosphere.

    And we can rewrite the formula as follows:

    natural sources + emissions = natural sinks + increase in the air
    (that is a matter of conservation of mass)
    or
    X + emissions = Y + increase
    or written in a different way:
    X – Y = increase – emissions
    where
    X – Y = 4 GtC – 8 GtC
    or
    X-Y = -4 GtC

    No matter the real amount of carbon released by natural sources, the natural sinks MUST be 4 GtC larger than the sources, as that is what disappears from the emissions out of the atmosphere. And the real height of X (and thus of Y) doesn’t matter at all. It may be 10, 100 or 1,000 GtC which circulates through the atmosphere within a year, that doesn’t add anything to the total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere:

    For X = 10 GtC, Y = 14 GtC
    For X = 100 GtC, Y = 104 GtC
    For X = 1,000 GtC, Y = 1,004 GtC

    Thus the real value of the natural sources and sinks doesn’t matter at all for the mass balance, because we know the real difference between these two…
    See for the past 50 years:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg

  153. James P says:

    VG
    Your link needs a stop before pdf

  154. Patrick Kirk (15:28:25) :

    Well, by the ’simple arithmetic’ you’ve set up, mathematically speaking the difference between Natural Carbon Sources and Natural Carbon Sinks must always equal -4 Gt/yr.!

    Well, yes. It MUST be -4 GtC/yr, as that is what is missing from the emissions and not found in the atmosphere. Thus 4 GtC is gone somewhere in the oceans and/or vegetation (there is no destruction and no escape of CO2 to space…).

    In reality, these are averages and there is a year by year variability in sink capacity of +/- 2 GtC, mainly as result of temperature changes (see the link in the previous message). But that doesn’t change the fact that over the past 50 years there was no net addition of nature to the atmospheric CO2 mass and all of the CO2 increase (except some 6 ppmv from ocean warming LIA-current) was caused by the emissions…

  155. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Ferdinand Engelbeen (13:16:46) :

    George E. Smith (09:41:54) :

    Well I see in that color map, a global variation of more than 15 ppm of mid tropospheric CO2 abundance. (why do people keep on saying “by volume”). If they can identify the molecules as being of different species; why not just report abundance by molecular species. In the atmosphere there is only one volume; the total sample volume, so to measure any individual species by volume, you have to extractr every last specimen of a species from the sample, and none of any other species, and then reduce each to STP before you can measure its volume.

    Simply counting molecules allows you to use an infinitesimally smaller sample.

    ppmv in dry air is used instead of ppm by weight (wet or dry), simply because every (ideal) gas has the same volume and the same number of molecules for the same amount of moles in the mix: one mole (~32 g) of oxygen has the same volume as one mole (~28 g) of nitrogen,… This makes calculations of mixing ratios easier, no matter the sample size.
    Why “dry”? Because water shows an enormous gradient from ground level up to high in the sky, the same volume of CO2 (compared to the O2/N2 level) would go up with height as the water vapor content drops. This is completely artificial, as the ratio between CO2 and O2/N2 doesn’t change with height… “””

    OK so I’ll bite. I grab a one litre flask of air at some height and place. Of course none of those gases present are ideal gases; but not to worry, I’m sure we can get the right ppmvs within a factor of 3:1 which is good enough for climate models. Well of course this was real earth air I grabbed so despite the inconvenience it does have water vapor in it. I still have a single volume of this non-ideal gas mixture; and it doesn’t show any immediate signs of settling out into layers with the heaviest species at the bottom.

    I’m sure there’s a way to look at it and know how much of each spevcies is in there by volume of course. Counting heads would do it; but that would be abundance by molecular species instead of volume.

    I still say it is much easier to specify the relative numbers of molecules of each species present; and then that doesn’t matter whether the gases are ideal or not, or if there is water present.

    Those MMGWCC folks are really determined to eliminate water from consideration in climate effects aren’t they.

    Well when the models include water in its correct vapor, liquid and solid phases present at any time; I’ll start to pay some attention to what the climate models tell us happened years ago; even though we know from observations what that was.

    Notice in that July snapshot above that places that have a lot of ice and snow; such as Antarctica, Greenland, and the Himalaya ranges show a lot of low carbon blue.

    Sort of gives you the idea that the original moisture in the air, that created those ice and snow fields in the first place dissolved a lot of CO2 (which is more soluble in colder water) and whisked it out of the air, upon precipitation.

    But that explanation can’t be right because it assumes wet air instead of the dry air that climatology deals with.

    George

  156. Nasif Nahle says:

    Ohioholic (13:50:52):

    One thing I notice looking at that graph is that flooded areas and CO2 have a better correlation than delta temp.

    Yes, the correlation is better and it is due to an increase in the release of CO2 from oceans as the oceans get warmer and reversed.

    Another is that the time series is severely skewed. I wish that the periods were a little more even, but point taken, nonetheless.

    I’d like it also; however, I marked the periods on the graph considering the beginning and the end of each era. Anyway, I take your suggestion into consideration, so I’ll try to scheme more even periods.

    Also, the flooded areas is at an all time low.

    Indeed, the trend of the Earth’s temperature is towards cooling. Each time, Earth gets colder and colder. By no means had we thought about a warming similar to the Paleocene warmhouse, not even to the warming of the early Pleistocene. With permission of Leif Svalgaard: The cooling trend of Earth is obvious.

  157. Smokey says:

    Julie L (15:30:23),

    Thank you for your link to the story on Freeman Dyson. I just finished it, and it was great! What an amazing guy.

  158. Ohioholic says:

    “But that doesn’t change the fact that over the past 50 years there was no net addition of nature to the atmospheric CO2 mass and all of the CO2 increase (except some 6 ppmv from ocean warming LIA-current) was caused by the emissions…”

    This statement contradicts itself.

    “In reality, these are averages and there is a year by year variability in sink capacity of +/- 2 GtC, mainly as result of temperature changes (see the link in the previous message).”

    If there is a range of 50% in the variability, how do you have confidence in the fixed figure?

  159. Smokey says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (13:40:29),

    I respect your view, and I posted Beck’s site, as I have before, because it’s interesting. As I’ve said previously, I’m not endorsing it, but IMHO it is as valid as Keeling’s single point data source.

    It should be kept in mind that many of the readings that Beck reports were taken aboard ships during ocean crossings, and on remote, windswept coastlines away from civilization. Keeling’s data is taken at high altitude, on the side of a volcano. How do we know that Keeling’s data is not an artifact of the local ocean and the prevailing trade winds?

    When satellite CO2 data becomes available, the question should be answered. In the interim, the planet continues to cool no matter what CO2 is doing.

  160. James P (15:36:46) :

    So, by your own admission, the natural sources and sinks are not known, but you are assuming they remain constant!

    Simple arithmetic indeed…

    I hope I made it clear that I don’t assume that the natural sources and sinks are constant, but that the absolute flows are not important at all, because we know the difference between the sources and sinks, as that can be calculated from two known variables: emissions and increase in the atmosphere. That shows that in the past 50 years, nature had no contribution to CO2 levels (except for a small increase due to a temperature increase)…

  161. Laurence Kirk says:

    Re: Roger Sowell (12:08:21) :

    “The concept of cutting tropical forests down and having them “replaced with mud and the occasional oil palm” is a bunch of bull-****. It is dang near impossible to keep a bare patch of ground bare wherever there is warmth, sun, and rain. Ask any farmer”‘

    ..Yes Roger, of course you get regrowth, incredibly vigoruously in the tropics. But it still takes time, and the return of full tree cover is supressed by farming practices, eg. in farming oil palms. My suggestion was simply that this progressive reduction in full, mature, natural vegetative cover might cause part of the above CO2 signal.

    “City-boys, these AGW scientists. Somebody ought to take them on a field trip to a farm. Ask them to find and photograph the bare dirt areas”

    ..Maybe in your back yard. But out here the wheat paddocks that replaced the evergreen eucalypt forest are bare dirt for seven months of the year, as there is negligible rainfall between October and April and the grounwater is mostly saline. (I don’t know, you city boys!)

  162. Roger Sowell says:

    DJ

    from the abstract at the link you provided at (15:43:51) :

    “All of these changes characterize a carbon cycle that is generating stronger-than-expected and sooner-than-expected climate forcing.”

    Which climate forcings would those be? The ones increasing the Antarctic ice? The ones making the winters colder and setting record low temperatures? The ones that are decreasing the (controversial) global temperatures since 1998? The ones causing the sea levels stabilize or decrease? The ones making the sea surface temperatures decrease?

    Have you got anything that shows a forcing? From factual, measured information, not some computer-generated predictions?

    Seriously. This non-peer-reviewer, just-a-blog-commenter would like to know. I am fighting my very hardest to repeal California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (aka AB 32) and if I am fighting the wrong battle, then it is high time I found that out…

  163. Nick Stokes says:

    Jerry, “Who is Tom Quirk?”
    Here’s a more complete bio. He’s a bright guy – he was once my Physics tutor. He was a particle physicist in those days. But I think this is a new field for him.

  164. Harold Pierce Jr (15:38:51) :

    Thanks for the explanation,

    In ground based stations where CO2 is measured, water vapor is trapped in a cold trap at -70°C, reducing water vapor over ice to very low values. In other circumstances, water vapor is measured at another IR frequency band than CO2 and CO2 values are corrected for the water vapor present.

    In all cases, CO2 levels are reported for “dry air”, to make CO2 level comparison possible between different places…

  165. philincalifornia says:

    DJ (15:43:51) : wrote
    Here is a recent paper on atmospheric CO2 budgets which appeared in the PNAS – perhaps the leading scientific journal – http://www.pnas.org/content/104/47/18866.abstract . It is just one of very many recent papers.

    The lack of a response by a sceptic in two years tells you that there is NO sceptic capable of refuting this and similar analyses. Instead they hide outside of the reach of peer review on blogs and E&E.
    ——————————
    “All of these changes characterize a carbon cycle that is generating stronger-than-expected and sooner-than-expected climate forcing.”

    ….. is the conclusory sentence of the abstract. I’ll read the full paper tomorrow, when I have more time, but I think that Mother Nature has already refuted that last sentence.

    Incidentally, I have 13 papers in PNAS, and I never considered it to be THE leading scientific journal.

  166. Howarteh says:

    Off topic, I know I’m guilty and apologize in advance but has anyone even added up the extra ppb molecules of co2 that has been building up in the atmosphere the last 50 or 60 years? The math is beyond me as well as volume of atmosphere. Does the extra amount come close to or exceed the amount generate by fossil fuel emissions? I will probably ask this question again since its so late in the thread. I doubt anyone is still reading this one. )

  167. Ohioholic says:

    “That shows that in the past 50 years, nature had no contribution to CO2 levels (except for a small increase due to a temperature increase)…”

    X – Y does not = increase – emissions? Hmmmmmmm, interesting math. Of course, this simple equation is now falsified, so where is it’s replacement?

  168. Ohioholic (16:53:27) :

    “But that doesn’t change the fact that over the past 50 years there was no net addition of nature to the atmospheric CO2 mass and all of the CO2 increase (except some 6 ppmv from ocean warming LIA-current) was caused by the emissions…”

    This statement contradicts itself.

    “In reality, these are averages and there is a year by year variability in sink capacity of +/- 2 GtC, mainly as result of temperature changes (see the link in the previous message).”

    If there is a range of 50% in the variability, how do you have confidence in the fixed figure?

    The 6 ppmv from increased temperature is over the past few hundred years, but the real increase is about 100 ppmv in the past 160 years. Thus temperature is not the cause of the increase…

    The -4 GtC in the example is not a fixed figure, it is the average of the past few years.

    The +/- 2 GtC is around the trend, which is nowadays increasing with about 4 GtC/year. Thus the measured increase in the atmosphere is 2-6 GtC/yr, while the emissions are 8 GtC/yr. Thus the natural sink capacity varies between 6-2 GtC/yr, the difference between the relative stable increasing emissions and the variability of the increase. Or simply look at the emissions, increase in the atmosphere and calculated sink capacity in the graph of the past 50 years:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg
    (2.1 GtC = 1 ppmv in the graph)

  169. Nasif Nahle says:

    Howarteh (17:38:35):

    Off topic, I know I’m guilty and apologize in advance but has anyone even added up the extra ppb molecules of co2 that has been building up in the atmosphere the last 50 or 60 years? The math is beyond me as well as volume of atmosphere. Does the extra amount come close to or exceed the amount generate by fossil fuel emissions? I will probably ask this question again since its so late in the thread. I doubt anyone is still reading this one.

    Well… I’ve read your post. The current mass per m^3 of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 0.00063 Kg/m^3. It is supposed that it was 0.00045 Kg/m^3 some 200 years ago. However, chemical analysis show it has been fluctuating between 0.00063 Kg/m^3 and 0.00069 Kg/m^3, with or without fossil fuels. I don’t know the other figures you’re asking for; however, if you give me a real specific data on how much ppmV from the current 380 ppmV of CO2 were produced by “fossil” fuel burning, I could give you a specific answer.

  170. D. King says:

    Study of hemispheric CO2 timing suggests that annual increases may be coming from a global or equatorial source

    I too, seem to be generating carbon around my equator!

  171. Ohioholic says:

    “The estimates of CO2 emissions are based on the sales of the different fossil fuels”

    So, you have two unknowns and an estimate based on an assumption. Why would you expect the result to differ from the assumption?

  172. Nick Stokes says:

    Howardteh “Does the extra amount come close to or exceed the amount generate by fossil fuel emissions? “
    We’ve burnt about 321 Gigatons carbon since 1751. The atmosphere weighs about 5148000 Gt; an addition of 100 ppmv CO2, which is a bit less the rise we’ve seen, implies an extra 213 Gt carbon in the air. That’s about 66% of what we’ve burnt.

  173. Ohioholic says:

    Half of these emissions have occurred since the mid 1970s.

  174. Law of Nature says:

    Dear Ferdinand,

    I cannot resist but question your conclusions . . please have a look at some points I made:

    - the dC13 ratio before 1850 are meaningless (don’t tell you anything about the CO2-concentration or its change)
    - conservation of mass is not the issue here since all anthropogenic CO2 would disapear in the noice of the marine CO2-content
    - “the biosphere is removing about half of the total amount removed” ?? There is no “total amount removed”, CO2 is on the raise
    - “ the biosphere and the oceans are net sinks for CO2 and can’t be the cause of the CO2 increase of the atmosphere” Why not? Has to be shown! How about: Oceans dump additional CO2 regardless of the source on short time-scales until they are in near-equilibrium with the atmosphere, which they could be right now – the current level and the raise to it could be produced by the oceans and Toms paper supports that. (The fact, that the oceans turn into a net sink for CO2 if you add a source does not prove, that the current level is due that additional source – in a bucket the water level is determined by the rim, not an additional influx)
    - “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)” aeh well this one I perhaps didn’t understand correctly . . I thought that proves that during ENSO events less CO2 is absorbed by the oceans and thus the d13 in the atmosphere decreases
    - “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.” Well, this is the strongest prove of Toms point! The depletion of C13 should be a monotonic raising function according to your theorie, but it has hickups, which means, there are other net sources of CO2 at least sometimes
    - In http://www.ferdinand engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/ d13c_trends.jpg and the explanation for it, you seem to explain not a trend or variation, but compare the absolute C-ratios. Why isn’t a correlation (= time stamping the signature at different places) of the trend’s variation a valid way to find the lag? Seems good to me, there is an event, which affects the signal and I look when it shows up at different places -> lag time is found

    I hope the points are clear, please ask me to elaborate if neccessary
    __
    Best regards,
    LoN

  175. Roger Sowell says:

    Laurence Kirk (17:30:00) :

    “..Maybe in your back yard. But out here the wheat paddocks that replaced the evergreen eucalypt forest are bare dirt for seven months of the year, as there is negligible rainfall between October and April and the grounwater is mostly saline. (I don’t know, you city boys!)”

    City-boy is only partly applicable to me, as I spent many summers and long weekends on a working farm/ranch in the U.S. south. Plus living and working abroad as I wrote above. We had to work very hard to keep the weeds out of the cultivated rows.

    If deforestation has or had anything to do with increased CO2, then it sure does not show up in the annual cycle measured at Mauna Loa. From all the hysteria on the AGW side, one would think that the winter peaks in CO2 would be growing smaller or disappearing altogether. Peaks are still there, year after year. Like that battery bunny, still going, and going, and going…

    Another AGW prediction that failed to materialize.

    And the amount of specialty forests for pulp and paper, such as at Aracruz, where the cultivated trees grow many times faster than the native species, surely counter some of the deforestation. Aracruz’ eucalyptus trees are (at least in the 1980s when I was there) harvested every 7 years, having achieved a height of around 84 feet. They may have improved their trees in the past 25 years.

    As I have written on this blog before, man’s planting and watering of millions of trees, shrubs, and many thousands of acres of grass just in Southern California alone are taking in CO2 by the ton every day. None of that was here before man settled and built up the southland area. Where is the AGW’ers applause for that one?

    The same is true for the other cities/towns in the U.S. desert Southwest, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, and others. One can fly over them in summer daylight, and see the green crop circles — absorbing CO2 by the ton, every day.

  176. hotrod says:

    “ Ohioholic (18:29:29) :

    The estimates of CO2 emissions are based on the sales of the different fossil fuels”

    I have my doubts about that method of accounting unless they are also accounting for “non-consumptive” uses of fossil fuels.

    For example crude oil turned into plastic which is now sequestered in land fills.
    natural gas used to produce carbon black which is now sequestered in old tires, paints and pigments.

    Not all fossil fuels are “burned” much of that fuel mass is simply changed to a different form without burning it.

    A few years ago they were discussing what happens to all the rubber worn off of tires? If it there should be piles of the stuff built up beside the roads. As I recall they still are not completely confident about how it degrades and where all that carbon goes.

    Larry

  177. Roger Sowell says:

    Pamela Gray (13:25:09) :

    “Roger, it is called upwelling. The thermocline (the variably mixed water that sits on top of deeper, denser, colder water) is disturbed by wave action from trade winds and axial spin, thus allowing the more nutrient rich and colder underlayer water access to the top. Go here for a really good explanation.”

    Thank you, Pamela. I read all of that in the links, slowly and with care, and I must ponder this for a while. It seems to me on first impression that this is horribly wrong. Winds, several hundred feet above the thermocline, and wave action also far removed (vertically), influence the cold water to upwell?

    I suspect there is a much different mechanism at work, causing the undisputed upwellings of cold water where fishermen know to go to catch fish. One cannot deny that the cold water reaches the surface. I won’t speculate here (could be embarrassing to be really wrong) until I have looked into the physics of this just a bit more.

    (Wanders off to the technical library, dusts off the physics books, the fluid dynamics books, physical chemistry book for properties of water, statics and dynamics and conservation of energy books, and settles in for a nice long read and contemplation…calculator and pencil and paper in hand for sketches and doodles…hoping my brain has not yet fossilized and I can understand this stuff that I once excelled at.)

    This is one of the things I really like about WUWT. Thank you again, Anthony, for allowing me to play in your playground.

    Pamela, you are a teacher? I feel like a student with an assignment…how do I submit my report for a grade?

  178. Roger Sowell says:

    hotrod,

    “Not all fossil fuels are “burned” much of that fuel mass is simply changed to a different form without burning it.”

    The amount of non-burned petroleum / natural gas is very small compared to the total of fossil fuels. When coal, oil, and natural gas are all accounted for, the amount of lube oils, petrochemical feedstocks (plastics and tires precursors), and asphalt are fairly small. In the U.S., these amount to roughly 5 percent of total petroleum consumed. The percent world-wide is even smaller, as the U.S. is different in the demands for petroleum products. So, figure around 1 percent max for world-wide un-burned fossil fuels.

    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_pnp_pct_dc_nus_pct_m.htm

    has some data on the U.S. refinery yields.

  179. evanmjones says:

    Yes, Pamela is a teacher.

    Winds, several hundred feet above the thermocline, and wave action also far removed (vertically), influence the cold water to upwell?

    I suspect there is a much different mechanism at work

    There is a considerable change of air pressure over the oceans. The NAO and NPO, for example, are atmospheric dipolar events that seriously affect both climate on land and Sea Surface Temperatures.

  180. MikeF says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen

    natural carbon sources + emissions = natural carbon sinks + increase in the air.

    Of this equation, only the emissions are known with reasonable accuracy and the increase in the atmosphere is known with good accuracy. Thus in average per year:

    natural carbon sources + 8 GtC = natural carbon sinks + 4 GtC

    or:

    natural carbon sources – natural carbon sinks = -4 GtC

    Or in other words, nature is a net sink for carbon and didn’t add one gram in total mass to the increase of carbon in the atmosphere over the past 50 years.

    2 points:
    1. You attribute all of 4GtC to humans. Then you use this equation to prove that humans are responsible for extra 4Gt of carbon. Isn’t it a bit, well, circular?
    2. If we use your line of reasoning, then without human emissions amount of CO2 would be constantly going down, causing global cooling (less CO2-lower temperature) until we either freeze to death of die of starvation (or both)?

  181. Barium says:

    I scanned through all postings to try and see if this is a duplication, I hope iut is not. I don’t understand what all the discussion is about. http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg1.htm, Chapter 7, Figure 7.5 shows without any room for interpretation how the north-south gradient of CO2 has increased from 0.5ppm to close to 3ppm (that is the difference between annual mean concentrations (ppm) at Mauna Loa and the South Pole, Keeling and Whorf, 2005, updated) as fossil fuel emissions (GtC) increased from just under 3 to just over 7. A lock at the image at the top of the page, and just some visual integration and averaging of the north and south hemisphere seems completely consistent with that Fig7.5. There are more and redder patches in the north than in the south.

  182. VG says:

    DJ Point taken (as a skeptic) . It is quite possible co2 rising due to human activity ( still has to be proved) there is nothing about it showing that it affects climate

  183. VG says:

    Re Journals PNAS, Nature ect. “Leading Journal”, no longer counts. A major NEW discovery ie:, A novel Genetic finding in Nature would probably be credible, “Climate Science” to date not really at hot one for Nature (just see Steig’s Antarctic “warming” Debunking in all leading Science blogs run by Meteorologists or expert statistitians such as here or at CA. On the other hand I think “Climate Science” is something that should and needs to be pursued, although now its like a bunch of kids playing computer games… (imagine being able to forecast months ahead!). If climate scientist took this attitude now, their “science would eventually be recognized possibly.. LOL

  184. Ohioholic says:

    Turns out there are two assumptions. The isolation of fossil fuels, and at what point of the sales chain is the data taken from? That is important.

    The = sign is not correct either, as you attribute a value to something outside the equation, presumably to simplify the equation, but it does not necessarily equal if there is a value outside the equation that bears upon it.

  185. Phil. says:

    George E. Smith (16:35:24) :

    I’m sure there’s a way to look at it and know how much of each spevcies is in there by volume of course. Counting heads would do it; but that would be abundance by molecular species instead of volume.

    I still say it is much easier to specify the relative numbers of molecules of each species present; and then that doesn’t matter whether the gases are ideal or not, or if there is water present.

    The measurement is typically done by IR spectroscopy using wavelengths absorbed by the species of interest, water is removed for several reasons: being a variable component of air it is removed to give a common basis for comparison, being IR active it may absorb somewhat at the wavelength of interest, and last but certainly not least the optics and cells used in IR spectrometers are frequently made from salt crystals which prefer dry air!

    Those MMGWCC folks are really determined to eliminate water from consideration in climate effects aren’t they.

    Well when the models include water in its correct vapor, liquid and solid phases present at any time; I’ll start to pay some attention to what the climate models tell us happened years ago; even though we know from observations what that was.

    Why do you think that water isn’t included in the models?

    Notice in that July snapshot above that places that have a lot of ice and snow; such as Antarctica, Greenland, and the Himalaya ranges show a lot of low carbon blue.

    Sort of gives you the idea that the original moisture in the air, that created those ice and snow fields in the first place dissolved a lot of CO2 (which is more soluble in colder water) and whisked it out of the air, upon precipitation.

    It’s not just because of the ice and snow it’s also because they are high and cold (below -20ºC). CO2 is not soluble in ice.

  186. Antarctic Bottom water, flowing over a riffle box several thousand k’s long, and at times with the riffles 2000 metres high (East Pacific Rise) may be dropping C14 (and C13?) preferentially in its travels. They are heavier than C12, after all. That will sink all isotope assumptions to date, when it surfaces as La Nina up-welling, as the released CO2 will look like it is as old as that from fossil fuel. Maybe.

    Plant or phyto-plankton do one hell of a lot of photosynthesis. The geophysics prof at the University of Cape Town, Louis Ahrens, told some of us rookie students, in a short meeting in a corridor in 1970, “never mind the Amazon rainforest, for the real photosynthesis, watch the marine plankton.” He was the lad who did the moon rocks for NASA, and was president of the International Union of Geochemists and Cosmochemists ( I think it was) . So who were we to argue?

    See the website for an alternative model to AGW, geomag-based, and a one-page sceptics starter kit, of just two matched maps, if bored.

    The Church of the Holy Molecule is in trouble, methinks.

    Hooroo,

    Peter Ravenscroft

    Another greenie geologist and AGW sceptic
    Closeburn, Queensland

  187. Julian Flood says:

    quote Pamela Gray (07:08:40) :

    Damn! In that last sentence I meant to say ever increasing atmospheric CO2 in linear step to ever decreasing plankton blooms. I was in such an excited state! endquote

    Aha, but you forgot to explain the isotope signal. There is more 12C in the atmosphere than expected, Man burns high 12C fuel, therefore Man has caused the high 12C signal in the atmosphere.

    Or something else is happening.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (above) has an isotope graph which people claim proves an anthropic source for the light C. However, the graph does not actually do that — the light C signal begins around 1700 which is well before we started pumping oil. So, how to account for that?

    There are two ends to the light isotope pipeline, production and consumption. If Man has altered the consumption end — something he has had the capacity for since large scale agriculture began — then it must be in the direction of a greater heavy isotope pull down.

    Starving phytoplankton populations alter their balance to become more C4 metabolism oriented. C4 discriminates less than C3 metabolism and the resultant phyto incorporates more 13C. When it dies and sinks, it takes that 13C out of the atmosphere. The atmosphere is now relatively light in 13C, but foolishly we interpret this as being caused by an addition of 12C, not a reduction of 13C.

    Diatoms bloom earlier than phytos, and they outcompete their slower rivals until they run out of dissolved silica to make their intricate and beautiful shells. Only when the diatoms have run out of silica can the phytos, making their calcium carbonate structures, begin to flourish.

    Large scale agriculture will have been pushing a lot of dust into the oceans and been addng silica. Thus, from much earlier than the approved text would have us believe, more diatoms. Diatoms — tahdah! — use a C4-like carbon fixation process which pulls down more 13C and pumps it into the deep ocean. The heavy C component in the atmosphere goes down, hence Mr Engelbeen’s graph, falling since 1700AD.

    I’ve thought of.. I think it’s four ways that we could have disrupted 12C/13C balance. I think that all four are probably involved in the anthropic signal.

    Someone above (excuse my not checking, it’s four in the morning and I only came down for a cup of tea) mentioned WWII and the climate signal there. I’d love to see a really detailed breakdown of the isotope signal from ’38 to ’50. The whole period is very interesting, with the most intriguing data being the UKMO marine air temperature anomaly MOHMAT 4.3. This doesn’t smear out the initial warming (the smear in Hadcrut is a function of the IMHO dubious Folland and Parker bucket correction) or mask the precipitous drop once the Kriegesmarine had stopped covering the ocean surface with oil.

    One of my explanations of the isotope drop involves low chromium and zinc levels — starved of these phytos go into their C4 mode — and there ought to be a jump in 12C levels when a really big volcano pumps high Cr and Zn leachate ash into the oceans.

    Enough! I’m falling asleep.

    JF
    Google ‘the opal ocean’.
    The Mohmat graph may be on Bob Tisdale’s site.

  188. Have to admit, my first thought re. the “Gore Recants?” piece was to check the date on my computer, see if it had jumped to April First. I put the note in as a good skeptic, resolutely open either way but first impulse being to doubt, with the evidence I had at the time at my disposal.

    Belatedly – thank you for this thread – it’s exactly the kind of evidence I need to reply to the “manmade carbon isotopes” AGW stuff, it’s going to be added to my Primer (click my name).

  189. Allan M R MacRae says:

    REpeating an old post from wattsup…

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/11/mauna-loa-co2-record-posts-smallest-yearly-gain-in-its-history/#comment-72540

    Allan M R MacRae (04:01:04) :

    Annualized Mauna Loa dCO2/dt averaged ~1ppm/year from 1958 to ~1978, then ~1.5 ppm/year from ~1978 to ~2001, then >2ppm/year from ~2001 to ~2006, and since then has dropped below 2ppm/year (consistent with strong global cooling since January 2007).

    However humanmade CO2 emissions have continued to increase over the past few years, as they have every year over the past century or more. Why then is atmospheric dCO2/dt not also increasing?

    Mauna Loa (and global) dCO2/dt correlates well with the Lower Troposphere temperature anomaly, but as I noted in my January 2008 paper*, CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months.

    The impact of global temperature on atmospheric CO2 concentrations is apparent.

    The impact of atmospheric CO2 concentration on global temperature is much more difficult to demonstrate, probably because it is insignificant.

    Regards, Allan

    _________________________

    Annualized Mauna Loa dCO2/dt has “gone negative” a few times in the past (calculating dCO2/dt from monthly data, by taking CO2MonthX (year n+1) minus CO2MonthX (year n) to minimize the seasonal CO2 “sawtooth”.)
    These 12-month periods are (Year-Month ending):

    1959-8
    1963-9
    1964-5
    1965-1
    1965-5
    1965-6
    1971-4
    1974-6
    1974-8
    1974-9

    Has this not happened recently because of increased humanmade CO2 emissions, or because the world has, until recently, been getting warmer?

    I noted in a paper published one year ago that dCO2/dt changes contemporaneously with “average” global temperature, and CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months.

    * For those who are interested, my paper and spreadsheet are at:

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/carbon_dioxide_in_not_the_primary_cause_of_global_warming_the_future_can_no/

    CO2 data from Mauna Loa:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt

  190. Allan M R MacRae says:

    I like and respect Ferdinand, but am not at all convinced by his “material balance” argument.

    Quoting Richard Courtney, who has often debated Ferdinand E on this subject:

    The known facts of the matter are:

    1.
    The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration each year is much less than the natural variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration within each year.
    2.
    The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration over each year is the residual of the natural variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration within each year.
    3.
    The anthropogenic emission of CO2 each year is much less than the natural variation within each year.
    4.
    The change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 is in the direction expected if the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration were caused by the anthropogenic emission of CO2.
    But if the ratio changes then there is a 50:50 chance that it will change in that direction or the other.
    5.
    The magnitude of the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 is much smaller than expected if the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration were caused by the anthropogenic emission of CO2.
    6.
    The fact in point (5) indicates that most of the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 and most of the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration was caused by some unknown, natural (i.e. non-anthropogenic) effect.
    7.
    The fact in point (6) indicates that all of the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 and all of the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration may have been caused by the same unknown, natural (i.e. non-anthropogenic) effect.
    Simply,
    it is possible that none of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and none of the change to the 13C:12C atmospheric isotope change were caused by anthropogenic emission
    but were due to the unknown, natural (i.e. non-anthropogenic) effect that caused most of the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2.
    8.
    But the anthropogenic emission may have disturbed the carbon cycle such that the equilibrium state(s) of some parts of the carbon cycle have altered.
    Therefore,
    it is possible that all of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and all of the change to the 13C:12C atmospheric isotope change were caused by the anthropogenic emission
    that induced the unknown, natural (i.e. non-anthropogenic) effect that caused the observed change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2.
    9.
    It is possible that both the effects noted in points 7 and 8 contributed to the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 and to the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.
    Therefore,
    it is possible that some of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and some of the change to the 13C:12C atmospheric isotope change were due to the anthropogenic emission.
    10.
    The change in atmospheric oxygen concentration in recent years is consistent with the amount of fossil fuel that was burned in those years.

    In summation, the known facts (listed as points 1 to 10 above) demonstrate that
    there is no conclusive evidence that any of the 20th century increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is or is not due to the burning of fossil fuels.

  191. Laurence Kirk says:

    PS to Roger Sowell (12:08:21) :

    No offense meant re ‘City Boy’ comment! It was said in jest..

    Best regards,

    LK

  192. gary gulrud says:

    Henry’s Law.

  193. Steve Keohane says:

    Roger Sowell (19:31:01) I would add to your list the whole front range of Colorado, which was nothing more than a few cottonwoods along a couple of rivers, some sparse pear cactus and sagebrush. What we have today is wholly from irrigation.

  194. pyromancer76 says:

    Roger Sowell (19:49:36, 3/25), thanks for your skepticism re upwelling/thermocline. I share the experience without any of the expertise. “Winds, several hundred feet above the thermocline, and wave action also far removed (vertically), influence the cold water to upwell?” I look forward to your report and your grade.

    Also appreciation to Peter Ravenscroft for linking CO2 levels to the earth’s magnetic field (which is also related to the Sun’s activity in some way?), again, a connection I find in reading various scientific papers. And to Allen MacRae for his summary and paper — ST, LT, dCO2/dt and CO2 all have a common primary driver, and that is not humankind.” . And to Anthony, Jennifer Marohasy, and Tom Quirk. This essay and the comments have been a great read and have stimulated so many more questions — plus more knives in the heart of that vampiric AGW/Evil CO2.

    I see that because of this thread, Lucy Skywalker is adding more to her primer, an excellent introduction for those just entering the scientist Van Helsing’s retinue. It has changed the minds of some engineer and scientist friends whose great efforts in their own fields do not leave them time to read outside the AGW takeover of the here-to-fore important scientific publications. (But they are hungry for the science, not for the blood of civilization.)

  195. Pamela Gray says:

    Upwelling is why the PDO anomaly has turned cold. Compare the vapor and cloud trajectories with the Pacific Ocean SST change and you will see the pattern. By the way, winds ARE near the surface, else sailing ships would be dead in the water.

    Of note, our local paper has reported that a near record number of salmon have returned, leading to a possible salmon season on the Imnaha river. This near record number, along with high numbers of steal head returning to spawning grounds makes me think there are more nutrients in the Pacific and estuaries allowing these fish to survive in greater numbers. Could it be that we are having plankton blooms already? And will MLO pick this up in terms of a wiggle in CO2? Not likely. Its placement pretty much guarantees that it will measure whatever the trade wind blows its way. It cannot measure the increase sink that may be happening in a colder ocean. At least not for a while.

  196. James P says:

    “imagine being able to forecast months ahead!”

    These guys already do:
    http://weatheraction.com/

    They have a far better record than the supercomputer-equipped UK Met Office, who predicted a ‘mild winter’ in line with their general pitch about warming.

    The don’t think much of AGW, either!
    http://weatheraction.com/id4.html

  197. James P says:

    Ferdinand

    Thank you for replying. You say that “I hope I made it clear that I don’t assume that the natural sources and sinks are constant”.

    Perhaps I oversimplified, but if they’re not constant, they must be tracking each other to satisfy your maths. Is that likely?

  198. Pamela Gray says:

    Imagine another future for Mauna Loa. It measures whether or not there is sufficient build-up of CO2 and dust to predict that with upwelling, the plankton bloom should be such and such, resulting in a marine food production increase of such and such. I say this because the location of that station is right where the natural oscillating cyclic trade wind supplies all the necessary ingredients for plankton growth: Wind, CO2 and dust. The CO2 is there. The wind has kicked up and caused an upwelling of cold, nutrient rich water. Now all we need are dryer, colder windier conditions over the African/Asian/South American continents to start producing dust that will seed both a cooler Atlantic and Pacific.

  199. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Phil. (20:45:36) :

    George E. Smith (16:35:24) :

    I’m sure there’s a way to look at it and know how much of each spevcies is in there by volume of course. Counting heads would do it; but that would be abundance by molecular species instead of volume.

    I still say it is much easier to specify the relative numbers of molecules of each species present; and then that doesn’t matter whether the gases are ideal or not, or if there is water present.

    The measurement is typically done by IR spectroscopy using wavelengths absorbed by the species of interest, water is removed for several reasons: being a variable component of air it is removed to give a common basis for comparison, being IR active it may absorb somewhat at the wavelength of interest, and last but certainly not least the optics and cells used in IR spectrometers are frequently made from salt crystals which prefer dry air!

    Those MMGWCC folks are really determined to eliminate water from consideration in climate effects aren’t they.

    Well when the models include water in its correct vapor, liquid and solid phases present at any time; I’ll start to pay some attention to what the climate models tell us happened years ago; even though we know from observations what that was.

    Why do you think that water isn’t included in the models? “””

    Well Phil, I certainly did not mean to imply that the science of Quantitative Analysis is not an old hat part of Chemistry (which isn’t my forte).

    My whole point is that since the discovery of molecules, and elements, it is much simpler to quantify mixtures on the basis of how many molecules of each species are present; well the ratios of those numbers anyway. Then there is no need to get involved in Ideal gas theory, or Van der Waal’s equation. Also the molecular abundances easily reveal that GHG trace gases are so rare in the atmosphere, that they act as individual molecules; and not in any collective way.

    So it is not like Solid State Physics where the atoms act in concert, so that the bulk properties of the material are quite different from atomic properties.

    I’m familiar with some of the problems of IR spectroscopy because of the problem with water damage to the optical elements.

    As to this question:- “Why do you think that water isn’t included in the models? ”

    I never said any such thing. I did say the following:- “Well when the models include water in its correct vapor, liquid and solid phases present at any time….”

    If your information is that this has been accomplished; then that will be the first I have heard of the modelling community claiming to correctly model clouds in their GCMs. I’ve never heard any such claim before.

    And given that we have no real way to even observe and measure the effect of clouds (in any scientifically accurate way); I doubt that the modellers have reduced to models, that which we cannot even obseve properly.

    If you know of a network of ground, or satellite based cloud monitoring sensors, I would be happy to learn about it.

    Satellite monitoring would have it’s limitations, being able to measure albedo effects; but not the ground level insolation under those clouds. And it would require a satellite network similar to the Iridium system to have complete global coverage 24/7.

    And the ground network of temperature measuring stations, is already inadequate to do that task; and would fall far short of monitoing ground level insolation everywhere on earth 24/7.

    But once again I am anxious to learn; so if you know of such networks can you point us to their data output.

    Otherwise I will stick by my statement; which was different from your question.

    George

  200. George E. Smith says:

    As somebody pointed out; the CO2 global map above is a snapshot at a particular time.
    In the recent archives we saw a movie version of a slice of this data from pole to pole; and somewhere hidden in the NOAA archives, is a three-D pole to pole CO2 graph for about ten years or so.

    The result of all of these sources of data seems to be that the CO2 over most of Antarctica (mid tropo) is about 365 ppm, (Or was in 2003),; but at ML in 2003 the level is about 375, and varies about 6ppm in the annual cycle, while at the north pole the annual cycle is 18 ppm, as was dramatically apparent in the movie version.

    None of this data suggests to me that there is much north-south mixing going on at all. If the North pole is waggling around +/-9 ppm about a mean value,and there was good mixing, I would not expect to see the south pole basically static at around 365 ppm, with no more than about 1 ppm p-p cycling, which is out of phase with the northern hemisphere cycle.

    The data gives all the appearance of the CO2 being emitted and absorbed locally.

    As to ice not absorbing CO2; I presume that such a statement is based on the same presumption that the CO2 entrapped in atmospheric bubbles in ice cores does not propagate over time since ice is quite impervious to CO2 (it is presumed).

    Now I would not choose ice as a repository for any gas sample that I wanted to preserve for geological time scales; and the implication is that not only is ice impervious to CO2, but also to any species of O2 or N2, and other trace GHGs that are found in ice core air pockets; or else those samples would be changing over time, if one or another species could migrate through the ice.

    But as to CO2 being found in ice in clouds; one plausible hypothesis would be that such ice was at one time liquid water somewhere or even water vapor; and that the CO2 contamination occurred before the water froze into ice. Now I have absolutely no evidence or data for such a wild statement; which is why I say it is just a hypothesis; well I did say plausible too, so maybe it ins’t plausible; and the ice is either CO2 free or else it got there by some other means, about which I have no conjecture.

    George

  201. Phil. says:

    Julian Flood (01:23:52) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (above) has an isotope graph which people claim proves an anthropic source for the light C. However, the graph does not actually do that — the light C signal begins around 1700 which is well before we started pumping oil. So, how to account for that?

    Well oil isn’t the only fossil fuel, you might be interested to know that in England & Wales coal passed wood as the major source of thermal energy in ~1620.

  202. Bill D says:

    One of the major effects of warmer temperatures on lakes and oceans is stronger stratification and shallower mixing. This has already had substantial effects on lakes accross North America and Europe. In deep lakes and oceans, warmer winter temperatures also lead to shallower mixing and less nutrient regeneration/upwelling. This a major effect of climate warming that has been predicted and documented by limnologists and oceanographers over the last few decades. The American Society of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO.org) is publishing a special issue of Limnology and Oceanography (L&O) on the topic: Lakes as sentinels of climate change.” Final revisions of manuscripts are due in April, so maybe the issue will be published by late summer or ealy fall. L&O is the top-rated journal in the aquatic sciences.

  203. Ohioholic says:

    “One of the major effects of warmer temperatures on lakes and oceans is stronger stratification and shallower mixing.”

    What are the effects of this on lakes and oceans?

  204. Darwin says:

    Well, well, well,
    More proof that timing is everything, although, the real estate maxim, location, location, location, as this blog has provided ample evidence, also has much to recommend it.

  205. David J Ameling says:

    Don’t LOL, but could the increase in CO2 be due to an invasive species? Earth worms were introduced to the americas by the colonists in the 1600s. They spread slowly at first. By the 1800s they were spreading faster. They are still spreading. They are eating the leaf layers on our forest’s floors and the biomass in the soil thereby releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.

    I may have endangered trillions of earthworms by alerting those who believe increased levels of CO2 cause global warming, but I think the possibility should be considered if hasn’t all already.

  206. Pamela Gray says:

    Bill, in 2006 there was a flush of articles warning that the Walker Circulation would come to a stop, given that the strength of that circulation had slowed during the last part of the previous century. That circulation is part of the trade winds that blow East to West and cause the upwelling to occur. Their conclusions have been falsified, since continuously monitored data indicate a return to normal conditions on average and stronger than normal conditions in the north Pacific.

    So now they turn to lakes. That will also be falsified. Wallowa County is flush with high mountain lakes, rivers, and streams that are closely monitored for stream flow and temperature as part of the fish conservation effort. All the layers have gotten colder. All the rivers are colder. The top layers are colder. The bottom layers are colder. And it makes no difference on the altitude. Last winter, the Lostine River froze from the bottom to the top! In that order! Why did it freeze like that? The top layer is a faster current and resisted freezing, whereas the bottom layer slows to swirl behind rocks and boulders, freezing from the bottom up.

    Too bad the publisher spent money on the book. It’s a lot harder to ignore a stupid conclusion when it comes in book form. Journal articles that come to stupid conclusions are just buried in Ivory tower dusty library archives. Books will stick around to remind the author how wrong he/she was.

  207. Hans Erren says:

    My guinea pig of 1 kg has an annual turnover of 16 kg of hay, still my guinea pig is a net carbon sink because every year she gains a few grams of weight.

  208. George E. Smith says:

    Calling all Phils

    Hey Phil,

    Something you said up above put a rock through some cobwebs, and got me thinking.

    Specifically you said that; “Co2 is not soluble in ice.” Well so what ?

    Well then it dawned on me. I know a thing or two about impurities in solids; or more specifically the sweeping of impurities out of solids in the presence of another phase.

    In my case; in an earlier life, I was involved in tow different manifestations of this effect.

    I worked for a company that made at the time, hundreds of kgrams of single crystal Gallium Arsenide; using a variation of the Horizontal Bridgeman process sometimes referred to as “Gradient Freeze. We sythesized the GaAs and grew the single crystal ingots in a single process from high purity (at least 6-9s purity) Gallium and Arsenic. The molten gallium Arsenide puddle was brought in contact with a seed crystal, in the presence of a temperature gradient along the container so that the seed end was colder and just about at the melting point. Then the temperature is dropped very slowly while maintaining a temperature gradient, so that the liquid/solid interface moved along the crystal as it grew.

    Residual impurities in the melt, are swept ahead of the freeze interface, because of the “segregation coefficient” for those impurities in the solid/liquid phase diagram. Specifically the impurites were much more soluble in the liquid, than in the solid, so as the crystal gre, the impurities were swept into the remaining melt and kept out of the crystal, so they were concentrated right in the end of the final ingot; and that part would be cut off for recycling.

    We recycled all of the materials including wafer sawing dust, and other scrap material so that we recaptured a lot of raw gallium metal; in fact we supplied about 1/2 of our total input Gallium usage from recycling. The gallium recycling of course required cleanisng processes too and one of those used in the final purification process to metal as good as 7-9s purity, was also a freezing process. Gallium was itself crystallized from a melt, and the melt residual containing removed impurities was sent back for additional chemical processing; but the segr4egation of impurities in the liquid, was by far the most powerful cleansing step, and repeated freezes (at near room temperature) worked wonders in our gallium cleansing.

    So back to the ice and the CO2.

    Of course we already know that when seawater freezes, the dissilved salts are largely rejected in the solid phase; once again because of the segregation coefficient, and the much higher solubility of the saltsa in the liquid phase.
    Ergo pretty much the same should occur for CO2 and other gases dissolved in water as it freezes.

    Now when the arctic ocean starts its refreeze process in the fall, as we all watched last year; you have ice growing at the boundary of the water/ice interface; and the salts being excluded from the solid phase there, back intoi the water, making for a saline rich interface layer, containing excess salt, and thereby having an even lower freezing temperature.

    So the freezing ought to take place at a temperature which is actually below the true freezing temperature of the bulk of the surrounding sea water, and as a result, I would expect that once the refreeze gets underway, in what is essentially a supercooled liquid phase; the growth rate of ice is probably quite large, as a result of the boundary layer brine.

    So now lets toss the CO2 into this mix. The ocean surface waters presumably contain the required Henry’s law concentration of dissolved CO2 for whatever temperature and atmospheric CO2 partial pressure exists; assuming a calm waters situation.

    So once the water starts to freeze and exclude salts into the boundary layer brine; we should also have excess CO2 being forced out of the ice, into the boundary layer of water as well; and given that the boundary layer then likely has an excess of CO2 over the Henry’s law equilibrioum amount; that interface ought to be outgasssing almost all of the CO2 into the atmosphere.

    So the period of arctic ice refreeze ought to be a period of massive CO2 emission from the arctic oceans as the surface waters give up their CO2 to become the new ice.

    Now I presume that the same sort of thing would happen in the Antarctic.

    So in the annual CO2 cycle in the arctic region, where does the atmospheric CO2 gain occur in relation to the ice refreeze.

    Enquiring minds want to know ?

    George

  209. Bill D says:

    Pamela Gray (11:57:12) :

    Bill, in 2006 there was a flush of articles warning that the Walker Circulation would come to a stop, given that the strength of that

    Pamela:

    I was not talking at al about ocean currents or rivers freezing, I was talking about mixing depth, as in the depth of the thermocline and the effect of climate warming on the timing and duration of thermal stratification. The publication that I was talking about is not a book, but a scientific journal that is publishing a special issue devoted to effects of climate change on lakes, including recent changes as well as paleo–prehistoric work. The journal is a major publications for oceanographers and limnologists since about 1947. I was also talking about work that has been documented and has appeared in many publications. Recently, I have been involved in research in large subalpine European lakes for example. These are very deep lakes, typically several hundred meters deep and climate change is affecting the timing of thermal stratification, the duration of thermal stratification and the mixing depths. I was not really talking about theoretical work, I was talking about long term data sets, some going back to the 1920s that are useful in understanding climate change in these lakes. Some articles in the upcoming issue will also consider how ancient lakes and lake sediments can be used as records of temperature, pH, terrestial vegetation and rainfall since the last ice age.

    My own contribution is looking how stratification affects trophic cascades –where fish prey on zooplankon and zooplankton feed on phytoplankton. I am publishing on a 21-year data set for Lake Maggiore (Italy and Switzerland). My Italian colleague and I are very interested to find out whether the same hypothesis that applies to the Lake Maggiore food chain will also explain the very different food chain effects that have been seem in Lakes Geneva and Lake Constance. Interestingly, I have already done a preliminary analysis of a data set for Lake Zurich that is very supportive of our hypothesis. So, I am hoping hat the scientists who “own” the long term data sets for these other very large andeep European lakes will collaborate with us. Quite fortunately, water pollution in the 1960s and 70s resulted in remediation (phosphorus reduction) and funded long-term research that is now very useful for understanding climate change. (One benefit for me is that I will be visiting northern Italy in April to work on this project).

    Stronger thermal statification also reduced nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in the upper well-lit layer, generally reducing lake or ocean productivity. I guess that my initial comment was in part a response to the earlier discussion on how CO2 might affect phytoplankton production.

  210. Howarth says:

    Nick Stokes (18:55:47) :

    Howardteh “Does the extra amount come close to or exceed the amount generate by fossil fuel emissions? “
    We’ve burnt about 321 Gigatons carbon since 1751. The atmosphere weighs about 5148000 Gt; an addition of 100 ppmv CO2, which is a bit less the rise we’ve seen, implies an extra 213 Gt carbon in the air. That’s about 66% of what we’ve burnt.

    Thanks Nick, that was the answer I was looking for.

  211. George E. Smith says:

    Bill D.

    Interesting information.

    But as you know; fresh water has a temperature of maximum density of around 4 deg C, whereas ocean water of greater than 2.47% salinity, has no such maximum density before it freezes.

    Consequently the gravitational turn-over that occurs in fresh water lakes does not happen in the oceans.

    So it is not clear to me that fresh water lake studies however useful with regard to fresh water lakes, don’t give us much information about ocean conditions.

    George

  212. Phil. says:

    Pamela Gray (07:51:04) :
    Upwelling is why the PDO anomaly has turned cold. Compare the vapor and cloud trajectories with the Pacific Ocean SST change and you will see the pattern. By the way, winds ARE near the surface, else sailing ships would be dead in the water.

    Of note, our local paper has reported that a near record number of salmon have returned, leading to a possible salmon season on the Imnaha river.

    Since the PDO was originally discovered from fisheries statistics and the cool phase has historically favored the salmon this is not a surprise.

  213. Well, a day of other work gives a lot of extra work to react on…

    As the longest reaction was the first, we better start backwards:

    James P (08:00:56) :

    Ferdinand

    Thank you for replying. You say that “I hope I made it clear that I don’t assume that the natural sources and sinks are constant”.

    Perhaps I oversimplified, but if they’re not constant, they must be tracking each other to satisfy your maths. Is that likely?

    No, you need to see that as a mix of two variables: one is the continuous increase of the emissions, which are not very variable and the other is the variability in sink capacity, caused by all natural influences together (sea surface temperature, land temperature and precipitation) which influences the amount of CO2 absorbed by the oceans and vegetation. In some warm years (1998 El Niño) ocean temperatures are high and we see an extra increase in CO2 level (but still less than the emissions). In cooler years we see the opposite, much more of the emitted CO2 is absorbed.

    But in general, the variability of the sink capacity is only halve the emissions and varies around the increase in the atmosphere, which is about 55% of the emissions.

    It would be a different point if in some years the increase in the atmosphere was higher than the emissions. Only in such case, there is a contribution of nature to the rise…

  214. Chris Knight says:

    George E Smith

    Data for Barrow (Alaska) atmospheric CO2 can be found here:

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/barrsio.co2

    Minimum month August, with rapid rise in CO2 until February, when the level plateaus until May, thereafter a steep decline until August.

    This is in keeping with your account above.

    At the south pole, the minimum is February-March, maximum October-November:

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/sposio.co2

    (strangely the S. Pole record is longer than that at Mauna Loa, going back to July 1957. Not a lot of people knew that, until now.)

    So, the maximum rate of increase of CO2 at or near the poles coincides with the periods of refreeze, and vice versa. I guess the northern winter on land where groundwater freezes accounts for much of the northern hemisphere’s vastly greater annual fluctuation in CO2 background levels when compared with the southern hemisphere, as indicated in this figure, first noted above by Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/Photo_Gallery/GMD_Figures/ccgg_figures/co2_surface.png

  215. George E. Smith (10:23:26) :

    The data gives all the appearance of the CO2 being emitted and absorbed locally.

    That is largely the case, but what you see in the graphs (and the satellite data) is that the differences are mainly seasonal. If you look at the yearly averages, the differences are much smaller: within 2 ppmv for the NH, 1 ppmv for the SH and 5 ppmv between the hemipheres. The south pole lags the NH data with over a year (the ITCZ forms a barrier for the exchange of gases and aerosols). See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg

    Now I would not choose ice as a repository for any gas sample that I wanted to preserve for geological time scales; and the implication is that not only is ice impervious to CO2, but also to any species of O2 or N2, and other trace GHGs that are found in ice core air pockets; or else those samples would be changing over time, if one or another species could migrate through the ice.

    There is some fractionation of the smallest molecules at closing depth, but CO2 is not involved (O2 is). There are two points against the possibility of migration of gases through the ice:

    - CO2 levels in completely different ice cores qua accumulation rate (thus depth for the same age), temperature and layer thickness show the same values (within 5 ppmv).

    - CO2 levels show a nice ratio with temperature (with a lot of lag) over 4 (now 8) glacial-interglacial transitions, each as distant as 100,000 years of each other. If there was migration, the ratio would be less and less over time, but that is not the case.

    And there is quite a difference between gas/ice from freezing water (oceans or clouds) and from inclusions of compressing snow…

  216. Allan M R MacRae (03:36:16) :

    I like and respect Ferdinand, but am not at all convinced by his “material balance” argument.

    Quoting Richard Courtney, who has often debated Ferdinand E on this subject:

    The known facts of the matter are:

    Indeed, that is already going on for near two years…

    1.
    The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration each year is much less than the natural variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration within each year.

    Wrong. As the main exchanges (oceans and vegetation) are in countercurrent with the seasons and opposite for the hemispheres, the average global seasonal variation is about 5 ppmv, or about 10 GtC. The year by year addition from the emissions is currently about 8 GtC. Thus of the same order. Moreover, the seasons are cycles and a full cycle has zero effect, if there is no residual difference.

    2.
    The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration over each year is the residual of the natural variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration within each year.

    Yes, plus the emissions, thus the residual of the natural variations is negative over the past 50 years.

    3.
    The anthropogenic emission of CO2 each year is much less than the natural variation within each year.

    Completely unimportant, only the difference over a year is important. And that is halve the emissions. But see point 1.

    4.
    The change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 is in the direction expected if the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration were caused by the anthropogenic emission of CO2.
    But if the ratio changes then there is a 50:50 chance that it will change in that direction or the other.

    What are the odds that there was little change over 250 years and then the d13C ratio suddenly starts to decrease in ratio with the use of fossil fuels (with low 13C level) during 150 years? See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif

    5.
    The magnitude of the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 is much smaller than expected if the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration were caused by the anthropogenic emission of CO2.

    Someone has never heard of the thinning factor (20% per year) due to the exchanges with (deep) oceans and vegetation…

    6.
    The fact in point (5) indicates that most of the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 and most of the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration was caused by some unknown, natural (i.e. non-anthropogenic) effect.

    The effect of thinning e.g. by deep ocean exchanges can be calculated, see the observed and calculated d13C levels for different exchange rates:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/deep_ocean_air_zero.jpg
    This includes zero contribution of deep ocean CO2 to the atmospheric increase. If the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere was caused by the emissions + the deep ocean upwelling, then the increase in the atmosphere for the same d13C decrease would be 40 GtC (oceans) + 8 GtC (emissions) = 48 GtC, or about 24 ppmv/year…

    7.
    The fact in point (6) indicates that all of the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 and all of the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration may have been caused by the same unknown, natural (i.e. non-anthropogenic) effect.
    Simply,
    it is possible that none of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and none of the change to the 13C:12C atmospheric isotope change were caused by anthropogenic emission
    but were due to the unknown, natural (i.e. non-anthropogenic) effect that caused most of the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2.

    As there are only two sources of low 13C carbon on earth, and the other source (the biosphere) is a net source of 13C (more uptake of 12C than decay), only fossil fuel burning is responsible for the decline. Thus there is no “unknown” source of low d13C.

    8.
    But the anthropogenic emission may have disturbed the carbon cycle such that the equilibrium state(s) of some parts of the carbon cycle have altered.
    Therefore,
    it is possible that all of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and all of the change to the 13C:12C atmospheric isotope change were caused by the anthropogenic emission
    that induced the unknown, natural (i.e. non-anthropogenic) effect that caused the observed change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2.

    Why looking for an unknown source, while a very well known source is just under your nose?

    9.
    It is possible that both the effects noted in points 7 and 8 contributed to the change to the 12C:13C isotope ratio of atmospheric CO2 and to the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration.
    Therefore,
    it is possible that some of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration and some of the change to the 13C:12C atmospheric isotope change were due to the anthropogenic emission.

    It is simpler than that: near the full decrease in d13C is from fossil fuel burning…

    10.
    The change in atmospheric oxygen concentration in recent years is consistent with the amount of fossil fuel that was burned in those years.

    Except that a little less oxygen is used than expected, which points to extra production of oxygen by the biosphere, thus more CO2 uptake than release, using more 12CO2, thus a source of extra 13C and thus not the cause of the d13C decline…

    In summation, the known facts (listed as points 1 to 10 above) demonstrate that
    there is no conclusive evidence that any of the 20th century increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is or is not due to the burning of fossil fuels.

    To the contrary…

  217. Tom Quirk says:

    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

  218. Allan M R MacRae (03:22:50) :

    Mauna Loa (and global) dCO2/dt correlates well with the Lower Troposphere temperature anomaly, but as I noted in my January 2008 paper*, CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months.

    The impact of global temperature on atmospheric CO2 concentrations is apparent.

    Allan, you make the same mistake as Tom Quirk: You see a good correlation between global temperature and the variability of the increase rate of CO2 as seen in the derivative, but then you say that global temperature and CO2 concentrations are related. But the influence of temperature on the variation around the trend doesn’t say anything about the influence of temperature on the trend itself…

  219. 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

  220. Bill D says:

    George E. Smith (14:08:47) :

    Bill D.

    Interesting information.

    But as you know; fresh water has a temperature of maximum density of around 4 deg C, whereas ocean water of greater than 2.47% salinity, has no such maximum density before it freezes

    George:

    You are correct that salinity has a big effect on sea water densities near freezing. However, warming during the warmer seasons of the year has a big effect on density differences in both both freshwater and sea water, so that warm season stratification is similar. I also agree that we don’t need to study lakes to learn about mixing processes in oceans. However, one really big advantage of studying lakes, that I appreciate, is that there are thousands of lakes of different sizes and depths, but relatively few oceans. (And we don’t need such big ships to study the lakes)

    Several of my recent studies have involved comparisons across lakes that differ in depth and stratification (to study how these factors influence food chains) and one of my Dutch colleages is now studying a latitudinal gradient in lakes from Finland to southerrn Italy. These kinds of studies allow one to look at how temperature and mixing processes effect food chains in a rigorous way. For example, when a limnologist studied how the strong NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) warming years in the 80s and 90s affected seasonal patterns, a comparative study of 28 European lakes gave clear results. This study gives an interesting comparison with the long term data sets from Lake Washington (Seattle) and Lake Tahoe (California) which are influenced more by Pacific oscillations and their interannual differences in warming.

  221. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Hi Ferdinand,

    Please take a big step back and examine the big picture.

    CO2 in Vostok ice core data lags temperature by ~600 years.

    CO2 in modern measurements lags temperature by ~9 months.

    The above are natural cycles, each with its own period and its own delay.

    There could be other such cycles as well, with their own periods and delays – for example a cycle intermediate between the above two, perhaps with a period of ~~60-90 years and a delay of ~~10 years.

    Annualized Mauna Loa dCO2/dt has “gone negative” a few times in recent decades, specifically for 12-month intervals ending in:

    1959-8
    1963-9
    1964-5
    1965-1
    1965-5
    1965-6
    1971-4
    1974-6
    1974-8
    1974-9

    Has this not happened recently because of increased humanmade CO2 emissions, or because the world has, until recently, been getting warmer?

    Frankly, I don’t think we yet know the answer to that question.

    While I am officially, as you should know by now, an agnostic on this specific scientific question, most or all the evidence points to CO2 lagging temperature at all known time scales.

    This does not preclude a human influence on atmospheric CO2 due to fossil fuel burning, but other possible causes do exist that are largely natural.

    I suspect Richard is correct, insofar as “there is no conclusive evidence that any of the 20th century increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is or is not due to the burning of fossil fuels”.

    Best regards, Allan

    P.S.

    Please examine the 15fps AIRS data animation of global CO2 at
    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4

    It is difficult to see the impact of humanity in this impressive display of nature’s power.

    In the animation, does anyone see the impact of industrialization? USA? Europe? India? China? Anything related to humanity? I don’t.

    The animation does make it look like we Canadians and the Russians have lots of heavy industry emitting megatonnes of deadly CO2 in the far northern Arctic. Not so – it’s all natural!

    P.P.S.

    On the more pressing scientific and political question, it has long been obvious that the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 is an insignificant driver of global temperature, and that carbon dioxide abatement schemes such as the Kyoto Protocol are a criminal waste of scarce global resources.

  222. James P says:

    CO2 production and absorption is clearly a complex (and highly debatable) topic in its own right, but we shouldn’t forget that it is only important WRT climate change if you are a warmist.

    The rest of us, I think, regard increasing levels of CO2, whatever the mechanism, as nothing to be alarmed about and even beneficial. We are carbon-based life forms, after all…

  223. Ohioholic says:

    “Moreover, the seasons are cycles and a full cycle has zero effect, if there is no residual difference.”

    What drives the cycles?

  224. Ohioholic says:

    I can’t find a thread for this, but has any thought been given to nature being a sink for CO2? Is it at all possible that desertificaton is a result of the lack of CO2 in the atmosphere? If plants thrive on CO2, as the linked study suggests, could it also be the cause of the tree deaths in California are caused by the starvation of CO2 in the atmosphere? They are giant plants, and probably require a lot of CO2 to ‘eat’.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090209205202.htm

  225. MikeF (25-3-2009, 20:20:19) :

    natural carbon sources + 8 GtC = natural carbon sinks + 4 GtC

    or:

    natural carbon sources – natural carbon sinks = -4 GtC

    2 points:
    1. You attribute all of 4GtC to humans. Then you use this equation to prove that humans are responsible for extra 4Gt of carbon. Isn’t it a bit, well, circular?
    2. If we use your line of reasoning, then without human emissions amount of CO2 would be constantly going down, causing global cooling (less CO2-lower temperature) until we either freeze to death of die of starvation (or both)?

    1. I attribute 8 GtC to humans, as that are the emissions. The 4 GtC is what is found in the atmosphere (no matter the origin). As 8 GtC is larger than 4 GtC, it is impossible that nature caused a net addition (in mass) to the atmosphere. Thus the full 4 GtC increase is attributable to the emissions.

    2. Without human emissions, next year CO2 levels in the atmosphere would go down with about 4 GtC (2 ppmv), one year later with 3.2 GtC,… Going down with a half life time of about 40 years, until we are back at the pre-industrial CO2 levels of about 280 ppmv. If that has an effect on temperature, that is an entiry different question…

  226. Smokey says:

    Ferdinand E.,

    Where did you get the half life of 40 years for CO2? Freeman Dyson and Jennifer Marohasy both state that it’s around 12 – 13 years.

  227. Ohioholic says:

    “1. I attribute 8 GtC to humans, as that are the emissions.”

    This equation only works if the two change at the same rate. So what you really have is:

    X (natural carbon sources – natural carbon sinks) = -4 GtC

    What is X?

  228. Earl E Winter says:

    I thought I was following along pretty well until I saw 14C historical measurements. Looking at the data from Wellington, NZ, 14C peaked in the early 60s at almost 700PPM and has dropped to under 250 PPM as of 1994. I think I understand that the 14C comes from the open air nuclear testing.

    Where did the 14C go?

    Does 14C absorb IR the same as 13C and 12C affecting or not affecting global temperature as you may prefer?

    If 14C absorbs IR then why wouldn’t this be included in the overall CO2 climate temperature record discussion?

    What is the Mauna Loa station actually measuring? 12C, 13C, or all CO2 including 14C?

    Your humble gardner

  229. Bill D says:

    Earl:

    Mauna Loa is measuring CO2, irrespective of the isotope. The atomic mass of carbon is 12.011, which is the average of C12, c13 and C14. From the mass number, you can see that the C13 and C14 isotopes are relatively uncommon and that most carbon is C12. Since C14 is radioactive it is easy to measure.

  230. George E. Smith says:

    Thanks to Chris Knight for that data on Pt Barrow Alaska. I always like it when a random thought turns out to be at least consitent with reality; even if cause and effect haven’t been proven. I was all ready to deep six Phil’s remark that CO2 didn’t dissolve in ice; and then it suddenly hit me. If there ain’t a lot of trees growing on the arctic ocean ice; could the ice growth itself be a cause of CO2 emissions. thinking of the phase diagram processes; I now don’t see how it can not be an important source of cyclic CO2. The 18ppm p-p annual cylce at the north pole seemed huge for simply a change in CO2 solubility as a function of temperature.
    But when you think of the coldest of waters, which presumably harbor the highest CO2 concentrations required by Henry’s law, and then you get the total exclusion off that high CO2 level from every gram of water that freezes; that’s a bunch of CO2 in the arctic, based on what we agonized through last fall and winter.

    Since I don’t have any institutional or government grants to research the quantitative numbers; I’ll bequeath the idea to those of you who do; see if you can make any numerical sense out of my thesis.

    George

    PS Bill D. Yeah I can just see how tough it is for you hanging out in those remote European Lakes for the good of science; what a rough way to make a living. What sort of flies are your favorites in those lakes?

  231. Earl E Winter says:

    Bill D

    Thank you so much for your reply.

    There is a huge spike in 14C measurement in Wellington NZ up to 700 PPM as documented here, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/well-gr.html
    and up to 1000 PPM in Central Europe as documented here, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/cent-vegr.gif
    so it seems that it was a world wide phenomonon, but the spike does not show up in the Mauna Loa record or any other record that I have seen in AGW discussions. It doesn’t make sense to me that it wouldn’t show up as CO2 in the other records.

    Any thoughts on my other questions?

    Where did the 14C go? When it deteriorates, what is the resulting Isotope? 13C?

    Does 14C absorb IR the same as 13C and 12C affecting or not affecting global temperature as you may prefer?

    If 14C absorbs IR then why wouldn’t this be included in the overall CO2 climate temperature record discussion? How can anyone say that 380 PPM is the higest concentration of CO2 in thousands of years if 14C has been measured at 700 PPM in NZ and 1000 PPM in central Europe?

    Your humble gardner

  232. hotrod says:

    Where did the 14C go?

    Carbon 14 decays to Nitrogen 14 by beta emission.

    Larry

  233. Phil. says:

    Earl E Winter (16:17:18) :
    There is a huge spike in 14C measurement in Wellington NZ up to 700 PPM as documented here, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/well-gr.html
    and up to 1000 PPM in Central Europe as documented here, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/cent-vegr.gif
    so it seems that it was a world wide phenomonon, but the spike does not show up in the Mauna Loa record or any other record that I have seen in AGW discussions. It doesn’t make sense to me that it wouldn’t show up as CO2 in the other records.

    The C14 data refers to the fraction of the Carbon atoms which are C14, not the fraction of the atmosphere which is C^14O2.

  234. Phil. says:

    hotrod (17:12:58) :
    Where did the 14C go?

    Carbon 14 decays to Nitrogen 14 by beta emission.

    Larry

    Yes with a half-life of 5730 years! The disappearance of the nuclear spike was due to exchange with the ocean and biosphere.

  235. Earl E Winter says:

    Phil,

    Thanks for correcting me.

  236. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Ferdinand has made a number of good points in the past.

    For example, the slope of the dCO2/dT (CO2 in ppm, temperature T in degrees C) is a problem for those who want to ascribe all CO2 changes to changes in temperature.

    For recent decades, the ~9 month lag in CO2 after temperature has a slope 2 to 3 ppm CO2/dC.

    For the past ~400,000 years, the ice core data has a slope of ~10ppm CO2/dC.

    Since ~1980, Surface Temperature (Hadcrut3) has shown warming of ~0.5C and CO2 has increased ~50ppm, or ~100ppm CO2/dC.

    Obviously there is a mismatch. One might conclude that there must be another source of CO2 to account for the recent increase of ~2ppm CO2/year.

    That source may be humanmade CO2 emissions due to combustion of fossil fuels. Ferdinand uses the material balance argument to make his case.

    One problem is the poor correlation of atmospheric CO2 with variations in fossil fuel consumption, such as during economic downturns in the past several decades.

    Natural CO2 seasonal variation in the far North approaches ~20ppm per year – it seems plausible that the driver of the ~2 ppm annual increase in CO2 is mostly natural.

    I expect that in the next few years we will have adequate data and insight to reach a better decision on this question.

    Regards, Allan

  237. Smokey (27-03-2009, 10:45:55) :

    Where did you get the half life of 40 years for CO2? Freeman Dyson and Jennifer Marohasy both state that it’s around 12 – 13 years.

    Depends which half life: the residence half life time, the average time that a certain molecule is in the atmosphere before exchanged is about 5 years (150 GtC exchange over the seasons of the 800 GtC in the atmosphere). That can be deduced from the residence time of 14C of the nuclear tests in the 1950′s. The half life time of an excess quantity in mass is about 40 years (4 GtC sink/year of 800 GtC in the atmosphere in the current year, thus much longer than the residence time). For the calculation, see Peter Dietze at:
    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm

  238. Ohioholic (27-03-2009, 11:53:28) :

    “1. I attribute 8 GtC to humans, as that are the emissions.”

    This equation only works if the two change at the same rate. So what you really have is:

    X (natural carbon sources – natural carbon sinks) = -4 GtC

    What is X?

    In the past 50 years, the difference between sources and sinks varied +/- 2 GtC (+/- 1 ppmv) around the trend, while the trend itself was about 55% of the emissions. It seems that there is little change in amplitude of the natural variation, while the emissions increased over time. And there is a strong dependency of the variability with temperature, about 3 ppmv/°C. Thus all together, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere over the past 50 years is about:

    dCO2 = 0.55 x emissions + 3 x dT

    where dCO2 is for any time period (over the past 100+ years), emissions in ppmv and dT the temperature difference over the period of interest.

    See what happened over the past 50 years:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg

    and compare that to the result of the above formula:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/egbn_trend.jpg

  239. Earl E Winter (27-03-2009, 16:17:18) :

    There is a huge spike in 14C measurement in Wellington NZ up to 700 PPM as documented here, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/well-gr.html
    and up to 1000 PPM in Central Europe as documented here, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/cent-vegr.gif
    so it seems that it was a world wide phenomonon, but the spike does not show up in the Mauna Loa record or any other record that I have seen in AGW discussions. It doesn’t make sense to me that it wouldn’t show up as CO2 in the other records.

    The 14C measurements are expressed in per mil to a standard, that is not ppmv. The amounts formed by cosmic rays and nuclear tests are extremely small, compared to the bulk (which is near 99% 12C and over 1% 13C).
    14C is only 0.0000000001% of the carbon in the atmosphere. But indeed it can be detected by radiation counting, but nowadays much faster and more accurate by mass spectroscopy.
    See Wiki at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-14

  240. Allan M R MacRae (05:51:16) :

    One problem is the poor correlation of atmospheric CO2 with variations in fossil fuel consumption, such as during economic downturns in the past several decades.

    Natural CO2 seasonal variation in the far North approaches ~20ppm per year – it seems plausible that the driver of the ~2 ppm annual increase in CO2 is mostly natural.

    There is an extremely good correlation between atmospheric accumulation and accumulated emissions over the past 100+ years. Here a graph over the past 50 years between emissions and the increase of CO2 at Mauna Loa and the south pole:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/acc_co2_1960_2006.jpg

    There is some (increasing) delay between the NH and the SH as result of low intermixing of the hemispheres and increasing emissions.

    And (relative) small changes in the economy probably have less impact on energy use and emissions compared to the natural variation in uptake (+/-1 ppmv)…

    The variability in the North can be regional, but one should not underestimate the emissions over land (see e.g. the variability over Schauinsland), which may be transported up to the North via the Ferell cell. Most baseline stations are in the Pacific, which are measuring air from over the oceans and therefore are less variable.

    Further, the yearly averages of the NH stations show little difference…

  241. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (11:28:46)

    “There is an extremely good correlation between atmospheric accumulation and accumulated emissions over the past 100+ years.”

    My comment:

    Sleight of hand, Ferdinand.

    Both parameters are increasing in a near-linear fashion – so what?

    The same correlation would occur if you plotted CO2 versus human population, or even the number of yak farts.

    Atmospheric CO2 grows at about half the rate of fossil fuel emissions.

    And when you examine periods of economic decline when fossil fuel combustion slowed, you see no parallel slowing in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    The only significant signal in the data is that CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months.

    Best regards, Allan

  242. E.M.Smith says:

    Sandy (22:00:56) : ” to 7.0 gigatonnes in 2000″
    I thought World production of wheat was around 100 gigatonnes [...]
    Has anyone ever estimated the total annual growth of biomass? That 7.0 gigatonnes of guilt represents what proportion of the biomass’s CO2 turn over?

    Well, there are tree species that grow about 25 to 50 tonnes / acre / year wet, or about 12 to 25 tonnes of dry matter per acre. Not all of that is carbon, but say we call it 11 tons total (shifting to the U.S. ton to conserve “n”s and “e”s lest we run out by using them all up ;-)

    That means it would take a tree farm about 1000 miles on a side to soak it all up. At the end of 100 years or so you would need to figure out what to do with the mature forrest…

    Somehow I think there is more forrest on the planet than that 1000 mi sq.
    Siberia and Brazil come to mind…

  243. E.M.Smith says:

    John A (03:20:04) : Can someone explain why the countries of Northern Africa have a persistently higher CO2 concentration that the heavily industrialized nations of Northern Europe?

    And while you’re at it, why there is that nice global band at the latitude of Australia… and how the CO2 gets from the Evil U.S.A, China. and Europe to that band without raising the concentration in the blue band in the middle…

  244. Ohioholic says:

    http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/tectonic.htm

    I don’t know if this has ever been addressed, but if you follow that link, you will see that there is a rough correlation to the CO2 hotspots with tectonic plate collisions.

    The African plate hits the Eurasian plate right about the same area as the orange spot on the map provided here, but it is filtered through water. The North American plate is above water, though (San Andreas), and corresponds with the red spot over North America.

    I don’t know enough about which direction they are moving, and which are subducted and so forth, but does anyone else? Has this been addressed before? When you grind two huge masses of land together above ground or in shallow water, does it release CO2?

  245. Ohioholic says:

    Mr. Engelbeen,

    I am still not sure how you can have such a definitive conclusion when the variation around the trend is a full quarter of what you attribute to humans. For instance, if I said I was 95% confident I had $1,000, plus or minus $250, you would probably think I should pay better attention to my accounting, no? If I wanted to borrow money with such figures, you would probably eye my 5% lack of confidence with alarm?

    Regards,

    Dave

  246. E.M.Smith says:

    This map is from Mid-JULY when the N. Hemisphere is hottest, and not using so much heating fuel. It shows lots of CO2 where it’s hot and where the ocean currents are hottest (such as the Gulf Stream area) and not so much near Angola and Peru where cold currents flow…

    I would really like to see a winter map of the same information. My first take on this is that hot water releases CO2 and cold water sucks it up… Oh, and it looks like vast areas of unbroken trees also show lower CO2 like Siberia, Amazon, and Canada. I might also be convinced that hot soils might release CO2 as decay / fermentation accelerates. Oh, and Tibet as high and cold seems to be a CO2 sink… as does Greenland (not to mention Antarctica).

    Golly, could it be that direct? Not CO2 causes warming, but warming causes CO2? Causalities arrow shot the wrong way by the AGWers?

    Taking coincidence and correlation and running off the causality cliff with it?

    Oh, and doesn’t the 15 ppm or so variation / bias between where the Ice Cores comes from vs Hawaii where CO2 is measured mean that some of our projections about past GLOBAL CO2 levels might be off a bit? Not to mention the 25 ppm or so between the ice core areas and major industrial hot spots…

  247. E.M.Smith says:

    Pamela Gray (12:36:32) : Given the land based vegetation compared to an active global plankton bloom added to the already rich plant life in the oceans, I am beginning to think that forests and crops don’t hold a candle to the oceans.

    Trees tons / acre best case: 25-50 tons / acre year.
    Algae tons / acre best case: 276 tons / acre year achieved per these folk:
    http://www.valcent.net/s/NewsReleases.asp?ReportID=277235

    So at least there’s a theoretical case that algae beats the pants off of land based vegetation even before you get into the surface are differential and way before you get into comparing how much cubic growth you’ve got available in the ocean…

    Crops and grasses are down in the single ton / acre to 10 ton /acre range.

    So I’d say you’re right…

  248. E.M.Smith says:

    Pamela Gray (10:22:12) : What if the CO2 we now have in the atmosphere is another necessary ingredient for the oscillating plankton bloom that produces the oscillating fish population boom? Were we to somehow (not likely but I am just musing here) reduce this CO2 and then the plankton bloom were to happen, it would be short lived due to insufficient CO2.

    My, but you do seem to be on a roll in this thread. These folks did a bunch of analysis and testing of growing algae to consume sewage. In most cases they were CO2 limited. You need lots of CO2 or the algae bloom stalls.

    http://www.nrel.gov/biomass/pdfs/lundquist.pdf

    So any time you have a rich soup of nutrients, you limit on CO2, which implies that in a more dilute soup you would also limit on CO2 until the point where the C : N : P ratio got back in line at 50 : 8 : 1

    While there probably isn’t a lot of excess P in the oceans, it’s still the case that CO2 is in ppm and you need a lot of it…

  249. Phil. says:

    Allan M R MacRae (18:53:07) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (11:28:46)

    “There is an extremely good correlation between atmospheric accumulation and accumulated emissions over the past 100+ years.”

    My comment:

    Sleight of hand, Ferdinand.

    Both parameters are increasing in a near-linear fashion – so what?

    The same correlation would occur if you plotted CO2 versus human population, or even the number of yak farts.

    Because Allan, Ferdinand was replying to your claim that: “One problem is the poor correlation of atmospheric CO2 with variations in fossil fuel consumption, such as during economic downturns in the past several decades.” so if it’s so inconsequential why did you bring it up?
    If there’s any sleight of hand it’s yours Allan.

  250. E.M.Smith says:

    Ceolfrith (07:50:13) : 25th March, it’s snowing in lowland Switzerland and the Swiss are saying it’s not natural for the time of year.

    Haven’t looked lately, but last week (or maybe early this week) we had persistent snow on Mt. Hamilton. Not completely unheard of, but rare this time of year… In fact, this year has had more visible snow up there than I can remember in about a quarter century. Nope, not at all scientific, given that I only sporadically look at the mountain; but the snow is pretty and rare enough that I do tend to notice when it’s there. This year, I’m jaded. It’s been there rather a lot and I’ve stopped looking…

  251. Allan M R MacRae says:

    It snowed here last night – again – the same as last Saturday night.

    This winter just won’t quit, and everybody is really tired of the cold weather.

    As the Sun slowly rises on this gray day, I see something in the North.

    It’s a wall of ice 2 km high, slowly advancing towards us, burying everything in its path.

    Sorry, got to run…

    ;-)

    :^~

  252. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Phil. (23:10:18) :

    Allan M R MacRae (18:53:07) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (11:28:46)

    “There is an extremely good correlation between atmospheric accumulation and accumulated emissions over the past 100+ years.”

    My comment:

    Sleight of hand, Ferdinand.

    Both parameters are increasing in a near-linear fashion – so what?

    The same correlation would occur if you plotted CO2 versus human population, or even the number of yak farts.

    Because Allan, Ferdinand was replying to your claim that: “One problem is the poor correlation of atmospheric CO2 with variations in fossil fuel consumption, such as during economic downturns in the past several decades.” so if it’s so inconsequential why did you bring it up?
    If there’s any sleight of hand it’s yours Allan.

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

    My comment – it’s still early here Phil, but I’ve read your comment three times and don’t get your point.

    Suggest you re-read what was said between Ferdinand and I and and check Ferdinand’s referenced graph.

    If you do have a valid point, please try to express it more clearly.

    Thanks, Allan

    P.S. Ferdinand is a brilliant fellow – he can defend himself quite well, so don’t feel the need to rush to his defense.

  253. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (11:28:46) :

    There is some (increasing) delay between the NH and the SH as result of low intermixing of the hemispheres and increasing emissions.

    And (relative) small changes in the economy probably have less impact on energy use and emissions compared to the natural variation in uptake (+/-1 ppmv)…

    The variability in the North can be regional, but one should not underestimate the emissions over land (see e.g. the variability over Schauinsland), which may be transported up to the North via the Ferell cell. Most baseline stations are in the Pacific, which are measuring air from over the oceans and therefore are less variable.

    Further, the yearly averages of the NH stations show little difference…

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

    My comment:

    All good points Ferdinand.

    If I had more time I’d like to further examine the changes in the annual CO2 cycles at various locations, in the decades since ~1958/1980 (as data availability permits).

    It seems to me we had smaller annual variations in the earlier (and colder)decades (and even some negative CO2 changes over 12 months), and greater variations since then.

    Perhaps this is due to the aforementioned ~9 month lag of CO2 after temperature, or perhaps there is more to it.

    I expect you’ve looked at this – do you have any comments?

    One of my friends explains it thus:
    Imagine the (mostly natural) CO2 sources and sinks are getting bigger. Atmospheric CO2 is an intermediate transaction in this much larger balance sheet – and as all the balances get larger, so does this intermediate transaction.

    Best, Allan

  254. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Clarification of above:

    “Should read : “Perhaps this is due to PHENOMENA ASSOCIATED WITH the aforementioned ~9 month lag of CO2 after temperature, or perhaps there is more to it.”

  255. beng says:

    One question about the top map is, what (avg) altitude is the CO2 signal coming from? If it’s from mid-troposphere, then what we see might be mixing/diffusion from the ground sources into the mid-level happening a couple hundred miles downwind. This would help explain the regions of high CO2 to the east of dense NH CO2 sources. In the case of Europe, perhaps the winds are NW to SE toward N Africa. Subsequently, the high CO2 patches continue downwind & are diffused to more background levels.

  256. George E. Smith says:

    Well fi I take the expanded Mauna Loa Monthly CO2 data; specifically the 6 ppm P-P cycling, and compare ti to the AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent graph that we all tracked with bated breath last fall; it seems that the two data sets pretty much exactly match as to timing.
    Once the sea ice starts to regrow around September, the atmospheric CO2 over the arctic ocean starts to increase, and once the sea ice begins to melt (pretty soon) the atmospheric CO2 starts to fall again; with that 18 ppm ampolitude.

    Now if you think about the solubility as a function of sea temperature, nyou would expect that colder surface waters would take up more CO2 in the Henry’s law driven process; but since the total temperature change is not large you would not expect much of a temperature effect. But the colder water woul mean less CO2 in the atmosphere, whereas the data says exactly the opposite.

    This would tend to confirm my thesis that the mechanism is exclusion of CO2 fromt he solid state into the already saturated liquid state, which then must outgas the excess CO2 into the air; and the total amount of CO2 disgorged into the atmosphere is simply proportional to the total megatonnage of new sea ice grown.

    Now if one looks to the Antarctic ice pack; that ice comes from precipitation; which comes from water which originally evaporated from warmer temperate waters from a warmer ocean water that is more depleted in CO2 than the Arctic waters are.

    So there is no excess CO2 to precipitate with the ice pack on Antarctica, whicvh is why there is no big annual CO2 cycle there.

    At the periphery of the Antarctic Continent, you do have some sea ice regrowth; but if you look ata map of the earth, you find that Antarctica is almost entirely just within the Antarctic circle, so the periphery is pretty much right on the arctic circle, so the southern ocean is outside the Antarctic circle.

    In the Arctic the Arctic ocen is well inside the Arctic circle, and the Arctic circle is mostly land, with very little water circulation; whereas in Antarctica, you have almost unrestricted rotation of the southern ocean; so grwoth of new sea ice would be much less prevalent in the Antarctic.

    So i believe that my thesis comletely explains the very large 18ppm cycle of CO2 variation in Arctic atmospheric CO2 and it doesn’t have anything to do with tree growth.

    Just remember you read it here first.

    George

  257. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Hi George,

    Good luck with this, sincerely.

    I pointed out the opposing sawtooth curves (CO2 and sea level) about a year ago, I think on climateaudit. As I recall I was politely ignored – a few comments, usually negative.

    Don’t get discouraged if this happens – the state of this science is very poorly understood, imo.

    Regards, Allan

  258. Phil. says:

    George E. Smith (15:14:40) :
    Well fi I take the expanded Mauna Loa Monthly CO2 data; specifically the 6 ppm P-P cycling, and compare ti to the AMSR-E Sea Ice Extent graph that we all tracked with bated breath last fall; it seems that the two data sets pretty much exactly match as to timing.
    Once the sea ice starts to regrow around September, the atmospheric CO2 over the arctic ocean starts to increase, and once the sea ice begins to melt (pretty soon) the atmospheric CO2 starts to fall again; with that 18 ppm ampolitude.

    Which would be Barrow rather than ML?
    ML is I’m sure effected by the vegitation and ocean effects however I’m sure you’re right about the ice influence at sites such as Barrow. I made a similar point about Barrow last year, there’s a very strong correlation between the dates of ice melting and refreezing and the dates when CO2 starts to drop/rise. Once the sea water is exposed then it’s able to absorb excess CO2 and when the surface waters start to freeze I’m sure you’re right that the dissolved CO2 is forced out. The point about the contrast between the Arctic and Antarctic is also consistent with this mechanism.

  259. Brad says:

    “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.”

    It mixes in far less than a year. Absorption is not the only factor. You people will believe anything.

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