CO2 condensation in Antarctica at -113F?

UPDATE2: The question has been resolved, please see this new WUWT story on the issue. – Anthony

UPDATE: There is a debate raging in comments about the validity of the statement “That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.”
On one hand we have an argument from several commenters that says that the temperatures, pressures,  and phase diagrams only apply to a pure state of CO2, such as in the manufacture of dry ice.

On the other hand we have a scientist from Argonne National Laboratory, who when asked the question says that:

“Certainly, at least some of the CO2 in the atmosphere at the poles does freeze out (of the air) during the winter.”

So there appears to be a debate. If it turns out the statement is wrong, and some empirical proof can be presented, I’ll retract and/or amend the article. There appears to be a wide interest in this question, so I’m not opposed to find the true answer, even if it means the statement  is entirely wrong.

Feel free to post in comments, but leave the snark and ad hom out of it. I’m more interested in settling the question.

I’ve also changed the title to be more reflective of the question before us now. – Anthony

By Steven Goddard

How cold is it in Antarctica?  According to Weather Underground, Vostok, Antarctica is forecast to reach -113F on Friday.  That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.

http://www.adventistforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/download/Number/3036/filename/dry%20ice.jpg

The south pole of Mars (seen below) similarly has an eight metre thick layer of dry (CO2) ice on top of the H2O ice.  

http://www.daviddarling.info/images/Marssouthpole.jpg
Mars Southern Ice Cap

The Mars dry ice cap has been shrinking however, due to global warming on that planet.  As explained in National Geographic in 2007.
Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.  In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.  Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.  “The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,” he said.
If Dr. Abdussamatov is correct, the Mars ice caps should now be growing, due to the solar minimum.  Does anyone have any information about this?  A cooler earth coincident with a cooler Mars coincident with solar minimum would be difficult to argue with.  Note that the diminishing Mars ice occurred at the same time as diminishing Arctic ice below.
Perhaps the IPCC should have their next polar melting discussion at Vostok in -113F weather?  That would seem more fitting than Bali or Honolulu.
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239 Responses to CO2 condensation in Antarctica at -113F?

  1. crosspatch says:

    How cold is it in Antarctica? According to Weather Underground, Vostok, Antarctica is forecast to reach -113F on Friday. That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.

    Uhm, no. Vapor pressure and all of that.

  2. Squidly says:

    crosspatch (23:18:31) :
    ..
    Uhm, no. Vapor pressure and all of that.

    Sorry Crosspatch, but, uhm yes.

    From the link you provided (you should read ALL of it):

    Scientists have detected frozen
    carbon dioxide at the poles on planets,
    so it can happen and can accumulate if
    the temperature stays low enough long enough.
    Actually, carbon dioxide freezes at -57 C,
    which is -70.6 F, a higher temperature than
    you thought. Temperatures often reach lower
    than this in Antarctica and sometimes in
    the Arctic also, so it does not have to be
    an ice age for carbon dioxide to freeze at
    the poles. Certainly, at least some of the
    carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the
    poles does freeze out during the winter.
    However, there is not enough frozen out
    to accumulate to any extent at the present.
    During the ice ages, more probably froze
    out and accumulated, effectively removing
    carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and
    contributing to the cooling of the atmosphere.

    David R. Cook
    Atmospheric Research Section
    Environmental Research Division
    Argonne National Laboratory

  3. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) says:

    our utility is going to start charging an additional tax of $1.00 for over use of power.

    http://www.cherrylandelectric.com/

  4. tallbloke says:

    Must be that Mars Rover vehicle needing a carburettor tuneup. Perhaps Arnie Schwarzenegger should volunteer, since he has experience of working in the depleted Martian atmosphere, according to his film ‘Total Recall’.

    Maybe he could get together with Al Gore afterwards to do a sequel disaster movie.

    They could call it ‘Total [snip]‘.

  5. yeah, i checked this before for temps around the freeze point of CO². It’s a trace gas and doesn’t solidify to any extent at one atmosphere total pressure. There is a possibility that some CO² will get adsorbed by water vapor as the latter turns to snow, giving a slushy/fizzy mixture when it melts. Don’t eat it.

  6. Richard111 says:

    Will this effect validity of CO2 data from Vostok ice cores?

  7. Steven Goddard says:

    jorge,

    I think your beer would be frozen solid at -113F.

    I wonder when legislation will be passed requiring reduced carbon or no carbon beer?

  8. Pat says:

    It is interesting the US EPA (Going to/Have done?) listing CO2 as a pollutant/toxin given the fact it is in food (Beer). Mind you, there are other toxins in food, legally, which are poisons which we should clean up.

  9. Phil. says:

    Please Goddard can we have no more of this scientific illiteracy, look at the phase diagram of CO2!
    That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.

    This would only occur in an atmosphere entirely composed of CO2, i.e. a volume fraction of 1.0 not 385ppm. At a vapor pressure of ~1000ppm the sublimation point is approximately -135ºC

    http://www.chemicalogic.com/download/co2_phase_diagram.pdf

  10. VG says:

    looks like we got another book which will really hurt AGW from a climate scientist

    Professor Paltridge shows that the case for action against climate change is not nearly so certain as is presented to politicians and the public. He leads us through the massive uncertainties which are inherently part of the ‘climate modelling process’; he examines the even greater uncertainties associated with economic forecasts of climatic doom; and he discusses in detail the conscious and sub-conscious forces operating to ensure that scepticism within the scientific community is kept from the public eye.

    It seems that governments are indeed becoming captive to a scientific and technological elite – an elite which is achieving its ends by manipulating fear of climate change into the world’s greatest example of a religion for the politically correct.

    About the author

    Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge is an atmospheric physicist and was a Chief Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research before taking up positions in Tasmania as Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies and CEO of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre. He retired in 2002 and continues to live in Hobart. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University.

  11. dave vs hal says:

    In the National Geographic link mentioned by the article was the following statement:

    “without the greenhouse effect there would be very little, if any, life on Earth, since our planet would pretty much be a big ball of ice,” said Evan, of the University of Wisconsin.

    Is this really true? Surely our oceans do a better job as a heat sink than the atmosphere, and they teem with life.

  12. Philip Mulholland says:

    -113F is -80.5C by my reckoning. The 1 metre air sensor at Dome A has been testing -70C this week in mixed air (no vertical gradient) with bounces up to a balmy -65C (9th June @ 1m) when the wind stops. For the meteorologically interested, notice that the temperature gradient in still air, between the 1m & 2m sensors, can be as much as 10C per metre. Now that’s what I call a temperture inversion :-)
    The ice surface of Antarctica at this elevation (4084m or 13,400 feet) is the thermal radiator of planet Earth, heat is haemorrhaging to space, as it does every austral winter.

  13. Andrew P says:

    Dome A has been around -70’C for the last two days:

    http://www.aad.gov.au/weather/aws/dome-a/index.html

    I’ve asked this before, but can anyone explain why the Subsurface 10m temperature is always slightly lower than the temperature at -3m? Sensor wires or graph labels mixed up?

  14. Arthur Dent says:

    OT for this thread but Thredbo AWS in Australia just broke the all time Australian record for the lowest maximum temperature (-7.0C). This AWS has been operational for > 40 years and this record eclipses the previous lowest Maximum temperature of -6.9C and it beats the previous June record of -5.6C which was recorded on June 28 / 1968 – a record snow year.

    What is remarkable about this new record is that we are still a full calendar month away from the coldest (mid point) of winter.

  15. rbateman says:

    Steven Goddard (00:08:31) :

    Oh, how absolutely Green of them… Have an ice cold frosty Flat Coors.
    The Carbon Police will be raiding illegal pubs looking for anyone selling carbonated drinks.
    “what are you in for?”
    Running carbonated beer.
    “stay away from him, boys, he’s crazy”.
    No champagne. No sodas. No beer. No seltzer water.
    The New Prohibition.
    The Carbonance Movement.

  16. UK Sceptic says:

    O/T Seems likely that sceptics will be painted as neo-Nazis from now on.

    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/06/bbc-mindset.html

    The BNP, for those who have never heard of them, are a somewhat left of Stalin political party who are believed to be extreme right wingers (?) because of their views on race. The UK MSM are too stupid or lazy to read the BNP manifesto which is most definately collectivist. So the BNP stance on Global Warming (AGW is a scam) could very well result in all sceptics being tarred with the same brush. It’s the way the BBC operate.

    The reason why the BNP are making inroads into UK politics is because, racism and manifesto aside, they are the only ones putting forward a sensible argument on a number of fronts. They have stormed and won the common sense platform so disgracefully abandoned by the Conservatives (who voted for and embraced the carbon credits (cap and trade) fraud and who completely failed to act in the capacity of HM Opposition to curb New Labour and EU excesses.

    When a bunch of far left racists are perceived to be the voice of reason by a small but considerable chunk of the electorate then we know we’re in trouble.

    So now, not only am I a denialist who should be imprisoned/exterminated/locked up in a psycho ward, I’m probably a Nazi too.

    Oh bugger! :D

  17. ralph ellis says:

    >>>There is a possibility that some CO² will get adsorbed
    >>>by water vapor as the latter turns to snow, giving a
    >>>slushy/fizzy mixture when it melts

    Just as it does in a G&T, with heavy vapours flowing over the glass to boot.

    But if CO2 did freeze in Antarctica during the winter, would it not sublimate later in the year, causing voids in the snow/ice?

  18. PaulHClark says:

    The BBC starts to doubt AGW:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/climatechange/2009/06/the_unpredictable_weather.html

    No really it’s true.

    Nothing like hedging your bets or indulging in pre-emptive cya.

  19. dearieme says:

    “But if CO2 did freeze in Antarctica during the winter”: it doesn’t, it can’t; don’t you understand, the temperature at which pure CO2 gas at one atmosphere pressure would solidify is far, far higher than the temperature at which some CO2 frost would form from air where the CO2 constitutes just a few hundred ppm! The stuff squiddly quotes is just rubbish.

  20. H.R. says:

    @jorgekafkazar (23:34:14) :

    “yeah, i checked this before for temps around the freeze point of CO². It’s a trace gas and doesn’t solidify to any extent at one atmosphere total pressure. There is a possibility that some CO² will get adsorbed by water vapor as the latter turns to snow, giving a slushy/fizzy mixture when it melts. Don’t eat it.”

    You can buy some of that CO2 slushy/fizzy mixture in cherry or rootbeer flavor down at the Stop ‘n Rob. Try one. They’re delicious.

  21. Mike says:

    Re Squidly (23:25:51) :

    According to data in my books CO2 sumlimes at -78.5°C at 1atmosphere pressure. The liquid phase is only possible at a minimum pressure of 5 atmospheres, where the solid melts at -56.7°C.

    Given that the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 0.0004 atmospheres, at -80°C (~-113°F) freezing it out of the atmosphere would not be possible – or am I missing something?

    Mike

  22. Mike McMillan says:

    The leaflets by the dry ice chest at the local supermarket say that the temperature of the dry ice is -109 °F. I would assume that is the sublimation point at 1 atm pressure.

    I’d go for CO2 frost at the south pole whenever the temp dropped below -109°F. It would be indistinguishable from snow.

  23. Jack Hughes says:

    @Paul H Clark

    The BBC blog is a double act.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/climatechange/2009/06/the_unpredictable_weather.html

    Richard Cable has wandered off the reservation and has questioned the computer models, the UN ‘300,000 dead’ claims and even the ludicrous Catlin Climate Cadets.

    Meanwhile, Shanta Barley goes on a jolly to the Hay Festival and seems to be writing for a school newsletter.

  24. Katherine says:

    rbateman (01:32:08) :

    No champagne. No sodas. No beer. No seltzer water.
    The New Prohibition.
    The Carbonance Movement.

    No leavened bread. Yeast feeds on the sugars in flour and converts them into CO2, alcohol and water.

  25. dearieme says:

    “I’d go for CO2 frost at the south pole whenever the temp dropped below -109°F. ” No, Mike, no. Only if the atmosphere were 100% CO2. Look, the condensation point of water vapour is 100C. That is to say, if you have pure water vapour (= steam) at one atmosphere pressure in a container and you reduce the temperature from something higher down to 100C, it begins to condense. Now consider an impractically hot day. If you reduce the air temperature to 100C, does that mean that the water vapour in the air begins to condense? Of course not, because the atmosphere isn’t pure water vapour. The dew point, at which water begins to condense, is far, far below the condensation temperature for (pure) water vapour. And similarly for CO2.

  26. TonyS says:

    Are there clouds on Mars?

  27. Glenn says:

    Mike (02:35:19) :

    Re Squidly (23:25:51) :

    “According to data in my books CO2 sumlimes at -78.5°C at 1atmosphere pressure. The liquid phase is only possible at a minimum pressure of 5 atmospheres, where the solid melts at -56.7°C.

    Given that the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 0.0004 atmospheres, at -80°C (~-113°F) freezing it out of the atmosphere would not be possible – or am I missing something?”

    Not sure, but no one has shown Steven to be wrong. At first blush it would appear that everything in the atmosphere is under a certain pressure under certain conditions, including CO2, regardless of it’s concentration. Your figure if correct would be the atmospheric pressure of a pure CO2 atmosphere, which of course it is not.

  28. Philip Johns says:

    The global warming issue has done much to set back climate science. In particular, the notion that climate is one-dimensional — which is to say, that it is totally described by some fictitious global mean temperature and some single gross forcing a la increased CO2 — is grotesque in its oversimplification. I must reluctantly add that this error is perpetuated by those attempting to ‘explain’ climate with solar variability. Unlike greenhouse forcing, solar forcing is so vague that one can’t reject it. However, acting as though this is the alternative to greenhouse forcing is asking for trouble.

    Dr Richard Lindzen, Heartland Conference, March.

    http://www.heartland.org/full/24841/Climate_Alarm_What_We_Are_Up_Against_and_What_to_Do.html

    MIT has one of the world’s preeminent climatologists Dr. Richard Lindzen
    in their Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

    Steve Goddard, May.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/25/global-warming-of-7c-could-kill-billions-this-century/

    Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun. ”The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,” he said.

    as quoted by Steve Goddard. June.

    As for Abdussamatov’s claim that solar fluctuations are causing Earth’s current global warming, Charles Long, a climate physicist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Washington, says the idea is nonsense.

    “That’s nuts,” Long said in a telephone interview. “It doesn’t make physical sense that that’s the case.”

    http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html

    Is Lindzen correct? Is Abdussamatov in error and ‘asking for trouble’? Is his theory ‘nuts’? I think we should be told.

  29. Glenn says:

    TonyS (03:11:13) :

    “Are there clouds on Mars?”

    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/MPF/science/clouds.html

  30. RoyFOMR says:

    “BBC beginning to blow cold on global warming?”

    Here’s another article from Auntie along similar lines (from March)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7929174.stm

  31. Skeptic Tank says:

    Steven Goddard (00:08:31) :

    jorge,

    I think your beer would be frozen solid at -113F.

    I wonder when legislation will be passed requiring reduced carbon or no carbon beer?

    Beer is a basic human, if not civil, statutory and constitutional right. If it’s not protected, explicitly, it should be.

  32. dearieme says:

    Glen, when you find air at 100C dropping dew, then you can believe that rubbish about CO2 condensing at the South Pole. That is science so bad that it’s worthy of the Global Warmmongers.

  33. Flanagan says:

    Two short remarks:

    – the opposite of sublimation is deposition, not freezing (which is associated with melting)

    – deposition will only take place (as was mentioned) if the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere becomes higher than the solid-gas vapor pressure of CO2 at the temperature of interest. I really doubt it is the case, given the low pCO2 we have here.

  34. gary gulrud says:

    Please Goddard can we have no more of this scientific illiteracy, look at the phase diagram of CO2!

    Thank you Phil. for being awake through high school chemistry. Henry’s Law was covered then as well, why the attitude?

  35. Rhys Jaggar says:

    If you want to hold the conference in Vostok next week, I’d advise all male attendees to visit a sperm bank before going……..you never know what might happen to you down there…….

  36. gary gulrud says:

    On the Martian surface atmospheric pressure is about 0.01 Atm where CO2 makes up about 95%.

  37. Philip Mulholland says:

    Andrew P (00:51:06)

    Andrew,

    Your question “why the Subsurface 10m temperature is always slightly lower than the temperature at -3m? ”
    There is no mistake here, what you’re seeing is the seasonal effect of thermal lag.
    I have a screenshots of the temperature profile for the eight days of 9th Dec til 17 Dec 2008 (nearly mid-summer) which shows a temperature of -60C at 3m and a “warmer” temperature of -59C at 10 metres.
    A screenshot for 9th -16th May 2008 (early winter) has the 3m sensor at -56C, the 1m & 10m both at -58C and the near surface 0.1m down at -63C with air temperatures touching -75C.

    The warmth of summer takes 6 months to reach 10 metres into the ice in a top down heating process, likewise the cold of winter withdraws heat from the ice in a similar top down manner.
    See http://www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=20368 for details of this process.

  38. Sandy says:

    “Glen, when you find air at 100C dropping dew,”
    What’s the stuff you see coming off a boiling kettle ?

  39. GaryB says:

    ” Does anyone have any information about this? ”

    I have asked this question before in previous threads. There must be information tracking the temperatures of other nearby planets. Surely the correlation of these planetary temperatures with that of the earth (warming spells followed by cooling spells), although tempered by many factors on each of the planets (clouds, %land mass, atmospheric makeup, etc) would suggest that the big glowing thing in the sky (i.e., our sun) is primarily responsible for the ups and downs of temperatures on the earth and other nearby planets. To me, this is crucial information, but I have yet to find it anywhere.

  40. Sandy says:

    So if you precisely weighed a block of CO2 and put it outside at this temp:
    a) It still sublimates and loses weight
    b) Too cold to lose but partial pressure to low for condensifreezing (?) so no weight difference
    c) Condensifreezing occurs so block gains weight
    Kitchen science for you!
    If you’re in Antarctica of course.

  41. Nathan says:

    Boy, the arctic ice extent is dropping fast the last few weeks… Wonder why?

  42. Pat says:

    “Sandy (05:03:05) :

    “Glen, when you find air at 100C dropping dew,”
    What’s the stuff you see coming off a boiling kettle ?”

    Steam. The stuff you *can’t* see, is vapour.

  43. Arthur Glass says:

    Maybe the great Ray Bradbury will, as he approaches the age of 90, add a chapter to __The Martian Chronicles__around the theme of playing hockey on the ice caps of the fourth rock from the Sun.

    I’m sorry; I’m just being puckish.

  44. wws says:

    “Beer is a basic human, if not civil, statutory and constitutional right. If it’s not protected, explicitly, it should be.”

    Oh, the horror if the world is exposed to the abomination that is Oklahoma Near Beer.

  45. hunter says:

    If any freezes out, it will likely be trace amounts.
    It would be interesting to test in a lab condition with sensitive instruments.

  46. Jimmy Savile says:

    Is that a photo of Mars’ southern ice cap or a photo of the surface of an indoor swimming pool with the lights turned off and a hole in the roof?

  47. Aron says:

    I was thinking about dry ice last week and thought if carbon taxes or carbon trading took effect, how damaging would it be to dry ice manufacturers and ice cream makers (they use dry ice)? Or would they be seen as part of the solution?

  48. dearieme says:

    “What’s the stuff you see coming off a boiling kettle ?”
    Aaaargh, it’s the mist of water droplets you get when pure steam is injected into air that’s much cooler than 100C.

  49. Steven Goddard says:

    We have a number of posters here boldly proving that according to their misinterpretation of how phase diagrams work, polar ice caps can’t exist on earth. Look at the phase diagram for water.

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/phase.html

    Water vapor partial pressure near the poles is close to zero during the winter. Using the brilliant interpretation of Phil et al, the freezing point of water in Antarctica and the Arctic would be close to -70C, and there could be no ice.

    The reason why water freezes at 273C is because of the atmospheric pressure of 1KPa, not because of the partial pressure of water – which is much lower, and varies hugely from the poles to the tropics.

    The freezing point of water (and CO2) is fixed by the atmospheric pressure – not the partial pressure. Likewise, the boiling point of water is fixed by the atmospheric pressure and is independent of the humidity or partial pressure of water in the air.

    Does Phil also believe that water boils at room temperature on earth, due to the low partial pressure of water?

    As usual, Phil got distracted and missed the point of the article – which is wondering whether the Martian ice caps have stopped shrinking.

  50. Frank Skog says:

    I wonder when legislation will be passed requiring reduced carbon or no carbon beer?

    Carbon free beer is called “water.”

  51. Leon Brozyna says:

    A bit OT –
    Here we go with the newest study, hot off the AP:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090610/ap_on_sc/us_sci_diminishing_winds

    Winds are dying! It’s global warming again. Wind power is doomed!

    And, from highly respected (*choke – cough*) scientists –

    M. Mann – sounds about right

    G. Schmidt – no they’re not

    So much for a monolithic AGW movement. There are caveats in the study, but as usual, those will be forgotten in the quest for headlines.

  52. Symon says:

    Steven Goddard, please apologise and remove this nonsense from this website about CO2 freezing out of the atmosphere at the Earth’s South Pole. Then please go and read, as a matter of some urgency, about the subject of vapour pressure. This is even more misguided than your previous nonsense about CMEs destroying electronics.

  53. Alan the Brit says:

    It is rather ironic this polar cap is frozen CO2 isn’t it. Has any one of you clever people out there observed a time frame for this Anthropological Marsian Warming. There must be photographic evidence of the Marsian Polar Cap from previous space expeditions for comparison, surely? The time frame I would assume have some sort of periodicity coupled with the greater eliptical orbit that Mars has.

    As to the apparent change of heart by the BBC displayed in the two recent posts they’ve made & commented on above, the cracks may be getting bigger, Dr Pope claiming alarmists are damaging the cause & claiming that Arctic sea-ice melt could be perfectly natural after all, etc. as I have pointed out elsewhere, they are doing the backside covering exercise many do when it starts to look like the game is up, people are beginning to know it, they become all embarrassed, feeling awkward, so they hedge their bets to save faces by reducing the level of commitment to the cause. This way, they can turn around to their accusers (& there will be many rightly or wrongly) & imply they were innocent all along! I must say this really is quite an extraordinary turn of events fromt he BBC, probably the most staunch supporter of AGW. They recently made cut backs in certain departments & arch AGW eco-champion Roger Harrabin had to walk! Roger Black appears to have been rather quiet too of late.

    Could it be that they are becoming eh……..what are the words I am looking for, for a publically funded organisation, eh……oh I know, IMPARTIAL, FAIR, & BALANCED in their reporting of Global Warming!

  54. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Skeptic Tank (03:49:47) :

    I wonder when legislation will be passed requiring reduced carbon or no carbon beer?

    Beer is a basic human, if not civil, statutory and constitutional right. If it’s not protected, explicitly, it should be.

    Hear! Hear!

    I like my beer.

  55. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Leon Brozyna (06:29:36) :

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090610/ap_on_sc/us_sci_diminishing_winds

    Winds are dying! It’s global warming again. Wind power is doomed!

    If this is true, does that mean that the average pressures of both high pressure systems and low pressure systems are decreasing and increasing respectively?

    This sounds as easy to measure as average temperature and as hard to accomplish as nailing jelly to a wall. (I don’t know who came up with that analogy but it’s a cracker!)

  56. Shawn Whelan says:

    And frost forms at temperatures above or near 32deg F.

    Is that also impossible?

  57. Thanks Steven Goddard, a beautiful photograph: She’s LA NINA laughing of all Gwrs, while breathing a little of refreshing cold CO2.
    Philip Johns:Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun. That were his words about 1997-1998 el Nino warming, now he says:
    We expect that the next relatively deep minimum of the solar activity, radius, and radiation flux in the 200-year quasi-cycle will be close to the Maunder minimum level and will occur in the year 2040 ±10.

    http://www.giurfa.com/abdusamatov2.pdf

  58. AnonyMoose says:

    There must be information tracking the temperatures of other nearby planets.

    Please go through the list of NASA planetary weather stations and take pictures of them and their surrounding area. We need to know if any of those are closer than they should be to buildings or parking lots. I’m sure that NASA has had at least as much difficulty running wires to the MMTS locations as those on Earth have had.

  59. “During the ice ages, more [CO2] probably froze out and accumulated, effectively removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and contributing to the cooling of the atmosphere.”

    –David R. Cook, Atmospheric Research Section, Environmental Research Division, Argonne National Laboratory

    One more reason why fossil plant stomatal index (SI) studies indicate 320ppmv to 360ppmv CO2 during periods in which the ice core data indicate 285ppmv.

    If the plant SI data are more analogous to the modern instrumental CO2 record than the ice core data are…385ppmv is not particularly anomalous.

  60. Flanagan says:

    Steven Goddard:

    the condition for a spontaneous solid-gas phase transition at a given T and P is:
    DG=RT ln(p/p0)<0
    (which can be found in any thermodynamics textbook). In this equation, p is the partial pressure of the component in the atmosphere. If p is larger than p0 (which changes with T) then the solid-gas transition is not spontaneous, i.e. the gas-solid one will take place. There's no way of getting rid of this condition.

    Your explanation about water freezing is really perturbing- you say freezing (liquid-water transition) would not be possible in our approach because of some water vapor pressure? But water vapor pressure doesn't even enter the condition for freezing!

    You are right on the other hand when you mention the very low H2O partial pressure a the poles. This is why sublimation is often observed there.

  61. Aron says:

    “I must say this really is quite an extraordinary turn of events fromt he BBC, probably the most staunch supporter of AGW. They recently made cut backs in certain departments & arch AGW eco-champion Roger Harrabin had to walk! Roger Black appears to have been rather quiet too of late.”

    No, Roger and Richard are still around and the BBC’s reporting line has not changed at all

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8092866.stm

  62. Symon (07:21:26) :

    Experiments conducted in the early 20th Century by scientists including R.W. Wood and Niels Bohr proved that “greenhouse” gases like CO2 cannot increase air temperature by “trapping” infrared radiation. The results of R.W. Wood’s research were published in Philosophical magazine , 1909, vol 17, p319-320 – back when science relied on experiments, not computer models. Four years later Niels Bohr reported his discovery that the absorption of specific wavelengths of light didn’t cause gas atoms/molecules to become hotter. Empirical science proves that CO2 will not warm our atmosphere by trapping IR. The Earth will continue to warm and cool according to the natural cycles of the sun, the oceans, volcanism, orbital variations, and numerous other natural factors. The 0.038 percent concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a drop in the bucket and totally irrelevant and insignificant.

  63. Mark Bowlin says:

    More disturbing than the thought of some fiery armaggedon caused by SUVs long after I’m dead are the rumors in this post that beer might at risk. I’d rather drive a Prius than give up my beer, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    Aren’t Guinness and Kilkenny nitrogen charged? Is there still hope?

  64. Keith W says:

    The ice core data is used to reconstruct atmospheric concentrations of CO2, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen etc. Great pains are taken to ensure the accuracy of the chemical analysis. From that air bubble analysis data we have a developed ideas on past climate. 0

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/289/5486/1897

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/310/5752/1313

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/289/5486/1897

    What effect is there on the chemical composition of air bubbles trapped in the the deepest ice cores from the extended pressure and temperature difference on those deepest cores?

    Does anyone know of laboratory-controlled validation tests of the chemical composition of air bubbles in ice tested under the same pressure and temperature as that from the deepest ice cores themselves?

  65. Ric Werme says:

    We’ve been through all this before, see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/02/04/snow-job-in-antarctica-digging-out-the-data-source/

    I’m at work and don’t have time to wade through all this again right now. Here’s one more familiar item.

    Some mornings in February I go outside when it’s 20F and I don’t see frost on my windshield. Other days I do. If water freezes at 32F, shouldn’t I see frost every day? No – the key is the dewpoint and that’s coupled to water vapor’s partial pressure, not the total atmospheric pressure.

  66. crosspatch says:

    ” Squidly (23:25:51) : ”

    The way I read the link, one scientist said it was POSSIBLE for some CO2 frost but it wouldn’t accumulate. If there were CO2 frost in any measurable quantity there, we would already know that. It would have already been measured and published long ago before there was any “global warming” hype.

    And CO2 is such a tiny fraction of the atmosphere that if you did find any, you might be hard pressed to prove it because it would likely sublime in the process of collecting it and the CO2 level would not be measurably different than the natural CO2 content of air.

    It would go something like this … some CO2 freezes out, you have a sample with CO2 frost, snow, and CO2 depleted air. CO2 sublimates, CO2 content of the air in the sample returns to “normal”. Collecting a few particles of CO2 frost mixed with snow would be very difficult. If it wasn’t, it would have already been done.

  67. Steve Goddard says:

    Flanagan,

    The nucleation of ice is dependent on many factors. Frost will form on a dirty windshield but will not form on a clean one. In the upper atmosphere, ice can nucleate around salt particles and dust at extremely low humidities.

    The point of mentioning that Vostok is running below the dry ice freezing point was tongue in cheek and was merely intended to point out that Antarctica is incredibly cold. This article is about the current opportunity to test Dr. Abdussamatov’s theory of solar induced global warming.

  68. James H says:

    I hope that you guys are right, that the CO2 won’t freeze and deposit itself onto Antarctica. I would hate to work on the Hazmat team that has to remove it at those temperatures! The area would become some sort of Superfund site, polluted by this toxic accumulation!

  69. crosspatch (23:18:31) :

    How cold is it in Antarctica? According to Weather Underground, Vostok, Antarctica is forecast to reach -113F on Friday. That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.

    Uhm, no. Vapor pressure and all of that.

    ————-
    Can’t see that vapour pressure has anything to do with it. At 20 deg C, the vapour pressure of atmospheric humidity is a little over 2,3 kPa, within a sea level atmospheric pressure of 101 kPa. Thus, in a sea level environment which happens to have a dewpoint of 20 deg C, an object at 15 deg C will sweat. Atmospheric moisture will sublimate onto an exposed pipe surface which is at minus 5 deg C, yielding frost. (eg. The compressor suction valve of a freezer refrigeration application). These situations are absolutely commonplace, and are plainly observable. The situation with atmospheric CO2 cannot be any different, save for the difference in operative temperature.

  70. Flanagan says:

    Hello Steven Goddard,

    yes, what you mention are kinetic effects associated with nucleation and growth. Nevertheless, these processes cannot take place as long as the thermodynamic condition is not respected. The example in the video is supercooled water, this is water for which the conditions are such that is should be solid (from a thermodynamic point of view) but is still liquid (because it takes time).

    You really should take away this “natural carbon sequestration” part in the title as well as the idea that CO2 will deposit, at least as long as you’re not sure that the CO2 partial pressure can be above the equilibrium one.

  71. Keith W (08:45:23) :

    [...]

    What effect is there on the chemical composition of air bubbles trapped in the the deepest ice cores from the extended pressure and temperature difference on those deepest cores?

    According to the ice core folks…There are know effects from burial or the core extraction process.

    But there are at least three other estimates pre-industrial CO2 levels…

    1) 19th Century direct measurements ranged from 280ppmv to 550ppmv.
    2) Becks’ recent chemical analyses yielded 300ppmv to more than 400ppmv.
    3) Plant stomatal studies yielded 320ppmv to 360ppmv.

    The ice core data put the pre-industrial level at 285ppmv. It fits the narrative; so it’s the one that’s used.

    Does anyone know of laboratory-controlled validation tests of the chemical composition of air bubbles in ice tested under the same pressure and temperature as that from the deepest ice cores themselves?

    I’m not aware of any.

    On the other hand, plant SI data can be empirically calibrated and SI data over the last 60 years (Wagner, 2004) correlate very well with Mauna Loa and other modern instrumental records.

    So…The warming of the late 20th century was not anomalous…And if the plant SI data are correct, 385ppmv CO2 is not anomalous.

  72. Dave Middleton (09:31:20) :

    “There are know effects from burial or the core extraction process,” should be “There are no effects from burial or the core extraction process.

    D’Oh!!!

  73. Mike says:

    Re: Geoffrey Alder

    Vapour pressure and partial pressure has everything to do with – suggest you look at this link to understand principles at work here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dew_point

  74. neill says:

    Rhys Jaggar (04:10:52) :

    If you want to hold the conference in Vostok next week, I’d advise all male attendees to visit a sperm bank before going……..you never know what might happen to you down there…….

    It’s this kind of anthropogenic self-absorption that is dooming mankind.

    if we just make the concerted effort to move beyond it as a community, we would find ourselves in a very quiet and peaceful place, in harmony with all.

  75. Steve Goddard says:

    16,500 condoms at McMurdo – but are there any women?

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=5027989&page=1

    Best not to think about that too much.

  76. Phil. says:

    More embarrassingly bad non-science by Goddard in support of the unsupportable rubbish he posted in the original article. A blog that claims to be the ‘best science blog’ should post an update to point out that it’s complete nonsense.

    Steven Goddard (06:13:12) :
    We have a number of posters here boldly proving that according to their misinterpretation of how phase diagrams work, polar ice caps can’t exist on earth. Look at the phase diagram for water.

    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/phase.html

    Water vapor partial pressure near the poles is close to zero during the winter. Using the brilliant interpretation of Phil et al, the freezing point of water in Antarctica and the Arctic would be close to -70C, and there could be no ice.

    You have a complete misunderstanding of a phase diagram (which refers to the pure substance). You’re describing the ‘frost point’ which under the conditions prevailing in the Antarctic winter is frequently as low as -79ºC. In fact humidity is measured in the Antarctic by measuring the frost point.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2008IJT….29.1578C

    The formation of frost is a direct deposition of ice from the vapor phase (the opposite of sublimation) and will occur at vapor pressures below the triple point of water (on the phase diagram 4.58 torr/0.61 kPa, 0.0098ºC), as long as the T, P conditions are to the left of the sublimation line.

    The reason why water freezes at 273C is because of the atmospheric pressure of 1KPa, not because of the partial pressure of water – which is much lower, and varies hugely from the poles to the tropics.

    More nonsense, for a start the atmospheric pressure is ~100 kPa not 1kPa (which is slightly above the triple point of water). Freezing is the process of transition between the liquid and solid states of water and can only exist at vapor pressures in excess of the triple point. On the phase diagram of water the boundary between the solid and liquid phases is approximately constant at 273K (not 273ºC!) note that in contrast the sublimation line (below the triple point) has a very strong dependence on vapor pressure.

    The freezing point of water (and CO2) is fixed by the atmospheric pressure – not the partial pressure. Likewise, the boiling point of water is fixed by the atmospheric pressure and is independent of the humidity or partial pressure of water in the air.

    Where do you get this rubbish from? The normal boiling point of water is the temperature at which the equilibrium vapor pressure of water equals atmospheric pressure, by definition when boiling the partial pressure of water in the air is one atmosphere! By the way at the South Pole water boils at about 90ºC.

    Does Phil also believe that water boils at room temperature on earth, due to the low partial pressure of water?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Water_vapor_pressure_graph.jpg

    Anthony, do yourself a favor and get rid of this nonsense from the blog, it will make you a laughing stock, it would get a failing grade in a high school science class.

    As usual, Phil got distracted and missed the point of the article – which is wondering whether the Martian ice caps have stopped shrinking.

    Really, don’t you think in that case that a more appropriate title could have been chosen? Also discussion of the atmospheric conditions of the Martian atmosphere with respect to the CO2 phase diagram would have been more relevant rather than the nonsensical stuff about the Antarctic. The partial pressure of CO2 in the Martian atmosphere is about 7mbar which will sublime at about -125ºC which is within the range of the Martian polar temperatures (just).

    REPLY: Phil, the comments fall within the site guidelines, and if I start censoring comments you don’t agree with, then we’ll have a slippery slope. The comments/discussion is not part of the original article, so I don’t see any reason to delete the article. – Anthony

  77. George E. Smith says:

    Bin there and done that……We had this discussion ages ago; and I was one of the proponents of CO2 freezing out of the atmosphere at Vostok.

    _113 F is mega global warming at Vostok Station, where the temperature can get down to -90 C (-130 F).

    And I believe it was Phil back then who disabused me of my silliness.

    Even at -90 C the vapor pressure of CO2 is way above 385 ppm of earth’s atmospheric abundance.

    And I have the phase diagram of CO2 right under my nose, thanks to Phil’s tuition.

    Man; the thrill one gets when you finally understand some of this stuff and can yell Eureka ! I got it, how could it ever have been so hard to understand.

    So Nyet ! on the Gopher getter ice at Vostok; we are cleansed of that science pestilence once and for all.

    Thanks Phil; dunno how to thank you for the insight; whatta dummy I am at times.

    I wouldn’t want to be David R Cooke; at the Argonne labs; maybe tomorrow, his boss is gonna walk up to him and say; David you Ar gone from this place. We’re hiring Phil in your stead.

    George

  78. Indiana Bones says:

    RoyFOMR (03:45:20) :

    “BBC beginning to blow cold on global warming?”

    “No amount of “it’s even worse than we thought” headlines will convince a sceptical (sic) public if the words don’t fit with the evidence of their own eyes. 1998 remains the warmest year on record, and since then there has been no discernable (sic) upward trend. ”

    “…it’s hard to see how a computer model with so much potential error in its starting conditions can accurately extrapolate what the climate will be doing in 100 years.”

    However their editorial/spelling skills remain dodgy.

  79. Ric Werme says:

    Steven Goddard (06:13:12) :

    Water vapor partial pressure near the poles is close to zero during the winter. Using the brilliant interpretation of Phil et al, the freezing point of water in Antarctica and the Arctic would be close to -70C, and there could be no ice.

    No, water freezes around 0C. Under polar conditions the WV partial pressure represents a dewpoint (frostpoint, actually) that is warmer than the ground temperature, then frost will grow on the ice cap. If it is cold, the ice cap will evaporate. At those temperatures, it will be a slow process.

    The reason why water freezes at 273C is because of the atmospheric pressure of 1KPa, not because of the partial pressure of water – which is much lower, and varies hugely from the poles to the tropics.

    273K…. The partial pressure of water refers to vapor pressure, i.e. gas. The temperature of freezing water changes little from pole to pole or valley to mountaintop, but frost and dew formation varies hugely. The freezing point of water is not germane to this discussion.

    The freezing point of water (and CO2) is fixed by the atmospheric pressure – not the partial pressure. Likewise, the boiling point of water is fixed by the atmospheric pressure and is independent of the humidity or partial pressure of water in the air.

    If you’re trying to compare water and CO2, then let’s leave the liquid phase out of the discussion. Partial pressure and temperature controls frost formation and sublimation.

    As usual, Phil got distracted and missed the point of the article – which is wondering whether the Martian ice caps have stopped shrinking.

    The title of this article is “Natural Carbon Sequestration In Antarctica.” In my estimation, that is a poor choice of words for an article about Mars. You’ve written some good articles here and elsewhere, this is not one of them.

  80. Adam from Kansas says:

    Is there any legitimacy in this?

    http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp11.html

    http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp2.html

    They seem to be forecasting a heatwave across all of South Asia into Europe and most of Northern North America, but it seems strange that the latest UAH readings (using channel 5 like Roy Spencer), isn’t already seeing a sharp rise because of this?

    Maybe the actual temperatures are falling short, it’s supposed to get to only 81 today here in Wichita for example, but it’s cloudy and the high so far is only 71 and rain is on the way.

  81. Ric Werme says:

    On the old thread I posted a line to a CO2 phase diagram that goes down to -135C. One that was posted here is prettier but only goes down to -100C.

  82. Steven Goddard says:

    Phil,

    The boiling point of water is independent of the humidity of the atmosphere, just as the freezing point of water is. The boiling point of water at the South Pole is depressed because of altitude (atmospheric pressure.) Why are you spreading rubbish? Ice gets thicker every year in Antarctica, despite the extremely low vapor pressure of water.

    2-D Phase diagrams refer to atmospheric or ambient pressure, not vapor pressure or partial pressure. Why don’t you censor yourself instead of spreading nonsense?

  83. Ric Werme says:

    Oops – it looks like Phil was first with that phase diagram in a still earlier thread, see

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/30/co2-temperatures-and-ice-ages/#comment-80219

  84. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Philip Mulholland (00:24:07) :

    -113F is -80.5C by my reckoning. The 1 metre air sensor at Dome A has been testing -70C this week in mixed air (no vertical gradient) with bounces up to a balmy -65C (9th June @ 1m) when the wind stops. For the meteorologically interested, notice that the temperature gradient in still air, between the 1m & 2m sensors, can be as much as 10C per metre. Now that’s what I call a temperture inversion :-)
    The ice surface of Antarctica at this elevation (4084m or 13,400 feet) is the thermal radiator of planet Earth, heat is haemorrhaging to space, as it does every austral winter. “””

    Let me see if I understand this Philip. You say the 1m and the 2m sensors are 10 deg C different. Man I tried my utmost to guess which one was colder and which one was hotter; and I couldn’t get better than 50:50 odds. Nor could I discern the surface ise temperature whcih you say is cooling the planet.

    But I’m going to take a wild guess and say the temperature is perhaps -70 C(203.15 K) . I know it can get as low as -90 C (-130F, 183.15 K).

    Assuming the global mean is 288K, then the Vostok ice would be only 70.5% of the global mean temperature, so its maximum black body emittance would be only 1/4 of what it is at the global mean temperature, and the Wien displacement of the IR spectrum peak would move it to about 14.3 microns, as compared to 10.1 for the 288 K mean temperature.

    So other than spectral emissivity differences, just how would the Vostok ice qualify as the champion of global cooling when it gets down to -90C, that is only 63.5% of the mean so the emittance is now 6.13 times lower than at the mean earth temperature.

    No Philip, If I wanted to watch the planet really cooling; I would go to the hottest North African or Arabian deserts where the ground temperatures can get hotter than +60C, and then the radiant emittance can be twice as high as the gl0bal mean or over 12 times the puny effort of Vostok Station.

    You need to rethink that cooling strategy Philip; the polar regions are total pikers when it comes to doing their fair share for global cooling.

    George

  85. Symon says:

    @Indiana Bones (10:24:31). In England, English is spelled differently than it is in Indiana. The first B in BBC stands for British. I hope this helps.

  86. Steven Goddard says:

    Phil,

    Do you think the freezing or boiling points of water are different in the tropics than at the North Pole? Do you think that water boils at a different temperature on a humid day?

  87. wattsupwiththat says:

    Just for reference, here is a phase diagram for CO2:

    http://www.chemicalogic.com/download/co2_phase_diagram.pdf

    and here is the material safety data sheet:

    http://avogadro.chem.iastate.edu/MSDS/carbon_dioxide_solid.htm

    And here from Praxair, a company that produces/handles/distributes a lot of CO2 they have specs. Note the freezing point at 1 atmosphere.

    http://www.praxair.com/praxair.nsf/AllContent/02F1140D12AE73D785256AFC0038F75D?OpenDocument&URLMenuBranch=E6F680F2E1D730318525706D0082318E

  88. Steven Goddard says:

    Ric,

    You are correct. The Antarctic Ice cap has disappeared because of the low humidity in Antarctica. The Vostok cores are faked and Mars has no dry ice at it’s southern pole, because of the very thin atmosphere.

    What was I thinking of?

  89. Edward says:

    Much as I love this site, I think this type of posting feeds the fire at other blogs that make the claim that WUWT is unscientific or posts poorly substantiated claims.
    As has been aptly described above, CO2 will not sublimate at the temperatures described at normal air pressures. This should not have been posted as a topic.
    Thanks
    Ed

  90. wattsupwiththat says:

    Phil. Your most recent comment has been deleted, feel free to resubmit it per instructions below.

    If you can show why CO2 won’t change to a solid phase at -113F, and cite references, all without making jabs and insinuations, you are welcome to resubmit your comment. – Anthony

  91. wattsupwiththat says:

    Here is an interesting reference from WGN Meteorologist Tom Skilling’s blog:

    http://weblogs.wgntv.com/chicago-weather/tom-skilling-blog/2008/10/can-carbon-dioxide-become-snow.html

    “Meteorologist David Cook in the Climate Research Section at Argonne National Laboratory in DuPage County says, ”

    “Certainly, at least some of the CO2 in the atmosphere at the poles does freeze out (of the air) during the winter. However, there is not enough frozen out to accumulate to any extent.” This is because Antarctic temperatures, as bitterly cold as they are, do not remain below -71 degrees for much of the year. Also, atmospheric CO2 concentration is vanishingly sparse, at a meager 0.0385 percent.”

    So is the Argonne National Lab Scientist wrong?

  92. Phil. says:

    Steven Goddard (10:42:14) :
    Phil,

    The boiling point of water is independent of the humidity of the atmosphere, just as the freezing point of water is. The boiling point of water at the South Pole is depressed because of altitude (atmospheric pressure.) Why are you spreading rubbish? Ice gets thicker every year in Antarctica, despite the extremely low vapor pressure of water.

    2-D Phase diagrams refer to atmospheric or ambient pressure, not vapor pressure or partial pressure. [snip]

    I give up with you, you continue to spout this total nonsense apparently not realising how absurd it makes you look. I suggest you follow the advice of someone earlier in this thread and read up on the subject in an introductory Physical Chemistry or Chem. Eng. text because you don’t know what you’re talking about and it’s not worth my time to educate you further. As I said before phase diagrams are for the pure substance.

  93. Robert says:

    Phase diagrams are for pure substances and assume ideal gas behavior, neither of which are applicable to earth’s atmosphere at very low temperatures.

  94. Flanagan says:

    “When the actual partial pressure of a gas is lower than the equilbirium pressure, p/p0 <1, and thus the spontaneous transformation is sublimation. If the pressure is higher than p0, deposition is the spontaneous one. Any other possibility would violate the second principle of thermodynamics. "

    From
    "Chemical thermodynamics"
    by I Prigogine (Author), R. Defay (Author), D. H. Everett (Translator)
    Longmans, Green (1954)

    In our case, p0=1 atm so it think it's settled. Unless we don't thrust a Nobel Prize in chemistry (for thermodynamics).

  95. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Steven Goddard (10:42:14) :

    Phil,

    The boiling point of water is independent of the humidity of the atmosphere, just as the freezing point of water is. The boiling point of water at the South Pole is depressed because of altitude (atmospheric pressure.) Why are you spreading rubbish? Ice gets thicker every year in Antarctica, despite the extremely low vapor pressure of water.

    2-D Phase diagrams refer to atmospheric or ambient pressure, not vapor pressure or partial pressure. Why don’t you censor yourself instead of spreading nonsense? “””

    Imagine a stiff solid container with a moveable plunger; a cylinder if you will.
    So we fill the cylinder up with water occupying all the space; so there is no atmospheric gas at all in the cylinder.

    Now we can apply pressure from negative to positive to the water. Water vapor will escape if we pull the plunger away from the water (or try to), and any small space will fill with water vapor at whatever the saturation vapor pressure is at whatever the water temperature is.

    Now if we heat the container and its contents, the vapor pressure will rise. if we heated it to 100 deg C, the vapor pressure would reach 760 mm of Hg pressure which is the normal atmospheric pressure. But so long as we apply more than that presure with the piston; the water will not boil. If we lowered the pressure on the piston, the water would boil before it got to 760 mm or 100 deg C.
    The boiling point is simply the temperature at which the saturated vapor pressure becomes equal to the ambient pressure; whatever that pressure is.

    Water boils at Vostok station at 90 C because it is 14,000 or so feet high, so the ambient pressure is lower.

    The thing that is different about boiling is that since the saturation vapor pressure is equal to the ambient pressure, then bubbles of saturated vapor can form inside the bulk of the liquid; so the evaporation is no longer constrained to the open surface, like ordinary evaporation is.

    Actually in order for the vapor bubbles to form, the internal pressure has to exceeed ambient by 2T/r, where T is the surface tension of water, and r is the radius of the bubble. Since r must presumably start at zero, the required internal overpressure would be infinite, which is why very clean water can sauperheat and fail to boil at the appropriate temperature. So dust particles or even cosmic rays can start superheated water boiling, by providing a non zero starting radius for the bubble (neve nuke clean water to make coffee; always put the coffee in first to allow finite radius bubbles to form, should the temperature get to boiling.)

    I found some Vostok temperature record data on their website; and in addition to the daily temperature plots they also plotted the dew point, which mostly was always below the ambient temperature; so the humidity was less than 100% most of the time.
    Under those conditions the equilibrium would normally move towards evaporation; or in this case sublimation since we are way below the triple point for water.

    I believe that temperate or tropical ocean evaporation brings moist air over Antarctica all the time, which greatly exceeds the amount of water the colder air is capable of holding, and it is that moisture which provides the constant thickening of the Antarctic ice sheets; whcih continue to grow.

    But when all that excess moisture deposits out as new ice; the humidity can still drop below 100% so the dew pint falls below ambient.

    The dry ice on Mars is there because the bulk of the atmospheric pressure is CO2, and the polar temperatures are way colder than the triple point.

    At 1atm (760 mm Hg) I have -78.5 C for the sublimation point; at 76 mm it is about -100, and at 7.6 mm it is about -120 C. Not sure what Martian atmospheric pressure is but if we used parachutes to slow stuff for landing, I suspect it is more than 1% of earth pressure.

  96. C Shannon says:

    Phil you may very well be correct but I find myself hoping that you’re wrong simply because you’ve been a right jerk about it from start to finish.

    Obviously my hope has no impact on reality but I’m pointing this out because I think you needed a correction as well. Specifically that even if you are completely correct in this discussion you are still wrong for how you’ve gone about making your points and being rude to the man.

    You’re calling him out over a mistake and trying to embarrass him rather than simply make the correction for correctness sake. What part of the scientific process states that you should ridicule a person who gets something wrong?

    REPLY: I agree. We don’t have to be rude, condescending, or taunting to get points across. “Phil.” works for a major university, his way of dealing with people here make me wonder how he might treat students that are trying to learn. – Anthony

  97. Phil. says:

    wattsupwiththat (11:13:32) :
    Phil. Your most recent comment has been deleted, feel free to resubmit it per instructions below.

    If you can show why CO2 won’t change to a solid phase at -113F, and cite references, all without making jabs and insinuations, you are welcome to resubmit your comment. – Anthony

    I already have done so with reference to the phase diagram which I notice you have reposted above.

    And here from Praxair, a company that produces/handles/distributes a lot of CO2 they have specs. Note the freezing point at 1 atmosphere.

    Good luck finding it, CO2 doesn’t have a freezing point at a pressure below 5.11 atm! A block of solid CO2 at atmospheric pressure does have a sublimation point of -78ºC at which temperature the vapor pressure of CO2 in equilibrium with the surface is one atmosphere. Because of the reduced pressure a block of CO2 at the South Pole will have a sublimation point of approx. -83ºC. As stated above deposition from the atmosphere will require a temperature of approx -140ºC.

    wattsupwiththat (11:29:55) :
    So is the Argonne National Lab Scientist wrong?

    Yes!

    This is basic physical chemistry and shouldn’t be a matter for discussion.

    REPLY: Maybe so, but for us that don’t deal with the subject every day, could you provide a link or citation for “CO2 doesn’t have a freezing point at a pressure below 5.11 atm”. I’ve looked for references about CO2 freezing point and pressure, and so far have found none. I’ll be away for a bit, so take your time. – Anthony

  98. George E. Smith says:

    “”” wattsupwiththat (11:13:32) :
    If you can show why CO2 won’t change to a solid phase at -113F, and cite references, all without making jabs and insinuations, you are welcome to resubmit your comment. – Anthony “””

    Anthony, according to the CO2 phase diagram, the equilibrium vapor pressure of CO2 over dry ice at -113 deg C is a little bit more than 0.01 of atmospheric pressure; I estimate about 0.012 atm, or about 9 mm Hg pressure.

    Assuming CO2 is 385 ppm of the atmosphere (by volume), and CO2 molecular weight is 44 versus about 28.8 for the atmosphere, then that is about 588 ppm by weight or about 0.447 mm Hg partial pressure of CO2 at sea level.

    Not sure what the atmospheric pressure is at Vostok; but that can only make the CO2 partial pressure even lower than 0.447 mm Hg, which is less than 1/1000 of atmospheric pressure, which is the saturated vapor pressure of CO2 at about -135 deg C.

    So I have to argue that there can’t be any amount of permanent CO2 ice at Vostok Station even thoguh I once thought thatw as possible.

    Which does not mean that Mars cannot have dry ice at the poles; the conditions do allow for that there; but not here.

    George

  99. Tom says:

    When the air temperature is below 0˚C, all the water does not immediately freeze out. The question is, how cold does it have to be for ~300ppm of CO2 to condense onto a cold surface.

  100. Phil. says:

    C Shannon (12:06:16) :
    Phil you may very well be correct but I find myself hoping that you’re wrong simply because you’ve been a right jerk about it from start to finish.

    Obviously my hope has no impact on reality but I’m pointing this out because I think you needed a correction as well. Specifically that even if you are completely correct in this discussion you are still wrong for how you’ve gone about making your points and being rude to the man.

    You’re calling him out over a mistake and trying to embarrass him rather than simply make the correction for correctness sake. What part of the scientific process states that you should ridicule a person who gets something wrong?

    I called him out over the mistake and referenced the phase diagram to show him his mistake, he then posted a load of rubbish and very aggressively told me I was wrong, after that he deserves everything he gets. Right now he’s embarrassing himself with every post he makes without any help from me.

    REPLY: I agree. We don’t have to be rude, condescending, or taunting to get points across. “Phil.” works for a major university, his way of dealing with people here make me wonder how he might treat students that are trying to learn. – Anthony

    I have no problem with students who’re willing to learn in fact I get high evaluation scores and my class is always oversubscribed. However equating Goddard with a student who’s willing to learn is not accurate, he pontificates about science he doesn’t understand and when he’s called up on it lashes out with more errors as you can see above. When this topic last came up here with George we had a civilized discussion and George thanked me for explaining it to him.

    REPLY: Well to that I’d say Phil, take this old adage to heart: ” You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”. Mostly, your persona here has been vinegar. Your first comment to Steve was vinegar. Try another tact, stop labeling people, and you might be more successful at education online. – Anthony

  101. John W. says:

    Adam from Kansas (10:33:04) :

    Is there any legitimacy in this?

    They seem to be forecasting a heatwave …

    They were produced by the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA). “COLA and IGES make no guarantees about and bear no responsibility or liability concerning the accuracy or timeliness of the images being published on these web pages. … These products are not a substitute for official forecasts and are not guaranteed to be complete or timely.”

    The President of COLA is Jagadish Shukla, who among other things was Lead Author (2007), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I believe he’d be predicting a heatwave if the daily high in Panama City was -10C in the middle of August.

    To answer your question, I doubt they’re worth the electrons it takes to transmit and render them.

  102. Tom says:

    [ital]
    Good luck finding it, CO2 doesn’t have a freezing point at a pressure below 5.11 atm![/ital]

    Sorry, Phil, this is just bogus. You can get a gas cylinder of compressed (liquid) CO2 with a dip tube and spray the CO2 into a closed box. Some of the CO2 will vaporize, the resulting heat of vaporization draws heat out of the CO2 so some of it will freeze solid in the box. I’ve used this method to make dry ice many times. It’s not as dense or as long-lasting as commercial dry ice pellets, but it’s more economical in a small scale lab where you only need small amounts of dry ice occasionally. It may be colder than -113F, but I assure you this occurs at normal seal level atmospheric pressure.

    Sorry I can’t find a link to the actual supplier of the equipment.

    REPLY: That is true for pure CO2, which is what you were working with. The question revolves around CO2 in trace gas amounts in the free atmosphere – Anthony

  103. Tom says:

    REPLY: Maybe so, but for us that don’t deal with the subject every day, could you provide a link or citation for “CO2 doesn’t have a freezing point at a pressure below 5.11 atm”. I’ve looked for references about CO2 freezing point and pressure, and so far have found none. I’ll be away for a bit, so take your time. – Anthony

    I don’t think Phil understands the phase diagram. From the Wikipedia article on dry ice,

    In 1835 the French chemist Charles Thilorier published the first account of dry ice.[3][4] upon opening the lid of a large cylinder containing liquid carbon dioxide, he noted much of the carbon dioxide rapidly evaporated leaving solid dry ice in the container.

    I’m prepared to believe that the behavior of trace amounts of CO2 in air is different than that of pure CO2, just as the behavior of trace amounts of water vapor in air is different than that of pure water. But Phil, even if you were 100% right your behavior is appalling, and you are not 100% right. I wonder what university you are affiliated with.

  104. Michael J. Dunn says:

    The triple point temperature of carbon dioxide is 216.55 kelvins (-56.6 C or -69.88 F). This is the lowest temperature for which a transition between the liquid and solid state is definable (freeze/melt). I.e., there is no lower temperature for a “freezing point.”

    The triple point pressure is also approximately 5 atmospheres, which means that liquid/solid state transitions cannot occur below that pressure. This is why liquid carbon dioxide is always under pressure, and why it forms dry ice “snow” when allowed to expand to ambient pressure (CO2 transitions to lower pressure at same temperature; expansion process chills the CO2, but it can only deposit as solid crystals due to the “low pressure” environment).

    Ref. entries in Wikipedia for “Carbon Dioxide” and “Triple Point.”

    Sorry if I’ve covered ground redundantly; can’t take the time to review the entire discussion.

  105. Jon Jewett says:

    In my misspent youth, I was a Cryogenics Cargo Engineer on a couple of 125,000 cubic meter LNG tankers. We carried about 125,000 cubic meters of Liquefied Natural Gas cooled to minus 158-160 C. It was my job to maintain/operate the cargo handling equipment. I was on several runs back then: from Algeria to the East Coast of the United States, later between either Sumatra or Borneo to Japan.

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

    If anyone cares, one load port is at Bontang, Borneo. It is on the east coast, eight miles north of the equator. Google Earth shows a tanker similar to the one that I was one with five spherical cargo tanks. (It is in the harbor at the end of a long pier-it “crosses the “T”.)

    The tanks I am familiar with were some 33 meters in diameter and made of aluminum (aluminum doesn’t display a non-ductility transition at low temperatures as does carbon steel).

    The loading/discharge piping was not insulated so the surface temperature of the lines dropped to near the temperature of the cargo during the times we were loading or discharging.

    Finally to the point:

    When we disconnected the pipe lines, we had to remove the ice before un-bolting the joints. At that time, the solid CO2 and mixed with the water ice would crack and pop on the deck, especially if it had been raining.

    So……
    Yes, I know from personal experience that CO2 will condense out of the atmosphere. I don’t know from that experience the temperature at which it first starts to condense.

    Regards,

    Steamboat Jack

  106. hunter says:

    Are my posts getting through?

  107. Hank says:

    Based on my mental model of what happens to gas molecules under pressure, I would think the pressure of the mixture of gases would be what applies in these phase diagrams. It’s also quite possible that it is neither partial pressure nor mixed gas pressure but something intermediate. I seem to remember a college chemistry lab that involved determining the eutectic point of a solution of waxes. This brings up the next question: is a mixture of gases a solution or just a mixture?

    Richard Alley in his book “The Two Mile Time Machine” describes ice popping and snapping after deep samples are relieved of pressure on them. ( see page 49 and 50 of the preview at http://press.princeton.edu/titles/6916.html ). I always wondered if he was entirely correct about that since we’ve all heard ice cubes crack when making cocktails. I also wondered if he handled the cracking of the ice in the best possible way. It occurred to me that letting the cracking process occur could change the data being collected, and there was no mention of trying to contain, collect and analyze anything coming out.

    Being a skeptic has natural advantages. All you really need to demonstrate is that the other guy is ignorant and hasn’t imagined all possibilities.

  108. Steven Goddard says:

    I am puzzled and entertained by people who have convinced themselves that a compound can drop below it’s freezing point and not tend to freeze. The freezing point of CO2 at 1atm is -109F.

    Sublimation equilibrium between gas and solid involves complex interactions such as surface roughness, atmospheric turbulence, radiation balance, surface chemistry, other boundary layer conditions, etc. Who cares?

    The point is that Antarctica is freaking cold, and that if Abdussamatov is correct, Mars’ polar ice caps should either be growing or have slowed down their wasting. Why do people get distracted so easily?

  109. Ric Werme says:

    wattsupwiththat (11:29:55) :

    Here is an interesting reference from WGN Meteorologist Tom Skilling’s blog:

    http://weblogs.wgntv.com/chicago-weather/tom-skilling-blog/2008/10/can-carbon-dioxide-become-snow.html

    “Meteorologist David Cook in the Climate Research Section at Argonne National Laboratory in DuPage County says, ”

    “Certainly, at least some of the CO2 in the atmosphere at the poles does freeze out (of the air) during the winter. However, there is not enough frozen out to accumulate to any extent.” This is because Antarctic temperatures, as bitterly cold as they are, do not remain below -71 degrees for much of the year. Also, atmospheric CO2 concentration is vanishingly sparse, at a meager 0.0385 percent.”

    So is the Argonne National Lab Scientist wrong?

    I believe he’s wrong. I likely won’t have time tonight to find his Email address and send him my frost-on-the-windshield analogy, along with the more basic physics description in the old thread but I’ll see what I can do.

  110. MattN says:

    “So is the Argonne National Lab Scientist wrong?

    Yes!

    This is basic physical chemistry and shouldn’t be a matter for discussion.”

    LMFAO!!!

    Phil., bud, between an anonymous poster and an Argonne National Labs scientist, I think I’ll go with the ANL scientist.

    Unless you drop you anonymity and tell us who you really are and why we should listen to you…you know, put your credentials out there for all to see…

  111. Steven Goddard says:

    Again, the phase diagrams are for atmospheric pressure – not for partial pressure of the compound. For example, the boiling point of water is a function of atmospheric pressure – it is not a function of humidity. Water boils at the same temperature in the desert and jungle.

  112. Chris says:

    My two cents:

    One needs to look at physical chemistry books, specifically chapters on surface science (adsorption, BET theory, etc.). The answer lies there (I’m too lazy to find my old notes).

    I would expect CO2 to sublime onto cold surfaces that are at temperatures less than -78.5 C (or whatever the sublimation temp for CO2 is at 1 atm). Eventually you will have CO2 molecules adsorbed on top of other CO2 molecules. At that point, local CO2 concentration is 100% (i.e., vapor concentration of CO2 is not relevant assuming it is not depleted).

  113. Phil. says:

    This is basic physical chemistry and shouldn’t be a matter for discussion.

    REPLY: Maybe so, but for us that don’t deal with the subject every day, could you provide a link or citation for “CO2 doesn’t have a freezing point at a pressure below 5.11 atm”. I’ve looked for references about CO2 freezing point and pressure, and so far have found none. I’ll be away for a bit, so take your time. – Anthony

    It’s there on the phase diagram, liquid CO2 doesn’t exist at pressures below the triple point, which is at 5.11 atm. Since freezing is the transition between the liquid and solid state it can only occur at pressures above 5.11 atm. Below the triple point the only phase change that is possible is between solid and gas, sublimation/deposition.

    Note on this phase diagram that the equilibrium point on the sublimation line is about -120ºC for 0.01atm of CO2 which is about the Martian CO2 level and way above the Earth’s. The Earth’s atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 is around 0.3 torr which is off the scale of that chart but corresponds to a temperature of at least -140ºC.

    You’ll find a discussion of phase diagrams at the site below where the specific issues re CO2 are given at the bottom of the page, in particular:
    “The only thing special about this phase diagram is the position of the triple point which is well above atmospheric pressure. It is impossible to get any liquid carbon dioxide at pressures less than 5.11 atmospheres.”

    http://www.chemguide.co.uk/physical/phaseeqia/phasediags.html

  114. Wondering Aloud says:

    Phil you may want to shelve your indignation and simply explain what you think is correct please. Many of the people above who claim Steve is wrong propose things they are sure are correct that if true would make it IMPOSSIBLE for Mars to have any polar cap. It’s still there.

    According to you there is no such thing as Solid CO2in comets either? Maybe you should re-think.

  115. Smokey says:

    Now for the hard question, Phil. Is CO2 gonna getcha?

    In other words, will CO2 cause runaway global warming and climate catastrophe? Because that is the central question, isn’t it?

    Take your time.

  116. Ric Werme says:

    Steven Goddard (11:09:27) :

    You are correct. The Antarctic Ice cap has disappeared because of the low humidity in Antarctica. The Vostok cores are faked and Mars has no dry ice at it’s southern pole, because of the very thin atmosphere.

    The relative humidity in Antarctica ranges from near 0 to 100%, the high end is readily shown by clouds and snowfall, which occur in regions of 100% relative humidity. When the humidity is below 100% and the ground is about the same temperature as the air, then sublimation occurs, but at Antarctic temperatures the process is quite slow. Similarly, I can see differences during the New Hampshire winter when the air temperature is cold (0°F, ~-22°C) vs. when it’s warm but still it and objects are below freezing.

    I track snow depth at home and elsewhere around New England, see http://wermenh.com/sdd/index.html , and I believe I can show some stretches of dry weather where snow depth declines faster at those warmer temperatures than the near 0°F stretches. However, some of that may be due to snow being more malleable at the warmer temperatures, and I don’t have good data to show changes due to settling vs sublimation. (However – the mechanism behind snow settling involves sublimation of and condensation of snow flakes into larger “corn snow” particles, and that does involve the effects at hand!)

    The rings of Saturn are predominently ice particles, the temperatures there are so cold and the vapor pressure of ice so low that sublimation is extremely slow.

    There are parts of Antarctica that are ice free, obviously Vostok is not one of them. In fact I can confidently predict that Vostok has more annual snowfall than they do sublimation. Perhaps a reader has time to verify that it does snow at Vostok and report on the typical range of annual snowfall there.

    Mars does have CO2 ice in its ice caps, but I’m confident that Mars is colder than Antarctica and that it is cold enough to not sustain the partial pressure of CO2 and the vapor has to condense. Off hand I don’t know that data from Mars either. Gentle readers – help?

    What was I thinking of?

    I don’t know. I’m disappointed you didn’t consider my frost on the windscreen analogy. I thought is was a very good way to compare an alien environment with something more familiar. BTW, for people who don’t experience freezing temperatures frequently, it works with dew also – natural dew is water the condenses at temperatures well below the boiling point. On mornings without dew, it doesn’t mean that the air is completely dry, it means merely that the ground didn’t cool below the dew point and water remained as vapor even though the air temperature was below boiling.

  117. Flanagan says:

    Now please, are you actually making a debate out of this? Maybe we could discuss also for hours whether 1+1=2?

    It’s so obvious that the CO2 pressure will affect the deposition temperature I don’t really know how to say it in another way. Maybe this one: CO2 will deposit at -70 degrees whatever the CO2 pressure, in your opinion. It would all depend on the global pressure… So if one has an atmosphere with no CO2 at all, following these arguments, it should solidify anyway at -70? No molecule, but deposition? Mmmmm….

    REPLY: The purpose here is to find out the true answer, we have authoritative answers from both sides. Drop the snark or find another blog to bother. – Anthony

  118. Steven Goddard says:

    Flanagan,

    CO2 pressure affects the deposition rate. If the CO2 pressure is zero, then the rate is zero.

    Hope this helps.

  119. Ric Werme says:

    [Apologies in advance, but please don't snip - Ric]

    Phil. (12:29:52) :

    I have no problem with students who’re willing to learn in fact I get high evaluation scores and my class is always oversubscribed. However equating Goddard with a student who’s willing to learn is not accurate, he pontificates about science he doesn’t understand and when he’s called up on it lashes out with more errors as you can see above. When this topic last came up here with George we had a civilized discussion and George thanked me for explaining it to him.

    [Anthony] REPLY: Well to that I’d say Phil, take this old adage to heart: ” You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar”. Mostly, your persona here has been vinegar. Your first comment to Steve was vinegar. Try another tact, stop labeling people, and you might be more successful at education online. – Anthony

    Yeah, Phil, do that. Then Steve might treat you with the same respect he treats me.

    REPLY: And “what is good for the goose is good for the gander”, so it applies to everyone. Stop labeling, drop the snark. I get tired of these issues, especially from the anonymous ones. – Anthony

  120. Flanagan says:

    Really, Steven, this is basic thermodynamics. I’ve been teaching this subject for years now and, truly, there’s no other possibility here. If pp0, deposition takes place.

    I think you actually confound sublimation and deposition with the solid-gas equilibrium, where the rates of these processes exactly cancel each other.

  121. Phil. says:

    MattN (13:08:38) :
    “So is the Argonne National Lab Scientist wrong?

    Yes!

    This is basic physical chemistry and shouldn’t be a matter for discussion.”

    LMFAO!!!

    Phil., bud, between an anonymous poster and an Argonne National Labs scientist, I think I’ll go with the ANL scientist.

    Unless you drop you anonymity and tell us who you really are and why we should listen to you…you know, put your credentials out there for all to see…

    Appeal to authority is not a part of science the truth can be found in the merits of the argument on this issue I’m right and the ANL scientist is wrong or possibly misquoted.

    Steven Goddard (13:14:33) :
    Again, the phase diagrams are for atmospheric pressure – not for partial pressure of the compound.

    Tor the umpteenth time no!

    For example, the boiling point of water is a function of atmospheric pressure – it is not a function of humidity.

    Of course it’s a function of atmospheric pressure, by definition it is the temperature at which the vapor pressure is equal to the applied pressure.
    The boiling point can be found from the phase diagram by finding the intersection of the applied pressure and the liquid/vapor line, you’ll find an illustration on the following site under the heading of ‘normal boiling point’.
    Similarly the sublimation point is the temperature of solid CO2 at which its vapor pressure is equal to the applied pressure and can be found from the phase diagram by the intersection of the applied pressure and the solid/gas line. If you want to find the temperature at which solid CO2 will deposit from the atmosphere you look for the intersection of the CO2 partial pressure with the solid/gas line, i.e. less than -140ºC. (Just like the ‘frost point’ for water).

    http://www.chemguide.co.uk/physical/phaseeqia/phasediags.html

    Water boils at the same temperature in the desert and jungle.

  122. Tim Clark says:

    Let’s change the subject. What’s the difference between hoar frost and snow? ;~P

    REPLY: No let’s not. – Anthony

  123. Shawn Whelan says:

    On the phase diagrams the pressure is atmospheric which is going to be somewhere in the area of one atmosphere in the Antarctic. (and is of course somewhat variable)

    I have no idea how a value of 0.3 torr has anything to do with the phase diagrams for natural conditions on Earth. Please explain.

  124. George E. Smith says:

    The triple point of CO2 is -56.6 deg C at a pressure of 5.11 atmospheres; that’s 3883.6 mm Hg pressure.

    Below that temperature, liquid CO2 canot exist. At zero degree C you can liquify CO2 at a pressure of about 15-20 atmospheres, and solidify it at about 1000 atmospheres.

    Below 56.6 deg C, solid CO2 and vapor CO2 can coexist in dynamic equilibrium. Meaning that CO2 molecules with higher than average kinetic energy escape from the surface into the vapor; while CO2 molecules from the vapor can collide with the surface and adhere; so there is a continuous sublimation/deposition process going on.

    At -78.5 deg C (-109F), that equilibrium occurs at a partial pressure of CO2 of 760 mm Hg, one atmosphere. Below that pressure, there isn’t enough abundance of CO2 molecules in the vapor phase for collisions with the solid surface to occur at a fast enough rate to make up for the ones that escaped; so the solid CO2; dry ice, will continue to sublimate.

    This will do two things; it will increase the CO2 in the vapor phase, and thereby increase the rate of collisions with the solid surface. Secondly the loss of dry ice will reduce the surface of the dry ice, so it will reduce the total number of CO2 molecules leaving the solid.

    So the solid continues to shrink; while the vapor CO2 continues to increase (assuming a closed volume). So the sublimation rate steadily declines, while the deposition rate steadily increases. Notice that the surface area reduction also affects the deposition rate, but since the CO2 vapor pressure keeps rising, the collision rate per unit sirface area will increase, so the deposition rate increaes while the sublimation rate declines (remains constant per unit area).
    Eventually with a small enough amount of dry ice, and a larger vapor abundance of CO2, the rates equalize, and a stable balance between the solid, and the vapor will persist.

    In the case of the Antarctic plateau, the CO2 vapor pressure stays about constant at around 0.447 mm Hg, and that is not enough to stop continued sublimation till the temperature is about -140 deg C.

    So any remaining amount of CO2 ice would be very hard to locate at -113 deg C.

    REPLY: Well said, and without labeling anyone, insults, or snark being tossed. Phil. could learn a few things from you. BTW I think you meant -113 and -140 deg F – Anthony

  125. Phil. says:

    Wondering Aloud (13:24:00) :
    Phil you may want to shelve your indignation and simply explain what you think is correct please. Many of the people above who claim Steve is wrong propose things they are sure are correct that if true would make it IMPOSSIBLE for Mars to have any polar cap. It’s still there.

    I’ve explained above why Mars has CO2 ice-caps, the vapor pressure of CO2 in the Martian atmosphere, ~7torr, is above the equilibrium sublimation line at the temperatures existing at the poles, about -120ºC, so it can deposit there, if the temperature increases it will sublime.

    According to you there is no such thing as Solid CO2in comets either? Maybe you should re-think.

    Who mentioned comets?

  126. Phil. says:

    Shawn Whelan (13:51:51) :
    On the phase diagrams the pressure is atmospheric which is going to be somewhere in the area of one atmosphere in the Antarctic. (and is of course somewhat variable)

    I have no idea how a value of 0.3 torr has anything to do with the phase diagrams for natural conditions on Earth. Please explain.

    It’s the approx. partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere, which would have to be in equilibrium with the solid phase for CO2 to be deposited and therefore determines the temperature at which that occurs. Possible on Mars because the partial pressure is higher and the temperature lower, not possible in the present climate on Earth.

  127. Steve Goddard says:

    Below the freezing point of a gas, it can exist as a solid. In the winter, we see the transition from gas to solid as frost. Frost occurs even at extremely low humidities.

    There are other things going on as well. The ice may be getting hit by photons or other energetic particles which cause them to convert back to gas. This can be seen when the ice is exposed to sun or wind, even on a very cold day. The higher the humidity, the greater the tendency for water molecules to form ice. This phenomenon is not covered by phase diagrams, which simply show the preferred state at a given ambient temperature and pressure.

    At -113F and 1atm, that state would be solid for CO2.

  128. Nasif Nahle says:

    TonyS (03:11:13) :

    Are there clouds on Mars?

    Yes, there are carbon dioxide clouds on Mars which scatters IR radiation:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;278/5341/1273?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=clouds+on+mars&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

    Abstract:

    “Geomorphic evidence that Mars was warm enough to support flowing water about 3.8 billion years ago presents a continuing enigma that cannot be explained by conventional greenhouse warming mechanisms. Model calculations show that the surface of early Mars could have been warmed through a scattering variant of the greenhouse effect, resulting from the ability of the carbon dioxide ice clouds to reflect the outgoing thermal radiation back to the surface. This process could also explain how Earth avoided an early irreversible glaciation and could extend the size of the habitable zone on extrasolar planets around stars.”

  129. Steve Fitzpatrick says:

    [Steve - no need see nearby comment from me, Anthony]

  130. wattsupwiththat says:

    At this point, after doing research of my own, including a telephone call to a local expert on compressed gases (since I am no expert in that field) and reading comments, particularly that of George E. Smith which answered the question in my mind of why we could have solid to gas phase transition of CO2 (sublimation) but not the other way around (at least at -113F) I’m ready to call this myth of CO2 “snow” condensing from the free atmosphere at the south pole at -113F as transitioning from “plausible” to “busted”.

    Though, it will happen in the free atmosphere at -140F, of that there is no doubt, but since the coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2°C (−128.6°F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica July 21, 1983, I don’t think we’ll see this effect in the free atmosphere today, and I sincerely hope I never witness it firsthand ;-)

    Thank you all for playing “Mythbusters” at WUWT.

    Further, since this question has arisen in discussions before, I’m going to write a full post on it, to put it to rest and act as a reference for the next time the question comes up.

    I find the whole exercise fun and fascinating, except some comments that are rude and condescending. Next time, do try to be more polite, you know who you are.

  131. Nasif Nahle says:

    @TonyS… Here another article on clouds on Mars:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/sci;282/5396/2053?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=clouds+on+mars&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=20&resourcetype=HWCIT

    Fragment of the abstract:

    Clouds observed over the polar cap are likely composed of CO2 that condensed out of the atmosphere during northern hemisphere winter.

  132. Nasif Nahle says:

    wattsupwiththat (14:30:42):

    Thank you all for playing “Mythbusters” at WUWT.

    No, Anthony… Thank you for allowing us to express our bits of knowledge in your site!!! Us all learn from your website. Thank you, Anthony et al… :)

  133. E.M.Smith says:

    Per this chart:

    the CO2 / water clathrate phase has a temperture at 1 bar of about -55 C as I read it. So I’m pretty sure you will get a solid CO2/[6 or 8]H20 clathrate formed. At least until you reach the CO2 liquid point of about -78 C.

    So I think you will get ‘CO2 / water clathrate snow’ at a higher temperature than CO2 alone, it just won’t be pure CO2 snow…

    And you ought to get CO2 “rain” before CO2 “snow” at about -80 C.

    There is probably some mass transfer rate limit as the CO2 will need to either absorb into the extant water snow or find some very scarce water in the air to join with… But I’ll leave the rate calculation stuff to someone with better chemical skills in that area.

    Basically, IMHO, any time you are below about -60 C it looks to me like the Antarctic becomes a CO2 sponge sucking it out of the air. (This also has interesting implications for the “CO2 Atmospheric Record” from ice cores…)

  134. Phil. says:

    Steve Goddard (14:22:24) :
    Below the freezing point of a gas, it can exist as a solid.

    Liquids freeze, gases don’t.

    In the winter, we see the transition from gas to solid as frost. Frost occurs even at extremely low humidities.

    Indeed at extremely low humidities and extremely low temperatures, e.g. -70ºC in the Antarctic, in other words you have to drop the temperatures as low as -70ºC in the Antarctic winter to get a frost. Here’s the minimum frost point temperatures (ºC) measured at the South Pole for each month (Jan-Dec) during 1998:

    Minimum Frostpoint -42 -55 -66 -76 -78 -73 -76 -76 -79 -69 -50 -37

    There are other things going on as well. The ice may be getting hit by photons or other energetic particles which cause them to convert back to gas. This can be seen when the ice is exposed to sun or wind, even on a very cold day. The higher the humidity, the greater the tendency for water molecules to form ice. This phenomenon is not covered by phase diagrams, which simply show the preferred state at a given ambient temperature and pressure.

    At -113F and 1atm, that state would be solid for CO2.

  135. Steve Goddard says:

    There is nothing magical about -140F, just as there is nothing magical about Hansen’s Armageddon value of 350 ppm CO2 . The freezing point of CO2 at 1 atmosphere is -109F.

    Once again, the phase diagram for CO2 does not consider the partial pressure of CO2. It considers only the atmospheric pressure, which is much higher. The equilibrium between sublimation and deposition is a complex function of wind, sun, chemistry, surface roughness, etc. and can not be inferred from a phase diagram.

    The case we are all familiar with is frost forming on a dirty windshield, but not on a clean windshield – with everything else identical.

  136. Steven Goddard says:

    I see now where people are geting confused.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=U4FZp6f6q6MC&pg=PA240&lpg=PA240&dq=“dry+ice”+antarctica&source=bl&ots=SQXDl1R8CV&sig=rvMNxoc-azF5-gGf49WQ-XciRyk&hl=en&ei=EfsvSoOAHpHstAO_sKGhBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=10#PPA239,M1
    Fig. 12.17

    At Mars very low atmospheric pressure, CO2 freezes at -140F. On earth, that is not the case.

  137. Phil. says:

    Steve Goddard (14:51:04) :
    There is nothing magical about -140F, just as there is nothing magical about Hansen’s Armageddon value of 350 ppm CO2 . The freezing point of CO2 at 1 atmosphere is -109F.

    Once again, the phase diagram for CO2 does not consider the partial pressure of CO2. It considers only the atmospheric pressure, which is much higher. The equilibrium between sublimation and deposition is a complex function of wind, sun, chemistry, surface roughness, etc. and can not be inferred from a phase diagram

    Once more you’re wrong about the phase diagram, the phase diagram shows thermodynamic possibility or otherwise, other factors determine the rates. The phase diagram shows that deposition of CO2 from the atmosphere at Antarctic conditions is impossible therefore we don’t have to worry about the other factors.

    Per this chart:

    the CO2 / water clathrate phase has a temperture at 1 bar of about -55 C as I read it. So I’m pretty sure you will get a solid CO2/[6 or 8]H20 clathrate formed. At least until you reach the CO2 liquid point of about -78 C.

    Again this is a misapplication of the phase diagram, the Antarctic conditions (-70ºC) lie firmly in the CO2(v)/H2O(s) regime, you might get some if the temperature at the Antarctic got down to -130ºC or so.

  138. Alan the Brit (07:22:54) :
    It is rather ironic this polar cap is frozen CO2 isn’t it. Has any one of you clever people out there observed a time frame for this Anthropological Marsian Warming. There must be photographic evidence of the Marsian Polar Cap from previous space expeditions for comparison, surely?

    Well, this wasn’t exactly a space expedition, but in 2003 when Mars was close to the Earth, I watched the polar ice cap on Mars being much reduced over just a few weeks.

    14. July 2003

    20. July 2003

    27. July 2003

    04. August 2003

    10. August 2003

    Images above was as seen from Norway.
    Then I traveled to Spain to get a better look (same equipment)
    31. August 2003

    01. September 2003

    If you compare the 14. July and the 01. September images, it is clear that the Ice cap on Mars changes much faster than the Ice cap on earth.

  139. Phil. says:

    Steven Goddard (14:56:51) :
    I see now where people are geting confused.
    At Mars very low atmospheric pressure, CO2 freezes at -140F. On earth, that is not the case.

    Unfortunately you are the one who is confused, CO2 deposits on Mars because it is at a higher pressure!

  140. noaaprogrammer says:

    H.R. (02:33:10) :

    “You can buy some of that CO2 slushy/fizzy mixture in cherry or rootbeer flavor down at the Stop ‘n Rob. Try one. They’re delicious.”

    For a delightful refreshing experience on a hot summer day, eat jello that includes a carbonated beverage in its making!

  141. Steven Goddard says:

    The phase diagram shows unambiguously that the equilibrium state of CO2 at one atmosphere at 113F is solid. The freezing point of CO2 is -109F at 1 atmosphere.

    http://www.chemicalogic.com/download/co2_phase_diagram.pdf

    I see Phil has created a new magic number of -130F.

    Personally, I think the world was doomed at 300ppm CO2. I’ve got work to do. l8r

  142. timetochooseagain says:

    On how, if true, this situation would effect ice core CO2 levels-I would think if anything that this would bias past levels high, especially in the depths of Ice Ages for reasons I think should be obvious. This has interest possible implications, but not ice cores showing erroneously low CO2 in the past.

    VG-You neglected to name the book…?

  143. Steven Goddard says:

    The atmospheric pressure of Mars is less than 1% of earth.

  144. SemiChemE says:

    @ wattsupwiththat (14:30:42) :

    I hate to throw another bit of chaos into the mix, but while I generally agree with the “mythbusters” on this issue (CO2 will most likely not spontaneously condense out of the sky in Antarctic winters due to the low CO2 partial pressure), we must also consider that the atmosphere is not just one homogeneous blanket of gas. In reality, it is quite possible to have a “pocket” of air that has either a significantly higher than average CO2 composition (>>385ppm) or a higher than average pressure (high pressure system), or a lower temperature (especially at higher altitudes). If the right combination of these were to occur over Antarctica, it is in fact possible for CO2 to condense (solidify) out of the atmosphere. Assuming these particles reach sufficient size, they could fall to the ground and thus it might be possible to have Solid CO2 on the ground in Antarctica. Of course, this frozen CO2 on the ground would probably sublime fairly quickly, but it is a possibility.

    An analogous situation would be a hail storm, where it is possible to have ice fall out of the sky onto the ground even though the ground temperature is well above the frost point.

  145. SandyInDerby says:

    So basically everyone is correct, the argument is one of at what temperature it happens? By the way −128.6°F is not that far off -140F, just 8’K or 4.5%?

    “At this point, after doing research of my own, including a telephone call to a local expert on compressed gases (since I am no expert in that field) and reading comments, particularly that of George E. Smith which answered the question in my mind of why we could have solid to gas phase transition of CO2 (sublimation) but not the other way around (at least at -113F) I’m ready to call this myth of CO2 “snow” condensing from the free atmosphere at the south pole at -113F as transitioning from “plausible” to “busted”.

    Though, it will happen in the free atmosphere at -140F, of that there is no doubt, but since the coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2°C (−128.6°F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica July 21, 1983, I don’t think we’ll see this effect in the free atmosphere today, and I sincerely hope I never witness it firsthand ;-)”

  146. Mark T says:

    SemiChemE (15:23:18) :

    In reality, it is quite possible to have a “pocket” of air that has either a significantly higher than average CO2 composition (>>385ppm)

    Your breath.

    One of the guys in my office worked for Raytheon down at the NSF station at the pole (for a year, I think)… I asked if he has seen this, though he’s OOP at the moment so I won’t know till early next week. I’m curious.

    Mark

  147. Mike Borgelt says:

    Could someone here with access to a university physics department please run the EXPERIMENT?

    Thanks.

  148. Philip Johns says:

    May I summarise?

    [no, your intent is only to denigrate, not particpate]

  149. George E. Smith says:

    “”” George E. Smith (13:52:09) :

    The triple point of CO2 is -56.6 deg C at a pressure of 5.11 atmospheres; that’s 3883.6 mm Hg pressure.

    Below that temperature, liquid CO2 canot exist. At zero degree C you can liquify CO2 at a pressure of about 15-20 atmospheres, and solidify it at about 1000 atmospheres.

    In the case of the Antarctic plateau, the CO2 vapor pressure stays about constant at around 0.447 mm Hg, and that is not enough to stop continued sublimation till the temperature is about -140 deg C.

    So any remaining amount of CO2 ice would be very hard to locate at -113 deg C.

    REPLY: Well said, and without labeling anyone, insults, or snark being tossed. Phil. could learn a few things from you. BTW I think you meant -113 and -140 deg F – Anthony “””

    Well thank you Anthony, and yes that was supposed to be F rather than C.

    When we had this discussion before; I was pretty darn sure I was right; particularly since I ran into a chap who had been to the south pole and he claimed he had been walking around on dry ice at the south pole, and it wasn’t anywhere near as cold as Vostok. And I thought I understood it; because I sure know what happens with the vapor pressure of Arsenic over hot gallium Arsenide in a diffusion sealed ampoule.

    But Phil; and I believe it was Ric Werme kept insisting I was wrong; and I couldn’t see it, till I had the phase diagram that Phil posted; and I started thinking about the fact that it is a dynamic equilibrium if both species coexist like water vapor over a dish of water under glass, and then I could see that no reasonable amount of dry ice could survive even at -78.5 C because it would all evaporate without raising the population of CO2 molecules in the vapor phase to where the rate of returning molecules to the solid surface increased enough to balance the loss rate.

    And once I “got it”, I got mightily embarrassed that I hadn’t seen it on my own without Phil’s and Ric’s prodding. Now I can’t figure out why I didn’t figure it out by myself.

    But on Mars since most of the atmosphere is CO2 (90% I believe), then most of the atmospheric presssure; even though it is low is CO2 vapor partial pressure, and it is enough to equilibrate with solid CO2 at the -120 to -125 deg C polar temperatures on Mars. So I have no doubt that CO2 ice does exist on Mars, and pretty much doesn’t on earth; I suppose one could calculate how many molecules of CO2 clumped together, would be small enough dry ice sample to remain in equilibrum with 385 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere; and at Vostok or South pole altitude where the atmospheric pressure is diminished.

    But it was Phil’s nudging that convinced me that it was the partial pressure of the species that had to be in equilibrium with the solid because those are the two parties exchanging molecules. It is true that the total pressure affects the boiling point; because the boiling point is simply that temperature at which bubbles of the vapor species can appear in the bulk of the liquid, because the vapor pressure at that temperature is equal to the ambient pressure. (remembering in the case of at least water with a sizeable surface tension, that there must be an internal excess pressure of 2T/r in the bubble. You can prove this by using the principle of virtual work. Imagine a miniscule increase in radius doing a miniscule amount of work equal to the excess pressure times the surface area times that miniscule radius increase. that has to be equal to the work done against surface tension, which is simply the surface tension (T) timews the increase in surface area due to the radius increase. Put those two equal, and you get p = 2T/r

    In the case of a soap bubble you have two surfaces so the internal excess pressure is 4T/r.

    George

  150. George E. Smith says:

    One final correction Anthony; it would have to get to -140 C to get free dry ice from the atmosphere; not -140F; so I’ll swap you your F for my C.

    George

    REPLY: there are days I hate having multiple measurement systems, today is one of those. ;-) – Anthony

  151. E.M.Smith says:

    Murffft…. So the “consensus” settles on phase diagrams as Partial Pressure rather than absolute pressure.. OK, then that Clathrate phase diagram would have CO2 / H2O clathrate with CO2 partial pressure of 0.0004 somewhere off the left edge (which I would extrapolate by the sliding finger method ;-) as about -130C so only during a really bad ice age…

  152. Steven Goddard says:

    George,

    Your qualitative ramblings don’t hold water. The stable state of CO2 is quite clearly defined in the phase diagrams at a specific atmospheric pressure.

    Mars has less than 1/100 of earth’s atmospheric pressure, so the freezing point is significantly depressed, as seen in the phase diagram.

    As far as water boiling goes, the partial pressure of water in the atmosphere is irrelevant. Water boils at the same temperature in Phoenix, Barrow and the Amazon. When the vapour pressure at the surface of the water exceeds atmospheric pressure, it boils. This is completely independent of the composition of the atmosphere. The atmosphere could be pure nitrogen and the boiling point of water would not be affected significantly.

    Science is not a democracy and is not decided by consensus.

  153. SemiChemE says:

    Mark T (15:48:11) :

    Your breath.

    Exactly, or even more dramatic, near the exhaust pipe of any combustion engine, generator, boiler, or furnace. These should have significantly higher concentrations of CO2 and could likely lead to CO2 condensation (deposition) at temperatures near -128F.

  154. SemiChemE says:

    Or was it -128C? (Why do we American’s insist on non-metric units anyway?)

  155. Gary Hladik says:

    I think I see where Steve Goddard is getting confused. As George E. Smith points out, boiling is evaporation from inside the liquid, which does indeed depend upon atmospheric pressure, whatever that atmosphere is made of. Evaporation from the liquid’s surface, however, depends on the partial pressure of the liquid and gaseous phases, i.e. the net movement of molecules depends on the number leaving the liquid phase vs. the number entering. Perhaps a good thought experiment would be to compare the evaporation of pans of water in identical sealed terrariums, one of which also has a container of drying agent.

    BTW, I bet knowing the vapor pressure of Arsenic over hot gallium Arsenide in a diffusion sealed ampoule makes George very popular at parties! :-)

  156. Ric Werme says:

    wattsupwiththat (14:30:42) :

    Thank you all for playing “Mythbusters” at WUWT.

    Further, since this question has arisen in discussions before, I’m going to write a full post on it, to put it to rest and act as a reference for the next time the question comes up.

    Give me a couple days – I’d like to try writing up my comments about windshield frost referencing a format like George’s post-from-scratch with the phase diagram. I don’t know if I’ll have time to get to it, George, if you want to do it yourself, great. I think with the two accounts, the familiar water one would be a good preface to the more foreign CO2 at Antarctica case. If I’d do write it, I’ll post it here, not on the article du jour as an OT piece.

    There are some neat effects at a boundary between supercooled dew and frost and why there’s a bare strip between the two, but that’s a little outside of the phase diagram. Perhaps that would be a good “But wait! – There’s more!” epilogue.

    -Ric

  157. John F. Pittman says:

    SteveG “”Water boils at the same temperature in Phoenix, Barrow and the Amazon.””

    No, it does not. The atmospheric pressure due to elevation is different. You are correct, if you are reading the phase diagram correctly. The freezing point for CO2 is set by the pressure, not the partial pressure. Most interesting point is that waters critical point is oC, and standard pressure. One can have water in all three phases at these conditions.

  158. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Ric Werme (16:48:32) :

    wattsupwiththat (14:30:42) :

    Thank you all for playing “Mythbusters” at WUWT.

    Further, since this question has arisen in discussions before, I’m going to write a full post on it, to put it to rest and act as a reference for the next time the question comes up.

    Give me a couple days – I’d like to try writing up my comments about windshield frost referencing a format like George’s post-from-scratch with the phase diagram. “””

    Ric I’m not super fluent with inputting drawings etc into Anthony’s format like others have done. You may have noticed that absent from my posts.

    But I would really like to see how you put it as you see it. I always learn something from other people’s posts, so I’ll let you take the stage and post your rendition.

    George

  159. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Gary Hladik (16:47:26) :

    BTW, I bet knowing the vapor pressure of Arsenic over hot gallium Arsenide in a diffusion sealed ampoule makes George very popular at parties! :-) “”

    Well silicon process engineers have it very cushy dealing with an elemental semiconductor. The problem with the III-V compounds such as gallium arsenide, is that they are chemical compounds and as such, at elevated temperatures as in a diffusion step, they actually can dissociate and that can wreck a crystal surface that you are trying to make diffusions into.

    A dopant source such as a Gallium zinc alloy works fine at low diffusion temperatures, but it cannot easily make high concentration layers at those lower temperatures. But if you use a dopant like zinc arsenide, then it completely dissociates and evaporates, and maintains an arsenic overpressure that stops the crystal surface from decomposing. The vapor pressure of Arsenic over Gallium arsenide is almost one atmosphere at the melting point of Gallium arsenide; so you can diffuse it in a sealed ampoule, with Zinc Arsenide, and not blow the ampoule up.

    We had many hundreds of Kg of high purity Arsenic in our building growing about one Kg GaAs single crystal ingots (for LED substrates); more than enough to poison every thing in the known universe; and likely some of the parallel ones too. In 12 years of operations we never once had a single employee ever test positive for arsenic contamination; and every single one who worked with it was tested every month. But the real problem was the Arsine in Hydrogen gas used for growing epitaxial Gallium Arsenide Phosphide on the GaAs wafers. It smells like garlic; which is an odor you never want to get around an LED operation.

    No Climate consequences of Arsine that I am aware of.

  160. John M says:

    Well, let me add to the muddle.

    The y-axis of the phase diagram Steve links to is the absolute pressure of CO2, not the total atmospheric pressure. To expand on dearime’s, George’s, Ric’s (and others’) point, let’s think of it in terms of the water phase diagram.

    http://www.pgfreezedryingconsult.com/subweb/water_phasediagram.htm

    Frost does not automatically form when temperatures are below freezing, but when the surface temperature falls below the dew point (or frost point) of the air. Similarly, water vapor doesn’t automatically condense even though the temperature is below the boiling point. While it’s true that you can get water to condense at room temperature by increasing the total pressue, this only happens if the absolute pressure of the water exceeds the saturation pressure. For example, if we have humid air at 90% relative humidity, this obviously means the air has 90% of the water level needed to be saturated. If you pressurize the humid air to 2 atm, all of the pressures double, including that of the water vapor. It theoretically would be 180% of its saturated level (or approximately so), except that it condenses out. But it still has to be above it’s equilibrium absolute saturation pressure. Indeed, if the relative humidity of the ambient air was 25%, compressing the air to 2 atm would not cause the water vapor to condense, since it would now only be at approximately 50% relative humidity.

    As others have mentioned, at 380 ppm (0.00038 atm), you have to go quite low to condense solid CO2, even if the total pressure is 1 atm. Even if it were to condense from a localized high concentration, it would be no more persistent than someone’s frosty breath on a cold morning.

    Sorry if I’m repeating what’s already been written. It was a bit tough reading through all the comments.

  161. John M says:

    edit

    But it still has to be above it’s equilibrium absolute saturation pressure to condense out .

  162. badmindtime says:

    Uh, sorry i’m not reading all your blog, ‘cuz I’m dying of duhcanser and i have better things to do . . .

    [off topic, badly]

  163. George E. Smith says:

    Actually, the III-V compounds can give us a different input on the H2O versus CO2 situations.

    As I said above the saturation vapor pressure of Arsenic over molten gallium arsenide (at the melting point), is slightly less than one atmosphere; so you can safely grow single crystal GaAs by variations of the Horizontal Bridgeman process such as Gradient Freeze; and you can if you want do open tube diffusions into GaAs somewhat below the melting point of course.

    On the other hand, Gallium Phosphide has a vapor pressure of Phosphorous at the melting point, that is around 40 atmospheres, so you can’t grow single crystals of GaP in any atmospheric pressure vessel, and it is typically done by encapsulating the melt under Boric Oxide molten glass (so you can see through it) in a high pressure vessel (bomb) at about 45 atmospheres pressure.

    That is similar to the CO2 case where you need over five atmospheres of CO2 pressure to have stable liquid CO2.

  164. Frank Perdicaro says:

    Lots of good stuff here. Thanks again for the review.

    We have first-hand evidence that CO2 does condense out of the
    atmosphere on LNG tankers.

    We all know about CO2 snow equipment — you can make
    CO2 snow anywhere on earth on demand from a high pressure
    cylinder.

    Water/C02 snow is possible, and that is CO2 condensing out, but
    not by itself.

    2000 years ago the Romans used clever engineering and radiational
    cooling to make ice by condensing and freezing water out of the air —
    in North Africa.

    My guess is a similar setup/experiment in the Antarctic with CO2
    would condense to a solid. Consider a pool of CO2 formed by a
    3 meter square of sealed 2″ expanded styrene, with walls 1meter
    tall. Shielded from the warming earth and exposed only to the
    cold of space, would the crystallization happen? Good setup might
    give a 25K cooling (SWAG), and that might be enough.

    Does Mythbusters do on-site research?

  165. Symon says:

    @Phil, thanks for your postings on this thread. It is important that the science comes first, not people’s egos. If folks don’t like being robustly questioned on their hypotheses then they should not be posting on a website that has an agenda of questioning other theories. Indeed, Phil, your obvious correctness should vindicate the vociferousness of your posts.

    REPLY: There is never an excuse for rudeness. – Anthony

  166. DaveE says:

    Steven Goddard (13:01:22) :

    The point is that Antarctica is freaking cold, and that if Abdussamatov is correct, Mars’ polar ice caps should either be growing or have slowed down their wasting. Why do people get distracted so easily?

    With all due respect. You did the distracting Steve

    Mt Kilimanjaro, the ice is disappearing yet it never gets above freezing. Sublimation.

    I would think the same probably applies with CO2 at the Antarctic.

    Doesn’t detract from the point about whether the South Pole on Mars is refreezing, just you shouldn’t have mentioned it.

    DaveE.

  167. TCO says:

    Goddard fired from the hip with his comments about the overall atmospheric pressure determining the transition point of CO2, rather than the individual partial pressure. He is fundamentally wrong. This is basic junior year P-Chem. Even in some cases, basic first year chemistry. It’s sad that he fired from the hip in defending himself this way. [snip ]

  168. Mike borgelt says:

    I just put this to my software guy who has a degree in physics and used to work in hi tech manufacturing industry. He reckons it is total atmospheric pressure that counts not partial pressure of CO2.

    So he thinks Steve Goddard is correct.

    Now can somebody please do the experiment? This discussion is too much like arguing about how many angels can fit on the head of a pin.

  169. Tom says:

    Experiment? Well, I have a freezer that maintains -80˚C (-112˚F) in my lab, and it can be set as low as -86˚C (-122˚F).

    I can already tell you that dry ice placed in the freezer at -80˚C will sublimate, although much more slowly than at room temperature, of course, because I’ve done it many times. I can also tell you that the snow from the freezer does not “pop” when thrown in water the way that dry ice does, but this is an admittedly poor test.

    It should be relatively trivial to find 5 or 10 scientists with ultra low temp freezers, and place a weighed cup of dry ice in them to see what happens. I’m willing to do this, although to do it properly would require setting the temp down to -86 in the morning, then placing a weighed cup of dry ice in at at the end of the work day, so the internal freezer temp won’t be disturbed by people opening it up. So I wouldn’t have an answer until 10AM EDT Friday.

    But, from my past experience, this is unnecessary. The freezer manuals do not warn about the hazards of CO2 accumulation in the freezer, and I have never, in 20+ years of life sciences research, seen anything that looks or acts like CO2 snow. (I can tell you, however, what happens if you put a glass 20oz bottle of diet coke in the freezer to chill it, and then forget it’s there. It’s not pretty.)

    In fact, I’m rather embarrassed that I did not think of this rather obvious answer earlier. I’ll run the experiment if you want.

    REPLY: Hi Tom, Yes we’d love to see it, especially if you can take a photo or two along the way. Thanks for your kind offer. – Anthony Watts

  170. Tom says:

    Frank, if you open a tank of liquid CO2 at room temperature and pressure, you will get dry ice formation as the heat of vaporization drawn out of the CO2 by the fraction that evaporates lowers the temperature of the remaining liquid.

    The argument, as far as I can tell, is that at the atmospheric partial pressure of CO2, dry ice at -113F will sublimate faster than it forms (which may be different than how a pure CO2 atmosphere would behave). I am in a position to test this, as described above.

  171. Sandy says:

    So 1 m^3 of freezer space contains 380 cm^3 of CO2, ignoring colder => denser, this is approx .38/22 moles of CO2 @ 44g / mol, ie. 0.76 grams .
    As a quick bodge temp correction multiply by 300K/180K => 5/3 so I’ll offer 1.25g per m^3 as max achievable CO2 frosting.
    I’d be interested to know how you’ll get all the frosting to occur on the CO2 block?

  172. Frank Perdicaro says:

    An experiment would need to mimic the thermal gradient. -70C on one
    side, behind a good insulator, and 4K on the other side. (Space).

    What is the apparent sky temperature above a good insulator at the
    south pole? It has to be considerably lower than -70C, otherwise the
    ground would heat up. If somebody knows the night sky temp. at
    the south pole, we can get a good idea fairly quickly. Just consider
    the CO2 gas gravity-trapped in the pool to be a perfect black body
    radiator with zero heat capacity. How cold does the gas get? Cold
    enough to solidify?

    No partial pressure need be considered at this point. A post above
    noted that CO2 does condense out of the atmosphere in really cold
    cases. (LNG tanker)

    This will not be easy to model in a lab. The thermal gradient is too
    steep. I cannot think how I would model the radiational cooling
    frosts we get here in SoCal. It might be 75F during the day, but in
    winter when it gets down to 35F on a clear night, well-insulated
    roofs freeze, as will tall lawns. Pavement, even inches away,
    does not freeze or even get really cold.

  173. lweinstein says:

    I have not read all the responses, so if I am repeating someone, excuse me. I can assure you that the gas, even in small partial pressures, could freeze directly out and accumulate if the temperature were cold enough on Earth. However, the partial pressure of CO2 is so low on Earth (0.3 torr at sea level) that the equilibrium point at sea level (where it would accumulate for even a slightly lower temperature) is about -140 C (-220 F). At higher altitude, it is even lower. Thus CO2 will NOT accumulate at any temperature found on the poles. The problem is that- if the frozen CO2 vapor pressure is above the CO2 atmospheric partial pressure, the gas cannot accumulate on a surface because the sublimination rate would exceed the condensation rate. Mars has a partial pressure about 5 torr CO2, so can freeze and accumulate at local temperatures below about -80 C (-140 F), which do occur at the Mars pole.

  174. lweinstein says:

    My bad,

    The Mars pressure would require -122 C or lower (-187 F). I slipped up looking in the table. The Earth case is correct.

  175. lweinstein says:

    I think a comment is needed to reply to several posts. It is only the CO2 partial pressure that matters for balance between condensation and sublimation. The total pressure does not matter.

  176. lweinstein says:

    If my previous comments are not clear, the point is that even frozen materials have a surface vapor pressure, and that vapor pressure is strongly temperature dependent. CO2 vapor pressure vs temperature can be found in a handbook such as the handbook of Physics and Chemistry. Above a certain temperature, the condensation is gas to liquid (unless the pressure is too low for a liquid state), but below a critical temperature the condensation is gas to solid. Squirting liquid CO2 (which was under pressure) into a low pressure surrounding causes some to immediately boil off and freeze the rest due to heat of vaporization, but the dry ice will all evaporate if left in the lower pressure. It just takes a while to get the heat of sublimation. This is not a steady state situation, and does not apply to the present discussion.

  177. Tom says:

    Anthony, it may be staring me in the face, but I don’t see a direct email address for you. Email me at the address I’m using for this post so I can email you the photos and results.

    REPLY: sailing through the ether as we speak.

  178. Tom says:

    Sandy, the rated capacity of the freezer is 26 cu ft, but it is nearly completely filled with sample boxes. However, the door is normally opened several times a day, to add or retrieve samples, so there is ample opportunity for CO2 loading over the period between defrosts (usually at least one year apart). There is also a vacuum release vent that admits a small amount of air whenever the door is closed (ambient air drawn into the freezer when it is opened cools, resulting in pressure drop and partial vacuum that seals the door against further opening if the vent is blocked). The vent accumulates water ice; I lack the instruments to determine if the snow around the vent also contains CO2.

    Based on the arguments presented here, the two postulated outcomes are,
    1) significant loss of mass, as the sublimation rate exceeds the deposition rate
    2) no change, or negligible gain in mass.

    (I suspect that any gain in mass will evaporate on the short walk from the freezer to the balance.)

    It’s admittedly an imperfect experiment. But I expect the outcome will be rather obvious; the dry ice will be gone in the morning. We’ll see.

  179. Flanagan says:

    Well Anthony thank you for your personal implication in this stuff, and for the courage to recognize faults when you see them, even on your own blog :0)

    I hope this will settle the discussion, because it looks like these comments could go on and on for ever. IMHO this is because there is no “authority” on a blog. Even if I (or you or Phil or any other) says he’s a “specialist” on a topic, the absence of direct dialogue and possibility to verify such assertions provoke never-ending discussions.

  180. F. Ross says:

    Tom (21:45:57) :

    (I suspect that any gain in mass will evaporate on the short walk from the freezer to the balance.)

    In the interest of accuracy do you have any way to insulate/shield from heat gain during that walk to the balance? A pre-cooled container perhaps for transport? Or move the balance to the refrigerator?

    Interesting discussion.

  181. Jari says:

    Unfortunately Steven Goddard got this one completely wrong.

    The Argonne scientist got it wrong too.

    Phil is correct in this case.

    CO2 phase diagram is very simple in comparison to water phase diagram. Please study it. It is all in that diagram.

    The sublimation temperature of CO2 at 1 ATM is -78.5 C. At this temperature the vapor pressure of the solid CO2 is equal to the total pressure of the gas phase in contact with it which is 1 ATM. If the atmosphere would have 100% CO2, the pressure is 1 ATM and the temperature is -78.5 C, then an equal amount of CO2 is deposited as solid as is sublimed as gas. Things would be in balance. Again, if the atmosphere is 100% CO2, pressure is 1 ATM and the temperature is below -78.5 C, then more CO2 is deposited than sublimed (you are on the left side of the “solid-gas” line in the solid area in the phase diagram).

    When the pressure of CO2 goes down, the sublimation temperature goes down too. That is the “solid-gas” line in the phase diagram. With 385 ppm CO2 concentration the partial pressure of CO2 is so low that the temperatures needed for deposition to take place do not naturally occur on this planet.

    There is no freezing of CO2 below 5.11 ATM because liquid CO2 does not exist below 5.11 ATM. CO2 triple point is -56.6 C and 5.11 ATM. Below 5.11 ATM only solid and gas phases exist.

    There is no need to make any experiments about this (unless you want to learn thermodynamics). This has been experimented years ago, that’s why we have the accurate CO2 phase diagram available.

  182. lweinstein says:

    Jari has it exactly right. The temperature at which the vapor pressure of frozen CO2 exceeds the level in our atmosphere is -140 C ( -220 F)

  183. lweinstein says:

    Steve goddard,

    Atmospheric pressure has no effect on the vapor pressure of water or ice that has no heat being added, only the water or ice temperature. Boiling is a different phenomena in that it occurs when the vapor pressure reaches the local total pressure. Since the vapor pressure above water or ice cannot exceed the local total pressure, the vaporization removes heat by heat of vaporization or sublimation to cool the surface until the vapor pressure is matched. Boiling occurs when continual heat is added that has to be removed, and the continual vapor forming removes the heat.

  184. Ric Werme says:

    Tom (19:32:18) :

    The argument, as far as I can tell, is that at the atmospheric partial pressure of CO2, dry ice at -113F will sublimate faster than it forms (which may be different than how a pure CO2 atmosphere would behave).

    Exactly right, at least good enough for scientific work. To test Steven’s claim, you don’t even need the dry ice (except to maintain the concentration in the air in the freezer). Steven’s claim is that you can put an empty dish in the freezer and it will accumulate CO2 frost over time.

    How much of an issue is water ice condensation? It’s not a problem for your proposal as long as dry ice evaporates faster than water condenses. Indeed, absence of water ice formation would suggest that both water and CO2 concentrations are too low.

    Unfortunately, your result may not end the controversy. Assuming that your dry ice evaporates, critics can point out that the heat exchanger must be even colder than the contents of the freezer and that’s where CO2 condensation occurred.

  185. Michael Spencer says:

    I get impatient when I see >180 comments, but this has been a pretty good thread.

    Question, though: has anyone actually seen any CO2 ice at the site in question?

  186. Philip Mulholland says:

    George E. Smith (10:49:29) :

    My my George, that seems to be a little bit tetchy. Not your usual tone I trust and at variance with your comment # 142915 “I always learn something from other people’s posts”

    I am sorry that, unlike more skilled posters, I have to rely on words and links and not pictures to describe the temperature inversion seen at Dome A in still air.

    I hope by now you have had a chance to follow the link in my second post to the Australian Antarctic Division website where my quote of the 10C gradient comes from. I also thought that the meteorological term temperature inversion was understood. Here in the UK we have ground frosts and air frosts, this distinction is not esoteric.

    Maybe what I was taught in 1972 concerning the mechanism of the generation of cold deep bottom water in the modern world ocean no longer applies? Let us start at Dome A, for example, with its commonly occurring winter surface inversion generating cold air, (now that the sun is set and will not rise again at Dome A until 0605 UTC on 26th August 2009), the mixing and export of cold air down slope off the icecap forming the Katabatic winds that sweep down to the Weddell Sea . The generation of sea ice and the attendant production of Weddell Deep Water , the thermohaline circulation mechanism and its role in bottom water oxygenation and the consequent lack of sapropel deposits in modern ocean basins compared to the Cretaceous.

    Then we must consider the Tethys Ocean with its extensive epeiric seas and their attendant carbonate ramps generating warm dense saline bottom water and the lack of equivalent modern mid-latitude epeiric seas. The fact that exported warm saline Mediterranean bottom water , for example, is less dense than and floats above the cold saline polar bottom water of the bathyal Atlantic, giving us a glimpse of how the ocean circulation mechanism worked during the Cretaceous, when the world was warm.

    The modern world is a cold world George. I am still confident that our cold ocean world is due to the Antarctic icecap exporting heat to space and not the diurnal cooling of mid-latitude deserts.

  187. Gary Pearse says:

    Perhaps an indirect method of sequestering CO2 in the Antarctic: There is a differential solubility in water of the component gases in air that results in the preferential concentration of CO2 and, as is well known, it increases with declining temperature:

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/gases-solubility-water-d_1148.html

    Some solubilities in g/Kg at 0C, 10C and 20C

    Ar: 0.1g; 0.08g; 0.06g
    CH4: 0.28g; 0.22g; 0.14
    CO2: 3.4g, 2.5g 1.7g
    N2: 0.03g; 0.025g;0.02
    O2: 0.07g; 0.06g; 0.04g

    Look at the enormous solubility of CO2 relative to the other atmospheric gases. “Air” dissolved in water would therefore have a much higher concentration of CO2 to outgas – say if warm water circulated down to the Antarctic, thereby increasing the local atmospheric concentration of CO2. The CO2 could get quite high if a sub sea volcano were to feed in CO2. A breeze over the continent from the sea…… Recall mention in another post of dissolved CO2 in an East African Lake outgassing and killing a number of people. (OT; I’ve mentioned in another post the possibility of a terrible accident if we start sequestering CO2 in underground reservoirs….potential for breach…faults, seepage into a valley…). Perhaps some physical chemists may be able to carry this discussion further.

  188. Tom says:

    @ Ric Werme (04:46:22):

    I can only do the best with what I have. The simplest experiment would be to simply scoop out the frost from inside the freezer to see whether it contains more than 300ppm of CO2, but I don’t have the equipment to do that. I would not be surprised that CO2 could condense on a sufficiently cold surface, even at 1 ATM on Earth, but that temperature seems to be much lower (-140C I think). I could draw off some liquid nitrogen (-196C) from our dewar and collect the frost that accumulates on the braided steel transfer hose, but again, I don’t have the means to analyze it.

    It seems to be a prerequisite for the argument that CO2 would condense at Vostock that pre-formed dry ice at that temperature should not sublimate appreciably. I think I can test that.

  189. Frank Perdicaro says:

    Moderator:

    Last night’s comment about too steep a thermal gradient
    really was from me — but from another machine. The
    comment seems to have been filtered out. It is still
    pertinent, so feel free to include it.

    REPLY:AFAIK gone, but I don’t moderate overnight, sorry, feel free to resubmit- Anthony

  190. Paul Dennis says:

    can I add my two penneth to this debate, especially as someone who constantly works with CO2 in the lab and at low vapour pressures!

    The vapour pressure of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere is about 40Pa. For CO2 to begin to freeze, resulting in a solid, at this vapour pressure would require temperatures below about -140 degrees C.

    The statement at the top of this article by the scientist from the Argonne National Laboratory is simply wrong.

  191. Ric Werme says:

    George E. Smith (10:13:22) :

    I wouldn’t want to be David R Cook; at the Argonne labs; maybe tomorrow, his boss is gonna walk up to him and say; David you Ar gone from this place.

    I missed that yesterday. Oh, the Argony.

    I sent mail to Dr. Cook and the Ask-a-scientist site this morning and invited him to post here or give me something to post on his behalf.

    REPLY: “Argony” is the inert form of “Irony”, it does not react to air, hot or cold. ;-) – Anthony

  192. Ric Werme says:

    I just heard from Dr. Cook, I think this warrants an update to the top of the page. It looks like Dr. Cook isn’t considering the vapor pressure of CO2 in well mixed atmosphere, since the vapor pressure of CO2 requires the -140 F temperature in the estimates above.

    Ric,

    You are correct. In my attempts at being simplistic I made a mistake in my answer to “Freezing CO2″ on the Ask-A-Scientist page. -57 C is the boiling point of CO2. The freezing point of CO2 at atmospheric pressure is -78.5 C (-109.3 F). If the temperature reaches -113 F at Vostok, Antarctica, some carbon dioxide might freeze out of the air, assuming that the carbon dioxide vapor pressure drops to its saturation vapor pressure.

    The vapor pressure must reach the saturation vapor pressure for dew or frost to form. This happens at the dew point or frost point temperature, which is dependent on atmospheric pressure and the absolute amount of vapor in the air. As atmospheric temperature increases, the dew/frost point temperature increases. As atmospheric pressure increases, the vapor pressure increases. At very low temperatures, the dew/frost point temperature is very low.

    When the temperature of the surface (whether grass or a car window) is below freezing, frost will usually form instead of dew, although water can be super-cooled and not produce dew, fog, or clouds in some cases. Surfaces on the Earth cool off sooner than the air, so dew/frost will normally form on them before fog (water or ice) forms in the air.

    The temperature being at “freezing” or below does not imply that frost will form on surfaces or in the air. The vapor pressure must be high enough (saturation vapor pressure) and the temperature low enough (the frost point temperature) for frost to form.

    REPLY: Thanks Ric, I’m going to make a summary post, it will be included there. – Anthony

  193. mkurbo says:

    Absolutely great debate ! A fine example of what has been missing in the climate debate. An open and real time exchange of ideas that reflect primary understandings, but does not exclude experiences or new thinking and data.

  194. AndyW says:

    The great thing about science is that theory has to be proved by experiment and therefore before anyone says that Steve’s claim of –

    “According to Weather Underground, Vostok, Antarctica is forecast to reach -113F on Friday. That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.

    is wrong I’d like to point out that

    1) It ain’t Friday
    2) When it is Friday it’s going to be hard to disprove unless you are actually on site.

    So in theory you may have your own conclusion but in actuality the actual proof one way or another is unlikely to ever be published.

    Not that I condone tabloid headlines of course.

    Oh, and what is this F stuff ? We don’t do polar extent in square furlongs anymore so lets drop the silly old fashioned temp scales.

    C or K please, preferably C.

    Regards

    Andy

  195. AndyW35 says:

    The great thing about science is that theory has to be proved by experiment and therefore before anyone says that Steve’s claim of –

    “According to Weather Underground, Vostok, Antarctica is forecast to reach -113F on Friday. That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.

    is wrong I’d like to point out that

    1) It ain’t Friday
    2) When it is Friday it’s going to be hard to disprove unless you are actually on site.

    So in theory you may have your own conclusion but in actuality the actual proof one way or another is unlikely to ever be published.

    Not that I condone tabloid headlines of course.

    Oh, and what is this F stuff ? We don’t do polar extent in square furlongs anymore so lets drop the silly old fashioned temp scales.

    C or K please, preferably C.

    Regards

    Andy

  196. Kevin McKinney says:

    Since you guys don’t believe that we can accurately measure temperatures on Earth, why would you think that we can accurately measure them on Mars?

  197. Hank says:

    All this chatter about phase diagrams but I didn’t see anyone mention the 3D – phase diagram.

    http://biomodel.uah.es/Jmol/plots/phase-diagrams/

  198. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Philip Mulholland (05:00:15) :

    George E. Smith (10:49:29) :

    My my George, that seems to be a little bit tetchy. Not your usual tone I trust and at variance with your comment # 142915 “I always learn something from other people’s posts” “””

    Sorry Philip; it wasn’t meant to come out that way. And I posted before I even looked at your link to A-dome. Now I have a nice pretty picture of that week or so of data, ands a new favorite’s link on my browser.

    If you are an A-Dome denizen, expect to see me in the area; I collect cold places to learn about; so thanks for another one.

    Your post did raise one thing I had a problem with. The exact link you gave was a graph that did not have a plot for the sub-surface 10 metre data. It was listed on the legend but with no color bar, and of course no graph.

    So Unfortunately I was not able to see the anomaly you raised; so sorry can’t even guess; but I do like the data that was there anyway; and I am sure I can find a graph that has the -10 metre line.

    The huge air height gradient you alluded two is pretty spectacular.

    But anyway; my apologies for being rude; that isn’t my usual me.

    Do they really think Dome-A is going to pan out colder than Vostok; and what do they figure the ice thickness is there. I presume that some Aussies plan bore some holes there. But yes that 1m, 2m, 4m differential is awesome.

    The reason I was originally intrigued by the possibility of dry ice down there was, I imagined the atmosphere sans any kind of GHGs to speak off and how close to being in outer space that would be; in terms of falling off the bottom of the temperature scale. I guess that’s not to be. I did like the “dewpoint” graphs from Vostok; and the idea of a CO2 “dewpoint” is even weirder; you can brek your knuckles on some of that “dew”.

    Humble George

  199. George E. Smith says:

    One other thing Philip.

    I have on several occasions posed the question: Why on earth do they have all that ice down in Antarctica and also up in the Arctic ocean where it melts back every year. It is important because when it melts leaving ocean that absorbs sunlight; we lose albedo, and gain near black body absorption.

    Well we don’t have tons of ice all over the place in Silicon Valley; yet we have plenty of water around, in the Bay, and off the coast. I think the answer lies in all that sunshine that California is famous for .

    It appears that the Arctic, and the Antarctic must be severely deprived of sunlight; and I’ll bet that is why it is so bloody cold in those places. It is NOT cold there because of all of that ice and snow; and your Dome_A graphs prove that; at the coldest times the air is even colder than the ice; so the ice certainly isn’t making things cold; it is there ONLY because it is cold; and it is cold ONLY because THERE’S NOT MUCH SUNLIGHT.

    And of course since there is not much sunlight anyway; it matters very little that the arctic ice melts and turns into a black body absorber; there ain’t much of anything to absorb anyway. So the effect of polar albedo is pretty minor in the overall scheme of things.

    Climatology seems to get the cart before the horse all the time.
    The surface Temperature changes CAUSE atmospheric CO2 changes; NOT the other way round. The polar regions have a lot of ice because it is lacking sunlight and therefore cold; NOT the other way round. You get wispy high clouds at night BECAUSE it is warm and balmy; and no clouds at night BECAUSE it is cold and dry; NOT the other way round.

    AlGore gets the correlation; he just doesn’t get the causality.

    End of Rant.

  200. Gary Pearse says:

    Anthony, as I mentioned above:

    Perhaps an indirect method of sequestering CO2 in the Antarctic: There is a differential solubility in water of the component gases in air that results in the preferential concentration of CO2 and, as is well known, it increases with declining temperature:

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/gases-solubility-water-d_1148.html

    I should add that, not only would the cold antarctic waters hold more CO2, in the depths of winter, but when the water is freezing, the CO2 also outgasses from the ice. This would make for a higher CO2 concentration in a layer that might blow into the interior and freeze. What would be the result of, say 0.07% CO2 at -85 C? I think this should be at least examined in any post that is done on sequestration of CO2 rather than looking only at a steady 0.037%. Taken a step further, if atmospheric CO2 continues to rise reaching say 0.1% then some where near this amount might represent the maximum level as any additional CO2 might be sequestered in equilibrium.

    REPLY: I’m not sure your analogy works well at Vostok Station. On this website they talk about the lack of CO2 in the air at Vostok Station affecting human existence there.

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Vostok_Station

    – A partial pressure of gases that is different from that which most humans are used to.
    – A lack of carbon dioxide in the air, which leads to irregularities in a person’s breathing mechanism.

    – Anthony

  201. dean says:

    “- A partial pressure of gases that is different from that which most humans are used to.
    – A lack of carbon dioxide in the air, which leads to irregularities in a person’s breathing mechanism.

    – Anthony”

    please pardon my ignorance, but why is there less carbon dioxide in the air at Vostok Station? Would a person climbing Mt Everest face similar challenges?
    –dean

  202. George E. Smith says:

    “”” “”” dean (14:21:00) :

    please pardon my ignorance, but why is there less carbon dioxide in the air at Vostok Station? Would a person climbing Mt Everest face similar challenges?
    –dean “””

    Well the altitude at Vostok Station is some 11,443 feet above sea level, so the atmosperic pressure is much lower than at sea level.

    People climbing Mt Everest may have similar problems to Vostokese

  203. Hans Erren says:

    Could you please use degrees Celsius, like the rest of the world does?
    Or if you must use Fahrenheit, please use both C and F?

  204. Philip Mulholland says:

    George E. Smith (11:08:56) :
    Hi George,
    Thank you for that, you’re a gentleman.
    Yes Dome A is one of my favourite sites and I’m happy to talk more about it :-)
    First things first, the sub-surface 10 metre temperature line is a very faint yellow colour and may be difficult to see on your monitor. It is just below the 3m brown trace on this week’s graph at about -57.5C and above the 1m cyan trace which is at -60C today. The mauve sub-surface 0.1m trace is powering away down to -63C as this winter’s cold kicks in. From this we can estimate the ice surface temperature as being no warmer than -63C today and probably lower when the air is still and the temperature inversion is strongest. We can deduce this because the 0.1m sub-surface temperature continues to drop day on day, as the ice surface looses heat to space.

    It’s late here and the boss is looking at her watch, so I’ll continue this tomorrow.

  205. peter_dtm says:

    now I am totally confused – and yes I revised the phase states via Phil’s reference (thanks)

    I think the argument is this

    -103 f is cold enough for solid CO2 (at NORMAL pressure -103f is in the SOLID part of the phase state diagram)

    to be liquid CO2 needs a pressure of some 5atm.

    I do NOT see the relevance of this statement. Surely we have a vapour/solid phase transition at -103C at NORMAL pressure ?

    So is -103 f cold enough at 1 atm for a vapour/solid (deposition) phase change ?

    If the answer is YES then surely there may be some deposition

    So what we have is a problem in the title – NO CONDENSATION is not possible BUT deposition IS and you will be able to find solid CO2 …

    I think that is where I got confused; can some one (Phil et al) confirm ??

  206. George E. Smith says:

    well Hans; we don’t really use Temperature any more when it comes to climate; we use anomaly instead, in which case it only matters what the base line period is; and degrees don’t matter.

    This is done for the benefit of Al Gore, so he can plot graphs without a scale.

    But it wasn’t us that gave the world the Fahrenheit degree. Why on earth would anybody set the zero of their scale at 32 instead of zero; and why would they have a range of 180, instead of 100

    I like Kelvins myself; but then the guy’s name wasn’t even Kelvin anyway.

    I don’t think we invented barns or parsecs either; let alone using the barn parsec as a unit of volume; I would steer clear of that one if I were you.
    And what was the point of that 1/10,000 of the earth’s quadrant of latitude though Paris; that’s nearly as arcane as the size of somebody’s foot; everybody caries a couple of Paris quadrants in their pocket.

    But i’m with you on old F. I get tired of the add 40, times 5/9 or 9/5, and subtract 40 ritual; never can tell if I’m going the right way.

    We’ll take up your suggestion.

  207. peter_dtm says:

    just noted I had a major mis-typing session & kept using 103F instead of 113F

  208. Ed Snack says:

    Can I suggest that we have reached a conclusion, and sorry, Steve Goddard, but in this case you are incorrect and it is time to review your understanding of the matter. It is quite clear from the relevant equations and data that at the current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, that it will not condense until the temperature reaches around -140 C. Thus at -90 at Vostok there will be no CO2 ice formation under normal circumstances. Thank you Phil, Dennis. George, and others.

    If one was to create an area of high concentration CO2 at Vostok, one could see condensation if the partial pressure was high enough. Also, it appears, and correct me if I’m wrong, that if one created a block of solid CO2 and put it outside at Vostok at -90, it would not sublime, which seems a little paradoxical.

  209. Glenn says:

    dean (14:21:00) :

    “- A partial pressure of gases that is different from that which most humans are used to.
    – A lack of carbon dioxide in the air, which leads to irregularities in a person’s breathing mechanism.

    – Anthony”

    please pardon my ignorance, but why is there less carbon dioxide in the air at Vostok Station? Would a person climbing Mt Everest face similar challenges?
    –dean

    Seems to be an inconsistency between the claim of no CO2 to breath and the ice cores at Vostok:

    How would CO2 get in the ice from the atmosphere and bypass the level humans breath in?

  210. lweinstein says:

    It appears many people do not read the other posts (like Phil’s and Jari’s and mine). If the CO2 were at a pressure of one atmosphere (that is the local atmosphere were almost totally CO2), there would be some CO2 frost forming at -113 F. However at the actual concentration of 385 ppm (at sea level) the partial pressure is only about 0.3 torr, and the temperature to form CO2 frost is -220 F (-140 C). At higher altitudes, the partial pressure is even lower, so the temperature to form CO2 frost is even lower. Please read the other posts and quit going back and forth on total vs partial pressure as being critical to the process. CO2 frost cannot form at Earth’s poles.

  211. Ric Werme says:

    peter_dtm (15:45:28) :

    > I think the argument is this

    > -113 f is cold enough for solid CO2 (at NORMAL pressure -113f is in the SOLID part of the phase state diagram)

    CO2 can exist as a solid at that temperature or lower or a little higher.

    > to be liquid CO2 needs a pressure of some 5atm.

    > I do NOT see the relevance of this statement.

    It has no relevance in this discussion unless someone were to start talking about CO2 fire extinguishers containing liquid CO2. And that would be Off Topic, which never happens. Or “I wonder how a CO2 fire extinguisher would work at Vostok?” But you didn’t hear that from me.

    > So is -113 f cold enough at 1 atm for a vapour/solid (deposition) phase change ?

    Yes, but…. If the atmosphere is all CO2, then deposition will occur. At Vostok it isn’t, and a block of CO2 will sublimate and none will deposit.

    > So what we have is a problem in the title – NO CONDENSATION is not possible BUT deposition IS and you will be able to find solid CO2 …

    Condensation and deposition are essentially the same. The title has a question mark: “CO2 condensation in Antarctica at -113F?”, the answer is “No!”

    At a molecular level there’s always an exchange of CO2 molecules between ice and vapor. The warm (relatively speaking) ice will be shedding molecules readily, but the low vapor pressure of CO2 in the air means not very many CO2 molecules will be hitting the ice or be captured by it.

    Down at -140F, then the ice will really hang on to its molecules, and it will be releasing about as many as it captures from the air. Below that temperature, CO2 vapor will condense faster than the ice sublimates, but it will be a slow process.

    Hope this helps!

    BTW, if the CO2 extinguisher is left outside, it will be frozen solid so you should throw the block of dry ice at the fire you want out, and light a new fire to heat up the extinguisher.

    I’m sure that doesn’t help. :-)

  212. Ric Werme says:

    George E. Smith (15:52:31) :

    > But I’m with you on old F. I get tired of the add 40, times 5/9 or 9/5, and subtract 40 ritual; never can tell if I’m going the right way.

    Hey, that’s the formula Dad taught me! So much better than the infinitude of other formulae. It’s 9/5 going to F – I remember it because Fahrenheit temps are larger than Celcius except in a rather small range.

    $ units
    2438 units, 71 prefixes, 32 nonlinear units
    
    You have: barn
    You want: cm^2
            * 1e-24
            / 1e+24
    
    You have: parsec
    You want: m
            * 3.0856776e+16
            / 3.2407793e-17
    
    You have: barn * parsec
    You want: furlong^3
            * 3.7903023e-19
            / 2.638312e+18
    
    You have: barn * parsec
    You want: nanogill
            * 26.084793
            / 0.038336513
    

    I.e. a barn parsec is 26 nanogills. Remarkable something that long can be so small.

  213. Glenn says:

    AndyW35 (10:02:22) :

    “The great thing about science is that theory has to be proved by experiment and therefore before anyone says that Steve’s claim of –

    “According to Weather Underground, Vostok, Antarctica is forecast to reach -113F on Friday. That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.”

    One thing needing to be shown is the concentration of CO2 in the air at Vostok.

  214. Phil. says:

    Glenn (18:31:12) :
    One thing needing to be shown is the concentration of CO2 in the air at Vostok.

    Would the South Pole do?

  215. Glenn says:

    Phil. (23:48:13) :

    “Glenn (18:31:12) :
    One thing needing to be shown is the concentration of CO2 in the air at Vostok.

    Would the South Pole do?”

    Would the latest measure be the same at all altitudes and locations?

  216. lweinstein says:

    Ed Snack

    In order for CO2 to sublime, energy is needed to overcome the heat of fusion. At the lower temperature at the South Pole, the cold surrounding would result in a low heat transfer rate, so it would sublime slowly. Nevertheless it would sublime. If a CO2 block at atmospheric conditions anywhere is put in a well insulated container, again the heat transfer rate would be greatly reduced, so it would sublimes slowly. Don’t confuse energy for phase changes and energy flux rates with steady state processes. CO2 will not condense/freeze at the South Pole period.

  217. lweinstein says:

    Ric Werme

    That is -140 C not F. This corresponds to -220F.

  218. lweinstein says:

    If the temperature were below -71 F, a CO2 fire extinguisher would have solid CO2 inside, but would still be at a slight pressure. Below -108 F, the pressure would be below atmospheric. In all cases below -71 F, they would not work.

  219. lweinstein says:

    Hans Errin

    I also wish all would use C rather than F. Having both (like feet and meters) is a possible source of error. A spacecraft was lost due to the feet to meter problem. However, the Americans and British insist on holding on to feet and F, so you have to grin and bear it.

  220. David L. Hagen says:

    Correction on temperature units to Praxair’s The facts about Carbon dioxide

    . . . For your reference the text should read:
    (temperatures are in degrees Celsius)

    Physical properties of Carbon Dioxide

    Boiling Point at 1atm -56.6°C
    Freezing Point at 1atm -78.5°C
    Density of the gas at 21.1°C 1.977kg/m3
    and 1atm . . .

    Abbey Bacak
    Engineering Manager – GSS CO2
    Praxair Inc.

  221. Gary Pearse says:

    Glen, Phil

    No CO2 in air at Vostok:

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Vostok_Station

    Anthony sent me this when I was blabbing on about a way CO2 could concentrate in the region (high CO2 in the cold water, outgassing when freezing)

  222. Tom says:

    Dry ice placed in a -82C freezer overnight in an open container completely sublimated overnight. Dry ice placed in a zip top bag (so that the atmosphere in the bag with the dry ice would be nearly 100% CO2) retained >90% of its mass. Anthony has pictures.

    Answer: For normal atmospheric concentrations of CO2, at -82C it sublimates faster than it freezes. CO2 “snow” will not accumulate at Vostock station or anywhere else.

    REPLY: Agreed. Tom sent me photos via email showing this, and I’ll put up a summary post tonight. Tom if you are reading, I sent you an email, some of the photos sent I can’t open. Can you place them on an http or ftp server someplace for direct download? Please reply to my email sent.

    – Anthony

  223. Don S. says:

    Well, since a consensus seems unlikely, we should form a committee to lobby Catlin to send an expedition. In short order the answer will be known beyond all reasonable doubt.

  224. Michael J. Dunn says:

    Regarding the information from Praxair, they have erroneously given a “boiling point” temperature of -56.6 C at 1 atm. This is the temperature of the triple point (-56.57 C), which occurs at a pressure of 5.185 bars (5.117 atm). The definition of the triple point precludes liquid/vapor thermodynamic transitions at lower pressures. Please consult the Wikipedia entry on carbon dioxide [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide, with extended data page at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_(data_page)].

    I cannot determine the “state” of the discussion at this point, but I would like to remind everyone that physico-chemical state diagrams are premised on the pressure of the chemical constituent. The boundary between liquid and vapor (or solid and vapor) represents the vapor pressure in equilibrium with the liquid (or solid) at that temperature. Adjacent to the surface of the material, that is the pressure of the vapor that may be evaporating or subliming—provided that the partial pressure of that compound in the ambient air is lower (so that the vapor can physically diffuse away from the surface). If the partial pressure of the compound is higher, there is no way for evaporation or sublimation to occur, and instead the vapor will condense or freeze. Don’t get hung up on partial pressure vs. total pressure as signifying some kind of mechanical environment. So far as these processes are concerned, partial pressure is directly analogous to a chemical concentration.

  225. Ric Werme says:

    lweinstein (04:49:41) :

    > Ric Werme

    > That is -140 C not F. This corresponds to -220F.

    Oh dang. I almost went and checked before I posted. That does it – I’m not posting another Fahrenheit temperature in any discussion that involves CO2. Thanks, I likely would have used that bogus temperature elsewhere.

    I may also silently convert F->C in anything I quote too.

  226. Ric Werme says:

    Tom (08:21:51) :

    > Dry ice placed in … in an open container completely sublimated overnight. Dry ice placed in a zip top bag … retained >90% of its mass.

    That’s interesting. I wonder how long dry ice remains in a home freezer, bagged, wrapped in newspaper, or bare. Or in a bubble-wrap bag. That could be useful, maybe even the start of a new old-wives’ tale.

    Good job!

  227. George E. Smith says:

    “”” A lack of carbon dioxideCarbon dioxide
    in the air, which leads to irregularities in a person’s breathing mechanism. “””

    Notice it says a “lack” of carbon dioxide; it does not say an “absence” of carbon dioxide.

    I would venture that both the lower pressure, and the very low water vapor, as well as lower partial pressure of CO2 all conspire to inhibit breathing at Vostok.

  228. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Ric Werme (18:29:23) :

    George E. Smith (15:52:31) :

    > But I’m with you on old F. I get tired of the add 40, times 5/9 or 9/5, and subtract 40 ritual; never can tell if I’m going the right way.

    Hey, that’s the formula Dad taught me! So much better than the infinitude of other formulae. It’s 9/5 going to F – I remember it because Fahrenheit temps are larger than Celcius except in a rather small range.

    $ units
    2438 units, 71 prefixes, 32 nonlinear units

    You have: barn
    You want: cm^2
    * 1e-24
    / 1e+24

    You have: parsec
    You want: m
    * 3.0856776e+16
    / 3.2407793e-17

    You have: barn * parsec
    You want: furlong^3
    * 3.7903023e-19
    / 2.638312e+18

    You have: barn * parsec
    You want: nanogill
    * 26.084793
    / 0.038336513
    I.e. a barn parsec is 26 nanogills. Remarkable something that long can be so small. “””

    Well Ric, that formula simply acknowledges the fact that the Celsius (Centigrade) and Fahrenheit scales cross at -40.

    So for either temperature, if you add 40 you simply shift the origin to the crossover point and then the conversion is simply the 9:5 slope ratio. And then you have to restore the original origin with the -40. QED

    I’d rather stay away from those nanogills; as a devoted SW fly fisherman, I am into the megagills; and may in my old age gravitate simply to gills when I become a trout fisherman.

    George

  229. wattsupwiththat says:

    UPDATE: I got the freezer photos from Tom, with no errors, and I’ll write up a complete summary post on it all tonight – Anthony

  230. George E. Smith says:

    Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution for an ideal gas; Distribution of molecular velocities.

    f(v) = (1/N)dN/dv = 4pi.v^2(m/2pi.kT)^3/2 e^(- mv^2/2kT)

    The v in f(v) is a vector velocity, N is the number of particles, m is the particle mass, and k is Boltzmann’s constant.

    The result is a non Gaussian assymmetrical distribution, which has a long high velocity tail on it, representing higher energy molecules.

    A somewhat similar velocity distribution occurs in the solid; modified by the fact that the molecules in a solid are not entirely free as they are in an ideal gas.

    The solid stays put because intermolecular forces hold the molecules together in the solid state; and often these binding forces are stronger at the surface because of the lack of adjacent molecules outside the solid surface pulling the other way. this surface effect is often describes as a “work function” or some such, and is a measure of the energy required to knock a molecule or atom off the solid surface. In liquids, surface tension plays a similar role.

    But now we have that M-B velocity distribution with its high energy tail; so there are always some rag tag molecules/atoms that are more energetic than others; and some have enough energy to overcome the work function binding energy and fly off the surface into obliviousness (in the open).

    So in a vaccuum, almost anything can ultimately evaporate/sublime if you will; even your spacecraft.

    So a block of dry ice sitting there in a vaccuum at -113 deg C will lose some molecules; and the number being lost increases with v which increases with temperature.

    If the solid is now place in a closed volume; then those escaping molecules/atoms accumulate in the “atmosphere” that occupies the rest of the closed space. The only species that matters much is the species of which the solid is made (assuming that the other species do not chemically react with the solid, although some of them may adhere to the surface; but presumably not too many will have enough kinetic energy to actually penetrate into the solid.

    Of course in the solid state diffusion case; of interest to semiconductor technology; you actually want some of the vapor phase molecules/atoms to have enough energy to penetrate into the solid to change its electrical properties.

    But at -113 deg C at Vostok; you are not going to do a whole lot of solid state diffusion into a block of dry ice.

    So the homospecies molecules accumulating in the atmosphere, will eventually encounter the solid surface; maybe even with a higher energy obtained in collsions with other gas molecules; but in any case with the velocity vector towards the solid, rather than away from it; so some of them will stick to the solid, which is a dposition or condensation process.

    As the concentration of the species in the atmosphere increases, the number of collisions with the surface increases, until eventually the number arriving and sticking is equal to the number that are leaving; and at that point the mass loss from the solid will stop; but the dynamic equelibrium exchange between the solid and the vapor continuesw on but with no net gain or loss in mass of the solid. And this is the equilibrium saturated vapor pressure of the homospecies; that is necessary to maintain the equilibrium state dictated by the phase diagram.

    To the extent that there are other heterospecies atoms or molecules present in the atmosphere, they may apply a volume compression pressure to the solid; but to a large extent; they cannot interfere with the surface escape process of the homospecies molecules.

    In a liquid on the other hand, the pressure of all the heterospecies components of the atmosphere change the internal pressure of the liquid; and so they prevent the formation of homospecies vapor bubbles in the bulk volume of the liquid; untll the temperature rises to a point where the equilibrium vapor pressure of the homospecies becomes equal to the total ambient pressure (in the bulk) plus the needed surface tension over pressure required for vapor bubbles to grwo in the bulk; and that condition is the definition of “boiling”.

    But boiling cannot occur at a temperature below the triple point of the three phase system.

    George

  231. Phil. says:

    Glenn (01:24:31) :
    Phil. (23:48:13) :

    “Glenn (18:31:12) :
    One thing needing to be shown is the concentration of CO2 in the air at Vostok.

    Would the South Pole do?”

    Would the latest measure be the same at all altitudes and locations?

    The volume fraction should certainly be the same at Vostok and the South Pole, the partial pressure will be different because of the altitude difference.

    Gary Pearse (06:08:17) :
    Glen, Phil

    No CO2 in air at Vostok:

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Vostok_Station

    ‘lack of’ is not the same as ‘absence’, as at any other high altitude locale the partial pressure of CO2 will drop with atmospheric pressure. The body senses pCO2 (in carotid artery and cerebrospinal fluid) and the breathing rate is adjusted by the respiratory center of the brain. This can lead to difficulty breathing which is why they warn about it at the Vostok site.

  232. Smokey says:

    Phil.,

    Thank you for posting the change in CO2 levels at the South Pole: click

    It’s interesting to compare that CO2 graph with the declining temperatures measured at the South Pole: click

    How about that correlation? It’s yet another nail in the coffin of the repeatedly falsified CO2=runaway AGW conjecture.

  233. Philip Mulholland says:

    George E. Smith (11:31:53) :

    Hi George,
    Continuing from yesterday

    The thickness of ice at Dome A? Estimated to be more than 3000 metres. See http://www.sciencepoles.org/index.php?/articles_interviews/frozen_grail_dome_a_and_the_future_of_ice_coring_in_antarctica/&uid=1395 and plans to core this ice.

    “It appears that the Arctic, and the Antarctic must be severely deprived of sunlight” In winter time yes of course, see this cloud montage and explanation for the two solstices, December 2004 & June 2005 http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6125

    Ciao
    Philip

  234. Glenn says:

    Phil. (12:19:57) :

    “Glenn (01:24:31) :
    Phil. (23:48:13) :

    “Glenn (18:31:12) :
    One thing needing to be shown is the concentration of CO2 in the air at Vostok.

    Would the South Pole do?”

    Would the latest measure be the same at all altitudes and locations?

    The volume fraction should certainly be the same at Vostok and the South Pole, the partial pressure will be different because of the altitude difference.”

    Volume fraction is concentration. Vostok and the South Pole are at different altitudes. What do you say to this?:

    “The observed CO2 concentration is generally high in low altitude and low in high altitude. High CO2 concentration relative to the average CO2 distribution is sometimes observed during the flights. Its difference is about 8 ppmv at most. Trajectory analysis suggests that the observed air with high CO2 concentration is often affected by continental outflow. The averaged CO2 vertical distribution shows seasonal difference. The CO2 concentration decreases with altitude in winter at all latitude…”

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002AGUFM.A62B0151W

  235. lweinstein says:

    There has been agreement among those that are familiar with the thermodynamics of CO2. There is no need to have a vote. There can be no solid CO2 layer at any temperature encountered at the South Pole or other location on the surface of Earth at the temperatures or CO2 levels presently available or projected. I do not understand why there is still some that seem uncertain.

  236. Phil. says:

    Volume fraction is concentration. Vostok and the South Pole are at different altitudes. What do you say to this?:

    It has absolutely nothing to do with the Antarctic.

    “The observed CO2 concentration is generally high in low altitude and low in high altitude. High CO2 concentration relative to the average CO2 distribution is sometimes observed during the flights. Its difference is about 8 ppmv at most. Trajectory analysis suggests that the observed air with high CO2 concentration is often affected by continental outflow. The averaged CO2 vertical distribution shows seasonal difference. The CO2 concentration decreases with altitude in winter at all latitude…”

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2002AGUFM.A62B0151W

  237. wattsupwiththat says:

    As promised, I have a new article on the subject which resolves the issues raised here.

    See:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/13/results-lab-experiment-regarding-co2-snow-in-antarctica-at-113%C2%B0f-80-5%C2%B0c-not-possible/

  238. E.M.Smith says:

    Hans Erren (15:09:41) : Could you please use degrees Celsius, like the rest of the world does? Or if you must use Fahrenheit, please use both C and F?

    FWIW, I just have a little spread sheet open with the C to F (and any other thermometers of interest…) listed side by side in about 10 degree increments. Some odd number comes in, I just type it in one of the “from” cells and read the “to” cell (though most of the time I have a “grasp” of the size in both units, sometimes it goes outside my ken…)

    And while some folks may be all worked up about what unit to use, the older units have there virtues. F for example has greater precision in the whole degrees. If you convert from F to C you must either lose precision (admitting that the C.x has a not quite right .x portion) or have False Precision by claiming that the .x part is fully accurate and precise… (What GIStemp does.) So if you like a bit more precision in your “XX degrees today” weather forecast, F has it. (And a few other features that I won’t go into here.)

    BTW, those who find metric so wonderful, consider the ease with precision that can be gained doing math in fractions when there are no calculators. That is, IMHO, why “factor rich” numbers were used for measurement systems in the past. (360 degrees, 60 minutes, 12 inches, etc). “10” is spectacularly factor poor…

    Also, the “foot” and the “rod” are not nearly as “unscientific” as folks think…

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/chasing-the-greek-foot/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/making-an-english-foot/

    So while I’m quite comfortable working in metric units, I’m also quite happy to keep on using “traditional” units. Sometimes I even use them together … The science does not depend on the units and the units don’t know they are part of a “system” and are supposed to discriminate against the other “system”… they all play well together if you let them…)

    And when I’m trying to work something out without benefit of a calculator, those factor rich fraction friendly systems do have an advantage…

  239. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and per the wiki article it looks like the F scale had a similar goal of factor rich along with a desire for ease of division precisely:

    “According to a letter Fahrenheit wrote to his friend Herman Boerhaave,[5] his scale built on the work of Ole Rømer, whom he had met earlier. In Rømer’s scale, the two fixed reference points are that brine also freezes at 0 degrees and water boils at 60 degrees.

    Here we see that the base system started with 60 divisions. Why 60? Look at the number of factors of 60 and ask why are there 60 minutes in an hour?…

    The “brine” in question being “The zero point is determined by placing the thermometer in brine: he used a mixture of ice, water, and ammonium chloride, a salt. This is a type of frigorific mixture. The mixture automatically stabilizes its temperature at 0 °F.”

    “He observed that, on this scale, water freezes at 7.5 degrees. Fahrenheit multiplied each value by four in order to eliminate fractions and increase the granularity of the scale (resulting in 30 and 240 degrees, respectively).
    he adjusted the scale so that the melting point of ice would be 32 degrees, so that 64 intervals would separate the two, allowing him to mark degree lines on his instruments by simply bisecting the interval six times (since 64 is 2 to the sixth power).”

    So you can see that the old systems are no so much “unscientific” as they are suited for fractions and “factor rich” or “division friendly”.

    Or put another way, perhaps metric is for people who can’t do fractions ;-)

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