Bombshell from Bristol: Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing? – study says “no”

Controversial new climate change results

University of Bristol Press release issued 9 November 2009

bristol_university_logo

New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now.

This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.

The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket. Dr Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol found that in fact the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has only been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, which is essentially zero.

The strength of the new study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, is that it rests solely on measurements and statistical data, including historical records extracted from Antarctic ice, and does not rely on computations with complex climate models.

This work is extremely important for climate change policy, because emission targets to be negotiated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen early next month have been based on projections that have a carbon free sink of already factored in. Some researchers have cautioned against this approach, pointing at evidence that suggests the sink has already started to decrease.

So is this good news for climate negotiations in Copenhagen? “Not necessarily”, says Knorr. “Like all studies of this kind, there are uncertainties in the data, so rather than relying on Nature to provide a free service, soaking up our waste carbon, we need to ascertain why the proportion being absorbed has not changed”.

Another result of the study is that emissions from deforestation might have been overestimated by between 18 and 75 per cent. This would agree with results published last week in Nature Geoscience by a team led by Guido van der Werf from VU University Amsterdam. They re-visited deforestation data and concluded that emissions have been overestimated by at least a factor of two.

###

Here is the abstract from GRL:

Several recent studies have highlighted the possibility that the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems have started losing part of their ability to sequester a large proportion of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This is an important claim, because so far only about 40% of those emissions have stayed in the atmosphere, which has prevented additional climate change.

This study re-examines the available atmospheric CO2 and emissions data including their uncertainties. It is shown that with those uncertainties, the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, i.e. close to and not significantly different from zero. The analysis further shows that the statistical model of a constant airborne fraction agrees best with the available data if emissions from land use change are scaled down to 82% or less of their original estimates. Despite the predictions of coupled climate-carbon cycle models, no trend in the airborne fraction can be found.

Knorr, W. (2009), Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L21710, doi:10.1029/2009GL040613.

According to Pat Michaels at World Climate Report:

Dr. Knorr carefully analyzed the record of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and anthropogenic land-use changes for the past 150 years. Keeping in mind the various sources of potential errors inherent in these data, he developed several different possible solutions to fitting a trend to the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. In all cases, he found no significant trend (at the 95% significance level) in airborne fraction since 1850.

(Note: It is not that the total atmospheric burden of CO2 has not been increasing over time, but that of the total CO2 released into the atmosphere each year by human activities, about 45% remains in the atmosphere while the other 55% is taken up by various natural processes—and these percentages have not changed during the past 150 years)

Here is Figure 1 from the Knorr paper:

knorr_figure1

Figure 1. The annual increase in atmospheric CO2 (as determined from ice cores, thin dotted lines, and direct measurements, thin black line) has remained constantly proportional to the annual amount of CO2 released by human activities (thick black line). The proportion is about 46% (thick dotted line). (Figure source: Knorr, 2009)

The conclusion of the Knorr paper reads:

Given the importance of the [the anthropogenic CO2 airborne fraction] for the degree of future climate change, the question is how to best predict its future course. One pre-requisite is that we gain a thorough understand of why it has stayed approximately constant in the past, another that we improve our ability to detect if and when it changes. The most urgent need seems to exist for more accurate estimates of land use emissions.

Another possible approach is to add more data through the combination of many detailed regional studies such as the ones by Schuster and Watson (2007) and Le Quéré et al. (2007), or using process based models combined with data assimilation approaches (Rayner et al., 2005). If process models are used, however, they need to be carefully constructed in order to answer the question of why the AF has remained constant and not shown more pronounced decadal-scale fluctuations or a stronger secular trend.

Michaels adds:

In other words, like we have repeated over and over, if the models can’t replicate the past (for the right reasons), they can’t be relied on for producing accurate future projections. And as things now stand, the earth is responding to anthropogenic CO2 emissions in a different (and perhaps better) manner than we thought that it would.

Yet here we are, on the brink of economy crippling legislation to tackle a problem we don’t fully understand and the science is most certainly not settled on.

UPDATE: A professional email list I’m on is circulating the paper, read it here: Knorr 2009_CO2_sequestration

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354 Responses to Bombshell from Bristol: Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing? – study says “no”

  1. Frank says:

    Smoking gun.

  2. savethesharks says:

    The smoking CANNON.

    Love this quote:

    The strength of the new study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, is that it rests solely on measurements and statistical data, including historical records extracted from Antarctic ice, and does not rely on computations with complex climate models.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  3. kim says:

    They don’t rely on climate models from superconfusers.

    H/t Peter Bocking.
    ======================

  4. austin says:

    Now we are getting somewhere.

    The Pinatubo artifact in the CO2 PPM time series has always bothered me. No one has explained that.

    It is easy to fill a test tube with a gas solvent in water and then put that tube into water, upside down, and watch the water climb up the tube. Ammonia is an easy one. But so is CO2.

  5. twawki says:

    Hardly a week goes by recently where the whole global warming propoganda is proven to be false

  6. David Archibald says:

    That’s easy. CO2 has a half life of seven years in the atmosphere and is highly soluble in water. It is in equilibrium with the top 100 metres odd of the oceans with a lag of a few years. It is in equilibrium with the whole ocean with a lag of 800 years. You could not expect the anthropogenic proportion of the atmospheric CO2 to increase.

  7. Jeff L says:

    Related link from ICECAP:

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2009/11/10/airborne-fraction-of-human-co2-emissions-constant-over-time/#more-393

    If this link doesn’t work (as it wrapped in the text box here), go to the ICECAP site – it’s on the front page.

    I am going to copy / paste a key bit from the article, including a comment from Joe Romm. So much can be seen a about the pro-AGW crowd with this – instant ad hom attack against anyone who dares question the “theology” vs engaging in a civil argument with a presentation of facts to support a position. If a person who knew nothing about climatology at all were reading this , they would say, just based on tone & tactic that Joe Romm was clearly on the wrong side of the argument – because these are the techniques used by people who are on the losing end of any argument because they have no facts to back up their position (thus resort to an ad hom attack). Can anyone who reads this blog regularly imaging Anthony acting this way? Not in a 100 years! Again – very telling of which side of the argument has the facts on it’s side. If the facts are on your side, there is no need for ad homs. Here’s the snippet:

    A couple of months back, there was a discussion taking place over at Joe Romm’s ClimateProgress blog concerning a report that the earth’s ability to take-up atmospheric carbon dioxide was declining. A declining CO2 sink, of course, meant that things climatological were going to be even worse than expected, because a growing proportion of anthropogenic CO2 emissions were going to remain in the atmosphere, thus pushing the rise of CO2 concentrations and the degree of climate change higher.

    At the time, an alert reader pointed out to Joe Romm that there was in fact, no indication from data and observations that a larger percentage of human CO2 emissions were ending up in the atmosphere. In fact, the data showed that the fraction of CO2 emitted into the atmospheric by human activities has remained constant for the past 40 years.

    This fact runs directly counter to the idea that the earth’s natural CO2 sinks are weakening—instead it indicates that natural sinks have been expanding as anthropogenic CO2 emissions have increased. After all, in order to keep the airborne fraction of CO2 emissions constant over time, increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions must be countered by an increasing CO2 sink.

    Joe Romm was a bit dismissive (to say the least) of this line of argument.

    Here was one such exchange (Comment 13 of this thread):

    Comment 13. Chip Knappenberger says:
    March 30, 2009 at 5:15pm

    Mr. Romm,

    I am not sure how you justify this statement:

    “At the same time that CO2 emissions are soaring, CO2 sinks are saturating.”

    Take your numbers for the rate of CO2 increase each year and divide them by the numbers for the annual global CO2 emissions each year (available from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ ftp/ ndp030/ global.1751_2005.ems) and see what you get.

    Hint: the ppm/emissions ratio shows no trend at all which means that there is no decline in the CO2 sink—otherwise, this ratio would be increasing.

    -Chip Knappenberger

    [JR: It is Dr. Romm, Chip, and, hint, it is what the scientific literature says. Try reading it, some time. Start with the Global Carbon Project.]

    Back to my commentary :

    I have to say, most every AGW Alarmist I have met follows this same pattern that JR displays. I lived in Australia for 4 years & a friend of mine is friends with a prominent local TV met, who is now a prominent Alarmist (& apparently heavily invested in alternative energy). I will leave it to the Aussie readers to figure out who I am talking about. My friend asked me to explain my skepticism in AGW because his friend the AGW Alarmist was saying just the opposite – my friend was just trying to sort it all out. So, I put together a 5 page or so note full of scientific observation, references to papers & major problems with the AGW hypothesis – I could have written far more, but that is all I had time for. Just to rile things up (which my friend is notorious for), he fwded my note to the Alarmist. I had dozens of scientific objections listed – the Alarmist didnt try to refute a single one, but instead wrote a 1 page ad hom attack back to me – Nice! – it kind of left you speechless – how can you engage someone in an intelligent debate if all they will do is launch ad homs?? Again, a classic strategy for the losing side of a debate.

  8. BradH says:

    OK, then I don’t understand what Mauna Loa is measuring.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html

  9. carrot eater says:

    The press release tries to be controversial; I don’t know if the paper itself is all that controversial. The airborne fraction has been roughly stable (if extremely noisy from year-to-year); recently a couple papers saw slight hints of an increase in airborne fraction: Canadell (2007) suggested a trend of 2.5% +/- 2.1% per decade. Small trend, big uncertainty, and Canadell himself acknowledged it wasn’t significant using the standard tests. So Knorr digs in and finds no trend over that time period.

    Given that the previous work found a statistically insignificant trend, and the models with an active carbon cycle don’t show much of a trend over that time period either, exactly why is this finding of no trend so controversial?

  10. Robert E. Phelan says:

    …it rests solely on measurements and statistical data, including historical records extracted from Antarctic ice, and does not rely on computations with complex climate models….

    How dare they! The evidence from computer models is the only valid source of information. Only Criminal Denialists would stoop so low as to cite empirical data.

  11. KimW says:

    Look, I simply refuse to believe these facts. The media and respected members of Greenpeace and the Save the Pandas have told me over and over and over again that the science is settled. How can I forget Al Gore risking his life savings bringing me the message that we are all doomed unless we live in harmony with nature. Mere facts cannot trump computer models – and some of these models have been run many times and they always give the same answer – we are doomed. That $69 Billion funding respected Climate Scientists who believe in AGW surely cannot have been wasted.

    That was sarcasm by the way. The AGW scam is the biggest con job in all of History.

  12. Tim says:

    I don’t mean to be dense or downplay the apparent significance of this, but aren’t we still looking at a pretty steadily rising atmospheric CO2 ppm, and isn’t that the causal factor in climate change, as per the global warmers?

    I mean, if the warmers are right and increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 drive increasing temperatures, does it matter what proportion the anthropogenic fraction is? Isn’t the simple fact that CO2 ppm is rising enough?

    Again, sorry to be dense, but can someone please ‘splain it to me?

  13. Sonicfrog says:

    Couple this with the revelations about our misunderstanding of the thermohaline current, is this combo a climate model killer?

  14. BernieL says:

    I like the red spin quote:

    ”…rather than relying on Nature to provide a FREE SERVICE, soaking up our WASTE carbon, we need to ascertain why the proportion being absorbed has not changed.”

    My kids have heard this one before…

    NATURE says: ‘What do you think I am? A SLAVE!? Or a dunny roll to wipe the WASTE off your bum with?’

    (But the kids know that there will be no change, that he will keep on doing it, because he really loves to do it.)

  15. Ron de Haan says:

    This certainly is a bomb right in the core of the AGW Doctrine.

    Do you think it will make a difference?

    I don’t think so, not with the current crowd in power because they are after us, not the climate.

  16. carrot eater says:

    BradH: This paper uses the Mauna Loa data. That data is fine. Perhaps you misunderstand the paper?

    Of the CO2 being emitted, around 40%-45% of it accumulates in the atmosphere (the airborne fraction, ‘AF’). The rest accumulates in the oceans, soil or in living things. This paper suggests that there is no detectable trend in the AF over time; of course the actual amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been going up – that part isn’t in question.

    The airborne fraction is important: if the oceans or trees become less effective at soaking up CO2 (thus raising the AF), then the concentration in the air will go up faster for a given rate of emissions.

    A couple papers saw hints of a slight trend in recent decades; this author does not. Very well, that’s science. Let’s see how it unfolds.

  17. philincalifornia says:

    Tim (20:30:12) :

    Simple question on its face Tim.

    I suspect that I will be beaten to it but, if not, I will take a stab at the vastly more complex answer when I’m not so tired.

    For a primer though on attempts to alter natural cycles, you could Google “King Canute”. It would be good if we had someone so wise in power today.

  18. Cindy says:

    @ Jeff L.:

    You’ve just described the feelings I got on my very first visit — and on every visit — to JR’s blog. When I first learned about AGW, I was reading arguments from both sides. I tried to take JR seriously — but just couldn’t stomach his style and language. He sounded much more like a scary preacher than the scientist he claims to be.

    In any case, I notice that there are many more comments here than on many other blogs about climate. And I’m so glad that discussion has been kept this open, in the spirit of science.

  19. I always knew that plants (including algae) and bacteria evolved through lengthy periods of time when there was much more CO2 in the atmosphere; therefore they would have, written in their genetic memory, an ability to absorb much more CO2 than there is presently.

    Biosphere is an adaptation mechanism by its very nature: it constantly adapts to changes of the CO2 concentration by absorbing more of it when there is more of it, thereby counterbalancing these changes. This is so easy to understand.

    What is difficult to understand is how people who don’t take this simple feedback mechanism into account dare to call themselves “scientists”?

  20. BernieL says:

    Another carbon sink story: Antarctica glacier retreat creates new carbon dioxide store:

    http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/press_releases/press_release.php?id=1041

    Yes, negative feedback!

    And as reported by AFP (including an iconic pic familiar to WUWT readers):

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ioKN-6tqKqccbLbVgmtkNuDRgo7w

  21. Steve S. says:

    This could be the real heart breaker for the Team, their congregation and Obama.
    Mmm Mmm Mmm

  22. carrot eater says:

    Based on the tone of the comments, I think some people misunderstand the paper. In short, CO2 is still going up, and man is still doing it. None of that changes in the least. The implications of the paper are minor, I think.

    You know, staring at their Figure 1, it looks like their constant AF line runs a bit low through the more recent data. Of course, eyeballing a graph isn’t a statistical method; we’ll see how the work is received.

    Ugh, I just read that description above from JeffL of the conversation with Joe Romm. One should indeed take his advice – to read the scientific literature. But you needn’t read Romm.

  23. John F. Hultquist says:

    Won’t this just fuel the notion that the ocean is going to become acidic in a few years? If not by heat then by acid – we are still doomed they say. Not so, but their stool still has more than three legs.

    Will someone fix this from the post:
    “have been based on projections that have a carbon free sink of already factored in.”

    I’ve seen enough poorly written material that I can usually make sense of it but not this.

  24. LarryOldtimer says:

    f you have the facts, argue the facts. If you don’t have the facts, argue the “theory”. If the “theory” is falsified, pound on the table.

  25. Ron de Haan says:

    Steve S. (21:27:25) :

    “This could be the real heart breaker for the Team, their congregation and Obama.
    Mmm Mmm Mmm”

    The AGW clan new from the beginning that they were going to make their case based on hot air, computer models and semi science.

    Now we have the best cards to win the game we must not forget that they have been cheating from the beginning.

    It’s hard to win a game from a bunch of cheats.

  26. `Tor Hansson says:

    Yet another indication of a carbon-eating biosphere.

    Fancy that.

  27. Graeme From Melbourne says:

    If the Anthropomorphic component of Atmospheric CO2 is not increasing with increased human CO2 emissions, than why would anyone expect decreasing human CO2 emissions to decrease the Anthropomorphic component of Atmospheric CO2?

    Cap and Trade anyone? ETS anyone???

  28. maksimovich says:

    Alexander Feht (21:02:32) :

    I always knew that plants (including algae) and bacteria evolved through lengthy periods of time when there was much more CO2 in the atmosphere; therefore they would have, written in their genetic memory, an ability to absorb much more CO2 than there is presently.

    Indeed, Henderiks and Rickaby (2007) conclude in an interesting paragraph.

    In terms of underlying genetic mechanisms, currently, little
    is known about genetic controls on calcification (e.g.
    Marsh, 2003; Nguyen et al., 2005), or the detailed photosynthetic
    mechanism of coccolithophores. Coupling of calcification
    with species-specific Rubisco specificity provides
    a tangible means to preserve the CO2/O2 composition at the
    time of origin of photosynthetic phyla (Giordano et al., 2005;
    Tcherkez et al., 2006). The preservation of calcification ability
    at high pCO2 in C. pelagicus may occur through genetic
    redundancy (Wagner, 1999), or variance in genetic expression
    whilst the adaptation of E. huxleyi and C. leptoporus to
    the modern low pCO2 niche could be associated with gene
    inactivation of pathways associated with high pCO2 (Hittinger
    et al., 2004). The high proportion of duplicate genes
    within plant and algae genomes is indicative of a high rate
    of retention of duplicate genes (Lynch and Connery, 2000).
    Gene duplications contribute to the establishment of new
    gene functions, and may underlie the origin of evolutionary
    novelty. Duplicate genes can exist stably in a partially redundant
    state over a protracted evolutionary period (Moore
    and Purugganan, 2005). A half-life to silencing and loss of
    a plant gene duplicate is estimated at 23.4 million years such
    that remnant duplicate genes, which can be reactivated by
    environmental conditions to encode calcification within coccolithophores
    under “ancestral” conditions representative of
    60 Ma, appears reasonable.

    http://www.biogeosciences.net/4/323/2007/bg-4-323-2007.pdf

  29. Ron de Haan says:

    There are two developments with the potential to get the momentum in our side.
    Thanks to the current crises Governments have to cut their budgets leaving more room
    for Universities and Media to go their own way. No money, no services.
    The fact that the University of Bristol and the VU (Free University) of Amsterdam, both embedded in the AGW heartlands of Great Britain and the Netherlands deliver the bombshell under the AGW doctrine is remarkable.
    One year ago, when budgets were plentiful this would have been a lot more difficult.
    The same is happening with our media.

    The second development is a direct consequence of the publication of the Kerry Boxer Bill. people have started to study the fine print in the proposed legislation
    which is quite sobering.

    “Senators David Vitter (R-Louisiana) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) today called attention to a remarkably broad delegation of authority to the President in the Kerry-Boxer and Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bills that would require shutting down the U. S. economy beginning in 2015″.

    This is bad news for any private enterprise because many of them plan their strategies and investment over much longer periods of time.
    The uncertainty of a possible shutdown also makes the free carbon credits, made available by the Administration to drum up support, entirely worthless.

    I think this will trigger a lot of opposition, especially because the risk of forced shutdown also applies to the companies that belong to the “Climate Industrial Complex ( http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/ClimateComplex.htm )
    The year 2015 is around the corner if you realize that many (big) industrial companies make plan their investments over a period of 50 years, you will know that the announcement of a premature forced shut down of their operations in unacceptable.

    This reality check will turn many believers among our industrial complex into realists overnight and they will think twice before they decide to support their own downfall.

    http://www.globalwarming.org/2009/11/10/senators-vitter-and-barrasso-warn-big-business-supporters-of-energy-rationing-kerry-boxer-will-shut-down-u-s-economy/

  30. Norm in Calgary says:

    Question: If CO2 is currently 385ppm, and AGW CO2 is only 3% of that amount, then most of the CO2 rise is non-AGW. So, how long would it take the world CO2 to rise to 450 (some kind of tipping point) if we suddenly stopped making any AGW CO2 whatsoever?

    In other words, sooner or later, depending on nature and NOT AGW, we will reach the magic tipping point of no return whether we do anything or not. And if we did do the maximum (shut down everything) we’d only delay the tipping point by 3% of the time to reach said tipping point.

    Do I have that right?

  31. D. King says:

    Who is the keeper of the holy atmospheric CO2 data?
    What method are they using and do we trust them?

  32. Ron de Haan says:

    John F. Hultquist (21:51:52) :

    Won’t this just fuel the notion that the ocean is going to become acidic in a few years? If not by heat then by acid – we are still doomed they say. Not so, but their stool still has more than three legs.

    Will someone fix this from the post:
    “have been based on projections that have a carbon free sink of already factored in.”

    I’ve seen enough poorly written material that I can usually make sense of it but not this.

    John, the warmist are getting entangled in their own “CLIMATE LIES”.
    OCEAN ACIDIFICATION is one of them.
    Dozens of scientific reports have debunked the risk of ocean acidification.

    Simply search for “Ocean Acidification” at WUWT, ICECAP.US and Climate Depot and you find a whole binch of them.

  33. rbateman says:

    The Earth at one time had a lot of C02 in the atmosphere, and yet it took it out.
    Biology uses it 24/7. So if the Earth puts out 97% of the carbon dioxide it wants to, nothing we do will make a dent in it, anthropogenic fasting or not.
    AGW is now available freeze-dried, ready for display on the mantle of failed predictions. Didn’t happen.
    As long as we can keep lunatics from panic-injecting S02 (and whatever other nefarious and ill-fated concoctions they have in mind) into the atmosphere, Earth will eat C02, deposition will continue, oceans and other sinks will continue to exist and function as normal. Bio-systems will continue to function, unless madmen poison the skies and cause acid-rain to destroy the foundations of life on Earth. No, no, no. You must not kill all organisms that we depend on just to satisfy the urge to experiment with Climate.

  34. H says:

    The more we learn, the more we realise we have to learn. Unless, of course, the science is settled.

  35. Chris Schoneveld says:

    I am confused. If the proportion of manmade CO2 remains the same while the total amount of CO2 is rising steadily doesn’t this mean that at the same time natural CO2 must be rising as well to keep that proportion stable? What is then the source of that extra natural CO2?

  36. 4 billion says:

    Ron de Haan (22:52:58) :

    Dozens of scientific reports have debunked the risk of ocean acidification.

    Simply search for “Ocean Acidification” at WUWT, ICECAP.US and Climate Depot and you find a whole binch of them.

    From one of the papers linked at ice cap

    “The oceans are becoming more acidic due to absorption of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems is unclear, but it will likely depend on species adaptability and the rate of change of seawater pH relative to its natural variability.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/309/5744/2204

    So it seems acidification is not the question, what rammifications is the question.

  37. Feedback says:

    The IPCC says:

    “The ocean’s capacity to buffer increasing atmospheric CO2 will decline in the future as ocean surface pCO2 increases (Figure 7.11a). This anticipated change is certain, with potentially severe consequences.”

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter7.pdf

    So maybe it’s not so certain after all.

    BTW is it only me, or is that last sentence in the quote somewhat out of place in the context of a review of the scientific literature?

  38. It seems that there is some confusion about the meaning of this study…

    The study is about how much of the human emissions stay in the atmosphere as quantity, not as individual molecules. And it confirmes that there is little or no statistical change in this fraction. That is the core of the difference between reality and models: models predict that the oceans get saturated and that the extra growth of the biosphere is limited, so that the absorption rate of ever increasing emissions are reducing. In reality there is no sign of this in the data. The fraction is about constant over time:

    Why is that? Despite the fact that many CO2 releases and absorptions in the natural world are quite non-linear, nature as a whole acts and reacts like a simple first order linear process on disturbances, be it temperature or human emissions. That means that a direct injection of CO2 (whatever the source) in the atmosphere will be absorbed over time with a decay rate of about 38 years for halve the extra amount. If we should fix the human emissions to a constant rate, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere would force more CO2 into the oceans (and biosphere), ultimately leading to a new equilibrium (at a higher CO2 level). But as we are emitting more and more CO2 each year (near exponentially), the CO2 levels increase more or less linearly, which leads to a more or less fixed ratio of what remains of the injection into the atmosphere.

    The models on the other hand are programmed to show a saturation of the oceans and vegetation. In that case, the airborne fraction would increase. That may happen if we should burn near all fossil carbon available, because only then the deep oceans (where most of the current CO2 absorption happens) will increase in CO2/bi/carbonate content to an appreciable amount, which returns to the surface after some 800 years. In contrast, the total amount released by humans since the start of the industrial revolution is only a small fraction of the deep ocean CO2 content. That is why the models are wrong and the long residence time of CO2 (for the last fraction) proposed by the models (and IPCC) are wrong too…

  39. Sandy says:

    It seems to me that whatever proxy they are using for anthropogenic CO2 is not actually measuring Man’s emissions. The ratio seems bullet-proof enough that we could either double or eliminate our emissions without much effect.
    I suppose the idea that the total global CO2 exchange each year is orders of magnitude higher than current (alarmist?) estimates, and hence Man’s guilt smaller, is probably not popular right now.
    When the forests of Asia burned in the early 90’s the blip in CO2 sorted itself out within 2 years.
    The idea that Man can alter CO2 concentrations looks increasingly unlikely to me. The biosphere will grab all the CO2 it can before the ocean decides what the equilibrium figure for atmospheric CO2 will be.

  40. TonyB says:

    Co2 has always been present in the atmosphere at around 380ppm according to tens of thousands of scientific records dating back to Saussure in 1830.

    It also varies substantially which is not surprising as the amount of co2 in the carbon cycle far exceeds the input from man, so we would expect to see the natural cycle varying according to temperatures and outgasing of oceans, land use changes etc. Instead we have a steady rise from Manua Loa that clearly isn’t measuring the overwhelming impact from nature.

    There is no evidence from our historic temperature records to suggest man is having an impact on temperatures through co2 -they were highly variable well before man had any impact on carbon levels as can be seen in my collection of historic instrumental temperature data sets

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/invisible-elephants/#more-5984

    The only warming man is responsible for is due to the Urban Heat Island effect-a factor we knew about in Roman Times but still fail to acknowledge properly in our increasingly urbanised and misleading ‘global’ temperatures
    (which are nothing of the sort)

    tonyb

  41. Richard111 says:

    Google algal blooms. Seems to be an unprecedented rise in ocean algae blooms causing havoc to bird life. I am not a scientist, but I don’t think algae and ocean acid can exist at the same time.

  42. D. King (22:49:02) :

    Who is the keeper of the holy atmospheric CO2 data?
    What method are they using and do we trust them?

    CO2 data are sampled continuous and with flask samples on a lot of places (70+ for “good” places, 400+ on a lot of other places) by several organisations. See: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/

    NOAA is the maintainer of the 10 “base” stations, meant to measure more or less global values. They also maintain the rigorous calbration and quality assurance procedures for all CO2 measurements all over the world. See e.g. the procedures for Mauna Loa:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html

  43. Jimmy Haigh says:

    I think so. Except that there is no tipping point.

  44. Jimmy Haigh says:

    Jimmy Haigh (00:10:06) :

    I think so. Except that there is no tipping point.

    Sorry – that was for Norm in Calgary (22:45:33) : (Dodgy keyboard on the CTRL + ‘v’ front.)

  45. Juraj V. says:

    “better than we thought”, who would expect that?

    If the 800 years lag between temperature-CO2 is real, when should we see its rise after the MWP? Or 1 deg C fluctuation is not enough and only truly glacial/interglacial 10 deg C changes are needed?

  46. michel says:

    “I don’t mean to be dense or downplay the apparent significance of this, but aren’t we still looking at a pretty steadily rising atmospheric CO2 ppm, and isn’t that the causal factor in climate change, as per the global warmers?”

    The answer is, yes, that is supposed to be the causal factor in climate change. But what is it due to, how serious is it, and what can we or should we do about it?

    The paper bears on the seriousness question in this way: it suggests that the ability of the planet to absorb CO2 has remained constant. So there is no reason to think that any more of the CO2 which we emit will remain in the atmosphere than in the past. So there is no reason to think the problem, if it is one, is going to get worse. The more we emit, the higher the concentration, but only about 50% or so is going into the atmosphere now, and there is no reason to think any more will in future.

    The paper does not bear particularly on what we can or should do. If we stop emitting CO2, then the levels in the atmosphere will, as far as anything in this paper says, fall.

    It is not a bombshell. It is simply a finding that things are not going pear shaped at an accelerating pace. CO2 levels are still increasing, still probably due to human emissions. Its just that the fraction retained in the atmosphere is not suddenly going to rise sharply. It is, in short, not ‘worse than we had thought’, its about the same as it always was.

    Whether that is good or bad is a different question.

  47. Nick Stokes says:

    People should listen to Carrot Eater (and Tim) above. This is not a bombshell. Anthropogenic CO2 in the air is increasing. About half the CO2 we emit goes elsewhere (eg sea), as it always has. It is not a tenet of AGW that this ratio will change.

    Pat Michaels gave the appropriate caution, quoted in the post:

    (Note: It is not that the total atmospheric burden of CO2 has not been increasing over time, but that of the total CO2 released into the atmosphere each year by human activities, about 45% remains in the atmosphere while the other 55% is taken up by various natural processes—and these percentages have not changed during the past 150 years)

  48. Luboš Motl says:

    Comments about RealClimate.ORG (and David Archer’s) previous wrong statements about the airborne fraction; explanation why this research is obviously valid given Henry’s law of chemistry; and what it means for CO2 concentration projections, see:

    http://motls.blogspot.com/2009/11/airborne-fraction-of-co2-stays-constant.html

  49. Anne van der Bom says:

    Graeme From Melbourne,

    As far as I can make up from the post, they are talking about ‘airborne fraction’, not ‘anthropogenic fraction’. Makes quite a difference.

    My interpretation of this paper is that the carbon sinks are not saturating. I think it has been suggested that this would happen, but I don’t know who did it when and where and how.

    The paper doesn’t say CO2 levels are not increasing.

    The paper doesn’t say CO2 levels will stop increasing.

    The paper doesn’t say increasing CO2 is not caused by human emissions.

    The paper doesn’t say increasing CO2 will not cause warming.

  50. Tenuc says:

    Isn’t the biosphere a marvellous place – give it plenty of warmth, carbon and water and it thrives. With less of any of these vital factors it just survives.

    Every day more and more facts are coming to light which show how little the IPCC consensus of scientists understand our climate and the effects on life. Every day Joe Public in every country of the world becomes more and more disenchanted by the politicians who created this big lie, and the shamocracy that supports them.

    I can smell revolution in the air.

  51. Stacey says:

    Our Gav says he’s not bothered.

    Our Gav says we knew that all along.

    Our Gav says too much signal and not enough noise doesn’t fit with the models.

    Our Gav says its to do with diurnal cobbling earth wobble on a decadal time scale.

    Our Gav’s a genius.

  52. Ron de Haan says:

    4 billion (23:22:59) :

    Ron de Haan (22:52:58) :

    Dozens of scientific reports have debunked the risk of ocean acidification.

    Simply search for “Ocean Acidification” at WUWT, ICECAP.US and Climate Depot and you find a whole binch of them.

    From one of the papers linked at ice cap

    “The oceans are becoming more acidic due to absorption of anthropogenic carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The impact of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems is unclear, but it will likely depend on species adaptability and the rate of change of seawater pH relative to its natural variability.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/309/5744/2204

    So it seems acidification is not the question, what rammifications is the question.

    No 4 billion,
    Why is it that we create problems where non exist?
    Mark the word “likely” in the report and the lack of hard facts.
    The first corals emerged when CO2 levels were 10 times higher than today.
    Ocean Acidification is a non item, jut like CO2 levels in our atmosphere

    http://ilovecarbondioxide.com/2009/04/here-comes-ocean-acidification-scam.html

  53. CodeTech says:

    I see the warmists are here… trying to spread the doom and gloom…

    Our CO2 emissions increase, the ability of the biosphere to remove CO2 from the atmosphere increases. Whatever the lag time is, you can’t say and I can’t say, but the difference between us is that I won’t be foolish enough to claim I know.

    A dramatic increase in CO2 will result in a dramatic increase of the biosphere to handle it. Seriously, how difficult is that to understand? There is no tipping point. It is not possible for there to be a tipping point. The very concept of a tipping point is the source of great amusement for those of us with some science knowledge.

  54. Thomas J. Arnold. says:

    Since 1850 there must have been an increase in Biomass, pity that we are not able to quantify such.
    Man’s propensity for deforestation in the rain-forests of the Equatorial regions, and indeed all over the world does not seem to faze Gaia, it seems mother Earth likes CO2, no surprise there.
    It is once again a little arrogant to presume that the ‘sink ability’ of the planet is finite, its a living and ‘breathing system’ is it not?
    It is another nail in the coffin of AGW, more CO2=less earth absorption= more atmospheric CO2 = warming? = Not proven!
    With Lindzen’s paper on heat being radiated out into space – the ERBE data, the ‘consensus grows’ by the day, THAT THE MODELS ARE INCREASINGLY FLAWED but then we knew that.

  55. Loads of peer-reviewed studies last century, before the scare stuff, all said that CO2 only stayed a few years in the air. Prof Segalstad listed them all and wrote about it – I mirrored his page here with his permission because I regarded this as prime information.
    Dear Ferdinand, you and I know I’m not happy with your conclusions that the rise is totally due to us – I still prefer oceanic outgassing as per Henry’s Law, and argue for a biosphere that grows to meet the CO2 supply – but I concede there may be a human proportion in the mix.

  56. Note the “don’t miss next episode” (implication: grants needed) remark:
    So is this good news for climate negotiations in Copenhagen? “Not necessarily”, says Knorr. “Like all studies of this kind, there are uncertainties in the data, so rather than relying on Nature to provide a free service, soaking up our waste carbon, we need to ascertain why the proportion being absorbed has not changed”.

  57. Nev says:

    There’s a battle royal underway downunder it seems based on my RSS alert – some of the senior IPCC authors have given a media briefing on AR5 and they cut off challenging questons. Can some of the science bods cast your eyes across this?

    http://briefingroom.typepad.com/the_briefing_room/2009/11/nz-climate-scientists-run-from-challenging-questions.html

  58. Sandy (23:59:20) :

    It seems to me that whatever proxy they are using for anthropogenic CO2 is not actually measuring Man’s emissions. The ratio seems bullet-proof enough that we could either double or eliminate our emissions without much effect.

    Sandy, man’s emissions are measured in another way: the taxes we pay for using fossil fuels give a rather good idea (maybe a little underestimated) of how much fossil fuels are used each year. With rather known burning efficiency figures for each fuel, one can calculate the CO2 emissions (expressed in gigaton carbon) per year. Currently (despite the economical crisis), fuel use emissions reach about 8 GtC/yr, of which roughly half remains in the atmosphere.

    The absorption by vegetation is limited, plants grow somewhat faster, but don’t double in carbon sequestration for 2xCO2 levels. And the speed with which CO2 is absorbed in the cool polar ocean surfaces is limited too by the diffusion speed, which depends on the pressure difference between atmosphere and ocean surface, but also by ocean flows (down to the deep) and wind speed which mixes the upper layers. Thus if we double the emissions, the absorption will only double if the CO2 pressure difference between atmosphere and oceans (and plant alveoles) doubles, which only can happen by increasing the atmospheric CO2 level (the other items remaining more or less equal)…

  59. Ron de Haan says:

    CodeTech (01:54:18) :

    A dramatic increase in CO2 will result in a dramatic increase of the biosphere to handle it. Seriously, how difficult is that to understand? There is no tipping point. It is not possible for there to be a tipping point. The very concept of a tipping point is the source of great amusement for those of us with some science knowledge.

    Right, people forget we are living on a volcanic planet.
    The fact that we are here is the proof that our planet always has recovered from extreme events.
    The entire focus on CO2 is laughable.
    Shutting down our economy to control our emissions hysterical.

  60. Thomas J. Arnold. (01:56:32) :

    Since 1850 there must have been an increase in Biomass, pity that we are not able to quantify such.

    There were made some attempts to quantify the amount of extra biomass produced by increased CO2 levels. These are based on oxygen use: biomass growth sets O2 free, biomass decay uses oxygen. The oxygen use by burning fossil fuel is more or less known, the difference between what is calculated and what is measured in the atmosphere is what the biomass has produced or used as oxygen. This calculation was only possible since about 1990, as we need an extreme good resolution of oxygen measurements to see the difference.

    The results: of the about 3.4 GtC/yr absorbed by nature (1990-1997), about 1.4 GtC/yr was absorbed by plant life and 2 GtC/yr by the oceans. Before 1990, plant life was probably not a sink for CO2. See:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/5462/2467 and

    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

  61. MattN says:

    Actual MEASUREMENTS?!?!? Real OBSERVATIONS?!?!?

    Cannot possibly be correct…..

  62. DaveE says:

    I recall reading a small essay, (I got the link here,) about mans total emissions compared to the increase in atmospheric concentrations.

    The implication was, (from Henrys law), that atmospheric concentrations were increasing faster than they would from mans emissions alone, so where’s the rest coming from?

    Anyone remember posting the link?

    DaveE.

  63. TonyB (23:59:57) :

    Co2 has always been present in the atmosphere at around 380ppm according to tens of thousands of scientific records dating back to Saussure in 1830.

    It also varies substantially which is not surprising as the amount of co2 in the carbon cycle far exceeds the input from man, so we would expect to see the natural cycle varying according to temperatures and outgasing of oceans, land use changes etc. Instead we have a steady rise from Manua Loa that clearly isn’t measuring the overwhelming impact from nature.

    Hi Tony, of course we still disagree on this. Some of the historical CO2 data were taken at “ideal” places, far from huge CO2 sources or sinks and these show the same low levels (280-300 ppmv) as found in ice cores. Most were taken at completely unsuitable places for CO2 measurements: in the middle of towns, forests, rice/soy fields… Completely worthless for “global” averaging. See my take on the historical data here:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html

    If you (rightfully!) disagree with the way “global” temperature data are obtained, you need to be consequent: the raw average historical CO2 level is equivalent to taking a few months temperature at Oslo in winter, then add a series of Rome, measured on a hot asphalt roof and again a few months in winter from Alaska. Form the combined series one can conclude that the middle period was much warmer…

    Without very stringent a priori selection criteria (as Calendar did), the historical CO2 data have no value at all for “global” CO2 levels.

  64. John Finn says:

    I agree with carrot eater (20:46:23) : . The findings in this paper are old hat. It’s been well accepted for a while that only about half (the paper says 45%) of man made emissions remain in the atmosphere. Whether this remains the case indefinitely is another matter and is probably an issue which the Bristol study is seeking to address.

    To those who think there is a problem with the data. There isn’t. The data is what it is but given the level of emissions we might expect the CO2 level to be higher. The ‘mystery’ , here, is why the oceans and biosphere decide to absorb more CO2 just because more is available.

  65. Rereke Whakaaro says:

    When I was at school, in the days before computers were common place, we did an experiment.

    We grew two trays of mustard cress, both in sealed containers. One container had normal air passed through it at a fixed rate. The other container had a mixture of air and carbon dioxide passed through it at the same rate (I can’t remember the proportions of air to carbon dioxide).

    The result was that the mustard cress in the second container grew higher than the the mustard cress in the first container.

    At the end of the experiment we cut the cress from the soil in each tray, and weighed it. The increased weight (biomass) was in the same proportion as the additional carbon dioxide (whatever that was).

    I find it gratifying that Dr Knorr has been able to verify our empirical research.

    I just just regret not having applied for a patent!

  66. Alan the Brit says:

    BradH (20:18:33) :

    “OK, then I don’t understand what Mauna Loa is measuring.”
    Well, probably all the CO2 being emitted by the largest known volcano on the planet upon which Keeling et al reside! Always did think that was a bit of a non-starter.

    Norm in Calgary (22:45:33) : A gross piece of misreporting, I thought the AGW contribution was 4% not 3%, a massive & whopping 25% larger proprtion – sarc :-)) Anyway, twice a very small number is still a very small number.

    I was reading a newspaper artcle the other day by a former BBC weatherman who was saying he couldn’t believe all the hype & nonsense surround Climate Change. He pointed out that all volcanic activity pumps out more CO2 in a single day, than man pumps out over two years! How astute a fellow. We all know that this AGW malarkey is nothing to do with saving the Polar bears, the Penguins, the Whales, the tropical rainforests (only 15,000 years old anyhow), or even the planet. It is everything to do with the impoverishment of the developed west, & the enrichment of the developing world without letting them develop! A sort of, well, glorified dole queue I suppose on a grand scale. Perhaps a few hard winters might turn the scales back towards common sense.

  67. Lucy Skywalker (02:03:08) :

    Dear Ferdinand, you and I know I’m not happy with your conclusions that the rise is totally due to us – I still prefer oceanic outgassing as per Henry’s Law, and argue for a biosphere that grows to meet the CO2 supply – but I concede there may be a human proportion in the mix.

    Hi Lucy, we still differ in opinion here: Segalstad confuses the residence time of a single molecule (the possibility that it is catched out of the atmosphere, whatever its origin), which is about 5 years, with the excess decay time (the time needed to remove an injection of a mass of CO2, whatever the origin), which is about 40 years.

    And you confuse Henry’s Law for sweet water with that of seawater, which are completely different: due to its salts content (bi-carbonate), seawater can contain far more CO2, but shows a much different temperature-CO2 partial pressure curve. The global (land+ocean) temperature influence is known: about 4 ppmv/degr.C for short (1-3 years) temperature variations up to 8 ppmv/degr.C for (very) long time frames (like the MWP-LIA-CWP or glacials-interglacials). By far not enough to explain the recent 100+ ppmv increase…

  68. John Good says:

    Off subject but I have received this email from HM Government UK re petition for CRU source codes to be made available
    Skip to content
    The official site of the Prime Minister’s Office Home News Communicate Meet the PM History and Tour Number 10 TV Search Home > CRUsourcecodes – epetition response
    Communicate
    Ask the PM …from the PM e-Petitions Petition Responses Tuesday 10 November 2009
    CRUsourcecodes – epetition response
    We received a petition asking:

    “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to force the Climate Research Unit, or other publicly funded organisations to release the source codes used in their computer models.”

    Details of Petition:

    “The Met Office , the climate research unit and various individuals at numerous academic institutions are refusing to release the source codes used in their climate research models. These are tax payer funded institutions, which are influencing government policy decisions which will affect the day to day lives of us all. With the Prime Minister’s belief in a new age of transparency, it is unsurportable that these publicly funded organisations, are not open to public scrutiny.”

    · Read the petition
    · Petitions homepage

    Read the Government’s response
    The Government is strongly committed to the principles of freedom of information, and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 specifically implement our international obligations over access to environmental information. The Met Office’s commitment to openness and transparency in the conduct of their operations and to the sharing of information is set out clearly on their website (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/legal/foi.html).

    Simple and transparent licences are in place to facilitate the re-use of the Met Office’s meteorological and climate data, and large quantities are freely available for academic and personal use, for example through the UK Climate Impacts Programme and the British Atmospheric Data Centre.

    The Met Office’s climate models are configurations based on the Unified Model (UM), the numerical modelling system developed and used by the Met Office to produce all their weather forecasts and climate predictions.

    You may be interested to know that the UM, including source code, is available for external use under licence. For general research, the licence is free; the Met Office just asks individuals to submit an abstract describing the research to be undertaken, and to provide an annual report describing the work undertaken, the results achieved and future work plans.

    To improve access to their climate models, the Met Office has worked with Reading and Bristol Universities and NERC to develop a low-resolution version which can be run on a PC and is available to all UM licence holders.

    Further Information on how to apply for a research licence can be found on the Met Office website.

    (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/science/creating/working_together/um_collaboration.html)

    Further Information
    · Sign up to our newsletter service

    Tags: Computers, source codes

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  69. Chris Wright says:

    “….and does not rely on computations with complex climate models.”

    Today’s Daily Telegraph has a report on this. It actually replaces the word ‘complex’ with ‘speculative’.

    I quote: “He pointed out that his study relied entirely on empirical data, including historical records extracted from ice samples in the Antarctic, rather than speculative climate change models”.

    Well, I guess this is progress, particularly for the Telegraph, whose coverage of climate change is usually one-sided and biased. But of course the same report does make the false claim that *both* poles are melting.
    Chris

  70. ben corde says:

    Well does any of this matter? What’s so special about the human race anyway. We’re all going to die eventually and the planet is already doomed by the fate of the Sun. Me I’m just looking forward to the next glacial period when we all freeze to death and the global warming mob are silenced for the next millenia.
    I know this is not very scientific but really some of you guys ought to lighten up a bit.

  71. Jimmy Haigh says:

    The increase in human population since 1850 has also sequestered a fair amount of carbon. Anyone any idea how much?

  72. Alan the Brit (03:35:52) :

    Well, probably all the CO2 being emitted by the largest known volcano on the planet upon which Keeling et al reside! Always did think that was a bit of a non-starter.

    Norm in Calgary (22:45:33) : A gross piece of misreporting, I thought the AGW contribution was 4% not 3%, a massive & whopping 25% larger proprtion – sarc :-)) Anyway, twice a very small number is still a very small number.

    Sorry, but if there is an influence of the local volcano (known by wind direction + disturbance of the measurements), these data are not used for averaging. But Mauna Loa is not the only station where CO2 is measured, about 70 places, far from local sources (from near the North Pole to the South Pole) measure about the same CO2 levels, with (mainly in the NH) some seasonal variation and a NH-SH gradient:

    It seems very difficult to explain the difference between how much original human CO2 still is in the atmosphere (about 6% nowadays) and that near 100% of the increase we measure is caused by humans. I’ll try it again:
    You start the day with $100 in your pocket. During the day, you have a lot of exchanges, but in one transaction you received $10. At the end of the day, you find $105 in your pocket as balance. Although little to none of the original $10 bill(s) are left, the total gain you have at the end of the day is thanks to the $10, because without that transaction, you would have had a loss…

  73. Anne van der Bom says:

    Ron de Haan (02:53:56)

    Do you have an explanation for the 0.7 degrees of warming since pre-industrial times? Since CO2 rose by 35%, according to prof. Lindzen’s paper, that should have been no more than 2 tenths of a degree. What caused the other 0.5 degrees?

  74. Ron de Haan says:

    BradH (20:18:33) :
    “Perhaps a few hard winters might turn the scales back towards common sense”.

    Absolutely not.
    The entire AGW scare is carefully planned and executed.
    No room for “perhaps” or “maybe” here but 100% certainty.
    The financial crises left the world with 500.000 billion dollar debt and almost caused a total system crash.
    The next crash is underway because economic laws tell us that we can’t climb out of a debt pit by lending money at zero % interest rates.
    The introduction of Cap&Trade is the next “bubble” which, inflated to the max, has the potential to destroy the entire world economy.
    The last few years we heard our world leaders making remarks about world government (Rudd, Sarkozy, Gore, Gorbatchev, Kerry (see youtube) and a few weeks ago the legal blue print for a world government popped up in the concept of the Copenhagen Climate Treaty.
    Lord Monckton sounded the alarm bells and informed the public.
    See interview Glenn Beck, John Bolton and Lord Monckton on Fox News,
    links available at WUWT, including a link to the concept of the Climate Treaty.
    According to Monckton the powers of the World Government will include the control over our financial systems, our economies, the free markets and all resources with no mentioning of any democratic control systems.
    About the objectives of this World government: roll back of the free world and population control.
    Also read http://green-agenda.com, the Club of Rome and Agenda 21 of the United Nations.
    I personally regard this scheme as a coup attempt originated in the former USSR.
    But as stated, that is my opinion.

  75. dearieme says:

    ” The ‘mystery’ , here, is why the oceans and biosphere decide to absorb more CO2 just because more is available.” No mystery for the biosphere – more CO2 => more growth to absorb it – which is why commercial growers add CO2 to their greenhouses. For the ocean, no mystery either – Henry’s Law.

  76. Kum Dollison says:

    They should have included “temperature.” It makes all the difference. If you go here

    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt

    You will see that in the very cold (compared to recently) year of 1958 CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere FELL from Aug to Aug. In the cold years of 92′, and 93 they barely rose.

    Also, satellites show that vegetation has increased about 6% in the last 15 years, or so.

    And, keep in mind that when you cut down a Rainforest Hardwood for furniture you are “sequestering” the CO2 in the lumber. Then, if you plant, say, an oil palm you are uptaking More CO2. The process is probably CO2 “Negative” in many cases.

  77. Geoff Sharp says:

    BradH (20:18:33) :

    OK, then I don’t understand what Mauna Loa is measuring.

    Volcanoes perhaps? Having one source of information is surprising in this day and age?

  78. Michael D Smith says:

    This seems completely unsurprising. The greater the CO2 fraction in atmosphere above the ocean fraction, the greater the differential, the greater the absorption rate to the less saturated medium. If anything, I would expect a greater fraction to absorb into the oceans with higher atmospheric CO2 levels, given that it is a several orders of magnitude higher capacity sink. I didn’t even realize that this wasn’t the standard assumption. I’ll have to read up on the previous research to see where it slipped up.

  79. Geoff Sharp says:

    4 billion (23:22:59) :

    So it seems acidification is not the question, what rammifications is the question.

    The only way to answer that question is to show me a graph of ocean PH levels over the last 50 years?

  80. Frank Lansner says:

    Related:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/17/the-co2-temperature-link/

    Here, from the second figure: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/lansner2.png

    you see that it takes more and more temperature to achieve the same CO2-rise/year. This conclusion is strongly supported by the “Bristol-findings”.
    Absorbtion of CO2 is increasing, seemingly faster than increase in CO2-emissions.

  81. SandyInDerby says:

    philincalifornia (20:53:06) :

    Canute, as you imply, was demonstrating to his sycophants that nature is more powerful than any man. Hopefully nature will prove it again to many politicians round the world soon.

  82. Ron de Haan says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (02:53:19) :
    “The absorption by vegetation is limited, plants grow somewhat faster, but don’t double in carbon sequestration for 2xCO2 levels”.

    That is not what is observed.
    Higher CO2 levels result in an explosive increase in growth and bio mass.

    I have seen this in the commercial growth of a.o. tomato’s where it is common practice to artificially increase the CO2 level in the greenhouses to grow their tomato’s quicker and bigger.

    Also read Rereke Whakaaro (03:32:20) :
    “We grew two trays of mustard cress, both in sealed containers. One container had normal air passed through it at a fixed rate. The other container had a mixture of air and carbon dioxide passed through it at the same rate (I can’t remember the proportions of air to carbon dioxide).

    The result was that the mustard cress in the second container grew higher than the the mustard cress in the first container.

    At the end of the experiment we cut the cress from the soil in each tray, and weighed it. The increased weight (biomass) was in the same proportion as the additional carbon dioxide (whatever that was).

    I find it gratifying that Dr Knorr has been able to verify our empirical research.

    I just just regret not having applied for a patent!”

  83. Squidly says:

    Norm in Calgary (22:45:33) :

    In other words, sooner or later, depending on nature and NOT AGW, we will reach the magic tipping point of no return whether we do anything or not. And if we did do the maximum (shut down everything) we’d only delay the tipping point by 3% of the time to reach said tipping point.

    Do I have that right?

    Assuming you believe there is some sort of magical “tipping point”. Never has been in the past. Why would there be one now?

  84. Jimbo says:

    Plants rather like C02 according to real world observations.

    http://aspenface.mtu.edu/results.htm

    “FACE provides a window into the future and allows for experimental testing of CO2/O3 interactions under realistic forest conditions.

    Our results suggest that moderate levels of O3 will offset elevated CO2 responses projected for the year 2100.

    Our results suggest carbon sequestration under elevated CO2 is being overestimated by modellers who do not consider O3 in areas with periodic episodic O3.

    Elevated CO2 delays normal autumn leaf senescence, predisposing some aspen genotypes to winter dieback.

    Our preliminary results indicate that aspen and birch insects and diseases may increase under elevated CO2 and O3.”
    ————–

    and so do algae in the oceans that eventually die and sink to the bottom as mentioned earlier.

    http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/press_releases/press_release.php?id=1041

    ————–

    And finally there is a little dispute about the residency time of C02 in the atmosphere.
    see image:

    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0120a5e507c9970c-pi

    I’m not a scientist but I just thought I would put in my 2 cents worth. I hope these links are useful to the discussion.

    Jimbo

  85. Smokey says:

    CO2 is plant fertilizer. Increased plant food causes more rapid plant growth, thus absorbing more CO2. But measurements of the biosphere have been completely ignored by those programming their computer climate models.

    Climate alarmists generally assume that the biosphere remains unchanged with increasing CO2. And when they do take plant growth into account, they arrive at exactly the wrong conclusion:

    The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket.

    Prof Freeman Dyson explained the problem years ago:

    “We don’t know how big a fraction of our emissions is absorbed by the land, since we have not measured the increase or decrease of the biomass.”
    [Full article here]

    This Bristol study shows that the growth of vegetation resulting from additional CO2 has been greatly underestimated, perhaps by a factor of two.

  86. RobP says:

    I think people have ended up answering an early question in one comment about why it is important that the ratio of human emmissions to total increase is constant (the AGW scenarios rely on an increasing ratio to provide the amount of warming they say will happen).

    However, other questions why this is happeneing have been somewhat glossed over and I would like to take a stab at this.

    Without wanting to steal Roger Pielke Snr’s thunder, land use changes are the really big elephant in the room that no-one wants to actually try and calculate. I know it isn’t easy, because there are no generalities and every place is its own anecdote, but until we can put some numbers on this mankind’s impact on CO2 levels is going to be guesswork. Actually, even worse than guesswork: they are going to be made up to fit whatever theory you are trying to push (calculating an assumption to make a model fit, if you prefer).

    The nearest thing to a real carbon accounting in land use change came out of Australia a few years ago – I am sure one of our Aussie commenters will be able to refresh my memory on this – I have forgotten the name of the model, but it came from a climate research unit. It was pointed out that relatively small land use changes across the whole continent would make Australia essentially CO2 emmission neutral. This sounds simple (although probably impossible politically, given Australia’s size and heterogeneity), but you only have to look at the levels of re-forestation seen in North America over the last 100 years to see how important land use really is.

    North America was opened up by a demand for wood and the eastern parts were virtually logged out by the end of the 19th century. However, since then most of this land has been allowed to re-grow, such that an annual net increase in forest area was recorded for most of the 20th century. The rate has now slowed (or maybe even stopped) because most of the available land has now been re-forested, but for many years in the 20th century the US was a net sink for CO2 (hard as this may seem for many to understand). [I am sorry for not providing references for this - I have mislaid these in one of my many moves - if anyone can refer me back to papers on North American forest cover I would be grateful.]

    The other thing we have to consider is that mature forests are actually a pretty poor CO2 sink (although a good carbon storage). When a forest is cut down, regeneration actually provides increased CO2 fixation and the net effect is more down to what happened to the carbon stored in the trees that were cut down: burning or letting the trees rot will return the carbon to the air as CO2 or methane, but building with them keeps the carbon fixed.

    An even greater rate of fixation comes from growing crops – corn (maize) and sugar cane are absolutely fabulous fixers of CO2 on a per hectare basis. The issue here is that the CO2 is likely going to be recycled quite quickly as the products are eaten, but given that the worlwide production of grains has increased dramatically (for thirty years at faster that the rate of population increase, although it has now dipped below that for a decade or so), even the temporary fixation of the CO2 may have an effect on atmospheric levels

    I am not suggesting that we should re-grow forests everywhere to “soak-up” CO2 (mainly because as an agricultural researcher I like to have CO2 in the air – as do the 6 billion people on the planet who like to eat food), but that until we get serious about measuring land use changes we are going to carry on with “my made up model says that your made up model is wrong”.

  87. Cassanders says:

    Let me for the sake of the argument accept that the human CO2 emisions has, and still are increasing exponentially.

    Here are the global CO2 data (ppm in the atmosphere) from NOAA (we dont have to clutter the discussion with referring to measurements done in a volcano) since 1980.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

    1980 1.68
    1981 1.08
    1982 1.00
    1983 1.82
    1984 1.31
    1985 1.63
    1986 1.02
    1987 2.69
    1988 2.21
    1989 1.38
    1990 1.24
    1991 0.82
    1992 0.64
    1993 1.15
    1994 1.68
    1995 1.99
    1996 1.07
    1997 1.97
    1998 2.91
    1999 1.36
    2000 1.24
    2001 1.85
    2002 2.40
    2003 2.22
    2004 1.62
    2005 2.41
    2006 1.77
    2007 2.12
    2008 1.79

    Please observe that the annual increase is given as ppm, NOT percentage.
    I’d be very surprised if the annual value for 2009 ends much above 387 ppm , and I expect (guesstimate :-))the annual absolute increase slightly below 2 ppm. Hence the annual incease is in the order of 0.5%

    I frankly don’t see much of an exponential increase in the atmosphere since 1980.

    Cassanders
    In Cod we trust

  88. Cassanders says:

    Dang,
    commenting myself:
    To see the global data , scroll down half a page or so. Check table to the right

    Cassanders
    In Cod we trust

  89. Kum Dollison says:

    The UI Soyface project found that corn, and soybeans shrugged off the elevated O3 levels, and rocked and rolled with the added CO2.

    http://soyface.illinois.edu/results/AAAS%202004%20poster%20Leakey.pdf

  90. Anne van der Bom says:

    Michael D Smith (04:57:08)

    An important sink for CO2 are vegetation and phytoplankton. These are rather hard to catch informula like the absorption of CO2 in water. Therefore this should not be unsurprising I think.

  91. 4 billion says:

    Geoff Sharp (05:08:05) :

    4 billion (23:22:59) :

    So it seems acidification is not the question, what rammifications is the question.

    The only way to answer that question is to show me a graph of ocean PH levels over the last 50 years?

    What is the doubt about Ocean acidification? it is simple chemistry.

    CO2 + H2O –> H2CO3

    The Oceans are absorbing more CO2, nobody disputes that, as it absorbs CO2 the simple reaction described above occurs, simple chemistry. So it shouldn’t be any surprise.

  92. Anne van der Bom says:

    Ron de Haan (05:30:42) :

    I have seen this in the commercial growth of a.o. tomato’s where it is common practice to artificially increase the CO2 level in the greenhouses to grow their tomato’s quicker and bigger.

    In a greenhouse the other factors that determine plant growth are carefully adjusted to match the higher CO2 level. Temperature is one, light is another. Those greenhouses you speak of mostly have nighttime assimilation lighting and increased temperatures and generous amounts of fertilizer are being applied.

    In nature most plants do not have the luxury of being pampered in this way. Whether or not a plant will grow faster due to more CO2 depends on whether there are other factors that form a constraint.

  93. Ron de Haan (05:30:42) :

    That is not what is observed.
    Higher CO2 levels result in an explosive increase in growth and bio mass.

    I have seen this in the commercial growth of a.o. tomato’s where it is common practice to artificially increase the CO2 level in the greenhouses to grow their tomato’s quicker and bigger.

    If all other necessities (water, fertiliser, minerals, temperature, light) are present in sufficient quantity, the growth may vary with between zero and 100% for 2xCO2, with a few going negative and a few over 100%, depending of the type of species. See:

    http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/dry/dry_subject_a.php

    In average about 50% growth (by just looking over the table, not calculated!) for 2xCO2.

    Greenhouse growers in The Netherlands and other countries use 1,000 ppmv as guideline (more doesn’t add much growth), or about 2.5xCO2.

    Thus indeed in general there is more growth, but not 100% more growth for a 100% higher CO2 concentration. The more that CO2 is not the only restricting item in nature: lack of light, low temperatures, lack of sufficient amounts of minerals/fertiliser or water may be limiting growth despite increased CO2 levels…

  94. John Galt says:

    Anthropogenic CO2 not increasing? That’s OK — methane is the new CO2.

    Out – Global warming
    In – Climate Change
    Out – CO2 emission
    In – Methane emissions (includes cattle flatulence)

  95. DonS. says:

    @maksimovic. Thanks for the biology lesson. I can see the movie trailers now: THE MARROW THAT ATE BRISTOL!!!! It’s worse than we thought.

  96. bill says:

    Geoff Sharp (04:54:58) :
    Volcanoes perhaps? Having one source of information is surprising in this day and age?

    Mauna Loa Do not take readings when wind direction can pull in volcanic etc CO2.
    There are many different sites, and a couple of different measurement methods – Flask and in situ

    The ML readings are then algorithmically shifted to represent the CO2 values on 15th of each month.
    “Values above represent monthly concentrations adjusted to represent 2400 hours on the 15th day of each month. ”

    Multi site CO2 data here:

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-keel.html

    Loads of info here:

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/by_new/bysubjec.html

    enrichment of crops with CO2

    http://public.ornl.gov/face/index.shtml

    CO2 growth rate:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_gr_mlo.txt
    Plotted here:

    Growth rate certainly seems to have an upward trend (although stalled for last 5 years)

    Other sites data for CO2
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/flask/month/

    Here’s a plot of Co2 from a few places, included is CH4 from 1

  97. bill says:

    missed the link

  98. Smokey says:

    4 billion (06:06:24),

    You are ignoring the immense buffering capacity of the ocean. Despite past CO2 levels more than twenty times higher than todays — and remaining that high for over a hundred million years — the ocean pH never became acid.

  99. Stacey says:

    @ Anne van der bom qusetion to Ron DeHann

    “Do you have an explanation for the 0.7 degrees of warming since pre-industrial times? Since CO2 rose by 35%, according to prof. Lindzen’s paper, that should have been no more than 2 tenths of a degree. What caused the other 0.5 degrees?”

    Lets assume this 0.7C degree of warming has been obtained by thermometers placed right around the globe over the sea everywhere.
    Lets assume the figure is dead accurate.
    Lets assume there was no little ice age.
    The number is so small as to be meaningless.
    The explanation on the above assumptions is natural variability.

    If the above assumptions are wrong the rise is again meaningless.

    I trust this helps. You will get a better answer from Ron or if you suffer from insomnia you could try our Gav.
    Take care ;-)

  100. TonyB says:

    Anne van der Bom (04:16:49) : said

    “Ron de Haan (02:53:56)

    Do you have an explanation for the 0.7 degrees of warming since pre-industrial times? Since CO2 rose by 35%, according to prof. Lindzen’s paper, that should have been no more than 2 tenths of a degree. What caused the other 0.5 degrees?”

    The temperature rose according to who? It merely continued its age old cycle of climate summit to climate valleys. Temperatures have oscillated since history began and if you start recording temperatures from the depths of the Little Ice age no one should be surprised when they subsequently rebound.

    This continual temperature oscillation is well seen here.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/invisible-elephants/#more-5984

    The only fingerprint man has on climate is the Urban Heat island effect.

    tonyb

  101. Smokey says:

    Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new and they will hate you for it.*

    [*From George Monbiot's home page.] Monbiot [doesn't that mean "moonbat"?] will certainly hate this new Bristol study, which tells WUWT readers something they know already, and tells Monbiot readers something new.

    See George crying about it here: click

  102. rbateman says:

    John Galt (06:14:17) :

    In – Methane emissions (includes cattle flatulence)

    Another cheap shot by AGW (now under new marketing). Still a zero-sum game, as the cows simply replace the other animals that browsed, like the Buffalo. Every continent has their browsers, domesticated or otherwise, where there is vegetation. That hasn’t changed since the age of dinosaurs.

    The big deal was identified over 150 years ago, when the flatulence problem was associated with political speeches that featured mouths that moved with little substance behind the words spoken… except for the onrush of hot air.
    Pick up any newspaper from before 1900 and you’ll rapidly come across such portrayances. So, safe to conclude that the joke’s on the Agenda, which identifies itself as a hot air source that rises in offence.

  103. TonyB says:

    Ferdinand

    You know that I think that Callendar carefully selected the (lower) co2 records he wanted, because he wanted to prove his 1938 thesis. He later thought he had got it wrong. (As did Arrhenius to a laerge extent) Keeling picked up on Callendars figures but later admitted the old readings were more accurate than he thought at the time.

    The human fingerprint on the total carbon cycle is tiny and should be overwhelmed in the official readings by the vastly greater impact of the natural component. We will never agree on this aspect but its fun arguing :)

    Best regards

    Tonyb

  104. Vincent says:

    Another important carbon sink are vegetarians. The number of people becoming vegetarians has increased and this has a high correlation with the increasing sequestration. They consume the vegetables that have sequestered CO2 and the CO2 remains fixed in their bodies.

  105. RR Kampen says:

    Re: Ron de Haan (20:38:50) :

    This certainly is a bomb right in the core of the AGW Doctrine.

    Not yet. The usual models (you may read: the ‘usual suspects’) project absorption capacity decline to become a factor only as of middle of this century. The finding in the article is not surprising at all.

  106. Alexej Buergin says:

    Center or centre? So I went to my favorite English newspaper, the Daily Mail, clicked on “travel”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/index.html

    and there it is:

    “Center Parcs Longleat: where fresh air and pampering are simply spa for the course
    Anna Melville-James

    Anna Melville-James manages to schedule in a weekend catch-up with friends. But where to go for somewhere fun, relaxing and with everything on your doorstep? Center Parcs of course, a positive utopia of healthy living, where bicycle rides, tree hopping and pampering are all on offer. All she needs to worry about is finding her way around …read”

    But then the Hadley C is a name, and English names are never, never pronounced the way they are written (just ask James Prescott Joule or Alec Douglas-Home).

  107. Kum Dollison says:

    You might notice that over 18 years CO2 was increasing about 9% in the atmosphere, and Plant life was increasing about 6% by volume.

    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/06/08/surprise-earths-biosphere-is-booming-co2-the-cause/

  108. carrot eater says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen: You’ve done a nice job trying to explain, but I must take issue with you on comments like this:

    “The models on the other hand are programmed to show a saturation of the oceans and vegetation. In that case, the airborne fraction would increase.”

    Be careful. Models consider that ocean sinks will become less effective over time, but that shows up in the future; this paper does not address the future, nor does it focus on the hints seen in the very recent past.

    For the period of time (1850 to now) considered by this paper, the various models with embedded carbon cycles don’t show much of any trend in airborne fraction, either. Nobody expected the oceans to reach saturation in 1980. For example, Le Quéré (an empirical work, not modeling) only found hints of a weakened ocean sink in the Southern ocean (not the total global sink) over the last few years.

    So be careful to compare apples to apples, in terms of time frames.

    Also, people need to remember that the most recent paper is not simply the last word, just because it’s most recent.

    rbateman: Yes, the atmosphere used to have lots of CO2 in it, and it ended up as rocks, coal and oil buried underground. Those processes take more than a couple days.

  109. Ken Hall says:

    This research was NOT conducted by a railway engineer heading a political pressure group run by the UN, so clearly this is NOT real climate science.

    Obviously there is a big fat cheque from the oil companies that have paid to have this non-scientific climate denial published. I hope that the oil companies will be happy when we are all having to breathe liquid lava, the polar bear murdering [snip]!!!!

    WOW! This alarmism is really easy to write isn’t it? That hardly took any thought at all!

  110. DaveE says:

    Alexej Buergin (07:07:16) :

    Center or centre?

    Center as in Center Parcs is part of a trade name & is American in origin.

    Centre as in town centre or Hadley Centre is correct in that sense.

    DaveE.

  111. Innocentious says:

    Tim (20:30:12) :
    I don’t mean to be dense or downplay the apparent significance of this, but aren’t we still looking at a pretty steadily rising atmospheric CO2 ppm, and isn’t that the causal factor in climate change, as per the global warmers?

    I mean, if the warmers are right and increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 drive increasing temperatures, does it matter what proportion the anthropogenic fraction is? Isn’t the simple fact that CO2 ppm is rising enough?

    Again, sorry to be dense, but can someone please ’splain it to me?

    Tim,

    Basically you are correct that there has been a steady rise in CO2, which by all accounts is a trivial gas as far as global warming comes into play ( I know based on what you have heard how can that be the case? ) The truth of the matter is that CO2 in and of itself has very minimal amounts of warming associated with it when compared to the heavy weights water and methane.

    What the true culprit in AGW are the feedback effects that will take place because of CO2 ( which are theoretical and MAY occur though to date there is VERY little evidence of this being really probable ).

    The reason this article is significant is that one of the hypothesis about why we have not caused huge warming to date ( by triggering massive feedback effects ) is because CO2 has not yet really hit the trigger ( it acts as a catalyst to cause all the trouble ) for the feedback loops to really get themselves amped up.

    One of the reasons it is so important to stop emitting CO2 is because the natural ‘sinks’ the ocean and plant life that will dissolve or use the CO2 that is being emitted are about to be saturated, ergo CO2 will stop being a linear addition each year and explode upward, ipso facto, triggering MASSIVE warming through feedback loops.

    This is of course a simplified explanation of the entire AGW debate simply illustrating why this report would hold any significance in the debate. The truth of the matter is neither side knows the truth, the science is not settled because to be honest we do not know how the entire system works. CO2 may in fact trigger a feedback effects with water vapor, but again there is no evidence of this to date. It will retain a limited bandwidth of radiative heat content but can only cause warming to a very limited extent. So the truth is you need to simply keep an open mind, search for truth and take explanations like mine as simply one person trying to explain a complex system as best they can. I am a layman when it comes to this having studied others work for years and can only tell you based on all that I have seen I believe CO2 will cause warming but no where near catastrophic levels and I actually think that most of that will be masked by natural rises and falls of temperature anyway. But look through and keep searching. Good hunting.

  112. Alba says:

    Alexej Buergin (07:07:16) :
    Center or centre? So I went to my favorite English newspaper, the Daily Mail, clicked on “travel”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/index.html

    and there it is:
    “Center Parcs Longleat: where fresh air and pampering are simply spa for the course
    Anna Melville-James
    Anna Melville-James manages to schedule in a weekend catch-up with friends. But where to go for somewhere fun, relaxing and with everything on your doorstep? Center Parcs of course, a positive utopia of healthy living, where bicycle rides, tree hopping and pampering are all on offer. All she needs to worry about is finding her way around …read”
    But then the Hadley C is a name, and English names are never, never pronounced the way they are written (just ask James Prescott Joule or Alec Douglas-Home).

    FYI:
    Center Parcs is a Dutch firm. Understandably, the Daily Mail calls it “Center Parcs” (which is the name the firm uses) rather than Centre Parks.
    Douglas-Home is not an English name. The Douglas-Homes come from Coldstream in Berwickshire, which is part of Scotland, not England. (And, yes, Scotland is NOT part of England!)

    Try “Cholmondeley” instead, if you want a funny English name.

    “English names are never, never pronounced the way they are written…” Just how do you think the English pronounce names like Miller, Smith and Brown?

    But if you asked a native of Liverpool or Birmingham how he pronounced the name of his city you would probably get an interesting reply.

  113. carrot eater says:

    RR Kampen: Pretty much. The press release was over the top, so it got people all excited. The actual paper isn’t all that exciting.

    If anybody wants to know what the models actually say, have a look at Fig 7.13 in the IPCC FAR, WG1. It takes a couple seconds to figure out what’s going on.

    The dotted black box represents the historical range for airborne fraction and ocean fraction. You’ll note that this paper by Knorr agrees with that black box. You’ll also note that most of the models start out in or near that black box (and are consistent with Knorr) at 2000. Two of the models are way off, and obviously need more work; three others are iffy. The models then move to higher airborne fractions by 2100; this paper by Knorr makes no claim about 2100.

    Note that the models don’t agree with each other much on the 2100 values. Models with integrated carbon cycles are still a new thing, and clearly need more work. More understanding on the effect of warming and chemistry on the different sinks is needed.

  114. Sonicfrog says:

    Richard111 (00:05:47) :

    Google algal blooms. Seems to be an unprecedented rise in ocean algae blooms causing havoc to bird life. I am not a scientist, but I don’t think algae and ocean acid can exist at the same time.

    Rich, algae will grow in a very wide range of pH levels. Trust me, I know.

    Signed

    Mike aka Sonicfrog – Pool and Spa guy for almost 20 years!

  115. NastyWolf says:

    I think the most insteresting part of in the graph is the last decade.

    If we trust the data, it seems that the annual increase in astmospheric CO2 is actually decreasing. Annual emissions of CO2 on the other hand are growing rapidly.

    If this trend continues, I don’t think the proportion of 46% suggested in the study will hold for the future.

    Also, the largest annual increase in atmospheric CO2 according to Mauna Loa was in 1998. Surprising?

  116. Yarmy says:

    carrot eater (08:02:43) :

    The press release was over the top

    Aren’t they all? One might expect to see some small trend though (with the big assumption that this paper is correct).

    have a look at Fig 7.13 in the IPCC FAR, WG1

    As you say, there’s a wide diversity in the models presented (though I note with a little amusement that the Hadley Centre coupled climate-carbon cycle general circulation model is way off :-)). But with only 10 years to compare, it’s hard to draw any real conclusions.

  117. The idea that anthropogenic emissions have a long half life in the atmosphere is a fudge factor in the models that makes increasing emissions consistant with rising concentrations. The major sinks that are closest to any source (natural or man made) are the cold relatively pure water droplets in clouds and fog. How long does it take for a large fraction of CO2 to travel a kilometer or two and saturate cold clouds? I expect it’s a matter of days rather than years and is strongly dependent on the amount of condensable water near the sources. This hypothesis is consistant with the observation that background levels with seasonal variations factored out are relatively constant from pole to pole.

  118. carrot eater says:

    Yarmy: Would I expect to see some small trend? Not necessarily. Keep in mind that Knorr’s work was looking at the long scale, over 1850-now; zoom out that far over the past and I don’t think anybody would expect to see much trend. Zoom in on the last decade, and maybe I’d expect to see some slight hint of a change, I don’t know.

    This paper, more than anything, seems to refute Canadell et al, so we’ll see how they respond. I don’t think it has any bearing on the work of Le Quéré, who found uncertain hints of a change in the southern ocean’s effectiveness over the last decade.

    The Hadley Centre’s model is an outlier for the 2100 prediction; it’s starting at a reasonable place for 2000. The University of Maryland model is way off even at 2000; I don’t know what’s going on there. Time will tell on this aspect, and presumably the coupled carbon cycle in the models will be improved over time as well.

  119. Thomas J. Arnold. says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (03:11:41)
    Read the links, thought provoking – shall trawl the net as well – thank you Ferdinand.

  120. 4 billion (06:06:24) : What is the doubt about Ocean acidification? it is simple chemistry. CO2 + H2O –> H2CO3 The Oceans are absorbing more CO2, nobody disputes that, as it absorbs CO2 the simple reaction described above occurs, simple chemistry. So it shouldn’t be any surprise.

    Now you were asked to produce a graph to substantiate your hypothesis. Evidence does help. Still, here is the simple chemistry missing from your chemistry:

    In the oceans overall, there is always a surplus of calcium ions (Ca++) ready to absorb extra CO2. The little molluscs are everywhere, wrapping up any hint of excess in their shells. Moreover, all the animal and plant life in the oceans need CO2 – again, it is the most fundamental, basic, vital food. Anyone suggesting anything else is a bad scientist. Every bit of CO2 we can get is precious to the biosphere and I hate Al Gore for forcing on people the lie that it is a pollutant.

    Earth used to have a HUGE quantity of CO2 in its atmosphere – until the molluscs turned it into limestone, and the trees turned it into coal. But ocean acidification – nah, ask the coelacanths, who may well have been around when CO2 was ten times its present level, four thousand ppm.

  121. Jeff Id says:

    There are a lot of people missing the point of this paper. What it says is, yes there is statistically more CO2 but that CO2 isn’t building up. It’s being absorbed as fast as we emit it.

    The drain is bigger than the faucet.

  122. maksimovich says:

    carrot eater (07:32:17)

    Le Quéré (an empirical work, not modeling) only found hints of a weakened ocean sink in the Southern ocean (not the total global sink) over the last few years.

    But it is incorrect, in as far as there seems to be an asymmetric resilience with the biological pump, eg Marinov et al 2006

    : Modelling studies have demonstrated that the nutrient and
    carbon cycles in the Southern Ocean play a central role in setting
    the air–sea balance of CO2 and global biological production1–8.
    Box model studies1–4 first pointed out that an increase in nutrient
    utilization in the high latitudes results in a strong decrease in the
    atmospheric carbon dioxide partial pressure (pCO2 ). This early
    research led to two important ideas: high latitude regions are
    more important in determining atmospheric pCO2 than low
    latitudes, despite their much smaller area, and nutrient utilization
    and atmospheric pCO2 are tightly linked. Subsequent general
    circulation model simulations show that the Southern Ocean is
    the most important high latitude region in controlling preindustrial
    atmospheric CO2 because it serves as a lid to a larger
    volume of the deep ocean5,6. Other studies point out the crucial
    role of the Southern Ocean in the uptake and storage of anthropogenic
    carbon dioxide7 and in controlling global biological
    production8. Here we probe the system to determine whether
    certain regions of the Southern Ocean are more critical than
    others for air–sea CO2 balance and the biological export production,
    by increasing surface nutrient drawdown in an ocean
    general circulation model. We demonstrate that atmospheric
    CO2 and global biological export production are controlled by
    different regions of the Southern Ocean. The air–sea balance of
    carbon dioxide is controlled mainly by the biological pump and
    circulation in the Antarctic deep-water formation region,
    whereas global export production is controlled mainly by the
    biological pump and circulation in the Subantarctic intermediate
    and mode water formation region. The existence of this biogeochemical
    divide separating the Antarctic from the Subantarctic
    suggests that it may be possible for climate change or human
    intervention to modify one of these without greatly altering the
    other.

  123. Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are no more than 8 billion, some say 6 billion tons per year. Even if we accept the larger of the two numbers it is only 4.1 ppm per year.

    When you look at the some of the other sources of natural production and compare these numbers to our output it puts our emissions into perspective.

    Then if you consider that these natural sources can vary up or down in one day by more than ten times what we are able to produce in a whole year you get even more perspective.http://www.spinonthat.com/CO2.html

  124. David says:

    Don’t know if this question was answered already, but I’ll take a shot, maybe someone can correct where I go wrong? Then Tim and I will both learn something. :)

    “Isn’t the simple fact that CO2 ppm is rising enough?”, Tim asks.

    Well, no. The doomsayers predict that we are going to face….doooooommmm! Why? Because nature has had as much CO2 as it can handle. This study says that nature is still eating the same amount of CO2 that it has been, and so, the ppm (parts per million in the atmosphere) of CO2 will continue to rise at the same rate, instead of faster.

    DDDOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!

    Ok, sorry, I really liked that Fed-Ex commercial.

    Do I have the basic points right here?

  125. Sandy says:

    Extra nutrients in Southern Ocean take up CO2?
    Actually more cold water in southern high latitudes than northern so more CO2 dissolves. Y’know, colder beer is fizzier.

  126. D. King says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (00:08:18) :

    Thanks so much for the link.
    As a young engineer I had measured many different systems. What
    I have found over time, is that an increase in one element of an open
    system, rarely results in a linear increase of that element. In other
    words, atmospheric CO2 increases are too linear. I don’t trust them.
    In the now infamous words of a former senator, “It requires the
    willing suspension of disbelief.” So, like a salmon, I return to this site,
    (WUWT), not because of the insightful postings of some of the most
    brilliant scientists and engineers; but because I must.

    http://climaterealists.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=125

    Politics and money and false markets.

  127. Smokey says:

    Fred H. Haynie (09:35:18) :

    The idea that anthropogenic emissions have a long half life in the atmosphere is a fudge factor in the models…

    Exactly. That fudge factor is used by the IPCC to alarm everyone. But most, if not all peer reviewed papers debunk the IPCC’s claim of long CO2 residence times: [click]

    The UN/IPCC’s political appointees are forced to argue long CO2 residence times, because if CO2 only remains in the atmosphere for ten years or so the entire CAGW claim falls apart.

    The biosphere craves more CO2, and it will use all we can give it.

  128. TIM CLARK says:

    Richard111 (00:05:47) :
    Google algal blooms. Seems to be an unprecedented rise in ocean algae blooms causing havoc to bird life. I am not a scientist, but I don’t think algae and ocean acid can exist at the same time.

    That’s reverse logic. If you’re hypothesis is increasing CO2 causes algae bloom, then CO2 is beneficially increasing algae in spite of alledged acidification. Your concern should then be the positive or negative consequences of more algae blooms. I don’t know if they are causing havoc to bird life.

    Chris Schoneveld (23:08:38) :
    I am confused. If the proportion of manmade CO2 remains the same while the total amount of CO2 is rising steadily doesn’t this mean that at the same time natural CO2 must be rising as well to keep that proportion stable? What is then the source of that extra natural CO2?

    Anne van der Bom (06:07:49) :
    In nature most plants do not have the luxury of being pampered in this way. Whether or not a plant will grow faster due to more CO2 depends on whether there are other factors that form a constraint.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (06:11:35) :
    Thus indeed in general there is more growth, but not 100% more growth for a 100% higher CO2 concentration. The more that CO2 is not the only restricting item in nature: lack of light, low temperatures, lack of sufficient amounts of minerals/fertiliser or water may be limiting growth despite increased CO2 levels…

    1. Someone stated that 45% of anthropogenic CO2 releases remain in the atsmosphere. I believe the poster confused isotopic analysis with absolute quantity, as the US Department of Energy analysis determined that only 4% of the increased Anthr.. releases remained in the atsmosphere causing the increase to ~ 380 ppm. Therefore, Chris, increasing Anthro.. [pCO2] induces increased plant (or ocean organism) growth, period. But increasing plant growth and subsequent decay returns increased amounts of CO2 back into the atsmosphere. The sequestration of the 96% of mans’ releases is either captured in urban structures, oceanic cycles, long-lived species (trees, shrubs) or in increases in soil organic matter (which is increasing). How much in each is debated, but a .05% increase in carbon sequestered in the soil could account for all of it. Increased soil organic matter also leads to imcreased biomass (sequestration) as numerous beneficial processes are correlated to OM, ie. nutrient availability, water infiltration and retention, reduction in compacted soil root impedance, etc. IMHO, the significance of this study is humans increasing CO2 contributions are still being sequestered at the same proportionate rate. Logically then, more is being sequestered each year. Plant response indicates this will continue in the same fashion at least up to 700ppm.

    2. As a soil scientist/plant physiologist, I can’t address ocean sequestration of CO2. But I hypothesize that the general concept of increasing growth in response to increasing CO2, die-off and sequestration of CO2 in oceanic sedimentation would be similar to terrestrial cycles.

    3. Under controlled growth chamber experiments and ideal conditions, plant response to increasing [pCO2] is exponential not linear. Increased growth leads to increased sink (larger plants), leading to further increased growth. Sometimes that increases economic yield, sometimes it just increases biomass. So the issue hinges on the afore-mentioned liebig most limiting factor(s) or mitscherlitz response curves to deficient supplied growth factors. Available light never limits growth response in ambient environmental conditions, it only occurs in light impeded greenhouses (or in cloudy environments). In efficient plant species growing in ambient temperatures that do not cause reduced enzymatic efficiency ( 92 F – 98 F roughly for most C3 and C4 plants , respectively) growth is most limited by the genetic ability to translocate photoassimilate to developing sinks. During daylight hours chloroplasts become feedback impaired by the accumulation of photoassimilate both within the chloroplast itself and in cellular starch granules. Under the process known as dark respiration, these metabolites are transported to the sinks. Deprivation of the dark cycle results in a reduction of genetically acheivable growth to plants in ambient conditions. The necessity for supplemental lighting is a result of greenhouse enclosure reflection of total radiation or specific wavelengths. The majority of increased yields historically acheived have been determined to be increased harvest index, translocation efficiency and other genetic improvements. Outside of these, the main constraints to estimations of increased global biomass are water, both absolute and seasonal timeliness, and nitrogen, then phosphorus, etc. Since the improvement in availability of all growth limiting requirements, and therefore in sequestration of increasing amounts of Anthro… supplied CO2 fertilizer is directly proportional to the cost and availability of energy (to mine, to build water storage structures and canals, to transport, etc.), it behooves mankind to continue to develop energy resources, most notably nuclear. And to continue advances in plant genetics and response to environment, so pony up some money for some real research. ;~D

  129. carrot eater says:

    Jeff Id: “What it says is, yes there is statistically more CO2 but that CO2 isn’t building up. It’s being absorbed as fast as we emit it.”

    I hope I misunderstand you, because this seems like an odd statement. CO2 most definitely is building up in the atmosphere; that’s the thin black line in Figure 1. That line is increasing, meaning CO2 is not being absorbed by the oceans/soil/biosphere as quickly as we emit it.

    The paper is simply saying the fraction going into the atmosphere (vs elsewhere) has not changed.

  130. Sophistry in politics (10:32:07) :

    Then if you consider that these natural sources can vary up or down in one day by more than ten times what we are able to produce in a whole year you get even more perspective.

    Be careful, the figures you use from Vienna are local CO2 levels in a town, nothing to do with global levels which don’t change with more than a fraction of a ppmv per day (global average 5 ppmv over the seasons for 1 degr.C change).

    And the micro-Schollander method used in Barrow had an accuracy of +/- 150 ppmv (!). It was intended for measuring CO2 levels in exhaled air (at 20,000 ppmv), not for 300 ppmv in ambient air.

    It seems that you rely on the work of Ernst Beck (on historical CO2 measurements) and Jaworowski (on ice cores), but both have their problems… See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html and

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html

  131. savethesharks says:

    Lucy Skywalker: “In the oceans overall, there is always a surplus of calcium ions (Ca++) ready to absorb extra CO2. The little molluscs are everywhere, wrapping up any hint of excess in their shells. Moreover, all the animal and plant life in the oceans need CO2 – again, it is the most fundamental, basic, vital food. Anyone suggesting anything else is a bad scientist. Every bit of CO2 we can get is precious to the biosphere and I hate Al Gore for forcing on people the lie that it is a pollutant.”

    The above was worth repeating.

    Irrefutable.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  132. Cassanders says:

    @carrot eater
    But as the measured increase (in the atmosphere) is close to linear, and the anthropogenic output (allegedly) is close to exponential, either the natural carbon sinks must increase or the natural output must diminish (or a combination), yes?

    Cassanders
    In Cod we trust

  133. carrot eater says:

    Tim Clark:

    “Someone stated that 45% of anthropogenic CO2 releases remain in the atsmosphere. I believe the poster confused”

    That somebody was not a poster, it was the author of the paper being discussed here: Knorr. I think you are confusing the airborne lifetime of an individual CO2 molecule with the overall net accumulations of CO2 in the different sinks (air, ocean, bio).

    maksimovich: I don’t see how Marinov’s modeling results (2006) show that that Le Quéré’s (2007) work is incorrect, but in any case, I’ve been using very weak language with Le Quéré’s results for a reason. They’re very preliminary results, and have drawn critical responses. Also, my apologies: I see I described Le Quéré’s work as empirical, but it uses models heavily as well.

    But in any case, the point is that any evidence for an already weakening ocean sink is weak and preliminary, to the extent that there is any such evidence. So Knorr’s results aren’t all that surprising or earthshaking. There’s no big trend yet; the question is, will there be one in 50 years?

  134. Jeff Id says:

    carrot eater (11:13:24) :

    I was wrong above. Timetochooseagain pointed out that the lower part of the graph is ‘change in co2′ rather than co2 level. My bad.

    The paper means the sinks are working harder not that they’re keeping up.

  135. Dr A Burns says:

    I find this paper curious in the context that the oceans release and absorb 20 times as much CO2 as man (IPCC quote). The areas of absorption and degassing vary at different times of the year. The result is that the there is about 2% of the CO2 in the atmosphere being derived from fossil fuels. (I do have links somewhere). I have assumed that the recent increasing CO2 concentrations may have been caused by increasing ocean temperatures, producing a net outgassing, rather than by man. Does this paper imply that the increasing CO2 concentrations are definitely a result of man’s activity ?

  136. What interests me most is two little blips in the manmade CO2 emissions record. If (as Ferdinand suggests) the CO2 increase really reflects the manmade increase, then it seems to me there should be CO2 decrease blips to match the manmade blips. But they are not there. I have to thank Derek Alker who pointed this out. And this supports my belief that the apparently constant proportion between our emissions and CO2 increase is largely sheer coincidence – that the CO2 increase is due to oceans warming and outgassing – and that the total CO2 turnover is so large that (with the biosphere) small changes can easily be absorbed in the longer term by the biosphere itself expanding or shrinking. Past CO2 levels have only dropped after the temperature had dropped substantially (ice core records). Perhaps dissolving in the oceans is a slower process than outgassing. Perhaps the plant kingdom has evolved to not use more than 50% of any year’s increase, on the grounds that boom-and-bust is not a good longterm overall strategy for the top species.

  137. carrot eater (07:32:17) :

    Ferdinand Engelbeen: You’ve done a nice job trying to explain, but I must take issue with you on comments like this:

    “The models on the other hand are programmed to show a saturation of the oceans and vegetation. In that case, the airborne fraction would increase.”

    I realize that my take on models were influencing my thoughts… In my former working life, I had some experience with models, be it for physical/chemical processes, not for climate. If you don’t know all important ingredients and (inter)actions, then your model goes anywhere except giving the right answer if something happens with which was not incorporated in the model…

    But let’s have a thought about the (possible) future: the upper ocean level is in direct contact with the atmosphere and simply follows the CO2 levels of the atmosphere with some delay. Of more importance is the CO2 flow into the deep oceans. The partial pressure difference for the coldest parts of the oceans, where e.g. the deep ocean conveyer belt is sinking (NE Atlantic) is about 220 microatm air-sea surface. This will increase over time, together with the emissions, while the sea surface doesn’t change much in chemical composition, except for absorbing more CO2 under this higher pressure difference. I don’t see any reason why this should reduce in rate.

    At the other side of the oceans, mainly in the tropical Pacific, deep ocean water is upwelling after a lot of time (800-1600 years), but during many centuries not different from the current composition. Thus the main source of natural CO2 is relative constant (besides an ocean temperature component), while the sink is increasing in ratio with increasing CO2 emissions.

    When does the ratio go down? Normally when higher CO2 levels in the deep ocean return to the surface. Until now, humans have emitted about 350 GtC as CO2. The deep oceans contain some 38,000 GtC as (bi)carbonate. Or the total emissions over the past centuries increased the deep ocean carbon content with less than 0.1%, which may influence CO2 levels in the atmosphere 800 years from now… Thus even if we assume that we will emit ten times more in total quantity this century, that will influence the CO2 levels in the far future with about 3 ppmv over the pre-industrial level…

  138. Bobn says:

    “little blips” in the manmade co2 record aren’t enough to show up in the mauna loa co2 record. The little blips are slight downturns in emissions, which only slightly slow down co2 rise, not enough I believe to show up.

  139. John Finn says:

    Jeff Id (10:19:35) :

    There are a lot of people missing the point of this paper. What it says is, yes there is statistically more CO2 but that CO2 isn’t building up. It’s being absorbed as fast as we emit it.

    No the paper doesn’t say that. It says that CO2 is “building up” at a slower rate than expected.

    According to the paper, humans emitted 2 Gt of CO2 in 1850 of which ~1Gt was absorbed and ~1Gt remained in the atmosphere. In recent years, human CO2 emissions have risen to ~35 Gt. Intuitively we might expect that the earth would continue to absorb ~1Gt and leave ~34 Gt in the atmosphere. This is not what is happening. Apparently the same proportion (roughly half) is still being absorbed while the other half accumulates in the atmosphere (the actual values are 55% and 45% respectively) . CO2 is still accumulating in the atmosphere – just not as quickly as thought likely.

    A quick back of the envelope calculation shows that atmospheric CO2 has been increasing at the rate of ~0.43% per year. If this rate continues indefinitely then the pre-industrial level of 285 ppm will be doubled in another ~89 years.

  140. Rob says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (06:11:35) :

    Greenhouse growers in The Netherlands and other countries use 1,000 ppmv as guideline (more doesn’t add much growth), or about 2.5xCO2.

    Thus indeed in general there is more growth, but not 100% more growth for a 100% higher CO2 concentration. Lack of light, low temperatures, lack of sufficient amounts of minerals/fertiliser or water may be limiting growth despite increased CO2 levels…

    I suggest you watch a video titled (Global Warming or Global Governance), start about half way through, This section shows plant growth in higher levels of CO2.

    Anne van der Bom (04:16:49)

    Thermometers only measure the micro system surrounding the thermometer, urban heat island = rise in temperature, check the rural sites, not much of a sudden increase there.

  141. Re: Smokey,

    My analysis of CO2 isotope data shows that about two thirds of atmospheric CO2 is going through an inorganic cycle and about one third through the biosphere(which includes fossil fuels). http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf

  142. carrot eater says:

    Cassanders: I’m not sure your eyeballing of curves as linear or exponential is a good way to advance. On a short scale, anything can look linear. One should actually do the math. Knorr did so here, and found that the fraction accumulating in the air has been constant over time. I do have some reservations about Knorr’s methods, though.

    There is apparently a sharp difference of opinion among the commenters here: some are happy to see that the oceans are continuing to be efficient carbon sinks; others think the oceans are net outgassing, and are thus sources of CO2, not sinks at all. That’s quite the contradiction. I don’t understand why anybody thinks the oceans are net sources.

  143. carrot eater says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen: My point was that you shouldn’t say the models say x, when they don’t actually say x. Whatever issues models have, let’s not misreport their results. The details of how temperature, atmospheric CO2, the solubility pump, biological pump, air and ocean circulation patterns will combine to determine the effectiveness of the ocean sink is beyond my competence on the matter, so I’ll not get into that.

  144. Fred says:

    Why are these scientists taking real measurements & collecting empirical data like this??…..they forgot that the ‘science’ was ‘settled’ apparently?…i mean come on what are they trying to pull?

  145. Anne van der Bom (06:07:49)
    In a greenhouse the other factors that determine plant growth are carefully adjusted to match the higher CO2 level. Temperature is one, light is another. Those greenhouses you speak of mostly have nighttime assimilation lighting and increased temperatures and generous amounts of fertilizer are being applied. ;-

    People should come to “Westland”, its a part South-Holland in the Netherlands, and it is where i live, assimilation lighting requires screens these days to prevent light flooding/leaking out of the greenhouses, yet still a [snip] load of light comes from these greenhouses.

    If the circumstances are right (snowdeck and low cloudcover) at night than it is still quite able to screw-up your day and night rythem if you don’t use heavy curtains to keep out the lights.

    But then, this tiny overcrowded country is still a large exporter of flowers and the greenstuff(1) we call food.

    (1) the other greenstuff grows also very well in these circumstances, i like to quote the former head of the Dutch Secret service on this: “Its still Dutch agriculture at its very best”.

  146. Toto says:

    It is Dr. Romm, Chip

    I believe the technical term for ‘doctors’ who claim to know more than they do is ‘quack’.

  147. carrot eater says:

    If I’m allowed another comment, I have some questions about this paper.

    The caption of Fig 1 says the dotted line refers to a constant AF of 46%. The text says it is 43%. Which is it?

    He then goes on to try statistical fits, with terms for data uncertainty and effects of El Nino and volcanoes. In Fig 1, the simple model looks like it fits the way it does because of the big dip around 1990, which presumably is due to Mt. Pinatubo(?). If it weren’t for that big dip, then the fit might have been different. This makes the volcanic term interesting; I wish he had graphically shown the results where the volcanic term is included. I wonder if this is the best way to account for volcanoes.

    The main contribution of the paper seems to be that the slight and barely significant trend found in Canadell (2007) is reduced if one allows for uncertainty in the data. That, and he adds in ice core data, which has higher uncertainty but is nice to look at. I’m not sure I’d call that a bombshell.

  148. D. King (10:47:38) :

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (00:08:18) :

    Thanks so much for the link.
    As a young engineer I had measured many different systems. What
    I have found over time, is that an increase in one element of an open
    system, rarely results in a linear increase of that element. In other
    words, atmospheric CO2 increases are too linear. I don’t trust them.

    CO2 levels, while many natural processes are far from linear, show a surprisingly linear reaction (about 8 ppmv/k) to temperature over the past 400,000 years (recently expanded to 800,000 years):

    That is clear for the current variability around the upgoing trend too (about 4 ppmv/K). Thus CO2 reacts quite linear to temperature.

    The reaction of CO2 levels in the atmosphere to the addition of human CO2 is almost as if the whole CO2 cycle acts as a simple first order dynamic process: it is possible to emulate the increase in the atmosphere (and upper oceans), including the d13C changes, with such a behaviour.

    The CO2 measurements are what they are, despite what Derek thinks about them. I have responded to his objections on 5-6 blogs, but did miss the one you mention. But see my replies e.g. at:

    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=102&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

    But he seems to be unconvincible…

  149. savethesharks says:

    Fred H. Haynie (12:34:28) :

    I read and bookmarked your presentation. Thanks.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  150. Kum Dollison says:

    At these temperatures the oceans are, obviously, not net-out gassers. They came close to being net-neutral in 1998 when the CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere reached something like 3.75 ppm (assuming we’ve been putting out about 4 ppm.

    It’s obvious the “fraction” changes with temperature.

  151. supercritical says:

    Fred H Haynie,

    re your

    “My analysis of CO2 isotope data shows that about two thirds of atmospheric CO2 is going through an inorganic cycle and about one third through the biosphere(which includes fossil fuels).”

    Just a speculation that there might be a hidden inorganic cycle. Seawater percolates through the hundreds of thousands of midocean hydrothermal vents. As water goes supercrititcal at these extremes of temperature and pressures, maybe the dissolved Co2 and the water in the vents combine to produce methane hydrates.

    ( PS congratulations on your excellent presentation slides )

  152. Geoff Sharp says:

    4 billion (06:06:24) :

    Geoff Sharp (05:08:05) :

    The only way to answer that question is to show me a graph of ocean PH levels over the last 50 years?
    ————————————
    What is the doubt about Ocean acidification? it is simple chemistry.

    CO2 + H2O –> H2CO3

    The Oceans are absorbing more CO2, nobody disputes that, as it absorbs CO2 the simple reaction described above occurs, simple chemistry. So it shouldn’t be any surprise.

    Need the graph, not the chemistry lesson. Its a mighty big ocean out there.

  153. geo says:

    Clearly somebody needs to find these dissident scientists and explain to them that *the science is settled* so they should just STOP this new research.

    Alas, my great worry with AGW is that when the house of cards finally crumbles that the proponents longest lasting contribution will have been to seriously damage the credibility of science in the public mind for at least two generations afterwards. And that is dangerous and even tragic.

    I hope that the forces that got together to knock over the house of cards will make a point of pointing proudly and often at those scientists who weren’t taken in and provided invaluable contributions to the eventual correct result.

  154. Richard M says:

    Let me see if I understand this correctly. We have been absorbing CO2 within natural sinks for decades and now we are absorbing more than ever. Logically one would think that CO2 sinks should be filling up now instead of increasing in capacity.

    I see the warmist want to ignore this logical problem. Not surprising. Just think if the CO2 sinks had absorbed exactly as much CO2 30-40 years ago as they do today, the CO2 would have fallen rather than increased.

    The only way this could happen is the overall CO2 is governed by feedbacks that keep the amount in the atmosphere relatively stable. Clearly, biomass represents one negative feedback and there are likely many more that we understand no better than temperature feedbacks. Until the models can include these kind of factors they will be of little or no use in global climate studies.

  155. Fred H. Haynie (12:34:28) :

    My analysis of CO2 isotope data shows that about two thirds of atmospheric CO2 is going through an inorganic cycle and about one third through the biosphere(which includes fossil fuels). http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf

    Indeed, this is roughly right, but the source of the inorganic cycle is largely known: the oceans. These are seasonal (for the mid-latitudes) and permanent sources (for the tropics) and sinks (for the polar oceans). If we take into account the different in/out flows (deduced from oxygen and d13C measurements), the oceans are good for 90 GtC exchange with the atmosphere (with about 2 GtC more sink than source) over a year and the biosphere is good for 50 GtC exchange (with about 1.4 GtC more sink than source). The remainder of the emissions accumulating in the atmosphere…

  156. adrian kerton says:

    I notice our BBC in the UK has somehow overlooked this important research, nothing on their news site. I wonder why?

  157. Smokey says:

    Fred H. Haynie (12:34:28),

    I just finished reading your link. You have a great ability to explain the situation clearly. I learned a lot, and I’m bookmarking it in my CO2 folder. Thanks for posting it.

  158. Dr A Burns says:

    Ferdinand,
    Some very interesting comments in your greenworldtrust link. It made me wonder how the “350” mob would react if they knew that CO2 concentrations in depressions in the forest floor at night can reach 1000ppm. Even the ASHREA standard is “no more than 700 ppm above the outdoor air concentration”, with typical office levels in the range of 600-800ppm.

    I could appreciate greenies avoiding work by staying out of offices to avoid those dangerous CO2 levels but I wonder how they would react to having to stay out of forests ?

  159. WAG says:

    Carrot Eater is right. No models predict a major decrease in carbon sink absorptivity… YET. While a few studies found a minor increase in the AT in the last couple of years, there was much uncertainty. So this study adds nothing new, makes no claims about future AT, and has no bearing on climate models.

    Anyone who believes this study disproves global warming is making the logical fallacy of extrapolating past trends into the future. Like bankers who predicted that housing prices would never decline, the readers of this site are making the illogical extrapolation that just because the AT has not increased YET, it NEVER will.

    The studies I reference come from RealClimate, and to preempt the RC bashing, remember:
    1. The RealClimate post comes from 2 years ago before the Knorr study was published, so it cannot be a “biased” rebuttal to a skeptic argument.
    2. The conclusions of past studies are simply factual claims of what those studies said, so even if RC is biased, that bias would have no affect on the accuracy of these statements. Just because RC says the sky is blue does not mean that it is green.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/11/is-the-ocean-carbon-sink-sinking/

  160. Fred H. Haynie (12:34:28) :

    May I disagree with your take of CO2 in ice cores? For the highest resolution ice cores at Law Dome (2 cores with 1.5 m ice equivalent snow accumulation per year), the average resolution is 8 years over the past 150 years. The third core with a lower accumulation has a 40 year resolution over 1,000 years. No clathrate formation found after relaxation. The CO2 levels in the three ice cores and still open bubbles of firn at closing depth were the same and there is a 20 year overlap (1960-1980 between the ice core / firn data and the South Pole direct measurements. All within the ice core accuracy (1 sigma = 1.2 ppmv). See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_sp_co2.jpg and

    From Etheridge e.a. at:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1996/95JD03410.shtml

    Thus clathrate (de)formation is not a cause of the lower CO2 levels found for centuries ago.

    All ice cores with overlapping gas ages, but complete different circumstances (temperature, dust inclusions, accumulation rate) show the same CO2 levels within 5 ppmv. Thus there is little doubt that CO2 levels found in different ice cores represent the true atmosphere of the past, be it increasingly smoothed at decreasing resolution for extending time periods. See:
    antarctic_cores_001kyr_large.jpg

    Sea surface temperature is NOT the cause of the recent rise. Even over tenthousands of years sustained increases/decreases during glacials-interglacials is only good for 8 ppmv/K change. Thus the global increase of about 1 K since the LIA is only responsible for 8 ppmv in CO2 level, far from the 100+ ppmv measured…

  161. The last link to the ice cores graph must be:

  162. WAG says:

    Lucy Skywalker and others,
    There seems to be confusion over the size Man’s contribution to CO2 – people don’t understand how Man can be responsible for all of the increase in CO2, even though our emissions constitute 2-3% of natural emissions. This results from a misunderstanding of a basic concept called “stocks and flows.” (Don’t worry – a study found that even most MIT students don’t get this concept intuitively, so it’s easy to see how people get confused). Here’s the analogy:

    Imagine a bathtub in which the faucet is turned on and the drain is open, and water is entering the tub from the faucet at the same rate it is draining out of it. The tub is in equilibrium; water is entering and exiting the tub at the same rate (the “flow”), so the overall level of water in the tub (the “stock”) does not change. This is like the natural carbon cycle – in equilibrium, CO2 enters and exits the biosphere at the same rate, so the overall level in the atmosphere doesn’t change.

    Back to the tub – now imagine that you add a second faucet pouring water into the tub, but only 2% as much as the original faucet. Still, because there is now slightly more water entering the tub as draining out of it, the water level slowly increases. This is like the manmade contribution to CO2 emissions: even though ours are only 2-3% of the total, that 2-3% throws the system out of balance.

    So anyone who claims that man’s contributions to CO2 are minor is making a basic, if easy to make error in basic quantitative reasoning. Hope this is helpful.

  163. bill says:

    Rob (12:26:32
    A few UK locations:

  164. Bart says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (23:58:01) :

    “Despite the fact that many CO2 releases and absorptions in the natural world are quite non-linear, nature as a whole acts and reacts like a simple first order linear process on disturbances, be it temperature or human emissions.”

    Allow me to run with that a little. Let the atmospheric level of CO2 be C, and its rate of change Cdot. Our model is:

    Cdot = -C/tau + u + delta_u

    where tau is the time constant, u is the underlying rate of natural emission, which I will assume is constant, and delta_u is manmade. delta_u has a form which, since 1950, has been more or less linear, but as of today is less than 0.03*u (3% of the natural emission rate, some say it is 1% or less). We may thus bound the current increase via

    Cdot <= -C/tau + (1.03)*u

    In the steady state, the increase in C should then be <= 3% of its natural level. However, the increase in C has been much greater than that. What are the possibilities?

    A) an amplifying positive feedback – but there is no reason such a feedback should have been inactive until the onset of industrialization, the system is still linear, and the steady state proportionality does not change

    B) the system responds to the rate of change of delta_u, i.e., has an amplifying zero, as well as the absolute value

    Cdot = -C/tau + u + delta_u + K*d/dt(delta_u)

    I can't think of any particular physical mechanism for this, but maybe others can. In any case, the contribution from the derivative term is bounded, and the contribution from the (slowly) linearly increasing delta_u is… slowly increasing.

    C) the system has an integral term

    Cdot = -C/tau – alpha*intg(C) + u + delta_u

    with this value of tau actually larger than before, and previously misidentified. In this paradigm, we would merely be observing the overshoot, and the steady state concentration will settle out to a limit even if we keep increasing emissions linearly.

    How might an integral term come about? Let's say plant life increases proportional to C:

    Pdot = beta*C

    for some constant beta. Then, CO2 is partially removed in proportion to how much plant life there is.

    Cdot = -C/tau – alpha*P + u + delta_u

    Seems reasonable. I'm not claiming in any way this is what is happening. I’m just saying, if you assume you can model CO2 level as a linear system, these are the simplest and most obvious options, and the last one seems the most reasonable. It will be interesting to see if CO2 starts to come down in the future. It almost looks like it is starting to in the plot at the top.

  165. Wag,

    The idea that oceans and air have been in some sort of equilibrium that should tend to maintain a semi constant air concentration is a major flaw in the models. The oceans as both sources and sinks are constantly changing their rates of emissions and absorption depending on the rate and direction of SST changes. The absorbtion in clouds and fog moderates the swings in atmospheric concentrations.

  166. Bart says:

    Of course, the problem with the integral feedback is that, without industrialization, C would have gone back to zero. Lucky we started burning stuff when we did!

    OK, ok, we can kluge that up a little. Let

    Pdot = beta*(C-C_0)

    where C_0 is the “natural” level of C.

    This is all fun, but the real point I want to make is, if we accept the data as presented, the increase in CO2 levels relative to the increase in emissions does not add up in a linear systems model, unless there are additional factors which, I think, generally would tend to mitigate future buildup.

  167. Smokey says:

    WAG (15:15:31),

    You continue to be unconvincing. It is clear that your mind is made up. But to clarify the difference for others between climate alarmists and scientific skeptics, the following sums up the current situation:

    Those pushing the hypothesis claiming that human emitted CO2 will cause catastrophic runaway global warming [AKA: CO2=CAGW] must convincingly demonstrate that hypothesis. So far, they have failed.

    Skeptics, on the other hand, are not saying that CO2 has zero effect on temperature, nor are they saying that global warming is not occurring. Yet the alarmists mendaciously try to frame the argument that way.

    All that scientific skeptics are saying is: make a convincing case that your CO2=CAGW hypothesis explains observed reality better than the long accepted theory of natural climate variability. But to make a convincing case, transparency and full cooperation is required.

    It is the ethical responsibility of those putting forth a new, untested hypothesis to provide strong empirical evidence that withstands falsification. And ‘evidence’ means the raw data and how it was acquired, not the output from programmed computer climate models, or a dozen cherry-picked trees out of literally millions. In order to falsify a hypothesis, those claiming it must fully and openly cooperate with requests for their raw data and methodologies. But they do not.

    The fact that the promoters of the CO2=CAGW hypothesis generally refuse to cooperate with skeptical scientists [which is the only honest kind of scientist] makes falsification extremely difficult; methodologies must be reverse engineered, a very painstaking process. In effect, the CO2=CAGW promoters are saying, “Trust us.”

    But that is not how the Scientific Method works. Stonewalling requests for information makes the climate alarmists’ case highly suspect. No true scientific skeptic will accept that kind of an answer.

    Furthermore, skeptics have nothing to prove. This isn’t a “my idea versus your idea” debate. The believers in the CO2=CAGW hypothesis have the burden of convincing everyone — not just their particular clique — that CO2 will cause CAGW. Climate alarmists will never convince scientific skeptics, unless/until they lay out all of their information transparently, for everyone to see.

    But rather than being honest, cooperative, and and upfront about their claims, climate alarmists have been devious, deliberately withholding the information necessary for experimental replication and falsification of their claimed results. By hiding their raw data and/or methodologies, climate alarmists convince everyone else that they are hiding information because it would lead to falsification of their hypothesis.

    It may be true that a minor trace gas can cause runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. But no skeptic is going to be convinced until all the requested information is provided. Until then, the climate alarmists’ case fails.

  168. D. King says:

    WAG (15:15:31) :

    Let me see if I got this right.

    Rub a dub dub…too much CO2 in the tub.

  169. carrot eater says:

    WAG, that link to real climate is actually very helpful to put this paper in context.

    In short, this new paper has little importance, because it isn’t saying anything new; it just disputes the finding of Canadell (2007). Nobody thought the AF would have been increasing much over that time period; if anything the models with coupled carbon cycles actually have a slight decrease in AF over that time period.

    Press release overkill.

  170. J. Bob says:

    A lot of the comments seem to be revolving around the Mauna Loa CO2 data. Are there any other CO2 time histories to compare Mauna Loa against? It would seem putting so much weight on a sensor so close to a active volcano, might just give some questionable data.

  171. D. King says:

    J. Bob (16:50:19) :
    Yes.
    You would think the Mauna Loa sensors would be jumping
    all over the place.

  172. Richard M says:

    WAG, your bathtub has a few holes ;) If the amount of CO2 emitted keeps going up faster and faster and the amount sequestered is also going up (just not quite as fast), your drain must be getting bigger and bigger by just enough to keep the CO2 increase almost linear. Until you can explain precisely how that works your argument/analogy doesn’t hold water ;)

    Note, if my data is wrong please let me know. The last I saw China’s emissions were going through the roof with additions from many other developing countries.

  173. carrot eater says:

    Bart, your little model is ill-posed from the first line. You have a first-order term for carbon leaving the atmosphere, and a zero-order term for carbon naturally coming into the atmosphere. Why? There isn’t any physical meaning to any of that.

    I’ll use made up numbers, but let me try to explain the basic dynamics:

    Say there is only ocean and atmosphere. In any given year, 100 units of CO2 go from ocean to air, and 100 units of CO2 go from air back to ocean. On net, the amount of carbon in either place is unchanged.

    Now, man starts putting 4 units/year of CO2 into the air directly. Now, 102 units of CO2 go from air to ocean, and 100 units of CO2 go from ocean to air. The amount of CO2 in both ocean and air go up by 2 units/year each. In the terms of the Knorr paper, AF = 50%. Yes, it’s insanely simplified, but I don’t know how else to overcome this difficulty people are having with the transfers.

    Bart, if you want your model to actually be able to predict these transfers, you’ll pretty much end up writing a pretty complicated gridded global model.

  174. Ron de Haan says:

    Smokey (16:19:51) :
    Please, make this a speech for the US SENATE!

  175. Ferdinand,

    I analyzed the same data and got a 0.15k/ppm relationship which is close to your 8ppm/k. Plotting SSTs calculated from isotope depletion data and SSTs from the .15k/ppm relationship shows they track together up until about 4000 years BC. The tracks begin to deviate linearly until about 1800 were the relationship calculated SST rises exponentially to give you a classic hockey stick. The later calculated values are unrealistically high while the isotope data values are in good agreement with measured SSTs.

  176. Bart says:

    carrot eater (17:30:23) :

    “…and a zero-order term for carbon naturally coming into the atmosphere. Why? There isn’t any physical meaning to any of that.”

    Of course there is:

    Natural sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide include volcanic outgassing, the combustion of organic matter, and the respiration processes of living aerobic organisms; man-made sources of carbon dioxide include the burning of fossil fuels for heating, power generation and transport, as well as some industrial processes such as cement making. It is also produced by various microorganisms from fermentation and cellular respiration.

    Without it, the CO2 of the atmosphere would soon be depleted. This is all part of the carbon cycle, with which any reader of this website should at least have some passing familiarity.

    “Now, man starts putting 4 units/year of CO2 into the air directly. Now, 102 units of CO2 go from air to ocean, and 100 units of CO2 go from ocean to air. The amount of CO2 in both ocean and air go up by 2 units/year each. In the terms of the Knorr paper, AF = 50%. Yes, it’s insanely simplified, but I don’t know how else to overcome this difficulty people are having with the transfers.”

    It is not that simple. At all. Not all CO2 goes into the ocean, and the ocean reservoir itself is vast and has its own natural sequestration mechanisms. See here:

    CO2 consumed annually by the photosynthesis of land plants give fluxes in the range 10 – 70 times higher than produced by man; photosynthesis by marine plants give fluxes in the range 50 to 250 times higher (Revelle and Suess, 1957)… The oceans to a depth of about 4 km are supersaturated with respect to calcium carbonate (Broecker et al., 1979). This would facilitate precipitation of calcium carbonate for any additional input of CO2 through the atmosphere/ocean interface, and thereby oceans will consume any excess CO2 in the atmosphere… Any additional CO2 entering the ocean from the atmosphere will have the potential of precipitating calcium carbonate according to the Principle of le Châtelier (average ocean depth 3.8 km; average calcite saturation depth 4 km). This is why the vast sedimentary CO2 reservoir has been accumulated on the Earth’s surface throughout its history.

    And, there are other natural mechanisms for carbon sequestration being discovered all the time.

  177. carrot eater says:

    Bart: Of course it isn’t that simple; I said as much. My comment was meant to show your model was poorly formulated, and to try to explain how huge volumes go around the cycle, without causing accumulation in any one part. If you’re going to go wikipedia, you might as well just stare at the cute carbon cycle there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_cycle-cute_diagram.svg
    Staring at that diagram and tracing all the flows will be more beneficial than trying to write your own model from scratch. Yes, there is some uncertainty in some of the numbers on there, but it’s good enough for the purpose here.

    You’ve identified various ways carbon enters and leaves the atmosphere. My complaint is that you’ve arbitrarily made the entrance term to be zero order, and the departure term to be first order with respect to the atmospheric concentration. It’s those decisions that have no physical basis, within your simplistic model.

  178. CodeTech says:

    Hilarious!

    WAG, do you actually believe your model of a bathtub at 15:15:31 has any place in this discussion? Truthfully, that’s the kind of explanation you’d give a 6 year old. I especially liked the condescending claptrap at the beginning about what “we” don’t “get intuitively”.

    Your little tirade fails to take into account that said bathtub is capable of growing and shrinking, there are differing levels of evaporation from the tub depending on its water level, water enters at varying temperatures, and overflowing won’t cause any serious harm because there’s a giant floor drain right beside it.

    However, if your understanding of atmospheric gases is that minimal, hey, don’t let anyone talk you out of it. I do, however, recommend an excellent line of books for you written by Dr. Seuss.

    Reply: Back down the tone please, this is pushing well over the line. ~ charles the moderator

  179. WAG says:

    Fred – you’re right, the bathtub analogy is a little simplistic. The carbon cycle acts as a dynamic equilibrium – small oscillations around a constant level – which is not captured by a simple analogy. However, the mechanism you’ve proposed does not explain the massive, sustained increase in CO2 unprecedented in the last 400,000 years (and likely 15 million).

    Smokey – please explain how you would empirically “test” AGW *without* using a model, considering that the point is to predict what is going to happen in the future? And considering that by the time the earth has warmed enough to have “tested” AGW theory it will be too late to reverse, what should we do in the present in the face of less-than-100% certainty? What, specifically, would you have to see for you to accept AGW?

    Also, considering that you demand such a high bar for evidence, I find it a little odd that you dismiss what I’ve said by asserting that it’s “unconvincing.” Dismissing arguments out of hand without engaging them is the sure sign of someone “whose mind is made up.” If you had consulted your Monty Python, you would know that an argument is a series of connected statements meant to establish a proposition; Contradiction is the automatic gainsaying of whatever the other person says.

    Please explain why increasing the rate of a flow into a stock does not cause the stock to increase. Also, please explain why a study finding that the AT has not increased yet proves that it NEVER will. I hear AIG is hiring.

    Carrot eater – thanks. I’ll be posting that info soon.

  180. Nick Stokes says:

    Bart (18:05:33) That’s a dodgy reference that you have there,

    Any additional CO2 entering the ocean from the atmosphere will have the potential of precipitating calcium carbonate according to the Principle of le Châtelier

    Quite wrong. CO2 reacts with carbonate ions in solution to produce bicarbonate. By removing the carbonate ions, it makes CaCO3 more apt to dissolve. It is dissolved CO2 that promotes formation of limestone caves.

  181. bill says:

    J. Bob (16:50:19) :
    D. King (17:17:55) :
    in bill (06:19:36) I wrote
    Mauna Loa Do not take readings when wind direction can pull in volcanic etc CO2.
    There are many different sites, and a couple of different measurement methods – Flask and in situ
    The ML readings are then algorithmically shifted to represent the CO2 values on 15th of each month.
    “Values above represent monthly concentrations adjusted to represent 2400 hours on the 15th day of each month. ”

    Multi site CO2 data here:

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-keel.html

    CO2 growth rate:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_gr_mlo.txt
    Plotted here:

    Growth rate certainly seems to have an upward trend (although stalled for last 5 years)
    Other sites data for CO2
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/flask/month/

    Here’s a plot of Co2 from a few places, included is CH4

    In this plot from only a couple of years you can see that most of the annual variation happens in the NH. but only at South Pole does a SH annual cycle predominate. The most annual variation occurs around the arctic circle.

  182. D. King says:

    bill (19:14:25) :
    Mauna Loa Do not take readings when wind direction can pull in volcanic etc CO2.

    As the wind blows?
    Please tell me I’m not the only one who has a problem with this.

  183. Ron de Haan says:

    Anne van der Bom (04:16:49) :

    Ron de Haan (02:53:56)

    “Do you have an explanation for the 0.7 degrees of warming since pre-industrial times? Since CO2 rose by 35%, according to prof. Lindzen’s paper, that should have been no more than 2 tenths of a degree. What caused the other 0.5 degrees?”

    Anne, I think that the Urban Heat Island Effect is the only real and measurable Anthropogenic influence on temperatures and all the rest is due to natural cycles.

    This is a volcanic planet and despite major volcanic events that screwed up the climate over several years, no tipping points were reached and everything went back to normal.
    The bear fact that we are present at this planet despite a number real big volcanic eruptions and huge fluctuations in global temperatures is sufficient reason for me not to worry about a few tenth’s of a degree variation in Global Temperatures we measure today.

    And I don’t see any reason to mitigate our CO2 emissions, change our civilization and replace it by a polished up version of communism, because that s what behind this entire theater.

    So if you want to live in a society where the President of the USA is granted absolute powers only because a few loons made up a Bill that says we are in a crises if the atmospheric CO2 level reaches 450 ppm, be my guest, but not in my life time.

  184. bill says:

    D. King (19:39:22) :

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html

    The observatory is surrounded by many miles of bare lava, without any vegetation or soil. This provides an opportunity to measure “background” air, also called “baseline” air, which we define as having a CO2 mole fraction representative of an upwind fetch of hundreds of km. Nearby emission or removal of CO2 typically produces sharp fluctuations, in space and time, in mole fraction. These fluctuations get smoothed out with time and distance through turbulent mixing and wind shear. A distinguishing characteristic of background air is that CO2 changes only very gradually because the air has been mixed for days, without any significant additions or removals of CO2.

    At Mauna Loa we use the following data selection criteria:
    The standard deviation of minute averages should be less than 0.30 ppm within a given hour
    The hourly average should differ from the preceding hour by less than 0.25 ppm.
    Hours that are likely affected by local photosynthesis are indicated by a “U” flag in the hourly data file,
    In keeping with the requirement that CO2 in background air should be steady, we apply a general “outlier rejection” step,

  185. CodeTech says:

    ctm – sorry, I withdraw the last sentence. But only that one… :)

  186. savethesharks says:

    WAG to Smokey – “Please explain how you would empirically “test” AGW *without* using a model, considering that the point is to predict what is going to happen in the future?”

    Well, the AGW alarmists could start, EMPIRICALLY, by presenting real, observable data…that proves (and I mean “prove” in the strict scientific sense) their case.

    But they can’t….because the data is either not there, or can be explained within the bounds of natural climate variation.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  187. J. Bob says:

    In looking at the above graphs noted by Bill, all the graphs, save one in Canada’s NW Terr., border the Pacific. Any others from Europe, Africa or Asia. Just a thought, but one common thread is the loss of plant life (less CO2 absorption) and urban growth (increasing temperatures). Any correlations out there?

  188. B E Brill says:

    If the Bristol paper shows that 55% of anthropogenic emissions (no more, no less) are ALWAYS taken out of the atmosphere by natural processes, then what is the point of issuing carbon credits for man-made sinks?

    Any reductions in airborne CO2 brought about by planting trees, soil tillage – or even CCS – will be cancelled out automatically by adjustments in the natural program.

  189. savethesharks says:

    WAG to Smokey “And considering that by the time the earth has warmed enough to have “tested” AGW theory it will be too late to reverse, what should we do in the present in the face of less-than-100% certainty?”

    Do you really think your Non Causa Pro Causa goes unnoticed here?

    Regardless of that, so what you are saying is, “It doesn’t matter if it is proven, we have to do something NOW, before its too late.”

    It is exactly THAT gloom and doom HUSTLING of this pet theory (We call it pseudoscience) on the reasoning world, the same HUSTLING that is poised to cap and trade (and make billionaires out of Gore and his friends) the world back to the Stone Age….it is exactly THAT which makes the “we’ve got to do something now” argument…so reprehensible.

    Two separate arguments here.

    If the alarmists said they wanted to end AGP (Anthropogenic Global Pollution), I would be *somewhat* on board.

    (I mean…who doesn’t want to clean up pollution, right?).

    But they don’t stop there. They equate manmade pollution with climate change, which is grossly unproven.

    And, contrary to what Lisa Jackson wants to think, CO2 is not a pollutant.

    Coal dust is, but CO2 is not.

    That is the worst problem here: They have an environmental agenda, but then they tack that environmental agenda to pseudoscience.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  190. savethesharks says:

    WAG to Smokey: “What, specifically, would you have to see for you to accept AGW?”

    That’s easy: A complete technical, scientific proof of the AGW theory.

    Until then….it is a just a theory….and not a strong one at that. In fact, in line with other ideas about natural climate variation, it is a weak, weak, sickly sister.

    And in reference to the phrase “accept AGW”:

    Indicative of the whole startlingly *evangelical* tone this devastatingly embarrassing chapter of science has taken, no doubt.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  191. Smokey says:

    savethesharks (20:31:57),

    I thought I had made my point to WAG pretty clear when I pointed out that the alarmist crowd has been deliberately withholding the information necessary for experimental replication and falsification of their claimed results. That is the central problem.

    It’s not that I am setting the bar too high like WAG claims. The problem is that the promoters of the hypothesis deliberately refuse to cooperate with requests for the raw data and methodologies they used to arrive at their conclusions.

    Until they make their data and methods transparent, and fully cooperate with the requests of other scientists, people will remain skeptical of their conclusions.

  192. DaveE says:

    savethesharks (20:31:57) :

    Coal dust is, but CO2 is not.

    That’s better!

    DaveE.

  193. savethesharks says:

    WAG to Smokey: “Also, considering that you demand such a high bar for evidence, I find it a little odd that you dismiss what I’ve said by asserting that it’s “unconvincing.”

    Huh? You are shooting yourself in the foot on that one. Look at what you are saying.

    At any rate, glad that you appreciate and observe his high bar of evidence.

    It’s the natural place to be for a skeptic.

    Perhaps you could learn something.

    Wag to Smokey: “Dismissing arguments out of hand without engaging them is the sure sign of someone “whose mind is made up.”

    Pot Callingimus Kettle Blackimus Uniterruptedness.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  194. savethesharks says:

    WAG to Smokey: “Please explain why increasing the rate of a flow into a stock does not cause the stock to increase.”

    Take the Dead Sea, for example. Now I am sure the rate of flow of the Jordan River varies….but it is not sufficient to cause the Dead Sea to fill up and overflow.

    Evaporation is a very strong beast.

    WAG to Smokey “Also, please explain why a study finding that the AT has not increased yet proves that it NEVER will.”

    Huh??? Wha???

    WAG to Smokey: “I hear AIG is hiring.”

    I’ll bet you are just what they are looking for! :-)

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  195. Bart says:

    carrot eater (18:22:24) :

    “My complaint is that you’ve arbitrarily made the entrance term to be zero order, and the departure term to be first order with respect to the atmospheric concentration.”

    In actuality, I made the input “u” a constant, and considered the term “delta_u” to be linear in time. That is why I stated “delta_u has a form which, since 1950, has been more or less linear [in time]“. It was not arbitrary. It was based on the Figure 1 graph in the Knorr paper shown above.

    As far as the departure term, that is simply a standard linear feedback. The rate at which carbon leaves is (at least) proportional to the amount in the atmosphere. That is also suggested by Figure 1.

    So, I think perhaps you have leapt to some conclusions, and need to think it through a little more carefully.

  196. 4 billion says:

    Evidence of increased atmospheric CO2 effecting Marine life

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/320/5874/336

  197. WAG says:

    Savethesharks –

    Interesting circular reasoning. Your response to “how do you empirically test AGW” is “show empirical evidence.” Your response to “what would prove global warming” is “proof.”

    My point is simple: It is definitionally impossible to empirically prove a future event. Empirical proof means a real-world result that confirms a hypothesis. So in the case of AGW, the basic hypothesis is that continuing to put CO2 into the atmosphere will cause several degrees of warming. Empirical proof of the AGW hypothesis would mean waiting 50-100 years and seeing how much the temperature has increased. Of course, by that time, it would be too late to do anything about it. So the best we can do is make predictions using models based on our best understanding of how the world works. (Although I’m shortchanging the evidence we DO have: here is an unanswerable proof:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-global-warming.htm)

    Of course, as I’ve said before, all climate skeptic arguments rely on models too, since any alarmist predictions of “economic doom” is based on economic models. These models are based on human behavior, which is much harder to predict than chemistry and physics. Hell, economic models don’t even account for technological change, which is why past analyses of environmental legislation have always overestimated the costs, according to the socialist magazine BusinessWeek: http://www.businessweek.com/investing/green_business/archives/2009/09/one_potential_b.html

    So it’s pretty clear that the economic costs of cap-and-trade are much more uncertain than the science of global warming. But don’t ask me, ask the company with the most to lose from global warming:

    http://akwag.blogspot.com/2009/11/dont-believe-in-global-warming-ask.html

  198. D. King says:

    WAG (21:34:13) :
    So it’s pretty clear that the economic costs of cap-and-trade are much more uncertain than the science of global warming.

    These models are based on human behavior, which is much harder to predict than chemistry and physics.

    You were saying?

  199. CodeTech says:

    WAG,

    PROOF is not difficult. Show a credible link between the recorded rise of CO2 and warming.

    Not something modeled, not something based on faulty thermometers with horrid siting. Something CREDIBLE.

    See, you’re missing the obvious fact that none of what “your side” has demonstrated is the least bit credible.

    That really would convince a lot of “skeptics”, but it will never happen. There is no credible evidence to be shown, it does not exist.

    See how easy that is?

  200. savethesharks says:

    WAG: “My point is simple: It is definitionally impossible to empirically prove a future event. Empirical proof means a real-world result that confirms a hypothesis.”

    As evidenced in the above quote and otherwise: Circular reasoning is definitely YOUR expertise, my friend, so, I understand why you would want to project it on someone else.

    Nice try.

    If it is “impossible to empirically prove a future event,”…then why not show forth the evidence of the catastrophic, out-of-control global warming, as ALREADY manifested??

    Natural climate variations…including recoveries from the LIA…can not be included into the mix.

    Where is your evidence? Hard, scientifically proven evidence based upon real-time observations??

    Where is it? Show it? Prove it??

    Sorry bud, but the burden of proof is on you….or are you going to avoid the logic here too?

    Cue chirping crickets.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  201. savethesharks says:

    CodeTech: “See, you’re missing the obvious fact that none of what “your side” has demonstrated is the least bit credible That really would convince a lot of “skeptics”, but it will never happen. There is no credible evidence to be shown, it does not exist.”

    The gritty, grimy, but in the end, CRYSTAL CLEAR truth of the matter.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  202. savethesharks says:

    WAG says: Of course, as I’ve said before, all climate skeptic arguments rely on models too, since any alarmist predictions of “economic doom” is based on economic models. These models are based on human behavior, which is much harder to predict than chemistry and physics. Hell, economic models don’t even account for technological change, which is why past analyses of environmental legislation have always overestimated the costs, according to the socialist magazine.”

    Huh????

    Does not compute. Dude….you are jumping logic mid-sentence.

    All climate skeptic arguments rely on models too, since WHA???

    What is the question here?

    You are off your rocker on this post.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  203. tallbloke says:

    John Finn (03:30:29) :
    The ‘mystery’ , here, is why the oceans and biosphere decide to absorb more CO2 just because more is available.

    Because co2 has been at a historically very low level for a long time and the trees can’t get enough of it. The planet has vast capacity to become more verdant, and therefore damper. Win Win.

  204. Contrarian says:

    WAG wrote,

    “It is definitionally impossible to empirically prove a future event. Empirical proof means a real-world result that confirms a hypothesis. So in the case of AGW, the basic hypothesis is that continuing to put CO2 into the atmosphere will cause several degrees of warming. Empirical proof of the AGW hypothesis would mean waiting 50-100 years and seeing how much the temperature has increased.”

    You are perfectly correct there. We cannot empirically confirm a model’s prediction of an event 100 years in the future until that 100 years has passed. We can, however, test the model which makes that prediction in other ways. We can, for example, see whether predictions the model has made in the past for the present have been confirmed. We can also run the model with the starting parameters for some known past time, and see whether the predictions they make track the empirical record. We can also examine the many assumptions upon which the model relies for generating its predictions, and see whether *they* can be verified empirically.

    The GCMs available, upon which the IPCC relies for its predictions, have not done well on such tests. They have not, for example, correctly predicted the climate over the last 20 years. When hindcast, they do not predict the MWP or the LIE, which the empirical evidence appears to confirm. The increased frequency and intensity of unusual weather events predicted by the models has not been confirmed either. The correlation between the atmospheric CO2 trend and the temperature trend over the last 100 years is weak. The effects of warming on cloud formation and distribution, which can greatly affect climate sensitivity to CO2, is admitted by the IPCC to be poorly understood. The various assumptions made concerning IR radiative losses, the role and efficiency of various CO2 sinks, the validity of proxies for past temperatures, and numerous others, are challenged by new work on an almost daily basis.

    So we don’t have to wait 100 years to evaluate the models. We can evaluate them on the basis of the empirical evidence we have now, and on their performance to date.

  205. JamesG says:

    “The Oceans are absorbing more CO2, nobody disputes that,”

    This is the nub of the problem; they really should dispute it because it doesn’t matter which numbers you stick into Henry’s law, a warming ocean should be a source of CO2, not a sink. The idea that it is a sink comes merely from simplistic and error-filled IPCC arithmetic:

    They calculate the amount we emit (which by the way is about 3% of the biosphere flux) then they add an amount from supposed deforestation (the opposite of physical reality in a greening, warming world) then they subtract a calculated amount for tree absorption. They then compare the result with what is measured in the atmosphere and the remainder, called “the missing sink” is assumed to go into the warming sea. This seaborne fraction is then stuck into more models to calculate – not measure – rising pH levels in the sea. This isn’t science it is just bad arithmetic and worse logic.

    The whole numerical exercise is invalidated by the massive error bars and the percentage of man’s input versus natures flux. But besides that, the postulated deforestation is far less than natural reforestation so that figure should subtract, not add. They have consistently underestimated the amount absorbed by vegetation and overestimated the residence time of CO2 which makes the official IPCC numbers used practically meaningless.

    If you do the arithmetic properly then you don’t get any “missing sink” at all – which would agree with chemistry and physics, unlike the IPCC conclusions. Yet it’s true – few dispute that the “missing” CO2 goes in the sea. Why? Is it general massive stupidity?

  206. supercritical says:

    Re the bathtub analogy,

    Personally I find such analogies useful, as they it allows certain types of consequential reasoning chains to be created, like this:

    If the water pressure at the plug-hole varies in response to water depth, then a new, higher equilibrium level may emerge.

    As Henry’s law is to do with the partial pressure of the gas above the liquid, then an increase in atmosperic CO2 ought to result in a new higher equilibrium.

    Given that Henry’s law indicates around 1: 50 ratio for the equilibrium between free vs dissolved C02 in water, then a CO2 rise of say 2 ppm/yr should indicate that a 100ppm equivalent has been dissolved in the oceans.

    So, we could conjecture the need to have an actual initial CO2 emission into the atmosphere of 102 ppm/yr, if we measure a 2ppm/yr increase.

    So, how does this 102 ppm/yr compare with the equivalent yearly Anthropic emissions?

  207. John Finn says:

    carrot eater (17:30:23) :

    Bart, your little model is ill-posed from the first line. You have a first-order term for carbon leaving the atmosphere, and a zero-order term for carbon naturally coming into the atmosphere. Why? There isn’t any physical meaning to any of that.

    I’ll use made up numbers, but let me try to explain the basic dynamics:

    Say there is only ocean and atmosphere. In any given year, 100 units of CO2 go from ocean to air, and 100 units of CO2 go from air back to ocean. On net, the amount of carbon in either place is unchanged.

    Now, man starts putting 4 units/year of CO2 into the air directly. Now, 102 units of CO2 go from air to ocean, and 100 units of CO2 go from ocean to air. The amount of CO2 in both ocean and air go up by 2 units/year each. In the terms of the Knorr paper, AF = 50%. Yes, it’s insanely simplified, but I don’t know how else to overcome this difficulty people are having with the transfers.

    Bart, if you want your model to actually be able to predict these transfers, you’ll pretty much end up writing a pretty complicated gridded global model.

    This is a good description of the process for those (and there seems to be a lot) who are having difficulty getting their head round the issue.

    If I could just make a little amendment we might be able to help clear up another misconception about average CO2 residence time. In his example, Carrot eater states that “the amount of carbon in either place is unchanged” . If we now let the unchanged amount be 500 units then it should be reasonably clear to see that each molecule of CO2 has an average residence time of ~5 years. Many people seem to think that this apparently short time means that CO2 levels will drop very quickly if Anthro-CO2 emissions are reduced. They won’t because the residence time is governed primarily by the absorption and natural emission rates.

    Carrot eater is, no doubt, a dyed in the wool warmer ( nobody’s perfect :-) ), but it might be worth inviting him or her to do a simple, short post explaining the numbers behind the carbon cycle. There are a lot of percentages being bandied about and most (~93.46%) of them are clearly borne out of confusion.

  208. John Finn says:

    tallbloke (00:10:09) :

    John Finn (03:30:29) :

    The ‘mystery’ , here, is why the oceans and biosphere decide to absorb more CO2 just because more is available.

    Because co2 has been at a historically very low level for a long time and the trees can’t get enough of it. The planet has vast capacity to become more verdant, and therefore damper. Win Win.

    Then why didn’t the trees absorb ALL the anthropogenic emissions when emissions were lower.

    At the end of the day human emissions are responsible for the atmospheric CO2 increases – particularly over the last 50 years. The fact that concentrations are not rising as much as expected just means that the 2 x pre-industrial CO2 level might not be reached until ~2100 rather than ~2060 or whatever.

  209. bill says:

    CodeTech (22:37:00) :
    PROOF is not difficult. Show a credible link between the recorded rise of CO2 and warming.
    Not something modeled, not something based on faulty thermometers with horrid siting. Something CREDIBLE.
    That really would convince a lot of “skeptics”, but it will never happen. There is no credible evidence to be shown, it does not exist.

    A truly amazing set of statements
    We will not believe AGW without absolute proof.
    We know that there is no true record of temperature to present day
    You cannot use models
    We need provide no proof of GW without the A

    Where does that leave humanity.

    AGW CANNOT be proven – you have dismissed all evidence.
    We must wait to see what happens in 50-100 years.
    We will then take action if necessary.

    BUT it takes decades to change the climate.
    You have postulated that GW is not AGW, but you have no PROOF –
    you have no proof of cycles (the temperature record is faulty).
    You cannot prove LIA/MWP/RWP etc as this relies on hearsay and temperature records.
    You do not know the effect on ALL of ecology of increased CO2.

    Unless proof that GW is not AGW, or AGW is true, or there is no GW, we are setting sail on a course with unknown destination.

    Is this wise with the world at stake?

    Which is the safe option? Is wealth more important than humanity?

    Your statements say AGW cannot be proven. So surely it should be up to the sceptics to provide proof that AGW is not happening? Isn’t there too much at stake to tell warmists you must prove AGW whilst saying that this is impossible and we will not believe it anyway?

  210. The Ville says:

    hmmm, interesting!

  211. bill says:

    JamesG (01:47:08) :

    Take the 1st cycle shown for Barrow:
    Min=358.5ppm
    Max=375.5ppm
    difference = 17ppm
    This is similar over the whole record (I have not mathematically checked this)
    This represents the absorption of CO2 by flora and fawna.
    It does not seem to be linked to sea temperature
    At the current growth rate:

    this is equivalent to about 9 years of increase.
    Since this breathing of CO2 has remained at at similar amplitude over the data record (i’ll check this later) There does not seem to have been an increase in flora/fauna absoption unless this is happening in the tropics (no seasons).

    Why is the greening of the near-arctic not absorbing more CO2?

  212. Bart (16:15:14) :

    I have a much simpler model, which covers at least the previous 800,000 years (from ice cores) up to the most recent data:

    C(new) = C(old) + 0.55*d(emissions) +4*dT

    Where the short term dT factor of 4 ppmv/K must be increased to 8 ppmv/K for (very) long time periods. The factor 0.55 for the emissions is a matter of physics: at one side we have the “baseline” CO2 levels, dictated by the temperature level and a disturbance by adding some extra CO2 to the dynamic equilibrium. The disturbance is removed at a rate of about 38 years (half life time) or 55 years (e-folding time), see the work of Peter Dietze, who has figured it out:

    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm

    With a constant addition of about 7 GtC/year, a new equilibrium would be reached at about 420 ppmv (+130 ppmv over the 290 ppmv equilibrium at current temperatures). But as we emit with increasing amounts, there is little hint of a new equilibrium and CO2 goes up near linearly.

  213. carrot eater says:

    Bart,
    Here is the first line of your model.

    Cdot = -C/tau + u + delta_u

    Just looking at it, one can see already that it will give unphysical results, mainly due to the first term. I’m trying to spare you the trouble of trying to then understand those unphysical results.

    The u term is what you’re calling the natural inflow term. You would have this include exchanges from the oceans, soils, vegetation, volcanoes, and whatever else. Because you don’t want to actually write a huge model that physically describes all those things, you’ll cheat and say you already know it’s roughly constant over time, so you put it in as a constant. OK, fine for now, though it will limit the usefulness of the exercise. For one, the natural flows will change slightly as man adds more carbon to the picture, but let’s neglect that for now.

    Then you have a delta_u term for man-made contributions. You say it increases linearly over time; as a first approximation, fine. But if that’s what you want it to do, you should do what you say and actually write it as a term that’s linear with time:
    man term = (some slope)*t.
    I see you wanted to say this term was roughly equal to 0.03 * u, which might be roughly true for now, but if you actually solve your differential equation, you’ll end up with a constant man-made inflow, not one that’s linear with time.

    But my biggest problem is with your -C/tau term: this, presumably, is to describe exchanges back to the oceans, soil, vegetation, rocks, and whatever else. If you were being consistent, you should have just made this a constant, just like your natural inflow term u. Instead, you tried to half-way describe the physics of the transfer in there, by saying the outflow was proportional to C, and ended up with something unphysical.

    If you still don’t see the issue, then consider your model in the absence of man:

    dC/dt = -C/tau + u

    You can see that in the absence of man, the amount of carbon in your atmosphere changes over time. That alone should tell you there’s a problem.

    For the fun of it, that solves to

    C = (Co – u*tau)(exp(-t/tau)) + u*tau. C starts at Co, and then exponentially decays to u*tau. This decay has no physical meaning; it’s just an artifact of how you set up the model, with a constant natural inflow and a non-constant natural outflow.

  214. Ron de Haan says:

    bill (03:39:23) :
    “Why is the greening of the near-arctic not absorbing more CO2?”
    Because of the lower temperatures lead slow growth.

  215. carrot eater says:

    JamesG:

    “it doesn’t matter which numbers you stick into Henry’s law, a warming ocean should be a source of CO2, not a sink. ”

    There are all sorts of issues with this statement. Mainly, you’re ignoring that the partial pressure of CO2 in the air above is increasing at the same time. You’re also treating the ocean as one well-mixed fully saturated body, and then we’ve got the multiple chemical equilibria in the ocean, and biological interactions. You’ll see it isn’t easy to predict a priori whether the oceans will be a net source or sink. You should think things through before you accuse an entire field of being unable to do chemistry or physics.

  216. carrot eater says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    In your little model, you have a term “+4*dT”, where dT looks like the change in temperature. I’m guessing you invoked that term to cover the change in atmospheric CO2 levels coming in and out of the ice ages. That’s fine; it’s a statistically fit term, but fine (I’m not at all fine with the non-constant constant, 4 or 8, but that’s for another day). Your 0.55 I’m guessing corresponds to Knorr’s 0.46, the airborne fraction? I’ll assume you’ve taken care of unit conversions as needed.

    My question: do you keep that thermal term during the interglacial, meaning, now? You shouldn’t, because that term is for a process that isn’t currently occurring. The thermal term is saying that the land and ocean are net sources, not sinks. But from your comments, I can tell you accept that the ocean is still a sink. So this is an inconsistency.

  217. tallbloke says:

    John Finn (02:44:37) :

    tallbloke (00:10:09) :

    co2 has been at a historically very low level for a long time and the trees can’t get enough of it. The planet has vast capacity to become more verdant, and therefore damper. Win Win.

    Then why didn’t the trees absorb ALL the anthropogenic emissions when emissions were lower.

    Because it takes time for trees to get fatter and generate bigger appetites.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/5109251/Trees-are-growing-faster-and-could-buy-time-to-halt-global-warming.html

    At the end of the day human emissions are responsible for the atmospheric CO2 increases – particularly over the last 50 years.

    Only if you assume all else is equal. Which it clearly is not.

  218. supercritical says:

    Looking at the Mauna Loa graphs, I have doubt over accepting that a signal of apparent annual fluctuation of atmospheric CO2 is due to vegetation behaviour in the northern hemisphere.

    I can understand that greenery eaily takes up CO2 in the growing season, but I can’t see how the greenery then gives up C02 just as easily, in the autum and winter.

    Maybe the fluctuations are partly due to our old friend Henry’s law and the arctic ocean. IF ice does not take up CO2, but the cold sea-surface does, then we could see a huge difference in CO2 absorbtion as the artic ocean thaws and ices over.

  219. Richard M says:

    WAG: ” Empirical proof of the AGW hypothesis would mean waiting 50-100 years and seeing how much the temperature has increased. Of course, by that time, it would be too late to do anything about it.”

    I find this remark typical of AGW alarmists. It’s as if we’ve reached our technological pinnacle and nothing will be learned in the next 100 years. Obviously, this demonstrates less than optimum critical thinking abilities. The truth is we should be able to handle the problems far more easily in 100 years than we can today if we need to. WAG, if you don’t understand this look at technology 100 years in the past.

    The real issue here is this typical of most AGW supporters. Are they really this limited in their abilities to think ahead?

  220. M White says:

    “Climate change study shows Earth is still absorbing carbon dioxide”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6538300/Climate-change-study-shows-Earth-is-still-absorbing-carbon-dioxide.html

    It’s in the Telegraph

  221. Richard M says:

    Here’s a relevant example to my previous post.

    What if man had found a rather large asteroid in space early in the 20th century. Using the technology of the time we could predict that the asteroid would impact the Earth in 100 years. The impact would occur in the middle of the North Atlantic creating massive tsunamis that would flood all coastal areas less than 100 feet in elevation.

    One approach to this problem would have been to evacuate all coastal areas and use them for specific purposes but no one could live there. This would have been extremely costly to society at the time. We could also have undertaken building massive sea walls along all the coastal regions. Do these approaches sound a little bit like many of the AGW solutions where we MUST act now? Of course, we now know we could have sent space craft developed 40-50 years later and redirected the asteroid at minor costs to society. Not only that but the calculations at that time may have been off by just enough so that the asteroid would have missed Earth altogether and advances in technology could have determined that in due time. Many times a wait and see attitude is far superior to knee-jerk reactions based on limited knowledge.

    This example demonstrates that acting now on imprecise knowledge is probably not a good idea for something that won’t be a problem for many decades. The “it will be too late” argument is really very poor.

  222. CodeTech says:

    bill, speaking of a truly amazing set of statements… you claim “the world is at stake”, along with other unreasonably alarming and unfounded statements.

    The rest of us, however, are not so gullible.

    Again, you’ve missed the entire concept of “credible”.

    Do you have no understanding of the concept of credibility?

  223. The Artic ocean is the big drain in the bath tub model. Every year ice covers the drain and the CO2 level rises. When the ice thaws, the exposed cold Arctic (and diluted) sea water absorbs the CO2 and the level falls. But over the longer time periods, the Arctic ocean has been getting warmer and thus reducing its ability to absorb so the long term change in CO2 levels is rising (independent of anthropogenic emissions). http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf

  224. Smokey says:

    WAG says that skeptics rely on models. That statement is not factual for a true skeptic. Scientific skeptics do not have a belief system; but the believers in catastrophic AGW certainly do. Skeptics simply say, “Convince us.” But rather than cooperate by providing their raw data and methods, climate alarmists withhold the information that they base their conclusions on. Naturally, skeptics are skeptical.

    The cooling of the oceans is contrary to the CO2=AGW conjecture. There may be a tiny amount of anthropogenic global warming, but it is insignificant compared with the planet’s natural processes, which produce the overwhelming majority of CO2 emissions.

    And even the total emissions of CO2, both natural and by humans, has not been sufficient to overcome the planet’s current cooling, indicating that the IPCC’s climate sensitivity number is grossly exaggerated, as is its claim of CO2 residence time.

    If the IPCC used the correct sensitivity number of 0.5 – 1.0, and the CO2 residence time of ten years or less, they would be forced to conclude that blaming CO2 for global warming is incorrect. In fact, there is no empirical evidence showing that an increase in CO2 is anything but beneficial.

    The oceans are cooling, not warming, and when the ocean cools, it absorbs CO2: click

    There is a direct correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and ocean temperature: click

    AGW is so tiny that it can be safely disregarded; if AGW were at all significant, its effect would show up along with the [almost entirely natural] rise in CO2. But it doesn’t. AGW is so insignificant that it can not be independently measured.

    It is fascinating to watch climate alarmists trying to blame the entire rise in CO2 on human activities, when even the IPCC and the U.S. Department of Energy state that human activities account for only about 3% of the planet’s total CO2 emissions. The alarmists know this, but they can not publicly admit it. If they did, they would be admitting that human activities are inconsequential to the climate.

    WAG says: “Empirical proof of the AGW hypothesis would mean waiting 50-100 years and seeing how much the temperature has increased. Of course, by that time, it would be too late to do anything about it.”

    What we’re dealing with here is a typical alarmist whose mind is already made up. Notice how WAG refers to 50 – 100 years in the future: “…seeing how much temperature has increased.” His assumption is that the temperature can only increase; he leaves no room for the possibility that the temperature may decline. That statement is unfortunately typical of the masses of uneducated folks who believe, rather than think.

  225. John Finn says:

    tallbloke (06:52:14) :

    John Finn (02:44:37) :


    At the end of the day human emissions are responsible for the atmospheric CO2 increases – particularly over the last 50 years.

    Only if you assume all else is equal. Which it clearly is not.

    Right – so what has changed in the last 50 years which has resulted in an extra ~75ppm (or ~600 billion tons) of CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere. Bear in mind that “the trees can’t get enought of it” to use your phrase.

  226. carrot eater (06:28:54) :

    My question: do you keep that thermal term during the interglacial, meaning, now? You shouldn’t, because that term is for a process that isn’t currently occurring. The thermal term is saying that the land and ocean are net sources, not sinks. But from your comments, I can tell you accept that the ocean is still a sink. So this is an inconsistency.

    The dT (indeed difference in temperature) term works independent of the increase caused by the emissions (but causes the variability in absorption rate around the increase), even during interglacials, be it that the accuracy is less than over the full term 420,000 years of Vostok, due to the latter’s huge smoothing. The factor 4 is based on two temperature excursions in the past 60 years: the cooling by the 1992 Pinatubo eruption and the 1998 strong El Niño warming. The (few months) lagged change in CO2 uptake was 3-4 ppmv/K.
    Pieter Tans of NOAA added the influence of precipitation to the equation (important for sequestration by vegetation) and found even a better fit for the variability of the uptake. But the temperature influence on CO2 uptake variability in general is short term: only one to a few years, whereafter the temperature returns to previous values. Only a sustained temperature change will give a sustained increase/decrease to a new CO2 level, with an elevated factor for longer periods.
    See the second halve of:

    http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/co2conference/pdfs/tans.pdf

    For glacial-interglacial transitions (or even for the MWP-LIA-CWP) other long term changes do count in: changes in ocean flows, land occupation/release by/from glaciers, tree growth line changes,… That makes that the long term CO2/temperature ratio expands to about 8 ppmv/K, see the Vostok record (but also visible in the Law Dome record: ~6 ppmv change for ~0.8 K temperature change MWP-LIA):

    Thus indeed the temperature factor is needed even during interglacials, but that accounts mainly for the short term variability (+/- 1 ppmv) around the trend (+2 ppmv/yr). The about 1 K increase in temperature since the LIA is only good for maximum 8 ppmv of the 100+ ppmv increase we measure today…

  227. supercritical (06:56:24) :

    Looking at the Mauna Loa graphs, I have doubt over accepting that a signal of apparent annual fluctuation of atmospheric CO2 is due to vegetation behaviour in the northern hemisphere.

    It is pretty sure that vegetation is the cause: the NH shows a much higher seasonal amplitude than the SH, where more ocean surface is present. The maximum CO2 levels are in spring of each hemisphere, just before new leaves start to grow and at minimum in late summer, when vegetation growth has reached its maximum. Even more important: the d13C (the 13C/12C) ratio in the atmosphere changes with the growth and decay of vegetation: vegetation growth uses preferentially the smaller 12 carbon, thus enriching the ratio for 13C. See the combined CO2 level / d13C level graphs here (3rd and 4th):

    http://www.barrettbellamyclimate.com/page34.htm

    The oceans as sink and source are much slower than vegetation changes in the mid-latitudes, the more that the oceans are slower in warming up and cooling down.

    Don’t underestimate the force of soil bacteria: if you measure CO2 levels in a hole in the ground, it is easely at 1,000 ppmv and higher. A lot of fallen leaves in autumn are decayed in months to a few years, even in winter months (except at very low temperatures), while no or reduced photosynthesis happens…

  228. P Wilson says:

    We’re at al natural high point historically of c02. However, there are resolution problems associated with ice core measurements outlined by here:

    http://www.co2web.info/np-m-119.pdf

    more work needs to be done on past proxies v present readings, as if the thesis of Jaworowski is correct, then c02 in ice depletes to an equilibrium over time that doesn’t refect its real value at the time it was caught in ice – plus, its a reading from Antarctica which is only a limited geographical area.

    Also, ice readings are made by crushing ice and measuring as rapidly as possible in a vacuum – which is dubious as a method, since the gases would *explode*. All indications are that real measurements are higher than ice measurements.

    is also illogical to claim that the 3% of CO2 which humans put into the atmosphere accumulates over time to 30%, while the 97% of CO2 which nature adds to the atmosphere does not accumulate and in fact shrinks to 70% of the total.

    In truth though, there is no way of measuring what happens to anthropogenic c02, and it becomes pure guesswork. When warm oceans heat cool air, then c02 and water vapour is expelled, yet AAnthropogenic c02 doesn’t fluctuate so easily. The best guess therefore is that the amount of AC02 in the atmosphere is its percentage of the total. It really depends on ocean surface temperatures, although it must be said that decay alone puts 30 times more c02 into the atmosphere than humans produce in a year, whilst oceans exchange c02 with the air 20 times as fast as humans produce it

  229. P Wilson says:

    above addressed to John Finn (08:56:48)

  230. bill says:

    supercritical (06:56:24) :
    Looking at the Mauna Loa graphs, I have doubt over accepting that a signal of apparent annual fluctuation of atmospheric CO2 is due to vegetation behaviour in the northern hemisphere.

    I’ve had exactly this discussion here before. To me the drop seems too sharp for vegetation. It seems to be originating at the arctic circle, and is reaching minimum before the ice coverage reaches minimum (it seems out of sync with the ice!). Sary Taukum (centre of a continent) partially shows what I would expect for vegetation – CO2 falls from March to August but rises rather too quickly from August to November.

    CodeTech (08:18:18) :
    you claim “the world is at stake”, along with other unreasonably alarming and unfounded statements.

    OK, apologies, the world is not at stake just many millions of lives – human and animal. The “world” will continue.

    Do you have no understanding of the concept of credibility?

    Yes- do you?
    You say AGW cannot be proved. The data is faulty or missing
    You say to warmists must PROVE AGW.
    Your 1st statement makes the second impossible.

    All I was trying to say is that a lot is at stake – money or lives.
    You refuse to accept dangerous (not catastrophic) AGW and ANY “poofs” offered – the only safe option is for you to now prove that AGW will be harmless just so that we know the future is safe for our descendants?

  231. Smokey (08:34:49) :

    While I agree that the influence of increased CO2 levels on temperature is probably small, as a sceptic one need to be sceptical to every claim, whatever the source and whatever the consequences…

    Thus (again…):

    If the IPCC used the correct sensitivity number of 0.5 – 1.0, and the CO2 residence time of ten years or less, they would be forced to conclude that blaming CO2 for global warming is incorrect. In fact, there is no empirical evidence showing that an increase in CO2 is anything but beneficial.

    The sensitivity indeed is correct for CO2 alone, the rest of the 1.5-4.5 K for 2xCO2, according to the IPCC, is based on far from proven (even disproven) amplifying factors in the models… Here we agree.
    The CO2 residence time, there we disagree: the about 5 years residence time has nothing to do with what happens if you add extra CO2 (whatever the source) to the atmosphere. It is the period needed to exchange half of all molecules in the atmosphere with these of the oceans and biosphere. That in itself doesn’t add or abstract any amount of the total amount of CO2 molecules… The real decay is about 40 years (half life), far more than 10 years, but far less than the hundreds of years of the IPCC.

    The oceans are cooling, not warming, and when the ocean cools, it absorbs CO2:

    Yes, but your graph is for fresh water, seawater acts completely different, because of its salt content and biological life… And you forget the time frame (diffusion of CO2 in water costs a lot of time…).

    There is a direct correlation between atmospheric CO2 levels and ocean temperature:

    Yes, but that is only 4 ppmv/K on short term, or +8 ppmv since the LIA, far from sufficient to explain the 100+ ppmv increase…

    Further, with 21 years smoothing over a period of 20 years, like Endersbee did, one can find a correlation between near everything with a trend. But if you expand the graph over the past century, it is clear that the correlation is (near) entirely from the accumulation of the emissions (not smoothed at all!) and the correlation with temperature is even negative for several periods (including the current one if you shrink the smoothing):

  232. P Wilson (09:37:49) :

    As already meantioned earlier, what Jaworowski says is physically simply impossible and in general the opposite of what he says.

    Etheridge in 1996 supplied a detailed investigation of three ice cores at Law Dome, where all objections of Jaworowski were refuted. They used three drilling methods (wet and dry), measured CO2 in firn and ice (no difference at closing depth) and there was an overlap of 20 years with the South Pole measurements. There is no depletion of CO2 in ice cores over 800,000 years (the most recent record) and cracks in the ice core evidently lead to too high levels, never too low. Or how can one measure 180-280 ppmv in ice core bubbles if the outside world contains 380 ppmv?
    See further: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html

    In the rest of your remarks you are confusing what circulates through the atmosphere (which is a lot) with what is one-way addition. Even if the amount circulating through the atmosphere over the seasons is 1,000 times higher than the human addition, that doesn’t add one molecule, kg or ppmv to the total quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere, as long as as much CO2 is removed as added by nature. In fact more is removed by nature than is added. Thus nature as a whole adds nothing, zero, nada (in quantity!), to the atmosphere…

  233. Smokey says:

    Ferdinand, are you sure you’re not mixing up different posts? For example, I never mentioned a CO2 residence time of 5 years ["...the about 5 years residence time has nothing to do with what happens..."].

    I posted this chart of peer reviewed papers, and commented that the CO2 residence time seems to be around 10 years or less — not the 100 years claimed by the IPCC.

    And you are saying that this chart only applies to fresh water? Or only to salt water? Are you saying that CO2 is not soluble in one or the other? I’m not trying to argue, I’m just trying to understand your comments.

  234. Bart says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (04:46:04) :

    That is a very incorrect model. It is a straight integration, like a sink with no drain.

    Think of it this way. Go to your nearest lavatory and close the drain most of the way, but with a little room for outflow. Turn on the water and allow it to reach a steady state level. Now, bump up the inflow 3% (just tap the knob or lever or whatever you have). Does the sink overflow? No. As the sink fills, the increase in pressure increases the rate of outflow proportional to the amount in the sink. It is a negative feedback, and it will force a new steady state level which is 3% greater (measuring the appropriate parameter) than the old level.

    carrot eater (05:04:25) :

    “But if that’s what you want it to do, you should do what you say and actually write it as a term that’s linear with time: man term = (some slope)*t.”

    What for? I already described its characteristics. It is a functional variable. That you did not recognize it is due to your failure to pay attention to what was written in your rush to judgment.

    “I see you wanted to say this term was roughly equal to 0.03 * u, which might be roughly true for now, but if you actually solve your differential equation, you’ll end up with a constant man-made inflow, not one that’s linear with time.”

    No, no, no. I said it could be bounded up to the present time by 0.03*u. That means that, whatever its effect, it is less than or equal to what you get by putting in 0.03*u.

    “Instead, you tried to half-way describe the physics of the transfer in there, by saying the outflow was proportional to C, and ended up with something unphysical.”

    That is the most common linear feedback, and the type of action which is indicated by figure 1. If you were familiar with feedback systems, you would really be nonplussed by your own argument here. I am. See the reply to Ferdinand above.

    “For the fun of it, that solves to – C = (Co – u*tau)(exp(-t/tau)) + u*tau – C starts at Co, and then exponentially decays to u*tau.

    No…. groan. You are assuming Co is greater than u*tau. In fact, we have no idea what Co is – it is assumed to be in the infinite past. The steady state value of C is u*tau. It has been u*tau for eons. It will always be (in this scenario) u*tau.

  235. carrot eater says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen: Ah, so your temperature term is there to cover the short-term wiggles in the atmosphere’s absorption rate due to volcanoes and El Ninos. I see how you follow Peter Tans’ analysis, and I feel better about it. I’m still curious how you define dT, though – can you define that more clearly? It is T(t) minus what?

    Knorr handled the same issue by tossing in terms proportional to the ENSO index and some index of volcanic activity (see his Eqn 1). He didn’t provide graphs to show whether tossing in those parameters helped fit the wiggles.

    I’m still a little perturbed by the fact you’re using the same term for very different physical processes, but the fact that you change the constant actually acknowledges that it’s two different terms, active at different times, I think.

  236. CodeTech says:

    Amusing, bill.

    However, it’s the responsibility of someone crying “wolf” to show there is, in fact, a wolf before expecting the townspeople to come running with pitchforks and torches.

    I see no wolf, bill. I see some restless sheep, and rumors of wolves, but… no wolf.

  237. carrot eater says:

    Bart:

    “What for? I already described its characteristics. ”

    Describing it in words doesn’t help if you don’t write it into your model. If you say the manmade emissions are increasing in time, your model has to reflect that. You wrote the manmade emissions term as a constant, so that’s how the model will treat it. So after you solve your model, don’t expect your results to reflect the fact the emissions rate is increasing over time.

    “That is the most common linear feedback, and the type of action which is indicated by figure 1. If you were familiar with feedback systems, you would really be nonplussed by your own argument here.”

    I write such equations in my day job. I’m not bothered by the sight of a term like that; I’m bothered if you write a model that doesn’t make any sense. If you were trying to crudely describe, say, transport into and out from the ocean, I could deal with you writing dC/dt = -k(C-C*), for example, where C* would be the concentration at the ocean surface. Assuming the atmosphere is well mixed beyond some boundary layer. Of course, I’d also then need differential equations for the ocean.. and it grows from there.

    If you’re happy ignoring the details of the physics and just treating the inflow as a constant, you should do the same for the outflows.

    “No…. groan. You are assuming Co is greater than u*tau. In fact, we have no idea what Co is – it is assumed to be in the infinite past. The steady state value of C is u*tau. It has been u*tau for eons. It will always be (in this scenario) u*tau.”

    I am not assuming anything; the math works regardless of which is greater. The curve goes up or down, and levels out at u*tau. But that’s irrelevant. Wow, you actually think that movement is corresponding to something physical that happened in the past, at the beginning of the earth? That your inflow into the atmosphere has been a constant since the beginning of the earth? I don’t know what to say. This really should be a sign to you that your model is just unphysical.

  238. Mark.R says:

    US research plane measures gas over Otago (here in new zealand) Measurements from the ground will eventually be able to be compared with satellite data covering huge areas, as well as recordings from the research flights.

    The Lauder site is part of the global total carbon column observing network of 14 key sites worldwide, helping scientists better understand the global carbon cycle
    The purpose is to find out how the atmosphere is structured, and the distribution of greenhouse gases,” said Harvard professor SThe aircraft was making the second of five trips travelling from pole to pole. Tomorrow it will stop over at Christchurch, then fly a loop over the Southern Ocean before returning to New Zealand .The information will help climate modellers trying to understand Earth’s future climates.

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/us-research-plane-measures-gas-over-otago-3135601

  239. carrot eater says:

    P Wilson, and many others:

    “is also illogical to claim that the 3% of CO2 which humans put into the atmosphere accumulates over time to 30%, while the 97% of CO2 which nature adds to the atmosphere does not accumulate and in fact shrinks to 70% of the total.”

    Why is the carbon cycle so difficult to grasp? Yes, there are huge amounts of CO2 that go into the atmosphere naturally. That’s OK, because an equally huge amount of CO2 leaves the atmosphere naturally. On net, they pretty much cancel out. It’s analogous to a dynamic equilibrium.

    Smokey: “I posted this chart of peer reviewed papers, and commented that the CO2 residence time seems to be around 10 years or less — not the 100 years claimed by the IPCC.”

    You’re comparing apples to oranges. The residence time of an individual molecule is not the same as the persistence of an accumulation in whichever sink.

  240. Smokey (10:12:47) :

    Ferdinand, are you sure you’re not mixing up different posts? For example, I never mentioned a CO2 residence time of 5 years ["...the about 5 years residence time has nothing to do with what happens..."].

    I posted this chart of peer reviewed papers, and commented that the CO2 residence time seems to be around 10 years or less — not the 100 years claimed by the IPCC.

    The 5 years residence time is from one of the papers in the link (based on the 14C decay). But all items listed (5-15 years) are about residence time (see the sidetext: “the time that CO2 resides in the atmosphere before being recycled by the oceans”). Thus that is average recycling time, that doesn’t add or extract any amount of CO2 to/from the atmosphere, it only exchanges a lot of CO2 between atmosphere, biosphere and oceans. Not a single one of these studies is about what is important: How long does it take to reduce an extra amount (thus mass, whatever its origin) of CO2 in the atmosphere. That is important for the greenhouse effect, not how much is exchanged each year… That is what the IPCC means, they talk about a complete different “mass decay” residence time, not a “molecular exchange” residence time…

    But note that the IPCC figures are way too high, as Peter Dietze showed: the mass decay half life time for CO2 is about 38 years, far less than the 100 years of the IPCC, but much longer than the about less than 10 years in the list.

    And you are saying that this chart only applies to fresh water? Or only to salt water? Are you saying that CO2 is not soluble in one or the other? I’m not trying to argue, I’m just trying to understand your comments.

    The CO2 solubility chart applies only to fresh water. Seawater can contain a lot more CO2 that fresh water. Not only temperature but also pH, concentration of salts and biological activity all play a role in the partial presure (difference) of CO2 in seawater compared to the atmosphere. See Feely e.a. at: http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml and following pages.

    From that source:

    In a parcel of seawater with constant chemical composition, pCO2 would increase by a factor of 4 when the water is warmed from polar temperatures of about –1.9°C to equatorial temperatures of about 30°C. On the other hand, the DIC [note: dissolved inorganic carbon] in the surface ocean varies from an average value of 2150 µmol/kg in polar regions to 1850 µmol/kg in the tropics as a result of biological processes. This change should reduce pCO2 by a factor of 4. On a global scale, therefore, the magnitude of the effect of biological drawdown on surface water pCO2 is similar in magnitude to the effect of temperature, but the two effects are often compensating. Accordingly, the distribution of pCO2 in surface waters in space and time, and therefore the oceanic uptake and release of CO2, is governed by a balance between the changes in seawater temperature, net biological utilization of CO2 and the upwelling flux of subsurface waters rich in CO2.

    Thus the simple solubility chart of CO2 in fresh water doesn’t apply to what happens in real circumstances for seawater…

  241. supercritical says:

    Ferdinand,

    Could you now tell us roughly; at a simple level of circa 1: 50 for fresh water, what is the equivalent for seawater?

  242. P Wilson says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen

    jarowowski goes through 15 processes that occur in ancient ice to alter its capture process of real amount, and you only document two. Solubility in water is certainly one of them. Given that proxies exist that show elevated c02 at various timescales across the hemispheres other than in Vostok or the Law dome then there’s still much doubt that ice at 420,000 years old gives the exact measure of aerial co2 at each year or decade over those 420,000 years.

    given that there are 1000gts of c02 at ocean surfaces alone and 38,000gts at intermediate and lower depths, then nature can add .. For the Anthropogenic part, that gets lost in the flux. Its like adding 30ml a day to your 1 litre a day drinking water

  243. Bart says:

    “You wrote the manmade emissions term as a constant, so that’s how the model will treat it.”

    What??? I wrote it as a functional variable. Just like “C”. Is C a constant in my equations? Nooo, it isn’t. I used words – these little squiggly lines you are staring at, but which apparently make little impression on you – to define what that figure represented.

    “I could deal with you writing dC/dt = -k(C-C*), for example, where C* would be the concentration at the ocean surface”

    So, subsume the kC* term into the “u” variable. There is no loss of generality. Are you being willfully obtuse?

    “I am not assuming anything; the math works regardless of which is greater. The curve goes up or down, and levels out at u*tau.”

    No kidding? But, your objection was: “and then exponentially decays to u*tau” You could have as easily said “and then grows to u*tau”. It doesn’t matter. We are talking about steady state behavior.

    “But that’s irrelevant.”

    No news there.

    “Wow, you actually think that movement is corresponding to something physical that happened in the past, at the beginning of the earth? That your inflow into the atmosphere has been a constant since the beginning of the earth? I don’t know what to say. This really should be a sign to you that your model is just unphysical.”

    I am trying to be civil, so I am not going to say what I think of this. This is completely irrelevant. I am looking at steady state dynamics and simplifying the model to a level in which general conclusions of typical behavior may be drawn. This argument appears to be over your head. Please do not comment anymore. I’m not going to reply. You are either too… not going to say it… or you are just being argumentative.

  244. P Wilson says:

    addendum. If nature added nothing to the existing c02 levels then the last 420,000 years would be a flat line.. Oceans regulate c02 however, to the nth degree. as far as we know, at the moment, there is precious little AC02 in the atmosphere. It could be 1% or 3%. We just don’t know.

  245. P Wilson says:

    whoops. I forgot to say (in a hurry).. that 30 ml of water does actually does accumulate over time by 3ml per year. whilst the 1 litre you drink doesn’t. that means you’ll reach a tipping point after 10 years, then one will be one for

  246. P Wilson says:

    oh finally: if ice cores are correct, and air contains, or contained a tiny fraction of c02 then during periods when it was noticably warmer than today seem to suggest that c02 has no noticable effect on temperatures, or else ice core measurements understate real c02 by some 500ppm (if we believe c02 is a radiative forcing that alters the climate of the planet)

  247. Mariwarcwm says:

    Is it not true that the warming effect of CO2 is very limited? After 200ppm it is saturated, and a doubling or a trebling wouldn’t produce any significant further warming. It doesn’t matter where it came from, or goes to, or gets taken up by, it cannot cause catastrophic warming.

    So what is the fuss about? If CO2 can’t produce warming on an alarming scale it can go on increasing, do its own thing, producing excellent plant food for larger crops, and we will all be better off.

  248. supercritical says:

    Let us assume that someone developed a machine that drew in atmospheric air and separated-out the CO2. It would be fair to say that the operation would make no real difference to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Why? because for every 100 tons of CO2 extracted from the atmosphere, the oceans would outgas 98 tons of CO2 to restore the equilibrium conditions, as Henry’s law suggests.

    Now so far, I have not heard any contradiction of the rough man-in-the-pub proposition that, for every 100 tons of anthropic CO2 put into the atmosphere, 98 tons of it will be absorbed by the oceans.

    I have heard counter ‘stuff’, but nothing that would alter or refine this rough assertion gto give a rough correction.

    Why this is important, is because it is at the man-in-the-pub level that Cap’n Trade policies will need to be sold. And everybody in the pub is well aware of the workings of Henry’s law, because they have a lot of experience of the behaviour of CO2 and liquids. You just have to open a fizzy drink bottle to know what is going on.

    So can anyone tell me: if it is not 98 tons of CO2 absorbed in the sea for every 100 tons emitted, what is it?

  249. carrot eater says:

    Bart, I’ll reply if I want to. You needn’t be so defensive.

    “What??? I wrote it as a functional variable. Just like “C”. Is C a constant in my equations? ”

    In that case, when you went to solve it, you’d have to substitute in some explicit function of t: some slope*t. As soon as you said substituted in “delta_u = 0.03u”, you lost any dependence with time. You made it a constant. You seem to think that is somehow capturing the most it could do, but it doesn’t (at some later t, it will be 0.04u, and then 0.05u): it doesn’t capture the trend with time – which would seem to be important, because the trend with time was the whole point in the first place.

    “So, subsume the kC* term into the “u” variable. There is no loss of generality. Are you being willfully obtuse?”

    What makes you think C* is a constant with time? That’s why I said you’d need to solve another set of equations for the ocean, too. The amount of CO2 in the oceans changes over time, just as it does in the atmosphere. You’re determined to let the outflow from the atmosphere be changing with time, while forcing the inflows to be constant. I don’t know why. (breaking up the two terms kC and kC* doesn’t have the physical meaning you’re trying to capture, anyway – when we say 90 Gton/year of carbon go from ocean to air, and 90 Gton/year of carbon go from air back to the ocean, those are referring to actual net flows at some time and place).

    “I am looking at steady state dynamics and simplifying the model to a level in which general conclusions of typical behavior may be drawn.”

    If your model is poorly formulated, then you can’t draw any conclusions from it. When you write a model, the entire solution should make sense: at t=0, the approach to steady state, and the steady state itself. If your model wanders around for no physical reason, you didn’t write it well.

    In any case, I don’t know what steady state you’re looking for. If the rate of emissions continues increasing, then the atmospheric concentration will continue increasing. What steady state?

  250. Ferdinand Engelbeen (04:46:04) :

    That is a very incorrect model. It is a straight integration, like a sink with no drain.

    Indeed it is the result of the integration over time, if the human emissions increase with a relative constant rate over time, which is the case over the past about 1.5 century. Thus the formula is quite adequate over the past 150 years, but may fail if the emissions remain constant or get reduced (as may be now with the economic crisis).
    I have a 55% airborne fraction, as I only use direct fuel use (and other industrial processes), not including land use changes, as these are quite uncertain. Knorr includes land use change, therefore his airborne fraction remains lower.

    Took me some time to interprete your formula (too long ago that I worked in process engineering…), but I think that Carrot Eater is right. The more that the rate of change is not dependent on the absolute height of the natural emissions, as in equilibrium the natural emissions and the natural sinks are equal and their net result is zero rate of change and zero change.

    Only the addition by human emissions matters and any difference in natural balance. The latter is less than halve of the human emissions in variability and (currently) negative. -C/tau should be -(C-Co)/tau where Co is the natural equilibrium CO2 level at the current temperature.

    carrot eater (11:03:42) :

    dT = Te – Tb, the difference in temperature between start and end of the period, whatever length of period. For short periods (0-2 years) the factor 4 ppmv/K applies, for periods longer than a few centuries (to near a million years), the factor 8 ppmv/K applies. For in between periods, no reliable data are available, but I suppose that the factor would be in between.

  251. gary gulrud says:

    “for every 100 tons of CO2 extracted from the atmosphere, the oceans would outgas 98 tons of CO2 to restore the equilibrium conditions, as Henry’s law suggests.”

    And that, people, is the way it is, [today's date].

  252. carrot eater says:

    Mariwarcwm: “After 200ppm it is saturated, and a doubling or a trebling wouldn’t produce any significant further warming.”

    No. There are wavelengths where it is still optically thin, but even that is besides the point. When you talk about saturation, you’re only thinking about the transmittance of an IR beam through the atmosphere. You need to think about what happens to the IR that is absorbed – it doesn’t just disappear.

    supercritical: “Now so far, I have not heard any contradiction of the rough man-in-the-pub proposition that, for every 100 tons of anthropic CO2 put into the atmosphere, 98 tons of it will be absorbed by the oceans.”

    Did you read the paper this thread is about? About 45% of the accumulation is in the atmosphere.

  253. supercritical says:

    carrot eater,

    Are you saying that for every 100 tons of CO2 put up in the atmosphere, roughly 50 tons ( as opposed to roughly 98 tons) gets absorbed by the sea?

    Does this mean that the Henry’s law is about 1:50 for fresh water, but for seawater it is about 1:25?

    I’d like to know if that is what you are actually saying.

  254. supercritical (12:49:56) :

    Ferdinand,

    Could you now tell us roughly; at a simple level of circa 1: 50 for fresh water, what is the equivalent for seawater?

    I don’t know what you mean with the 1:50, I know that there is about 50 times more CO2 in the oceans than in the atmosphere, but that is not (yet) in equilibrium…

    The difference in CO2 (in different forms) content between seawater and fresh water at the same temperature and ambient CO2 levels seems in the order of 200 times, if I have calculated that right (but that was a very long time ago that I have looked up such formula’s…). That doesn’t say anything about what the oceans are capable of absorbing or releasing, as that only depends of the partial pressure difference between CO2 in the oceans surface and in the atmosphere. The former dependent of temperature, pH, DIC, total salt content,…

  255. WAG says:

    Finally gotten around to writing a response to this. There are two reasons this study is irrelevant to the consensus on climate change:

    First, Knorr’s conclusion makes no claims about FUTURE carbon cycle feedbacks—it simply finds that carbon sinks’ ability to absorb CO2 has not declined in the PRESENT. Claiming that Knorr casts doubt on models predicting accelerating future growth in CO2 concentrations makes the logical fallacy of extrapolating future trends from current results—the same error that led financial firms to conclude that housing prices would always increase.

    Second, the studies that Knorr critiques were published AFTER the 2007 IPCC report came out; therefore, if Knorr is correct in proving these studies wrong, his findings cannot logically have any bearing on the accuracy of the IPCC’s conclusions. At worst, Knorr simply returns us to the state of science when the IPCC report was written. In other words, you’re attacking a straw man.

    http://akwag.blogspot.com/2009/11/duds-skeptic-bombshell-that-never-went.html

  256. JamesG says:

    carrot eater (05:24:16)
    Summarizing all your hand-waves about the sea’s ability to absorb or emit CO2 you seem to be in effect arguing that whether the oceans are a net source or sink is largely guesswork with large potential error and hence clearly open to much doubt but however, a warming sea being a net source is probably more likely than not.

    In any event the annual flux is 400 Gt and apparently we think we can attribute -1% or so to human emissions absorption. Yes I think i can safely impugn anyone in climate science who would hang his hat on such a number, as opposed to an equally reasonably +1% emission, bearing in mind the very large error bars involved.

    I notice you didn’t mention the deforestation chaps who, of course were universally wrong with their net deforestation number, since the planet is demonstrably greening. It’s apparently quite easy for an entire collection of group-thinkers to be wrong. Happened with economists too. Your argument, like most arguments about CO2 fractioning consists of starting with the desired result and working backwards to the calculation.

    This idea of course that nature exactly takes in what it puts out and the extra 3% of man-made CO2 just sort of hangs around, not really wanting to get involved in the party, may be attractive to alarmists but is totally philosophical in nature and has no actual basis in fact. It’s also quite amusing considering you just lectured me about how complex nature really is. Yes indeed, it’s not really in any form of equilibrium steady state at all is it – either spatially or temporally? So why present a mere dubious philosophy as a fact? An indisputable fact even.

    Few people are even measuring the inflows and outflows of the biosphere – they prefer a simpler, imaginary computer world it seems. The few who do bother to measure real sources and sinks always seem to be surprised by their results since it always rocks the dogma. Empirical science is like that: It doesn’t always like to follow our preconceived and overly-simplistic theories. Modeling isn’t science and science isn’t modeling. Models must always be validated against empirical results. There are no doubt more surprises in store for those who bother to look.

  257. carrot eater says:

    supercritical:

    Did you read the paper? Empirical data. I thought that was preferable to models? By the way, a chunk goes into the biosphere, too; the ocean isn’t the only other sink.

    Beyond all the complications Ferdinand gives (multiple chemical equilibria, biology, etc), remember that the ocean is nowhere near being well mixed; it’s not as if the entire thing is in equilibrium with the atmosphere. The deep ocean isn’t in good contact with the surface, and altogether different things are happening at different latitudes.

    I don’t know why you’re trying to back out a Henry’s Law constant from this bit of data alone. It’s not doable.

  258. P Wilson (12:50:30 and following) :

    jarowowski goes through 15 processes that occur in ancient ice to alter its capture process of real amount, and you only document two. Solubility in water is certainly one of them. Given that proxies exist that show elevated c02 at various timescales across the hemispheres other than in Vostok or the Law dome then there’s still much doubt that ice at 420,000 years old gives the exact measure of aerial co2 at each year or decade over those 420,000 years.

    Solubility in water is not an item at all: Vostok at -40°C has no water at the ice surface and other ice cores (near the coast) with less cold temperatures show the same CO2 levels for the same periods of time. In fact all objections of Jaworowski about (possible) problems with ice cores were answered by the 1996 work of Etheridge e.a.: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1996/95JD03410.shtml

    I have my doubts about Jaworowski as scientist: many of his remarks are simply impossible or should show the opposite result of what he says. And he seems not to understand the difference between the age of the ice in the ice core and the enclosed bubbles (the gas age), while accusing others of deiberate fraud in comparing CO2 levels in an ice core ((Siple Dome) and Mauna Loa. For an ice core specialist, that is quite remarkable.

    given that there are 1000gts of c02 at ocean surfaces alone and 38,000gts at intermediate and lower depths, then nature can add .. For the Anthropogenic part, that gets lost in the flux. Its like adding 30ml a day to your 1 litre a day drinking water (and following)

    If you eat 2000 kcal/day and burn off 2000 kcal/day, nothing will happen with your weight. Eat some 5 kcal/day more, slowly increasing over the years to 50 kcal/day, without more excersizing, watch what happens with your weight.

    It doesn’t matter how much carbon is in the (deep) oceans, it doesn’t matter how much is exchanged between oceans/biosphere and atmosphere back and forth. All what matters is the balance at the end of the year: the difference between ins and outs of the atmosphere. For nature that is 4 GtC/year more out than in. For humans that is 8 GtC/year only in…

  259. JamesG says:

    Oh silly me I’ve gone to WAG’s blog and discovered that the carbon cycle is just like an overflowing bath tub. How could i not have seen that one before? It’s all so obvious. Jeez if i had a penny for the number of people who think a crap analogy explains things. It sure explains his confused lawyerly post above though. Ooh so we can’t say what the future will hold. Well quite, no we can’t. So why pretend we can? What we can say is that people who were wrong with past guesswork shouldn’t be trusted to be any better this time around. What we should do is allow some quality time for skepticism because it’s clear just how much sheer guesswork is inherent in this whole IPCC effort.

  260. carrot eater says:

    JamesG: My handwaving is to serve a simple purpose: to demonstrate that your huge natural flows are part of the carbon cycle. That big natural flow into the atmosphere isn’t all staying there. I don’t know why this is lost on people. After all, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere had been fairly stable for most of the current interglacial, bouncing around within a band of +/- 10 ppm or so.

    If you take carbon that is currently outside the cycle, and stick it in, it simply has to accumulate somewhere; it won’t just disappear. As it happens, it shows up in many places – the air, water and land/biosphere. Yes, if you wait long enough, it’ll eventually end up in the deep ocean and finally exit out as rocks and such, but that takes quite a while.

  261. bill says:

    Question:
    Is the annual uptake of CO2 by “something” increasing
    Answer: Yes by 0.11ppm per year
    for Point Barrow see:

    The annual carbon dioxide sink is absorbing more CO2 over ther period considered

    Is this caused by warmer conditions promoting more growth or by an increased greening caused by more CO2 or increased greening caused by CO2 and temperature?

    It would appear it is not simply CO2 – As can be seen the annual difference has dropped since 2004. CO2 is in a continuous rising cycle. Temperature has stalled and dropped since 2003.

    It would therefore appear to be mainly temperature.

  262. carrot eater says:

    JamesG: Forget bathtubs. You don’t need an analogy to understand the carbon cycle. You only need to look at the carbon cycle itself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Carbon_cycle-cute_diagram.svg

    Pause a moment before you start saying that the numbers on there are made up or uncertain or whatever – because that was not the original basis of your disagreement. The basis of your disagreement was conceptual – how can human emissions cause an accumulation anywhere if they’re only 3% of the inflow to the atmosphere. Turns out, it’s not that hard.

  263. P Wilson says:

    Ferdinand – I have doubts about Jarowelski’s interspersion of political comments, although what I don’t doubt is the idea that c02 dissolved in ice at temperatures of -20 or -40c could be representative of aerial global average c02 at all latitudes and locations. I’m not sure about the trend of c02 following temperature, as the time lag even when looked at in close detail decade on decade – the correlation between c02 and temperature becomes more uneven, although there is no discernable point at which c02 leads a temperature change. Its almost impossible to accept the theory that carbon exchanges are fixed by a natural variation limited to 280ppm to 190ppm, simply because that is what ice core measurements infer from frozen ice in environments which are subzero all year round.

  264. P Wilson says:

    heavily compressed ice can contain liquified water in ice air bubbles, and over thousands to hundreds of thousands of years, there is no way of knowing how isotope ratios change

  265. P Wilson says:

    i mean, they are recognised as proxies and not as actual measurements, but are used as actual measurements for the present purpose of maintaining the c02 has increased due to Anthropogenic emissions, and disregarding Henry’s law. Even if 200ppm 0r 220ppm of c02 were bound in ice 200,000 years ago, that is no indication that the air above didn’t contain 400ppm – just that 300ppm became trapped in ice. Ice doesn’t absorb c02 well. Oceans abosorb it quite dramatically – and sea ice acts as a barrier to gas exchange.

  266. tokyoboy says:

    Someone may have stated this, but the residence time of CO2 being 4 to 5 years come from a simple reasoning understandable to even schoolboys.

    1. The total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is roughly 3000 million tons.
    2. Photosynthesis by plants draws about 400 million tons yearly, and the same amount goes back to the atmosphere via respiration and biomaterial decay.
    3. The atmosphere – ocean exchange of CO2 amounts to roughly 200 million tons yearly.

    Both exchange processes do not care whether the CO2 is of biological or non-biological origin. Hence the average residence time is 4 – 5 years. Q.E.D.

    Assming a residence time ot 50, 100, 200 years or more is utter nonsense.

  267. maksimovich says:

    carrot eater (11:39:03)
    maksimovich: I don’t see how Marinov’s modeling results (2006) show that that Le Quéré’s (2007) work is incorrect, but in any case, I’ve been using very weak language with Le Quéré’s results for a reason. They’re very preliminary results, and have drawn critical responses. Also, my apologies: I see I described Le Quéré’s work as empirical, but it uses models heavily as well.

    Asymmetry was a reducible quantification (synthesis) as Marinov et al suggest in the last paragraph.

    The existence of this biogeochemical divide separating the Antarctic from the Subantarctic suggests that it may be possible for climate change or human
    intervention to modify one of these without greatly altering the other.

    The Le Quere paper questioned in science eg Law et al

    Unlike Le Quéré et al. (Reports, 22 June 2007, p. 1735), we do not find a saturating Southern Ocean carbon sink due to recent climate change. In our ocean model, observed wind forcing causes reduced carbon uptake, but heat and freshwater flux forcing cause increased uptake. Our inversions of atmospheric carbon dioxide show that the Southern Ocean sink trend is dependent on network choice.

    Le Quere respond

    We estimated a weakening of the Southern Ocean carbon dioxide (CO2) sink since 1981 relative to the trend expected from the large increase in atmospheric CO2. We agree with Law et al. that network choice increases the uncertainty of trend estimates but argue that their network of five locations is too small to be reliable..

    Probably not the best of papers to state ones case.

  268. John Finn says:

    P Wilson (09:37:49) :

    We’re at al natural high point historically of c02. However, there are resolution problems associated with ice core measurements outlined by here:

    Ice core measurments are relatively consistent. If there were genuine problems the readings would be all over the place – a bit like the Beck observations.

    is also illogical to claim that the 3% of CO2 which humans put into the atmosphere accumulates over time to 30%, while the 97% of CO2 which nature adds to the atmosphere does not accumulate and in fact shrinks to 70% of the total.

    This is not what is being said. No-one is suggesting that the oceans and biosphere are selecting which CO2 molecules it absorbs. Read carrot eater (12:21:45) : where he has already responded to this same comment. I’ll try an explain again using carrot eater’s analogy (Anthony – please request a short explanatory post on this issue from carrot eater or
    someone).

    Lets imagine, in pre-industrial times, a stable concentration of CO2 of 500 units. Each year 100 units is emitted from the earth and each year 100 units is absorbed. This is the natural carbon cycle. (As an aside note that the average residence time for a unit is 5 years).

    Now let’s say humans start burning fossil fuels which produces an extra 4 units per year. What happens now? Does the natural carbon cycle continue to emit and absorb 100 units only? If so then the concentration in the atmosphere will begin to increase. It will be 504 units after Year 1, 508 units after Year 2 etc. This doesn’t mean that the extra 4 units are all from human production, it just means that 104 (100 + 4) is emitted but only 100 is being absorbed.

    This, though, is not what is happening. It seems as though the earth (oceans and biosphere) is taking up the equivalent of an extra 2 units, so 102 units is now being absorbed, i.e. ~50% of the increase due to human emissions is being removed. However this still means CO2 will accumulate in the atmosphere because 104 units is being emitted, so afeer Year 1 there will be 502 units, after Year 2 there will be 504 units and so on. The source of the emissions is irrelevant. What’s important is the the fact that emissions have increased.

    I’m not sure this is any clearer.

  269. P Wilson (19:00:48) :

    Ferdinand – I have doubts about Jarowelski’s interspersion of political comments, although what I don’t doubt is the idea that c02 dissolved in ice at temperatures of -20 or -40c could be representative of aerial global average c02 at all latitudes and locations.

    You need to look up the literature (especially the work of Etheridge e.a.). There is no liquid water in ice below -30°C, except when impurities are present, which is very low at Vostok and other inland ice fields. Even for other more seaside cores, some layer of less structured water molecules (a few layers thick) are present at the ice/air surface, but less unstructured in between the ice crystals.

    A nice presentation of the (small) changes in (isotopic) composition during buildup of the ice layers can be read here:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/94/16/8343.full

    But once the ice bubbles are closed there is no change in (isotopic) composition anymore in the bubbles. All CO2 is contained in the bubbles, ice doesn’t contain CO2.

    One realistic test of CO2 migration was done onder the same pressure and temperature circumstances as for the Vostok ice core at depth. They found a small migration calculated over 100,000 years against ambient pressure. But as the pressure difference between 2 km and 2.001 km is negligible, vertical migration is negligible too. The more that such migration would be measurable as a smoothing out of the variability of the glacial/interglacial transitions against temperature, which is not the case over the past 800,000 years.

    In all cases, CO2 and a lot of other gases are measured by NDIR, GC, mass spectrometers, in the gas bubbles. These are not proxies but real measurements, but need to be (and are) corrected for the small changes in (isotopic) composition which happen before bubble closing.

    Finally, as Etheridge showed, the CO2 level in already closed bubbles from the ice core (sampled with the normal routine: coring, relaxation, transport, crushing of the ice under vacuum, measurement after a cold trap) and the still open cores in firn (sampled in situ, measured by the same GC equipment above) at the same depth have the same CO2 content ánd these overlap with the South Pole direct air measurements. See:

  270. tokyoboy (20:57:32) :

    It seems very difficult to grasp the difference between the residence time of a single CO2 molecule (whatever the origin) in the atmosphere and the decay time of an injection of mass (whatever the origin) of CO2 to go back to the original concentration.

    Let us suppose that all human caused CO2 was red coloured. At a certain moment we inject 100 GtC (as red CO2) into the atmosphere above the 700 GtC of natural CO2 already there. Thus at the end of year 1, we measure 800 GtC in the atmosphere, of which 12.5% is red. I think we may agree that the increase is 100% of human origin in this case.

    Now, during year 2, the seasonal and permanent exchanges of CO2 replace 150 GtC of what is in the atmosphere with colourless CO2 from the (deep) oceans (we forget the exchanges with vegetation for the moment to keep it simple). Thus the red CO2 in the atmosphere decreases with about 20% in a year, leading to a half life time of “human” red CO2 of about 5 years. That is your residence time.

    But what happens to the total amount of (partially colored) CO2? The exchanges of CO2 between atmosphere and oceans(/vegetation) don’t change the amounts in the atmosphere, as long as the inputs and outputs are equal. But as we have increased the CO2 content of the atmosphere from 700 to 800 GtC, there will be less natural ins (less pressure difference for the tropic ocean outgassing) and more outs (more pressure difference at the polar sinks), the difference: about 4 GtC more natural sink than source.

    Thus of the 800 GtC in the atmosphere, only 4 GtC is removed in the first year. You see the difference? 150/800 GtC is exchanged each year, 4/800 GtC is removed the first year. It is the latter which is important for the greenhouse effect, as quantities matter, not the origin (the color)… The excess decay rate is about 38 years half life time, far higher than the 5 years you mentioned (which is the exchange rate, not the excess decay rate), but far less than the hundred(s) of years supposed by the IPCC.

    As the amount of red coloured CO2 dwindles fast with 20% per year, there is practically none left after say 50 years. Even then the total quantity still is 50 GtC above the original level. Thus while the compostion after 50 years is near 100% natural, the cause of the excess quantity still is 100% from the original injection…

    In graph form:

    where FA is the fraction of “anthro” CO2 in the atmosphere, FL in the upper oceans, tCA total carbon in the atmosphere, nCA natural carbon in the atmosphere and anthro carbon is the difference between the two. All based on a pre-industrial level of 580 GtC in the atmosphere and realistic exchange rates.

  271. P Wilson says:

    John Finn (00:51:51)

    although this study from Dr Knorr maintains that the airborne fraction of c02 hasn’t changed, which “runs contrary to climate models”. That implies that airborne Ac02 is 3% (or 1% per year?) whilst natural airborne c02 is still 97%. If so then most of the airborne 30% c02 increase since 1850 isn’t anthropogenic, or so it suggests, and if c0w found in ice in Antarctica is the golden standard of the global average of c02.

    I’m open to counter evidence to jaworowski’s view that casts doubts on ice cores, although this study seems to confirm that he might have been right.

    Perhaps Ferdinand could read through this, particularly page 736 which gives Greenland ice cores a higher concentration of c02 that corresponding time scales in Antarctica

    http://suesam.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/climate-change-re-examined.pdf

    Zbignew Jaworowski, MD, PhD, DSc, of the Central Laboratory for Radiation
    Protection in Warsaw, Poland, has examined CO2 concentration data. Accordingto Jaworowski, until 1985 the published CO2 concentrations in air bubbles in pre-industrial ice ranged from 160–700 ppm, with an occasional spike to 2450ppm. After 1985, high readings disappeared from publications! Jaworowski gave a flagrant example of data selection from A. Neftel et al. (in Nature), who reported in 1985 that pre-industrial CO2 concentrations from a Byrd, Antarctica, ice core were 330–500 ppm (dots and bars in Figure 8). However, in 1988, also in Nature, and on the same core, only values of 290 ppm or less were reported, in agreement with the ‘‘global warming’’ hypothesis (gray areas in Figure 8)
    (Jaworowski, 1997).
    Jaworowski also noted that air from ice at Summit, Greenland, deposited
    during the last 200 years ranged from 243–641 ppm in CO2. ‘‘Such a wide range reflects artifacts caused by sampling, or natural processes in the ice sheet, ratherthan the variations of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere’’. G. I. Pearmanet al., in a 1986 paper in Nature, rejected 43% of the CO2 readings, 39% of the methane readings, and 43% of the nitrous oxide readings from the Law Dome,Antarctica, core because they were higher or lower than the politically correctvalues, according to Jaworowski. They decided on a value of 281 ppm for CO2in the pre-industrial period. Air bubbles in a drilling core from 6000-year-old icefrom Camp Century, Greenland, showed a CO2 concentration of 420 ppm, while it was 270 ppm in a supposedly 6000-year-old ice core from Byrd, Antarctica.

    it only raises the question as to whether c02 from Antarctic ice cores are the most accurate record of c02 globally over 600,000 years

  272. P Wilson says:

    Ferdinand i’m looking through the siple dome data. It show a recovery from the LIA, or else the beginning of AGW depending on how you see it. However, Between 1935 and 1945 the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was constant, or even declined slightly, for reasons unknown. The modern record doesn’t seem to follow a straight curve with fossil fuel emissions

    http://www.pnas.org/content/94/16/8343.full.pdf

  273. B E Brill says:

    Ferdinand-

    I found this helpful. But the Knorr paper found that the proportion of incremental CO2 removed (not exchanged) by natural processes has been 55% in each year.

    So, in your example, 55GtC will go in year 2 as a result of reduced outgassing in the tropics and hungry sinks at the poles. The remaining pink 45GtC will presumably decay at your calculated rate of 4GtC per annum (or does that vary?) giving a half life of about 18 years.

  274. P Wilson says:

    Ferdinand

    “But what happens to the total amount of (partially colored) CO2? The exchanges of CO2 between atmosphere and oceans(/vegetation) don’t change the amounts in the atmosphere, as long as the inputs and outputs are equal. ”

    this assumes a static input output flow chart. Since you’ve studied ice core’s yourself, the trend shows erratic spikes and dips of c02 over short to long time scales – which doesn’t appear static aerial equilibrium at any time period..

    could not sea surface temperatures have something to do with how much c02 can be measured in the atmosphere, and in this respect, is it possible that Antarctica at -40C in ice only shows a regional magnitude?

  275. carrot eater says:

    maksimovich: Have you actually read what I said about Le Quéré? I don’t understand why you’re going on about it. I am saying and have been saying the whole time that Knorr’s results are not at all surprising or controversial (even though it might have some flaws), because nobody thought the AF was changing much over the time period 1850-2000. The only reason I list Le Quéré is to show an example of a paper where they saw hints of ocean uptake reducing in the last decade – to emphasize the fact that AF is expected to increase in the future, not in past as studied by Knorr. Observations (Le Quéré, one or two others) of a less effective ocean sink are preliminary, uncertain, disputed, and applicable only the the last few years, not 1950 or 1960. That you continue to dispute Le Quéré doesn’t detract from my point; it actually helps make it.

    The only thing that Knorr does is suggest a different method and slightly different results from Canadell (2007). That isn’t controversial, nor a bombshell. Maybe Canadell will follow up. Maybe not. It’s possible that Knorr’s analysis wasn’t the best, and there might be some very slight trend there. But it’d be very slight, and essentially insignificant, as Canadell originally found anyway.

  276. bill says:

    P Wilson (04:03:48) :
    This is worth a read reference removed peaks and troughs from CO2 data:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2009/10/ian-plimer-is-con-artist-one-of.html

    From NOAA:
    “Anybody, including Plimer, can download the actual measurement records, complete, warts and all, from our web site http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/, or http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ by clicking on the appropriate places. To illustrate how misleading Plimer is I made a plot of 3 years of all hourly data, with 2004 in the middle because Plimer discussed 2004. I have also attached a description of our MLO measurements, which Plimer and anybody else can download from the second web page mentioned above. In the plot, “selected” data means that we have used it in constructing the published monthly mean because those hours satisfy the conditions for “background” measurements. The red stripes are extremely close to the published monthly means. The published data has another step, first from hourly to daily averages, then to monthly, which I did not do here. Also plotted in purple-blue are all non-background data. If one constructs monthly means from ALL data, incl. non-background, one obtains the purple-blue stripes. The differences are only slight, with the seasonal cycle becoming a bit larger due to upslope winds, esp. during the summer.”

    The NOAA plot:

    From this it is very obvious that measuring CO2 is currently fraught with problems – wind direction/industrial pollution/measuring errors.
    Trying to do this on a few microlitres of gas in a fragile container (ice) must be an order of magnitude more difficult. There will be errors – these need weeding out of published data or the uneducated masses will get confused.

  277. carrot eater says:

    Ferdinand: Good idea to color-label the molecules in the illustration. By tracking the individual molecules that way, people should see that they shouldn’t be fixated on those individual molecules.

    As it happens, as you know (from looking at your website), the molecules actually are coded, to an extent, by isotopes. But introducing that data here might only confuse.

    Also, Ferdinand: a gentle correction: You keep saying the half-life of the accumulation is some 40 years, not the hundreds used by the IPCC. Again, I’d advise you to double check what they actually say. Here is the exact wording of the IPCC:

    “Consistent with the response function to a CO2 pulse from the Bern Carbon Cycle Model (see footnote (a) of Table 2.14), about 50% of an increase in atmospheric CO2 will be removed within 30 years, a further 30% will be removed within a few centuries and the remaining 20% may remain in
    the atmosphere for many thousands of years (Prentice et al., 2001; Archer, 2005; see also Sections 7.3.4.2 and 10.4)”

    They agree with you on the half life. To see about the longer persistence, I’d refer you to Archer (2005).

  278. supercritical says:

    Given that the anthropic proportion is only 3% or so, can anybody say what is causing the relatively enormous natural CO2 interchange between the oceans and the atmosphere? And why should it be so exactly repeatable on a year-on-year basis that the 3% of Anthropic CO2 can be measured?

    Is it mainly the local changes in the partial pressure of CO2 that cause the interchange? Could it be the action of wind and waves? Of sun-tides and moon-tides? Or the Weather?

    BTW that hissing sound from the surf, and from ship’s wakes: could it be the sound of escaping CO2? Has anybody analysed the gas-composition of sea foam?

  279. John Finn says:

    P Wilson (04:03:48) :

    John Finn (00:51:51)

    although this study from Dr Knorr maintains that the airborne fraction of c02 hasn’t changed, which “runs contrary to climate models”. That implies that airborne Ac02 is 3% (or 1% per year?) whilst natural airborne c02 is still 97%. If so then most of the airborne 30% c02 increase since 1850 isn’t anthropogenic, or so it suggests, and if c0w found in ice in Antarctica is the golden standard of the global average of c02.

    Did you read what I wrote. I think you’re getting confused with percentages. Why are you segegating natural and human CO2. There are natural emissions and human emissions which together make up TOTAL emissions. Then there are absorptions. Currently the TOTAL emsiions are exceeding the absorptions.

    In the past

    Total Emissions = Natural Emissions and

    Total Emissions = Absorptions -> stable CO2 concentrations

    Since ~1850 Total Emissions have increased because

    Total Emissions = Natural + Human so now we have

    Total Emissions > Absorptions -> CO2 goes up.

    It just happens to be going up by an amount that is equivalent to 45% of the human emissions.

    If we’re going to clarify this, you might need to explain you’re thinking because there appears to be something you don’t quite grasp.

  280. P Wilson says:

    simply because you have to separate the fluxes of natural from anthropogenic, natural being mainly sea exchanges, where seas contain 1000gt at the surface. It seems natural to me that we cannot measure how much c02 air exchanges with oceans according to se surface temperatures, although when its warmer, oceans exhale more. We’re at another relatively high SST at the moment, which means oceans expel more than they absorb, and this increases that carbon cycle. The best we can say is that if nature is responsible for 97% of aerial c02 then we’re responsible for 3%.

    i don’t accept that total emissions were fixed before 1850. There are some remarkable spikes and slumps prior to 1840 at decadal and centennial timescales – proxies from stomata during the MWP suggest 400+ppm. so if we take the pre industrial to be
    antarctic Ice, which has up to 6,000, or a corrected 4,000 years difference between its ice formation and its c02 capture at a subzero environment then they show more flux than a fixed in/out quantity.

    other proxies from Greenland show greater varieties

  281. B E Brill (04:58:19) :

    I found this helpful. But the Knorr paper found that the proportion of incremental CO2 removed (not exchanged) by natural processes has been 55% in each year.

    So, in your example, 55GtC will go in year 2 as a result of reduced outgassing in the tropics and hungry sinks at the poles. The remaining pink 45GtC will presumably decay at your calculated rate of 4GtC per annum (or does that vary?) giving a half life of about 18 years.

    A small addition: the about 4 GtC/year removal of CO2 happens only if you have about 200 GtC (that is about 100 ppmv) higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere than the normal (temperature dictated) equilibrium. Thus there is not a 55% removal in the second year of the extra 100 GtC injection, but only about 2 GtC (the oceans are limited CO2 transmitters and receivers…). Thus only a few % of the extra mass per year is removed. The 55% is what is removed from the atmosphere today from the human emissions (in quantity, not as anthro CO2 molecules) at 8 GtC/year (45% if you exclude land use changes, as these are quite uncertain)… In the third year the amount removed will be a little smaller, as the CO2 level in the atmosphere now is a little smaller, thus less pressure to move CO2 into the oceans, thus the 4 GtC (at +100 ppmv, 2 GtC at +50 ppmv,…) will reduce over time. This leads to the half life time of about 40 years: 50% removed after 40 years, 75% after 80 years, 87.5% after 120 years,…

    In fact it is far more complicated than that (transport to deep oceans is involved, precipitation and solution of carbonates, response of vegetation growth and decay,…), but the general idea is like that.

    I know it is difficult to explain… It is a matter of changes in total quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere, caused by the sum of quantities added and removed over a year (that is a full seasonal cycle), while most people mix that up with the quality (the color), of the molecules involved…

  282. carrot eater (06:02:16) :

    I have looked at the Archer’s study and the Bern model, but the long tail is only involved if you burn thousands of GtC, that is most oil and lots of coal. In that case, even the deep oceans increase in carbon content, which will be reflected in (near permanent) increased atmospheric CO2 levels.

    The current total anthro emissions since 1850 are at less than 0.1% of the deep ocean carbon content, thus not measurable in the deep ocean upwelling. If we should stop our emissions today, that means that the longer term of the Bern model will not materialize at all.

    Unfortunately it is the long term CO2 level which is used by some scientists and the media to scare people, without the caveat that it is for extreme amounts of carbon used and that it is ultimately about some 10% of the increase in CO2 which is left (near) forever…

  283. P Wilson says:

    Ferdinand. It is interesting but: What are the actual measured data series for absorbed and exchanged c02, both natural and anthropogenic for the last 10 years? Are there any data sets, or are they just assumed?

  284. carrot eater says:

    Supercritical:
    “Is it mainly the local changes in the partial pressure of CO2 that cause the interchange?”

    That is the driving force for any such transfer. Any place you see net flux, you should find a difference in partial pressure of CO2 (or chemical potential, if you want to be fancy) between air and surface water. At high latitudes, carbon goes (net) into the ocean waters. At tropical low latitudes, it comes out (net) into the air. You can then follow ocean circulation from there.

    In fact, here’s an ocean map. Negative flux means net flux into the ocean.

    However, as has been emphasised in this comment thread, CO2 doesn’t just stay as such when it enters the water; plantlife takes it up, and the chemical equilibria favor it forming HCO3-. Even for a small area of surface water, simply applying Henry’s Law won’t get you far; you have to account for the further chemistry and biology.

  285. P Wilson says:

    John Finn (06:28:20) :

    yes i read what you wrote, although this study says that there is no change in percentage of the AC02 fraction since 1850. That means that it must be 3% of total c02

  286. carrot eater says:

    Ferdinand: One of Archer’s cases was for an instantaneous release of 1000 Gton. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable amount, do you?

    In any case, I’d simply recommend more careful language: the IPCC half-life is about the same as what you say, so why say it isn’t? If you want to say the long tail won’t really materialise unless total emissions reach X, that’s a different point altogether; it’s a point that the simple maths being tossed around here don’t address, since one would need to look at the physical processes more carefully.

  287. carrot eater says:

    P Wilson: This has been said a few times: once the anthro CO2 is released into the air, there’s no point in distinguishing between which exact molecules are ‘natural’ and which are human related. There is simply more carbon in the system, and all the other flows will adjust to that perturbation in various ways, and the extra carbon will accumulate in the various sinks.

    If you absolutely insist on labeling molecules, they are to some extent labeled; from the changing balance of carbon isotopes in the atmosphere one can see that fossil fuel-derived carbon is indeed accumulating in the system.

  288. Has anyone studied or even thought about what happens to dissolved CO2 in sea water when the surface of that sea water evaporates into the atmosphere? Does it precipitate as CaCO3, go into the atmosphere as a gas, or both? I think it is the latter but I have no idea what fractions go where. It is a function of the thermodynamics and kinetics of a complex mixture. Some of you smarter folks figure it out.

  289. supercritical says:

    Fred,

    Are you proposing a theoretical exercise in ocean-boiling?

  290. Smokey says:

    carrot eater,

    After following your numerous posts, I am still waiting for your answer to this question: will an increase in CO2 cause a “tipping point” to be reached, where runaway global warming and climate catastrophe result?

    Because that is the central question in the entire debate. If CO2 has a relatively minor effect, as seems likely due to the fact that as that minor trace gas increases, the planet continues to cool, then there is no rationale for spending $Trillions on misguided efforts to stop emitting CO2 — especially since it is the developing countries that are currently responsible for the rise.

    But if a rise in CO2 will in fact cause the climate to hit a tipping point resulting in catastrophe, where exactly is that point, ± 50 ppmv?

    We don’t want to derail our economy based on a scary assumption that there’s a vague ‘tipping point’ somewhere out there. But if there is, there should certainly be an empirical experiment that can be devised showing where we can expect climate doom to begin.

  291. Re: Supercritical

    Ha! Ha!

  292. John Finn says:

    P Wilson (08:48:13) :

    John Finn (06:28:20) :

    yes i read what you wrote, although this study says that there is no change in percentage of the AC02 fraction since 1850. That means that it must be 3% of total c02

    I think you’re missing the point. The source of the atmospheric CO2 is not really relevant. Even if all human emitted CO2 were re-absorbed this just means that the human contribution is being absorbed at the expense of the natural emissions.

    Can you really not see this?

  293. P Wilson (08:41:45) :

    Ferdinand. It is interesting but: What are the actual measured data series for absorbed and exchanged c02, both natural and anthropogenic for the last 10 years? Are there any data sets, or are they just assumed?

    There are two datasets of interest: the (more or less) global CO2 levels and fossil fuel use. The first is measured at a lot of “baseline” places, the second is calculated from fuel sales (by tax accounts). The net amount of natural CO2 over a year can be calculated as the difference between emissions and what is found in the atmosphere. So far the regular amounts.

    The fluxes between oceans and atmosphere and vegetation and atmosphere are deduced from O2 and d13C trends: O2 use or production gives an impression of the vegetation decay or growth. The difference in oxygen use from fossil fuel burning gives you how much net vegetation growth/decay happened. d13C is reducing through fossil fuel use and vegetation changes. Again the d13C change due to fossil fuel use can be calculated and the difference is largely due to ocean exchanges (which has a higher d13C level than the atmosphere). Thus measurement series for fossil fuel use, combined with CO2 level trends, oxygen level trends, d13C level trends give you the desired answers. See:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/287/5462/2467.pdf and

    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

    The atmosphere – oceans/vegetation fluxes have wide margins of error, as the accuracy of the d13C and especially of the O2 measurements is borderline sufficient, but the fluxes and resultant sink capacity are quite clear.

    Besides the global trends, there are a lot of local/regional flux measurements, to investigate the amount of CO2 released/absorbed over land (tall towers) and globally (satellites). Two marine stations (Bermuda and Hawai) have long series of carbon items at different depths in the oceans. And a lot of planes, buoys and seaships measure CO2 regularly in the air, ocean surface and deep oceans. These still have very large margins of error, but improved satellite measurements may give better results. See further the different sources of data:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/

    and for tall towers e.g.:

    http://www.chiotto.org/cabauw.html

    for ocean fluxes:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/maps.shtml

  294. Fred H. Haynie (09:55:44) :

    Has anyone studied or even thought about what happens to dissolved CO2 in sea water when the surface of that sea water evaporates into the atmosphere? Does it precipitate as CaCO3, go into the atmosphere as a gas, or both? I think it is the latter but I have no idea what fractions go where. It is a function of the thermodynamics and kinetics of a complex mixture. Some of you smarter folks figure it out.

    Every type of molecule acts on its own respective to evaporation and condensation (water) or dissolving/releasing (CO2), near independent of each other. But as higher temperature both involve more evaporation (water) and a higher partial pressure (CO2), the equatorial band shows both more CO2 release and more evaporation. The same near the poles: colder temperatures give more precipitation than evaporation and CO2 is more readily absorbed.

    Precipitation of CO2 as carbonate has more to do with plant life: coccoliths use bicarbonate dissolved in the ocean water to form calcite skeletons. Some of this calcite sinks after the death of the plants.

  295. carrot eater says:

    Smokey:

    I hope this tangent does not distract from the topic, as there might be still a couple loose ends here about the carbon cycle.

    Runaway global warming? No. To me, ‘runaway’ means the oceans boil off. Not happening; not a term that should be used.

    Tipping points? Well, an summertime ice-free Arctic by the end of this century would be an interesting result. Combine that with the possibility of permafrost releasing methane, and you’d have trouble getting back to where you came from, even if you did cut emissions. Does that count as a ‘tipping point’?

    But really, what you’re asking after is the impacts on humans, and I simply don’t study that side much. I’m sure there’ll be various impacts on the food supply and ecosystems (including in the ocean) in general, as well as sea level rise. How will they adjust, how will we adjust, and how much would it all cost in economic terms? What does it really matter if a bunch of species go extinct? These aren’t things I spend much time on; one only has so much time. If you want the ‘IPCC’ view, don’t ask me, read the IPCC reports (WG2 and 3), and things like the Stern report. Then, you can read neverending arguments about things like discount rates.

  296. John Finn says:

    Smokey (10:26:53) :

    carrot eater,

    After following your numerous posts, I am still waiting for your answer to this question: will an increase in CO2 cause a “tipping point” to be reached, where runaway global warming and climate catastrophe result?

    Can we not get the carbon cycle sorted out first.

    I can’t speak for carrot eater, but I’m fairly sure Ferdinand Engelbeen cannot be described as a “climate alarmist” and I’m what you might call a ‘lukewarmer’. The point is I don’t think any of us is trying to say anything about global warming on this thread. I think we all agree, though, that human CO2 emissions are mainly – if not solely – responsible for the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the past ~100 years.

    There is no other plausible explanation for the steady sustained increase which has been observed. The Knorr paper doesn’t dispute this. It simply notes that there has been an increase in absorption by the oceans and biosphere which has partially ‘offset’ the increase from human emissions.

    In the context of this discussion it doesn’t matter what the ‘new’ source of the emissions is. The new source is currently adding ~4 ppm/yr – but the earth is responding by removing ~2 ppm. (these are very, very approximate numbers).

  297. Smokey says:

    Ferdinand, a couple of thoughts:

    First, Freeman Dyson covers part of this subject: click. [Scroll down to #2: Climate and Land Management.]

    Dyson shows that biological activity responds to higher CO2 levels. In addition, the U.S. alone has increased its forest cover by about 40% over the past century, and that number is still rising. Trees grow slowly, so there is a lag time between rising CO2 and sequestering by plants.

    Next, you say that many of the current CO2 measurements have still have very large margins of error. But Beck’s reconstruction is also based on numerous CO2 measurements made last century, many done by Nobel laureates on isolated sea coasts, on mountains, and during ocean crossings, all with a tolerance [IIRC] of about ±3%. Those measurements were nothing like the iconic Mauna Loa CO2 graph we see everywhere, which shows a very steady rise, which is nothing like the readings taken from tall towers.

    I know you have a problem with Beck’s extensive work, but even these current CO2 readings in different locations do not agree. Furthermore, Beck’s reports of CO2 readings are not “adjusted” like NOAA’s: [click - this is a blink gif, give it a few seconds to load].

    Who to believe? Those providing raw data? Or data that has been adjusted?

  298. Ferdinand,

    CO2 doesn’t have to go through an organic cycle to precipitate as CACO3. Sea water saturated with CO2 (upwelling) will precipitate CaCO3 when the temperature is raised. Of course raising the temperature increases the partial pressure of both water and CO2.

  299. Smokey says:

    carrot eater (11:17:05),

    Thank you for your views [but this wasn't a tangent from the topic, which specifically concerns anthropogenic CO2].

    The mind-set that Stern and the IPCC exhibit throughout their reports generally exclude the indisputable benefits of a slightly warmer climate. Only people and organizations with an agenda would so casually dismiss the benefits of additional warmth [although they do throw in the obligatory comment]. When scientists on both sides of the issue cooperate in writing those reports, rather than the reports being written political appointees whose livelihood depends on taking the position that their superiors demand, then they will get the credibility and respect they desire.

    Anyway, thank you for responding. [And don't eat too many of those carrots, or you'll look like this.]

  300. P Wilson (08:00:55) :

    simply because you have to separate the fluxes of natural from anthropogenic, natural being mainly sea exchanges, where seas contain 1000gt at the surface. It seems natural to me that we cannot measure how much c02 air exchanges with oceans according to se surface temperatures, although when its warmer, oceans exhale more. We’re at another relatively high SST at the moment, which means oceans expel more than they absorb, and this increases that carbon cycle. The best we can say is that if nature is responsible for 97% of aerial c02 then we’re responsible for 3%.

    You still don’t get it. It doesn’t matter what the source of the remaining CO2 in the atmosphere is. Even if all human emissions were absorbed in the next trees within a minute, the same trees would have used natural CO2 instead. Thus even if the atmosphere is 100% composed of natural CO2 after one minute, the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere did increase, because you added CO2 to a system where the natural balance was (more or less) in equilibrium. Thus while not one molecule of aCO2 is left, the increase is fully the result of the addition of aCO2.

    And in the past 60 years, the oceans were never a net source (over a year) of CO2, always a net sink. Temperature only modulated the sink capacity of the oceans (and vegetation after 1990, before that vegetation was a small source). See: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg

    i don’t accept that total emissions were fixed before 1850. There are some remarkable spikes and slumps prior to 1840 at decadal and centennial timescales – proxies from stomata during the MWP suggest 400+ppm. so if we take the pre industrial to be
    antarctic Ice, which has up to 6,000, or a corrected 4,000 years difference between its ice formation and its c02 capture at a subzero environment then they show more flux than a fixed in/out quantity.

    other proxies from Greenland show greater varieties

    I have had several discussions with stomata specialists. These have a their own problems. For the 20th century they are calibrated against… ice cores. But the main problem is that stomata data are based on land (by definition!): any local/regional land change (marshes to forests to pasture to agriculture) in the main wind direction influences local/regional CO2 levels, which makes the method not very reliable, if no detailed knowledge of these changes and their influence on CO2 levels/stomata data is available.

    BTW, the 20th century stomata data refute the 1942 peak of CO2 found in the historical data of Beck…

    The ice cores of Greenland are interesting for temperature history, but not reliable for CO2 measurements, due to the frequent inclusion of volcanic dust (from Iceland), which may produce CO2 in situ. The Antarctic ice cores with the best resolution have only a lag of 30 years and a 8 years resolution down to 1850. The next best have a 30 years resolution (and show a small CO2 dip during the LIA) with a 80 years lag. Thus good enough to detect any peak of 100 ppmv over a period of 10 years or more.

    And there are other proxies which confirm the addition of human CO2: coralline sponges give a direct d13C level of seawater, quite stable (just some small wiggles due to temperature swings) until about 1800, then a steeper and steeper drop:

    If the (deep) oceans were the main source of CO2, the d13C levels would increase, but we see a sharp decrease.

  301. carrot eater says:

    Smokey: Well, if we’re talking about some physical point, I think it’s best to keep politics and economics aside during that discussion. Anyway, thank you for graciously inviting and hearing my views, seeing as this isn’t exactly home turf for me.

    As for Mauna Loa: the raw data is available for anybody to look at. Every single data point that is rejected is labeled with the reason for which it was rejected. Those reasons seem quite reasonable to me. Even if you leave the rejected points in there, the picture doesn’t really change.

  302. C13 levels have been increasing but C12 a little faster. C12 also comes from the oceans from the decomposition of organic matter (and naturally from land from the same process). In a mature forest, on an annual basis, as much CO2 is emitted as is consumed.

  303. Smokey (11:33:59) :

    Dyson is right, but doesn’t quantify biogenic growth. From the oxygen balance we know that the whole biosphere (vegetation + soils + marine) is good for an uptake of 1.4 +/- 0.8 GtC/year, that offsets a lot of CO2 from the (then) 7 GtC human emissions, but not everything.

    You need to make a differentiation between “background” CO2 levels and CO2 levels measured near (huge) sources and sinks. If you measure over land in the middle of towns or in a forest, a rice field,… you will see that day and night gives enormous changes (hundreds of ppmv within hours). If you measure over the oceans or high on a mountain or in the middle of a desert, or in a plane over 500-1,000 m, you will see little diurnal variation and the same value all over the world, with some seasonal variation (in the NH) and a NH-SH lag. Thus in 95% of the atmosphere, you see the similar CO2 levels. Only in 5% of the atmosphere, the first few hundred meters over land, you can find any CO2 value you (don’t) wish. Therefore the tall tower data (and other land based data) are not used for global averaging, as a few stations (10 “baseline” stations around the poles and in the Pacific) are sufficient to describe the CO2 content and trends for 95% of the atmosphere. But the land based stations are of interest for flux measurement and attribution.

    The historical measurements taken at coastal areas (with wind from the sea), on mountain tops (Ben Nevis, Scotland), on seaships are around the ice core levels. That is the reason that Callendar with stringent a priory selection criteria did find lower average values of CO2, which were confirmed 60 years later by the ice cores…

    The graph + correction from Mauna Loa you have sent was extensively discussed here on WUWT ( see
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/08/06/post-mortem-on-the-mauna-loa-co2-data-eruption/ )
    with an valid explanation by Pieter Tans: due to a computer failure, they had only 10 days of data at the end of the month. As that was the month with the largest change of CO2 level, the plotting of the average at the 15th of the month did skew the trend. This was adjusted by an algorithm that used the average shape of the previous years, same months, to correct the graph.

    As said already by carrot eater, the raw data are available for inspection (I even asked for the raw voltage data used to calculate the raw hourly CO2 averages and received them) at:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/in-situ/mlo/
    All procedures used for calibration and selection are clearly explained here: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html
    And the selection of all data or deselection of outliers doesn’t make any difference for the averages or trend, see:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html#Variations_due_to_local_circumstances:

    Even after preselection, their still are 150 valid samples per day left.

    In contrast, we have little idea about the calibration procedures, the accuracy of the methods, the accuracy of the chemicals used, the skill of the people in sampling and measuring the historical data.

    In one of the longest series, Giessen in Germany 1939-1940, three samples per day were measured, of which two were taken at the moment of highest diurnal change (often 150 ppmv day-night). Guess what happens if the sample was taken 15 minutes later or earlier…

    And are you sure that Beck’s data aren’t changed? I read some strange sentences in his Excel sheet:
    “Korrigiert um -15ppm” (Corrected with -15 ppm)
    “Korrigiert um +9ppm wegen Sommer” (Corrected with +9ppm because of summer)
    “Wert interpoliert” (Value interpolated)

    Anyway, Beck used data from places which were completely unsuitable for background CO2 level measurements, as if all data were of the same good quality…

  304. P Wilson says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:03:41) :

    I’m asking if Antarctic ice cores are the golden standard for pre industrial atmospheric c02.

    If the IPCC says “since1961 show that the average
    temperature of the global ocean has increased to depths
    of at least 3000 m and that the ocean has been absorbing
    more than 80% of the heat added to the climate system.”

    and

    “According to Takahashi (1961) heating of sea water by 1 degree C will increase the partial pressure of atmospheric CO2by 12.5 ppmv during upwelling of deep water. For example 12 degrees C warming of the Benguela Current should increase the atmospheric CO2 concentration by 150 ppmv.”

    (segalstad)

    it seems logical that given we’re at the high point of an interglacial oceans are outgassing c02 more than they are absorbing them

    http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/coast_sea/sea-surface-temperature

    puts the SST at 1C higher than 140 years ago, although since its accepted or known that the sun has *reputedly* been more active during the 20th C than at any time in its history then that suggests a mainly natural increase in c02. *reputedly* a la Henry’s law, a 0.1C increase in SST’s leads to 6GT of c02 release, whilst at 30metres, a 1C temperature increase leads to a 600GT (nearly all c02 in the atmosphere) release of c02. Of course this c02 doesn’t accumulate in the atmosphere, as its always in transition, although it seems to me that when c02 is dissolved in ocean, it sinks or downwells, leaving less immediate c02 to be expelled during warmer ocean periods again for hundreds of years AC02 included. However, whilst anthropogenic c02 is a straight increase, that of natural flux isn’t, as it goes up and down, so if anthropogenic is a fixed fraction, whislt natural variation isn’t, then it still looks like oceans/SST’s regulate the amount of c02, and nearly everything else in the climate, in the atmosphere in the last analysis.

  305. P Wilson (18:19:19) :

    As repeatedly said by carrot eater and me, Henry’s Law is perfect for fresh water. It doesn’t hold that easely for seawater, because even if the first term (the temperature) applies, the CO2 pressure in the water phase is a complex reaction on temperature, pH, salts content, DIC content and the biological activity which influences all the previous ones. Without a pressure difference between CO2 in solution and CO2 in the atmosphere, no transfer at all. If algue show an extra bloom, CO2 can be sucked in, even when the temperature is much higher than before.

    But in general, with higher seawater temperatures, more CO2 will be released in the tropics at the upwelling places and less absorbed at the sink places. That will increase the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, until the increased pressure reduces the outgassing at the tropics and augment the absorption at the poles enough to establish a new equilibrium (at a higher CO2 level).

    And don’t forget that the biosphere on land also works counter the temperature increase of the oceans, which helps to reduce the temperature effect on CO2 levels…

    From the (far) past we know that over many millennia, the equilibrium shift is about 8 ppmv/°C. This also holds for the 1°C change from the MWP to the LIA and thus probably for the warming since the LIA until now. Thus at maximum 8 ppmv increase is due to ocean and land warming.

    If you don’t trust the ice core data, the current influence of temperature on CO2 variability around the trend is about 4 ppmv/°C, thus even less for a 1°C change, but that is a short-term reaction (1-3 years), the long-term 8 ppmv/°C anyway is not far off.

    Further, human emissions are increasing, thus no fixed fraction, while natural (mainly temperature induced) variability (the inflows minus outflows) is +/-1 ppmv around the trend, thus only halve the current emissions.

  306. Fred H. Haynie (11:50:33) :

    CO2 doesn’t have to go through an organic cycle to precipitate as CACO3. Sea water saturated with CO2 (upwelling) will precipitate CaCO3 when the temperature is raised. Of course raising the temperature increases the partial pressure of both water and CO2.

    At the current CO2 levels we have a mixture of bicarbonate and carbonate in seawater. One need to loose a lot of CO2 before carbonate would drop out. It happens at very elevated temperatures in boilers etc., but I have not the impression that it happens in seawater without biological help. The reverse may happen if CO2 levels increase and start to dissolve carbonates into bicarbonate.

    C13 levels have been increasing but C12 a little faster. C12 also comes from the oceans from the decomposition of organic matter (and naturally from land from the same process). In a mature forest, on an annual basis, as much CO2 is emitted as is consumed
    Oceans degassing and absorption did set the initial levels of the 13C/12C ratio, due to fractionation in both directions. That was with 0-4 per mil d13C in (deep to surface) seawater some -6 per mil in the atmosphere. Today we are at -8 per mil (see the coralline sponges chart at:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif ). If the oceans would be the main source of the increase in CO2 content of the atmosphere, the d13C levels would increase, not decrease as we see nowadays.

    The biosphere (including marine plants) may enrich or deplete 12C levels in the atmosphere, depending what is winning: plant decay vs. plant growth. As more oxygen is produced than used by the biosphere, plant growth wins, thus depleting 12C more than 13C, thus increasing the 13C/12C ratio, while we measure a decrease.

    Thus neither the oceans, nor the biosphere (soil+land vegetation+marine vegetation) can be responsible for the decrease in 13C/12 ratio and thus are not the main cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere…

  307. P Wilson says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (02:21:08)

    Henry’s law still applies though at a different coefficient, ie not at the ideal constant which works best for fizzy drinks, though it should really be called Henry’s coefficient than a constant, and its on the basis of this coefficient that the above results are obtained.

    Takahashi, T; Sutherland, SC; Sweeney, C; Poisson, A; Metzl, N; Tilbrook, B; Bates, N; Wanninkhof, R; Feely, RA; Sabine, C; Olafsson, J; Nojiri, Y “Global sea-air CO2 flux based on climatological surface ocean pCO2 and seasonal biological and temperature effects” Deep-Sea Research (Part II, Topical Studies in Oceanography) [Deep-Sea Research (II Top. Stud. Oceanogr.)] 49, 9-10, pp. 1601-1622, 2002

  308. P Wilson (04:00:25) :

    From the abstract of Takahashi e.a. ( http://tinyurl.com/ybanntb ):

    The seasonal amplitude of surface-water pCO2 in high-latitude waters located poleward of about 40° latitude and in the equatorial zone is dominated by the biology effect, whereas that in the temperate gyre regions is dominated by the temperature effect. These effects are about 6 months out of phase. Accordingly, along the boundaries between these two regimes, they tend to cancel each other, forming a zone of small pCO2 amplitude.

    Thus in some cases temperature wins, in other cases its biology which wins. No straight-forward application of Henry’s law is possible…
    See also the delta-pCO2 map of Feely e.a.:

    where you can see that the North Pacific is a source of CO2 in winter and a sink in summer. The North Atlantic is a stronger sink in summer than in winter. Opposite to the seawater temperature…

  309. carrot eater says:

    Ferdinand: “From the (far) past we know that over many millennia, the equilibrium shift is about 8 ppmv/°C.”

    This is where I dislike your wording, and it comes back to your statement here:

    “dT = Te – Tb, the difference in temperature between start and end of the period, whatever length of period. For short periods (0-2 years) the factor 4 ppmv/K applies, for periods longer than a few centuries (to near a million years), the factor 8 ppmv/K applies. For in between periods, no reliable data are available, but I suppose that the factor would be in between.”

    You are using the same term to describe entirely unrelated physical processes. The short term action is just helping to fit short-term variability in the atmsopheric uptake rate, related to volcanic effects and El Nino. I don’t entirely understand why the uptake rate is dependent on these factors, but there it is.

    The long term action is not a matter of variability in uptake rate. It’s simply reflecting a net outgassing from the oceans, due to rising temperature. Exactly why the oceans were outgassing like that is not entirely clear (though there are good ideas), but they currently aren’t doing anything like it (the oceans are still a net sink, currently).

  310. carrot eater says:

    P Wilson:

    Look at this diagram:

    (taken from here:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/feel2331.shtml)

    Henry’s Law only tells you about the relation between CO2(g) and CO2(aq), if they were at equilibrium. That they aren’t at equilibrium is what drives net flux into or out of the ocean, depending on where on earth you are. But you’ll notice that there’s also all sorts of other chemistry that affects CO2(aq): see how little of the CO2 actually exists as CO2(aq) in the liquid phase. On top of that, there is uptake by living things (sadly, not shown in the figure). Beyond that, the ocean is somewhat stratified, so there is poor mixing with the deep ocean.

    So Henry’s Law is useful, but you need to consider many other things as well to understand ocean-air CO2 fluxes.

  311. P Wilson says:

    Ferdinanad and Carrot Eater. I’m not disputing these principles, and understand oceans are complex, and warm and cool at the same time depending on location. Its a huge system that must be complex to document as to whether it is a net sink or a net source at the moment, given that SST’s and OHC are elevated on average for the last 150 years.

    I’m just trying to ascertain, without and direct measurements – the sort that are taken without inference from other measurements – why the Anthropogenic fraction of aerial c02 remains the same now as it did since 1850. In todays terms that would be 3-4% of today’s total.

  312. carrot eater says:

    P Wilson:

    “why the Anthropogenic fraction of aerial c02 remains the same now as it did since 1850. ”

    That isn’t even close to what the paper says.

    The paper says this: if I put 1 ton of CO2 into the air tomorrow by burning some coal, then after things cycle around, the atmosphere will have 0.45 more tons of CO2 in it, and the oceans and biosphere will have 0.55 more tons of CO2 in them. These fractions vary from year to year, but there’s no trend in that fraction, either up or down.

    Please stop trying to label individual molecules as being anthropogenic or natural. It is not a meaningful exercise for the purposes of this discussion.

    The pre-industrial atmospheric concentration was what, 280 ppm or so? It is now 385 ppm. That rise is due to human activities. The rise would have been higher, had the airborne fraction described by the paper been also rising.

  313. carrot eater (07:17:07) :

    You are using the same term to describe entirely unrelated physical processes. The short term action is just helping to fit short-term variability in the atmsopheric uptake rate, related to volcanic effects and El Nino. I don’t entirely understand why the uptake rate is dependent on these factors, but there it is.

    In my opinion, the short term temperature dependency and the long term are of the same origin. In both cases (Pinatubo and El Niño), there is a quite good correlation with (sea surface) temperature, although the origin of the temperature variation was different.

    There are two main forces at work with increasing(/decreasing) temperatures: more CO2 release(uptake) by the oceans and more uptake(/release) by (marine and land) vegetation. These counteract each other to a certain extent. Marine organisms drop off CO2 as carbonate (and organic carbon) to a certain level, probably in ratio to growth, and land plants bury in part CO2 in more sustainable carbon deposits and are influenced by (temperature induced) precipitation.

    The short time ratio of 4 ppmv/K is the reaction found on the detrended curve for the past 60 years and is surprisingly linear. See:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf (but I don’t endorse his conclusions!)

    The trend itself is independent of temperature and the result of human emissions, besides a small increase due to the warming in the past century. That makes that the oceans are a net sink for CO2, but that seems not to change the amplitude of the temperature influence (neither over the seasons nor from year by year temperature variations).

    Over longer periods, some additional long term changes add to the equation: the vegetation covered land/landice ratio changes, less/more ice cover of the polar oceans, changing ocean currents,… But again the ratio is surprisingly linear.

    Thus it looks that the same base mechanism(s) are at work which keep the ratio temperature change / CO2 change quite linear, but with an extended factor over longer term, due to more time consuming reactions influencing the ratio.

    Sorry if I am not always clear, English is not my native language, and I have a habit to jump too fast towards conclusions, without explaining all the underlying thoughts which led to that conclusion…

  314. carrot eater says:

    Ferdinand:
    First, no need to apologise, especially about language. Your English is infinitely better than my Flemish (assuming that’s what you speak).

    In order to give your last response a fitting reply, I would have to study the literature about the variability of atmospheric uptake with ENSO, volcanoes or temperature. I haven’t time for that now, so I’ll have to let it pass for now.

    By the way, did you know that one Ian Plimer published a book, and appeared to have used some analysis on your website? So maybe you have some influence and an audience. Sadly, he used only part of the analysis, and so reached the exact opposite conclusions. This was discussed elsewhere; if you are curious.

  315. bill says:

    Food for thought:
    Co2 at Pt Barrow is increasing at approx 1.6ppm/year
    The annual CO2 suck out is increasing in depth by only .17ppm/year

    So CO2 is increasing 10 times faster than the suck is increasing. Assuming the suck is flora / fauna utilising CO2 then releasing it on die-back, then the flora fauna is in no way compensating for the increased CO2.

    A question why is the suck in march just about equal to the CO2 blow in August? Shouldn’t some be retained by groth in the plants etc?

  316. P Wilson says:

    carrot eater (16:08:28) :

    The paper called “Is the airborne anthropogenic emission of c02 increasing?” says that the fraction of aerial c02 against the fraction of absorbed c02 has remained constant since 1850.

    “Dr. Knorr carefully analyzed the record of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and anthropogenic land-use changes for the past 150 years. Keeping in mind the various sources of potential errors inherent in these data, he developed several different possible solutions to fitting a trend to the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. In all cases, he found no significant trend (at the 95% significance level) in airborne fraction since 1850″

    Given that aerial c02 is 30% higher than what is recorded in ancient ice, this 30% has accumulated in the atmosphere, according to the present notion that warns of catastrophic climate change, because of fossil fuel emissions and other human activities. Knorr maintains 45% anthropogenic c02 staying in the atmosphere. 45% today represents about 2% of total aerial c02. this total fraction hasn’t changed since 1850, so it follows that the 30% increase in aerial c02 since 1850 isn’t anthropogenic. It also suggests that absorbed anthropogenic emissions are constant to their fraction of emission since 1850.

    It raises several possibilities, based on the observation that this fraction is stable, and given the premise that absorbtion doesn’t distinguish between natural and anthropogenic c02:

    1) We are at a natural high point of c02
    2) there is an unknown source of c02 (unless it is oceans)
    3) Antarctic ice cores don’t record the full amplitude of pre industrial c02 which could have been 360-400ppm
    4) c02 exchanges are not fixed at a set quantity by nature and don’t follow a flowchart of presently agreed finite magnitudes.
    5) Oceans and land both emit and absorb far more c02 than current thinking measures

  317. carrot eater says:

    P Wilson:

    “Given that aerial c02 is 30% higher than what is recorded in ancient ice, this 30% has accumulated in the atmosphere …. because of fossil fuel emissions and other human activities.”

    Yes. A 30-40% increase from preindustrial levels due to man; about 30% of what’s there is due to man.

    “Knorr maintains 45% anthropogenic c02 staying in the atmosphere.”

    Yes. If X tons are emitted by man per year, than 0.45X tons/year will accumulate in the atmosphere.

    “45% today represents about 2% of total aerial c02.”

    What? I have no idea what you are trying to say here. No, taking 45% of human emissions over time, you end up at the current 385 ppm, instead of the 280 ppm you started with. The same 30% increase due to man you just started with. What is this 2%?

    “so it follows that the 30% increase in aerial c02 since 1850 isn’t anthropogenic.”

    It follows how? I really don’t know what to tell you. You are somehow not understanding what the 45% is referring to, but I can’t figure out how.

  318. P Wilson says:

    going by the study. this percentage fraction shows no increase since 1850 – meaning that if aerial anthropogenic c02 is 2% this year it was 2% , last year, tracing back to 1850 when it was less than 2%. This aerial fraction doesn’t accumulate to 30% but remains constant at 2%, whislt natural c02 in the atmosphere follows the same process at a constant of its fraction, as year on year, the absorbtion process continues. In other words, 30% anthropogenic doesn’t accumulate over 150 years whilst natural c02 shrinks to 70% as a proportion of aerial co2, as if half of AC02 is absorbed one year, next year half will be absorbed, which never takes it it more than 3% of the total – every previous years c02 gets absorbed also in addition to every current year’s emission. It doesn’t mean 2% (4%/2) accumulates in the atmosphere incrementally, but that for some reason, it remains constant at 2%, since the 2% atmospheric from TWO, THREE, years and working backwards prior also gets absorbed. at some stage, presuming that nature doesn’t dinstinguish between natural and anthropogenic c02

    ‘Previous studies suggested that in the next ten years the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will accelerate because there is a lot less uptake by the Earth, there is no indication of this,’ he said. (Dr Wolfgang Knorr).

    so given the results thereof, all I can suggest is the 5 points.

  319. P Wilson says:

    “45% today represents about 2% of total aerial c02.”

    sorry I wasn’t so clear. 45% AC02 (the other 55% absorbed) represents 2% of all aerial c02

  320. P Wilson (17:56:52) :

    Knorr maintains 45% anthropogenic c02 staying in the atmosphere. 45% today represents about 2% of total aerial c02. this total fraction hasn’t changed since 1850, so it follows that the 30% increase in aerial c02 since 1850 isn’t anthropogenic. It also suggests that absorbed anthropogenic emissions are constant to their fraction of emission since 1850.

    You are still confusing what happens with the mass of CO2 added to the atmosphere and what happens with the individual molecules which are added.

    Of the total mass in CO2 added by humans last year, about 45% remains in the atmosphere. Since last year all human induced CO2 is red coloured (to show the difference). As that is 45% of 10 GtC, some 4.5 GtC (2.2 ppmv) are added to the atmosphere, which contained 800 GtC, thus at the end of last year, the total mass in the atmosphere increased to 804.5 GtC, of which 4.5/804.5 = 0.6% is red colored and thus of human origin.

    I hope we can agree here that in the above scheme, the fraction of human induced CO2 is very small (0.6%) at the end of the year, but that the increase in total CO2 is 100% caused by the amount of human CO2 which was added.

    This year, we add again 10 GtC as red colored CO2. Of this 10GtC, again about 4.5 GtC remains in the atmosphere at the end of the year, thus the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increases to 809 GtC, of which 0.6% was added with a red colour. But anyway, the full 9 GtC increase from last year and this year together is 100% caused by the human addition.

    Of the 0.6% red coloured CO2 of last year some 20% is exchanged by the seasonal CO2 exchanges (which removes CO2 regardless of colour, but only add colourless CO2 from nature) mainly with the oceans. That means that about 0.5% of last year’s red CO2 still is in the atmosphere + 0.6% of this year, thus about 1.1% of the atmospheric CO2 now is red colored.

    And so on for all previous and following years. Over time the fraction of red coloured CO2 increases to about 6%, but still the full increase in total mass is due to the year by year addition of red coloured CO2.

    So you are right that the fraction of human CO2 remaining in the atmosphere is quite small, but that is irrelevant for what happens with the total amount of CO2 as mass, where (near) 100% of the increase is from human emissions.

  321. P Wilson (20:41:06) :

    sorry I wasn’t so clear. 45% AC02 (the other 55% absorbed) represents 2% of all aerial c02

    Looking at that in another way: the 2% you are looking at here is only from one year. If there wasn’t a seasonal exchange with the oceans and vegetation at all, you need to add the 45% of last year, 45% of the year before that, back to the first additions in 1750…

    The total human emissions since 1750 were 335 GtC from fossil fuel burning (up to 2006), some 110 GtC from land use change. Of these additions, some 45% or about 200 GtC or 100 ppmv remained in the atmosphere, which is wat is measured.

    Thus the fraction of human induced CO2 would be over 30%, if there was no exchange of CO2 molecules (not influencing the total mass) over the seasons. But as there is a huge exchange of about 20% per year, most human CO2 is replaced by natural CO2 over time. Again that doesn’t change the total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere, only changes the “type” of CO2.

  322. Bart says:

    carrot eater (14:31:09) :

    I haven’t looked back at this until now. On the off chance that you will ever read this, you continued simply to show that you are confused by the concept of bounding. If I have an integral where the integrand is positive, I can easily prove that the integral is bounded by the maximum value of the integrand within the interval of integration times the size of that interval. This is really basic.

  323. Bart says:

    And, I was not projecting anything beyond the integration interval. I was questioning whether the behavior to date was consistent.

  324. ian George says:

    In 1960 the CO2 level was 316ppm. Today it is 387ppm. Source:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html

    That’s an increase of 22% since 1960. I’m sure we have increased our CO2 output more than that in the past 50 years. Given that higher temps have warmed the seas and melted ice, thus adding even more CO2 to the atmosphere, you would expect it to be higher.

  325. James says:

    These reports are good news. It seems that natural systems have increased their absorption of CO2. Plants, oceans and so forth don’t know how much CO2 we are emitting right now — just that the CO2 in the atmosphere is greater now. That means that sinks should keep on absorbing CO2 at a higher rate even if we dramatically reduce our levels of emissions. That means that reducing our CO2 emissions might actually work. The absorption rate in 2000 (about 3-4 on the figure equals our emission rate in 1960 or so. That implies that if were somehow able to emit at 1960 levels the total CO2 might even stop going up!

    Unfortunately, the temperatures will still keep rising even if were able to halt at the current CO2 level. I don’t think anyone really knows what the new global averages will be or how long it will take to get there. However, an interesting study
    (see the original Press Release http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/22071 )
    found the last time we had this much CO2 was 15 million years ago. At that time temperatures were 5-10F higher, the equator was arid and there were no ice caps. Sea levels were 75-120 feet higher — which wipes out Bangladesh, the Mississippi basin, Polynesia and many other places besides. 15 million years is a pretty long baseline — enough to smooth over even ice age cycles and any expected climate variance.

    I think its a bit selfish to just assume that this is a problem for future generations and ignore it. Unfortunately there is a lot of noise in both the data and models — and the uncertainty could go either way. We don’t know how long we have to fix things.

  326. Smokey says:

    James,

    You surely know that rises in CO2 follow rises in temperature: click

    Which makes all the emotional arm-waving in your linked article irrelevant.

    CO2 is a function of temperature, not vice versa. So relax. That very minor trace gas isn’t gonna getcha. The taxman might, though, if you buy into the CO2 globaloney.

  327. carrot eater says:

    Bart, if you’re only looking for a snapshot in time, then don’t write a differential equation like dC/dt = whatever. Just look at Figure

    But your bigger problem remains: If you write a model as a differential equation, and upon solving it it wanders off from the initial condition for no reason whatsoever, then your model isn’t usable. As simple as that.

  328. carrot eater says:

    Bart, I perfectly understand what you’re trying to do by using an apparently limiting upper value for some variable; it just isn’t a good method for the way you were proceeding.

    If you’re only looking for a snapshot at the current time, then don’t even bother writing a differential equation like dC/dt = whatever. Just look at Figure 1 in the paper above, and a chart showing the carbon cycle. Humans emit x; y of it accumulates here, z of it accumulates there. End of story. If that’s all you want to check, then no need for a model.

    If you’re interested in how all those quantities change over the years, including the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, ocean and biosphere, as well as the flows in between them, then you need to write the differential equations, and every single term in those equations needs to change with time in a realistic way. If a term actually is relatively constant, then you can be lazy and treat it as a constant. But an important part of the dynamics here is that the human emissions are NOT constant (as seen in Fig 1). So if your model is going tell you anything useful, it better not treat it as such.

    And finally, and this is a general statement: if you write a differential equation, and when you solve it you find it wanders off from the initial conditions for no good reason, then there’s something wrong with your differential equation. You aren’t going to learn anything useful from it.

  329. Bart says:

    “If you write a model as a differential equation, and upon solving it it wanders off from the initial condition for no reason whatsoever…”

    It doesn’t.

    “I perfectly understand what you’re trying to do by using an apparently limiting upper value for some variable; it just isn’t a good method for the way you were proceeding.”

    Then, you do not understand it.

  330. kwik says:

    Michael Hulme’s book “Why we disagree about Climate Change”;

    “…Because the idea of climate change is so plastic, it can be deployed across many of our human projects and can serve many of our phsycological, ethical, and spiritual needs. …..

    We will continue to tell new stories about climate change and mobilize them in support of our projects…

    These myths transcend the scientific categories of true and false….”

    There you have it in a nutshell. Methane is next.

    Dont vote for people who believe in this junk-science.

  331. kwik says:

    For those interested in whether the osceans will be saturated by CO2, you may read what the experts say;

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef0.htm

    and click on entry

    4. Chemical Laws for Distribution of CO2 in Nature;

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef4.htm

    It wont be saturated.

  332. kwik says:

    And while I am at it; Entry 5;

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef5.htm

    Segalstad says CO2 turnaround time is approx. 5.4 years.

    Another nail in the AGW coffin.

  333. Alexander says:

    I am very grateful for those contributors to WUWT who understand science and math far better than I, who post such clear expositions as kwik and others do. Far better to struggle a little with coming to an understanding than to accept nonsense as some kind of holy writ. An education and professional life in Fine Arts doesn’t mean science and math were too difficult for me when I trained, I simply had no passion for them then; finding counter-arguments based on actual evidence to show up the obvious crap spouted by the AGW alarmists for what it is has required me to take a real interest in science and math and re-educate myself so I can at least understand the debate.
    Thanks again!

  334. Alexander says:

    Sorry – was interrupted.
    I have learnt so much since being directed to WUWT during the Copenhagen conference, I find I now can’t be bothered reading the specious rubbish that MSM organs such as London’s Guardian newspaper publish on the topic. My disillusion with MSM is quite profound, even though I’m old enough to be cynical about the Meeja, I tended to read in hope of honest reporting!

  335. jgfox says:

    I think the Knorr report is a “bombshell”.

    AGW is based on the recent increases in CO2 are solely due to mankind and not natural increases.

    “Carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere by a variety of sources, and over 95% percent of these emissions would occur even if human beings were not present on Earth”

    http://www.gcrio.org/ipcc/qa/05.htm

    Currently anthropogenic activities only accounts for about 5% of the total annual Carbon (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere. If the ratio of man caused CO2 and natural CO2 present in the atmosphere hasn’t changed in 160 years, then 95% of the increase should be caused by natural releases.

    And note, the sequestering of CO2 from the atmosphere is independent of the source of the CO2. Nature doesn’t treat a “naturally” emitted molecule any different than one from a jet afterburner. If 55% of 5% is being removed, than 55% of 95% is also.

    I don’t see how recent increase in CO2 levels can be solely driven by man unless its ratio increases.

    We live in interesting times.

  336. bigbo says:

    Great article!

    I just stumbled upon http://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-the-airborne-fraction-of-anthropogenic-CO2-emissions-increasing.html

    They say that Anthony misunderstood the science. What is our position on this? How do we debunk the http://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-the-airborne-fraction-of-anthropogenic-CO2-emissions-increasing.html article?

  337. bigbo says:

    Also, how do we debunk the post by real climate?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/unforced-variations-2/

    The alarmists claim that “The confusion in the denialosphere is based on a misunderstanding between ‘airborne fraction of CO2 emissions’ (not changing very much) and ‘CO2 fraction in the air’ (changing very rapidly)”

  338. Magnus A says:

    Bigbo, I havn’t read these Skeptical Science and RC posts yet, but I guess they discuss with some ad hom and demand that averyone should stick to IPCC dogma. But this study and facts in general suggest problems with that.

    I’m no pro, but decreased airborne fraction should be logical since emission increase is larger than CO2 increase rate in the atmosphere. By google I (first hit…) find Dr. Jarl Ahlbeck, who mention: “In reality, the increase rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide has, despite the substantial increase of carbon dioxide emissions, remained on a very stable level during the recent 30 years. In fact, the airborne fraction, or the portion of the yearly emissions that stays in the atmosphere, has decreased from 52% in the year 1970 to 39% today. The IPCC model using IS92a implies however a nearly constant future airborne fraction”.

    IPCC’s view is that the increase so far is only because of human emissions, but in that case a 0.3 correlation between temperature anomaly and increase in CO2 rate is hard to explain; Dr. Roy Spencer:

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2

    IPCC also believed that the increase rate of methane would soar, but it stopped to increase. Recently MIT showed that humans are not causing current changes in methane concentration:

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

    Watts, and others, are right when they say that our understanding of this isn’t so sure as IPCC suggests.

  339. Magnus A says:

    My tgdaily link didn’t work, but I found a cashe file:

    The October 30 2008 article’s introduction:

    Boston (MA) – Scientists at MIT have recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels. This is the first increase in ten years, and what baffles science is that this data contradicts theories stating man is the primary source of increase for this greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. However, since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, it is now believed this may be part of a natural cycle in mother nature – and not the direct result of man’s contributions.

    Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn lead authors in the paper published in Geophysical Review Letters.

  340. Magnus A says:

    Bigbo. My guess that Skeptical Science and RC used ad hominen wrong! Mea culpa. I just watched their posts, and Skeptical Science seems to say that this isn’t a bombshell. They may be right, but this should be annoying data which not supports IPCC’s carbon cycle. Skeptical Science says that if one change the raw data with a filter one get statistically significant increase, but that would be unscientific method (more like fraud…). (The report mention it; I don’t know why.)

    RC seems to be annoyed… (sorry if this is ad hom from me, but RC write “sigh” after they find that their accusation against Sciency Daily’s headline was answered with that Science Daily just used AGU’s conclusion).

  341. TA says:

    I’m not sure how this article makes a difference. Here is the source of my confusion:

    It is my understanding that the oceans both absorb and give off CO2, so there is a constant exchange of CO2 between the oceans and the atmosphere. Even if the oceans were completely saturated with CO2, they would still exchange CO2 with the atmosphere.

    If the oceans are a sink, they are absorbing more than they release. If the oceans are saturated, they absorb the same amount that they release. This means saturated oceans would either absorb less CO2, or release more CO2, or both (as compared with sink oceans).

    It appears in this post there is an assumption that saturated oceans would absorb less CO2 than sink oceans. However, do we know this assumption is correct? Why wouldn’t saturated oceans absorb the same amount as sink oceans, while releasing more CO2 than sink oceans?

  342. Cement a friend says:

    This paper assumes that the ice core proxy data for CO2 is correct. Having made many CO2 measurements with chemical equipment (which is as accurate as present instrumental measurements if not better) I favour the data presented in a peer review article by Ernst-Georg Beck 2009 see http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm
    This shows that in 1939-1942 that the CO2 background concentration in the atmosphere was about the same as at present. Beck has shown that there is a lag of around 5 yrs of peak CO2 from peak the mid 1930’s temperatures recorded in USA.
    This shows conclusively that heat absorption by man emitted CO2 can not be the driver of atmospheric temperature.
    Another point, all the text books on heat transfer state clearly that the driver of heat transfer is temperature difference. The concept of forcing by CO2 is nonsense. Gases in the atmosphere will only transfer heat to and from by convection or radiation if there is a temperature difference.

  343. p.g.sharrow "PG" says:

    Read the article and the posting, “anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This is an important claim, because so far only about 40% of those emissions have stayed in the atmosphere.”

    If this is true then the science is based on BS ( bad science ) the methoid used to determine “anthropogenic” carbon from “natural” carbon is flawed. An unchanged ratio over extended period is not logical. Would not be the first time the wrong conclusive result was caused by a mistake in the original input premise.

    Done it myself a few times :-(

  344. Allan M R MacRae says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:23:40)

    The short time ratio of 4 ppmv/K is the reaction found on the detrended curve for the past 60 years and is surprisingly linear. See:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf (but I don’t endorse his conclusions!)

    The trend itself is independent of temperature and the result of human emissions, besides a small increase due to the warming in the past century. That makes that the oceans are a net sink for CO2, but that seems not to change the amplitude of the temperature influence (neither over the seasons nor from year by year temperature variations).
    _____________

    Thank you for the citation Ferdinand, and Happy New Year to you and your family.

    I personally enjoyed your comments here, and found your explanations to be very well-stated. I further enjoyed the earlier exchanges between you and Richard Courtney on this subject. Richard spoke against your “mass balance argument” far better than I did. You both did such a good job that I’m not sure who I agreed with from day to day, so I’ll just hold to my original conclusions for now…

    The fact remains that the only signal I’ve been able to detect in the data is that CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months in the short-term ~ENSO cycle. CO2 also lags temperature by ~800 years in the much longer cycle(s) measured in ice cores.

    We also know that 12-month dCO2/dt at Mauna Loa has “gone negative” several times since CO2 measurements began there in 1958: one month of 12 in each of 1959, 1963, 1964 and 1971, and three months in 1965 and 1974.

    Still, there is that nagging upward overall trend, which could reflect the manmade component – or not.

    I am not as willing as some others to dismiss Ernst Beck’s data and thoughts. Time will tell…

    In any case, this dCO2/dt argument, while scientifically interesting, is not that critical to the big question of alleged catastrophic manmade global warming. There is increasing evidence that the sensitivity of climate to increased atmospheric CO2 is so low as to be practically inconsequential. The IPCC model numbers are about an order of magnitude too high, and there is no evidence of any “climate tipping point”.

    The ClimateGate emails have certainly put a different spin on this core science argument – everything we have written on these core issues has been technically vindicated – we just thought the other side of the argument was wrong – we were reluctant to suggest that they were utterly dishonest, a reluctance they did not share in their discussion of our motives.

    I understand we are in for some serious cold temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere in the next few weeks. Bundle up and stay warm.

    Best regards, Allan

  345. George E. Smith says:

    Excuse me if someone already covered this. First off, I wish those Bristoliers would speak English…..””” New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, “””

    What on earth does that mean? If it means that the ratio of atmospheric CO2 to Oceanic CO2 hasn’t changed; why not say that, sow e know what you are talking about. I find that the ability of scientists to write decent English, and say what they mean, is abyssmal. When somebody says “balanced” I see a teeter-totter (see-saw to some).

    Is this Bristoian revelation some new pronouncement of Henry’s Law ? Isn’t that ratio supposed to stay constant; well assuming other physical parameters stay the same ?

  346. George E. Smith says:

    There is one other thing about the Ocean CO2 takeup that constantly bothers me.

    We are told that the solubility of CO2 in sea water is a function of temperature; and in particular it is more soluble in colder warers.

    We also know that the ocean water temperature tends to fall as you go deeper.

    That seems to imply that CO2 is less soluble in the warmer surface waters than the deeper colder waters, and my elementary chemistry says that therefoire CO2 ought to diffuse out of the warmer surface waters into the colder deeper waters setting up a pumping action that continually sends CO2 into the depths.
    The Henry’s Law equilibrium bwtween ocean and atmosphere; to the extent that it ever reaches equilibrium, would be between the warm surface waters and the atmosphere.
    Those warmer surface waters ought to be constantly depleted by the diffusion to colder deeper waters, so the surface waters are constantly taking up more CO2 out of the atmosphere. Of course as temperatures fluctuate, that equilibrium would shift either to outgas CO2 or take up more.

    Bottom line is that I believe that the oceans do not look like a sponge that is saturated with CO2. The warm surface waters can take up CO2 out of the atmosphere just as fast as the diffusion due to the water temperature gradient, can transport it to colder deeper waters.

    Now if SSTs then increase, so the surface loses CO2 to the atmosphere, and also to the cooler deeper waters; that would seem to me to result in a surface depleted in CO2.

    Chemical and biologivcal processes that take up CO2 and end up forming calcium carbonate, or other carbonates, in skeletons or other ocean body parts, would seem to remove carbon from the water, more or less permanently.

    And as we now know from Jane Lubchenko’s remarkable experiment; Corals and sea shells, cannot grow in ordinary tap water containing Chlorine and perhaps Fluoride, that has been dyed yellow with an ordinary laboratory yellow dye, and chilled with dry ice; but they presumably can grow in ordinary tap water, with Chlorine and Fluoride, that is dyed blue with a common lab blue dye at room temperature.

    Somlpy amazing what one can learn from these scientific geniuses that President Obama has brought into his administration.

    I’m waiting for some grad student to apply for a government grant to see if corals can be made to grow in ordinary sea water; preferrably obtained from the immediate vicinity of a coral reef; once it has been dyed blue with a common laboratory blue dye; and also to see if that sea water turns yellow when it is chilled with pounds of dry ice as demonstrated in Lubchenko’s experiment.

  347. J.R.LLeicester says:

    Those published figures above are incorrect. The author has simply taken annual global world Carbon production for 1850, 50E6 metric tons, and (the latest I have from CDIAC is year 2006) 8230E6 metric tons and converted these figures to CO2; assuming all this goes to the atmosphere.

    Not so. 2006 CO2 to atmosphere is as follows: Using Chemical Equations for burning of Natural Gas + and Engineering Orsat Analysis for the combustion of same in a chamber, the amount of fuel converted to CO2 and that goes to the atmosphere is 3.05E9 metric tons of CO2(2006). That is 1.43 ppmv to the atmosphere. I verified this using Schack 1973 estimate of CO2 increases to the atmosphere. The values, calculated differently, agree within fractions of a percent.

    This is even worse for the AGW proponents, because at that “offset” rate (If we suddenly stopped Carbon production now), it would take over 100 years to save 1 ºCelsius. So, what’s the point in trying to reduce emissions? No point at all.

  348. BigV says:

    The research is sound,its use in this context is flawed.

    1) As the reports author has already asserted, the findings suggest that the oceans only slow the rate at which CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere. Tackling the emissions is still an essential for our planets health.

    2) CO2 dissolves in water to form Carbolic acid. Acidification of the oceans is one of the by-products of CO2 emissions, harmful to our oceans, especially shell and reef forming creatures

    Look at this research carefully. This interpretation is facile.

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