Some people claim, that there’s a human to blame …

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

There seem to be a host of people out there who want to discuss whether humanoids are responsible for the post ~1850 rise in the amount of CO2. People seem madly passionate about this question. So I figure I’ll deal with it by employing the method I used in the 1960s to fire off dynamite shots when I was in the road-building game … light the fuse, and run like hell …

First, the data, as far as it is known. What we have to play with are several lines of evidence, some of which are solid, and some not so solid. These break into three groups: data about the atmospheric levels, data about the emissions, and data about the isotopes.

The most solid of the atmospheric data, as we have been discussing, is the Mauna Loa CO2 data. This in turn is well supported by the ice core data. Here’s what they look like for the last thousand years:

Figure 1. Mauna Loa CO2 data (orange circles), and CO2 data from 8 separate ice cores. Fuji ice core data is analyzed by two methods (wet and dry). Siple ice core data is analyzed by two different groups (Friedli et al., and Neftel et al.). You can see why Michael Mann is madly desirous of establishing the temperature hockeystick … otherwise, he has to explain the Medieval Warm Period without recourse to CO2. Photo shows the outside of the WAIS ice core drilling shed.

So here’s the battle plan:

I’m going to lay out and discuss the data and the major issues as I understand them, and tell you what I think. Then y’all can pick it all apart. Let me preface this by saying that I do think that the recent increase in CO2 levels is due to human activities.

Issue 1. The shape of the historical record.

I will start with Figure 1. As you can see, there is excellent agreement between the eight different ice cores, including the different methods and different analysts for two of the cores. There is also excellent agreement between the ice cores and the Mauna Loa data. Perhaps the agreement is coincidence. Perhaps it is conspiracy. Perhaps it is simple error. Me, I think it represents a good estimate of the historical background CO2 record.

So if you are going to believe that this is not a result of human activities, it would help to answer the question of what else might have that effect. It is not necessary to provide an alternative hypothesis if you disbelieve that humans are the cause … but it would help your case. Me, I can’t think of any obvious other explanation for that precipitous recent rise.

Issue 2. Emissions versus Atmospheric Levels and Sequestration

There are a couple of datasets that give us amounts of CO2 emissions from human activities. The first is the CDIAC emissions dataset. This gives the annual emissions (as tonnes of carbon, not CO2) separately for fossil fuel gas, liquids, and solids. It also gives the amounts for cement production and gas flaring.

The second dataset is much less accurate. It is an estimate of the emissions from changes in land use and land cover, or “LU/LC” as it is known … what is a science if it doesn’t have acronyms? The most comprehensive dataset I’ve found for this is the Houghton dataset. Here are the emissions as shown by those two datasets:

Figure 2. Anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement manufacture (blue line), land use/land cover (LU/LC) changes (white line), and the total of the two (red line).

While this is informative, and looks somewhat like the change in atmospheric CO2, we need something to compare the two directly. The magic number to do this is the number of gigatonnes (billions of tonnes, 1 * 10^9) of carbon that it takes to change the atmospheric CO2 concentration by 1 ppmv. This turns out to be 2.13 gigatonnes  of carbon (C) per 1 ppmv.

Using that relationship, we can compare emissions and atmospheric CO2 directly. Figure 3 looks at the cumulative emissions since 1850, along with the atmospheric changes (converted from ppmv to gigatonnes C). When we do so, we see an interesting relationship. Not all of the emitted CO2 ends up in the atmosphere. Some is sequestered (absorbed) by the natural systems of the earth.

Figure 3. Total emissions (fossil, cement, & LU/LC), amount remaining in the atmosphere, and amount sequestered.

Here we see that not all of the carbon that is emitted (in the form of CO2) remains in the atmosphere. Some is absorbed by some combination of the ocean, the biosphere, and the land. How are we to understand this?

To do so, we need to consider a couple of often conflated measurements. One is the residence time of CO2. This is the amount of time that the average CO2 molecule stays in the atmosphere. It can be calculated in a couple of ways, and is likely about 6–8 years.

The other measure, often confused with the first, is the half-life, or alternately the e-folding time of CO2. Suppose we put a pulse of CO2 into an atmospheric system which is at some kind of equilibrium. The pulse will slowly decay, and after a certain time, the system will return to equilibrium. This is called “exponential decay”, since a certain percentage of the excess is removed each year. The strength of the exponential decay is usually measured as the amount of time it takes for the pulse to decay to half its original value (half-life) or to 1/e (0.37) of its original value (e-folding time). The length of this decay (half-life or e-folding time) is much more difficult to calculate than the residence time. The IPCC says it is somewhere between 90 and 200 years. I say it is much less, as does Jacobson.

Now, how can we determine if it is actually the case that we are looking at exponential decay of the added CO2? One way is to compare it to what a calculated exponential decay would look like. Here’s the result, using an e-folding time of 31 years:

Figure 4. Total cumulative emissions (fossil, cement, & LU/LC), cumulative amount remaining in the atmosphere, and cumulative amount sequestered. Calculated sequestered amount (yellow line) and calculated airborne amount (black) are shown as well.

As you can see, the assumption of exponential decay fits the observed data quite well, supporting the idea that the excess atmospheric carbon is indeed from human activities.

Issue 3. 12C and 13C carbon isotopes

Carbon has a couple of natural isotopes, 12C and 13C. 12C is lighter than 13C. Plants preferentially use the lighter isotope (12C). As a result, plant derived materials (including fossil fuels) have a lower amount of 13C with respect to 12C (a lower 13C/12C ratio).

It is claimed (I have not looked very deeply into this) that since about 1850 the amount of 12C in the atmosphere has been increasing. There are several lines of evidence for this: 13C/12C ratios in tree rings, 13C/12C ratios in the ocean, and 13C/12C ratios in sponges. Together, they suggest that the cause of the post 1850 CO2 rise is fossil fuel burning.

However, there are problems with this. For example, here is a Nature article called “Problems in interpreting tree-ring δ 13C records”. The abstract says (emphasis mine):

THE stable carbon isotopic (13C/12C) record of twentieth-century tree rings has been examined1-3 for evidence of the effects of the input of isotopically lighter fossil fuel CO2 (δ 13C~-25‰ relative to the primary PDB standard4), since the onset of major fossil fuel combustion during the mid-nineteenth century, on the 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2(δ 13C~-7‰), which is assimilated by trees by photosynthesis. The decline in δ13C up to 1930 observed in several series of tree-ring measurements has exceeded that anticipated from the input of fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere, leading to suggestions of an additional input ‰) during the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. Stuiver has suggested that a lowering of atmospheric δ 13C of 0.7‰, from 1860 to 1930 over and above that due to fossil fuel CO2 can be attributed to a net biospheric CO2 (δ 13C~-25‰) release comparable, in fact, to the total fossil fuel CO2 flux from 1850 to 1970. If information about the role of the biosphere as a source of or a sink for CO2 in the recent past can be derived from tree-ring 13C/12C data it could prove useful in evaluating the response of the whole dynamic carbon cycle to increasing input of fossil fuel CO2 and thus in predicting potential climatic change through the greenhouse effect of resultant atmospheric CO2 concentrations. I report here the trend (Fig. 1a) in whole wood δ 13C from 1883 to 1968 for tree rings of an American elm, grown in a non-forest environment at sea level in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts (41°34’N, 70°38’W) on the northeastern coast of the US. Examination of the δ 13C trends in the light of various potential influences demonstrates the difficulty of attributing fluctuations in 13C/12C ratios to a unique cause and suggests that comparison of pre-1850 ratios with temperature records could aid resolution of perturbatory parameters in the twentieth century.

This isotopic line of argument seems like the weakest one to me. The total flux of carbon through the atmosphere is about 211 gigtonnes plus the human contribution. This means that the human contribution to the atmospheric flux ranged from ~2.7% in 1978 to 4% in 2008. During that time, the average of the 11 NOAA measuring stations value for the 13C/12C ratio decreased by -0.7 per mil.

Now, the atmosphere has ~ -7 per mil 13C/12C. Given that, for the amount of CO2 added to the atmosphere to cause a 0.7 mil drop, the added CO2 would need to have had a 13C/12C of around -60 per mil.

But fossil fuels in the current mix have a 13C/12C ration of ~ -28 per mil, only about half of that requried to make such a change. So it is clear that the fossil fuel burning is not the sole cause of the change in the atmospheric 13C/12C ratio. Note that this is the same finding as in the Nature article.

In addition, from an examination of the year-by-year changes it is obvious that there are other large scale effects on the global 13C/12C ratio. From 1984 to 1986, it increased by 0.03 per mil. From ’86 to ’89, it decreased by -0.2. And from ’89 to ’92, it didn’t change at all. Why?

However, at least the sign of the change in atmospheric 13C/12C ratio (decreasing) is in agreement with with theory that at least part of it is from anthropogenic CO2 production from fossil fuel burning.

CONCLUSION

As I said, I think that the preponderance of evidence shows that humans are the main cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2. It is unlikely that the change in CO2 is from the overall temperature increase. During the ice age to interglacial transitions, on average a change of 7°C led to a doubling of CO2. We have seen about a tenth of that change (0.7°C) since 1850, so we’d expect a CO2 change from temperature alone of only about 20 ppmv.

Given all of the issues discussed above, I say humans are responsible for the change in atmospheric CO2 … but obviously, for lots of people, YMMV. Also, please be aware that I don’t think that the change in CO2 will make any meaningful difference to the temperature, for reasons that I explain here.

So having taken a look at the data, we have finally arrived at …

RULES FOR THE DISCUSSION OF ATTRIBUTION OF THE CO2 RISE

1. Numbers trump assertions. If you don’t provide numbers, you won’t get much traction.

2. Ad hominems are meaningless. Saying that some scientist is funded by big oil, or is a member of Greenpeace, or is a geologist rather than an atmospheric physicist, is meaningless. What is important is whether what they say is true or not. Focus on the claims and their veracity, not on the sources of the claims. Sources mean nothing.

3. Appeals to authority are equally meaningless. Who cares what the 12-member Board of the National Academy of Sciences says? Science isn’t run by a vote … thank goodness.

4. Make your cites specific. “The IPCC says …” is useless. “Chapter 7 of the IPCC AR4 says …” is useless. Cite us chapter and verse, specify page and paragraph. I don’t want to have to dig through an entire paper or an IPCC chapter to guess at which one line you are talking about.

5. QUOTE WHAT YOU DISAGREE WITH!!! I can’t stress this enough. Far too often, people attack something that another person hasn’t said. Quote their words, the exact words you think are mistaken, so we can all see if you have understood what they are saying.

6. NO PERSONAL ATTACKS!!! Repeat after me. No personal attacks. No “only a fool would believe …”. No “Are you crazy?”. No speculation about a person’s motives. No “deniers”, no “warmists”, no “econazis”, none of the above. Play nice.

OK, countdown to mayhem in 3, 2, 1 … I’m outta here.


About these ads

611 thoughts on “Some people claim, that there’s a human to blame …

  1. Yes, entirely reasonable. It seems most likely that human activities, not confined to fossil fuel burning, are indeed raising the CO2 ppm in the atmosphere.

    It is also clear that this will contribute a modest warming effect, that is just physics.

    The debate is what, if anything, happens next. Does the effect get amplified by positive feedback, or reduced by negative feedbacks, or overwhelmed by other factors.

  2. Dear Willis!
    Out of topic but text for Figure 2 includes … land use/land cover (LU/LC) changes (green line), … It looks white to me (unless I am white/green colour blind).

    Good luck with your work!

  3. “So if you are going to believe that this is not a result of human activities”

    I’m not comfortable with the use of the words “Believe” or “Disbelieve” in a scientific context. These words are more appropriate to discussions about religion and concepts which are not open to a process of proof.
    To pull them into a scientific debate is to allow participants to think and respond in a less rigorous way than they ought.

  4. I don’t have an issue with CO2 concentrations, however regarding your first and “most solid” argument, I wonder if the ice core data has not been “calibrated” or “adjusted” deliberately to match the Mauna Loa record.

  5. Very convincing!

    Question: when drawing Fig. 4, which lifetime have you assumed for CO2?

  6. So if you are going to believe that this is not a result of human activities, it would help to answer the question of what else might have that effect….

    …and to bear in mind that the effect is not a ‘bump’ i.e. it’s unlikely to be not a one-off event or ‘shift’.

    PS I’m not a supporter of the ‘catastrophic’ AGW argument. I’ve argued on RC with Michael Mann about the validity of his HS reconstruction, for example.

  7. In addition to the evidence presented above, there are at least two further lines of evidence supporting the hypothesis that the CO2 increase is caused by humans:
    – the decline in atmospheric O2 concentrations, measured by Ralph Keeling’s group. See https://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/images/ALLo.pdf Such declines are expected if the CO2 rise is due to combustion, but not if it were due to volcanism or ocean outgassing.
    – the ocean surface is on average undersaturated in CO2 and there is net uptake CO2. Hence the rise in CO2 cannot be use to ocean outgassing, or submarine volcanoes. This uptake of CO2 will cause the ocean to become more acidic (==less alkaline). See for example https://bora.uib.no/handle/1956/2090?language=no

  8. I’ve never used warmist as a term of abuse. What are we meant to call people who believe the “CO2 causes warming” theory?

    My only objection to being called a denier is its lack of specificness. Especially since I don’t deny that the world is warming – although I do not believe some of he claims of the rate of warming. But as a term, per se, I don’t find denier offensive.

  9. I’m inclined to accept that there is prima facie evidence for human activity being the cause.

    However I would prefer to exclude all other possibilities before accepting that as definitive. Bear in mind that it matters not if the climate effect is negligible as seems likely for various reasons.

    Areas where I have doubts are as follows:

    i) How accurate are the historical methods of measurement on short timescales of say less than 500 years ? The MWP and LIA are not shown by historical CO2 records but current methods do pick up even seasonal variability at Mauna Loa. Perhaps the historical records pre 1850 are just too coarse ?

    ii) Mauna Loa shows rapid seasonally related movements in the amount of CO2 recorded so the suggested 800 year lag does not seem to apply on shorter timescales.

    iii) How variable is oceanic uptake in global as opposed to local terms ? Could it be that the oceans can provoke substantial changes in the atmospheric content of CO2 over certain timescales with a natural 500/1000 year cycling amounting to as much as say 50 % of the current background level ? The period 1850 to date covers a period of recovery from the LIA and the current ongoing methods of CO2 measurement show a corresponding trend but the historical methods pre 1850 show no such corresponding CO2 and temperature trends either up or down.

    iv) We saw a slowdown in the CO2 upward trend in the mid 20th century when there was slight atmospheric cooling yet no corresponding changes with ongoing temperature changes appear in the historical record.

    The evidence suggests a significant disjunction between the accuracy of the pre 1850 historical CO2 proxies as against post 1850 instrumental methods similar to the famous disjunction (the hockey stick) from the mid 20th century between tree ring based historical temperature proxies and the late 20th century thermometer recordings. In both cases one gets a hockey stick pattern which should not be apparent in light of what we know about the MWP and LIA from multiple other sources.

    I wonder if there is also significance in both temperatures and CO2 levels being involved in tree growth. Could a similar problem with proxy methods be upsetting all of the pre 1850 non thermometer temperature records, pre 1850 CO2 and pre 1950 (that is when they seem to have started to go awry) tree growth proxies ?

    There are enough questions to give doubt to the significance of the prima facie evidence of anthropogenic causation.

    Certainly modern measuring methods clearly reflect a CO2 link with recent temperature changes but the proxy methods seem to lose the temperature signal altogether apart from what may be a seperate longer term signal in the form of that 800 year lag in the much older samples.

  10. I agree with you.

    But there is an argument that increased temperature can cause increased CO2 levels. I am not saying the temperature has increased and that is what has caused the CO2 concentration “hockey stick”. I am asking, what is the sensitivity of CO2 concentration to temperature… i.e. what kind of temperature increased would be required to produce that change in CO2? Presumably they would be massive temperature changes? Just wondering if anyone knows the figures.

    Please let me stress the hypothetical nature of my point. I do not support it as a reason for the increase in CO2. I agree that the most likely reason (and the only sensible one I know of) is anthropogenic emmissions.

  11. I would like to give some historic context to the CO2 debate in as much according to Willis’ graph the constancy of CO2 at 280ppm but the variability of temperatures over thousands of years appears to show that CO2 is a weak climate driver.

    Graph 1 http://www.ourcivilisation.com/aginatur/cycles/fig3.htm

    The above shows reconstructed temperatures to 1400. Many periods within the LIA were surprisingly warm as well as extremely cold -all of this apparently happening with a constant level of CO2.

    Graph 2 Shows the temperature diagram used in the IPCC assessment 1990 (figure 7c page 202 assessment 1) This is at the top of page.

    http://climateaudit.org/2008/05/09/where-did-ipcc-1990-figure-7c-come-from-httpwwwclimateauditorgp3072previewtrue/

    Graph 3 The above was based on a number of graphs from Hubert Lamb (shown lower down the article linked above). The one below shows Winter severity in Europe, 1000 – 1900. Note two cold periods in the 15th and 17th centuries. Based on Lamb, 1969 / Schneider and Mass, 1975.1

    Graph 4 Ice cores show constant levels of co2 on which Michael Mann based his hockey stick illustrating constant levels of temperature until the modern era. However when actual real world temperatures (CET) are graphed against total CO2 emissions we see that temperatures are not constant-in fact they are highly variable.

    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0120a7c87805970b-pi

    Graph 5 If CET data to 1659 could be extended back in time from 1300AD to around 800AD (Lamb) it would cover the Medieval Warm Period with temperature levels somewhat higher than today, but again with its peaks and troughs. The Roman optimum warm period-around 300 BC to 400AD would also show temperatures at similar levels to the MWP but again with peaks and troughs. (Few extended climatic periods are unremittingly warm or cold).

    Temperatures have trended up slowly since the low point of the LIA in the 1690’s. The following link contains a graph showing CET again.

    Looking at the climatic peaks and troughs illustrated in the graph stretching back from the modern era-and extending it with the various graphs through the LIA- it is a reasonable conclusion to draw that at a constant 280ppm that either CO2 is a weak climate driver, or that history has erased higher CO2 measurements that might explain those variations prior to the last half century, when our emissions are thought to be of such a significance that they are changing our climate.

    This latter supposition was the approach I took in plotting a fraction of Beck’s records (shown as green dots) against CET records back to 1660 which appear on the graph linked above. Total cumulative man made CO2 emissions throughout this period are represented by the blue line along the bottom and come from CDIAC. In this respect it can be seen in context against all emissions plotted in graph 4 above.

    The temperature spikes make much more sense with these additional CO2 measurement points, and bearing in mind the well documented temperatures back to Roman times and beyond-to levels greater than and less than today- it is reasonable to conclude that in as much CO2 is a contributor to the climate driver mechanism, it is as part of natural CO2 variability within the overall carbon cycle whereby nature makes a far greater contribution than man.

    If there are no CO2 spikes (high and low) to match the temperature spikes (high and low) either;

    a) The temperature spikes did not exist and Dr Mann is correct, or;

    b) CO2 levels have had little or no effect on temperature in the past and it needs to be argued why they have suddenly become such a driving force today (despite temperatures today being unremarkable in a historic context).

    Tonyb

  12. ‘Rules for discussion’, what a piece of work. Should be chiselled on the wall of every academic establishment everywhere. IMO.

  13. Thank you once again, Willis, for the incredible amount of time and thought that goes into your articles, and for your clear exposition of the topic.

    I guess it is an important question. If the increase of atmospheric CO2 is attributable to human activity, then it follows that it is possible for changes in human activity to reduce the rate of increase.

    But of course, that is only relevant to those who think that reducing the rate of increase is important or desirable.

  14. My brain always seems to find tangents to a topic that keep me entertained for hours. I am happy to accept that Willis has, as usual, done his homework properly and that he has made a properly reasoned and validated case for us humints being the cause of the rise of the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere – but if CO2 is mostly plant food, is that not a GOOD THING that will help our food crops grow? And why does everyone bang on about fossil fuels? As I see it, the burning of non-fossil fuels such as dried cow dung, trees etc is also a problem due to soots etc given off, deforestation, etc.

  15. Mr.Eschenbach, are you crazy? No, you’re not; you’ve given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

  16. looks like the ‘sequestration curve’ is chasing the emissions curve. Is the difference going into oceans or biomass?

  17. Is anyone seriously suggesting that the CO2 increase hasn’t, at least in part, been due to humans burning fossil fuels? Can we differentiate natural burning of fossil fuels from the data, and what contribution do they make to the overall CO2 source?

  18. Willis,

    Thanks for another informative post.

    I really don’t care what camp someone is from, as long as their numbers add up.

  19. Its probably me being stupid on a monday morning, but I couldn’t find a link to the actual data that the anthropogenic emissions are based on. Is there one?

  20. An interesting summary of atmospheric CO2 trend. Moreover the recognition of our relative ignorance on the fluctuations is putting us back on our feet. Maybe another good advice: don’t claim what you don’t know.

  21. Sorry, meant to say – a link to the data on which the “ESTIMATIONS” of anthropogenic emissions are based on.

  22. Willis

    Another informative post.

    How nice to see the mother (I’m speaking literally, of course) of all hockey sticks (Fig.1) displayed so prominently on WUWT!!!

    However, with respect to your treatment of the rate of absorption of CO2 by the oceans, you say:

    “Suppose we put a pulse of CO2 into an atmospheric system which is at some kind of equilibrium. The pulse will slowly decay, and after a certain time, the system will return to equilibrium.”

    You suggest the rate of decay is exponential. However, for a truly exponential decay, the instantaneous rate of absorption must be proportional only to the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. This requires that the absorbing agent – the oceans – are unaffected by the process (ie. are essentially infinite) and hence do not affect the rate of absorption. But that is not the case.

    The oceans are limited in their capacity to absorb CO2 for (at least) two reasons:

    Firstly, the volume of ocean available to the atmosphere is relatively small compared to the total volume of the oceans. For CO2 to be absorbed into the bulk of the oceans, and removed from contact with the atmosphere, it needs to be absorbed in cold polar regions with downwelling currents. Elsewhere the CO2 tends to remain in the surface layers of the ocean.

    Secondly, the reaction whereby CO2 is most readily absorbed is NOT by simple reaction with water, ie:

    CO2 + H2O H2CO3 H+ + HCO3- 2H+ + CO3–

    Rather, it is by reaction with carbonate ion (CO3–), which is itself largely derived from weathering of terrestrial rocks, and is present in limited quantities, thus:

    CO2 + CO3– + H2O 2HCO3- [the HCO3- can also interact as above]

    This limited amount of CO3– present in the oceans further ensures that the oceanic sink does not behave as if it is infinite, and therefore further removes the situation from that of exponential decay of atmospheric CO2.

    So, what should we expect? In the early decades of a pulse of CO2 being added to the atmosphere, with a “fresh” ocean awaiting, the near exponential decay of CO2 is possible. But as the surface layers of the ocean become more saturated with CO2, its ability to absorb more CO2 declines, and the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere departs from the exponential, and becomes much slower. A number of published studies suggest that between about one fifth and one third of a pulse of CO2 would remain in the atmosphere for long periods, only being eventually removed over millennia as the slow weathering of rocks delivers more CO3– to the oceans.

    [I may not be able to respond further - I have to go elsewhere]

  23. Willis:

    Thankyou for this. Perhaps now some rational debate can occur on this subject.

    You have made clear that you “think that the preponderance of evidence shows that humans are the main cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2”.

    But it is important to understand that there is no evidence which could be said to prove the matter.

    I do not know if the cause of the increase is in part or in whole either anthropogenic or natural, but I want to know. And I am frequently offended by assertions of people that they do know. Such assertions hinder both the obtaining and the evaluation of empirical data that pertains to the issue.

    But it seems that there are people who want to believe in an anthropogenic cause of the rise, so they assert that the cause must be anthropogenic. Their argument was repeatedly stated in another thread on WUWT and – as demonstration – I quote one such assertion of that type from there.

    “XXXX. says:
    June 5, 2010 at 4:29 pm
    Dr XXXX says:
    June 5, 2010 at 4:15 pm
    “I think that Mauna Loa CO2 measurements are valid. However, I haven’t seen any evidence that man is responsible for the increase. Given that the fossil fuel derived percentage of atmospheric CO2, is estimated at 1-4%, is seems doubtful that burning fossil fuels is the cause of the increase.”

    Since the measured annual accumulation in the atmosphere is about half the amount released into the atmosphere by fossil fuel combustion it’s impossible for it to be otherwise!”

    The flaw in such assertions is that they assume the only addition of CO2 to the carbon cycle is anthropogenic. But this is not the case. The rapid changes to atmospheric CO2 concentration during each year show that the system of the carbon cycle very rapidly adjusts to seasonal changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration that are an order of magnitude greater than the anthropogenic emission each year. The anthropogenic emission is to the air, but the rapid changes in seasonal atmospheric CO2 concentration do not suggest that the system is near to saturation that would prevent the system from sequestering the anthropogenic emission from the air.

    CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere from various sources and is sequestered from the atmosphere by various sinks. Hence, there is a turnover of CO2 in the atmosphere. An imbalance between the amounts emitted and sequestered will result in a change to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, but no subset of the emitted molecules accumulates in the atmosphere (all the molecules are subjected to the exchanges between the sources and sinks). In one of our 2005 papers
    (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) )
    we used very conservative estimates that exaggerate any effect on the carbon cycle of the anthropogenic emission, and we reported:

    “At present the yearly increase of the anthropogenic emissions is approximately 0.1 GtC/year. The natural fluctuation of the excess consumption (i.e. consumption processes 1 and 3 minus production processes 2 and 4) is at least 6 ppmv (which corresponds to 12 GtC) in 4 months. This is more than 100 times the yearly increase of human production, which strongly suggests that the dynamics of the natural processes here listed 1-5 can cope easily with the human production of CO2.”

    The system is easily capable of sequestering all the emission (both ‘natural’ and anthropogenic).

    Simply, the anthropogenic emission is observed to be so trivial a proportion of the total emission that it cannot overcome the ability of the sinks to sequester all the emission (including the anthropogenic proportion). At issue is why – according to the Mauna Loa data – the system does not sequester all the emission in each year since 1958, and our paper considered that issue.

    As an aside, I address your point concerning the ice-core data because I think it is a distraction. There are two pertinent issues with the ice core results; viz. validation and interpretation.

    Stomata data consistently show much higher (about 15%) and much more variable atmospheric CO2 concentration than ice core data.
    (ref. e.g. Lenny L. R. Kouwenberg, Jennifer C. McElwain, Wolfram M. Kürschner, Friederike Wagner, David J. Beerling, Francis E. Mayle and Henk Visscher, ‘Stomatal frequency adjustment of four conifer species to historical changes in atmospheric CO2’ American Journal of Botany (2003) )/
    A good – but one-sided – consideration of this subject in a form accessible to laymen is at

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html

    Hence, the ice-core data are shown to be wanting when validated against stomata data.

    As Kouwenberg, et.al. 2005 (Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Utrecht University, Netherlands) reported in 2005;
    “Stomatal data increasingly substantiate a much more dynamic Holocene CO2 evolution than suggested by ice core data.”

    It should be noted that ice core data are inherently incapable of revealing high and low atmospheric concentrations of the gases. There are several reasons for this with the most notable being that gases diffuse from regions of high concentration in unsealed firn in the decades before the ice sealed, and high values of the gas concentrations measured in the ice cores are deleted from the data sets using the assumption that high values are ‘biogenic artefacts’. The diffusion also reduces the observed rates of change to gas concentrations indicated by the ice core data. Stomata data do not suffer from these problems and indicate that the recent rates of change to atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide have repeatedly occurred in recent millennia and during transition from the last ice age.

    So, there is – at very least – adequate reason to assess the recent changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration as indicated at Mauna Loa, Barrow, etc. on the basis of the behaviour of the carbon cycle since 1958 (when measurements began at Mauna Loa).

    Comparison of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration with paleo data merely provides a debate as to
    (a) the validity of the ice-core data (which provides the ‘hockey stick’ graph you reproduce above)
    and
    (b) the validity of the stomata data that shows the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is similar to rises that have repeatedly happened previously.

    Having said that, I copy below from the message that I posted on the other thread.

    “Please note how trivial the anthropogenic emission is to the total CO2 flowing around the carbon cycle.

    According to NASA estimates, the carbon in the air is less than 2% of the carbon flowing between parts of the carbon cycle. And the recent increase to the carbon in the atmosphere is less than a third of that less than 2%.

    And NASA provides an estimate that the carbon in the ground as fossil fuels is 5,000 GtC and humans are transferring it to the carbon cycle at a rate of ~7 GtC per year.
    In other words, the annual flow of carbon into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is less than 0.02% of the carbon flowing around the carbon cycle.

    It is not obvious that so small an addition to the carbon cycle is certain to disrupt the system because no other activity in nature is so constant that it only varies by less than +/- 0.02% per year.

    In one of our papers
    (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) )
    we considered the most important processes in the carbon cycle to be:

    SHORT-TERM PROCESSES

    1. Consumption of CO2 by photosynthesis that takes place in green plants on land. CO2 from the air and water from the soil are coupled to form carbohydrates. Oxygen is liberated. This process takes place mostly in spring and summer. A rough distinction can be made:
    1a. The formation of leaves that are short lived (less than a year).
    1b. The formation of tree branches and trunks, that are long lived (decades).

    2. Production of CO2 by the metabolism of animals, and by the decomposition of vegetable matter by micro-organisms including those in the intestines of animals, whereby oxygen is consumed and water and CO2 (and some carbon monoxide and methane that will eventually be oxidised to CO2) are liberated. Again distinctions can be made:
    2a. The decomposition of leaves, that takes place in autumn and continues well into the next winter, spring and summer.
    2b. The decomposition of branches, trunks, etc. that typically has a delay of some decades after their formation.
    2c. The metabolism of animals that goes on throughout the year.

    3. Consumption of CO2 by absorption in cold ocean waters. Part of this is consumed by marine vegetation through photosynthesis.

    4. Production of CO2 by desorption from warm ocean waters. Part of this may be the result of decomposition of organic debris.

    5. Circulation of ocean waters from warm to cold zones, and vice versa, thus promoting processes 3 and 4.

    LONGER-TERM PROCESSES

    6. Formation of peat from dead leaves and branches (eventually leading to lignite and coal).

    7. Erosion of silicate rocks, whereby carbonates are formed and silica is liberated.

    8. Precipitation of calcium carbonate in the ocean, that sinks to the bottom, together with formation of corals and shells.

    NATURAL PROCESSES THAT ADD CO2 TO THE SYSTEM

    9. Production of CO2 from volcanoes (by eruption and gas leakage).

    10. Natural forest fires, coal seam fires and peat fires.

    ANTHROPOGENIC PROCESSES THAT ADD CO2 TO THE SYSTEM

    11. Production of CO2 by burning of vegetation (“biomass”).

    12. Production of CO2 by burning of fossil fuels (and by lime kilns).

    Several of these processes are rate dependant and several of them interact.

    At higher air temperatures, the rates of processes 1, 2, 4 and 5 will increase and the rate of process 3 will decrease. Process 1 is strongly dependent on temperature, so its rate will vary strongly (maybe by a factor of 10) throughout the changing seasons.

    The rates of processes 1, 3 and 4 are dependent on the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. The rates of processes 1 and 3 will increase with higher CO2 concentration, but the rate of process 4 will decrease.

    The rate of process 1 has a complicated dependence on the atmospheric CO2 concentration. At higher concentrations at first there will be an increase that will probably be less than linear (with an “order” <1). But after some time, when more vegetation (more biomass) has been formed, the capacity for photosynthesis will have increased, resulting in a progressive increase of the consumption rate.

    Processes 1 to 5 are obviously coupled by mass balances.

    Our paper assessed the steady-state situation to be an oversimplification because there are two factors that will never be “steady”:
    I. The removal of CO2 from the system, or its addition to the system.
    II. External factors that are not constant and may influence the process rates, such as varying solar activity.

    Modeling this system is difficult because so little is known concerning the rate equations. However, some things can be stated from the empirical data.

    At present the yearly increase of the anthropogenic emissions is approximately 0.1 GtC/year. The natural fluctuation of the excess consumption (i.e. consumption processes 1 and 3 minus production processes 2 and 4) is at least 6 ppmv (which corresponds to 12 GtC) in 4 months. This is more than 100 times the yearly increase of human production, which strongly suggests that the dynamics of the natural processes here listed 1-5 can cope easily with the human production of CO2.

    A serious disruption of the system may be expected when the rate of increase of the anthropogenic emissions becomes larger than the natural variations of CO2. But the above data indicates this is not possible.

    The accumulation rate of CO2 in the atmosphere (1.5 ppmv/year which corresponds to 3 GtC/year) is equal to almost half the human emission (6.5 GtC/year). However, this does not mean that half the human emission accumulates in the atmosphere, as is often stated. There are several other and much larger CO2 flows in and out of the atmosphere. The total CO2 flow into the atmosphere is at least 156.5 GtC/year with 150 GtC/year of this being from natural origin and 6.5 GtC/year from human origin. So, on the average, 3/156.5 = 2% of all emissions accumulate.

    The above qualitative considerations suggest the carbon cycle cannot be very sensitive to relatively small disturbances such as the present anthropogenic emissions of CO2. However, the system could be quite sensitive to temperature. So, our paper considered how the carbon cycle would be disturbed if – for some reason – the temperature of the atmosphere were to rise, as it almost certainly did between 1880 and 1940 (there was an estimated average rise of 0.5 °C in average surface temperature.

    Please note that the figures I use above are very conservative estimates that tend to exaggerate any effect of the anthropogenic emission.

    Our paper then used attribution studies to model the system response. Those attribution studies used three different basic models to emulate the causes of the rise of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the twentieth century. They each assumed
    (a) a significant effect of the anthropogenic emission
    and
    (b) no discernible effect of the anthropogenic emission.
    Thus we assessed six models.

    These numerical exercises are a caution to estimates of future changes to the atmospheric CO2 concentration. The three basic models used in these exercises each emulate different physical processes and each agrees with the observed recent rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration. They each demonstrate that the observed recent rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration may be solely a consequence of the anthropogenic emission or may be solely a result of, for example, desorption from the oceans induced by the temperature rise that preceded it. Furthermore, extrapolation using these models gives very different predictions of future atmospheric CO2 concentration whatever the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Each of the models in our paper matches the available empirical data without use of any ‘fiddle-factor’ such as the ‘5-year smoothing’ the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses to get its model to agree with the empirical data. Please note this:
    the ‘budget’ model uses unjustifiable smoothing of the empirical data to get the model to fit the data, but each of our models fits the empirical data that is not adjusted in any way.
    So, if one of the six models of our paper is adopted then there is a 5:1 probability that the choice is wrong. And other models are probably also possible. And the six models each give a different indication of future atmospheric CO2 concentration for the same future anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide.

    Data that fits all the possible causes is not evidence for the true cause.
    Data that only fits the true cause would be evidence of the true cause.
    But the above findings demonstrate that there is no data that only fits either an anthropogenic or a natural cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.
    Hence, the only factual statements that can be made on the true cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration are
    (a) the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration may have an anthropogenic cause, or a natural cause, or some combination of anthropogenic and natural causes,
    but
    (b) there is no evidence that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has a mostly anthropogenic cause or a mostly natural cause.

    Hence, using the available data it cannot be known what if any effect altering the anthropogenic emission of CO2 will have on the future atmospheric CO2 concentration. This finding agrees with the statement in Chapter 2 from Working Group 3 in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report (2001) that says; “no systematic analysis has published on the relationship between mitigation and baseline scenarios”.”

    Richard

  24. Willis,
    A good explanation of many things, especially the e-folding time. But I don’t agree with your calculation of the 31 year period. I think you have calculated as if each added ton of CO2 then decays exponentially back to the 1850 equilibrium level. But the sea has changed. It is no longer in equilibrium with 280 ppm CO2. Of course it has its own diffusion timescale, and lags behind the air in pCO2. You could think of the decay as being back to some level at each stage intermediate between 1850 and present.

    If you apply that process to the emission curve, you’ll match the airborne fraction with a slower decay (longer time constant) where the decay has less far to go.

  25. Just one thing puzzles me – ocean is the biggest storage of CO2. Solubility of CO2 follows the Henry’s law. There was MWP and LIA with cca 2 deg C difference. 2 deg C causes some 10% change in CO2 solubility.

    Why there is no sign of MWP/LIA in the ice core CO2 data? If we consider only a surface layer with certain thickness (not the whole ocean volume) and calculate the 10% degassing, it should have been visible in the ice core record.

    Today, the rate of CO2 rise plays well with SST data.
    http://climate4you.com/images/CO2%20MaunaLoa%20Last12months-previous12monthsGrowthRateSince1958.gif1998 El Nino is clearly visible, also La Nina and volcanic eruptions. But strange that 2007 La Nina is not visible. More, as oceans start to cool, the rate of rise stabilizes.

  26. “As I said, I think that the preponderance of evidence shows that humans are the main cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2. ”

    Ok, fine. Is there anything that would lead anyone to believe that the increase in CO2 is harmful in any way?

  27. Re my previous post: unfortunately the equilibrium signs between the various chemical species have not shown up, making understanding of them a little difficult. Also, carbonate ion is shown with only one minus sign – it should have two.

    Oh well. Those familiar with chemistry will have to make their own adjustments. Sorry about that.

  28. Willy!

    I’m thinking about the rollercoaster graph of historical (temp/co2) that MR Al Gore/Gavin Smith presented.

    If warmth has a restricted inpact of 20ppm since 1850? Things surely don’t add up in any aspect. And cause/effect co2/temp will still be written with question marks for a long time.

    To me the work on climate science more describes how little we know, rather than how much.

    There is a big potential that many science articles are right in some aspect. Spencer, Lindzen, Milkolzci, Scafetta, IPCC, Svensmark also. The big tragedy is that so much focus has been on the CO2 hype, which has certainly crippled the science.

    Blaming CO2 without understanding the negative and positive feedabacks is is like eating dinner before you cooked it! CO2 is a gas for life. It’s very possible that we are increasing the chances for life on the planet by increasing CO2 turnover.

    But no one is calculating the benefits.

  29. I have added this thread- plus the previous one- to my own thread carried at air vent.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/historic-variations-in-co2-measurements/#comment-29876

    Collectively the articles/links/comments provide a huge reservoir of information on the subject. However the controversy remains as the science is not settled.

    I think the comments from Richard S Courtney above warrant very close reading and I for one remain very suspicious of the ice core data after reading numerous articles on the subject.

    It would be very useful to have a companion article on ice core data here at WUWT that uses the very latest research.

    Tonyb

  30. Good job, Willis. Takes guts to put stuff out there these days. For me, it is always curious what the facts are. Truth versus opinion: Can we distinguish the two?

    While I am way out of my realm, commenting about origins of carbon dioxide, climate science or even responding to your article, I have been fully engaged in advising government and industry on environment, resource conservation, pollution prevention for over 30 years. Still scratch my head at the final priorities established and decisions made.

    We have to be open to examine man’s role on the planet more holistically. Our world is much more complex than its response to any one chemical or molecule or organism present. Yet, our minds tend to fixate on the one thing that is the source and cause of all eco-problems, then seek its eradication. Governments and large institutions have become very skilled at chemical (flu organism) demonization, crisis creation and urgent-reactive solution, through the mass media. This is why I find resources such as WUWT so interesting and instructive. We are prompted to think first.

    The average person, if there is such a person, is much more inquisitive and open to ideas, presentations, facts, data and its interpretation than institutions are willing to believe or want to accept. Computer simulations are illusive to them. You would have to have worked a government risk assessment, for example, to know how large an impact assumptions, rolled together, can have, especially on the decided course of action. Even then, we assume adopting no effect level standards for multiple materials equate to a clean soup.

    Is the planet warming or cooling? It just makes no intuitive sense that lowly man could have such an effect on a trend that could be happening over hundreds if not thousands of years. One would have to assume earth is the solar system and universe.

    Isn’t it the tornado that ripped through our yard last night that matters? Confining a massive oil leak after it happens to the smallest area? Planning and protecting for disruptive events is key to the survival of the human race. Ending fossil fuel use helps that how exactly? Oil will still leak naturally into oceans.

    Like it our not, we are caretakers on this planet. Caretakers of each other and the environment we necessarily access. Our goal should always be the next generation. Otherwise, why procreate?

    Before we obsess on fossil fuel combustion, we might want to examine the way we settle ourselves. If we did, we might reconsider our utilization of resources. This is not a federal government or world order level of intention, it is much more at the individual, family, or local community levels. Economic collapse is testing our response.

    Personally, I have always had more faith in individual people than institutions. Those who come here, read your article today, think about the carbon dioxide and your suggested rules, might take a moment to reflect on context before they leap. Thank you.

  31. Larry Huldén says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Dear Willis!
    Out of topic but text for Figure 2 includes … land use/land cover (LU/LC) changes (green line), … It looks white to me (unless I am white/green colour blind).

    Good luck with your work!

    Fixed, thanks.

  32. Mooloo says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:36 am

    I’ve never used warmist as a term of abuse. What are we meant to call people who believe the “CO2 causes warming” theory?

    My only objection to being called a denier is its lack of specificness. Especially since I don’t deny that the world is warming – although I do not believe some of he claims of the rate of warming. But as a term, per se, I don’t find denier offensive.

    All I know is that I have read comments from people who are offended by it. I use “AGW supporter” …

  33. Of course, those nasty warmists have been trying to explain for years just how solid the evidence is that it is indeed human activity that’s causing the CO2 rise, it’s laughable that many “skeptics” are only capable of accepting the reasoning when it’s explained to them by one of the good people at WUWT.

  34. Phillip Bratby says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:21 am

    You have Willis’ surname spelt incorrectly at the top.

    Fixed, thanks.

  35. Willis how do you manage it.
    From Co2 science theres a graph showing the amplifacation of the seasonal Co2 cycle, with the claim that “about one fifth is due to human contributions.” And from WUWT an article stating soil fauna emit the same isotope as fossil fuels do, that being Co13,14. Please forgive me for not providing the links, sorry. Now a simple observation if I may. Plants love this isotope more so than Co2 (12), and coupled with warming has produced the current stat.

  36. richard telford:

    At June 7, 2010 at 1:35 am you assert:

    “In addition to the evidence presented above, there are at least two further lines of evidence supporting the hypothesis that the CO2 increase is caused by humans:
    – the decline in atmospheric O2 concentrations, measured by Ralph Keeling’s group. See https://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/images/ALLo.pdf Such declines are expected if the CO2 rise is due to combustion, but not if it were due to volcanism or ocean outgassing.
    – the ocean surface is on average undersaturated in CO2 and there is net uptake CO2. Hence the rise in CO2 cannot be use to ocean outgassing, or submarine volcanoes. This uptake of CO2 will cause the ocean to become more acidic (==less alkaline). See for example https://bora.uib.no/handle/1956/2090?language=no”

    I address each of these “lines of evidence” in turn.

    The cause of the O2 decline may or may not be related to the burning of fossil fuels. And the O2 decline is certainly NOT “evidence supporting the hypothesis that the CO2 increase is caused by humans”.

    Both O2 and CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are affected by biological activity (all the O2 is in the air because it is released by plants). Consumption of CO2 by photosynthesis takes place in green plants. CO2 from the air and water are coupled to form carbohydrates and O2 is liberated.

    Hence, your first point merely introduces a debate about variation of the oxygen cycle and, therefore, adds confusion to discussion of the cause(s) of recent rise to atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Your point about “uptake of CO2” by the oceans cuts both ways. The great bulk of carbon flowing around the carbon cycle is in the oceans. An equilibrium state exists between the atmospheric CO2 concentration and the carbon concentration in the ocean surface layer. So, all other things being equal, if the atmospheric CO2 concentration increases then – as you say – the ocean surface layer will dissolve additional CO2 and alkalinity of the layer will reduce. However, the opposite is also true.

    If the alkilinity of the ocean surface layer reduces then the equilibrium state will alter to increase the atmospheric CO2 concentration and to reduce the carbon in the ocean surface layer. The pH change required to achieve all of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration (i.e. since 1958 when measurements began at Mauna Loa) is less than 0.1 which is much, much too small for it to be detectable. And changes of this magnitude can be expected to occur.

    Surface waters sink to ocean bottom, travel around the globe for ~800 years then return to ocean surface. They can be expected to dissolve S and Cl from exposure to undersea volcanism during their travels. So, the return to the surface of these waters will convey the S and Cl ions to the surface layer centuries after their exposure to the volcanism, and this could easily reduce the surface layer pH by more than 0.1. Hence, variations in undersea volcanism centuries ago could be completely responsible for the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Please note that the fact that these volcanic variations could be responsible for the recent rise does not mean they are responsible (which is the same logic as the fact that the anthropogenic emissions could be responsible does not mean that they are).

    However, Tom Quirk observes that the geographical distribution of atmospheric carbon isotopes provides a better fit to the undersea volcanism hypothesis than to the anthropogenic hypothesis as a cause of the rise: see

    http://climaterealists.com/attachments/database/A%20Clean%20Demonstration%20of%20Carbon%2013%20Isotope%20Depletion.pdf

    There are many possible causes of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. They each warrant investigation, and there is not sufficient evidence to champion any one of them.

    Richard

  37. Thanks, Willis, for the several hours of reading and cogitation ahead.

    In your ‘Anthropogenic Emission, 1850 – 2005′ graph, why are there no spikes covering the 2 World Wars? I would have expected the scales to be fine enough to show at least a noticable upward ‘blip’ given the enormous activity in fossil fuel use (and, I expect, explosives would also contribute) during these periods.

    Back to reading/cogitating.

  38. Baa Humbug says: (June 7, 2010 at 1:23 am)      Was it something we said Willis?
        Nice, Barr. Needed that twist of wit to break the clasp of the furrowed brow muscles right at about that point.

  39. If our influence wasn’t so controversial we could use it to advantage. Ego and greed tisk tisk tisk.

  40. I am always intrigued by any discussion which involves carbon dioxide levels in the oceans, as simple maths exposes the ‘problem’ to be completely insignificant.

    Volume of oceans: 1.35 billion cubic kilometres.

    Human production of carbon dioxide: ~27 billion tonnes per year.

    Therefore: If all humanity’s production of carbon dioxide was absorbed by the oceans, their concentration of carbon dioxide would increase by one part in 50 million per year.

    However, the oceans only absorb around half our carbon dioxide production, so the actual increase (before use by marine organisms) would be one part in 100 million per year.

    The present average carbon doxide levels in the ocean are ~90 parts per million. To increase this by one part per million (or less than 1%) would therefore take around 100 years. In reality, most of this carbon dioxide would be absorbed in the upper levels of the oceans.

    Also of interest is that carbon dioxide makes up 15.1% of all gases absorbed in the oceans, versus 0.03% of all gases in the atmosphere.

    I would suggest the oceans’ ability to absorb additional carbon dioxide is enormous, even at much higher temperatures than those prevailing today.

    Reference: http://www.google.pt/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=9&ved=0CFEQFjAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.seafriends.org.nz%2Foceano%2Fseawater.htm&ei=5MUMTO6gJ6aL4gbb3KGrAQ&usg=AFQjCNHn2eJEZBZLJAf3v3ERHylgws5kxw

  41. How trivial or significant is the direct additional respiratory and food production CO2 emission produced by increases in human longevity and population density since medieval times?

  42. And again you tell me all this after I’ve had to figure it out for myself.

    I’m curious what you think of the following analysis of CO2 attribution by Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

    I agree that it doesn’t make any substantial difference although I’m having a bit of difficulty resolving the some of the differences between your thermostat theory and Ferenc Miskolczi.

  43. Well, as you say – your first graph resembles the Mann hockey stick, and perhaps for good reason, as it seems to utilize the good old “trick” – splicing the instrumental record onto the proxy data.
    Here is another graph, clearly showing the instrumental data (red) disjointed from the proxies:

    So the question is, as with the hockey stick: do the figures from the two methods even belong on the same graph?

  44. I write to support a point made by tonyb at June 7, 2010 at 1:42 am .

    Either the ice core data are right or they are wrong.

    If the ice core data are right then climate variability is not discernibly affected by atmospheric CO2 concentration: i.e. the ice core data show no variation in atmospheric CO2 coincentration during the Roman Warm Period (RWP), the Dark Age Cool Period (DACP), the Medieval Warm Perod (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA). These climate variations must have been caused by something other than atmospheric CO2 concentration, and there is no reason to suppose that recent variations in climate are not a result of the “something other”.

    Altenatively, the ice core data are wrong so they should be ignored.

    In either case, more research is needed before any definitive statements can be made concerning the causes of atmospheric CO2 concentration and climate variability on the basis of ice core data.

    Richard

  45. I will like to comment on fig 1.

    1) ice core records, evidently, come from regions largely depleted of fauna. The CO2 there is what the winds carry. It is not surprising that they show such a stable value, ignoring little ice ages and medieval warming periods ( Henry’s law). This argues that the values measured are sort of homogenized at least over centuries.
    The rise in recent data is notable, but in a diffusion model, not enough time and pressure of over covering ice has passed for the recent years where so smartly the trick is played with the Mauna Loa data.

    2) Mauna Loa data is also depleted by construction, so making the hockey stick shape is not hard in the overlap region. The real question is, if one had better resolution in ice core data, , for example for the medieval warm period, would it show values of the order of 350 ppm even in this depleted region ? The whole anthropogenic CO2 argument rests on this assumption, that the rise in recent years is unprecedented. Beck’s data, and I now learn from Courtney’s post above, stomata data speak differently.

    I have no doubt that the temperatures have been increasing since the little ice age, and therefore expect, by Henry’s law the CO2 to be increasing . It is possible that part of the increase is due to anthropogenic causes, but I am not convinced by the data presented.

    Tons do not mean much , as global numbers. example: Pollution remains close to the source, and I do not see why CO2 would be different. Most pollution sources are close to cities. It rains more over cities, (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/UrbanRain/urbanrain3.php ) because of the pollution, and rain washes down CO2 too, mixing it with the water that ends up in the seas. How can this process be quantified? i.e. how much of anthropogenic CO2 ends up in the “pure” background of the antarctic and arctic and Mauna Loa?

    The whole field is rife with speculations and assumptions served as certainties.

  46. “Yes, entirely reasonable. It seems most likely that human activities, not confined to fossil fuel burning, are indeed raising the CO2 ppm in the atmosphere.

    It is also clear that this will contribute a modest warming effect, that is just physics.

    The debate is what, if anything, happens next. Does the effect get amplified by positive feedback, or reduced by negative feedbacks, or overwhelmed by other factors.”

    Agreed, and this is where the models featured in IPCC reports and where “scientific consensus” appears to break down.

    “Man produces CO2 and CO2 has a warming effect on the atmosphere.” That is about as far as the “scientific consensus” goes. How much warming, what feedbacks they trip, whether this is likely to be catastrophic, or whether it will be moderate and hidden by natural variability, or whether this anthropogenic CO2 will trigger negative feedbacks greater than positive ones… There are many scientists who disagree on all of these things.

    Anyone who claims scientific consensus is selling something without a warranty.

  47. As Richard Telford mentioned above, another line of evidence implicating fossil fuels as the source of atmospheric CO2 increase is the change in the atmospheric O2:N2 ratio. This is discussed in AR4 WG1, The Physical Science Basis, Chapter 2, Section 2.3.1 and illustrated here. My only problem with this record is that it’s impossible to verify since the raw data are “protected” behind a firewall at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography web site and therefore cannot be accessed by the general public. It would be great if someone at WUWT like Willis Eschenbach or Anthony Watts could convince Keeling to release his data since it was funded by mine and your tax dollars the NSF and NOAA and therefore ought to be in the public domain.

    For more information, click the link “Lab Data”, located here:

    https://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/data.html

    Note: the Scripps/UCSD web site inexplicably uses an untrusted security certificate for their SSL connection which might trigger a browser security warning. However, this can be safely ignored.

  48. Juraj V. says:
    Why there is no sign of MWP/LIA in the ice core CO2 data?

    I have the same question. Though there seems to be a faint sign: Have a look at the graph on the top of the article, at least the LIA seems to be visible. But the signal is weaker than what would be expected, which strengthens the hypothesis that ice core data are not suitable for measuring CO2 at this high resolution some hundred years ago, but rather represents a (multi-)centennial moving average. In this regard, Richard S Courtney’s links to stomata estimates above are highly interesting.

  49. “So, what should we expect? In the early decades of a pulse of CO2 being added to the atmosphere, with a “fresh” ocean awaiting, the near exponential decay of CO2 is possible. But as the surface layers of the ocean become more saturated with CO2, its ability to absorb more CO2 declines, and the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere departs from the exponential, and becomes much slower. ”

    This assertion ignores diffusion of CO2 from the surface to the lower levels of the ocean. If diffusion (removal of CO2 from the surface to the lower volume) happens at a faster or equal rate to the absorbtion of CO2 from the atmosphere then the ocean can be considered “fresh” until the entire volume “fills.” While, in theory, eventually the ocean would saturate, the rate would be very slow.

    Have there been any studies about the rate of diffusion of CO2 through the ocean layers?

    My gut feeling is that since we’re dealing with Volume vs Area, that diffusion would, indeed, be a much larger value.

  50. Would it not be the case that ANY system of measurement that failed to reflect the climate events of the MWP and LIA would also fail to reflect the modern warming and so would ALWAYS produce a ‘hockey stick’ shape when grafted onto modern more sensitive systems of measurement ?

  51. “Of course, those nasty warmists have been trying to explain for years just how solid the evidence is that it is indeed human activity that’s causing the CO2 rise, it’s laughable that many “skeptics” are only capable of accepting the reasoning when it’s explained to them by one of the good people at WUWT.”

    Nonsense. I do not know of anyone within the climate realist community that doubts (or ever doubted) that atmospheric CO2 concentration has increased, nor that the increase is largely caused by man.

    What realists believe is what is proven scientifically using the full scientific method, and that is that there is NO PROOF that current warming, (such as it is, and that depends very much an when you start and end the measurements and whether you have faith in the veracity and accuracy of those measurements and the analysis of those measurements) is entirely or mostly caused by those emissions or that the outcome of those emissions will be catastrophic.

    The real actual earth upon which we all live and rely on for our life is NOT a greenhouse, nor is it a computer model. It behaves a little bit like both, but crucially, it behaves a lot like neither and we simply do not know how the climate works in enough detail to be able to predict with any level of certainty what will happen next.

    The UN IPCC had become far too reliant on former scientists who abandoned parts of the scientific method to push a theory when the scientific method failed to provide proof.

    To wit: altering or amending or omitting data to make it fit the theory, closing down peer review to an “incestuous” in-group, bullying publishers and using threats against “sceptical” scientists are all methods that not only fail the scientific method, but indeed contradict it and render the scientists involved in such dishonest practices as advocates, rather than scientists.

  52. Willis,
    I enjoy these mind manipulation response games so, here goes.

    One thing I am find is that trace elements attached to elements such as O2 or CO2 or even H20 16 0r H2O 18 have a bearing on the mass weight of these and also can change our preception of how they interact in a magnetic field setting.
    Think hard my young scholar on what EXACTLY is gravity? What one element is most involved even on a small level.
    No question that we are the major contibutors of CO2 but trying to tie this with temperatures is fool hardy. We have not included rotation of planet, elasticity of the atmosphere it pulls or the pressure buildup we have caused.
    Science has made physical evidence into theories and theories are the all mighty as long as math (not science!) is involved.

  53. A philosophical question, Willis. Assume for the moment that we lacked the capability to measure CO2 ( or temperature other than what we feel on our skin ). Would we then perceive our current environment as beneficial or detrimental ?

  54. The anthropogenic emissions line in your figure 2 tracks closely with the world fuel consumptions statistics cited by Klashtorin and Lyubushin (in L.B. Klyashtorin and A.A. Lyubushin, “On the coherence between the dynamics of the world fuel consumption and global temperature anomaly”, Energy & Environment, Vol. 14, No. 6 (2003), Figure 1). K&L take the argument to the next logical step, however, and add in the global temperature anomaly line, and then check the correlation between delta T and WFC. The coefficient of correlation runs at +0.92 from 1861-1875; -0.71 from 1875-1910; +0.28 from 1910-1940; -.088 from 1940-1975; +0.94 from 1975-2000. In other words, there is no linear correlation between global temperature anomalies and world fuel consumption. The lack of a linear correlation falsifies the AGW thesis, the heart of which is the IPCC’s contentions (a) that anthropogenic additions to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations “have caused the largest forcing of the industrial [post-1950] period” (4th AR WG1, Chapter 2, 136), and (b) that the amplitude of the large-scale pattern of response will scale linearly with the forcing (4th AR WG1, Chapter 2, 670). If they pick their analytical end-points right, they can just barely make it work. Of course, if you pick your end-points right, you can make ANY argument work.

    If your figure 1 is accurate (and I have no reason to doubt your numbers), then the flat line from 1000 to 1850 or so, in the context of the MWP, the LIA, and the modern warming, demonstrates that there is no correlation whatsoever between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and average global temperatures. Yet ice core data over the last four glaciations demonstrates that there is a relationship between delta T and delta CO2, with the latter lagging the former (J.R. Petit, et al., “Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica”, Nature 399 (1999), 429-436.). If there is, in fact, an 800-1200 year lag between average global temperature increase and atmospheric CO2 increase (as the Vostok cores seem to demonstrate, with CO2 concentrations varying by as much as 100 ppm in response to a multi-degree swing in average temperature), then seeing as how we’re about 1200 years past the onset of the significant temperature change of the MWP, might not the current rise in CO2 concentrations that began 200 years ago be a lagging artefact of the MWP, with human CO2 emissions a contributing factor perhaps, but a largely inconsequential one?

    Just wondering; after all, INACS.*

    It’s hard to argue with your numbers, and I certainly have none better than yours to offer. But I can’t help but wonder if we’re missing something. Humans, our technological hubris notwithstanding, really are bit players on a planetary scale.

    * Obligatory self-abnegation: “I’m Not A Climate Scientist”

    P.S. I work in a scientific organization, and I’ve cut’n’pasted your rules for discussion to all my colleagues. Every scientist should have them tattooed over his heart.

  55. Willis,
    CONCLUSION
    As I said, I think that the preponderance of evidence shows that humans are the main cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2.

    But that doesn’t square with your prior comment:
    In addition, from an examination of the year-by-year changes it is obvious that there are other large scale effects on the global 13C/12C ratio. From 1984 to 1986, it increased by 0.03 per mil. From ’86 to ’89, it decreased by -0.2. And from ’89 to ’92, it didn’t change at all. Why?

    If humans are to be seen as the major contributors to atmospheric CO2, then how is it that the second statement quoted above shows quite the opposite? Did not the use of mineral crude actually increase in those time spans?

    Aside from that, I’m not going to worry much over the matter, inasmuch as CO2 has been effectively debunked as a so-called ‘greenhouse’ gas, what with NASA alluding to such, albeit not directly.

    I might start worrying when I may no longer lay on the sand at the beach without having to wear an oxygen mask due to the low lying CO2 …

  56. of course that should be flora, not fauna in my
    anna v says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Although humans as fauna contribute something like half a ton of CO2 a year, and as we are 6 billion that is 3 billion tons a year from our respiration cycle. to be compared with 8 or so gigatones from fossil etc, a factor of 1000 less. ( somebody asked)

  57. All I know is that I have read comments from people who are offended by it. I use “AGW supporter”
    The problem with “AGW supporter” is that it first presupposes that the case for AGW is “settled” (which it may or may not be, to a greater or lesser extent, distinct from CAGW which is anything but), and then subsequently implies that the person thinks it’s good – i.e. “supports” it. It all breaks down, literally, in too many ways to fairly represent the views of the person or the thing they believe in.

    I propose “AGW believer”.

  58. If the ice core data shows a lag between warming and CO2 rise, surely the last hundred years are the start of the normal CO2 rise from the MVP. That may explain the change in isotope ratios.

  59. Neither you nor most of the people commenting here seem to be thinking about the approximately 800 year delay between an increase in temperature and the corresponding increase in CO2 that is said to be revealed by the ice core measurements. Is that delay still supported by the latest data? If it is, then the recent rise in CO2 could be mostly due to the Medieval Warm period — 800 years ago — indeed it could be taken as a proxy measurement for exactly how much warmer the world climate was back then (using the rule 7 deg C leads to a doubling of atmospheric CO2).

  60. “Curiousgeorge says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:35 am
    A philosophical question, Willis. Assume for the moment that we lacked the capability to measure CO2 ( or temperature other than what we feel on our skin ). Would we then perceive our current environment as beneficial or detrimental ?”

    It’s not philosophical but practical. It’s fortuitous how all this happened just as we developed satellites and supercomputers. What great luck that our worst climate disaster coincided with huge advances in measuring and modelling!!

    cheers David

  61. Thanks Willis for the mention of “half life”, that just makes it so easy to understand why the IPCC estimates must always be larger than churn rates.

    Missing from your analysis is any reference, other than concluding that humans are the main cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2

    For instance the ice cores show a 800 year lag between temp and CO2. So should there be an estimate for this type of change factored in. If for instance non human CO2 was naturally rising during this period then the amount sequestered (orange) and remaining CO2 (red) would would include a portion of increased non human CO2 as well. The effect here would be to lengthen the e-folding time of CO2 beyond 31 years.

  62. I also would like to point out that the deforestation really took of well with inventing the steam engine in the UK and the need to burn wood for that.
    But also consider deforestation to gain farm land and later to expand settlements.
    Even now, it still happens in the Amazon region and in Africa.
    Aren’t we loosing the storage capacity of CO2 from the forests worldwide?
    Considering the fastest method today is still to burn everything down!
    A working forest holds moisture and water, creates O2, removes dust and other pollutents out of the air and creates shade (local cooling).
    Big cities with lots of concrete and asphalt becoming hot spots, using up water and are usually funnel wind and get dust airborne!

    Why is this not considered as causing in warming or CO2 concentration rise models?

  63. Hold on – CO2 straight line for 800 years and climate fluctuates dramatically over that period? And CO2 drives climate? What am I missing?

    cheers David

  64. Mmmmmmm… thanks for the excellent food for thought…
    I have trawled through my mental archives after reading the article and comments…

    Now if I remember rightly there is a TRICK somewhere… now what is it?

    A TRICK that helps me understand Hockey Stick graphs….
    A TRICK that helps me create Hockey Stick graphs…

    Ahhhhhhh… I remember now :-)

    Take historic proxy data (of imprecise worth – like tree ring or ice core data) and then splice on some modern day observations. This recipe seems to work every time. Then flavour the latest data with a bit of Tabasco to ensure the end result is red and hot!!!!!

  65. Willis,
    Fred H. Haynie the Retired EPA Research Scientist, mentioned to you a pdf covering this subject that he spent the last four years researching. He addresses the problems with the Ice Core CO2 data (it is too low) the carbon isotope issue and others.
    My question is have you read the paper and can you refute his points? Especially the point on the ice core data being too low and the differential absorption rate of the carbon isotopes.

    The PDF: http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf

  66. Does the CO2 level in the trapped ice represent the composition of the original air or is it the final equilibrium concentration between the trapped air and compressed snow. If it is an equilibrium then it would be a low level and very constant like that shown in Figure 1.

    http://www.igsoc.org/journal/21/85/igs_journal_vol21_issue085_pg291-300.pdf

    CO2 in Natural Ice
    Stauffer, B | Berner, W
    Symposium on the Physics and Chemistry of Ice; Proceedings of the Third International Symposium, Cambridge (England) September 12-16, 1977. Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 21, No. 85, p 291-300, 1978. 3 fig, 5 tab, 18 ref.

    Natural ice contains approximately 100 ppm (by weight) of enclosed air. This air is mainly located in bubbles. Carbon dioxide is an exception. The fraction of CO2 present in bubbles was estimated to be only about 20%. The remaining part is dissolved in the ice. Measurements of the CO2 content of ice samples from temperate and cold glacier ice as well as of freshly fallen snow and of a laboratory-grown single crystal were presented. It is probable that a local equilibrium is reached between the CO2 dissolved in the ice and the CO2 of the surroundings and of the air bubbles. The CO2 content of ancient air is directly preserved neither in the total CO2 concentration nor in the CO2 concentration in the bubbles. Possibly the CO2 content of ancient air may at least be estimated if the solubility and the diffusion constant of CO2 in ice are known as a function of temperature. (See also W79-09342) (Humphreys-ISWS)

    Descriptors: Ice | Carbon dioxide | Snow | Gases | Laboratory tests | Testing procedures | Instrumentation | Measurement | Hail | Alkalinity | Hydrogen ion concentration | Analysis | Analytical techniques | Data collections | Dissolved gases

  67. This graph is too ‘smooth’.

    I’d like to see the graph of each site individually and with the x axis stretched out a little. The reason is that elsewhere (Geophysical Research Letters 33) Law Dome CO2 level is reported as being relatively flat from 1940-1955 while general emissions were rising.

    Variations within individual sites which may cast doubt upon the relentlessly increasing CO2 hypothesis are masked by this ‘conglomerate graph’ and by compression of the axes. This graph gives the impression that there is little or no variation within or between site records which could well be false, though masked by the presentation.

  68. Off Topic, but I’ve been following the evolution of David Hathaway’s “Solar Cycle Predictions” of the sunspot cycle for a while. I’ve noticed that when he posts the current month’s real data, he quietly adjusts his predicted curve to fit the real data.

    This month he has the cycle peaking in 2013 and having a peak of about 65. Last month, the modeled peak was 70. November 2009 it was about 78. And back in July 2007 his model predicted a peak of 150 in mid 2010.

  69. One thing that has always struck me about atmospheric CO2, as measured by ice cores, is how stable it appears to be over thousands of years, pre-modern times. Certainly, the climate has not been stable during all those years, yet there is CO2 basically doing nothing. Based on the volatility of climate and Earth in general, I got this gut instinct that something is wrong with the ice core CO2 records – they’re just too damn stable when it comes to CO2.

    Here’s a short-term chart I ran across that adds to the thought that old ice core data for the long-term is not accurately reflecting CO2 levels existing during past climate conditions. Obviously, CO2 ppm level growth is influenced by climate changes, at least in the short run.

    http://www.c3headlines.com/2010/02/hold.html

    Are the ice core data just too coarse to reflect accurate CO2 levels from natural phenomenon, such as the major ocean oscillations? Or, do the ice cores “lose” the majority of the CO2 signal over time?

  70. Daniel H says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:02 am

    It would be great if someone at WUWT like Willis Eschenbach or Anthony Watts could convince Keeling to release his data since it was funded by mine and your tax dollars the NSF and NOAA and therefore ought to be in the public domain.

    That would be a bit difficult, as Keeling died in 2005, refer to my recent links back to Anthony’s discussion with Pieter Tans, the current MLO director.

    MLO does release a lot of data, can you be more explicit about what you are looking for that you can’t get from them? Your comment wasn’t very explicit. One starting point is:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/livedata/livedata.html

  71. Douglas Cohen
    June 7, 2010 at 4:49 am

    The several hundred year delay between an increase in temperature and the corresponding increase in CO2 revealed by the ice core measurements, (eg Vostok) during glacial to interglacial transitions requires a net transfer of CO2 from the oceans and terrestrial biosphere to the atmosphere.

    In contrast, between 1850 and 2000, human caused emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels equalled 1620 billion tons CO2, whereas the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increased by only 640 billion tons. (data from Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre). There is no way in which that can be explained other than by a net transfer of CO2 from the atmosphere to the oceans/biosphere, the opposite of the former process.

    Human emissions of CO2 are more than able to explain recent increases in atmospheric CO2.

  72. Ben M says:
    Are you sure the CDIAC dataset is accurate

    I think CDIAC is reasonable data but might be exaggerated as the real conversion to CO2 is not as efficient as calculated. Maybe the sequestered CO2 is about the same as the remaining CO2. If that’s true, it is easy to remember and tell others.

    Where is all that sequestered CO2 going?

    The oceans yes, but things sure are looking green here in Georgia. When we moved from drought two years ago to more rain than we know what to do with, this part of the planet has blossomed like a peach tree.

  73. Slabadang says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Blaming CO2 without understanding the negative and positive feedabacks is is like eating dinner before you cooked it! CO2 is a gas for life. It’s very possible that we are increasing the chances for life on the planet by increasing CO2 turnover.
    But no one is calculating the benefits.

    Asking someone to prove a negative is a bit of a dirty trick, but it’s easy to disprove your “no one” claim. Just ask Google. Very little is all good or all bad, and more research is warranted and I’m sure in progress.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/11/1122_021125_CropYields.html

    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V13/N10/B2.php

  74. Oslo says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Well, as you say – your first graph resembles the Mann hockey stick, and perhaps for good reason, as it seems to utilize the good old “trick” – splicing the instrumental record onto the proxy data.
    Here is another graph, clearly showing the instrumental data (red) disjointed from the proxies:

    So the question is, as with the hockey stick: do the figures from the two methods even belong on the same graph?

    I don’t understand your complaint – in Willis’ graph, the MLO record is displayed as the lowest level and with large dots. That allows the icecore data to stand out on top of the MLO data where there is overlap. Mann discarded data he didn’t like, used data he liked, and obscured what he did. Willis’ graph is above board on all three accounts.

    The graph that you offer is interesting, but since it covers 650,000 years, the MLO record is only about one pixel wide and the time aspect is is compressed into essentially no information.

    The instrumental record on Willis’ graph is plenty disjoint from the proxy data by style, color, and number of samples. At least, that’s my reading of it.

  75. The trouble is one thing is “trapped heat” other the supposed “greenhouse effect”, and:
    CO2 follows temperature, not the other way. Open a coke and you´ll see it: The more you have it in your warm hand the more gas will go out when you open it.
    CO2 is the transparent gas we all exhale (SOOT is black=Carbon dust) and plants breath with delight, to give us back what they exhale instead= Oxygen we breath in.
    CO2 is a TRACE GAS in the atmosphere, it is the 0.038% of it.
    There is no such a thing as “greenhouse effect”, “greenhouse gases are gases IN a greenhouse”, where heated gases are trapped and relatively isolated not to lose its heat so rapidly. If greenhouse effect were to be true, as Svante Arrhenius figured it out: CO2 “like the window panes in a greenhouse”, but…the trouble is that those panes would be only 3.8 panes out of 10000, there would be 9996.2 HOLES.
    See:

    CO2 is a gas essential to life. All carbohydrates are made of it. The sugar you eat, the bread you have eaten in your breakfast this morning, even the jeans you wear (these are made from 100% cotton, a polymer of glucose, made of CO2…you didn´t know it, did you?)
    You and I, we are made of CARBON and WATER.
    CO2 is heavier than Air, so it can not go up, up and away to cover the earth.
    The atmosphere, the air can not hold heat, its volumetric heat capacity, per cubic cemtimeter is 0.00192 joules, while water is 4.186, i.e., 3227 times.
    This is the reason why people used hot water bottles to warm their feet and not hot air bottles.
    Global Warmers models (a la Hansen) expected a kind of heated CO2 piggy bank to form in the tropical atmosphere, it never happened simply because it can not.
    If global warmers were to succeed in achieving their SUPPOSED goal of lowering CO2 level to nothing, life would disappear from the face of the earth.
    So, if no CO2 NO YOU!

  76. “During the ice age to interglacial transitions, on average a change of 7°C led to a doubling of CO2. We have seen about a tenth of that change (0.7°C) since 1850, so we’d expect a CO2 change from temperature alone of only about 20 ppmv.”

    Is the relationship linear? It appears that the assumption here is that it is. Although, even if it is exponential the difference at this stage (.7C) of CO2 attributed to temperature rise would not be substantially different than if the relationship was linear.

  77. This valuable post mentions a large source of CO2 which has not been given wide publicity – cement manufacture. The warmers will now start lobbying for reduction in thickness of roads, cobblestone pavements, smaller buildings, no new bridges or other large concrete construction. With the new smaller cars which will give greater gas mileage, weaker roadways should be adequate, and the future of the earth should be assured.

  78. Claims that cement manufacture introduce significant CO2 are the work of people who don’t understand science. Sadly that includes the US Government. When the cement is mixed with water, it absorbs the CO2 back from the atmosphere. Without CO2 the cement would never harden.

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

    “Carbon dioxide is slowly absorbed to convert the portlandite (Ca(OH)2) into insoluble calcium carbonate. “

  79. Willis, I am concerned about your frustration level with AGWers coupled with your great intelligence and precise math. You wrote, “People seem madly passionate about this question. So I figure I’ll deal with it by employing the method I used in the 1960s to fire off dynamite shots when I was in the road-building game … light the fuse, and run like hell …” Yes, but….The dynamite is carefully placed in a surveyed and planned area for the roadway — and, of course, human activities and the geology around that future road have been carefully taken into consideration.

    Yes, sometimes you can take the “opposition’s” figures and research for granted and work out the science. However, if those figures are not accurate or do not take the complexity of conditions into account, I am not sure they can be valid. As I first read the essay, a number of red flags went up in my mind:

    1,2,and3. Ice cores, ice cores, ice cores. Too much depends on CO2 registration in ice core data which has been neatly been fitted to Mann’s Hockey Stick without enough checking and cross checking. Next are you taking the CDIAC dataset at face value when we know how much, dare I say it, dishonest, fudging the data upward has been done with the temperature (thermometer) data? Can you assert that this data can be fully trusted in its current “official” state. Then there is the chemistry, perhaps more complex than you suggest (Slioch 2:41 am). Then there is the rather amazing history of climate and human activities during warm periods (tonyb 1:42 am). Are you really sure that there was no rise in CO2 because of (at least) outgassing from the oceans during those times — like 1850 to today? Is the flat line from ice cores reasonable to a reasonable mind?

    Abadang 3:11 seems appropriate: “To me the work on climate science more describes how little we know, rather than how much.” I think you give the “warmists” (I wish it were warming) too much credit for accurate data and interpretation. Richard Courtney 2:43 am) gives a long disposition on the complexities you dismiss: “But it is important to understand that there is no evidence which could be said to prove the matter.” Your argument is too close, too similar, to that of the pseudo-scientists who published in Nature — since there was a mass migration of humans to the New World before the Holocene and because we know they killed off the megafauna, and because warmth of the earth depended on the methane in megafauna burps, we know that humans were the cause of the Younger Dryas — just like we are the cause of warming today. Watts Up With That argument?

    Anyway, I like your ending. Thanks for your coninuing efforts to keep the discussion-debate lively. Next time, don’t run like hell.

  80. Statement written for the Hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    Climate Change: Incorrect information on pre-industrial CO2

    March 19, 2004

    Statement of Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski
    Chairman, Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection
    Warsaw, Poland

    Figures 1A and 1B
    The data from shallow ice cores, such as those from Siple, Antarctica[5, 6], are widely used as a proof of man-made increase of CO2 content in the global atmosphere, notably by IPCC[7]. These data show a clear inverse correlation between the decreasing CO2 concentrations, and the load-pressure increasing with depth (Figure 1 A). The problem with Siple data (and with other shallow cores) is that the CO2 concentration found in pre-industrial ice from a depth of 68 meters (i.e. above the depth of clathrate formation) was “too high”. This ice was deposited in 1890 AD, and the CO2 concentration was 328 ppmv, not about 290 ppmv, as needed by man-made warming hypothesis. The CO2 atmospheric concentration of about 328 ppmv was measured at Mauna Loa, Hawaii as later as in 1973[8], i.e. 83 years after the ice was deposited at Siple.

    Sorry the figure did not copy. However, for Willis to be correct Prof. Jaworowski must be wrong. I doubt he intentionally lied to Congress.

  81. Good analysis Willis. My only concern is the relative amount of CO2, anthropogenic vs. not. I have the following stored from a few years ago, without the source, which seems to be the basis for the 3% anthro-CO2 contribution to the annual CO2 budget that is often quoted.

    CO2 EMISSIONS :
    1. Respiration Humans, Animals, Phytoplankton 43.5 – 52 Gt C/ year
    2. Ocean Outgassing (Tropical Areas) 90 – 100 Gt C/year
    3. Volcanoes, Soil degassing 0.5 – 2 Gt C/ year
    4. Soil Bacteria, Decomposition 50 – 60 Gt C/ year
    5. Forest cutting, Forest fires 0.6 – 2.6 Gt C/year
    Anthropogenic emissions (2005) 7.5 – 7.5 Gt C/year
    TOTAL 192 to 224 Gt C/ year
    The table shows the range of estimates of natural CO2 and human production in 2005 (Gt C/year is Gigatons of Carbon per year). Accuracy has not improved since. Notice the human contribution is within the error range of three (1, 2, & 4) of the natural sources. The total error range is almost 5 times the amount of total human production.

    Further, I have read that the amount of CO2 emitted by termites is enormous, 50 gigatons/year. In thinking about termites, it occurs to me that what they are consuming is wood that is probably at least 40 years old, often older, considering the life cycle of trees. Would their diet of old wood skew the C12/13 ratios by releasing the C that was sequestered in the wood decades earlier?
    Source for termite CO2 production: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/218/4572/563

  82. Harry says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:16 am

    RULES FOR THE DISCUSSION OF ATTRIBUTION OF THE CO2 RISE

    Amen!

    Didn’t work too well on the debate about Ravetz’ theory, where the main protagonist of ad hominem attacks and extreme language was…. Willis Eschenbach.

    ;-)

  83. The Stauffer/Berner paper addresses the same points made by Jarorowski about the validity of the Ice cores as a measurement of previous atmospheric CO2 levels. Jarowowski maintained that the ice was not a closed system as pertains to CO2.
    When one looks at the Vostoc ice core record, it is apparent that the older the core, the more obvious the lag between the change in temperature and the change in CO2. The point has already been made that the stomatal measurements of CO2 show much more variability and do not track the ice core records. There has been no mention of Beck’s compilation of >90,000 historical CO2 measurements which showed a post war rise in CO2 to about 400 ppm, which would make the peak just after the warm period of the 30’s and during WWII. Callender showed similar variability but then selected those values he thought fit the theory. It is surprising that no one is actually publishing research on the question of movement of CO2
    through glacial ice in light of the evidence that ice may not give an accurate picture of CO2 levels.

  84. Willis

    I’ll make a deal.

    When we’re talking serious science I’ll happily call ‘em “AGW Supporters” “AGW Believers” or even “Nervous Climate Scientists”, if you prefer.

    But when they are arguing for Trillions of Pounds / Dollars to be spent NOW screwing up the sources of energy on which the economy depends, on the basis of junk science scare stories, then I’m gonna keep on calling ‘em “eco-fascist nut jobs”.

    Just put it down to Tourette’s.

    Sorry, can’t help myself!

  85. @Richard S Courtney says: June 7, 2010 at 2:43 am

    You left out (13) Manufacturing bread and booze.

    Don’t think that affects your argument too much, though.

    Although it would be interesting to know how much (globally) fermentation produces. Probably a piece more than we save by using those pesky “energy saving” light bulbs.

  86. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:05 am
    “So if you are going to believe that this is not a result of human activities”

    I’m not comfortable with the use of the words “Believe” or “Disbelieve” in a scientific context. These words are more appropriate to discussions about religion and concepts which are not open to a process of proof.
    To pull them into a scientific debate is to allow participants to think and respond in a less rigorous way than they ought.

    I agree, but many, many folks, including scientists, use “I believe” to mean, inter alia, “I think,” “I suppose,” “In my opinion,” “I am more or less convinced,” etc., etc. Some time ago I suggested to Willis that he eschew the terms “believe” and “belief,” in favor of more specific language, but he dismissed the idea.

    Back on topic, it will be interesting to see how Willis responds to the comments above that raise doubts about the validity of the ‘observed’ rise in CO2 (that tags recent atmospheric measurements on to old ice-core ones) and about the role of the oceans in the carbon cycle. Do these affect his belief (= confidence?) that the CO2 spike (if it is real) is mostly anthropogenic?

    BTW, what contribution do forest/wildfires make to atmospheric CO2? Will they not mimmic fossil-fuel combustion?

    /Mr Lynn

  87. FrankS says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:51 am

    For instance the ice cores show a 800 year lag between temp and CO2. So should there be an estimate for this type of change factored in.

    The fact that it’s been around 800 years since the Medieval Warm Period should be considered too.

    I notice Beck didn’t get a mention either.

  88. “I will start with Figure 1. As you can see, there is excellent agreement between the eight different ice cores, including the different methods and different analysts for two of the cores. There is also excellent agreement between the ice cores and the Mauna Loa data. Perhaps the agreement is coincidence. Perhaps it is conspiracy. Perhaps it is simple error. Me, I think it represents a good estimate of the historical background CO2 record.”

    No conspiracy is required, it’s just human psychology. There’s a famous example in physics of just this kind of behavior. In the early 1900s R.A. Millikan discovered that the charge of the electron is quantized, but he got the actual value wrong. It took a long time and many experiments to finally arrive at the right value. If someone measured a value that differed from the original one, they would look for errors until they got agreement with Millikan and stop there, instead of looking for all possible sources of error.

  89. Get yer butt back here, no lighting this fuse then running for the hills…. LOL
    Sorry but pretty graphs and nice numbers mean nothing when they only talk about the tiniest percentage of the history of something….anything.
    Have we not been over that fact on this site time and time again. 1 thousand years out of 4.5 billion, what it that!
    You must start at the beginning.
    The first step in understanding must be to say has this happened before. If yes then can we determine why. If no, this is the first time, then we start from the beginning and move forward to see what changed to bring about this increase.
    In the case of our little blue marble we have seen from the ice cores that indeed there has been much higher levels of CO2 in the past.
    There was a cause then and we know it was not our ancestors running around in there Flintstone cars. Have we determined this cause?? Have we looked for this cause in our last one thousand year time period?
    My god man how would you feel if you were present at a murder scene along with the rest of the crowd and the police suddenly turn to you as the guilty party?
    You ask them why and they simply say you are here.
    Now gather up your notes, take them outside and as a true offering for forgiveness burn them and add your bit of CO2 to the skies.
    Once you’ve warmed yourself by the fire as your ancestors once did, seen the immenseness of the sky, felt your insignificance on this giant marble of which we occupy very little space, come back in and start at the beginning.
    What was going on in the past that caused the gas levels to change, WHICH gas levels changed the most, did the warmth come before the gas change or after…..while your pondering that one have a beer or two, maybe one in a glass in the fridge and one in a glass on a hot patio.
    Oh yes and in an attempt to provide reading material with yet more pretty graphs but at least on a grander scale take a peek at this.( probably 50 articles to refute it as the debate continues)
    Nasif Nahle. 2007. Cycles of Global Climate Change. Biology Cabinet Journal Online. Article no. 295.

  90. In the end I agree with Mr. Willis Eschenbach, as the CO2 level has little or nothing to do with the temperature. The debate over CO2 levels is minor in nature and only proves what Einstein said “Not everything that can be measured is important. And not everything that is important can be measured.” At least I think he said this.

  91. Willis said: “So if you are going to believe that this is not a result of human activities, it would help to answer the question of what else might have that effect. It is not necessary to provide an alternative hypothesis if you disbelieve that humans are the cause … but it would help your case. Me, I can’t think of any obvious other explanation for that precipitous recent rise.”

    Could not the answer be “the same thing, or things, that caused similar atmospheric CO2 rises in the past”?

    If you would say anthropogenic CO2 emissions “may” be causing, or causing a portion, of the recent rise, then you and Richard S. Courtney would appear to be in agreement, would you not?

  92. Isn’t it a bit silly, and IPCCian, to state that if a person truly don’t have another viable hypotheses that can explain the increase in carbon emission, that fairly fits the world increase of tomato use or population or the number of new rice fields or et cetera, then people can’t speak their mind, less they wanna pretty much be ignored.

    But essentially in the year of 1850, and before like, and even though the whole world was in a coal burning frenzy and not only from industrialization but also from private coal fired heater and boilers, they somehow only manage to emit about 0.5 gigatonne of carbon.

    Personally I just don’t see it.

  93. Humans are most certainly the cause of the recent CO2 increase. A simple graph comparing CO2 with the population should offer an important hint:

    I find it a bit interesting that the correlation between population and CO2 is roughly the same for the past centuries. Does it mean that the level of technology is not that relevant? That a pre-industrial society causes roughly the same CO2 increase per person as the modern society?

  94. Juraj V. says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:53 am

    “….Today, the rate of CO2 rise plays well with SST data.
    http://climate4you.com/images/CO2%20MaunaLoa%20Last12months-previous12monthsGrowthRateSince1958.gif1998 El Nino is clearly visible, also La Nina and volcanic eruptions. But strange that 2007 La Nina is not visible. More, as oceans start to cool, the rate of rise stabilizes.”

    ____________________________________________________________________
    I would like to look at that but the link seems to be broken.

    [Reply: It may be this:

    or this:

    ~dbs]

  95. Agrtee completely, I think this post is the right answer. CO2 increase is human caused, but the increase in CO2 is responsible for only part of, and maybe a very small part of, the temp rise. Just wait, if the sunspots dont come back and we have a very weak solar cycle, well…

  96. The debate about what causes CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is pointless. What matters is: does the increase in CO2 concentration cause warming? The whole thing is about Global Warming, not about CO2 concentration. To indicate that CO2 increase causes warming, you would need to present a curve where temperature oscillations match CO2 concentration, and that curve clearly does not exist for the last 1000 years, nor for the last 150 years.

  97. There is a rule for sales´men: Never, Never, mention the name of your competition, because it would inmediately increase its sales. That is what this post is, consciously or unconsciously doing, paving the way to Cancun.

  98. Gail Combs says:
    June 7, 2010 at 7:01 am
    Juraj V. says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:53 am

    “….Today, the rate of CO2 rise plays well with SST data.
    http://climate4you.com/images/CO2%20MaunaLoa%20Last12months-previous12monthsGrowthRateSince1958.gif1998 El Nino is clearly visible, also La Nina and volcanic eruptions. But strange that 2007 La Nina is not visible. More, as oceans start to cool, the rate of rise stabilizes.”
    ____________________________________________________________________
    I would like to look at that but the link seems to be broken.

    Delete the terminal ‘1998’ and it works.

  99. You make a good case for human-caused increase in atmospheric CO2. The rise in CO2 levels since 1945 is unprecedented in many thousands of years of geologic history and no natural cause (including volcanic activity) is known to be capable of producing the rise n CO2 over that past 65 years.

    So let’s assume that humans have caused the rise in CO2. That still begs the question of whether or not the increase in CO2 is the cause of global warming. CO2 makes up 0.038% of the atmosphere, accounts for only 3.6% of the greenhouse effect, and has increased only 0.008% since ~1945.

    ‘CO2-pushers’ (for lack of a better term) claim this is enough to increase atmospheric water vapor (which accounts for ~95% of the greenhouse effect) and cause warming. The problem with this is that they haven’t demonstrated that water vapor has increased at all, and in fact, some data suggests decreases in water vapor over past decades.

    We have had four climate shifts in the past century (cool, 1880-1915; warm, 1915-1945; cool, 1977-1999; cool, 1999-2010), and Greenland ice core data shows that we have had 40 similar warm/cool oscillations in the past 500 years and temperature increases of up to 15 degree F in as little as 40 years, none of which could possibly be caused by human-made CO2 because they all occurred before CO2 levels rose. Conclusion–naturally caused climatic fluctuations have been commonplace for tens of thousands of years without any relationship to CO2 (other than CO2 goes up after warming occurs).

    So my question for you, Willis, is how about doing the same kind of analysis of atmospheric water vapor changes as you did with CO2 and calculating the total maximum effect CO2 by itself–then lite the fuse and run like hell!

  100. The discussion about CO2 is incomplete without a long-range historical graph showing CO2 concentrations over the geologic record so the current trend/amount can be put into perspective. Then of equal interest would be the cause of these CO2 concentrations that far exceed current levels. And while there is little doubt that (some/much/most) of the current up-tick is anthropogenic, the causes that propelled CO2 in the past to much higher levels than we currently see should be discussed, as those were certainly not anthropogenic.

  101. Thanks Hopper for the Stauffer & Berner paper, that clears many things. If I open my mouth further on this subject I’m afraid I might cross one of those lines, so, like Willis, I’m outta here.
    (Oh, stick to the numbers… 2.18 seems closer than 2.13)

  102. Re Fig 1. Levels of CO2 do not start to rise in 1850, the rise begins in 1750 or slightly earlier. This ties in nicely with Ferdinand Engelbeen’s graph of 12C/13C ratios which also show divergence beginning in the nmiddle of the 18th century.

    Explanations of human interference with the atmosphere should begin around 1750.

    JF

  103. With respect to residence time in the atmosphere, I understand that the A bomb tests of the 1950s showed the half life to be five years. This means that the atmosphere is in equilibrium with part of the oceans with a lag of only a few years. My caculations say that on average it is the top 100 metres.

    The CDIAC is the nuclear industry’s contribution to global warming hysteria. If you look at their experiments on the growth response of plants to increased CO2, they added ozone to their artificial atmospheres in order to get a negative response.

    The cooling of the next 20 years should result in a flat atmospheric CO2 trend.

  104. Can i just point out that if your study doesn’t support the earth is turning into a giant fan-assisted over hypothesis then you’re not getting a grant.

    Great work Mr Willis as direct and clear for us novices as ever.

  105. The title is misleading. What’s there to blame anyone for in this piece?

    The Keeling curve is so damn perfect it makes one wonder.

  106. Where is Becks curve in the summary? Without it you don’t have the full story. How do we know that the ice core data is accurate? Maybe glacial scientists are just making the same systematic error – there seems to be a lot of assumptions built into gas analysis of ice cores? A lot of things have not been taken into consideration – for example the biology of the snow that creates the ice:

    http://www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=2437

    Again, if this is correlation = cause, as promulgated by the CAGW, then why don’t we see decreases in CO2 at ML along with decreased fossil fuel consumption and industrial activity by humans during the early 70’s, early 80’s (especially the early 80’s), early 90’s, late 90’s, etc.? Even if there is a lag in response, the decrease should show up? I don’t see it.

    And as

    Steve Keohane says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:18 am

    the contribution of anthropogenic CO2 is utterly overwhelmed by natural sources of CO2 emission, particularly that fluxing in and out of the oceans. The idea that anyone can track anthropogenic CO2 in the midst of these fluxes is just silly, but I suppose careers certainly have been built on far less.

  107. Paul Linsay says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:40 am
    No conspiracy is required, it’s just human psychology. There’s a famous example in physics of just this kind of behavior. In the early 1900s R.A. Millikan discovered that the charge of the electron is quantized, but he got the actual value wrong. It took a long time and many experiments to finally arrive at the right value. If someone measured a value that differed from the original one, they would look for errors until they got agreement with Millikan and stop there, instead of looking for all possible sources of error.

    This result was actually controversial and Ehrenhaft and his collaborators in particular contested it, consequently there is no chance that deviations from the Millikan value would be ignored. The modern value for e differs from Millikan’s by less than 1% which is mostly due the the modern value for the viscosity of air.

  108. One thing/question I would like to insert about the Mauna Loa CO2 data; http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
    shouldn’t there be any reflection of the large volcanic eruptions during that period – mainly Mt. St. Helens(1980), El Chichon (1982), Mt. Pinatubo(1993), etc. ? Looking at the Full Mauna Loa CO2 record and the Annual Mean Growth Rate for Mauna Loa for those years & shortly after, there is nothing to suggest anything volcanic happened as opposed to the SO2 levels during those same times.

    Does it take a Yellowstone-type eruption to make a mark on those measurements or is something else up?

    Just wondering…Jeff

  109. Stockholm syndrome anyone?
    In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims

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

  110. RockyRoad says:

    “The discussion about CO2 is incomplete without a long-range historical graph showing CO2 concentrations over the geologic record so the current trend/amount can be put into perspective.”

    Here’s one chart of the geological record. [click on the chart to embiggen]

  111. SimonH:

    “I propose “AGW believer”.”

    I agree but “AGW convinced” or “AGW unconvinced” avoids religiosity, while retaining correct meaning. GK

  112. A couple of points to provide food for thought:

    1. Add to figure 2 a total global population line.

    2.Something odd about CO2 seems to have started 10,000 years ago – from the ice core results it has been on an upward trend, even though temperature has been on a downward trend. Contrast with what happened during 10,000 year periods at comparable points in previous cycles – 120,000 years ago to 130,000 years ago, 230,000 years ago to 240,000 years ago, 325,000 years ago to 335, 000 years ago, 400,000 years ago to 410,000 years ago. In each of those periods CO2 followed temperature down. What caused the change? Total human population was pretty puny 10,000 years ago.

  113. I have not read all the posts on here so I apologise in advance if this has been mentioned before.
    I have to disagree with the accuracy of this remark.
    “It is unlikely that the change in CO2 is from the overall temperature increase. During the ice age to interglacial transitions, on average a change of 7°C led to a doubling of CO2. We have seen about a tenth of that change (0.7°C) since 1850, so we’d expect a CO2 change from temperature alone of only about 20 ppmv.”

    On the grounds of the 600-800 time lag that is supposed to be shown in Ice Core evaluation. The changes we see would relate to what happened to temperatures in the Past, not what is happening now.

  114. One is the residence time of CO2. This is the amount of time that the average CO2 molecule stays in the atmosphere. It can be calculated in a couple of ways, and is likely about 6–8 years.

    The other measure, often confused with the first, is the half-life, or alternately the e-folding time of CO2. Suppose we put a pulse of CO2 into an atmospheric system which is at some kind of equilibrium. The pulse will slowly decay, and after a certain time, the system will return to equilibrium.

    That I don’t get. Assuming residence time of 6 years we get ~16.7% of all pulse absorbed in first year. ~30.5% is gone after two years. And after only four years more that half of original pulse will be absorbed (~51.77%). That means that 6 years residence time results in less than 4 year of half-life time. Same analysis for 8 years of residence time results in just above 5 years of half-life time. Is anything wrong with my reasoning?

    Andrew

  115. Willis asks what else other than human CO2 emissions might have caused recent rise.

    Land use changes – primarily taking out old growth forests. Remember how the Kyoto protocol was originally supposed to credit countries for reforestation efforts until it was discovered that the US had planted so many trees it would get a huge credit then the Europeans balked at giving a credit for reforestation and then Clinton and Bush both decided not to sign it when the reforestation credits were removed.

    Warming oceans. Natural warming of the ocean releases dissolved CO2 like a glass of beer.

    Question for Willis: throughout the vast majority of earth’s history atmospheric CO2 levels were at least several and as much as order of magnitude higher than today. It’s only during the relatively recent period of glacial-interglacial cycles where the earth’s temperature and CO2 content of the atmosphere has been this low. The whole damn planet was tropical for most of its history. How do you explain that given the sun was 10% cooler in the distant past and fossil fuel reserves were being built up instead of being burned up.

    2) warm

    ing oceans
    3)

  116. From the Vostok data, CO2 lags the temperature from 50 to 600 years or so….

    We are at the “end” of a warming period with a gradual lowering of temperatures and despite the recent “increase”, shouldn’t the natural trend of CO2 content be somewhat downward? That being the case, are we “diverting” the temperature drop into the next ice-age by our carbonaceous ways?

    Just askin’.

  117. This is a fun exercise for us climate laymen. Not much time to play this morning.
    1) Ice core data is a little too level for my taste. Could the newer ice be the “saturation” state (for lack of a better word) and the older ice reflects leaching (out gassing) to a a more stable concentration?
    2) We didn’t have a way of measuring CO2 until 1890s but I have never seen a comprehensive pre-industrial estimate (guesses don’t count). Does one exist? That table going back to the 1700s is quite suspect as recent papers show that even hunter-gatherers participated in burning forests to change the landscape to improve hunting conditions. The poor neglected anthropologists finally have their chance to get in on this.

  118. “1. Numbers trump assertions. If you don’t provide numbers, you won’t get much traction.”

    I love numbers, I really do. I once wanted to be the statistician that threw out the various statistics at sporting events…….such as Team A wins 90% of the time when Joe Blow runs for over a hundred yards for the game, or, up next, here’s Jose Golpe, he’s batting .431 with runners in scoring position against left-handed pitchers on Wednesdays in a dome this year!(My apologies to the people not familiar with American sports).
    My point is, numbers are often meaningless. For anyone that cares, every team that has a runner rushing for over 100 yards in a game should win at least 90% of the time, so attaching a meaning for a particular team to a specific runner going over 100 yards is silly. In my other example, while batting .431 is a lofty goal, this is example is bereft of “ifs” and “buts”. First, typically, a batter performs better against a pitcher throwing from the opposite hand.(Righty vs. Lefty, I assumed it is the same with cricket, but I don’t know.) Also, averages are skewed by lower incidents. Even if it is at the end of a season and Mr. Golpe was a full time player, how many times would Mr. Golpe have batted against a lefty on a Wednesday, in a dome with runners in scoring position for the year? Not often enough for the number to hold any meaning. For those that don’t know the last hitter to bat over .400, regardless of day of the week, right or left, ect. was Ted Williams in 1941.

    Most people here, will say “so what?”
    Numbers and averages skew a perspective. Like the team winning with the hundred yard rusher, atmospheric CO2 should increase. Why? For the obvious reason, man’s advancement! Anthropogenic CO2 is simply a by-product of economic growth and societal progress. My latter scenario, too, can have parallels with the CAGW discussion. In the CAGW discussion we use terms such as El Nino and La Nina. Almost always, they are accompanied by terms such as albedo and currents and solar phases ect. In other words, if solar activity X is accompanied by Nino or conversely Nina along with other astral convergences(a recent discussion here) combined with volcanic activity apparently, other than the one by Muana(Muana’s CO2 emissions are the good kind that we use a CO2 ruler for the world) then we’re likely to see Y in regards to Arctic ice extent in May(apparently meaningless in relation to ice extent in Sept). All that to mean……..nothing. Don’t get me wrong, man’s knowledge of our climate has increased significantly……sort of. As with many of the great questions of man, we’re often left with more questions than answers. I believe this will be the case for many years to come. Sadly, agenda driven science has altered the course of climate science. To what extent and what degree, we won’t know for many years to come.

    Numbers are great when put in proper perspective, but useless unless the proper logic and critical thinking have been applied. Figures lie and lairs figure. I’m not sure what the exact number is, but my verbosity increases exponentially when I see a hockey stick graph.

    Cheers

  119. stevengoddard says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:09 am
    “Carbon dioxide is slowly absorbed to convert the portlandite (Ca(OH)2) into insoluble calcium carbonate. “

    Well yes, in theory at least, and this is certainly true near exposed surfaces of newly cast concrete. But most Portand cement based concrete is cast in slabs thick enough to preclude the easy entrance and diffusion of CO2, once the hydration process gets underway and the cement has a firm “set”. Indeed, reinforcing steel is normally set at a depth in the concrete sufficient to insure that carbon dioxide does not diffuse enough to reach the steel at any time during the expected useful lifetime of the concrete (since having the carbonation front reach the steel would lead to corrosion of the steel and possible failure of the concrete). So, while CO2 absorption certainly takes place, the “carbonation” process is extremely slow (taking hundreds of years) unless the concrete is demolished and broken into small pieces to expose more surface area to the air. In very thick sections (concrete in dams, large structural members, etc.) for all practical purposes (less than many hundreds of years) there is no significant CO2 absorption.

    Cement manufacture is a net CO2 emissions source over less than geologic time scales, but is in fact a small fraction of other CO2 sources.

  120. According to Jaworowski:
    “More than a decade ago, it was demonstrated that…the ice cores cannot be regarded as a closed system, and that low pre-industrial concentrations of CO2, and of other trace greenhouse gases are an artifact, caused by more than 20 physical-chemical processes operating in situ in the polar snow and ice, and in the ice cores. Drilling the cores is a brutal and polluting procedure, drastically disturbing the ice samples.”

    “Liquid water is commonly present in the polar snow and ice, even at the eutectic temperature of −73°C. Therefore, the conclusions on low pre-industrial atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases cannot be regarded as valid, before experimental studies exclude the existence of these fractionation processes.”

    “Recently, Brooks Hurd, a high-purity-gas analyst, confirmed the previous criticism of ice core CO2 studies. He noted that the Knudsen diffusion effect, combined with inward diffusion, is depleting CO2 in ice cores exposed to drastic pressure changes (up to 320 bars—more than 300 times normal atmospheric pressure), and that it minimizes variations and reduces the maximums (Hurd 2006).”

    It seems very plausible that the carbon dioxide ice core records are highly questionable, meaning that hockey stick chart (where have we seen that before) is probably wrong, and that C02 levels have indeed been at least as high as todays’ over the past millennium. I doubt the rise in C02 is nearly as great as is supposed, and therefor, the % attributable to man is probably considerably less than what is supposed. It would be nice if we were responsible for more of the beneficial gas, though.

  121. I went through a lot of the same material, when I first got interested in AGW. Having come to the same conclusion then, I would be hard-put to disagree with it now. And, the insights of the Thermostat Hypothesis are really quite good. Nice work, Willis. It seems like a pretty good model for a piece of the puzzle. But, the question that bedevils is “what is changing the set-point of the thermostat?” There is a lot of chaotic short-term variation, which is not surprising given the feedback mechanisms, but there also seems to be an underlying long-term movement in the center value of the whole thing. There is obviously a large and loud school of thought that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is what is moving the set-point. Perhaps it is, but correlation and causation are different things, and that theory seems to keep needing patching, which is not exactly reassuring. Nor am I convinced by any of the alternatives. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

  122. Bob says:
    June 7, 2010 at 5:05 am

    “Off Topic, but I’ve been following the evolution of David Hathaway’s “Solar Cycle Predictions” of the sunspot cycle for a while. I’ve noticed that when he posts the current month’s real data, he quietly adjusts his predicted curve to fit the real data.”

    This is what MSN Weather does with its WTD/iMAP weather module on MSN homepages. Towards the end of the day, it goes back and changes incorrect forecasts to match what actually happened. It’s fraud, but what else is new in the climate community? Doesn’t Michael Mann spend much of his time rewriting temperature records to make them match his theories?

    Does anybody ever admit to being wrong?

  123. David Archibald

    “The CDIAC is the nuclear industry’s contribution to global warming hysteria. If you look at their experiments on the growth response of plants to increased CO2, they added ozone to their artificial atmospheres in order to get a negative response.”

    Do you have a citation for your statement above?

    I once had a late night (in UK time zone) conversation with Steve M on CA about the possible link between the nuclear industry and CAGW. From my personal experience of working within the UK nuclear industry in the past, I told SteveM that I had never come across this link i..e that IMO CAGW propoganda was not eminating form the UK nuclear industry in order to justify building new nuclear plants – in fact from it!

    Just because ORNL is a former nuclear R&D site but is now largely an ex-nuclear research site/institution doesn’t mean that CDIAC is part of the CAGW propaganda industry. Because of Steve M’s concerns I’ve spent quite a few days researching for evidence of this possible link between the US (and UK) nuclear industry (it definitely doesn’t exist in the UK) and the CAGW propaganda industry. The closest I’ve come to any evidence of it, is a fairly tenuous link between certain DOE funded staff at Pacific Nuclear Labs and some of their CAGW pronouncements and thats about it.

    On the other hand there is a clear demonstrable link between the the UK universities that form part of the Tyndall Centre and BADC, the UK Met office and other DECC/DEFRA funded institutions/organisations like the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology and CAGW propaganda. None of these organisations/institutions have any connections with any of the UK’s former research and development sites like AERE Harwell or Winfrith despite their proximity (Harwell to Oxford and Winfrith to Exeter).

    In fact I fully expected to see some familar names (from my days in UKAEA) on the staff compliment at UK Hadley Centre given my past involvement in modelling with the ‘severe nucelar accident catastrophe modelers’ at Harwell and Winfrith but I have been sadly disappointed to find that not one of them has ended up at Exeter as I was looking forward to contacting them and having some heated debates on thw usefulness (NOT!) of GCMs.

  124. @ G. Karst
    June 7, 2010 at 8:11 am
    SimonH:
    “I propose “AGW believer”.”

    “I agree but “AGW convinced” or “AGW unconvinced” avoids religiosity, while retaining correct meaning.” GK

    Hmm, perhaps for many, but for others it would seem including religiosity would be appropriate.

    Religion
    From Latin religiō (“‘moral obligation, worship’”)
    1. A collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred.
    2. Any practice that someone or some group is seriously devoted to.
    3. Any ongoing practice one engages in, in order to shape their character or improve traits of their personality.
    4. An ideological and traditional heritage.

    Numbers 1 and 2 seem to hit some CAGW convinced people dead on.

  125. Side-notes that I think might be relavent. For one, I saw a study posted about 3 years ago by NASA that showed the Earth overall was 5% greener then 10 years before. I tried to find that study and can’t now, so as much as I hate to say it, you might need to take my word for it.

    Our ecoystem may be able to counter the rising tide of CO2 given enough time, however this is speculation as is the question of how much CO2 our oceans can hold and sequester. There are no facts really known about this, and studies of those two relationships would have been much more beneficial then studies of say mammoth farts…but I digress..

  126. Andrew W says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Of course, those nasty warmists have been trying to explain for years just how solid the evidence is that it is indeed human activity that’s causing the CO2 rise, it’s laughable that many “skeptics” are only capable of accepting the reasoning when it’s explained to them by one of the good people at WUWT.
    __________________________________________________________________________-
    I am more open to Willis and Anthony because I know they are more interested in science than in their next pay check or the next big financial bubble.

    There have been enough people who have run a foul of the establishment and lost their jobs or what ever to make me examine ANYTHING that comes out of the government these days.

    A neutral example: Since the international HACCP system replaced the old US meat inspection system there were ninety-four meat recalls in just one year, over 1000 Food inspection non-conformance reports found as a result of a freedom of Information act request from ‘Public Citizen’ and the Food Inspection Union’s chairman, Stan Painter accuses the USDA of ignoring the problems with HACCP during a Congressional investigation.

    The official “Answer. …. The FSIS investigation has been completed and the allegations concerning improper enforcement of SRM regulations were not substantiated. In addition, the OIG independently sent an investigator and an audit team to examine the allegations concerning SRM regulatory compliance. Their observations also concluded that the chairman’s allegations were unsubstantiated.”

    GRRRRrrrrr PEOPLE died horribly and the US government covered it up! http://www.marlerblog.com/tags/john-munsell/

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/contributors/nicole-johnson/

    Now, tell me again why I should take the word of any scientist who is on the government payroll or gets government grants without checking his work closely.

  127. Excellent reasoning, perhaps with the exception of those sorrow “tree rings” again. “The Problems in interpreting tree-ring δ 13C records”
    There seems to be considerable difficulties to use the tree rings as a proxy for 13C content of the atmosphere too: The presumption is that plants prefer 12C. So if the concentration of 13C increases. this ought not to be directly mirrored in the 13C content in wood. It ought to be less, wouldn’t it? The extent to which 13C is accepted by different plants might vary with concentration and perhaps other factors as say temperature, water, nourishment.
    My bet is that ice cores are better proxies for athmospheric CO2-content. I just guess that the difference in diffusion rate between 13CO2 and 12CO2 is negligible even over thousands of years.

  128. I was starting to worry a bit . . . then I re-drew the top graph with the y-axis going from 0 – 1,000,000 and I stopped worrying.

    I am not a climate scientist, by the way.

  129. Anyone who doesn’t think the CO_2 rise is due to human beings should explain where all that CO_2 we have emitted actually went if not into the atmosphere.

    I find it interesting that the sequestration rate seems to be getting larger – it is trending above the exponential line. If we were using up the capacity of the sea to absorb CO_2 we’d expect to see the opposite. Of course the sea has a huge capacity to absorb CO_2 and so far we’ve barely made a dent in it. Nevertheless you wouldn’t expect the sea to actually be getting more efficient at absorbing CO_2 … or would you?

    In related news … my lawn needs mowing yet again. Perhaps the increased rate of sequestration is due to increased plant growth in the higher CO_2 environment.

  130. The paper is:

    Farmer, John G. (1979) Problems in interpreting tree-ring δ 13C records, Nature, Volume 279, Issue 5710, pp. 229-231.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1979Natur.279..229F

    When I was arguing with young earth creationists they would often trot out old papers to suggest that there were major unresolved issues. One even such paper even showed the sun to be shrinking at such a rate that if it had been shrinking as quickly in the past the sun couldn’t be very old. That was from the 1970s. Older papers. More difficult to track down — or get PDFs of them off the web.

    Used to be that if you were going back to the early 1990s things were tough. Nowadays, however, it is possible to get PDFs of all the Sol Spiegelman and Manfred Eigen papers from the 1960-70s on different strains of Spiegelman’s Monster — the shortest of which is in the neighborhood of 50 nucleotides long — about the same length that linear polyribonucleotides will spontaneously form in the presence of montmorillonite. But I can’t find an actual copy of the paper you are referring to — although I can see that there are a number of papers that dealt with the same topic in the following years.

    Have you checked to see if there was any progress made on this problem?

  131. The return of the LOST SHEEP:
    There were ninety and nine that safely lay
    In the shelter of the fold.
    But one was out on the hills away,
    Far off from the gates of gold.
    Away on the mountains wild and bare.
    Away from the tender AL BABY Shepherd’s care.
    Away from the tender AL BABY Shepherd’s care.

  132. In related news … my lawn needs mowing yet again. Perhaps the increased rate of sequestration is due to increased plant growth in the higher CO_2 environment.

    Alternatively perhaps precipitation has increased and is washing the CO_2 out of the atmosphere at an increased rate.

  133. Rules for Discussion: A masterstroke! It would change this whole field if adherence to this could be guaranteed. How about enshrining that somewhere on the main WUWT page or making it an editorial policy, or something? It should be nailed up by moderators at the beginning of climate debates everywhere — and STRICTLY enforced.

    As for your article, Willis, I find little that is controversial in it, but I would have liked to see more discussion of the empirical evidence for the high proportion of human emissions in the CO2 resident in the atmosphere today. From what I read of isotope studies, emissions comprise a small fraction. This, of course, does not mean that they have not CAUSED the rise in CO2, as the gas is continually being consumed, absorbed and re-emitted by the seas, plant life and geological system, none of which care which CO2 molecules they are absorbing. With the flux in and our of the natural system more-or-less in balance, the addition of human emissions should have the effect of increasing the total but it will be distributed into the various sinks and replaced with naturally occurring CO2, thus it should comprise a smaller proportion of the whole than one would think. I imagine one could use the emission numbers versus the empirical values of resident emitted CO2 to infer something about actual (as opposed to theoretical) absorption rates. I wonder if this has been done.

  134. I left out forest fire suppression as a reason for bump in CO2 in recent years. As was discovered a few decades ago forest fire suppression actually has the opposite effect of what Smokey the Bear wanted – preservation of our forests. Suppressing forest fires allows combustables to accumlate near ground level setting the stage for truly massive fires that can’t be controlled and are so hot that it destroys old growth trees which would have otherwise survived the lesser more frequent fires. When those old growth trees go up in smoke you get a century’s worth of CO2 locked up in the wood released into the atmosphere.

    While land use changes and forest fire suppression are still anthropogenic in origin its not the fossil fuel bogeyman that everyone is focused on and wants to control and it’s not the US that is the big offender. The political drive behind this whole CAGW hoax is ained at two things

    1) Taking over control of fossil fuel use and thus taking over the factor that literally fuels the economic growth of industrialized nations. It’s a power play.

    2) Putting a damper on the US economic and military superpower status. Anything that can’t be blamed on the US is of no interest to the rest of the world or even US domestic self-loathers. Thus we hear next to nothing about the effects of black carbon (soot) produced by dirty diesel engines, slash & burn agriculture, heating of homes with wood and even dung, lack of particulate filters on coal burning power plants, and other assorted soot sources. You see, starting with the Clean Air Act of 1963 the US has dramatically reduced the amount of soot it pumps into the atmosphere. No other country in the world has come close to matching that effort. Moreover we regulate our logging industry such that their harvest methods either don’t denude the land or require planting of young trees to replace the old ones removed and we pretty much no longer use wood as source of fuel and instead much of becomes lumber used in contruction of durable structures where the carbon in the wood remains locked in the wood for a hundred years after harvest. On top of that we now use control burns that don’t destroy old growth forest but rather serve to remove fuel before it accumulates into disastrously hot fires that kill big trees.

  135. Willis,

    You have to go and publish that book.

    Note: There is no need to write it, as I think you have most of it written already.

    40 shades

  136. The worst kind of worry is worrying about what to worry about.

    Once one reaches that point it’s too late to really worry about anything.

    Unless you’re worried about not worrying enough.

    But then there’s a risk of worrying about worrying too much and it becomes a worry about being lost in a circle of worry.

    With AGW, worry has become the devil’s elixir.

  137. Willis
    I will echo the comment Steve Hempell made on the rocket science site. In my case I like the math included at that site, but the downloads are long, and I long since gave my analysis programs such as MATLAB away. So I’m limited to EXCEL and VB.

    Looking at your initial 1000 year plot, one can make a case for man’s increase in CO2, “eyeballing” the apparent rise since the inception of the “industrial revolution” ~1750.

    I’m in the process of completing a book, most of which is irrelevant to this discussion, except for the section discussing mass migration of people from 500 B.C. to 500 A.D., and what effects weather/climate had to do with it. Which has led to trying to better understand temperatures prior to the 1850 point. In looking at the temperature records, there seems to be very little data, if any, outside of central and western Europe.

    One of my thoughts were, if the industrial age started in Europe, emitting all that soot and CO2, might one see a rise there first?

    The following are averaged temperature anomaly charts reflecting the earliest records from Central England, DeBilt and http://www.rimfrost.no/
    sources:

    I used a Fourier convolution, or spectral lo-pass filter, with a cut off at a 40 year period. From my rought view, I don’t see anything happening until more global temps are started to be included from 1900 on, and any warming showing up only after about 1975.
    I liked the Fourier as it included the end points, if used correctly, and allows correlation of other physical inputs which have periodic, or almost periodic secular cycles.

    Any thoughts?

  138. Britannic no-see-um says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:49 am

    How trivial or significant is the direct additional respiratory and food production CO2 emission produced by increases in human longevity and population density since medieval times?
    ____________________________________________________________________________
    The termites beat us hands down.
    “According to the journal Science (Nov. 5, 1982), termites alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. Natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined. (If greenhouse warming is such a problem, why are we trying to save all the wetlands?)”

    Termites emit ten times more CO2 than humans. Should we cap-and-tax them?

    “The 0.03% CO2 content of the atmosphere is minimal and has less impact and is lower in volume than, for example, methane given off by termites (who outweigh humans by 30x). ” http://globalwarminghoax.wordpress.com/2006/08/01/global-warming-is-a-hoax-invented-in-1988/#comment-9266

  139. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t thawing permafrost release the same Carbon isotope as fossil fuel (12C)? Could thawing permafrost as part of a natural warming cycle account for part of the CO2 increase?

  140. “Nick Stokes says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:52 am
    Willis,
    A good explanation of many things, especially the e-folding time. But I don’t agree with your calculation of the 31 year period. I think you have calculated as if each added ton of CO2 then decays exponentially back to the 1850 equilibrium level. But the sea has changed. It is no longer in equilibrium with 280 ppm CO2. Of course it has its own diffusion timescale, and lags behind the air in pCO2. You could think of the decay as being back to some level at each stage intermediate between 1850 and present.

    If you apply that process to the emission curve, you’ll match the airborne fraction with a slower decay (longer time constant) where the decay has less far to go.”

    No, Nick. Exponential decay towards an increasing equilibrium level would need a smaller time constant for the observed rate of sequestration, not a larger one.

  141. stevengoddard says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Claims that cement manufacture introduce significant CO2 are the work of people who don’t understand science. Sadly that includes the US Government. When the cement is mixed with water, it absorbs the CO2 back from the atmosphere. Without CO2 the cement would never harden.

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

    “Carbon dioxide is slowly absorbed to convert the portlandite (Ca(OH)2) into insoluble calcium carbonate. “

    GeoFlynx-

    The cement industry is thought to contribute about 5% of human Co2 emissions. Co2 is released in the manufacture of cement by the calcination of lime and the combustion of fuels in a kiln process. Portland and other hydraulic cements will continue to react with Co2 in the air and further “cure”. The reaction with atmospheric Co2 continues after initial hardening and is very slow often continuing for hundreds or thousands of years. In no way does this continued uptake of Co2 equal the amount of Co2 required in the cement’s manufacture. Hydraulic cements will harden quite well without absorbing Co2 from the atmosphere. Cements of this type are well suited to applications underground and underwater.

  142. If CO2 is the primary driver of temperature changes today, what would the CO2 content be in the atmosphere historically under a reverse prediction of the IPCC temp-CO2 connection?

    Note: I recognize that this argument has a limited application, as it is of a “if a then b, if b not necessarily a” type. However, is it not reasonable that for at least the post 1850 period this argument could be applied? Warmists say that most of the post-industrial warming is AG-CO2 related. Certainly the date of AGW showing up is variable, depending on how much change is desired for alarm purposes. 1850 is used as one reference point, though 1945 and 1975 are also used. The warmist argument also holds that recent changes in astrophysical input are not significant to this warming. A reversal of the prediction would show when solar influences MUST have become significant. CO2 as a significant forcing cannot be JUST in the current era. Or it will show that CO2 measurements by ice core are unreliable … which goes against the warmist view of how global temperatures are moderated even recently.

  143. James Sexton:

    “Hmm, perhaps for many, but for others it would seem including religiosity would be appropriate.”

    Again, I agree, but my suggestion was for those people searching for a term, which does not imply further connotation. Reality sometimes has to move over for politeness! Besides, faith and belief are terms which can be thrown back at us. That is all I have to say. GK

  144. Willis:

    I’m very impressed by your work.

    But to all the people playing “average temperature”, and in the spirit of trying to do GOOD ENGINEERING WORK… “average temperature” is a FICTION and MEANINGLESS. Here is why: Go to any online psychometric calculator. Put in 105 F and 15% R.H. (Heh, heh, I use the old English units, if you are fixated on Metric, get a calculator!) That’s Phoenix on a typical June day.

    Then put in 85 F and 70% RH. That’s MN on many spring/summer days.

    What’s the ENERGY CONTENT per cubic foot of air? 33 BTU for the PHX sample and 38 BTU for the MN sample.

    So the LOWER TEMPERATURE has the higher amount of energy.

    Thus, without knowledge of HUMIDITY we have NO CLUE as to atmospheric energy balances. “Average temperature” discussions, EVEN IF THE PROXIES ARE VALID (something I strongly doubt…take the O18 proxy, geologist use it to trace coastal outfalls from tropic areas, where tropic thunderstorms enrich it. That’s it, period…INVALID as a temperature proxy. KING’S NEW CLOTHES argument, just because it’s been repeated long enough and loud enough does not mean it is true!) the problem is, in terms of atmospheric energy, they are MEANINGLESS.

    Max

  145. “”Smokey says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:09 am
    Interesting CO2/Temp chart.
    Smokey says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:18 am
    P Berkin,
    Here’s another CO2 chart to keep you from worrying. And another.””

    Thanks Smokey, it’s nice to have a reality check.

    Measurements like ‘tons’ etc, are meant to fool.

    Percentages are all that matter, and out of that very small percentage,
    how much is ‘man made’ and how much of that can we really do about it?

  146. I’ve currently interested in the work of Dr Christine Jones, retired soil scientist. She recently made the following statement.

    “This year Australia will emit just over 600 million tonnes of carbon. We can sequester 685 million tonnes of carbon by increasing soil carbon by half a per cent on only two per cent of the farms. If we increased it on all of the farms, we could sequester the whole world’s emissions of carbon.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2008/s2490568.htm

    Perhaps our agriculture methods are having more effect on CO2 levels than we realise.

  147. Interesting piece Willis. Your conclusions on post-1850 CO2 trends seem fair, but I don’t think that the pre-1850 CO2 data that you show in Figure 1 tell the whole story. Back in 1996 I did an analysis of the available CO2 proxy data, most of which were from ice cores, and the results differed form what you show. The relevant figure from this paper is shown in my blog (http://suddenoaklifeorg.wordpress.com) here:

    http://suddenoaklifeorg.wordpress.com/2010/01/10/the-potential-role-of-peatland-dynamics-in-ice-age-initiation/

    Note that I found a slight but significant downward trend in CO2 concentrations during the few thousand years leading up to 1850. So I’m curious why the difference in these data sets?

  148. P. Berkin says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:04 am
    I was starting to worry a bit . . . then I re-drew the top graph with the y-axis going from 0 – 1,000,000 and I stopped worrying.
    I am not a climate scientist, by the way.

    However YOU ALREADY KNOW THE TRICK : By making “convenient graphs” you’ll scare housewives and politicians will praise you, and, what is more important in these days, you’ll eat tomorrow and you won’t lose your house the day after tomorrow.

  149. Nice work Willis. It’s notable to find the number of responses that are not on point. perhaps you should add a 7th rule about being germane, or about admitting when one is wrong. Anyway, I should catalogue the various ways in which people avoided simple agreement with your hypothesis. Also I want to reserve special criticism for those people who still do not understand what the TRICK is. The trick has been covered in detail many times, but I will do it one more time. the TRICK consists of this

    1. truncation of a proxy series. {not always required}
    2. Splicing a temperature series onto that.
    3. smoothing the result.
    4. failing to indicate that this is what you did by NOT distinguishing the data sources.

    The KEY ELEMENTS are these
    1. performing a mathematical operation on the two datasets that regards them as measures of the same thing. The smooth.
    2. presenting the result AS IF it were data from from one source.

    Folks Willis has not performed the trick. I give him a F on climate science trickery.

    Anyway, to respond simply. I agree with you willis. There is more C02 in the atmosphere today than in 1850. The best explanation for that is man’s activities.
    I’ve seen nothing in the way of argument that would lead me to seriously question either of those.

  150. The perfect linearity of the pre-eighteenth century curve is a surprise. Against that background, the more recent trend stands out like a sore thumb. I am not greatly concerned with that, however, because you cannot jump from there to argue that it warms the world if you cannot explain the mechanism. The IPCC starts out with the Svante Arrhenius formulation but this does not give as much warming as they want so they fudge it by adding positive feedback from water vapor. This is how they get their alarming forecasts. But now we have two reasons to doubt them: Willis has come out with a “Thermostat Hypothesis” whereby tropical clouds and thunderstorms actively regulate the temperature of the earth. And now Ferenc Miscolczi (E&E, vol. 21, no. 4, 2010) has a theory according to which water vapor feedback is not positive as IPCC would have it but strongly negative which prevents any temperature excursions caused by excess greenhouse gas concentrations. He also points out that for all practical purposes the oceans are an essentially infinite source of water vapor. Which means that AGW simply cannot happen. And fretting about an increase in the partial pressure of atmospheric CO2 is nothing more than an unnecessary distraction designed to make us fear that coming warming it is supposed to bring.

  151. “The termites beat us hands down.
    “According to the journal Science (Nov. 5, 1982), termites alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. ” Ha! That’s where all the extra CO2 is coming from — the termites in the south having a field day since air condidtioning made living there viable.

    Actually, I have a bit of a problem: All this CO2 rising seems to be post 1950 but the industrial age started in the early 1800’s. Parts of England, France, Poland and Germany were covered in soot from the coke and steel production by the 1870’s and the US was ramping up to speed in Pennsylvania but the increases shown n the charts don’t reflect this. Since the 1960’s on, manufacturing has become cleaner with scrubbers, etc – even with China and India. The biggest change that can see to human fuel useage that follows the CO2 usage charts is the automobile.

  152. toho says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:43 am
    “No, Nick. Exponential decay towards an increasing equilibrium level would need a smaller time constant for the observed rate of sequestration, not a larger one.”

    Yup. that is exactly right. Depending on what level of CO2 from land use change you believe (Willis is taking a high value), the decay constant ranges from about 31 years to about 43 years (if you believe a much lower land use contribution, as several recent studies suggest). In any case, the IPCC projections of CO2 decay rates are way to low.

  153. Overall, a reasonable posting.

    A few thoughts:

    “Now, how can we determine if it is actually the case that we are looking at exponential decay of the added CO2? One way is to compare it to what a calculated exponential decay would look like.”

    This presumes there is only one sink, and that it is infinite, as another commenter noted. There are multiple sinks, of limited capacity, acting on different timescales. What Willis has captured is most likely the upper 700m of the ocean, a fast acting sink, as is well known by the already apparent rise in carbon content of this volume. If a sink is fast acting, it is likely to reach an equilibrium point quickly; so, expecting the same rate of decay into the future is problematic.

    under “Issue 3. 12C and 13C carbon isotopes”

    I think Willis is making the mistake of thinking of CO2 absorption by the ocean as a one-way trip. A decent analogy is to imagine a host of tennis players knocking green balls to each other; the balls are CO2 molecules and the net is the boundary between water and air. The court is littered with balls. If you dump a bunch of orange balls onto one side, they don’t simply ‘decay’ to the other side; in a little while, an equilibrium is reached where there are orange and green balls on both sides.

    @Slioch:
    “the reaction whereby CO2 is most readily absorbed is NOT by simple reaction with water”

    I would expect that CO2 would have to be absorbed by the water before it could react with the other chemicals in the water. How much gas is absorbed in water is largely a function of temperature and relative concentrations; no chemical reaction is required there. What you have shown is better labeled as how an increase in CO2 content leads to a decrease in pH, rather than as how CO2 is absorbed.

    Ian H,
    “I find it interesting that the sequestration rate seems to be getting larger – it is trending above the exponential line. ”
    That’s about the opposite of how I see the graph. Looking at the end points and the rate of change of the slopes, calculated airborne is less than actual airborne, and calculated absorbed is higher than actual absorbed. I suspect Willis had to tweak the decay rate vary carefully in order to be able to overlap the curves without the differences between the rates of change (and the rates of change of the rates of change) (derivative and second derivative for those familiar with calculus) being readily apparent.

  154. “Richard S Courtney says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:43 am”

    Many thanks for your detailed schema!

  155. Double or quits!
    Someone mentioned that there was not enough economically accessible fossil fuel left in the world to produce a doubling of CO2 levels. Maybe not even enough to double it against pre-industrial levels. That is a pretty important statement as CAGW scenarios pretty much rely on that doubling. A response to that was that out gassing had plenty to spare. This post seems to say don’t hold your breath. What are the facts?

    Oil
    Global proved oil reserves in 2008 fell by 3 billion barrels to 1,258 billion barrels, 0r 52.836 trillion US gallons with an R/P (reserves-to-production) ratio of 42 years.
    (http://green-energysaving.com/carbon-emissions/how-much-oil-is-left-in-the-world-when-will-oil-run-out/)
    (http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9023769&contentId=7044915)

    Gas
    Global proved reserves of natural gas in 2008 were 185.02 trillion cubic meters or roughly 6,500 trillion cubic feet with an R/P ratio of 63.1 years.
    (http://www.carboncounted.co.uk/when-will-fossil-fuels-run-out.html)
    (http://green-energysaving.com/carbon-emissions/fossil-fuels/how-much-natural-gas-is-left-in-the-world-when-will-natural-gas-run-out/)
    (http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9023779&contentId=7044843)

    Coal
    World Energy Council 2007 global coal reserves was 847 billion tonnes. BP’s 2008 total estimate was 826 billion tonnes with an R/P ratio of 122*. Roughly half of this is sub-bituminous and lignite.

    (But Prof. David Rutledge, chair of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology applied the “Hubbert linearization method” to today’s major coal-producing countries, including the US, China, Russia, India, Australia and South Africa. Hubbert linearisation suggests that future coal production will amount to around 450 billion tonnes – little more than half the official reserves.

    Although most academics and officials reject the idea out of hand, over the past 20 years, even official reserves have fallen by more than 170 billion tonnes even though production is only 6 billion tonnes per year. 50 billion has “disappeared” from the official estimates – 20 billion between 2007 and 2008.

    In February 2007, the European Commission’s Institute for Energy reported that the reserves-to-production (R/P) ratio had dropped by more than a third between 2000 and 2005, from 277 year’s worth to just 155. By 2008 this was 122.

    *The world coal institute notes however that recent falls in the R/P ratio can be attributed to the lack of incentives to prove up reserves, rather than a lack of coal resources. Exploration activity is typically carried out by mining companies with short planning horizons rather than state-funded geological surveys. There is no economic need for companies to prove long-term reserves.)
    (http://green-energysaving.com/carbon-emissions/fossil-fuels/how-much-coal-is-left-in-the-world-when-will-coal-run-out/)
    (http://www.davidstrahan.com/blog/?p=116)
    (http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/where-is-coal-found/)
    (http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle.do?categoryId=9023784&contentId=7044480)

    Summary of world fossil fuel resources
    For our purposes I will take the highest figures to arrive at the highest achievable levels of CO2. So 1,258 billion barrels of oil, 6,500 billion cubic feet of gas, 413 billion tonnes of “black” coal and 413 billion of “brown” coal.

    The combined liquid fuels from an average barrel of crude oil will produce a minimum of 317kg of CO2 when consumed. (http://numero57.net/2008/03/20/carbon-dioxide-emissions-per-barrel-of-crude/)

    So we get 398,786 billion Kg of CO2 from all known oil reserves

    1000 cubic feet of Gas will results in between 115lb – 120lb of carbon dioxide depending on the temperature at which the cubic feet were measured.
    (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html)
    (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/coefficients.html)

    Let’s stick to our rule of taking the worst case. We get 6.5 billion X 120lbs or 780 billion lbs of CO2. That is just less than 354 billion kg from gas.

    Best quality anthracite produces 2.84 times its own weight in CO2 falling to lignite at only 1.4 times its own weight.
    (http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/coal/quarterly/co2_article/co2.html)

    Coal type CO2 lbs per short ton
    Anthracite AC 5685.00
    Bituminous BC 4931.30
    Subbituminous SB 3715.90
    Lignite LC 2791.60
    (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/coefficients.html)
    (The short ton is a U.S. unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds. For the most part this post uses metric tonnes = 1000 kgs – it is noted when otherwise)

    For our calculation we will again apply our worst case rule and say all black coal is Anthracite and all brown coal is sub-bituminous. 413 billion X 2.84 = 1,173 billion tonnes plus 413 X 1.86 = 768 billion tonnes. 1,941 billion tonnes in all or (big number alert!) 1,941,000 billion kg of CO2 from all known coal reserves.

    The coal number makes the oil and gas figures look like a minor problem. “Oil and gas by themselves don’t have enough carbon to keep us in the dangerous zone [of global warming] for very long,” said Pushker Kharecha, a scientist and colleague of Hansen at NASA GISS. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/12/oil-not-the-cli/#ixzz0q7dazJcf You can kind of see where J Hansen’s death trains are coming from. Sorry –sorry, wash my mouth out etc. Anyhoo!

    Total CO2 from burning all known fossil fuel reserves would be 2,340,140 billion kgs. Loads! – but what is that in p.p.m. of the total atmosphere? Well…

    The weight of the Earth’s atmosphere is 441,000 billion x 10 = 4.41 million billion (long) tons. Or 4,480,000 billion metric tonnes.
    (http://www.hydrogen.co.uk/h2_now/journal/articles/2_global_warming.htm)

    2340.140 / 4,480,000 = 522p.p.m.

    So yes it could more than double CO2 levels.

    Except that only 40% of that will stay in the atmosphere for any meaningful length of time. A constant unchanging 40% by the way. Knorr, W. (2009), Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L21710, doi:10.1029 / 2009GL040613.
    (http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/knorr2009_co2_sequestration.pdf)

    This reduces the potential CO2 from burning all known reserves of fossil fuel to just 208 p.p.m. beyond where we are now.

    Given what Willis Eschenbach tells us here about natural out gassing, that is about another 45 p.p.m. to come. 253 p.p.m. in all?

    Even if the IPCC are right about 3degC per doubling that means we would struggle to find 2degC of warming left in fossil fuels and “feedback” out gassing combined.

    And…relax

  156. Here is a Null Hypothesis:

    When air is trapped in snow which over decades becomes trapped by more snow and buried in ice below the firn, the CO2 in the trapped air diffuses initially into the snow layer then into the ice below the firn such that a steady state concentration balance of CO2 in the ‘bubbles’ is reached after several centuries of diffusion in both directions.

    Until this hypothesis is disproved all ice core proxies should be treated with extreme caution. Especially as the results from ice cores run so counter to the results from stomata counts after all fossilized plants are used for temperature proxies.

    (some studies of diffusion have been done see: CO2 diffusion in polar ice: observations from naturally formed CO2 spikes in the Siple Dome (Antarctica) ice core
    Jinho AHN, Melissa HEADLY, Martin WAHLEN, Edward J. BROOK,
    Paul A. MAYEWSKI, Kendrick C. TAYLOR).. Shows diffusion in the firn as well as in the ice.

  157. My issue is with figure one ice core data. I am very skeptical that all the core data readings gave exactly the same CO2 measurement (plus or minus a few ppm). I feel assumptions have been made leading to the result shown in the figure. That is, the ice core data as interpreted by current science may not be an accurate representation of ancient CO2.

    1. I imagine the readings were averaged, and I imagine that the estimated dates ascribed to each reading were off by decades — centuries for more ancient data. This could lead to a seeming constant CO2 — when actually there was considerable variability.

    2. CO2 trapped in ice may not be entirely trapped. It could diffuse in ice over the centuries — again averaging out large gains and losses with the same effect as item 1.

    3. I imagine the ice core CO2 “measurement” was not precisely 270ppm (or whatever) in all 8 cores — possibly in no core. Rather, the readings were quite different. Then, “Kentucky windage” was applied by adding or subtracting an amount from the “level” CO2 ppm to make ice core readings coincide with recent historical atmospheric measurements. This is circular reasoning — “we can adjust old values to today’s values because CO2 has not changed until recently”. Thus, the “perfect hockey stick shape” — is based on assumption and circular reasoning.

    4. I have never seen proof that actual CO2 levels in ice cores are literally invariant over centuries or on a millennial scale. That is, the amount initially trapped may not be the amount currently in the ice. This not the same concern as item 2 (but may seem similar). So, a measurement taken today from 1000 or 10000 year old ice may not be representative of the CO2 amount originally trapped in the ice. No, there is just an amount of CO2 present today — its correlation to the amount initially present a thousand years ago is not a proven fact — it is an assumption.

    Hence, if we do not really know the past history of CO2 (some folks make assumptions about it, but do not really know), then we can’t be confident about what processes are raising CO2 now.

    If we are being asked to change our lifestyles and pay out trillions in new taxes to prevent CO2, we need much stronger evidence.

  158. A number of published studies suggest that between about one fifth and one third of a pulse of CO2 would remain in the atmosphere for long periods, only being eventually removed over millennia as the slow weathering of rocks delivers more CO3– to the oceans.

    Those studies completely discount the rest of the biosphere.

  159. ” Joe Lalonde says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Willis,
    I enjoy these mind manipulation response games so, here goes.[...]”

    Somehow this turned me off from reading the rest of whatever Joe Lalonde had to say…

  160. Lastly, regarding the abstract of the Nature article,

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v279/n5710/abs/279229a0.html

    Farmer 1979.
    (Think we may have learned a bit more since then?)

    The mismatch of the amounts predicted by a simple calculation of the anthro sources and the amounts observed would be consistent with idea that CO2 tends to be released by the biosphere when the temperature increases. This would fit the historical records where CO2 appears to be a positive feedback on Milankovitch cycles. This fits with the swings in climate being larger than the forcings of the cycles. So, in the present day, CO2 could be it’s own positive feedback. (No, there is no run-away, but that’s too long to explain here.)

  161. 1) To be thorough, Beck’s research and data have to included here. Geocarb’s 600 million year graph should also be included. The impression given is that only man can change CO2.

    2) It is highly unlikely that CO2 would be so consistent over time, volcanoes and warm/cold spells would definitely have an influence – man might, too. As with climate, CO2 would be constantly varying with the conditions.

    3) Why is it ignored totally that the Mauna Loa data and ice core only “agree” because the ice core data was time shifted (artificially/fraudulently?) 84 years into the future? In my book, this horrendously poisons the resulting graph which melds two vastly different data sets.

    4) As mentioned by others, Jaworowski has pointed out that ice core CO2 measurements CANNOT be interpreted as absolute—there is just too much trauma involved in taking cores. Although I usually agree with most articles presented here, I think that taking ice cores as sources of absolute CO2 data is a major failing of the discussion in this article.

  162. @ Doug Proctor
    “1850 is used as one reference point, though 1945 and 1975 are also used.”

    Yep! I use this as a “tell”! It’s bad enough the referenced time periods are arbitrary and have no real reasoning behind the picking of the time periods, but they’re entirely different time periods! The 1850 is for CO2 or industrialization even though man started to industrialize well before 1850 and made greater CO2 emissions well after 1850. The ’45-’75 seems to be somebodies idea of an ideal climate. I’ve never been allowed to vote for which time period I preferred. Even if CO2 and temps had a direct correlation, it wouldn’t be appropriate to include them in the same references unless the posit is CO2 emissions lag to effect temps is about 100 years. Which, the lag thing never made much sense to me. CO2 emissions are immediate. So, too, is the re-radiative properties of CO2, unless some can tell me how it takes x amount of time to train CO2 to become a greenhouse gas. Or perhaps it takes so long for the CO2 to bounce the energy back to earth from the enormous altitude of 10 km.

    Pop quiz!! Does anyone know how much of the energy absorbed by tropospheric CO2 is radiated back down to the earth by percent? I’ve always assumed 50%, but I don’t know that either.

  163. Friends:

    I write to dispute an assertion made by several people here that determiation of the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 is a trivial matter not worthy of investigation. Perhaps this assertion was best stated by Ernesto Araujo (June 7, 2010 at 7:15 am) who wrote:

    “The debate about what causes CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is pointless. What matters is: does the increase in CO2 concentration cause warming? The whole thing is about Global Warming, not about CO2 concentration. To indicate that CO2 increase causes warming, you would need to present a curve where temperature oscillations match CO2 concentration, and that curve clearly does not exist for the last 1000 years, nor for the last 150 years.”

    This assertion is wrong on two counts; viz. theoretical and practical.

    Michael Faraday gave a clear answer to the theoretical point when the then UK Prime Minister asked him what use Farady had for his work on electical induction. Farday replied that he knew of no use for his work but he was confident that somebody would find a use for it someday. Well, “somebody” did, and nobody could be reading this if “somebody” had not.

    And the practical point is directly pertinent to the argument put by Ernesto Araujo and others. The hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is being used as justification for amending energy, industrial and economic policies world-wide. But that hypothesis is founded on three assumptions: viz
    (1) It is assumed that the anthropogenic CO2 emission is the major cause of the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration
    and
    (2) It is assumed that the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration is significantly increasing radiative forcing
    and
    (3) It is assumed that the increasing radiative forcing will significantly increase mean global temperature.
    There are reasons to doubt each of these assumptions. But if any one of them were known to be false then the entire AGW hypothesis would be known to be false.

    Perhaps the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is anthropogenic, but it would seem injudicious to disrupt energy, industrial and economic policies on the basis of an assumption that the rise is anthropogenic.

    Richard

  164. An interesting article Willis unfortunately it is full of errors and contradictions, these may have already been pointed out but I have not had time to read all the posts.

    First the history of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. The ice core samples are not the only proxy but all other proxies are noticeably ignored. Regarding the ice core data I recommend J J Drake’s paper “A Simple Method to in ice core data.” A few of the key points, below a certain level all the gasses are dissolved in the ice due to the pressure there are no gas bubbles. The solubility of the gasses are very different thus CO2 is absorbed quicker than the other gasses even in the firn. The CO2 migrates in the ice and some gets locked into calthrates, this CO2 does not get released during the crushing process. From the isotopic analysis of the O18 the H2O and the CO2 can have a difference in age of up to 7000 years and there is a correlation between the age difference and the measured concentration of CO2.

    I would also like to recommend Dr. Tim Ball’s paper “Measurement of Pre Industrial CO2 Levels”. This shows the 500 million year history of CO2 and global temperatures which clearly indicates zero correlation between CO2 and temperature.

    Most ice cores will cover from 100 years to 1000 years in a single core so they are at best a general average thus they can not be compared to daily samples taken with state of the art analytical equipment. The leaf stomata proxy however is a much more precise indicator of the CO2 content in the atmosphere in the year the leaf grew, carbon dating is quite accurate since the half life is around 5300 years for C14. The leaf stomata evidence shows how erroneous and misleading the ice cores are.

    Now we turn to the carbon cycle reference IPCC AR4 section 7.3.1. In engineering there is a basic calculation called a mass balance, now try to apply some of these basic principles to Fig 7.3, If the air contains 597 GT of natural and 165 GT of anthropogenic CO2 then the ratio dissolving in the oceans and being absorbed by the biota should be in this ratio. What do we have, a ratio of 70 t0 22.2 by the ocean ( close) and 120 to 2.6 by the biota ????? Now when the water in the surface of the oceans evaporate we have 900 to 18 in the liquid water but 70.6 to 20 when it evaporates, now this is really getting strange.

    Then we have 244 GT of fossil fuel carbon released all time by human activity but 100 GT is already sequestered in the deep ocean leaving 144 between the air ocean and biota, but look there is 169 GT in the air alone, this is what I would term political math. The make up is the minus 140 anthropogenic in the land which I assume is CO2 released by land use, if this is the case it must be shown as a flux since this carbon is not anthropogenic created but it is released by human activity there is a 1.6 GT flux shown but how can this account for 140 GT?? Now there is a 119.6 flux caused by respiration but where is the anthropogenic component.

    I created a simple mass balance program using the figure values for carbon content where possible and the iteration with all ratios balanced in both directions leads to a 2.4 year residence time for all CO2 in the atmosphere and the total CO2 content was adjusted to 860 GT to bring the figure up to data of which 79.9 G which gives 34.3 ppm as the human impact even taking the generous number of .004 deg C per ppm this yields an impact of 0.14 deg C on the global climate.

    Let us now consider your evaluation of residence time and half life here I am afraid you get very confused “The strength of the exponential decay is usually measured as the amount of time it takes for the pulse to decay to half its original value (half-life) or to 1/e (0.37) of its original value (e-folding time).” How on earth can half its value be 0.37 of the same value? more political math?

    There is only one half life or residence time and if you cut something in half enough times it becomes insignificant but it never reaches zero and that is where the IPCC nonsense comes from. The estimate of 6 to 8 years for the half life is high and does not agree with the most recent research. I think the average is about 5 years but by mass balance calculation it is 2.4. Your number of 211 GT per year of carbon flux yields a half life of aproximately 4 years for an atmospheric content of 860 GT. I believe the cycle is much higher than 211 GT per year, check the seasonal variation in the NH levels of CO2 due to just the annual vegitation and you start to get a picture of how large the biota uptake is.

  165. Are you crazy? Only a fool would believe these deniers and warmists and econazis with their base motives.

    Seriously though, great post, really elucidated the topic nicely for me.

  166. J. Bob @9:34 a.m.,

    Interestingly, your charts look like this one. They generally seem to begin rising around 1900.

  167. Willis

    are you saying that there is 2,460.15 billion tons of co2 in the atmosphere?

    I have not been able to find a figure above 750 billion tons for co2.

  168. Ian H:

    At (June 7, 2010 at 9:08 am) you ask:

    “Anyone who doesn’t think the CO_2 rise is due to human beings should explain where all that CO_2 we have emitted actually went if not into the atmosphere.”

    But your question has been answered in two different ways above.

    I answered it at (June 7, 2010 at 2:43 am) where I explained that the anthropogenic emission enters the carbon cycle.

    And at (June 7, 2010 at 6:18 am) Steve Keohane explained that the anthropogenic emission gets lost in the error terms of the estimates of natural emissions.

    These two different answers amount to alternative views of the same effect.

    Until somebody can provide a sufficiently accurate measure of all the sources and sinks for the anthropogenic emission then those who “think” the CO2 rise has an anthropogenic cause need to answer the question as to why they “think” that.

    I want to know if the cause of the recent rise is anthropogenic in part or in whole. The anthropogenic emission could be the cause of the rise, but consideration of the carbon cycle suggests that the anthropognic emission is irrelevant to the cause of the recent rise (please see my post at June 7, 2010 at 2:43 am for an explanation of this).

    Richard

  169. The problem with this chart is that you are arbitrarily assuming one type of exponential decay for the anthropogenic component of CO2, and implicitly an entirely other, and faster, one for natural CO2. Aside from extremely minor isotopic distribution differences, nature essentially cannot tell the two molecules apart.

    If you apply the same time constant to the much larger portion of naturally generated CO2, you will quickly find the atmosphere almost entirely composed of CO2. The only way to square this would be to hypothesize that the CO2 reservoir is saturating, and becoming less able to absorb the new, anthropogenically generated CO2. But, if that were the case, the yearly variations in CO2 you see in the MLO and other records would be progressively increasing in amplitude and warped. Instead, they are very regular for the past 50 years.

    The isotopic ratio question is entirely speculative and, as others have noted and as has been dramatically demonstrated in the Mann-made temperature hockey stick, the grafting of proxy data onto measured data is highly questionable. So, overall, you have questionable evidence supporting an implausible hypothesis. There can be no doubt that the CO2 rise is mostly natural, it will eventually falter, and then researchers will actually start to look for what really caused it.

  170. @ Steven mosher

    Well, he did splice……:-)
    As far as germane, if the question was simply do we have more CO2 today than 150 yrs ago, then no, they aren’t very germane. However, today, any mention of CO2 has an implicit connection to a myriad of topics while I’m left to wonder how a discussion on CO2 is germane to anything other than photosynthesis.

  171. One other thing that I feel a need to vent on: the question of whether to call AGW advocates “warmists”. “Warmist” is awfully tame compared to “denier”. “Denier” is clearly an intentional reference to Holocaust deniers, and should be offensive to every thinking man and woman on Earth.

    The History channel and other cable channels have been showcasing retrospectives on WWII for the past couple of weeks, what with Memorial Day and D-Day remembrances. My wife and I watched the episode of “The World at War” focusing on the concentration camps just the other night. I can barely see straight when I contemplate these jerks popping off about “deniers” and recall the unimaginable barbarity of the Nazis which we were reminded of again that night. I would urge you to delete any posts snarking off about “deniers” immediately and without qualification.

  172. Not quite answering Willis’s question but James’s comment to Roy Spencers blog entry sums up extremly well the relative control on volumes of CO2 that AGW believers want to implement.

    Blog here – http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/06/warming-in-last-50-years-predicted-by-natural-climate-cycles


    James Davidson says:
    June 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM
    CO2 levels in 1890 were 290 ppmv. ( Siple ice core.) Current levels ( Mauna Loa ) are 388 ppmv ( round it up to 390 ppmv ) for an increase of 100 ppmv over the last 120 years. The mistake a lot of people seem to make is to treat these as whole numbers, instead of what they are- the numerators of fractions. In 1890 CO2 constituted 290 millionths of the atmosphere, and this has now risen to 390 millionths of the atmosphere – an increase of 100 millionths. To express this as a fraction, multiply by 100, for an answer of 0.01%. If someone in 1890 had decided that CO2 levels should be kept constant and had succeeded 120 years later to within one hundredth of one percent, they would think they had done pretty darn well. I really cannot believe that such a small increase can have had ANY effect on global warming, and as Dr Spencer has shown, natural variation is a more likely candidate.

    Willis calculations assume that with the exception of sequestration the effect from the natural world is largely static or at least much smaller. With man’s fossil fuel contribution being only1/24 of the volume produced by nature (Ian Plimer P180 man nearly 4%, Oceans nearly 60% and animal nearly 40%) it would only take a small change there to swamp and invalidate Willis’s calculations. And we know that in the past from ice core data that CO2 has generally changed with a 800 year time lag on temperature so it is extremely unlikely to have been static during this period.

    So to propose controlling CO2 levels “to within one hundredth of one percent” with natures vastly larger variable input – how reasonable is that.

  173. My understanding is that most CO2 is produced from the decay of organic matter. Would increasing temperatures accelerate this process? Would the millions of miles of roads, often concrete or gravel, create local heating effects to do the same? These local heating effects, producers of CO2 (my assumption), would have a greater effect from locations that are rather cold like cities in Russia and such land use changes may produce isotopic signatures similar to fossil fuel use due to old/frozen plant matter finally having a chance to decay and release their ancient CO2.

    Just some thoughts. Cheers.

  174. ” Steinar Midtskogen says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:59 am

    Humans are most certainly the cause of the recent CO2 increase. A simple graph comparing CO2 with the population should offer an important hint:


    Why should the number of humans be proportional to the CO2 concentration? If anything, the number of humans would have to be proportional to the differential of the CO2 concentration. Or do you posit a magical amount of CO2 in the air per living human individual? How should that work?

  175. “Given all of the issues discussed above, I say humans are responsible for the change in atmospheric CO2 … but… please be aware that I don’t think that the change in CO2 will make any meaningful difference to the temperature.”

    OK. I would say it slightly differently: Given all of the issues discussed above, I say humans are responsible for some of the change in atmospheric CO2 … but… please be aware that I don’t think that the change in CO2 will make any meaningful difference to the temperature.

    Love your rules Willis!

  176. ” barry moore says:
    [...]
    Let us now consider your evaluation of residence time and half life here I am afraid you get very confused “The strength of the exponential decay is usually measured as the amount of time it takes for the pulse to decay to half its original value (half-life) or to 1/e (0.37) of its original value (e-folding time).” How on earth can half its value be 0.37 of the same value? more political math?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-folding

  177. Bart says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:34 am
    … Aside from extremely minor isotopic distribution differences, nature essentially cannot tell the two molecules apart.

    Are you sure – where are your figures? As the Iranian nuclear industry is learning, isotopes of different mass do behave differently on the basis of that difference – it is not impossible for heavier C13 to settle faster than C12. This would put a spanner in the works. (“Extremely minor” – 8.3% mass difference, not quite insignificant.)

  178. Is there any ocean floor core samples that show CO2? I ask this because there are 50+ sites for those and only 8 for ice cores. It would be nice to see a larger group if we are talking about world wide levels as opposed to localized ones. The recently online CO2 satellite does show that CO2 is not evenly distributed.

  179. Thank you Willis for a balanced and informative article.

    I agree that the balance of evidence suggests that mankind is responsible for most of the measured rise in CO2 since 1850, although I also agree with other posters that the proxy measurements prior to 1850 are not necessarily accurate for comparison with modern measurements.

    But I do have a problem with the connection with increased CO2 and increased warming (particularly of the catastrophic kind). Can someone help me out here problem because my scientific knowledge is seemingly lacking on the following reasoning:

    CO2 exists at less than 400ppmbv in the atmosphere (in fact, I believe ALL the GGs which have a ‘radiative forcing’ factor as described by the IPCC) exist at less than 400ppmbv. To my logic, therefore, each GG molecule capable of radiating is surrounded by approximately 2500 molecules of ‘greenhouse-inert’ N2, O2 molecules or Ar atoms. The fact that CO2 can re-radiate having absorbed LW radiation is well-known, but – and here is the main point of my confusion – simply re-radiating does not directly infer significant warming. The radiation has to be absorbed by another molecule capable of absorbing radiation and then that molecule must transfer heat by conduction to its neighbouring molecules. Given that air is a poor conductor, how is it possible that one GG molecule can conduct enough heat to enough neighbouring molecules to create a catastrophic warming? I agree a very small amount of warming is likely, but the mechanism surely has to be conduction, not radiation, and the number of neighbouring molecules which can warm by conduction must be small.

    I am probably missing something important here, so could someone please advise?

    Obviously I have ignored water vapour but then it is not included as a GG when it comes to radiative forcing, and I still find it hard to believe that a GG concentration of 400ppm will have that much effect even with the wv feedback.

  180. The history of the last 10,000 years clearly tells us that -despite Dr Mann’s work-the climate goes up and down like a yo yo. It has at times been rather warmer than today and at times much colder. If Co2 has been constant throughout this period it has surely been a very weak climate driver. We need to be told why it has now changed its characteristics and become a much more powerful climate driver in the modern era compared to the past.

    The only other credible scenario is that-as would be expected- CO2 does fluctuate in some sort of reflection of the warm and cold periods the Earth experiences as oceans outgas or absorb it. What seems likely, if this alternative scenario is correct, is that the proxies-primarily ice cores-are not an accurate reflection of real world CO2 levels.

    There is far too much evidence of warmer and colder times to believe that Dr Mann is correct and that his barely fluctuating temperature scenario can be set neatly besides a similarly flat co2 concentration.

    So in conclusion either CO2 is, at best, a weak climate component, or that past levels have not been accurately recorded by ice cores. In either scenario surely CO2 is merely responding to the climate that preceded it, not causing it.

    Tonyb

  181. Oslo says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Well, as you say – your first graph resembles the Mann hockey stick, and perhaps for good reason, as it seems to utilize the good old “trick” – splicing the instrumental record onto the proxy data.
    Here is another graph, clearly showing the instrumental data (red) disjointed from the proxies:

    So the question is, as with the hockey stick: do the figures from the two methods even belong on the same graph?
    _________________________________________________________________________
    Thank you for that graph. What I see as interesting is the many data points below 200 ppm. Some as low as about 170 or 180 PPM. At these levels some types of plants have great difficulty growing and reproducing. Do we have evidence of massive plant die offs to substantiate the ice core numbers?

    At 180 ppm to 200 ppm C3 plants (trees) would have a very difficult time competing with C4 plants (grasses) and could not complete their life cycles especially in warmer or drought (ice age) conditions. Low levels of CO2 also leads to leaf loss to conserve moisture and slow rates of growth in C3 and C4 plants. A history of atmospheric CO2 and its effects on plants, animals, and ecosystems
    By J. R. Ehleringer,

    Elephants eat trees, that is why they developed trunks. So what did mastodons and woolly mammoths eat?

    elephants:
    * Spend 16 to 18 hours a day either feeding or moving toward a source of food or water.
    * Consume between 130 to 660 pounds (60 to 300 kg) of food each day.
    * Drink between 16 to 40 gallons (60 to 160 l) of water per day.
    * Produce between 310 to 400 pounds (140 to 180 kg) of dung per day.

    mastodons and mammoths:
    …mammoths had ridged molars, primarily for grazing on grasses, mastodon molars had blunt, cone-shaped cusps for browsing on trees and shrubs. Mastodons were smaller than mammoths, reaching about ten feet at the shoulder, and their tusks were straighter and more parallel. Mastodons were about the size of modern elephants,

    From the preserved dung of Columbian mammoths found in a Utah cave, a mammoth’s diet consisted primarily of grasses, sedges, and rushes. Just 5% included saltbush wood and fruits, cactus fragments, sagebrush wood, water birch, and blue spruce. So, though primarily a grazer, the Columbian mammoth did a bit of browsing as well. Mammoths

    And how about the Giant Sloth

    “The giant ground sloth was one of the enormous creatures that thrived during the ice ages. Looking a little bit like an oversized hamster it probably fed on leaves found on the lower branches of trees or bushes. The largest of these ground sloths was Megatherium which grew to the size of a modern elephant with a weight over five tons.

    Giant Sloths had very large, dangerous-looking claws. Despite their size they were probably only used to strip leaves or bark from plants. Their teeth were small and blunt in keeping with their herbivore diet. Examinations of their hip bones suggests that they could stand on their hind legs to extend their grazing as high as twenty feet.

    How could these creatures be eating trees when the CO2 levels were at 180 ppm and trees were all but extinct? For that matter given browsing pressure and problems with growing enough to produce seed why didn’t trees become completely extinct? like this?

  182. ” Juraj V. says:
    [...]
    Today, the rate of CO2 rise plays well with SST data.
    http://climate4you.com/images/CO2%20MaunaLoa%20Last12months-previous12monthsGrowthRateSince1958.gif1998 El Nino is clearly visible, also La Nina and volcanic eruptions. But strange that 2007 La Nina is not visible. More, as oceans start to cool, the rate of rise stabilizes.

    That’s a beautiful illustration of what Beenstock & Reingewertz found out – that the temperature anomaly can not be (Granger-)caused by the level of CO2 but only by the differential of the CO2 level, if at all.
    The thread about their paper is here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/14/new-paper-on/

  183. There is no doubt in my mind that the CO2 measurements from Mauna Loa and other stations of the same type around the world the are solid, and that the steady exponential rise is they show directly are related human activity one way or another the most likely causes being the that of land use change and a fossil fuel burning used in our somewhat antique power generation technology. I also accept the ice core data as good proxy for the baseline ~280 ppmv CO2 pre-industrial atmospheric concentration, I just little pussled by th small variation (+/- 2ppmv I belive) it shows for the last 2000 years or ,beforehan I would have thougt we should see greater variations, so there is a wisp of a suspion that maybe we are missing something essential there, but ist not very strong or well founded.

    But what prompted my comment here was this part of a comment from Ian Hayes
    …” I find it interesting that the sequestration rate seems to be getting larger – it is trending above the exponential line.” ….
    It reminded me that I had somtime back in time come across a ( now slightly aged it is a critique of some part in the IPCC AR3 report rather than the latest and now much ridiculed AR4) paper by Dr. Jarl Ahlbeck at the (late) John Daly’s website
    the link is here , Alhbeck : CO2 Sink 1970-2000…

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

    It’s an anlysis of resent past and a future forcasting exercise for atmospheric CO2 concentration attributable to human activity, the math is nothing exotic and easy to work through , and I at least can find no fault with it.
    What struck me was his his result that the fraction of human CO2 emission ending up in the athmosphere for each year had gone down from either 52% to 39% or 69% to 49% depending on whether the figure for land use change estimate is included in total emission or not.
    If he is right and this is not an a spurious signal somehow related to the data from 1970-2000 period that he is using but a the there is a large CO2 sink unaccounted for in the UN dream models eating up an ever larger slice of anthropogenic emission, an he project that the airborne fraction would go down below 20 % by year 2100.
    I just wonder what could this sink be , if it exists

  184. ” Bart says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

    The problem with this chart is that you are arbitrarily assuming one type of exponential decay for the anthropogenic component of CO2, and implicitly an entirely other, and faster, one for natural CO2. Aside from extremely minor isotopic distribution differences, nature essentially cannot tell the two molecules apart. ”

    Plants can: “Carbon 13 is also a stable isotope, but plants prefer Carbon 12 ”
    from

    http://environmentalchemistry.com/yogi/environmental/200611CO2globalwarming.html

  185. Steve in SC says:
    June 7, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Willis, you owe Jimmy Buffet big time.
    Be ashamed!

    Busted. Glad someone caught it … my last foray into mangled quotations was:

    Well, I had discovered some truly remarkable aspects [of Mauna Loa CO2 - w.] which the margin of this blog post is too small to contain …

    But nobody busted me for that one …

    Also, the title of my last post, “Under the Volcano, Over the Volcano” was a riff on Malcolm Lowry.

    Ah, well. As the poet sez …

    Full many a gem of purest ray serene
    The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
    Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
    And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

    That’s me, blushing unseen … riiiight …

    w.

  186. What is the estimated intake versus outtake of carbon in the oceans at the varying SST’s? From 0C to 30C, what are the ratios in tonnes every 1C?

  187. stevengoddard says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Claims that cement manufacture introduce significant CO2 are the work of people who don’t understand science. Sadly that includes the US Government. When the cement is mixed with water, it absorbs the CO2 back from the atmosphere. Without CO2 the cement would never harden.

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

    “Carbon dioxide is slowly absorbed to convert the portlandite (Ca(OH)2) into insoluble calcium carbonate. “

    Interesting, Steve, I’d never heard of that thought. Do you have any numbers on that (amount absorbed vs amount emitted)?

  188. Martin says:
    “Although it would be interesting to know how much (globally) fermentation produces.”….

    I challenge warmists to actually live their nonsense by giving up ALL, yes ALL, carbonated beverages. why? Because they are a major source of useless CO2 being ‘freed’ in our system. Millions of bottles an hour being opened must have some effect, and since they are a LUXURY, not a necessity of life, then those most concerned would gladly give up their drink–not a day, or week, but forever. If not, then they are just bandwagoneers on for the ride with little belief in their own ‘belief’.

    Try it. Figure it out. To warmists, ALL luxury items contributing must shut down. I guarantee you with all that I am, very few, would give up a beer, or coke, or spritzer for their cause. You will know them by their actions.

    Just how much CO2 is released? I don’t know, but EVERY bottle opened is a needless addition in their mind… or should be.

  189. Willis – AGW supporter sounds like a jock strap and AGW believer sounds like a cult member ; I personally prefer Alarmist. It has been my experience that people that consistently preach doom and gloom are consistently wrong : e.g. Paul Ehrlich.

  190. Dave Springer says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:22 am

    ‘You see, starting with the Clean Air Act of 1963 the US has dramatically reduced the amount of soot it pumps into the atmosphere. No other country in the world has come close to matching that effort. ‘

    I disagree. The UK’s Clean Air Act dates from 1956. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the transformation of the former USSR did much the same for vaste swathes of eastern Europe and former Soviet countries.

    Other commenters have suggested that this mass removal of aerosols from the atmosphere might have contributed to whatever warming we saw in the latter part of the 20th century.

  191. phlogiston says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    You are arguing an entirely different matter. I am not speaking of two molecules specifically defined on a technical level. I am speaking of a naturally occurring molecule and an anthropogenically released one. One sample may be ever so slightly likely to have a different number of neutrons that the other, but across the entire ensemble of natural and anthropogenically released molecules, there is little difference.

  192. KDK,

    Don’t forget toilet paper, which is made from beneficent CO2-sequestering trees. According to Laurie David, one sheet is enough. Anything more is a luxury.

    I wouldn’t want to be downwind from Ms David.

  193. Pyromancer76 says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:10 am

    … Yes, sometimes you can take the “opposition’s” figures and research for granted and work out the science. However, if those figures are not accurate or do not take the complexity of conditions into account, I am not sure they can be valid. As I first read the essay, a number of red flags went up in my mind:

    1,2,and3. Ice cores, ice cores, ice cores. Too much depends on CO2 registration in ice core data which has been neatly been fitted to Mann’s Hockey Stick without enough checking and cross checking.

    As I said before, numbers beat opinions. Do you have any evidence that the ice core data has been “neatly fitted”? That’s why I used ice core data from eight different cores, analyzed by nine different investigators. If you think there is collusion between all of them to “fit” the ice core data to a preconceived value, you need to provide some evidence.

    Also, the only data that I said was reasonably solid is the Mauna Loa data. The rest has varying degrees and types of problems. But it’s the best we have.

    Next are you taking the CDIAC dataset at face value when we know how much, dare I say it, dishonest, fudging the data upward has been done with the temperature (thermometer) data? Can you assert that this data can be fully trusted in its current “official” state.

    The CDIAC data is based in large part on the country reporting. However, it is quite similar to data used by the Europeans and the US EPA. Yes, I’m sure that there are errors … but I think it is reasonably good. This is supported by the good fit between the emissions data and the atmospheric CO2 data.

    Then there is the chemistry, perhaps more complex than you suggest (Slioch 2:41 am).

    While the issue raised by Slioch (called the “Revelle effect”) does change the numbers, it does so only marginally. I made a conscious decision not to discuss it, as it does not add to the evidence either for or against the theory of anthropogenic origin of the CO2 rise. The Revelle effect is small, and it will only show up in the long term. At present, we don’t have enough years of data to determine if it is real, or to estimate its size from the observations.

    Then there is the rather amazing history of climate and human activities during warm periods (tonyb 1:42 am). Are you really sure that there was no rise in CO2 because of (at least) outgassing from the oceans during those times — like 1850 to today? Is the flat line from ice cores reasonable to a reasonable mind?

    Both the ice age data and the underlying chemistry suggest that the kind of temperature rise you are talking about (a degree or two) would make only a very small difference in the atmospheric CO2 levels (on the order of 10 ppmv or so). This is hardly visible in Figure 1 (although I note that the Law Dome record dips by about that amount around 1650). I doubt that the 95% CI on the ice core data is that small.

    Short answer? Yes, all of the datasets in climate science leave a lot to be desired. But they are all that we have, so all we can do is use them, and keep the caveats visible.

    w.

  194. DirkH says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    You did it, too. Sorry I confused the matter with an unfortunate turn of phrase. I am not separating molecules into 12C and 13C. The difference in isotopic distribution in naturally and anthropogenically generated CO2 is negligible in terms of how rapidly they should be reabsorbed.

  195. Willis,

    Another excellent essay. It would have been a perfect essay if you had been able to integrate the plant stomata and GeoCarb data with the ice core data. I think you’d find that the resolution of the ice core data are insufficient and that they consistently run 15 to 40 ppmv lower than the global average. Van Hoof et al., 2005 demonstrated that the ice core CO2 data essentially represent a low-frequency, century to multi-century moving average of past atmospheric CO2 levels.

    This blog post might be of some interest: CO2: Ice Cores vs. Plant Stomata.

    Based on the stomata data, I think that century-scale variations of CO2 from 275 to 360 ppmv have not been uncommon during the Holocene. I just don’t think the ice cores can resolve those variations.

    The West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide Ice Core Project may yield some much higher resolution Antarctic ice core data than has thus far been available.

  196. mkelly says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Statement written for the Hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    … However, for Willis to be correct Prof. Jaworowski must be wrong. I doubt he intentionally lied to Congress.

    That’s called the “fallacy of the excluded middle”.

    I also doubt that he intentionally lied to Congress. However, he gives no reference to his “original” Siple data, so his claim can’t be verified.

    In addition, he claims that to adjust his unverified “original” data, that:

    … the average age of air was arbitrary decreed to be exactly 83 years younger than the ice in which it was trapped

    The reason that the air in ice cores is younger than the ice is well understood, and is not disputed by anyone in the field but Jaworowski.

    In addition, the air in the Siple cores was found to be younger than the ice by 30 years in two of the cores, and by 58 years in another core. In no case was it “arbitrarily decreed” to be “exactly 83 years younger”.

    So in my opinion, Prof. Jaworowski didn’t lie … but he was mistaken. That’s the “middle” that you excluded.

    w.

  197. Bart says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

    One way I may have led others astray is that, in the first sentence of my third paragraph, I did talk about the 13C/12C ratio question. But, this sentence was unrelated to the previous two paragraphs. In the first two, I explain why the anthropogenic attribution hypothesis is implausible. In the third, I explain the reasons why I believe the evidences are questionable. I sum these together in the penultimate sentence:

    “So, overall, you have questionable evidence supporting an implausible hypothesis.”

  198. tallbloke says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Harry says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:16 am

    RULES FOR THE DISCUSSION OF ATTRIBUTION OF THE CO2 RISE

    Amen!

    Didn’t work too well on the debate about Ravetz’ theory, where the main protagonist of ad hominem attacks and extreme language was…. Willis Eschenbach.

    ;-)

    Good to see you too, tallbloke. I thought my response to Dr. Ravetz was free of ad hominem attacks, but of course, YMMV.

    My language was extreme because, as a result of Dr. Ravetz’s inanities, I have suffered innumerable personal attacks because I don’t buy into his nonsense. In addition, his “post-normal science” theory is responsible in part for the destruction of good scientific practice we see in too much of climate science.

    I’m passionate about both of those issues … so sue me.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled dynamite explosion …

  199. Willis: Would be very interesting to see you splice the Mauna Loa CO2 data onto Beck’s CO2 data in one of your nice graph… I am not holding my breath… but i will keep my fingers crossed :-)

  200. ” Steinar Midtskogen says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:59 am

    “Humans are most certainly the cause of the recent CO2 increase. A simple graph comparing CO2 with the population should offer an important hint:”

    Have you checked against the population of thermites? Because if all humans are disappeared, we will for sure be replaced by just as many kilograms of insects, as there are kilograms of humans.

  201. Suzanne says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:25 am

    The Stauffer/Berner paper addresses the same points made by Jarorowski about the validity of the Ice cores as a measurement of previous atmospheric CO2 levels. Jarowowski maintained that the ice was not a closed system as pertains to CO2.
    When one looks at the Vostoc ice core record, it is apparent that the older the core, the more obvious the lag between the change in temperature and the change in CO2.

    The lack of accuracy in the dating of the ice core records, increasing as we go back in time, is well known and widely discussed in the field.

    The point has already been made that the stomatal measurements of CO2 show much more variability and do not track the ice core records.

    My impression (haven’t read too much on the stomatal measurements) is that there are some problems with the stomatal data. One that I haven’t seen discussed much is this:

    The assumption is that if there is more CO2, a plant needs less stomata to gather the CO2. The number of stomata is generally as small as possible in plants, because plants lose water through stomata, so they need to keep the number down.

    However, what happens when there is a long wet period? Plants would have more stomata, since water loss would be less of a problems … I’m sure you see the difficulty.

    There has been no mention of Beck’s compilation of >90,000 historical CO2 measurements which showed a post war rise in CO2 to about 400 ppm, which would make the peak just after the warm period of the 30′s and during WWII. Callender showed similar variability but then selected those values he thought fit the theory.

    On the Mauna Loa thread this was just discussed a couple days ago, including a comment from Beck himself. My conclusion was that the Beck records do not represent the background CO2 level … and Beck agreed.

    It is surprising that no one is actually publishing research on the question of movement of CO2 through glacial ice in light of the evidence that ice may not give an accurate picture of CO2 levels.

    Huh? These and other questions of confounding variables (e.g. production of CO2 in the ice from included organic materials, estimates of historical firn closure times) are all areas of active discussion.

  202. BBk says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:11 am

    “So, what should we expect? In the early decades of a pulse of CO2 being added to the atmosphere, with a “fresh” ocean awaiting, the near exponential decay of CO2 is possible. But as the surface layers of the ocean become more saturated with CO2, its ability to absorb more CO2 declines, and the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere departs from the exponential, and becomes much slower. ”

    This assertion ignores diffusion of CO2 from the surface to the lower levels of the ocean. If diffusion (removal of CO2 from the surface to the lower volume) happens at a faster or equal rate to the absorbtion of CO2 from the atmosphere then the ocean can be considered “fresh” until the entire volume “fills.” While, in theory, eventually the ocean would saturate, the rate would be very slow.

    Have there been any studies about the rate of diffusion of CO2 through the ocean layers?

    My gut feeling is that since we’re dealing with Volume vs Area, that diffusion would, indeed, be a much larger value.
    ______________________________________________________________________
    Your synopsis of the Carbon Cycle completely ignores the fact that CO2 is taken out of the system as a solid and deposited at the bottom of the ocean.

    “Calcium occurs in water naturally. Seawater contains approximately 400 ppm calcium…..
    The reaction mechanism for carbon weathering is:

    H2O + CO2 -> H2CO3 and CaCO3 + H2CO3 -> Ca(HCO3)2

    And the total reaction mechanism:

    CaCO3 (s) + CO2 (g) + 2H2O (l) -> Ca2+ (aq) + 2 HCO3- (aq)

    The product is calcium hydrogen carbonate.”

    See: http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/water/calcium/calcium-and-water.htm#ixzz0qCQwTEHV

    “…CO2 is also removed from solution to a small extent when proteins are present, by direct combination with amino side groups to form carbamino compounds….” http://www.acidbase.org/index.php?show=sb&action=explode&id=63&sid=66

    Then there is the formation of shells and coral that is then deposited on the bottom of the sea, later to become limestone. Not to mention all the ocean plant life utilizing CO2 to grow and then become fish food…..

    There is a heck of a lot of information about the carbon/CO2 cycle with the math here from an EPA research scientist: http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf

  203. Statement written for the Hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    Climate Change: Incorrect information on pre-industrial CO2

    March 19, 2004

    Statement of Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski
    Chairman, Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection
    Warsaw, Poland

    The notion of low pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric level, based on such poor knowledge, became a widely accepted Holy Grail of climate warming models. The modelers ignored the evidence from direct measurements of CO2 in atmospheric air indicating that in 19th century its average concentration was 335 ppmv[11] (Figure 2). In Figure 2 encircled values show a biased selection of data used to demonstrate that in 19th century atmosphere the CO2 level was 292 ppmv[12]. A study of stomatal frequency in fossil leaves from Holocene lake deposits in Denmark, showing that 9400 years ago CO2 atmospheric level was 333 ppmv, and 9600 years ago 348 ppmv, falsify the concept of stabilized and low CO2 air concentration until the advent of industrial revolution [13]. ”

    11. Slocum, G., Has the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere changed significantly since the beginning of the twentieth century? Month. Weather Rev., 1955(October): p. 225-231.
    12. Callendar, G.S., On the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Tellus, 1958. 10: p. 243-248.
    13. Wagner, F., et al., Century-scale shifts in Early Holocene atmospheric CO2 concentration. Science, 1999. 284: p. 1971-1973.

    Sorry again figure 2 would not copy. Please note last sentence about stomata. I have included references (11,12,& 13) .

  204. 1DandyTroll says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Isn’t it a bit silly, and IPCCian, to state that if a person truly don’t have another viable hypotheses that can explain the increase in carbon emission, that fairly fits the world increase of tomato use or population or the number of new rice fields or et cetera, then people can’t speak their mind, less they wanna pretty much be ignored.

    See, this is why I asked people to QUOTE what you are disagreeing with. I said:

    So if you are going to believe that this is not a result of human activities, it would help to answer the question of what else might have that effect. It is not necessary to provide an alternative hypothesis if you disbelieve that humans are the cause … but it would help your case.

    That is neither silly nor IPCCian. It is a statement of fact. You don’t need to propose an alternative hypothesis to falsify an existing one. But it does help your case if you can do so.

  205. David Archibald says:
    June 7, 2010 at 7:49 am

    With respect to residence time in the atmosphere, I understand that the A bomb tests of the 1950s showed the half life to be five years. This means that the atmosphere is in equilibrium with part of the oceans with a lag of only a few years. My caculations say that on average it is the top 100 metres.

    You are again conflating residence time (6-8 years or so) with the half life (much longer).

  206. Today they can apparently create 1500 pound of coke from 1 ton of coal. But it still takes coal to create more efficient coal.

    But back in the day, to which every greenies wants to take us it seems, what they called efficiency was utterly terrible by today’s standard, of course it would’ve pretty pissy otherwise.

    Then it takes “coal”, so as not to confuse some people, to make iron, of course it took coal to mine the iron. It took coal to shape the iron that required coal to mine the iron that required coal to make the coal to melt and shape and separate.

    It takes coals and “coals” to make steel. It takes a lot of coal just to make the tools you need. So it takes more coal to shape that steel into the tools you use to make and shape the steel with, then it takes more to do useful crap you can sell.

    It takes an enormous amount of coal to be industrious today, it took even more in 1850, and even more before that, due to less efficiency. And that’s just iron and steel, add to that copper and bronze, lead, tin, et cetera. Heh, how about 500 years of gunpowder use in Europe between 14th and 19th century? How much, I wonder, carbon was emitted in the whole process of creating the cheapest lightest at some 60-70 pound iron stove, which pretty much every family had?

    The more I try to wrap my head around it, the concept of 0.5 GT carbon at 1850 and before as depicted by one of the graphs, is just getting more and more silly. If somethings’ve been constant, or there about, for a very long time in statistics, chances are pretty darn good it probably didn’t start at zero or any where close.


  207. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:13 pm
    On the Mauna Loa thread this was just discussed a couple days ago, including a comment from Beck himself. My conclusion was that the Beck records do not represent the background CO2 level … and Beck agreed.

    And the ice core does a better job for the period 1826-1960!!!

  208. AndrewS says:
    June 7, 2010 at 8:27 am

    One is the residence time of CO2. This is the amount of time that the average CO2 molecule stays in the atmosphere. It can be calculated in a couple of ways, and is likely about 6–8 years.

    The other measure, often confused with the first, is the half-life, or alternately the e-folding time of CO2. Suppose we put a pulse of CO2 into an atmospheric system which is at some kind of equilibrium. The pulse will slowly decay, and after a certain time, the system will return to equilibrium.

    That I don’t get. Assuming residence time of 6 years we get ~16.7% of all pulse absorbed in first year. ~30.5% is gone after two years. And after only four years more that half of original pulse will be absorbed (~51.77%). That means that 6 years residence time results in less than 4 year of half-life time. Same analysis for 8 years of residence time results in just above 5 years of half-life time. Is anything wrong with my reasoning?

    Andrew

    Yes. What is wrong is that you are conflating residence time (the amount of time that the average CO2 molecule stays in the atmosphere) with the e-folding time (the amount of time it takes for a pulse of CO2 emitted into a system at equilibrium to decay to 1/e [0.37] of its original value).

  209. By the way I donot disagree with the idea that some of the increase of CO2 is from human activity I just think the amount is too high.

  210. Dave Springer says:
    June 7, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Willis asks what else other than human CO2 emissions might have caused recent rise.

    Land use changes – primarily taking out old growth forests. Remember how the Kyoto protocol was originally supposed to credit countries for reforestation efforts until it was discovered that the US had planted so many trees it would get a huge credit then the Europeans balked at giving a credit for reforestation and then Clinton and Bush both decided not to sign it when the reforestation credits were removed.

    I have included an estimate of CO2 emissions from deforestation as shown in Fig. 2. They are nowhere near large enough to cause the recent rise.

    Warming oceans. Natural warming of the ocean releases dissolved CO2 like a glass of beer.

    Again, I discuss this in the head post, and it is not large enough to cause the recent rise either.

    Question for Willis: throughout the vast majority of earth’s history atmospheric CO2 levels were at least several and as much as order of magnitude higher than today. It’s only during the relatively recent period of glacial-interglacial cycles where the earth’s temperature and CO2 content of the atmosphere has been this low. The whole damn planet was tropical for most of its history. How do you explain that given the sun was 10% cooler in the distant past and fossil fuel reserves were being built up instead of being burned up.

    How would I know? I’m not sure I even understand your question. And I don’t know if anyone knows why CO2 levels have varied so much through paleohistory.

  211. Hoppy says:
    June 7, 2010 at 5:00 am

    “Does the CO2 level in the trapped ice represent the composition of the original air or is it the final equilibrium concentration between the trapped air and compressed snow. If it is an equilibrium then it would be a low level and very constant like that shown in Figure 1.

    http://www.igsoc.org/journal/21/85/igs_journal_vol21_issue085_pg291-300.pdf

    CO2 in Natural Ice
    Stauffer, B | Berner, W
    Symposium on the Physics and Chemistry of Ice; Proceedings of the Third International Symposium, Cambridge (England) September 12-16, 1977. Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 21, No. 85, p 291-300, 1978. 3 fig, 5 tab, 18 ref.

    Natural ice contains approximately 100 ppm (by weight) of enclosed air. This air is mainly located in bubbles. Carbon dioxide is an exception. The fraction of CO2 present in bubbles was estimated to be only about 20%. The remaining part is dissolved in the ice…..”
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Thank you very much for this bit of research. Note the DATE: September 12-16, 1977 This was written before skeptical scientists were muzzled.

    As a chemist who graduated in 1972 I can tell you that there were Gas Chromatographs, Infrared Spectrophotometers, Atomic Absorption, Mas Spec and other modern analytical tools available at that time and analysis to ppm levels was routine.

  212. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

    stevengoddard says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:09 am

    “Carbon dioxide is slowly absorbed to convert the portlandite (Ca(OH)2) into insoluble calcium carbonate. “

    Well yes, in theory at least, and this is certainly true near exposed surfaces of newly cast concrete. But most Portand cement based concrete is cast in slabs thick enough to preclude the easy entrance and diffusion of CO2, once the hydration process gets underway and the cement has a firm “set”. Indeed, reinforcing steel is normally set at a depth in the concrete sufficient to insure that carbon dioxide does not diffuse enough to reach the steel at any time during the expected useful lifetime of the concrete (since having the carbonation front reach the steel would lead to corrosion of the steel and possible failure of the concrete). So, while CO2 absorption certainly takes place, the “carbonation” process is extremely slow (taking hundreds of years) unless the concrete is demolished and broken into small pieces to expose more surface area to the air. In very thick sections (concrete in dams, large structural members, etc.) for all practical purposes (less than many hundreds of years) there is no significant CO2 absorption.

    Cement manufacture is a net CO2 emissions source over less than geologic time scales, but is in fact a small fraction of other CO2 sources.

    Thanks, Steve, that’s why I had asked Steve Goddard for numbers on the question.

    And you are right, as of the most recent data (2005), cement production is responsible for only 4% of the total CO2 emissions.

  213. J. Bob says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:34 am

    … The following are averaged temperature anomaly charts reflecting the earliest records from Central England, DeBilt and http://www.rimfrost.no/
    sources:

    I used a Fourier convolution, or spectral lo-pass filter, with a cut off at a 40 year period. From my rought view, I don’t see anything happening until more global temps are started to be included from 1900 on, and any warming showing up only after about 1975.
    I liked the Fourier as it included the end points, if used correctly, and allows correlation of other physical inputs which have periodic, or almost periodic secular cycles.

    Any thoughts?

    Yeah, don’t trust the recent CET temperatures. They are far from a continuous record, as different stations have been added and removed over time. See an early analysis of mine on this question here.

  214. kwik says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Richard S Courtney says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:58 am

    That is what I call using your little grey cells.

    Come on Willis! That pre historic CO2 proxy is low pass filtered!

    From Segalstad;

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef3.htm

    And;

    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef5.htm

    Yes, it likely is … but so what? Run a low pass filter on the Mauna Loa Observatory data and what do you get? You basically get the original data back, because there is so little high frequency variation in the MLO data.

  215. DirkH says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    “Why should the number of humans be proportional to the CO2 concentration? If anything, the number of humans would have to be proportional to the differential of the CO2 concentration. Or do you posit a magical amount of CO2 in the air per living human individual? How should that work?”

    kwik says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    “Have you checked against the population of thermites? Because if all humans are disappeared, we will for sure be replaced by just as many kilograms of insects, as there are kilograms of humans.”

    I do not posit an exact correlation, but at least it’s closer than CO2 and temperature. The amount of CO2 in the lungs or the mass of humans is of course insignificant. Human activity is more than breathing. And somehow the impact on CO2 seems to be the same for a pre-industrial society as a modern one. I think it will be difficult to find ways to reduce CO2, if that is what we want to do, unless this observation is explained.

  216. Max Hugoson says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Willis:

    I’m very impressed by your work.

    But to all the people playing “average temperature”, and in the spirit of trying to do GOOD ENGINEERING WORK… “average temperature” is a FICTION and MEANINGLESS. Here is why: Go to any online psychometric calculator. Put in 105 F and 15% R.H. (Heh, heh, I use the old English units, if you are fixated on Metric, get a calculator!) That’s Phoenix on a typical June day.

    Then put in 85 F and 70% RH. That’s MN on many spring/summer days.

    What’s the ENERGY CONTENT per cubic foot of air? 33 BTU for the PHX sample and 38 BTU for the MN sample.

    So the LOWER TEMPERATURE has the higher amount of energy.

    Thus, without knowledge of HUMIDITY we have NO CLUE as to atmospheric energy balances. “Average temperature” discussions, EVEN IF THE PROXIES ARE VALID (something I strongly doubt…take the O18 proxy, geologist use it to trace coastal outfalls from tropic areas, where tropic thunderstorms enrich it. That’s it, period…INVALID as a temperature proxy. KING’S NEW CLOTHES argument, just because it’s been repeated long enough and loud enough does not mean it is true!) the problem is, in terms of atmospheric energy, they are MEANINGLESS.

    Max

    While this comment about enthalpy is true, I don’t think it makes a significant difference in the real world. Take a look at my comment here for an actual measurement of the difference at the Eureka (Canada) weather station.

  217. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    “Run a low pass filter on the Mauna Loa Observatory data and what do you get? You basically get the original data back, because there is so little high frequency variation in the MLO data.”

    Depends on the order of the filter, and how low you set the corner frequency, and whether any dominant modes are located at a zero or notch of the filter. Put it through a 12th order Butterworth with 200 year corner frequency, and you will see virtually no recent rise at all.

  218. This is another excellent thread – thank you, Anthony and all. And I particularly value Richard Courtney’s contributions to it.

    Richard S Courtney says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:43 am

    I do not know if the cause of the increase is in part or in whole either anthropogenic or natural, but I want to know.

    Spoken as a true scientist, Sir.

    And Richard S Courtney says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:06 am

    (My response). You talk of AGW, but for me the accusation is CAGW. So, for me, you left out of your argument:

    (4) It is assumed that an increase in mean global temperature, of the magnitude predicted by those who accept the first three assumptions, will have negative consequences for human civilization.

    Cheers,
    Neil

  219. Willis Eschenbach says
    June 7, 1:20 pm

    You are again conflating residence time (6-8 years or so) with the half life (much longer)

    Not so – residence time is half life / ln 2 (which is 0.693). Thus t1/2 is a bit shorter than residence time (tau).

  220. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 7, 2010 at 8:46 am
    So, while CO2 absorption certainly takes place, the “carbonation” process is extremely slow …

    My understanding of the way concrete/cement works is that over time calcium silicate is formed, which is the hardening process. That is why sand is added. So the nett effect of manufacture and use is the conversion of CaCO3 to CaSiO3, with permanent displacement of CO2.

  221. Will F says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Willis

    are you saying that there is 2,460.15 billion tons of co2 in the atmosphere?

    I have not been able to find a figure above 750 billion tons for co2.

    Again, please quote what you are disagreeing with.

    I had said that the conversion from C (not CO2) to ppmv is ~ 2.13 gigatonnes per ppmv, as that is what I had read. This gives about 820 Gtonnes of C in the atmosphere.

    How is the conversion calculated? Hang on, let me do the numbers … the total mass of earth’s atmosphere can calculating by taking the atmospheric pressure and multiplying by the area of the Earth’s surface. Doing this gives you:
    1013.25 millibars = 101325 Pascals = 10332.27 Kg/m^2 * 5.11E14 m^2 = 5.28E^18 Kg

    CO2 is currently 383 ppmv, This is about 582 ppm by mass. Therefore CO2 in the air comprises 5.28E^18 * .000582 = 3.07E15 Kg, or 3070 gigatons of CO2. Dividing by 383 gives us 8.03 gigatons of CO2 per ppmv of CO2.

    These numbers, in turn, needs to be multiplied by the weight of carbon (12) divided by the weight of CO2 (44) to give us weights of C. This calculates out to 2.19 gigatonnes of C per ppmv. I used 2.13 above, as I had not run the actual numbers, and that’s well within the error of the measurements. Someone else said it was 2.18, so their number was better than mine. However, it makes little difference (less than 3%) in my calculations.

  222. Bart says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:34 am

    The problem with this chart is that you are arbitrarily assuming one type of exponential decay for the anthropogenic component of CO2, and implicitly an entirely other, and faster, one for natural CO2. Aside from extremely minor isotopic distribution differences, nature essentially cannot tell the two molecules apart.

    No, I’m not. The ice core data indicates a system at general equilibrium. Exponential decay relates to the decay of pulses of input to a system at equilibrium, not to the flows that make up that equilibrium.

    However, it makes no distinction as to which molecules came from where. It only calculates the rate at which the system returns to equilibrium, not which molecules are involved.

  223. “Steinar Midtskogen says:
    [...]
    I do not posit an exact correlation, but at least it’s closer than CO2 and temperature. [...] I think it will be difficult to find ways to reduce CO2, if that is what we want to do, unless this observation is explained.”

    It’s a spurious correlation. Replace the number of humans with World GDP total or anything else that grows roughly exponential… say the total of freeway kilometers globally. Without a physical mechanism or hypothesis, there are too many things you can correlate.

    (Now some people will say “But what Beenstein and Reingewertz did was analyzing possible causality without looking at a possible physical mechanism so that’s unphysical as well and thus not important.” The answer to that would be: Beenstein and Reingewertz have shown that there cannot be a direct causation of temperature anomaly through total CO2 level because the statistic properties don’t match. They have EXCLUDED a possibility, not suggested a new correlation like you do here.)

  224. Actually, I have a bit of a problem: All this CO2 rising seems to be post 1950 but the industrial age started in the early 1800′s. Parts of England, France, Poland and Germany were covered in soot from the coke and steel production by the 1870′s and the US was ramping up to speed in Pennsylvania but the increases shown n the charts don’t reflect this. Since the 1960′s on, manufacturing has become cleaner with scrubbers, etc – even with China and India. The biggest change that can see to human fuel useage that follows the CO2 usage charts is the automobile.

    It is my personal theory, that the increase in CO2 is attributable to the Green Revolution.

    Although productivity has increased due to the use of fertilisers etc – this is only the productivity of things we *want* to grow. If you look at a field full of lettuce, yes, there are plenty lettuce, but there is also literal acres of bare soil where nothing is growing. Useful productivity is up, total productivity is down.

    Farming is not the art of growing things. I can clear an area of soil and within 2 weeks it will be choked with plants of one sort or another. Farming is the art of killing stuff you don’t want growing, whether they be plants, insects or animals.

    The rise is carbon dioxide is all the weeds that don’t grow every year now. That’s a relief for the other plants, which aren’t now choking for air.

  225. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    “No, I’m not. The ice core data indicates a system at general equilibrium. Exponential decay relates to the decay of pulses of input to a system at equilibrium, not to the flows that make up that equilibrium.”

    The system has to be continuous. You cannot separate the dynamics of the equilibrium from the dynamics in a neighborhood of the equilibrium like that. It does not describe any physical system in this universe.

  226. Graph of Vostok ice core data found laying around Wikipedia (Wikimedia). It is listed as pubic domain and sourced as US Government work, but wiki version is colorized while the source is black and white, some may find the B&W one easier to read.

    Note at the bottom where they try to match up insolation peaks with 18O concentrations. What exactly are they trying to show there?

    Other interesting things:
    This graph shows (by eyeball estimation) the atmospheric CO2 levels dropped as low as around 180 ppm about 12,000 years ago. However other research concerning plants (link) shows that during the Last Glacial Maximum the plants experienced CO2 concentrations as low as 110 ppm. From this, as opposed to the normal line of inquiry, the question arises as to why the ice cores show such a high level of CO2.

    The past 10,000 or so years look very “noisy” with regards to temperature. It is noticeable though how the temperatures seem confined to a certain rage while CO2 concentrations shot up from about 260 to about 285 ppm without an accompanying rise in temperature.

    This graph may be compared to this one which was found used at the “Simple English Wikipedia.” It is sourced from Petit et al (1999) using data found at this NOAA-NCDC site. It also shows recorded dust levels (Question, is soot included?) with a note on the linked wiki page saying “Higher dust levels are believed to be caused by cold, dry periods.” As seen by the peaks, the levels of dust have risen considerably since 350,000 years ago.

    I am requesting help on “translating” that last wiki page. By the listed edit summary, there was a version championed by and edited by William Connolley, last change on 12 Feb 2006. File history though only lists one version, the current one, dated 15 Feb 2006, from a user not appearing in the edit summary. Was there an earlier version used, the mention of it removed from the File history?

    (Side note: For those upset with Wikipedia’s engineered pro-(C)AGW bias, you do not want to see what was done to the “Simple English” version likely to be used by young schoolchildren. Found in Carbon Dioxide, a short and simple “Intro to Science” article: “Overall, this climate change causes global warming, but it can also make winters much longer and colder in some areas.” Ugh.)

  227. Willis,

    IMHO you need to divide the atmosphere into two parts. The part where liquid water exists, and the part where it does not. The dwell time of a soluble gas in a rain storm is going to be radically different from its dwell time over a frozen pole.

  228. Dirk H – Willis’s wording was very poor I see the residence time is a different length of time than the e-folding but the plot of the quantity of CO2 wrt time for a pulse of CO2 released is the same so why confuse the issue, the concept of the time required for the pulse to reduce to 50% (residence time) is much more comprehensible. Half life in nuclear terminology is the same value i.e. time to reach 50% of the original activity level so we have a conflict of terms in different technologies or Willis is confusing half life with e-folding which are different values.
    Phlogiston – gasses are very different to liquids, the law of partial pressures applies so gasses do not separate according to density.
    Arfur you did acknowledge H2O at the end of your post. H2O is by far the most powerful so called GG but it varies from 35ppm at –60 in the polar regions to 40 000 ppm at the tropics where is the tipping point you might ask good question there is not one.
    Bjorn take a look at the CO2 record “ exponential increase ?” please check your dictionary.
    For those interested in actual science not manipulated cherry picked statistics from dubious proxies try John Nicols paper which is a true scientific evaluation based on the laws of physics of the so called greenhouse gas effect.
    The stomata proxy is very robust and has been verified by data from 1952 to 1995 correlating stomata configurations with actual measured CO2 levels. Unlike the tree ring farce.

  229. Malaga View says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm
    The Real Co2 site by Ernst-Georg Beck is very interesting:

    http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm

    Especially the Atmospheric CO2 Background 1826-1960 diagram:

    Seems a lot more natural and believable than the ice core flat lining….

    So a drop of ~80 ppm in a few years around 194o is believable is it?

  230. An earlier poster said:

    “Warming oceans. Natural warming of the ocean releases dissolved CO2 like a glass of beer.”

    and Willis replied:

    “Again, I discuss this in the head post, and it is not large enough to cause the recent rise either.”

    Willis,

    On a year to year basis the Mauna Loa changes are pretty small and could well be explained by variations in oceanic CO2 absorption rates.

    Only if one looks at the entire post 1850 rise as a single block does it seem unlikely that the oceans are a big enough contributor to the whole observed change.

    However that could be explained by the discontinuity issue whereby a proxy that fails to recognise the signals of the MWP and LIA is grafted onto the far more sensitive modern day methods which clearly would have been sensitive enough to recognise the MWP and LIA.

    Thus the oceans could indeed be responsible.

  231. phlogiston says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm


    Willis Eschenbach says
    June 7, 1:20 pm

    You are again conflating residence time (6-8 years or so) with the half life (much longer)

    Not so – residence time is half life / ln 2 (which is 0.693). Thus t1/2 is a bit shorter than residence time (tau).

    There might be some confusion over the definition of ‘residence time’ here. I think Willis is referring to the average lifetime (residence time) of a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere. This is only a few years. However, this is not the same thing as the time taken for a pulse of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. In this case, both the half-life and e-folding time are much longer.

  232. Gail:

    Here is the direct answer to your question from the good scientists at Scripps Oceanographic:

    AHN Jinho (1 2) ; HEADLY Melissa (1) ; WAHLEN Martin (1) ; BROOK Edward J. (2) ; MAYEWSKI Paul A. (3) ; TAYLOR Kendrick C. (4) ;
    Affiliation(s) du ou des auteurs / Author(s) Affiliation(s)
    (1) Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0225, ETATS-UNIS
    (2) Department of Geosciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon 97331-5506, ETATS-UNIS
    (3) Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, 303 Bryand Global Sciences Center, Orono, Maine 04469-5790, ETATS-UNIS
    (4) Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada, 2215 Raggio Parkway, Reno, Nevada 89512-1095, ETATS-UNIS
    Résumé / Abstract
    One common assumption in interpreting ice-core CO2 records is that diffusion in the ice does not affect the concentration profile. However, this assumption remains untested because the extremely small CO2 diffusion coefficient in ice has not been accurately determined in the laboratory. In this study we take advantage of high levels of CO2 associated with refrozen layers in an ice core from Siple Dome, Antarctica, to study CO2 diffusion rates. We use noble gases (Xe/Ar and Kr/Ar), electrical conductivity and Ca2+ ion concentrations to show that substantial CO2 diffusion may occur in ice on timescales of thousands of years. We estimate the permeation coefficient for CO2 in ice is ∼4 x 10-21 mol m-1 s-1 Pa-1 at -23°C in the top 287m (corresponding to 2.74 kyr). Smoothing of the CO2 record by diffusion at this depth/age is one or two orders of magnitude smaller than the smoothing in the firn. However, simulations for depths of ∼930-950 m (∼60-70 kyr) indicate that smoothing of the CO2 record by diffusion in deep ice is comparable to smoothing in the firn. Other types of diffusion (e.g. via liquid in ice grain boundaries or veins) may also be important but their influence has not been quantified.

    Gail, your instincts are correct:
    1) All CO2 analytical methods, wet or dry give close results, they are precise methods
    2) Of course, the diffusion calculated for Scripps for CO2 shows that all results are “smoothed”, another word for equilibrated.
    3) The results in hundreds or thousands of years will arrive, by Fick’s Laws to the same average ambient level for that time period.

    Given enough time, from the Scripps results, probably in less than over a hundred year span, ice under a thousand meters thick will behave as if on the surface, and will equilibrate to the atmospheric level in an asymptotic fashion.

    Bottom line: If CO2 is constant in the atmosphere, at 300-400 ppm over the last hundreds of years, all of the cores of the last 10,000 years will show a similar quantitative result for CO2 concentration regardless of what the concentration was at the time the CO2 was incorporated, approaching asymptotically 300-400 ppm.

  233. I have a few questions for Willis regarding CO2 and temperature.

    1) Is he aware of any other CO2 measurement stations besides Mauna Loa (which sits atop the world’s largest active volcano surrounded by the world’s largest CO2 emitting ocean)?
    2) Shouldn’t the summary findings of Beck 2007 of 90,000 CO2 measurements taken by hundreds of scientists during the last 200 years be taken into consideration?
    3) What is the explanation for CO2 increases lagging by about 800 years the temperature increases documented in ice core records?
    4) Why is there no correlation between the Scotese temperature data and Berner CO2 data for the last 600 million years?

  234. “Statement of Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski
    Chairman, Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection
    Warsaw, Poland

    ….The problem with Siple data (and with other shallow cores) is that the CO2 concentration found in pre-industrial ice from a depth of 68 meters (i.e. above the depth of clathrate formation) was “too high”. This ice was deposited in 1890 AD, and the CO2 concentration was 328 ppmv, not about 290 ppmv, as needed by man-made warming hypothesis…….”
    ______________________________________________________________________
    HMMMmmmm 328ppm CO2 for the year 1890.

    I cross checked that against the detailed scientific examination of historic CO2 measurements by Ernst Beck and it is within his margin of error. http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/

    I then went to Beck’s site: http://www.biokurs.de/eike/daten/leiden26607/leiden9e.htm
    1883 – 266 sample with an average of 335 ppm

    What is really really interesting is Barrow 1947-1948 data at 420 ppm! (average of 330 samples) It is noted that the Keeling samples (1972 to 2004) are transported from Barrow Alaska to California before they are analysed. http://www.biokurs.de/eike/daten/leiden26607/leiden6e.htm

  235. Willis,

    I would like to ask how you performed the calculation to produce the Calculated Airborne line Figure 4. The proper way would be to perform a convolution of the emissions with an exponential weighting with time constant of 31 years. To get the endpoint, you would then have to extrapolate the emissions data forward. Or, did you just scale it somehow?

    I would also like to know more about the source of the “emissions” data. I have an extremely tough time believing we have anything like an accurate measure of worldwide emissions stretching back to 1850. Is this really just tabulated data of things like fuel consumption and cement production scaled for their theoretical partial CO2 production based on the combustion technology of the time, or were there other assumptions or observation data blended in? You might consider showing a plot of the yearly differences (delta-production year-to-year) as this might more clearly show some blips which most of us would expect for, e.g., the WWII years.

  236. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    I thought my response to Dr. Ravetz was free of ad hominem attacks, but of course, YMMV.

    Pick a post, any post…

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm
    Ooooh, poor widdle baby Jerry, we insulted his cerebral sensitivities by calling him a big bad Marxist so he took his toys and went home …
    Now, you claim that he “resigned from politics”, but he sure hasn’t resigned from Marxism …

    Scientific debate is so edificatory innit?

    ;-)

  237. For all those people who are taken in by the Willis smoke and mirrors dog and pony show I sincerely hope you will remember these days when Obama inflicts his carbon tax on you indirectly via the energy companies and has poured billions into totally uneconomical white elephants called renewable energy projects. This will cost jobs and cripple an already staggering economy.
    The alternative is quite simple assume the worst, global warming is an unstoppable natural cycle, so let us mitigate against it. Rising sea levels at 25 cm per century? we can built sea walls to protect low lying areas, the Dutch have been doing it for centuries. Droughts and floods, computer models show in a warmer world 10% will have less rain and soil moisture 90% more so let us build irrigation systems and flood control systems.
    This will create useful jobs and whatever happens will increase our productivity.
    The current CO2 reduction proposals will have absolutely no effect on the CO2 levels and cause a negative economic impact of the average taxpayer of between $2500 and $3000 per year.
    People talk glibly of doubling the CO2 level, where on earth is the 860 GT of carbon going to come from to double the CO2 level, not from humans that’s for sure.
    In the last 500 million years CO2 levels have been excess of 1000 ppm for 80% of the time and there were no tipping points or disasters this is absolute nonsense.
    Realistically what does the future hold for the climate, we are is the worst solar minimum for over 100 years with no end in sight the PDO an AMO have swung into a cold phase which according to historical records could last 40 years, according to the Argo float buoy data the oceans are cooling down, according to satellite data the troposphere is not performing anything like the IPCC computer programs predicted. All the indications are that we have peaked out of the 20th century warm period and we are heading into a down period but there is no guarantee of this so the mitigation actions as well as research into an economical sustainable energy supply should proceed.
    So please let us stop running around like chickens with our heads cut off at get down to some logical, cost effective, long term planning.

  238. Smokey @11:23

    I haven’t got to it yet, but I would like to look at the ~11 year cycles of the charts I pasted. I would add a 8-12 year band-pass filter to the ~40 year low pass, and see how it would compare to the irradiance graph..

    Prior to 1800, on the graphs, all temp records were from Europe. It is only about 1850, that a few non-European records show appear. So by 1900 onward, the shape begins to approach the Hadcet shape.

  239. I can’t think of any obvious other explanation for that precipitous recent rise.

    I am going to lob a hand grenade into this, just to see what comes of it:

    Nixon. China. 1972.

    1976: Mao and Chou En Lai both die, opening the door to some level of capitalism in China. This will take a few years to take seed.

    Early 1980s: US starts trade missions in China. This accelerates in the 1980s. US begins the era of the maquiladores, US companies operating just across the Rio Grande in northern Mexico.

    1990s: Full-fledged flow of manufacturing out of the US to Mexico and increasingly to China. Jobs off-shored to Mexico begin moving to China. China’s population begins to become consumers, vastly increasing the market for Chinese goods, many of which used to be US goods.

    What is the tie-in with the CO2 hickey stick?

    Poorer regulation of emissions of all sorts in Mexico and China versus the US. What used to be produced in a country with emissions standards was – in not much more than a decade – produced in countries with much lower standards.

    In addition: I traveled in Europe in the early to mid-1970s, and the level of prosperity there was a long way short of the US. By the 1990s, that had leveled off, and now Europe has passed the US in many ways. Translation: A much larger market for goods from all sources – just as the Chinese were assuming the role as the manufacturing for the world.

    Add in India, to boot, whose emissions standards were quite a bit below US and European standards.

    Larger markets (don’t forget the non-Chinese Asian market, either), manufacturing under less stringent regulations – it was all happening at the same time the CO2 began climbing.

    We all know that since the 1970 Clean Air & Water Act the US’s air has been cleaned up immensely. We don’t seem to credit the degree that manufacturing is NOT done here anymore. Off the top of my head, I would say our air is cleaner than it was in 1990, and 1990 was cleaner than 1980. America IS cleaning up its act – by shipping so many jobs overseas, mostly to Mexico, China and India.

    Is it coincidence that China becoming the industrial park of the world, with little controls, just when all those curves start climbing? Or is there linkage there?

    I suspect linkage.

  240. Charles S. Opalek, PE says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I have a few questions for Willis regarding CO2 and temperature.

    1) Is he aware of any other CO2 measurement stations besides Mauna Loa (which sits atop the world’s largest active volcano surrounded by the world’s largest CO2 emitting ocean)?
    2) Shouldn’t the summary findings of Beck 2007 of 90,000 CO2 measurements taken by hundreds of scientists during the last 200 years be taken into consideration?

    Both of these are discussed at length in my post “Under the Volcano, Over the Volcano“.

    3) What is the explanation for CO2 increases lagging by about 800 years the temperature increases documented in ice core records?

    Haven’t a clue.

    4) Why is there no correlation between the Scotese temperature data and Berner CO2 data for the last 600 million years?

    Because CO2 doesn’t rule the temperature. See my post here that discusses this question.

  241. Willis has done an admiral job.

    He has effectively summarized that CO2 concentration is decoupled from temperature, as least in a positive sense. Many studies have shown that CO2 rises lag temperature increases. Of course, they are all by proxies.

    However, he has insisted that CO2 measurements are rising. This is certainly equivocal, but it gives support to one facet of the warm-earthers’ argument.

    But remember, all facets of the alarmists’ argument must be true for any action to be warranted:

    1) CO2 current levels and rate of rise must be unprecedented in recent historic times
    2) CO2 rise, if unprecedented, must be anthropogenic, due to industrial burning of “fossil fuels”
    3) CO2 anthropogenic rise must dwarf other natural sources
    4) The earth’s average temperature must be rising without precedent in historic times
    5) CO2 rise must be causative of current higher earth temperatures, correlating strongly with higher temperatures as CO2 goes higher, not the other way around
    6) The temperature record must be accurate and free from introduced or systematic bias, and show an inexorable rise correlating with human CO2 emissions

    So let’s not get caught up in one facet, CO2. For the alarmist cult to survive, all of the above have to be unequivocal and proven. The burden of proof is on the alarmist side, since they are advocating the Draconian measures.

  242. Charles, a long time ago I did an analysis of CO2 readings from around the world NOAA has a excellent web site for this (iadv) by 1980 there were about 20 modern stations covering the entire globe the number has increased considerably since then. Net result the annual average of CO2 is very close (2ppm) between the northern and southern hemispheres. The north exhibts a sigificant annual cycle due to seasonal vegitation the south virtually none, indicating very little mixing of the air masses between the hemisphere tropospheres. In actual fact the SH has a higher level of CO2 for 5 months so mixing is academic however 94% of anthropogenic CO2 is released in the NH and 6% in the south even with a 3 year mixing tme the NH should be at least 20ppm higher than the south.

  243. It seems Michael Mann-erisms are catching … mixing data from markedly different sources to create hockey sticks.

    What is the basis for the assumption that air surrounded by ice is any more a closed system than air in a balloon ? Why should air in ice be immune from diffusion and dissolution ?

    We know that oceans emit and absorb 20 times as much CO2 as man. We know that rising temperatures cause CO2 in the atmosphere to increase. We would hence expect ice core records to show rising atmospheric CO2 levels during the MWP and falling levels during the LIA … however we get a horizontal line !

    I think that data from nature showing horizontal lines with no variation is suspect, as it was with Mann’s hockey stick. In this case ice core data showing no variation, indicates some form of long term averaging, such as by gas in ice diffusion. We would expect more recent ice core data to curve up to meet current levels, again through diffusion.

  244. Bart says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Willis,

    I would like to ask how you performed the calculation to produce the Calculated Airborne line Figure 4. The proper way would be to perform a convolution of the emissions with an exponential weighting with time constant of 31 years. To get the endpoint, you would then have to extrapolate the emissions data forward. Or, did you just scale it somehow?

    I set up the equation based on a percentage drop P, which is the percentage of the “excess” CO2 that is not sequestered every year. So if year zero has an airborne C of X gigatonnes, and an emission of E gigatonnes, then year one has an airborne C of (X + E) * P.

    So I do that calculation with an arbitrary “P” for each year of the entire dataset. I started with P at about .975. This gives me a calculated value for each year. Then I iteratively adjust “P” until it gives me the best match (lowest RMS error) to the data. I use the Excel “Solver” function to do the iteration, but it could be done by hand (only slower). That gives me the best value for P.

    Then I use P to calculate either the half-life or the e-folding time as desired. Given P, the half-life H is P ^ H = 0.5. Solving this gives us H = log(0.5)/log(P). The calculation is similar for the e-folding time, using 0.37 instead of 0.5.

  245. barry moore says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    For all those people who are taken in by the Willis smoke and mirrors dog and pony show I sincerely hope you will remember these days when Obama inflicts his carbon tax on you indirectly via the energy companies and has poured billions into totally uneconomical white elephants called renewable energy projects. This will cost jobs and cripple an already staggering economy.

    Barry, you don’t seem to have the slightest clue about my general take on the AGW hypothesis. Simply put, I think it is totally false. Your claims are both rude and meaningless, as they have nothing to do with what I think is happening with the climate. All you have done is made yourself look foolish. Like you, I totally oppose the “Cap ‘n Tax” proposed by Obama, I think it is a horrific plan. I absolutely think that the rise in CO2 is not responsible for the recent warming (or for the 1945-1970 cooling for that matter), I think the rise in CO2 is meaningless to the temperature. I’m just discussing the question of the source of the rise. See my post here for my view on how the climate works.

    In future, do your homework before you uncap your electronic pen.

  246. barry moore says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    The alternative is quite simple assume the worst, global warming is an unstoppable natural cycle, so let us mitigate against it.

    But that isn’t the worst. The worst is that we are 18,000 years into an interglacial (there’s some sediment in Ireland that says 19,000 years, but 18,000 is the most popular number) that have lasted somewhere between 15,000-20,000 years – at least since the Ismus of Panama closed up. (Would the Panama Canal help?) Since that’s a range, and the 20,000 years upper limit is not a guarantee, we may have a problem.

    Of course if the various Dryas stadials have “reset the clock”, then we’re home dry, but if Milanslavik is right, and it’s all due to orbital dancing – then the stadials won’t have. At which point, ground level is going to be approximately a mile about my head in a lesser timeframe than the Bible covers.

    *That* is assuming the worst…

  247. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm
    “So if year zero has an airborne C of X gigatonnes, and an emission of E gigatonnes, then year one has an airborne C of (X + E) * P.”

    Willis,
    This can’t work. If there were no manmade emissions, your model would have airborne CO2 down to 31 ppm within a century. And down to 2.5 ppm within 200 years.

    It assumes CO2 is absorbed by a large sink into which it disappears without any return flux. No wonder you get an odd time constant.

  248. barry moore says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:11 pm
    … For those interested in actual science not manipulated cherry picked statistics from dubious proxies try John Nicols paper which is a true scientific evaluation based on the laws of physics of the so called greenhouse gas effect.

    Very good paper Barry, thank you pointing that out. Finally found it at:

    http://www.middlebury.net/nicol-08.doc

    Will take a while to absorb this one completely.

  249. tallbloke says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I thought my response to Dr. Ravetz was free of ad hominem attacks, but of course, YMMV.

    Pick a post, any post…

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    February 15, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Ooooh, poor widdle baby Jerry, we insulted his cerebral sensitivities by calling him a big bad Marxist so he took his toys and went home …
    Now, you claim that he “resigned from politics”, but he sure hasn’t resigned from Marxism …

    Scientific debate is so edificatory innit?

    ;-)

    After being unsuccessful in simply asking Dr. Ravetz to respond to some of the issues raised in the comments to his post, I tried to shame him into answering by pointing out how childish it is to refuse to answer because you think people are being mean.

    I was totally unsuccessful in that attempt as well, he continued with his drive-by posting style …

    Now perhaps it was rude and crude of me to actually ask for an answer to people’s objections to his work. And perhaps it was foolish of me to try to shame him into answering. In any case, both didn’t work.

    But it was not an “ad hominem”. I was not arguing that his ideas were wrong because he was acting childish. I was trying to get him to stop acting childish, which is a very different game.

    But OK, tallbloke, since it seems so crucially important to you to establish that I’m truly a bad sneaky wrong kinda guy, could we just take that as read and get back to real issues? Because you harping on this trivia just makes you look petty, and I don’t think that’s who you are. OK, I confess, I’m an idiot and I’m really, really wrong. I haven’t stopped beating my wife, and I was unconscionably mean to poor Dr Ravetz. I repent of my sins, mea culpa, I will say ten “Hail Marx’s” and I vow to go and sin no more.

    You happy now? Can we return to the science?

  250. If the increase in CO2 follows temperature increases by 400 to 800 years or so, as seen in past data, then could the increase we see now have been caused by a temperature increase in the period of around 1000 to 1200?

  251. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:06 pm
    “…..Other interesting things:
    This graph shows (by eyeball estimation) the atmospheric CO2 levels dropped as low as around 180 ppm about 12,000 years ago. However other research concerning plants (link) shows that during the Last Glacial Maximum the plants experienced CO2 concentrations as low as 110 ppm. From this, as opposed to the normal line of inquiry, the question arises as to why the ice cores show such a high level of CO2…..”

    __________________________________________________________________________
    As Willis and many others have pointed out CO2 is not uniform in the atmosphere near the ground because of the sinks and sources.

    For example:
    Greenhouse Information and measurements:
    “Plant photosynthetic activity can reduce the CO2 within the plant canopy to between 200 and 250 ppm… I observed a 50 ppm drop within a tomato plant canopy just a few minutes after direct sunlight at dawn entered a green house (Harper et al 1979) … photosynthesis can be halted when CO2 concentration aproaches 200 ppm… (Morgan 2003) Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and does not easily mix into the greenhouse atmosphere by diffusion… click

    I also remember a study with trees in the open where they found the CO2 in the micro-environment around the leaves dropped to 200 ppm during daylight. Unfortunately I can not find the source.

    I did find in my notes “200 pm CO2 trees starve” http://biblioteca.universia.net/ficha.do?id=912067
    but the link no longer works… Now all the searches turn up papers showing 180 ppm or lower….HMMMmmmm

    I just check a couple of studies the 180 -200 ppm CO2 for trees is now based on “models” derived from the ice cores. GRRRrrrr

  252. Willis
    “Let me preface this by saying that I do think that the recent increase in CO2 levels is due to human activities.”
    If you had include the caveat “partly” I could agree with you but as stated in the above preamble I disagree with you and I think you presented a great deal of confusing statements I still think your definition of half life is incorrect as I said if you cut something in half again and again it never reaches zero but it does become insignificant like 1/1012 after 10 half lives this point is lost on most peole and is a major source of propaganda and misinformation by the IPCC. Your article definitely did nothing to clarify this issue. Also your singular reference to the ice core data as the “gold standard” is not even close as other posts have demonstrated. Sorry but your article was confusing and misleading to those of us who have spent many years and thousands of hours studying this very complex subject.

  253. “not all of the carbon that is emitted (in the form of CO2) remains in the atmosphere. Some is absorbed by some combination of the ocean, the biosphere, and the land ….
    the excess atmospheric carbon is indeed from human activities”

    Does this mean that, when the AGW meme finally bites the dust (as it surely must), the next prop for the carbon-based financial and industrial industry will be anthropogenic ocean acidification (AOA)?

  254. Grumbler says:
    “Hold on – CO2 straight line for 800 years and climate fluctuates dramatically over that period? And CO2 drives climate? What am I missing? ”

    There is something wrong with Figure 1. It defies common sense that CO2 would remain constant for 800 years and then suddenly increase 70 years before AGW.

  255. Z – point well taken but I was limiting my frame of reference to the next 200 not 2000 years I hope the next ice age will not come up on us that quickly, but it is comming I agree.

  256. Ric Werme said:

    That would be a bit difficult, as Keeling died in 2005… MLO does release a lot of data, can you be more explicit about what you are looking for that you can’t get from them? Your comment wasn’t very explicit. One starting point is:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/livedata/livedata.html

    Let me see if I can be more explicit. I’ll start by reiterating my previous comment:

    …another line of evidence implicating fossil fuels as the source of atmospheric CO2 increase is the change in the atmospheric O2:N2 ratio. This is discussed in AR4 WG1, The Physical Science Basis, Chapter 2, Section 2.3.1 and illustrated here. My only problem with this record is that it’s impossible to verify since the raw data are “protected” behind a firewall at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography web site… For more information, click the link “Lab Data”, located here: https://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/data.html

    As stated, I’m looking for the raw data behind the O2:N2 atmospheric ratio plot that was used in AR4 WG1, The Physical Science Basis, Chapter 2, Section 2.3.1. The Scripps Atmospheric Oxygen Research Group, which actively collects and manages the O2:N2 raw data, is presently headed by Ralph F. Keeling, who is still very much alive (his father, Charles D. Keeling, passed away in 2005). The data is protected behind a firewall. It cannot be accessed. As stated in my previous comment, this can be verified by clicking on the “Lab Data” link at the bottom of the following web site: https://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/data.html

    I don’t know how much more explicit I can get than that. Do I need to put it up on the Jumbotron for you? The “starting point” you provided does not help. It simply points back to the same Scripps web site which leads back to the same Scripps firewall which leads to a dead end. See here: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/programs/coop/scripps/o2/o2.html

    If anyone else has any idea of where I might be able to download the raw atmospheric O2:N2 ratio data, I’m all ears eyes.

  257. @feet2thefire says:
    Is it coincidence that China becoming the industrial park of the world, with little controls, just when all those curves start climbing? Or is there linkage there?

    I suspect linkage.

    I so agree. And not only that, on exporting our jobs, they now want us to pay via taxes for the lack of emmision controls in the very countries they have exported our jobs to. No! Tax the people you have given our jobs to or bring our jobs back, only then will a bit of justice be served.

  258. Dr A Burns says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm:

    See my post at 3:45 that shows empirically that ice diffuses from within ice over years, reducing initial high concentrations.

  259. barry moore says:
    June 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Z – point well taken but I was limiting my frame of reference to the next 200 not 2000 years I hope the next ice age will not come up on us that quickly, but it is comming I agree.

    The 2000 years is not a guarantee – it *could* start at Christmas. This Christmas.

    In fact it could happen in a couple of months – I’m being very northern hemisphere biased, and assuming it’ll happen during a northern winter.

    Simple fact, is that no one knows. It’s one of the reasons why I’m firmly against geo-engineering to cool or warm things. Given a 50/50 chance, people will get it wrong 90% of the time.

    Now Mann, Hansen et al are promising a few degrees warmer – that’s good news. I wish they were right.

  260. Willis
    See my post of 4.43 pm this is only the tip of the iceberg but there is a lot of evidence to show that human emissions are a minor contributor to global CO2 concentrations so after many years of research I will stand by my comments and I will not cap my electronic pen. I note how selective you have been in your responses, answer the easy questions do not touch the tough ones.

  261. Nick Stokes says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm
    “My understanding of the way concrete/cement works is that over time calcium silicate is formed, which is the hardening process. ”

    While Portland cement does not have a precisely defined composition, in all cases the primary reaction is one of hydration of anhydrous calcium silicates, which are formed from calcium carbonate and silicate minerals in the cement kiln, with CO2 being driven off in the process. The dry calcium silicate solids initially dissolve in the added water, then gradually precipitate from solution in hard (rock-like) hydrated structures. Here is a very nice PDF presentation that lays out all the basic chemistry:

    Portland Cement Hydration
    Dr. Kimberly Kurtis
    School of Civil Engineering
    Georgia Institute of Technology
    Atlanta, Georgia

    I didn’t get the web address, but a Google search with title and author will bring it up on the first page of results. Anyhow, the setting of Portland cement it is a hydration/dissolution/precipitation process, and CO2 is not at all involved.

    By the way, too much water in the concrete results in soft/fragile precipitated hydrates and very weak concrete, so if you are ever getting concrete poured, don’t let the truck driver add water to make the wet concrete easier to work with!

  262. Dr A Burns says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    What is the basis for the assumption that air surrounded by ice is any more a closed system than air in a balloon ? Why should air in ice be immune from diffusion and dissolution ?

    Especially given that ice can freeze leaving tiny “tunnels” of water where microbes/algae can live and CO2 can dissolve. Also at the bottom of an ice core, the pressure must be incredible.

    Any dissolved CO2 must outgas like a smashed bottle of champagne when the core is pulled into the ambient pressure.

    I too find straight lines in nature a source of suspicion, rather than reassurance.

  263. Nick Stokes says:
    June 7, 2010 at 5:06 pm
    “Willis,
    This can’t work. If there were no manmade emissions, your model would have airborne CO2 down to 31 ppm within a century. ”

    No, the level will only fall to the natural background level of the ocean (that is the vast majority of the deep ocean, which has never seen the recently elevated CO2, and so has a concentration that is roughly in equilibrium with 285 PPM in the atmosphere. The decay is from the current atmospheric CO2 level down to the pre-industrial CO2 level see: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/22/a-look-at-human-co2-emissions-vs-ocean-absorption/ for further discussion and description of the process.

  264. This is coming from left field, but if no one has mentioned it, I wondered if it might have relevance. If not all “fossil fuel” is in fact biogenic, then wouldn’t that affect C12/C13 ratios?

    I have no opinion either way, incidentally, about abiogenic oil or anthopogenic CO2 increase. The more I read pro- and contra, the more I come to realise that agnosticism is the only sane position for me.

  265. A more informative exercise is to use the Scripps seasonally adjusted monthly CO2 averages, convert to global gigitons/year (annual difference or accumulation rate) and compare the cyclic behavior to the relatively straight line for anthropogenic emissions. They average about the same but the natural cycles vary by orders of magnitude. This does not play well for cause and effect.

  266. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm
    “No, the level will only fall to the natural background level of the ocean”

    But not in Willis’ formula – no such level appears. Try it – P goes to zero.

    I had assumed Willis was doing that in my earlier comment, and said the background level needed to be updated. But it seems that he’s been using zero.

    On concrete, I think we’re agreeing that the end product is a calcium silicate, and the CO2 can’t come back as Steve Goddard suggested.

  267. “Nick Stokes says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm
    “No, the level will only fall to the natural background level of the ocean”
    But not in Willis’ formula – no such level appears. Try it – P goes to zero.

    I had assumed Willis was doing that in my earlier comment, and said the background level needed to be updated. But it seems that he’s been using zero.”

    OK Willis, what say you? I don’t think it can fall below the long-term background level.

  268. John Finn says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Malaga View says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm
    The Real Co2 site by Ernst-Georg Beck is very interesting:

    http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm

    Especially the Atmospheric CO2 Background 1826-1960 diagram:

    Seems a lot more natural and believable than the ice core flat lining….

    So a drop of ~80 ppm in a few years around 194o is believable is it?
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Yes, I find it believable, especially when you go from Bern Germany with Duerst to Barrow Alaska with Scholander to Chapman in Nebrasca. Heck you see more than 80 ppm variation in Harvard forest. From 320 ppm to around 420 ppm with a set of outliers to 500 ppm as Beck shows.

    The only reason “official source” data does not have that type of variation is because it is not RAW DATA. And I quote:

    “At Mauna Loa we use the following data selection criteria:

    3. There is often a diurnal wind flow pattern on Mauna Loa ….. The upslope air may have CO2 that has been lowered by plants removing CO2 through photosynthesis at lower elevations on the island,…. Hours that are likely affected by local photosynthesis are indicated by a “U” flag in the hourly data file, and by the blue color in Figure 2. The selection to minimize this potential non-background bias takes place as part of step 4. At night the flow is often downslope, bringing background air. However, that air is sometimes contaminated by CO2 emissions from the crater of Mauna Loa. As the air meanders down the slope that situation is characterized by high variability of the CO2 mole fraction…..

    4. In keeping with the requirement that CO2 in background air should be steady, we apply a general “outlier rejection” step, in which we fit a curve to the preliminary daily means for each day calculated from the hours surviving step 1 and 2, and not including times with upslope winds. All hourly averages that are further than two standard deviations, calculated for every day, away from the fitted curve (“outliers”) are rejected. This step is iterated until no more rejections occur…..”

    If any data that is not within 2 standard deviations is rejected then of course you will never see swing of 80 ppm, it has already been edited out of the final “product”

  269. Michael
    C12 and C13 are not radioisotopes therefore their concentration ratio does not change, the only radioisotope is C14 which is created in the upper atmosphere by the action of cosmic rays on N14 thus the abundance of C14 will vary with solar variability and has a half life of 5300 years, this property is used in carbon dating. Isotopes have the same chemical properties but they do have different physical properties such as absorbtion through a semipermeable membrane i.e. leaves and the plants ability to uptake CO2 with different isotopes, so a plant will have a different C12/C13 ratio than normally found on the surface. Fossil fuels are the product of plants and have been buried for millions of years thus the C14 content is very low and the C12/C13 ratio is different from surface conditions so by tracking the C12/C13 and C14 trends in atmospheric CO2 certain conclusion are drawn as to the source of the CO2. Unfortunaely like most things conclusions drawn from these observations are not as simple as they appear so the data is subject to considerable error.

  270. Gail Combs says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm ,

    Woa. Too much speculation there. Please note that air samples collected by airplanes match the Mauna Loa (and Barrow Alaska, and Antarctica) data stations almost perfectly. There is very good reason to believe the procedures used a Mauna Loa lead to CO2 data that is representative of the upper troposphere…. which is what matters.

  271. Daniel
    Ch1 Page1 of IPCC AR4 has an anecdote concerning Albert Einstein which I must admit sets the gold standard for scientific proof per AE ” why 100 it only takes one providing he has testable results” the secracy surrounding the data and computer programs negates a lot of the IPCC data on the grounds that it is not testable.

  272. bubbagyro says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Gail:

    Here is the direct answer to your question from the good scientists at Scripps Oceanographic:….
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Thank you. I will add it to my notes. The whole set of data is just too smooth and that includes present day data. Beck’s historic data and the Harvard Forest data show swings of up to 200 ppm, yet we are to believe the levels hardly varied for millions of years while the earth went through ice ages and major changes in plant and animal life??? That the present day data shows a straight line trend over decades with little variation from place to place on the earth’s surface???

    I sure wish my production analysis data was that nice and neat from day to day.

    Actually the ice core CO2 data looks more like a “process” that has reached equilibrium than a geologic record.

  273. Richard S Courtney: June 7, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Richard, here’s another version of Faraday’s reply:

    It is said that the then British Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850) after seeing a demonstration of the dynamo effect asked Faraday what use the discovery was. Faraday replied, “I know not, but I wager that one day your government will tax it.” Faraday himself did not try to develop the practical applications of his discoveries. Rather he became deeply interested in understanding how electricity and magnetism are related to each other. (Quote from here.)

    It would seem that Faraday wasn’t just smart, but also prescient. The extension of what he said is utterly germane to what is happening today.

    /dr.bill

  274. I believe they can determine the cycling time of carbon in the atmosphere pretty precisely based on radioactive carbon-14. Basically, IIRC each of the big atmospheric fusion bomb explosions in the 1960s generated a spike of C-14. This soon becomes globally distributed in the atmosphere and gets incorporated into plants, mud layers, etc., and then its fate can be tracked as it ages & as the spike works it way into various systems.

  275. A correction to my earlier comment. (June 7, 2010 at 10:19 am)

    1/ I undersized the atmosphere and
    2/ I used ppmw without converting to ppmv.

    Sorry.

    To pick up from where I have made the corrections.

    Total CO2 from burning all known fossil fuel reserves would be 2,340,140 billion kg. Loads! – but what is that in ppmv of the total atmosphere? Well…

    The total mass of the atmosphere is 5.3E18 kg
    (http://scipp.ucsc.edu/outreach/balloon/atmos/The%20Earth.htm)
    Total mass of atmosphere: 5.1E18 kg
    (http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/earthfact.html)
    Atmospheric mass is between 5 and 5.5E18 kg
    (http://hypertextbook.com/facts/1999/LouiseLiu.shtml)
    The difference seems to be mainly the extent to which the mountainous regions are taken into effect (where pressure is lower).

    Using our golden rule of trying for the highest possible CO2 level we will use the smallest given figure of 5E18 kg for atmospheric mass. 2,340,140 billion kg / 5,000,000,000 billion kg = 468ppmw which is about 308ppmv of CO2 to be produced by burning all the known reserves of fossil fuel.

    (My ppmw to ppmv conversion above uses an air to CO2 molecular mass ratio of 28.97/44.01)
    (http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/molecular-mass-air-d_679.html)

    Except that only 40% of that will stay in the atmosphere for any meaningful length of time. A constant unchanging 40% by the way. Knorr, W. (2009), Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing?, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L21710, doi:10.1029 / 2009GL040613.
    (http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/knorr2009_co2_sequestration.pdf)

    This reduces the potential CO2 from burning all known reserves of fossil fuel to just 123ppmv beyond where we are now. Given what Willis Eschenbach tells us here about natural out-gassing; however much is in the oceans most of it seems to be staying there. There may be another 20ppmv to come from “feed-back” out-gassing, giving us 143ppmv in all?

    Even if the IPCC are right about 3degC per doubling of CO2 that means we would struggle to find much more than 1degC of warming left in all remaining fossil fuels with feed-backs. Added to post industrial warming to date that still sees us struggling to reach 2degC above pre-industrial levels.

    And…relax.

  276. barry moore says:
    June 7, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Willis
    See my post of 4.43 pm this is only the tip of the iceberg but there is a lot of evidence to show that human emissions are a minor contributor to global CO2 concentrations so after many years of research I will stand by my comments and I will not cap my electronic pen. I note how selective you have been in your responses, answer the easy questions do not touch the tough ones.

    I answer the questions that I think are important. Since you haven’t raised any substantive issues in this post, and since you want to insult me instead of simply quoting the question that you think is so important, go find someone else to answer your questions.

  277. Nick Stokes says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    “No, the level will only fall to the natural background level of the ocean”

    But not in Willis’ formula – no such level appears. Try it – P goes to zero.

    I had assumed Willis was doing that in my earlier comment, and said the background level needed to be updated. But it seems that he’s been using zero.

    On concrete, I think we’re agreeing that the end product is a calcium silicate, and the CO2 can’t come back as Steve Goddard suggested.

    No, it won’t go to zero absolute. Zero in my graph is the 1850 level, which is (roughly) the equilibrium level. I thought that was clear … but once again, my estimation of the clarity of my writing is not universally shared.

  278. Gail Combs says:
    June 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm


    Thank you. I will add it to my notes. The whole set of data is just too smooth and that includes present day data. Beck’s historic data and the Harvard Forest data show swings of up to 200 ppm, yet we are to believe the levels hardly varied for millions of years while the earth went through ice ages and major changes in plant and animal life??? That the present day data shows a straight line trend over decades with little variation from place to place on the earth’s surface???

    1. Nobody said the CO2 didn’t vary for “millions of years”. The graph I show goes back a thousand years. QUOTE WHAT YOU DISAGREE WITH!!!

    2. Sorry, but CO2 is what is called a “well mixed gas”. Evidence from dozens of sites, from airplanes, and from satellites all agree that there is “little variation from place to place on the earth’s surface”. No use arguing with observations.

  279. So the contribution to the global atmospheric CO2 by human emissions is not a substantive issue. The subject which you are consistently ducking is that you claim in your opening statement that human emissions are responsible for the increase in CO2, this you clearly stated and I take issue with it since I think it is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Please stop hiding behind the “insult” strategy that is an alarmist tactic and not worthy of you.

  280. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    This calculation is not clear to me. Try putting it in terms of a difference equation.

    For example, let “k” denote the year index, i.e., k = 1,2,3… for year 1, year 2, year 3… Let airborne C at year k be denoted C(k), and cumulative emissions similarly E(k) . If deltaE(k) = E(k+1) – E(k) is the incremental emissions added in year k, then I would expect you to have an equation of the form

    C(k+1) = P*C(k) + (1-P)*Co + deltaE(k)

    where Co = the presumed “equilibrium” level. Each year, you add an amount deltaE(k) to the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning. Each year, natural sources add (1-P)*Co and natural sinks take out (1-P)*C(k). As you can see, if deltaE(k) is zero every year, the equation settles out to C(k) = Co. If you want only the difference between the current concentration and the equilibrium, then let D(k) = C(k) – Co, and find

    D(k+1) = P*D(k) + deltaE(k)

    This would be the “excess CO2 that is not sequestered every year”, i.e., every year, one would sequester (1-P)*D(k). You can see, if P = 1, then D(k) = E(k), i.e., there is a straight accumulation (no sequestration). The solution for D(k) is convolution of deltaE(k) with the exponential sequence P^k (P to the kth power).

  281. Wayne,
    June 7, 2010, 5:09.
    Interesting paper by John Nicol in that link. Yes, it is heavy going but I found this conclusion to be pertinent.

    The findings clearly show that any gas with an absorption line or band lying within the spectral range of the radiation field from the warmed earth, will be capable of contributing towards raising the temperature of the earth. However, it is equally clear that after reaching a fixed threshold of so-called Greenhouse gas density, which is much lower than that currently found in the atmosphere, there will be no further increase in temperature from this source, no matter how large the increase in the atmospheric density of such gases.

  282. I did a smilar analysis several years ago. I got an atmospheric half-life for anthropogenic carbon dioxide of about 20 years, which agrees well with an e-folding time of about 30 years (20/30 ≈ ln(2)).
    Anybody using real data from the real world must get about the same result. Human emissions remain in the atmosphere for decades, not centuries. The claim from IPCC of an e-folding time of 90-200 years is probably based on models. It surely cannot be based on real-world data.

  283. This is an experiment that shows that CO2 can be poured like a liquid , showing that it is
    heavier than air.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/930860/see_how_co2_is_heavier_than_air/

    Everybody who believes in the “well mixed” hypothesis should watch this.

    From what I have found on the “well mixed” hypothesis, it is an assumption that it holds for CO2, the logic being that since it is a gas and not that much heavier than the main gases of the atmosphere, turbulence will mix it well.

    I need experimental proof. I.e., measurements taken in columns of air from the surface to the 5000 meter in logical steps, in a wide sampling of the globe: oceans, forests, fields, deserts, icecaps…etc.
    Does anybody have a link?

    Missing that, we only have Beck’s compilations, and I am free to accept them as evidence that “well mixed” is another myth. A myth promulgated by the half educated in physics climate scientists community, or very smart operators wanting to close a deal.

    If well mixed is nonsense, then the keeling curves are counting angels on the top of a pin.

    The ideal way to measure the CO2 global content and distributions is with satellites that measure ppms from down to the ground to the top of the troposphere.

    The satellite that was supposed to do that failed to reach orbit a year or so ago.

    There exists this:

    http://www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/gosat/index_e.html

    and the most recent preliminary data is here:

    http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2009/05/20090528_ibuki_e.html#at1


    (Note 1) The analysis showed Northern Hemisphere results to be on average around 10 ppm higher than Southern Hemisphere results. An atmospheric transport model calculation predicts the difference between north and south at this time to be 2-4 ppm.

    (Note 2) Southern Hemisphere values were on average approximately 17 ppm lower than the model calculation, while Northern Hemisphere latitude band average values were approximately 7-12 ppm lower.

    Nothing for over a year now. Maybe it has to do with the cap and trade that Japan wants adopted? After all this is a government project. Maybe they are frantically trying to generate “pure” keeling curves.

    Watch the range 360 to 390ppm, 390 a point in Australia. Nothing over oceans.

  284. I think Henrys law needs some consideration. According to this law of physics, as the ocean warms it should increase the level of atmospheric co2 in the atmopshere. I believe this is a linear function of SST, I have not done the calcs, but overs have claimed this law alone could account for much of the rise. This may account for some of the rise from the LIA, though I am not sure how much. It most likely accounts for the variations observed in the ice core records over longer periods, and why co2 levels follow temperature the majority of the time in the ice cores.

    I have seen work by others where they have calculated an experiance curve for SST anonaly vs Co2 growth rate and it follows a nice linear relationship, and the deviation in growth rate matchs deviation in SST very well also (visually). Plus one paper I read observed that co2 changes simultaneously in both hemispheres, despite most of the man made co2 being produced in the northern hemisphere. This points to the ocean as at least a factor.

    In regards to the c12/c13 relationship, this is subject to other factors, like are hydrocarbons being abiological or biological (the balance of evidence seems to point to abiological origins), how changes in the biosphere change the atmospheric c12/c13 ratio etc… bacteria (inc. poorly understood extremophiles) also can change the ratio to appear biological in origin (fossil fuel signature). This whole area seems a little contentious to me as we dont really understand the factors involved, or even if fossil fuels are biological or not. (another dogma to AGW that cannot be questioned!)

    My last point would be that the ice core record cannot be compared to the current Mauna Loa record which is on a monthly timestep, wheras the Ice Core data is averaged over long periods (say 50 – 500 years) due to the processess involved in snowfall accumlating, forming fern and then eventually becoming solid ice. This can take long periods of time (and would vary subject to acculation etc…) and would result in an “average” co2 value over the formation period involved.

    If say, co2 levels fluctuate in a linear way subject to SST and have a relatively short life time ( approx. 5 yrs according to Seagalstad) it could fluctuate considerably over say a 500 year period and the ice cores miss this. Also, according to Jarowski, no one has yet demonstrated that co2 levels extracted from ice cores represent atmopsheric co2 at the time, or the global co2 level.

    Another issue is that the latest satellite co2 data shows levels are lower over the Antarctic, as would be expected with Henrys Law, this means that ice cores from antarctica cannot be prepared to the “global” level. I fear we could be comparing apples with oranges!

    Whilst I dont deny that humans have contributed to current levels, I think there is still room for natural variation in co2 and if we dont understand that natural change we cannot attribute a % change to humans.

    Also, much of the IPCC understanding of the co2 cycle is based on a four or five reservoir model, that assumes there is a constant co2 level that never changes and that it is in balance with the sinks. This means that any extra co2 will accumulate as the sinks are 100% utilised, this is a questionable assumption as many sinks could increase capacity to accomodate the extra co2 (for example plants due to co2 enrichment) and reach some new level of equilibrium (as most long term stable systems do).

    I think the understanding of co2 level and change is still a poorly understood area that should recieive more attention. Hopefully this discussion can iron out some of these issues, and put others to rest. Of course, relying on the work of others always is a risk!

  285. Bart says:
    June 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    My example model could as easily be

    D(k+1) = P*(D(k) + deltaE(k))

    The difference equation is actually an approximation to a discretized differential equation. In my previous model, the convolution integral was approximated as a forward Euler integration. In this one, it is a backward Euler integration approximation. So, if that is essentially what you are implementing, I don’t have a significant problem with it.

    The thing you need to do now is evaluate your conclusion for consistency. If Co is the pre-industrial equilibrium level, and (1-P)*Co is the amount of natural yearly input, what is the value of P? Does it agree with the value you have calculated here? If not, how do you reconcile the difference?

  286. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    I will say ten “Hail Marx’s” and I vow to go and sin no more.

    You happy now? Can we return to the science?

    Sure, and apologies if you already answered these points, I’ve been concentrating on another thread the last couple of days.

    1) Why no account taken of the work done by Georg Ernst Beck in gathering empirical records which show that co2 levels were much more upsy downsy in the C19th and early C20th than the warmists would like to have us know?

    2)Why no account taken of the studies which show Isotope ratios and co2 levels in ice cores might be misleading?

    3)Why no consideration of the 800 year lag which means the current rise might be down to the Medieval Warm Period rather than my Range Rover?

    4)Why hand the attribution to the warmists on a platter when there is so much uncertainty?

    It’s not my area of speciality and I haven’t been keeping up, maybe these issues are settled now, so don’t bite my head off for asking please.

    Cheers

    Rog

  287. Gail Combs says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm


    John Finn says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    So a drop of ~80 ppm in a few years around 194o is believable is it?


    _______________________________________________________________________
    Yes, I find it believable, especially when you go from Bern Germany with Duerst to Barrow Alaska with Scholander to Chapman in Nebrasca. Heck you see more than 80 ppm variation in Harvard forest. From 320 ppm to around 420 ppm with a set of outliers to 500 ppm as Beck shows.

    You seem to have missed the point as to why remote locations, such as Barrow and Mana Loa, were chosen and why Beck’s measurements are of no use. I’m quite sure you can get higher (much higher ) readings if you take measurements in Piccadilly Circus or at the Arc de Triomphe but these would not be, in any way, representative of global CO2 concentrations. CO2 maps show that “well-mixed” concentrations vary by only a few ppm across the world.

    I do not envy you, Willis.

  288. Keith Minto says:
    June 7, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Wayne,
    June 7, 2010, 5:09.
    Interesting paper by John Nicol in that link. Yes, it is heavy going but I found this conclusion to be pertinent.

    The findings clearly show that any gas with an absorption line or band lying within the spectral range of the radiation field from the warmed earth, will be capable of contributing towards raising the temperature of the earth. However, it is equally clear that after reaching a fixed threshold of so-called Greenhouse gas density, which is much lower than that currently found in the atmosphere, there will be no further increase in temperature from this source, no matter how large the increase in the atmospheric density of such gases.

    A bit off topic: That is very interesting, isn’t it. If you have ever followed the anti-logic of the IPCC Free Energy Oven (thanks anna v) and agree that in the purest net sense, you can never really re-radiate energy back to warm the surface but only retard the exit of energy from the surface that was already there to begin with, thereby seeming like you are warming when in reality you are only retarding it from getting colder.

    John Nicol seems to be saying through the physics outlined in his paper that each absorption band in any GHG will retard the passage of energy through those bands but that rate of retardation has an upper limit and we have already passed the surface temperature at which these bands can retard that amount of energy exiting the surface. The surface is radiating at a fixed rate by the temperature of the surface and any increase in GHG molecules with the same absorption bands just widen the path (bigger pipe) for energy to escape in exactly the same amount that the additional molecules add ability to retard, therefore, no further increase in temperature. That would apply to water vapor as well as co2.

    Maybe that’s why a huge 40,000 foot thunder cloud never toasts to a crisp the people underneath it for, at that very moment under the cloud, there is an incredible number of GHG molecules above you, thank God that oven doesn’t really work! @;-)

    Interesting. His work will have to be checked but I can now clearly see his point. Is that the basics you got from his paper?

  289. barry moore says:
    June 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    So the contribution to the global atmospheric CO2 by human emissions is not a substantive issue. The subject which you are consistently ducking is that you claim in your opening statement that human emissions are responsible for the increase in CO2, this you clearly stated and I take issue with it since I think it is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Please stop hiding behind the “insult” strategy that is an alarmist tactic and not worthy of you.

    Barry, you need to learn that accusing someone of “ducking” the issues is a very poor way to get an answer from them. You need to understand that accusing someone of putting on a “smoke and mirrors dog and pony show” when you obviously don’t understand the issues doesn’t make people want to do what you ask. You need to realize that just because you think some issue is “substantive”, other people may not agree. I answered the objections of yours that I thought were important. Other people answered some of your other issues.

    You obviously think that all of the issues you raised were important. I found some of them simply unintelligible, and some of the others so far off-topic that I didn’t answer them. You went off about what happened 500 million years ago, and wanted to talk about whether there was a long term correlation between CO2 and temperature, when I had not discussed that at all, and this thread has nothing to do with that issue. Why should I answer your off-topic claims and statements that have nothing to do with what I wrote, no matter how “substantive” you might think they are?

    But despite that, if you had simply asked, I would gladly have answered, I’m a sucker that way. But instead, you want to insult me, and then expect me to answer? Where did you grow up, that people responded to being insulted by fulfilling your requests?

    So no, I’m not ducking anything. And no, I won’t answer your questions.

    Finally, you say that my statement that the preponderance of evidence suggests that humans are responsible for the increase in CO2 is “giving aid and comfort to the enemy”. Say what??? For me, this is a scientific question, that I answered above as best I know how. I may be wrong, I have been before more times than I care to recall, but I don’t change my honest scientific opinion because of “enemies”, real or imaginary.

  290. DirkH says:
    June 7, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    [On CO2 and human population]

    “It’s a spurious correlation. Replace the number of humans with World GDP total or anything else that grows roughly exponential… say the total of freeway kilometers globally. Without a physical mechanism or hypothesis, there are too many things you can correlate.”

    You need to replace with something quite independent of humans, so not world GDP, not freeway kilometers. You’re saying that A -> B must be wrong because there are spurious C -> B connections, but that’s flawed logic when there are A -> C connections.

    The physical mechanism? Surely complex. The impact of land use (agriculture, cattle, etc.), natural resources, could be some areas to look into. My point, however, is that the whole story including the physical mechanisms might be easier to see if we start the nesting from a different starting point, such as the human population. That’s meaningless, though, if you’ve already decided that there is connection between human activity and CO2. That I doubt. You might also say that it doesn’t really matter much, which may be true.

  291. Bart says:
    June 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    This calculation is not clear to me. Try putting it in terms of a difference equation. …

    Bart, sorry it wasn’t clear. Rather than try to explain it, I’ve put up an Excel worksheet here. Take a look and see if that makes it clearer. A spreadsheet is worth a thousand words.

    w.

  292. Lars Kamél says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    I did a smilar analysis several years ago. I got an atmospheric half-life for anthropogenic carbon dioxide of about 20 years, which agrees well with an e-folding time of about 30 years (20/30 ≈ ln(2)).
    Anybody using real data from the real world must get about the same result. Human emissions remain in the atmosphere for decades, not centuries. The claim from IPCC of an e-folding time of 90-200 years is probably based on models. It surely cannot be based on real-world data.

    Thanks, Lars. The IPCC claims are based on what is called the “Bern Carbon Model”. This model claims that of the CO2 emitted in a given year:

    25% has an e-folding time of 171 years
    28% has an e-folding time of 18 years
    32% has an e-folding time of 2.57 years
    15% remains in the atmosphere indefinitely.

    Obviously, this has to be a heuristic formula, since there is no way for individual carbon molecules to know which group they belong to … I’ve never been able to find a physical explanation of how this works in the real world. The 15% is supposed to be for the “Revelle factor”, which allows for the idea that the increasing CO2 in the ocean means that the new equilibrium will be higher than the original equilibrium. However, as to the rest of them, I have no idea how they are supposed to work.

    Go figure …

    In any case, the practical problem is that we don’t have enough years of accurate data yet to decide whether the Bern Carbon Model fits the observations better than a simple exponential distribution. Over the short term (the 50 years of Mauna Loa data) there is little difference between the two, not enough to say statistically whether one is better than the other.

    w.

  293. anna v says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    This is an experiment that shows that CO2 can be poured like a liquid , showing that it is
    heavier than air.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/930860/see_how_co2_is_heavier_than_air/

    Everybody who believes in the “well mixed” hypothesis should watch this.

    From what I have found on the “well mixed” hypothesis, it is an assumption that it holds for CO2, the logic being that since it is a gas and not that much heavier than the main gases of the atmosphere, turbulence will mix it well.

    I need experimental proof. I.e., measurements taken in columns of air from the surface to the 5000 meter in logical steps, in a wide sampling of the globe: oceans, forests, fields, deserts, icecaps…etc.
    Does anybody have a link?

    Anna, I said it before on my previous thread, and I will repeat it here. The AIRS data shown in Figure 4 on my previous thread is satellite measured tropospheric CO2. It varies around the planet by ± a percent or so, and has a slight trend from the Northern Hemisphere towards the Southern. In other words, it is well mixed.

    Look also at Fig. 5 on that thread, showing measurements from around the world.


  294. CONCLUSION
    As I said, I think that the preponderance of evidence shows that humans are the main cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2. It is unlikely that the change in CO2 is from the overall temperature increase. During the ice age to interglacial transitions, on average a change of 7°C led to a doubling of CO2. We have seen about a tenth of that change (0.7°C) since 1850, so we’d expect a CO2 change from temperature alone of only about 20 ppmv.
    Given all of the issues discussed above, I say humans are responsible for the change in atmospheric CO2 … but obviously, for lots of people, YMMV.

    So lets have a look at the NOAA Global view of CO2 Weather for 2008.

    In Winter the Artic seems to be turned OFF as a CO2 sink and all that human produced CO2 has accumulated at a positive atmospheric anomaly around the North Pole by the end of February:

    However, in Summer the Artic seems to be turned ON as a CO2 sink and all that human produced CO2 (and more) has become a negative atmospheric anomaly around the North Pole by the end of August:

    So a quick blink test of these two CO2 Weather maps seem to easy undermine your conclusions…. unless you want to start arguing with the observations :-)

  295. Willis Eschenbach says:

    The AIRS data is not measuring a column of air from the surface to the5000 or 7000 meters which is what it plots.

    Looking at concentrations up there, if the hypothesis of well mixed is wrong, is like smelling the air in the Himalayas and saying”what forest fire? the air is clean here”

    The failed satellite was planned in order to do that, and it seems that the Japanese one is in position to do that but are slow in trickling out data.

  296. tallbloke says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    1) Why no account taken of the work done by Georg Ernst Beck in gathering empirical records which show that co2 levels were much more upsy downsy in the C19th and early C20th than the warmists would like to have us know?

    I discussed Beck’s work (and Beck himself commented) on my previous thread.

    2)Why no account taken of the studies which show Isotope ratios and co2 levels in ice cores might be misleading?

    I discussed Jaworowski above. Isotope levels may be misleading, I said that in the head post.

    3)Why no consideration of the 800 year lag which means the current rise might be down to the Medieval Warm Period rather than my Range Rover?

    It’s vaguely theoretically possible, I suppose … but if so, why is there no sign of the Little Ice Age or any other variations in the modern record? In addition, the amount of CO2 change from the size of temperature change in the MWP or the Little Ice Age is too small to cause the current rise.

    4)Why hand the attribution to the warmists on a platter when there is so much uncertainty?

    I don’t see that much uncertainty. In addition, the main issue is not whether humans are raising the CO2. It is whether that CO2 rise will affect the temperature. I see no evidence that it will, and lots of evidence that it won’t. So I don’t want to dispute what I see as an inconsequential issue for which, as I said, I think the preponderance of evidence is large in favor of the idea that humans caused the CO2 rise.

    Finally, this thread is by popular demand. On my last thread, people kept wanting to discuss this issue. I put out my ideas, others put out theirs. I don’t see that as handing anyone anything, on a platter or not. I’m just giving my honest scientific opinion, as are others here.

    It’s not my area of speciality and I haven’t been keeping up, maybe these issues are settled now, so don’t bite my head off for asking please.

    Hey, serious questions are always welcome.

    All the best,

    w.

  297. John Finn says:

    You seem to have missed the point as to why remote locations, such as Barrow and Mana Loa, were chosen and why Beck’s measurements are of no use. I’m quite sure you can get higher (much higher ) readings if you take measurements in Piccadilly Circus or at the Arc de Triomphe but these would not be, in any way, representative of global CO2 concentrations. CO2 maps show that “well-mixed” concentrations vary by only a few ppm across the world.

    I do not envy you, Willis.

    Yeah, I should have just lit the fuse and run like crazy, but nooooo …

  298. wayne says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    … A bit off topic: That is very interesting, isn’t it. If you have ever followed the anti-logic of the IPCC Free Energy Oven (thanks anna v) and agree that in the purest net sense, you can never really re-radiate energy back to warm the surface but only retard the exit of energy from the surface that was already there to begin with, thereby seeming like you are warming when in reality you are only retarding it from getting colder.

    John Nicol seems to be saying through the physics outlined in his paper that each absorption band in any GHG will retard the passage of energy through those bands but that rate of retardation has an upper limit and we have already passed the surface temperature at which these bands can retard that amount of energy exiting the surface. The surface is radiating at a fixed rate by the temperature of the surface and any increase in GHG molecules with the same absorption bands just widen the path (bigger pipe) for energy to escape in exactly the same amount that the additional molecules add ability to retard, therefore, no further increase in temperature. That would apply to water vapor as well as co2.

    For those interested in how a greenhouse works (it has nothing to do with greenhouse gases), you might be interested in my post called “The Steel Greenhouse“.

    Now back to the topic at hand.


  299. John Finn says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm
    CO2 maps show that “well-mixed” concentrations vary by only a few ppm across the world.

    Provided your definition of “vary by only a few ppm” means “vary by upto 20 ppm”

    Perhaps calling it “plus or minus 10 ppm” gets us a bit closer to “a few” :-)

  300. Here is what AIRS itself is saying:

    Significant Findings from AIRS Data

    1. ‘Carbon dioxide is not homogeneous in the mid-troposphere; previously it was thought to be well-mixed
    2. ‘The distribution of carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere is strongly influenced by large-scale circulations such as the mid-latitude jet streams and by synoptic weather systems, most notably in the summer hemisphere
    3. ‘There are significant differences between simulated and observed CO2 abundance outside of the tropics, raising questions about the transport pathways between the lower and upper troposphere in current models
    4. ‘Zonal transport in the southern hemisphere shows the complexity of its carbon cycle and needs further study

    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/AIRS_CO2_Data/About_AIRS_CO2_Data/

    They talk of middle troposphere for their results. Not column averaged as the Japanese data I linked to. Even at this level AIRS does not see well mixing.

    Not well mixed means one needs 3d plots.

    Did you watch the experiment with pouring CO2?

  301. John Finn says:
    June 7, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Willis Eschenbach says
    June 7, 1:20 pm
    You are again conflating residence time (6-8 years or so) with the half life (much longer)

    Not so – residence time is half life / ln 2 (which is 0.693). Thus t1/2 is a bit shorter than residence time (tau).

    There might be some confusion over the definition of ‘residence time’ here. I think Willis is referring to the average lifetime (residence time) of a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere.

    Thats what I’m talking about too – the residence time tau. If we choose to define CO2 clearence from the atmosphere as exponential (rather than immortalise CO2 in the atmosphere as a CAGW deity) then we have to play by the rules of exponential decay. Again, residence time tau = halflife / 0.693.

    This is only a few years. However, this is not the same thing as the time taken for a pulse of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. In this case, both the half-life and e-folding time are much longer.

    How long does a pulse of CO2 stay in the atmosphere? Forever, until judgement day, or until CO2 starts causing global warming, however you choose to define an infinite time. Exponential decay never reaches zero.

    This discussion on exponential CO2 removal is very important, the CAGW establishment try to wriggle out of discussion of CO2 removal from the atmosphere and thus tacitly deify CO2 as an immortal angry sky god. This discussion will make them uncomfortably so is to be applauded – indeed it will seem blasphemous to them to think that CO2 can leave the atmosphere.

    But why introduce the esoteric term “e folding time” when all that is needed is the exponential decay term or the half life?

    In fact CO2 removal from the atmosphere would seem likely to be multi-term or multi-compartmental with several exponential terms (although I looked in Google scholar but could not find any reference). There may be short, medium and long term compartments. This could explain the anomalously smooth curve of CO2 in air with time. However I share the suspicion of some posters about the credibility of such a smooth CO2 curve. If human CO2 emission is indeed now a dominant signal, then changes in CO2 output caused for instance by an economic recession, should leave a visible signal in the CO2 curve. But they dont.

  302. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 8, 2010 at 12:52 am

    … the main issue is not whether humans are raising the CO2. It is whether that CO2 rise will affect the temperature. I see no evidence that it will, and lots of evidence that it won’t. So I don’t want to dispute what I see as an inconsequential issue for which, as I said, I think the preponderance of evidence is large in favor of the idea that humans caused the CO2 rise.

    Fair enough, and I agree with you that it’s a side issue. Still one that tax raisers will use to beat us with though. If the human part of the atmosperic co2 flux increased 1.3% over the modern warming period, we are only talking about 0.00049% of the atmosphere. I won’t be losing any sleep.

    Cheers

  303. I always read about the 800-year timelag of a CO2 increase following a rise in temperatures, but I hardly ever find anybody arguing that the present level of CO2 was caused 800 years ago. Strange!

  304. Willis:

    At (June 7, 2010 at 1:13 pm) you write:

    “My impression (haven’t read too much on the stomatal measurements) is that there are some problems with the stomatal data. One that I haven’t seen discussed much is this: …”

    Previously, at (June 7, 2010 at 2:43 am) I wrote:

    “As an aside, I address your point concerning the ice-core data because I think it is a distraction. …

    [snip]

    There is – at very least – adequate reason to assess the recent changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration as indicated at Mauna Loa, Barrow, etc. on the basis of the behaviour of the carbon cycle since 1958 (when measurements began at Mauna Loa).

    Comparison of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration with paleo data merely provides a debate as to
    (a) the validity of the ice-core data (which provides the ‘hockey stick’ graph you reproduce above)
    and
    (b) the validity of the stomata data that shows the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is similar to rises that have repeatedly happened previously.”

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

    Richard

  305. Z says June 7, 2010 at 5:56 pm:

    Also at the bottom of an ice core, the pressure must be incredible.

    Any dissolved CO2 must outgas like a smashed bottle of champagne when the core is pulled into the ambient pressure.

    Yes, this is a very cogent point. The lack of pressure is found to be a big problem when oceanographers/biologists try to study deep sea creatures when the creatures are exposed to our 1 bar atmosphere.

    As soon as the core is exposed – unless it is but into a pressure chamber and kept there until and including the sampling tests are undertaken – the “steady state” is erased and all bets are off as to what was really there when it was at depth. No matter HOW careful they are with procedures, the baseline shifted in unknown ways, throwing serious doubt on any data.

    If they then USE that data, biff! GIGO.

  306. John Finn:

    At (June 7, 2010 at 3:28 pm ) pertaining to Beck’s data, you ask:
    “So a drop of ~80 ppm in a few years around 1940 is believable is it?”

    I answer:
    Yes, it is.

    Please see my above comment at (June 7, 2010 at 3:23 am). I wrote there:

    “Your point about “uptake of CO2” by the oceans cuts both ways. The great bulk of carbon flowing around the carbon cycle is in the oceans. An equilibrium state exists between the atmospheric CO2 concentration and the carbon concentration in the ocean surface layer. So, all other things being equal, if the atmospheric CO2 concentration increases then – as you say – the ocean surface layer will dissolve additional CO2 and alkalinity of the layer will reduce. However, the opposite is also true.

    If the alkilinity of the ocean surface layer reduces then the equilibrium state will alter to increase the atmospheric CO2 concentration and to reduce the carbon in the ocean surface layer. The pH change required to achieve all of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration (i.e. since 1958 when measurements began at Mauna Loa) is less than 0.1 which is much, much too small for it to be detectable. And changes of this magnitude can be expected to occur.

    Surface waters sink to ocean bottom, travel around the globe for ~800 years then return to ocean surface. They can be expected to dissolve S and Cl from exposure to undersea volcanism during their travels. So, the return to the surface of these waters will convey the S and Cl ions to the surface layer centuries after their exposure to the volcanism, and this could easily reduce the surface layer pH by more than 0.1. Hence, variations in undersea volcanism centuries ago could be completely responsible for the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Please note that the fact that these volcanic variations could be responsible for the recent rise does not mean they are responsible (which is the same logic as the fact that the anthropogenic emissions could be responsible does not mean that they are).

    However, Tom Quirk observes that the geographical distribution of atmospheric carbon isotopes provides a better fit to the undersea volcanism hypothesis than to the anthropogenic hypothesis as a cause of the rise: see

    http://climaterealists.com/attachments/database/A%20Clean%20Demonstration%20of%20Carbon%2013%20Isotope%20Depletion.pdf

    There are many possible causes of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. They each warrant investigation, and there is not sufficient evidence to champion any one of them.”

    I hope you will take note of my final paragraph in my above quotation: I am not championing the ‘volcanic variation hypothesis’ but am using it here to demonstrate that “a drop of ~80 ppm in a few years around 1940” is physically possible.

    Seasonal variation differs greatly from place to place. It is minimal at Mauna Loa (which is why Keeling chose to monitor atmospheric CO2 concentration there) where it is typically more than 8 ppmv each year. And, at that location, this variation is attributed to oceanic emission and sequestration.

    So, a change to the pH of the ocean surface layer that deverely inhibited oceanic emission (but not sequestration) could easily induce “a drop of ~80 ppm” in less than a decade.

    This is yet another example of how closed minds inhibit investigation of the true behaviours of the carbon cycle by asserting that known possibilities are not “believable”.

    Richard

  307. Gail Combs says June 7, 2010 at 6:46 pm:

    “At Mauna Loa we use the following data selection criteria:

    3. There is often a diurnal wind flow pattern on Mauna Loa ….. The upslope air may have CO2 that has been lowered by plants removing CO2 through photosynthesis at lower elevations on the island,…. Hours that are likely affected by local photosynthesis are indicated by a “U” flag in the hourly data file, and by the blue color in Figure 2. The selection to minimize this potential non-background bias takes place as part of step 4. At night the flow is often downslope, bringing background air. However, that air is sometimes contaminated by CO2 emissions from the crater of Mauna Loa. As the air meanders down the slope that situation is characterized by high variability of the CO2 mole fraction…..

    Wow. I have always furrowed my brow at why they would put a CO2 station on top of a CO2 spewing volcano and try to convince us all that the data is pristine. Out in the middle of the ocean makes a lot of sense, but couldn’t they find an island WITHOUT a simmering volcano?

    THANK YOU for this bit of information. I don’t trust their data at all anymore. Even the CO2 data coming from Mauna Loa has to be “adjusted” – and guess who gets to do the adjusting?

  308. Unless I’ve missed it, I notice no-one has mentioned the AIRS data from satellite observations. These are the oservations of CO2 in the mid-troposphere. From what I recall they seem to provide strong independent support for that the Mauna Loa readings are accuarate and are representaive of the “well-mixed” atmosphere.

    This link

    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/AIRS_CO2_Data/

    shows the CO2 map for July 2009 which shows the average concentration at roughly 387 ppm. The July 2009 reading at ML was 387.74 ppm.

    If we can establish that ML and the ice core data are reliable, then it will become a relatively straightforward task to show that human emissions are mainly responsible for the rise.

  309. anna v says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Sorry, it is in China that we get red. Australia has a very low blue point.

    That low blue point (360ppm) on the coast of western Australia contrasts with a solitary ‘spot’ in the desert of central Australia and one near Brisbane at 385ppm. 385ppm is also recorded by Cape Grim on the west coast of Tasmania in 2009.
    This is more than “a percent or two” of variation across a continent and worthy of more attention, perhaps in a new thread.
    I could be wrong but I think that anna v is, like me is interested in a vertical profile of CO2 mixing,or, more likely, layering.

    Wayne, I will digest that Nicol article a little more and not comment on it now so as not to go OT, thanks anyway for the link.

  310. Willis
    “I’ve never been able to find a physical explanation of how this works in the real world.”

    The reason is that exponential decay just isn’t the right model for diffusion of CO2 into the sea. If you want to think of it as a set of layers of equal thickness and diffusivity respobding to a rise of CO2 in the air, then the top layer absorbs CO2 fairly quickly, since there’s not much resistance. When it approaches capacity, the next layer comes into play. But to get there, CO2 has to pass through the top layer, so it fills more slowly, with a longer time constant. And so on down.

    This is solving the diffusion equation, and instead of convolving with a decaying exponential, which as Bart says is what you are doing, you should be convolving with a function of form t^(-3/2). This decays much more slowly than an exponential, but you could consider it approximately made up as a sum of exponentials of varying time constant. That’s where the Bern model comes from.

  311. anna v says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:47 pm
    We had discussed it here at the time it appeared, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/09/13/some-results-from-gosat-co2-hot-spots-in-interesting-places/

    Thanks for that reference…. which includes some interesting comments regarding the validity of the MLO data (besides their data processing procedures)…

    OsandZsChemist says:
    September 14, 2009 at 5:01 am
    It is interesting to correlate this with historical pollution tracking and jetstream patterns http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cms/pjr/pubs/2000JD900842.pdf which imply a dumpout between Hong Kong (lat. 22N) and Hawaii (lat. 21N). Although an early reach, it is possible to speculate that the Mauna Loa CO2 measurements are biased by the huge CO2 emissions from China and the Middle East. Anyone tried a correlation between ramp up of fossil fuel use in China and the Mauna Loa http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html measurements?

    John says:
    September 14, 2009 at 11:58 am
    Concerning Mauna Loa, Jeffrey A. Glassman (http://www.rocketscientistsjournal.com/) has for years insisted that Mauna Loa was a very poor choice for monitoring CO2. The island lies in the middle of a discharge plume as cool North Pacific water warming on its trip southward swings westward. The warming results in a steady elevation in atmospheric CO2. This map seems to confirm that Mauna Loa overestimates global atmospheric CO2 levels.

    =====================================================

    So it looks like the MLO and Ice Core data have all sorts of associated issues….
    So this CO2 analysis seems to have very questionable foundations… so say the least.

  312. John Finn:

    At (June 8, 2010 at 2:56 am) you say:

    “If we can establish that ML and the ice core data are reliable, then it will become a relatively straightforward task to show that human emissions are mainly responsible for the rise.”

    I agree it is a pity that we cannot determine the reliability of either of them.

    However, in the light of his comment at (June 7, 2010 at 7:09 pm) , dr.bill would probably be interested to know that in 1859 Michael Faraday was the discoverer of the major problem with ice cores as reliable stores of atmospheric CO2 concentrations: i.e. all ice surfaces (including surfaces of ice crystals) are coated in a liquid water phase at all temperatures down to about -40 deg.C.
    (ref. Rosenburg R, ‘Why is ice slippery’, Physics Today, Dc.2005).
    Liquid water dissolves CO2 and ionic diffusion occurs through liquid water.

    Richard

  313. Re: Gail Combs on June 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Gail, I tossed that out there for general consideration without speculating myself, but there was something about the ice core low CO2 levels that was tickling my brain. The plant data show much lower levels, and yes I agree that could be a local source/sink issue but there it is. Well, for a long time now I’ve read speculation here about CO2 diffusing out of high-concentration air bubbles in the ice cores, yielding too-low readings. Where does it go? If there was an “averaging” occurring in the ice in all those layers over all that time, wouldn’t the low-concentration bubbles gain some CO2? And there it is, the plant data showing much lower levels than what the ice cores do.

    Of course in some ways it sounded silly, as with that graph (link to US-B&W version) not getting smoother further back in time, and sudden swings from low to high being preserved. So it doesn’t look like such “averaging” is a long-term effect due to the lack of long-term smoothing, and swing preservation says it’s not short term acting on “young” ice. However, I can’t rule out the high and low points of the swings weren’t clipped, especially with the lower plant numbers, thus can’t rule out a short-term issue, when the young ice wasn’t “set” and under so much pressure… So I posted it without speculation to see if someone else might get that same tickle.

    Looking at that graph again though, I’ve noticed a major irritation. The CO2, temperature, and CH4 lines match up well, and this graph has too coarse a time scale to really see any CO2/temperature lag. But what is noticeable is that insolation line. Going by the peaks, first temperature and the other two peak, then insolation peaks. It’s not a perfect match, and they don’t always line up that way, especially on minor peaks where other factors might be in play, but that certain pattern is far more likely to be seen than otherwise. Further, quite often insolation will be rising, then the others peak, then insolation peaks. Around 160,000 BP there’s an oddball, temp and CO2 have a minor peak while insolation is going down, but methane is also going down. Nearly always the pattern is there, insolation rises, the three peak, then insolation peaks.

    Which brings about the following question: Is there some negative feedback mechanism keeping insolation from raising the other readings past a certain point? Looks to me like an albedo change is indicated, namely increased cloud cover. Past a certain temperature, increased cloud cover due to increased evaporation acts to dampen any further increases in temperature. (One may choose to argue it is CO2 and/or methane, both GHG’s, that are somehow triggering some sort of temperature-limiting mechanism. Which would be interesting.)

    Ah crud, and here I was, I really was, trying to keep near the “attribution” topic while simply mentioning something about the ice cores I had found that makes me question them somewhat, and noting the huge pre-SUV rises. Oh well. Around here there tends to be a love/hate relationship to ice cores, we like the CO2/temp lag and the higher temps, don’t like the presumably-low CO2 measurements. Guess we’ll have to treat them like we do the historical temperature records, we have reasons to (strongly) suspect they could be a mess but they are what we have to work with, so let’s see what real info we can tease out of them. And look there, possible evidence of a global temperature-limiting mechanism!

  314. #
    #
    Michael Larkin says:
    June 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    This is coming from left field, but if no one has mentioned it, I wondered if it might have relevance. If not all “fossil fuel” is in fact biogenic, then wouldn’t that affect C12/C13 ratios?

    I have no opinion either way, incidentally, about abiogenic oil or anthopogenic CO2 increase. The more I read pro- and contra, the more I come to realise that agnosticism is the only sane position for me.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    I looked into that a while ago and you run into a confounding factor – microbes living in the coal

    Carbon-14 in Coal Deposits
    “…it would also seem to represent a problem for the established geologic timescale, as conventional thought holds that coal deposits were largely if not entirely formed during the Carboniferous period approximately 300 million years ago. Since the halflife of carbon-14 is 5,730 years, any that was present in the coal at the time of formation should have long since decayed to stable daughter products. The presence of 14C in coal therefore is an anomaly that requires explanation….”

    bacteria/fungi hypothesis: Lowe then makes a reasonable case for fungi and bacteria – there are fungi that can degrade lignite (Polyporus versicolor and Poria montiola), as well as autotrophic “thiobacillus-like” bacteria that oxidize pyrites in coal, and he points out that bacteria have been found 3km underground apparently living on granite. Lowe states that fungal and bacterial activity is particularly likely in warm, damp coal exposed to air, and he points out that microbial action only has to result in the deposition of ~0.1% by weight of modern carbon in the coal to produce an apparent age of 45,000 years for the specimen.

    Since Lowe’s paper, there have been many more reports of deep subterranean bacteria, which apparently form a heretofore unrecognized ecosystem deep below the earth in rocks and in oils (abstracts below). Presumably most of these bacteria never interact with the “modern” 14C of the atmosphere. But some deep bacterial activity apparently can result in increased concentrations of 13C….”

    On the next Ice Age: Everyone seems to forget the default setting for the Earth is a deep freeze.

    About the onset of an ice age, this comment from E.M.Smith:
    From “Ice Age” by John and Mary Gribbin (a wonderful read, gives the richness of the characters in the discovery of the ice ages, the history of the process, and a gentle introduction to some of the science involved.):
    Pg.53: [...]the single most important thing to emerge from these discussions was Koppen’s realization of the key season in the Ice Age saga. Adhemar and Croll had thought that the decisive factor in encouraging Ice to spread across the Northern Hemisphere must be the occurrence of extremely cold winters, resulting in increased snowfall. At first, Milankovitch had shared this view. But it was Koppen who pointed out that it is always cold enough for snow to fall in the Arctic winter, even today, and that the reason that the Northern Hemisphere is not in the grip of a full Ice Age is because the ‘extra’ snow melts away again in the summer.
    [EMS: Note that the Southern Hemisphere is similarly irrelevant to the ice age cycle since it is always cold enough for snow to stay frozen. It just doesn't change enough to matter.]
    Pg 54: He reasoned that the way to encourage the ice to spread would be to have a reduction in summer warmth, because then less of the winter snowfall would melt. If less snow melted in summer than fell in winter, the ice sheets would grow – and once they had started to grow, the feedback effect of the way the ice and snow reflect away incoming solar energy would enhance the process.
    Pg 57: It isn’t so much that Ice Ages occur when the astronomical influences conspire to produce particularly cool summers, rather what matters is that Interglacials only occur when the astronomical influences conspire to produce unusually warm summers, encouraging the ice to retreat. Without all three of the astronomical rhythms working in step this way, the Earth stays in a deep freeze.
    End Quote.

    So, to summarize:
    1) The south pole doesn’t matter to the process, it’s always frozen.
    2) We are normally in a long ice age and only pop out for short intervals when conditions are just right.
    3) The ‘just right’ is Northern Hemisphere summers warm enough to melt the snow and ice.
    4) Warm enough is when the N. hemisphere: must be pointed at the sun in summer when: at close approach to the sun with the right elliptical shape, with the pole tilted over far enough, with… or we freeze.
    I would add a note that I think it is particularly illuminating that we are near the end of an Interglacial (next stop is an ice age), the only thing that keeps it away is the summer Arctic ice and snow melt. So what is the AGW crowd in histrionics about? That the Arctic ice and snow are not sticking through the summer… Think about it…

    Right now Earth is nearest the sun during northern winters, farthest from the sun during northern summers.

    E.M.Smith sums up my concerns very nicely. Thank you Mr. Smith and also Willis for giving us a chance to thrash out the pros and cons of the increase in CO2 is caused by man hypothesis.

  315. Richard Courtney June 8, 2010 at 2:50 am made the point about the possibility of CO2 concentration dropping substantially and by implication of course the other way round.

    This was discussed at great length on my thread on this subject over at Air Vent when Becks figures around 1940 were dissected.

    The Oceans are a giant source or sink dependent on temperatures. I believe Richard himself gave a very good indicator of the Billions of Tonnes that could theoretically cycle between ocean and atmosphere on another thread a few months ago.

    So a considerable and rapid change in atmospheric concentration is theoretically possible IF the right conditions prevail. It does happen sometimes that the Arctic and Antarctic can be warming or cooling in unison.

    If this should occur at the same time there and in most other parts of the world the absorption or outgasing can be very considerable. Of course the time scale of cause and effect needs to be taken into account-1 year? 1000 years?

    I have asked before if anyone knew of the amount of outgassing or absorption of CO2 per one tenth of a degree of oceanic temperature change, in order to try to determine if the temperature changes we witness in the graph can possibly have the effect of significantly affecting the atmospheric concentration. However to date no one has come up with an appropriate formula.

    Tonyb

  316. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 8, 2010 at 12:52 am

    tallbloke says:
    June 7, 2010 at 11:19 pm
    1) Why no account taken of the work done by Georg Ernst Beck in gathering empirical records which show that co2 levels were much more upsy downsy in the C19th and early C20th than the warmists would like to have us know?

    I discussed Beck’s work (and Beck himself commented) on my previous thread.

    I think your reasons for rejecting his work don’t hold up in the light of his latest paper:

    http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/CO2_versus_windspeed-review-1-FM.pdf

    It shows the levels of this “well mixed” gas were at around 332 back in the 1800’s and as high as today in 1940. I trust direct air measuements more than ice core proxies from the south pole where co2 levels are generally lower anyway.

  317. Richard S Courtney says:
    June 8, 2010 at 4:24 am


    John Finn:

    At (June 8, 2010 at 2:56 am) you say:

    “If we can establish that ML and the ice core data are reliable, then it will become a relatively straightforward task to show that human emissions are mainly responsible for the rise.”

    I agree it is a pity that we cannot determine the reliability of either of them.

    1. Do you think that the agreement between ML, Barrow, South Pole and AIRS data is a coincidence or doy you believe they are all wrong for the same reason?
    2. Do you think the same argument applies to all 8 ice core datasets?

  318. I have learned quite a lot from the many commenters on this thread, most notably (but not exclusively) Richard S Courtney and tonyb. I also share the concerns of anna v regarding both energy and the mixing issue, and am not nearly as confident about the procedures at Mauna Loa (and elsewhere) as Willis seems to be, but I am grateful for the clear way in which he has outlined exactly what they do with the initial measurements.

    In tonyb’s first post yesterday, he included a link to a graph that I think sums up a lot regarding the effects of CO2 on ‘global warming’.

    I have long had a poster-sized version of the equivalent of this graph hung up on my office wall, except that the curves have been labelled f(t) and g(t), and no reference is made to climate issues. As people come and go, I ask them what they think of the connection between the two functions. So far, the most common responses have been:

    - No connection.
    – Very little connection.
    – Is this a trick question?
    – You’re joking, right?

    /dr.bill

  319. Fred H. Haynie:

    At June 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm you say:

    “A more informative exercise is to use the Scripps seasonally adjusted monthly CO2 averages, convert to global gigitons/year (annual difference or accumulation rate) and compare the cyclic behavior to the relatively straight line for anthropogenic emissions. They average about the same but the natural cycles vary by orders of magnitude. This does not play well for cause and effect.”

    With respect it is not true that “This does not play well for cause and effect”, but it does deny the CO2 ‘budget’ analyses used by e.g. the IPCC to determine “accumulation” of anthropogenic CO2.

    Your comment pertains to the fact that the annual pulse of anthropogenic CO2 into the atmosphere should relate to the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere if one is directly causal of the other, but their variations greatly differ from year to year. This necessary relationship is because the direct causation would require that the carbon cycle were so near to saturation that the system could not sequester all the anthropogenic addition.

    However, the rates of the seasonal variations to atmospheric CO2 concentration demonstrate that the system is not near such saturation.
    (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) ).

    A caveat is that the use of annual data for anthropogenic CO2 may be an error. Some data on e.g. fuel consumption may not be collated in time so may be misallocated to an adjacent year, so 2-year smoothing of the data is justifiable. And some countries may use different 12-month periods for their accounting years which – together with the reason for 2-year smoothing – provides justification for 3-year smoothing. But smoothing of the data over 4 or more years is not justifiable.

    The IPCC uses 5-year smoothing to get the data to ‘fit’ its model of ‘accumulation’ of anthropogenic emissions to ‘fit’ the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration as determined at Mauna Loa.

    However, in our paper that I cite here and outline at June 7, 2010 at 2:43 am above, we provided six models that each match the annual data for the anthropogenic emission to the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration as determined at Mauna Loa. None of these models used any smoothing or other adjustment to any of the data. As I explained above (at June 7, 2010 at 2:43 am):

    “Our paper then used attribution studies to model the system response. Those attribution studies used three different basic models to emulate the causes of the rise of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in the twentieth century. They each assumed
    (a) a significant effect of the anthropogenic emission
    and
    (b) no discernible effect of the anthropogenic emission.
    Thus we assessed six models.

    These numerical exercises are a caution to estimates of future changes to the atmospheric CO2 concentration. The three basic models used in these exercises each emulate different physical processes and each agrees with the observed recent rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration. They each demonstrate that the observed recent rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration may be solely a consequence of the anthropogenic emission or may be solely a result of, for example, desorption from the oceans induced by the temperature rise that preceded it. Furthermore, extrapolation using these models gives very different predictions of future atmospheric CO2 concentration whatever the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.”

    This provides an apparent paradox. The annual anthropogenic emission of CO2 should relate to the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere if one is directly causal of the other but these two parameters do not correlate. But – using each of our different models – we were able to model the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere as being a function solely of the annual anthropogenic emission of CO2. And we did not use any ‘fiddle factors’ such as the 5-year-averageing used by the IPCC to get a ’fit’. (Adoption of that smoothing really is a disgrace. There can be no justification for it because there is no known physical mechanism that would have that effect).

    The apparent paradox is resolved by considering the calculated equilibrium CO2 concentration values. These show an important difference between the three models. They diverge.

    But each model indicates that, for each year, the calculated CO2 concentration for the equilibrium state is considerably above the value of the observed CO2 concentration in the air. This demonstrates that each model indicates there is a considerable time lag required to reach the equilibrium state when there is no accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    The short term sequestration processes can easily adapt to sequester the anthropogenic emission in that year. But, according to our models, the total emission of any year affects the equilibrium state of the entire system. Some processes of the system are very slow with rate constants of years and decades. Hence, the system takes decades to fully adjust to the new equilibrium. And the models predict the atmospheric CO2 concentration slowly rising in response to the changing equilibrium condition.

    Simply, we demonstrated that it is possible that the total natural flux of CO2 from the Earth to the air may increase over time as a response to increasing anthropogenic emission. And this provides an explanation of why the apparent accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere continued when in two subsequent years the anthropogenic flux into the atmosphere decreased (this happened, for example, in the years 1973-1974, 1987-1988, and 1998-1999).

    So, in summation, your observation does disprove the IPCC model of “accumulating” anthropogenic CO2 in the air, but it does not negate the possibility that the anthropogenic emission is responsible for the recent (i.e. since 1958) rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. And our models demonstrate that the cause of the recent rise may be entirely natural, or entirely anthropogenic, or some combination of anthropogenic and natural causes.

    So, a question:
    Is the cause of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.natural or anthropogenic in part or in whole?

    Answer:
    God alone knows.

    Richard

  320. Malaga View says:
    June 8, 2010 at 3:44 am
    ……
    of a discharge plume as cool North Pacific water warming on its trip southward swings westward. The warming results in a steady elevation in atmospheric CO2. This map seems to confirm that Mauna Loa overestimates global atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Then so does the AIRS satellite data from the mid-troposphere – and ‘coincidentally’ – by almost exactly the same amount.

    =====================================================

    So it looks like the MLO and Ice Core data have all sorts of associated issues….
    So this CO2 analysis seems to have very questionable foundations… so say the least.

    ML data is fine. It is validated by a host other data. Ice Core data is consistent across all datasets. Ice age concentrations show there is a lot of variability – just not so much in the inter-glacial periods, i.e. +/-20ppm.

  321. Malaga View says:
    June 8, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Have you actually looked at the scale on your linked maps. We do know about the seasonal cycle, by the way.

  322. tonyb says:
    June 8, 2010 at 5:04 am
    I have asked before if anyone knew of the amount of outgassing or absorption of CO2 per one tenth of a degree of oceanic temperature change, in order to try to determine if the temperature changes we witness in the graph can possibly have the effect of significantly affecting the atmospheric concentration. However to date no one has come up with an appropriate formula.

    The most recent evaluation of this in a Nature paper came out with a median value of ~8 ppm CO2/ºC (upper limit ~20).

    David C. Frank, Jan Esper, Christoph C. Raible, Ulf Büntgen, Valerie Trouet, Benjamin Stocker, & Fortunat Joos. Ensemble reconstruction constraints on the global carbon cycle sensitivity to climate. Nature, 2010; 463 (7280): 527 DOI: 10.1038/nature08769

  323. The term well mixed in some cases has been misused. As concerning the Scripps data, they tend to define it as when there is enough turbulance in the surface boundary layer that concentrations are relatively uniform and are representive of a background concentration. That layer is roughly around a kilometer between the surface and the base of clouds. They only include measurements in their monthly averages that meet these criteria. “Well mixed” and “E-fold” should not be used to try to explain the global uniformity of these measurements. There are other physical processes controlling the atmospheric concentration of CO2. For example, how long does it take for CO2 “out-gassing” from the tropical ocean to be absorbed into clouds and then be returned to the ocean as rain? What fraction is returned to the ocean and what fraction is transported to the top of the atmosphere in towering clouds? How do wind patterns carry CO2 from it’s tropical source to it’s Artic sink? How and why do both source and sink change with time? Until these processes are better understood, it is not much better than speculation to attribute some fraction of the rise in background CO2 levels to anthropogenic emissions.

  324. A nice paper in pnas by Beerling and Berner 2005 from Sheffield (pdf available without paywall) shows how evolution of trees resulted in a sharp drop in atmospheric CO2:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/5/1302.full

    In particular increasing height and leaf size, plus weathering action of roots building soils, all transformed the global carbon budget and cycle.

    Its a good illustration of the close interplay between the earth’s biota and its atmosphere and environment – showing there is substance to Lovelock’s GAIA hypothesis. Also, if the biosphere coped with CO2 levels of several thousand ppm and adapted in such a way as to change the atmospheric composition, it is not too far-fetched to imagine that the present biosphere will have no difficulty adapting to, and even benefiting from, a modest anthropogenic increase in the rate of CO2 emission to the atmosphere.

    The authors ended with a throw-away line about present day feedbacks possible being positive and harmful, but this contradicted the main message of the paper – the biosphere’s optimising adaptability – and seems half-hearted, perhaps a perfunctory bone thrown to AGW mandarins in the publication process.

  325. In my post 5.04 am

    I linked to a graph and asked a question;

    So that I can properly understand Phils helpful reply to me at 6.38 am I confirm he said;

    “The most recent evaluation of this in a Nature paper came out with a median value of ~8 ppm CO2/ºC (upper limit ~20).”

    So do I correctly understand that IF there were a general warming of the oceans by around 1 Degree C that it would outgass the equivalent of 80ppm (presumably a similar cooling would have the opposite effect.)

    This amount is not far off the 80ppm ‘outlier’ that Beck recorded in the 1940’s. The world certainly warmed from 1920 to 1940 so a considerable amount of outgasing should theoretically have happened. I don’t know if most of it disappeared back into the oceans when it cooled again or went into plant growth.

    My thanks to Dr Bill for his kind comments. An ‘unlabelled’ graph sounds an excellent idea to show the lack of cause and effect.

    Tonyb

  326. Willis
    It is generally accepted that there is a correlation between CO2 levels and temperature, derived from ice-core evidence, over many thousands of years. Cause or effect, lag or lead, are of course disputed. If we think increased CO2 in past epochs was an effect of warming, we should be seeing some effect of recent warming in CO2 levels now. Could the analysis be extended to take such an effect into account?

  327. Warming in Last 50 Years Predicted by Natural Climate Cycles
    by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/07/minority-report-50-year-warming-due-to-natural-causes/

    From this record I computed the yearly change rates in temperature. I then linearly regressed these 1-year temperature change rates against the yearly average values of the PDO, AMO, and SOI.

    Compare the 1900 through 1960 period in Roy W. Spencer’s article:

    With Ernst-Georg Beck’s background CO2 for the same period:

    It begins to look like the background CO2 levels are driven by the oceans… when the oceans warm they emit more CO2… when they cool the absorb more CO2… now there is surprise…

  328. Fred H. Haynie says:
    June 8, 2010 at 6:58 am

    “it is not much better than speculation to attribute some fraction of the rise in background CO2 levels to anthropogenic emissions.”

    Even though those anthropogenic emissions to the atmosphere since 1850 are more than twice the rise in those background (atmospheric) CO2 levels during the same period … ?

  329. Nick Stokes says:
    June 8, 2010 at 3:33 am
    “The reason is that exponential decay just isn’t the right model for diffusion of CO2 into the sea. ”

    I’m not so sure about this. There is little reason to think that diffusion a diffusion based model is reasonable. The problems I see with the Bern model are twofold:

    1. The Bern model appears to ignore the importance of thermohaline circulation, which is (I think) mainly responsible for net CO2 absorption. Net CO2 absorption is driven mainly by the difference between absorption by sinking (very cold) high latitude water and the out-gassing from upwelling deep waters as they warm at low latitudes, and yields an expected response to rising CO2 emissions which almost perfectly matches the historical data. It also predicts a continuing net absorption rate (for hundreds of years) that depends almost exclusively on the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere; that is, it would predict an exactly exponential decay if all CO2 emissions were suddenly to stop.

    2. To match historical atmospheric data, the Bern model assumes preposterously high mixing rates between surface waters in the tropics and sub-tropics and deeper underlying waters (essentially matching the preposterously high mixing rates that are used to justify very long ocean heat lags).

    The Bern model predicted a falling capacity for CO2 uptake, which should long ago have been evident in the data. Recent publications, showing that the uptake capacity has in fact not fallen at all, suggest the model is not a good representation of reality. The almost constant Argo ocean heat content since ~2004 – 2005 simultaneously casts doubt on long ocean heat lag values and on the Bern model, since CO2 mixing and thermal mixing are essentially identical.

    There must be (of course) some downward mixing due to turbulent eddies where the thermocline contacts the well mixed layer, but I suspect the Bern model grossly overestimates the importance of that mixing in order to maintain agreement with expected long ocean heat lags. Both appear to me to be quite wrong.

  330. Thanks for this great WUWT site….
    Thanks for this thought provoking post…
    Thanks for the thought provoking comments….
    Thanks to James Taylor for Fire and Rain

    I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
    I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
    I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
    But I always thought that I’d see you again

    For FIRE read CHERRY PICKING
    For RAIN read TRICKING
    For YOU read SENSE

    I’m outta here……

  331. I am suspicious of the pre-1800 constant CO2 concentration indicated by this data as I would expect the CO2 concentration to mirror global average ocean temperature changes. These temperature changes should affect the static quantity of CO2 that can remain dissolved in the ocean. Perhaps this information might have been lost as a result some long-term gas diffusion process. I think we may need a second, unrelated proxy to confirm this result.

  332. Willis,

    This post seems to have made a little progress with a few (which is in fact amazing), but I’m not sure the result justifies the effort. Where do you find the time?

  333. I am sorry if this sounds a bit , well, simple but what is the resolution in years, decades, centuries etc. for the CO2 level revealed by ice cores?

    I ask because I am a civil engineer and I design and build dams which means I rely on rainfall probabilities. One in a hundred, thousand etc. floods are my bread and butter but these are averaged out trends and the resolution we use is poor so we pad the numbers a lot.

    Now back to the ice cores. Is it possible that the variations decade on decade are high but the methodology used in CO2 estimates may well smooth out peaks and troughs with hundred year averages for instance. I have tried to find some definitive answer by researching this on line but I can’t find anything useful.

    Any links someone may have would be welcome so I can go off and read up before I even have the hubris to think I can contribute to Willis’ challenge.

    Thanks.

  334. John Finn:

    At June 8, 2010 at 6:02 am you ask me:
    “1. Do you think that the agreement between ML, Barrow, South Pole and AIRS data is a coincidence or doy you believe they are all wrong for the same reason?
    2. Do you think the same argument applies to all 8 ice core datasets?”

    I would answer your questios if I knew the answers, but I don’t.

    I wish I were omniscient but I regret that there is much, much more that I do not know than I do.

    Richard

  335. anna v says:
    June 8, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Thanks for the info, anna. You say:


    They talk of middle troposphere for their results. Not column averaged as the Japanese data I linked to. Even at this level AIRS does not see well mixing.

    Not well mixed means one needs 3d plots.

    Did you watch the experiment with pouring CO2?

    You are correct that AIRS says “not well mixed”, so obviously they have a different definition of “well mixed” than I do. I say that concentrations within ± a few percent is well mixed, they don’t.

    I’ve seen the experiment with pouring CO2 before. But Brownian motion and turbulence keeps it well stirred in the atmosphere. Otherwise we’d end up with all the water vapor (lighter than air) way up in the stratosphere, and all the CO2 (heavier than air) in a layer next to the surface. Doesn’t happen that way.

    What is your point is all of this? Given that the CO2 levels vary by a few percent around the planet .. what does that show?

  336. To . .

    Fred H. Haynie . ..

    Thanks for the link but it 404’s out :-(

    I will keep on searching.

  337. Richard S Courtney says:
    June 8, 2010 at 9:30 am
    ““1. Do you think that the agreement between ML, Barrow, South Pole and AIRS data is a coincidence or doy you believe they are all wrong for the same reason?
    2. Do you think the same argument applies to all 8 ice core datasets?”

    I would answer your questios if I knew the answers, but I don’t.”

    If you really do not know, then it might be a good time to apply Occam’s razor. The simplest and most probable explanation is that the data agree because they are measuring the same thing.

  338. Fred H. Haynie said on June 8, 2010 at 9:32 am

    To TheThinkingMan

    Try http://www.kidswincom.net/climate/pdf in the section on ice cores.

    404 Error!

    I backed the URL up to http://kidswincom.net/climate/ which shows http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf as a file, which downloads as 1.0 MB… and is a 59 slide presentation. Where Fred H. Haynie has as the first sentence on slide 59 titled “Finally, the Bottom Line!”:

    Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide have not caused a rise in background levels of carbon dioxide.

    I will take this to mean you disagree with Willis.

    From slides 52 to 56 I see doubts about the ice core data as I’ve seen expressed before here on WUWT from several commentators.

    Note: I realize graphs with a black/dark blue background with white grid and light-colored lines do look “stylish” and may work well with an actual projection screen and darkened room presentation, but here on my monitor they are hiding detail. Slide 46 is rather bad, and to me looks like the squirting of mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce onto a BBQ grill, I can’t make out much of anything.

  339. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 8, 2010 at 10:37 am

    My point is
    1) that 8% (in the japanese numbers in the column averaged )CO2 is not a few percent and probably in the radial dimension if taken before averaging the percentages would be higher.

    2) Well mixed is being defended by hand waving, and not by measurements. Where measurements exist it is not only in phi and theta but also in r that there are at least 10% differences. BTW H2O is lighter than CO2, in atomic weight: one is 18 and the other is 44.

    3) The Maona Loa measurements and the Keeling organized measurements are limited measurements typical of the location and the height at which they are measured.

    4) That the ice core measurements are by construction depleted and long period averaged measurements so the statement that there is unprecedented CO2 increase that your fig 1 shows is not proven by the data in fig 1 , no more than the hockey stick graph proved the non existence of the medieval warming period.

    because of 1,2,3,4 Beck’s data, and the stomata data must be taken more seriously, and great effort must be made for a three dimensional map, r theta phi of the concentrations of CO2 from now on.

    I think that the climate community is in no way ready to present proof that the increase of CO2 is unprecedented, let alone anthropogenic.

  340. Got this off of American Thinker . . .

    Posted by: tmead new
    Jun 08, 06:23 AM
    Definitive evidence already exists to prove/disprove global warming. The GPS Master Control System has been measuring average atmospheric drag on each of the GPS satellites for 35 years. This is needed to predict satellite positions to NINE decimal places. If the Atmosphere is warming, it expands. If the atmosphere expands, the amount of gas encountered by the satellites increases. Thus the average drag over an orbit increases. The USAF Space Command has this drag data recorded from 1975 onward. If the trend is up, warming is occurring, if the trend is level or down, it is NOT. The measurements are accurate to at least 7 decimal places (far more than any temperature measurements). I was one of the original developers of the Kalman Filter Estimator software in GPS and have a Ph.D in Engineering. Every citizen with a GPS knows that it is the most accurate and verified system in existence. Someone like Roy Spencer should ask Space Command for the data. I am retired and no longer have the contacts or tools to do the work, or I would.

    Link . . http://comments.americanthinker.com/read/42323/611689.html

  341. A simpler explanation for the flat ice core graph is that the number reflects a common level for CO2 in ice, that it’s just a characteristic of the ice rather than the atmosphere. The non-flat data counters that idea. But there are a lot of questionable things about ice cores and their processing. I do admire the lab skill in teasing out the data, but the interpretations of the data are peculiar in several ways.

  342. Thanks Fred, that is quite a read.

    Now for a second time to see how much more I can get out of it. The concept of cycles upon cycles over a 10 000 year trend is familiar to me.

    I intend sending this on to a number of my friends, with attribution of course.

  343. anna v says:
    June 8, 2010 at 11:33 am

    because of 1,2,3,4 Beck’s data, and the stomata data must be taken more seriously, and great effort must be made for a three dimensional map, r theta phi of the concentrations of CO2 from now on.

    Which “Beck’s data” would this be? There’s a spreadsheet with Beck measurements that shows a reading of 308 ppm in 1843, 400 ppm in 1844 and 359 ppm in 1847. Well – that’s me convinced. That dodgy old siple record only shows a change of ~0.6 ppm over the same period which can’t be right. Of course Mauna Loa , Barrow, Sth pole and AIRS satellite readings all suggest annual changes of similar magnitude to the ice core – so we can ditch them as well. The Beck data must be correct because as we all earth’s biosphere regularly pumps an extra ~200 GtC (more than the normal annual cycle) into the atmosphere every so often. And a couple of years later – not a trace of it. Gone – as though it had never been there.

    We apparently have a situation whereby

    1. All 8 ice core records are wrong – by exactly the same amount.
    2. All CO2 measurements from Mauna Loa and dozens of other sites around the world are also wrong – again by remarkably similar amounts.
    3. The AIRS satellite data from the mid-troposphere is also wrong – simply because it agrees with ML and other surface based observations.

    Sheesh!

  344. The number of people populating the planet has risen dramatically in the past 160 years, almost corresponding to your CO2 graphs. Since each person exhales approximately 2 metric tons of CO2 annually, how much do these human emissions of CO2 contribute to the overall increase in CO2 concentration? The Chinese alone must exhale at least 2 billion metric tons annually!

  345. thethinkingman says:
    June 8, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I’m a bit doubtful – atmospheric density is not generally considered significant above maybe 800 km altitude, and the GPS satellites are at “1/2 GEO” (about 20,000 km altitude for a 12 hr period). It is difficult for me to imagine that atmospheric drag is anything but infinitesimal up there – we tend to discount it entirely above 800 km so I do not recall how quickly it falls off, and am feeling too lazy right now to look it up.

    However, so are the effects of General Relativity, and I do know that these accumulate fast enough that the onboard clocks have to be compensated for it. But, that is really mostly an effect on local time, and there are no other influences, whereas you would have to tease out the effects of any tiny atmospheric drag from much larger solar pressure and Earth and Moon gravity , and possibly even Coulomb force effects. I will not render a final verdict without knowing more of the author’s thinking – assuming his stated qualifications are valid, he may have something valid and very specific in mind. But, well… maybe he jumped to a conclusion without thinking it through.

    LEO satellites are, however, markedly influenced by atmospheric drag, and the solar cycle has a huge effect. Some recent missions would not have been feasible if the sun had been more active.

  346. Richard S Courtney says:
    June 8, 2010 at 9:30 am
    John Finn:

    At June 8, 2010 at 6:02 am you ask me:
    “1. Do you think that the agreement between ML, Barrow, South Pole and AIRS data is a coincidence or doy you believe they are all wrong for the same reason?
    2. Do you think the same argument applies to all 8 ice core datasets?”

    I would answer your questios if I knew the answers, but I don’t.

    I wish I were omniscient but I regret that there is much, much more that I do not know than I do.

    Richard

    Richard
    I bet every so often – quite successfully as it happens. Almost always on football- I know nothing about horse racing. But I effectively use statistical probability and select “value for money” bets. I know you don’t know for certain th answer to my questions – just as I don’t know if Man Utd will definitely beat Hull City. However, I don’t think it’s likely that Hull will beat United and I don’t think it’s likely that the agreement between the datasets is due to coincidence.

  347. thethinkingman says:
    June 8, 2010 at 11:36 am
    Got this off of American Thinker . . .

    Posted by: tmead new
    Jun 08, 06:23 AM
    Definitive evidence already exists to prove/disprove global warming. The GPS Master Control System has been measuring average atmospheric drag on each of the GPS satellites for 35 years. This is needed to predict satellite positions to NINE decimal places. If the Atmosphere is warming, it expands. If the atmosphere expands, the amount of gas encountered by the satellites increases. Thus the average drag over an orbit increases. The USAF Space Command has this drag data recorded from 1975 onward. If the trend is up, warming is occurring, if the trend is level or down, it is NOT.

    True but the GPS orbits are so high (20,000 km) that they’re well up in the exosphere (mainly Helium/H). The connection between the temperature/density up there and in the troposphere is limited, probably correlates well with the 10.7 flux.

  348. Willis, thanks for this post which inspired a wonderful scientific discussion.

    Richard S Courtney, thank you for your reasoned views and independence. The 800 year lag in CO2 discussion points you brought out are interesting.

    Anthony, as always, WUWT is a truly great venue.

    John

  349. Steve Fitzpatrick:
    At June 8, 2010 at 10:44 am you assert to me:

    “If you really do not know, then it might be a good time to apply Occam’s razor. The simplest and most probable explanation is that the data agree because they are measuring the same thing.”

    No!
    The simplest and most probable explanation is that the data agree because they have been adjusted such that they agree.

    Personally, I prefer to admit my ignorance as to the true explanation for their agreement and not to assume anything.

    Richard

  350. barry moore says:

    The subject which you are consistently ducking is that you claim in your opening statement that human emissions are responsible for the increase in CO2, this you clearly stated and I take issue with it since I think it is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    As one of “the enemy”, I suppose, I will give you a very different perspective: Continually denying scientific facts for which the evidence is overwhelming does little to help the”skeptic” cause within the scientific (and, likely, policymaking) communities. It really just discredits you and makes your views easy to dismiss. For example, whenever I begin to wonder if Roy Spencer might be on to something in regards to cloud feedbacks, I remind myself that this is the same person who made some particularly poor arguments for why the CO2 rise might not be primarily anthropogenic. That [along with his stated views on human origins] helps me calibrate the likelihood that his analysis is correct (and the analysis of many other scientists is wrong) in an area where I feel less competent to judge.

    I have often offered the advice here that you guys should focus on the issue of feedbacks and climate sensitivity. While I may not believe that most of the scientific evidence is on your side in this realm either, I admit that there is at least legitimate scientific uncertainty that there is room for intelligent debate on the subject.

    Alas, my advice seems to go unheeded by many…which, in a way I suppose, is okay since I disagree with you on the seriousness of AGW and whether actions should be taken to mitigate it and I think not heeding my advice probably does “your side” more harm than good. Still, the scientific part of me cringes at the poor arguments that pass for serious debate here on subjects such as the cause of the current rise in CO2 levels.

  351. Richard S Courtney says:
    June 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    “The simplest and most probable explanation is that the data agree because they have been adjusted such that they agree.”

    If you really believe that, then there is not much more to discuss… good luck, I wish you well.

  352. Joel Shore says:
    June 8, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Continually denying scientific facts for which the evidence is overwhelming does little to help the”skeptic” cause within the scientific (and, likely, policymaking) communities. It really just discredits you and makes your views easy to dismiss.

    Joel,

    Crtical evaluation of “scientific facts” to ascertain if they are real is not unscientific, quite the contrary. You assume critical evaluation is wrong. Bad assumption.

    John

  353. >> bubbagyro says:
    >>June 7, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Exellent bubbagyro ! I was not aware of this work and obviously Willis Eschenbach and many others aren’t either.

    Those wishing to duplicate Eschenbach or Mann style hockey sticks need simply:
    1. Plot long term smoothed, or data averaged over long term by some means (diffusion in this instance, or by averaging lots of data from different sources with various time shifts etc)
    2. Splice on some recent instantaneous (eg daily) data that you know is rising.
    3. Hey presto … a hockey stick. Instant alarm !

  354. Joel Shore

    Nice to see you here again, where have you been hiding-you’re a bit late coming to this particular CO2 party. Also I haven’t seen Ferdinand up to now-I hope hes OK :)

    Tonyb

  355. Willis, I am very late into this discussion, so I hope you find this contribution. I did all this about 5.5 years ago. It adds some insight to your observations. Hope it is useful. Note, I used “snip – snip” to indicate where I had clipped out part of the wording from a reference. This useage seems to have become inappropriate since then, but I don’t have time just now to edit all of this. Murray

    1) http://public.ornl.gov/ameriflux/about-history.shtml
    Just to set the stage:
    snip”Yet, for many reasons our understanding of the global carbon budget is incomplete. At present, 40 to 60% of the anthropogenically-released CO2 remains in the atmosphere. We do not know, with confidence, whether the missing half of emitted CO2 is being sequestered in the deep oceans, in soils or in plant biomass. Uncertainties about flows of carbon into and out of major reservoirs also result in an inability to simulate year to year variations of the annual increment of CO2″. Snip.
    This from a government site. Clearly the uncertainties in GCMs are much larger than the degree of certitude expressed by AGW advocates would suggest. We are not dealing with linear rates of change, and the results of analyses can change dramatically depending on the rate sensitivity of the factor being analyzed and the time period used.

    2) http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm
    CO2 delta in the atmosphere from 1970 through 2004 averaged 1.5 ppm/yr. From 1958 to 1974 it averaged 0.9 ppm/yr. From 1994 through 2004 it has averaged 1.8 ppm/yr. Snip “On the basis of flask samples collected at La Jolla Pier, and analyzed by SIO, the annual-fitted average concentration of CO2 rose from 326.86 ppmv in 1970 to 377.83 ppmv in 2004. This represents an average annual growth rate of 1.5 ppmv per year in the fitted values at La Jolla. ” snip.
    That’s the one site that can be seriously affected by nearby emissions. All eight regularly measured sites track precisely. The major measuring sites are widely spread from north to south, and the uniform measurement results indicate that CO2 emissions are quickly and well mixed in the atmosphere.

    3) http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/ftp/ndp030/global.1751_2004.ems
    From tables accessible at 2) and 3) we can do some decadal average annual analysis as:
    Decade 1 2 3 4 5
    Years ’54-63 ’64-’73 ’74-’83 ’84-’93 ’94-`03
    Ave. annual fuel emissions (Gt/yr) 2.4 3.4 5.0 6.0 6.7
    Percent change decade to decade 42 47 20 12
    Ave. annual atmos. conc’n delta (ppm/yr) 0.8 1.1 1.4 1.5 1.8
    Atmos. conc’n delta per Gt emission (ppB) 333 324 280 250 270
    Implied atmospheric retention (Gt) 1.7 2.3 2.9 3.1 3.7
    Airborne fraction (%) 71 68 58 52 55
    Ocean uptake from fuel (Gt) 0.7 1.1 2.1 2.9 3.0
    Deforestation factor (%) guesstimate* 1.03 1.06 1.09 1.12 1.15
    Total emissions (Gt) 2.5 3.6 5.5 6.7 7.7
    Airborne fraction of total (%) 68 64 53 46 48
    Ocean uptake total (Gt) 0.8 1.3 2.6 3.6 4.0
    *The above fuel emissions from 3) do not include any factor for deforestation/land use. Recent total emissions have been estimated by AGW advocates as slightly less than 8 Gt/yr total, giving about an additional 15% for deforestation/land use. As deforestation is to a degree linked to third world population, we can assume that factor was sequentially lower going back to prior decades. Using a higher factor for prior decades won’t change anything much. Column 3 fuel emissions data corresponds almost exactly with IPCC SAR figures.

    While total average annual emissions have gone up by a factor of 3, ocean uptake has gone up by a factor of 5. That is hardly consistent with slow mixing or near saturation of surface waters. What seems to be happening is that increasing atmospheric partial pressure is increasing the rate of ocean uptake with the rate of increase slowed by surface warming/acidification. We can expect a large emissions
    increase for the next decade, with corresponding relatively large increase in partial pressure. It remains to be seen how much of that will be offset. The decade to decade rate of increase in fuel emissions has declined very rapidly, from mid 40s% to about 12%. Based on the last couple
    of years, one could expect the decade ’04-’13 to have total average annual emissions in the order of 9.0 Gt, with total fuel emissions near 7.6 Gt, (a decadal increase of 13%) and with an airborne
    fraction near 45%. After that, with declining petroleum, CO2 sequestration for tertiary petroleum recovery, and rising fuel prices driving major accelerations of efficiency, nuclear and renewables, the annual emissions to the atmosphere are likely to begin declining, and to reach a very low level by 2060 or so. The IPCC 50% probability estimate (Wigley et al) is very close to 7.5 Gt near 2010, but goes to 15 Gt by 2060, requiring a compound growth rate of 15% per decade, which isn’t going to happen.

    4) http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html
    snip Q. How long does it take for the oceans and terrestrial biosphere to take up carbon
    after it is burned?
    A. For a single molecule of CO2 released from the burning of a pound of carbon, say from burning coal, the time required is 3-4 years. This estimate is based on the carbon mass in the atmosphere and up take rates for the oceans and terrestrial biosphere. Model estimates
    for the atmospheric lifetime of a large pulse of CO2 has been estimated to be 50-200 years (i.e., the time required for a large injection to be completely dampened from the atmosphere). Snip
    This range seems to be an actual range depending on time frame, rather than the uncertainty among models. [See (5) below].

    5) http://www.accesstoenergy.com/view/atearchive/s76a2398.htm
    For the above decades 1 through 5, we have now had 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0 half lives respectively. From 3) and 5) and using an average half life of 11 years, (based on real 14C measurement) we get a total remaining injection in 2004 from the prior 5 decades of 139 Gt, which equates to an increase in atmospheric concentration of 66 ppm. The actual increase from 1954 to 2004 was very near 63 ppm. This result lends some credibility to the 50 year atmospheric residence time estimate. [See (9) below]. A 200 year residence time gives an 81 ppm delta since 1954, which is much too high.
    Surprisingly, if we go all the way back to 1750 and compute the residence time using fuel emissions only we get a value very close to 200 years. (A 40 year ½ life gives a ppm delta of 99 vs an actual of 96 using 280 ppm as the correct value in 1750). If we assume that terrestrial uptake closely matches land use emissions, (this is essentially the IPCC assumption), and we know that the airborne fraction from 1964 through 2003 had a weighted average of 58%, to
    shift to a long term 40 year ½ life from a near term 11 year ½ life, we would have to have prior 40 year period weighted average airborne fractions like 80% for ’24-’63, and 90%-100% before that. Since emissions in the last 40 years have been 3 times higher than in the period from 1924 to 1963 and 30 times higher than 1844 to 1883 it is not too hard to believe that the rapid growth in atmospheric partial pressure has forced such a change in airborne fraction. With rising SSTs we can expect the partial pressure forced rate of ocean uptake to be offset to a growing degree. (Of course we now know that since 2003 we have not had rising SSTs, rather a slight cooling.)As emission rates decline in the future, and with the delayed impact of ocean warming the half life can be expected to begin growing again but it seems very unlikely that the residence time for a pulse of CO2 would get back to 200 years.

    6) http://www.hamburger-bildungsserver.de/welcome.phtml?
    unten=/klima/klimawandel/treibhausgase/carbondioxid/surfaceocean.html
    Here we find a nice description of atmosphere/ocean interchange mechanisms, with the major fault that it gives the impression that the exchange magnitudes are well known. While this was published sometime after 2001, the net ocean uptake from the atmosphere shown would be roughly correct for about the mid `70s, and has since well more than doubled, (see above) despite surface warming. This would suggest that a near surface increase in ocean carbon concentration
    considerably upsets the exchange between the surface and deeper ocean waters. It seems possible that carbon fertilization plus warming considerably accelerate growth of ocean biota. The IPCC downplay this possibility, but do not outright deny it, which suggests a fairly high degree of probability to me.

    7) http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/105.htm
    From the IPCC TAR we read snip In principle, there is sufficient uptake capacity (see Box 3.3) in the ocean to incorporate 70 to 80% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, even when total emissions of up to 4,500 PgC (4500 Gt) are considered (Archer et al.., 1997).snip. That’s a 3400 Gt sink capacity, and we are talking about sinking less than another 1000 Gt at a rate of about 4 Gt/yr peak, for a very few years at peak rate. However, the 3400 Gt additional capacity, which would add less than 10% to the ocean inventory seems like a very low value for 3 reasons. First the equilibrium concentration [see 8) below] is more than 3x the present concentration. Second, atmospheric concentrations were at least 5 times higher 100 million years ago, so seawater concentrations can be that much higher also. Third, experiments to test CO2 clathrate hydrate formation see formation at dissolved CO2 concentrations two orders of magnitude higher than the present concentration. Since 1900 total anthropogenic carbon emission has been about 300 Gt, (about 83% since 1945) of which about 170 are still in the atmosphere. In the next century, net emissions to the atmosphere may be no more than another 400 Gt., which would likely add less than another 90 ppm of atmospheric concentration. The idea that we are
    saturating the ocean sink is not even remotely consistent with available numbers.
    The IPCC goes on to say snip The finite rate of ocean mixing, however, means that it takes several hundred years to access this capacity (Maier-Reimer and Hasselmann, 1987; Enting et al., 1994; Archer et al., 1997). Chemical neutralization of added CO2 through reaction with CaCO3 contained in deep ocean sediments could potentially absorb a further 9 to 15% of the total emitted amount, reducing the airborne fraction of cumulative emissions by about a factor of 2; however the response time of deep ocean sediments is in the order of 5,000 years (Archer et al., 1997) snip. They then show a CO2 system diagram with sediment take up of 0.2 Gt/yr. The present
    airborne fraction of 170 Gt would be taken up by the total system in only 800 years at that rate.
    The SAR shows a net sink from atmosphere to ocean of about 2.2 Gt/yr. The problem here is that the level of uncertainty in the rate of ocean mixing, and in how that rate might change, is greater than the rate at which we are injecting carbon. [See 1) above]. The IPCC doesn’t discuss uncertainty. The increase we have already seen in the rate of ocean uptake [3) above] is 2x this number, but the difference is only 1% of the estimated round trip exchange.
    For reference, also from the IPCC SAR we can find the following carbon inventory and exchange estimates. These were finalized in 1994, but some data may be base on mid `70s estimates.
    a) Inventory
    Intermediate and Deep ocean – 38,100 Gt; terrestrial soil, biota and detritus – 2190 Gt; surface ocean (down to about 400 m max) 1020 Gt; atmosphere – 750 Gt; ocean sediments – 150 Gt; marine biomass – 3 Gt. That’s a total of 42,213 Gt, excluding carbonaceous rock. I find
    the level of precision amusing.
    b) Annual Exchanges
    Anthropogenic emissions to atmosphere – 5.5 Gt.
    Atmosphere to surface ocean – 92Gt, surface ocean to atmosphere – 90 Gt, net to ocean – 2 Gt.
    Surface ocean to marine biota – 50 Gt, reverse – 40 Gt; marine biota to deep ocean – 9 Gt; marine biota to DOC -1 Gt
    Surface ocean to deep ocean – 92 Gt; reverse – 100 Gt; deep ocean to sediments 0.2 Gt; net ocean uptake 2.2 Gt.

    8) http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/oceans/ndp_065/appendix065.html
    There is a huge volume of data about the concentration of CO2 in seawater, including variability with both depth and latitude. The above reference is for the south Pacific. Data for the south
    Atlantic showing variability with depth, but not with latitude is also available. The present concentration is about 25 mg/kg (2100 umol/kg). The variation in concentration, by both depth and latitude is similar in both bodies, varying about +-7% around the mean, with localized excursions up to +-13%. Since atmospheric concentration has increased about 32% in the last 150 years, and about 25% in the last 50 years, one would expect much greater variation in oceanic
    concentration if the take-up by the deep ocean is slow. CO2 concentration varies directly with salinity, and inversely with temperature. Greatest concentrations are at depth (1500 to 2500 m),
    and at higher latitudes. The equatorial regions are spoken of as a source for CO2, which must be a function of temperature as is the slightly lower surface concentrations. Heavy rainfall in the tropics may also contribute to reduced concentration. High latitudes are spoken of in the TAR as having “CO2 rich upwellings”, which is consistent with the observed data, but not consistent with the claim of slow mixing between surface and deep water. In deep, dark, cold waters, one would expect very slow local oxidation, so the likely source of deep water concentration would seem to be rapid transport from the surface, by the likes of the Atlantic Conveyer. Concentration would increase with both increasing salinity and decreasing temperature as the conveyer moves north.
    There is essentially no variation with longitude except for the depth of the isolines in deeper waters. Curiously the partial pressure reaches a maximum at mid depths. Are currents near the
    bottom carrying mixed relatively younger surface water with the lower partial pressures?

    9)

    http://ijolite.geology.uiuc.edu/02SprgClass/geo117/lectures/Lect18.html

    Atmospheric gases in sea water
    — saturation = equilibrium
    Molecule Percent in atmosphere Equilibrium concentration in seawater (mg per kg seawater)
    N2 78% 12.5
    O2 21% 7
    Ar 1% 0.4
    CO2 0.03% 90
    In surface sea water, atmospheric gases are close to their “saturation” concentration (or equilibrium concentration). But note that CO2 has a much higher solubility (equilibrium
    concentration) than the other gases.

    10) http://stommel.tamu.edu/~baum/paleo/ocean/node37.html
    snip Thermocline – Specifically the depth at which the temperature gradient is a maximum. Generally a layer of water with a more intensive vertical gradient in temperature than in the layers either above or below it. When measurements do not allow a specific depth to be pinpointed as a thermocline a depth range is specified and referred to as the thermocline zone. The depth and thickness of these layers vary with season, latitude and longitude, and local environmental conditions. In the midlatitude ocean there is a permanent thermocline residing between 150-900 meters below the surface, a seasonal thermocline that varies with the seasons (developing in spring, becoming stronger in summer, and disappearing in fall and winter), and a diurnal thermocline that forms very near the surface during the day and disappears at night. There is no
    permanent thermocline present in polar waters, although a seasonal thermocline can usually be identified. The basic dynamic balance that maintains the permanent thermocline is thought to be one between the downward diffusive transport of heat and the upward convective transport of cold water from great depths. Snip There is a lot of variability evident in that quote, that makes giving firm single figure values pretty questionable. The mid latitude permanent thermocline has a maximum extent from about 40 degrees north to 40 degrees south. At latitudes above about
    60 degrees there is usually no thermocline. The depth of the top of the thermocline can be from about 20 meters to about 400 meters, and the thickness can vary from less than 100 meters to about 400 meters. The depth of the bottom of the thermocline varies from less than 100 meters to about 900-1000 meters. The IPCC gives an average depth of the thermocline of 400 meters, but do not define whether they are considering top, middle or bottom. They seem to be taking the average depth of the top as 200 meters and the thickness as 400 meters average , but these would be very rough estimates at best, and could hardly justify the 3 significant digits they use.
    Depth and thickness vary quite rapidly with both areal location and time, with time generally from hours to seasons, or in the case of ENSO to years. In a given location the thermocline depth can move up and down by 10s of meters diurnally and 100s of meters in a season, or, as noted above, can disappear altogether. Also in the near equatorial Pacific, where the thermocline is normally well established, there is also the well established “equatorial cold tongue”, a huge upwelling of cold water far from the high latitudes. The average depth of the oceans is generally taken as 4000 meters. The IPCC estimates the upper mixed layer as holding 2.6% of the total ocean CO2, (1020 of 39,120 Gt) which implies near 2.6% of the water or an average depth of 200 meters if it is taken to exist under 50% of the ocean surface. They refer to the water above the
    thermocline as the “mixed layer” and consider the thermocline as a barrier that severely limits mixing between the intermediate and deep ocean. The intermediate layer is the thermocline zone. The deep ocean contains 90% of the total water, so the intermediate zone must be assumed to hold about 2.5% also where it exists. The other 5% of the water is in the upper 10% of the depth, where there is no thermocline.
    There are major mixing mechanisms between surface and deep ocean other than diffusion through the thermocline. These include wave motion in the “furious fifties and screaming sixties” of the southern oceans, the giant delayed oscillator of the equatorial pacific, major sinks and upwellings, the Atlantic conveyer and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. The surge at depth from passing swells can be felt clearly at a depth where the swell causes a 10% depth change, and can be detected at 5%. In the screaming 60s, where winter can find 1000 mile wavetrains of 20 meter waves, mixing can be expected to 400 meters. [This is consistent with Fig 4 in 11) below]. The ACC alone moves water at the rate of 130 million cubic meters per second, which is enough to exchange the entire Atlantic ocean in about 100 years. The IPCC says the thermocline is the cause of slow mixing between surface and deep waters. With it’s degree of variability in depth, extent and time it is more likely a mechanism of fairly rapid mixing. The total surface layer to about 200 meters depth, must hold near 5% of the total CO2 vs the 2.6% represented by the IPCC, and near half of the 5% must mix much more rapidly than the estimate used by the IPCC for the 2.6% they consider. Their exchange rate of about 100 Gt/yr between surface and intermediate/deep ocean is probably underestimated by a min. factor of 2 and maybe as much as 4 or 5. The differential between up and down transfer can easily be understated by an even larger factor. This would account for the observed ocean uptake rate of CO2 from the atmosphere, which is already 2x the IPCC estimate.

    Wherever there is a great range of uncertainty in estimates, the IPCC seems to choose the extreme that will paint the most perilous picture. AGW advocates seem prone to this selective behavior.

    11) http://www.aip.org/pt/vol-55/iss-8/captions/p30cap4.html See fig. 4
    The first thing to note about Fig. 4 is that there is no evidence at all of a thermocline barrier at near 200 m depth. At 30 degrees S in the Pacific the 50 umol/kg concentration extends to beyond 400 m and at about 20 degrees N in the N Pacific the 40 umol/kg concentration gets to 400 m. The mid latitude Pacific is relatively warm, has relatively low saline concentration and can therefore be expected to have relatively low total CO2 concentration. Forty umol/ kg would be
    about 2% anthropogenic CO2. The surface share of anthropogenic CO2 is about 2.5% in this region. Even though this is the zone that should have the strongest permanent thermocline, the anthropogenic concentration is well mixed way below the expected thermocline depth. In the colder and saltier N Atlantic, in the region which should at least have seasonal thermoclines, (30 to 60 degrees N), we find the anthropogenic share at 1.7% (65% of surface share) at a
    depth of 1200 m.
    We didn’t get to an ocean uptake equal to 10% of the last decade until about 1900, and yet we find the anthropogenic share equal to 10% of the surface share at a depth of >5000 m in the N. Atlantic. The Atlantic conveyer is certainly sinking surface anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the ocean bottom in less than a century. Since we have no longitudinal distribution, it may seem questionable to try and estimate the total Gt of anthropogenic CO2 in the oceans from Fig 4. However we know that there is little longitudinal variation in the Pacific, and probably the S. Atlantic is similar. In the N. Atlantic the share would be lower than shown to the west, but given that the N. Atlantic is much more saline than the N. Pacific, still higher than the N. Pacific. A rough estimate would be 120-140 Gt. Since we have emitted about 310 Gt since 1750, and about
    >170 Gt is still in the atmosphere, the total ocean uptake is about 130-140 Gt, so this figure looks pretty realistic. If we accept Fig 4., which is based on measurement, then we have to conclude that the IPCC contention of slow mixing to the deep ocean because of the thermocline barrier is simply wrong.

    12) http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/ocd/gcc/co2research
    The key quote from this url is “The global oceanic CO uptake using different wind speed/gas transfer velocity parameterizations differs by a factor of three (Table 1)”. The IPCC seems to have used the lowest transfer rate. The actual current transfer rate is 2x the IPCC figure, and evidently some models support a rate of 3x the IPCC figure, which seems consistent with the above observations.

    13) http://www.surfnewquay.co.uk/knowledge/articles.php?
    A problem here, and probably in much of the IPCC work is the tendency to use averages. It is best to distrust averages. For example, this reference says it takes 1000 to 2000 years to turnover ocean bottom water.
    Here http://calspace.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange1/10_5.shtml we find:
    snip It takes, on the whole, one thousand years to renew the deep waters of the world’s ocean. This estimate is based on radiocarbon measurements from the CO2 dissolved within the ocean snip.
    So we have already gone from “one thousand to 2 thousand” to “one thousand”. For purposes of CO2 take-up we are not concerned with the whole ocean bottom, or long averages. The relatively miniscule amount of C we are generating can be taken up by a very small fraction of the ocean. The present ocean inventory of carbon is about 39,000 Gt, and that gives a concentration of 25mg C per kg seawater. There are 1 million mg in a kg. Now we are going to add about 600 Gt by 2100, which if evenly distributed would raise the concentration by about 1.5% to 25.4 mg/kg. Since the variability of distribution of C in the ocean is +-7%, this addition isn’t even noticeable.
    But what if we just penetrate 10% of the ocean in the short run? Then concentration in that portion goes temporarily to 29 mg/kg. And we do it in 100 years, not 1000 years. Then the ocean can spend the next 900 years equalizing the concentration. Thus it takes 1000 years to distribute our C injection, averaged throughout the ocean, but that has no bearing on the time required to take up the “pulse”.
    Now lets look at the big currents. The first url in 13) above gives a speed of 0.5 km/hr in some of the trenches. (The gulf stream moving past South Carolina recently moved some stranded boaters 150 miles in 5 days. That’s 2 km/hr). If we assume an average speed of 0.2 km/hr, the current makes 4 complete circuits in 100 years. Given all the eddies along the way, it probably touches much more than 10% of the ocean and can transport a lot of C.

  356. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Richard S Courtney says:
    June 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    “The simplest and most probable explanation is that the data agree because they have been adjusted such that they agree.”

    If you really believe that, then there is not much more to discuss… good luck, I wish you well.

    Steve,

    After what I have seen come out since November 2009 about data “adjustments” in some “consensus climate science” communities, the possibility of “adjustments” seems much more likely to me than it used to. Now I think we should critically evaluate that possibility of “adjustments” when looking at the product of the “consensus climate science” community.

    John

  357. Nick Stokes says:
    June 8, 2010 at 3:33 am

    “Willis

    “I’ve never been able to find a physical explanation of how this works in the real world.”

    The reason is that exponential decay just isn’t the right model for diffusion of CO2 into the sea. If you want to think of it as a set of layers of equal thickness and diffusivity respobding to a rise of CO2 in the air, then the top layer absorbs CO2 fairly quickly, since there’s not much resistance. When it approaches capacity, the next layer comes into play. But to get there, CO2 has to pass through the top layer, so it fills more slowly, with a longer time constant. And so on down.

    Lovely picture … but how does that actually physically happen in the real world, where that physical setup is not happening?

    This is solving the diffusion equation, and instead of convolving with a decaying exponential, which as Bart says is what you are doing, you should be convolving with a function of form t^(-3/2). This decays much more slowly than an exponential, but you could consider it approximately made up as a sum of exponentials of varying time constant. That’s where the Bern model comes from.

    Very interesting, Nick. This does decay differently than an exponential. However, I don’t know of any real physical phenomena which are known to decay in that fashion … and in any case, if that”s the real underlying model, why is the Bern model jerking around with exponentials?

    The exponential decay has theoretical underpinnings (le Chatelier’s Principle). Does such a thing exist for your style of decay?

  358. You seem to have missed the point as to why remote locations, such as Barrow and Mana Loa, were chosen and why Beck’s measurements are of no use. I’m quite sure you can get higher (much higher ) readings if you take measurements in Piccadilly Circus or at the Arc de Triomphe but these would not be, in any way, representative of global CO2 concentrations. CO2 maps show that “well-mixed” concentrations vary by only a few ppm across the world.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Beck did have a series of measurements made at Barrow but not by a CAGW scientist and that is what I referred to

    Please note I was a chemist working in industry, that is why I do not understand how anyone can believe CO2 is “well mixed” in the atmosphere and at equilibrium. I can not believe anyone could think it would be within a couple ppm from location to location. Here is why I came to that conclusion.

    First: do you really trust the scientists: It seems the temperature readings were adjusted six times after analysis in July 1999 indicated that the temperature anomaly for 1934 was nearly 60% higher than for 1998. And this is just from one email

    “At Mauna Loa we use the following data selection criteria:

    4.In keeping with the requirement that CO2 in background air should be steady, we apply a general “outlier rejection” step, in which we fit a curve to the preliminary daily means for each day calculated from the hours surviving step 1 and 2, and not including times with upslope winds. All hourly averages that are further than two standard deviations, calculated for every day, away from the fitted curve (“outliers”) are rejected. This step is iterated until no more rejections occur…..”

    Do you not understand? The assumption is made that there is NO VARIABLITY and the data is adjusted to reflect that.

    Second WHY are the results from various sites so in close to each other:

    In the paper by Tom Quirk “ Sources and Sinks of Carbon Dioxide” The isotopic balance in the atmosphere is far more complex and there are many more variables than most think. Consider 94% of all anthropogenic CO2 is released into the northern hemisphere. Next the CO2 is not as well mixed as the IPCC state. From the nuclear tests in the 60’s the mixing north to south is very slow, like several years ( another rhetorical question) so why is the average northern hemisphere CO2 not higher than the south?
    As J. A. Glassman so aptly put it in one of his replies,
    Exert,
    “So why are the graphs so unscientifically pat? One reason is provided by the IPCC:
    The longitudinal variations in CO2 concentration reflecting net surface sources and sinks are on annual average typically calibration procedures within and between monitoring networks (Keeling et al., 1989; Conway et al., 1994). Bold added, TAR, p. 211.
    So what the Consensus has done is to “calibrate” the various records into agreement. And there can be no other meaning for “calibration procedures … between monitoring networks”. It accounts for coincidence in simultaneous records and it accounts for continuity between adjacent records. The most interesting information in this procedure would be the exact amount of calibration necessary to achieve the objective of nearly flawless measuring with the modern record dominating. The IPCC’s method is unacceptable in science. It is akin to the IPCC practice of making “flux adjustments” to make its various models agree. See TAR for 87 references to “flux adjustment”, and see 4AR for its excuse, condemnation, and abandonment. 4AR p. 117. ”
    End of exert.

    In other words there is agreement between site because they were ADJUSTED just like the temperature records.

    Now let us look at the “pristine site” Mauna Loa.
    1. Volcano out gassing
    2. Land based Photosynthesis
    3.Ocean based Photosynthesis
    4. Diurnal warming/cooling of the sea surface as well as longer term cycles and its effect on CO2 not to mention calm vs turbulent seas. (Co2 absorption rate is dependent on surface area)
    5. Soil Microbes
    6.Rain: PROMOTION EFFECTS OF FALLING DROPLETS ON CARBON DIOXIDE ABSORPTION
    ACROSS THE AIR-WATER INTERFACE
    OF THE OCEAN
    —– In addition to CO2 transfer by impinging raindrops, there is CO2 absorption during the fall of raindrops. CO2 absorption by rain alone is going to keep the CO2 in the atmosphere from ever being uniform.

    If you go to Barrow there are microbes, and the oceans mucking up the works too.
    Temperature dependence of metabolic rates for microbial growth, maintenance, and survival

    Here is Becks information from Barrow:
    Date – –Co2 ppm * * latitude * * longitude * * *author * * location
    1947.7500 – – 407.9 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1947.8334 – – 420.6 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1947.9166 – – 412.1 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.0000 – – 385.7 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.0834 – – 424.4 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.1666 – – 452.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.2500 – – 448.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.3334 – – 429.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.4166 – – 394.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.5000 – – 386.7 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.5834 – – 398.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.6667 – – 414.5 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.9166 – – 500.0 * * * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow

    These data must not be used for commercial purposes or gain in any way, you should observe the conventions of academic citation in a version of the following form: [Ernst-Georg Beck, real history of CO2 gas analysis, http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/data.htm ]

    Scholander got more than a 100ppm swing at Barrow over a year’s time. This type of variation makes more sense to me because I see CO2 in the atmosphere in terms of a huge mixing vessel with mixmen adding ingredients, others taking ingredients out, and a third, haphazardly flipping the switch on the mixer blades. If I take ten samples in different locations, under these conditions there is no way I would expect close agreement between the samples.

  359. David C says:
    June 8, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Willis
    It is generally accepted that there is a correlation between CO2 levels and temperature, derived from ice-core evidence, over many thousands of years. Cause or effect, lag or lead, are of course disputed. If we think increased CO2 in past epochs was an effect of warming, we should be seeing some effect of recent warming in CO2 levels now. Could the analysis be extended to take such an effect into account?

    The effect is not that large. During the glacial-interglacial swing, the Antarctic temperatures are thought to have shown a temperature change of about 10–12°C. It is generally thought that the global swing was about half of that, call it 5–6°C.

    During the same time, the CO2 changed by on the order of 100 ppmv. Over this range, Henry’s Law is roughly linear. So that gives us a change on the order of 15–20 ppmv per degree of change.

    Since 1959, we’ve seen a temperature rise of about six tenths of a degree, which would translate to change from increased outgassing of 9–12 ppmv …

    Which is likely why there is no particular sign of it in the Mauna Loa records.

    w.

  360. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 8, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Willis,

    This post seems to have made a little progress with a few (which is in fact amazing), but I’m not sure the result justifies the effort. Where do you find the time?

    My lifelong motto has been “Retire early …

    … and often”.

    At the moment I have time because I’m retired, although I could easily be called out of retirement by a great job offer. Or by increasing hunger.

    w.

  361. Willis,
    “At the moment I have time because I’m retired, although I could easily be called out of retirement by a great job offer. Or by increasing hunger.”

    Well, that certainly answers my question.. Keep up the good work, but I hope you don’t get too hungry.

  362. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 8, 2010 at 10:3

    I’ve seen the experiment with pouring CO2 before. But Brownian motion and turbulence keeps it well stirred in the atmosphere. Otherwise we’d end up with all the water vapor (lighter than air) way up in the stratosphere, and all the CO2 (heavier than air) in a layer next to the surface. Doesn’t happen that way.

    But we have a phase change in one but not (at least on this planet) the other.

  363. John Finn says:
    June 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm
    We apparently have a situation whereby

    1. All 8 ice core records are wrong – by exactly the same amount.
    2. All CO2 measurements from Mauna Loa and dozens of other sites around the world are also wrong – again by remarkably similar amounts.
    3. The AIRS satellite data from the mid-troposphere is also wrong – simply because it agrees with ML and other surface based observations.

    Who has this situation? Maybe you are fast reading and not getting the point.

    The point is that the problem is three dimensional and all the Keeling measurements you think I am saying are wrong are two dimensional extrapolated to three dimensions by the assumption of “well mixed” which is wrong in a gravitational field when the molecules have different atomic weights. The gases are mixed, because of turbulence but how much mixed is something that has to be measured experimentally not assumed by hand waving “mixed”. They could be absolutely correct for that altitude ( for all the objections raised ) and still not reflective of world data .

    The ice core data are obviously integrators in slices as large as the fig1 slice and are in locations that have very few sources of CO2 and are measuring the wind born fraction anyway. Creating a hokey stick by joining two different method and altitude measurements is a No No, until there is experimental evidence from the rest of the altitudes and the rest of the longitudes and heights .

    The japanese measurements that average over the column of air, the stomata data and Beck’s compilations give more details than the ice cores and imply that observed CO2 measurements are within the natural variations and not unprecedented.

  364. Gail Combs says:
    June 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks for the chemist POV.

    I have been looking at this “well mixed” from a physicist POV and it seems basic science agrees :) in the principles.

  365. Keith Minto
    anna v
    I spent an hour Monday trying to find the co2 vs. altitude data you both seek. I read a paper month’s ago on flights by the U.S.A.F. around 1969-79 measuring co2 up to 60 km, if I remember correct, and can’t seem to relocate it. The per altitude band data is within with the gradients. Hope you will be able to find it, it’s there somewhere, or was.

  366. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 8, 2010 at 3:54 pm
    “but how does that actually physically happen in the real world, where that physical setup is not happening?”

    No, it’s the simplest version of the physical setup. A gas diffusing in a uniform semi-infinite medium. Do you have a better one? Which gives exponential decay?

    It’s just standard diffusion theory – the solutions are set out in Carslaw and Jaeger’s “Conduction of heat in solids”, for example.

    “The exponential decay has theoretical underpinnings (le Chatelier’s Principle). Does such a thing exist for your style of decay?”
    Yes, it’s the Green’s function for diffusion in a semi-infinite region, with concentration prescribed at the surface. There’s a downloadable textbook on heat transfer by Lienhard here, and you’ll find a corresponding formula at Eq 5.54. This is for a sustained temp rise, power t^-1/2; you have to differentiate this to get the Greens function.

    As far as theoretical underpinning goes, you could have cited Newton’s Law of Cooling (not one of his better ones). But, as Wiki says:
    “This form of heat loss principle is sometimes not very precise; an accurate formulation may require analysis of heat flow, based on the (transient) heat transfer equation in a nonhomogeneous, or else poorly conductive, medium.”
    Heat transfer and diffusion of dissolved substances follow much the same rules.

    As for why the Bern model approximates with exponentials, I think it’s just for the mechanics of convolution. In general you have to work out a summation for each point, which some people think is hard. But exponentials are especially easy – just a recurrence relation.

  367. anna v says:
    June 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    “gases are mixed, because of turbulence”

    I think you confuse kinetics with thermodynamics. From thermodynamics (ie. the application of delG = delH -TdelS) it can be shown that even the EQUILIBRIUM distribution of the gases in the atmosphere, under the influence of gravity, would be such that there would be very little difference from the top to the bottom of the atmosphere, ie. the proportion of CO2 molecules at ground levels would be only very slightly greater than high up in the atmosphere. That is because of the importance of TdelS (the entropy factor) in the above equation. IF only enthalpy were involved, then, in the absence of turbulence (ie at equilibrium) the atmosphere would be a series of layers with the heavier molecules, like CO2, at the bottom (since in this case the enthalpy factor is concerned with gravitational potential energy): but because of the entropy factor that is indubitably not the case – entropy trumps enthalpy.

    So, thermodynamics dictates that the gases in the atmosphere should be well mixed at equilibrium even in the absence of turbulence. Turbulence does two things: it increases the rate of mixing and it produces a result (a well mixed atmosphere) which (by coincidence) is very close to the thermodynamic equilibrium position.

    An example of where turbulence can produce a result different from the thermodynamic equilibrium is provided by shaking a mixture of oil and water. The equilibrium position is two layers, turbulence produces a mixture without layers.

  368. Dr A Burns says:
    June 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Those wishing to duplicate Eschenbach or Mann style hockey sticks need simply:
    1. Plot long term smoothed, or data averaged over long term by some means (diffusion in this instance, or by averaging lots of data from different sources with various time shifts etc)
    2. Splice on some recent instantaneous (eg daily) data that you know is rising.
    3. Hey presto … a hockey stick. Instant alarm !

    There is a detailed view of the period of overlap of the ice core data and the Mauna Loa data shown as Fig. 6 here.

    Perhaps you’d care to explain the good agreement between the ice core data and the Mauna Loa data (including the Siple ice core data which was not shown in Fig. 6). Are we back to conspiracy theories?

    Next, “instant alarm”? I am not calling for alarm. I don’t think the rise in CO2 by a hundredth of a percent has anything to do with temperature changes. You are attacking me for something I’ve never said.

    Finally, the implication that I have done what Mann did is childish, uninformed, nasty and untrue. I have made it very clear where each dataset came from, and have cited where you can go get them. I have painted the Mauna Loa data bright orange to keep people from thinking that they were the same as the other data. I have not averaged the data as Mann did. I am just showing exactly what the observations show. You don’t like it? Tough. You think it is wrong? Fine, but take your snide accusations elsewhere. I’m showing what is known about the history of CO2. It may be wrong, but your claim that I am somehow trying to deceive people as Mann did is baseless, desperate, and unpleasant. If you can show that there is something wrong with the eight different ice core records that I’ve shown, bring it on. That’s science. If not, go somewhere else to make your puerile claims.

  369. anna v says:
    June 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm (Edit)

    John Finn says:
    June 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    We apparently have a situation whereby

    1. All 8 ice core records are wrong – by exactly the same amount.
    2. All CO2 measurements from Mauna Loa and dozens of other sites around the world are also wrong – again by remarkably similar amounts.
    3. The AIRS satellite data from the mid-troposphere is also wrong – simply because it agrees with ML and other surface based observations.

    Who has this situation? Maybe you are fast reading and not getting the point.

    The point is that the problem is three dimensional and all the Keeling measurements you think I am saying are wrong are two dimensional extrapolated to three dimensions by the assumption of “well mixed” which is wrong in a gravitational field when the molecules have different atomic weights. The gases are mixed, because of turbulence but how much mixed is something that has to be measured experimentally not assumed by hand waving “mixed”. They could be absolutely correct for that altitude ( for all the objections raised ) and still not reflective of world data .

    Anna, I truly don’t understand your point. Suppose for the moment that your idea is true, and that the CO2 is not “well mixed”, whatever that might mean to you.

    So what? What does that have to do with the question of whether humans are responsible for the recent increase in CO2, well mixed or not?

    I also don’t understand your claim. The measurements in Barrow and in Samoa and at the North Pole and at Mauna Loa are all taken at different altitudes. They all show the same changes. So if the atmosphere is not “well mixed”, it is certainly well mixed enough that it doesn’t affect those measurements.

    But the whole thing seems like a red herring, one which only distracts people from the question at hand — did humans cause the rise in CO2 or not?

  370. anna v says:
    June 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm
    The point is that the problem is three dimensional and all the Keeling measurements you think I am saying are wrong are two dimensional extrapolated to three dimensions by the assumption of “well mixed” which is wrong in a gravitational field when the molecules have different atomic weights. The gases are mixed, because of turbulence but how much mixed is something that has to be measured experimentally not assumed by hand waving “mixed”. They could be absolutely correct for that altitude ( for all the objections raised ) and still not reflective of world data .

    Have you looked at pages three and four in

    http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/CO2_versus_windspeed-review-1-FM.pdf

    Page 3:

    Meanwhile vertical profiles of the atmospheric CO2 concentration are available at many environments; they usually show different mixing ratios, with location having a much greater influence than altitude.
    The North Hemisphere (NH) mean near ground mixing ratio shown in fig.2B differs by only 1.13 ppm from the background level above 4 km altitude. Extrapolation to ground level results in a 2.56 ppm difference. Large seasonal variations of the order of 30 ppm are typical at continental environments e.g. Surgut (SUR, Wetland, Siberia); at marine locations (e.g. Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station, Bass Strait, Cape Grim, Australia) the variations around the local background level are small.

    Page 4:

    Fig 2: Vertical CO2 profiles from 12 global stations derived from flask samples collected from aircraft during midday with records extending over periods from 4 to 27 years (Stephens, 2007).

    But the problems with CO2 measurements are multiple:
    Location / Environment issues
    Altitude
    Daily cycles
    Seasonal cycles
    Wind Speed

    Wind Speed seems to be the biggest fly in the ointment at it seriously effects the level of CO2 mixing…

    It would be very interesting to see the virgin MLO raw data… to say the least!!!

  371. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm
    Richard S Courtney says:
    June 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm
    “The simplest and most probable explanation is that the data agree because they have been adjusted such that they agree.”

    If you really believe that, then there is not much more to discuss… good luck, I wish you well.

    Richard’s statement makes this whole debate pointless. Steve’s response sums it up. Eventually no matter what evidence is presented, however compelling, the last resort will always be that the data has been adjusted.

    Thanks for your efforts, Willis, but it seems that multiple data sources have been adjusted to produce some sort of worldwide conspiracy. Apparently only Beck’s chaotic measurements can be trusted. I’m seriously beginning to question about where I’m positioned in the AGW debate.

  372. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 8, 2010 at 8:34 am
    “There is little reason to think that diffusion a diffusion based model is reasonable.”

    It’s where you have to start. It is diffusive. What realistic model do you think yields exponential decay?

    “The Bern model appears to ignore the importance of thermohaline circulation, which is (I think) mainly responsible for net CO2 absorption.”
    I understood Bern is empirical, so I don’t think it breaks down by factors. But I think net CO2 absorption involves the temperature difference, but the actual circulation has effect on a much longer timescale.

    “The almost constant Argo ocean heat content since ~2004 – 2005 simultaneously casts doubt on long ocean heat lag values and on the Bern model”
    That’s an interesting one – if heat uptake by the ocean is slow, then so would be CO2. I’m still waiting for the Argo story to settle.

    I’m not familiar with the implied downward mixing rates in the Bern model.

  373. Slioch says:
    June 9, 2010 at 1:37 am

    anna v says:
    June 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    “gases are mixed, because of turbulence”

    I think you confuse kinetics with thermodynamics. From thermodynamics (ie. the application of delG = delH -TdelS) it can be shown that even the EQUILIBRIUM distribution of the gases in the atmosphere, under the influence of gravity, would be such that there would be very little difference from the top to the bottom of the atmosphere,

    I will check this, but if true, why is there an ozone level? Why does not the ozon mix well and differ very little from stratosphere to surface? It is the opposite problem, created up high, whereas CO2 is created at the surface.
    It varies by a factor of 2 over the globe, in the funny units that compress the column.

    We need experimental evidence of this well mixed business, and all independent observations say there is no well mixing. Maybe what you call small percentage difference is of the order of 100ppm.

  374. John Finn said

    ‘Thanks for your efforts, Willis, but it seems that multiple data sources have been adjusted to produce some sort of worldwide conspiracy. Apparently only Beck’s chaotic measurements can be trusted. I’m seriously beginning to question about where I’m positioned in the AGW debate.’

    These are not ‘Becks chaotic measurements.’ They were taken in thousands of locations by hundreds of scientists- many of them highly respected- at a time when the scientific method was considered meaningful, and within a field of science that had been practised since 1830 and over its 120 year existence achieved a degree of knowledge and accuracy.

    That does not mean to say that ALL the measurements are by any means correct but equally it does not mean that ALL of them are incorrect. An independent audit would put the matter to bed. I certainly don’t claim to know definitively either way.

    Tonyb

  375. Anna V

    I would particularly value your comments on an earlier post I made, repeated here for your convenience. Do you think this theoretical 80ppm is possible?

    “I linked to a graph and asked a question;

    So that I can properly understand Phils helpful reply to me at 6.38 am I confirm he said;

    “The most recent evaluation of this in a Nature paper came out with a median value of ~8 ppm CO2/ºC (upper limit ~20).” (per tenth of a degree centigrade warming of the oceans)

    So do I correctly understand that IF there were a general warming of the oceans by around 1 Degree C that it would outgass the equivalent of 80ppm (presumably a similar cooling would have the opposite effect.)

    This amount is not far off the 80ppm ‘outlier’ that Beck recorded in the 1940′s. The world certainly warmed from 1920 to 1940 so a considerable amount of outgasing should theoretically have happened. I don’t know if most of it disappeared back into the oceans when it cooled again or went into plant growth.”

    tonyb

  376. Tonyb is right, the 90,000+ CO2 measurements that Beck recorded were taken with great care by true scientists who did it for knowledge, not grant money.

    Maybe some readings were influenced by local CO2 sources. But it is hard to believe that thousands of measurements taken on very sparsely populated, isolated sea coasts, and in mid-ocean transits between continents, on the windward side of ships traveling across the Arctic, Beaufort, South Pacific, Antarctic and Atlantic oceans, were all in error.

  377. To Slioch,
    I think you are a little mixed up on your thermodynamics and kinetics. Gravity is a force which tends to separate heavy from light. It is included in the free energy term and the entropy term but not the enthalpy term. If there were no turbulence, gravity and Brownian movement would equilibrate to create a vertical concentration gradiant. The lighter oil goes to the top.

  378. tonyb says:
    June 9, 2010 at 5:20 am
    So do I correctly understand that IF there were a general warming of the oceans by around 1 Degree C that it would outgass the equivalent of 80ppm (presumably a similar cooling would have the opposite effect.)

    I think you are on the right track…

    As Beck states:
    The main globally effective controllers for CO2 flux in the lithosphere/atmosphere system are the oceans and the biomas.

    http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm

  379. I believe that the data presented in figure 1 of this article, if valid, would tend to support the Dr. Mann’s hypothesis that overall global temperatures have remained constant from Y1000 to Y1800 and that the medieval warm period and little ice-age periods were probably local North Atlantic regional weather anomalies.

    It is my understanding that the action of Henries Law causes CO2 to be out-gassed from the ocean during warm periods and absorbed when the ocean cools. Henry’s Law is, I believe, a linear, one-for-one, relationship whereas the CO2 Greenhouse Effect is logarithmic, one-for-doubling, relationship. I believe critics have suggested that thermal out-gassing and re-absorption is the primary explanation for the huge temperature-lagging CO2 fluctuations depicted in “An Inconvenient Truth.”

    I find it hard to believe that all this data might have been ‘concocted’ just to support Dr. Mann’s hypothesis, but there may be uncompensated natural processes that degrade or smear out this information over long periods of time. Perhaps the data derived from gases trapped in 1000-year old ice is no more reliable as a temperature indicator than tree-ring data. In any case, I think it’s best to present this data rather than ‘hide’ it.

  380. tonyb says:
    June 9, 2010 at 5:20 am
    Anna V

    I would particularly value your comments on an earlier post I made, repeated here for your convenience. Do you think this theoretical 80ppm is possible?

    “I linked to a graph and asked a question;

    So that I can properly understand Phils helpful reply to me at 6.38 am I confirm he said;

    “The most recent evaluation of this in a Nature paper came out with a median value of ~8 ppm CO2/ºC (upper limit ~20).”
    That is correct, note that it is /ºC not per tenth of a degree.

  381. Thank you Smokey

    I find it extraordinary that the tens of thousands of measurements taken by skilled and diligent scientists over a period of 120 years of improving technology could ALL be wrong. These were taken in a huge variety of places, many far away from contamination-a concept they understood well and enshrined in law in the 1889 Factories Act.

    Tonyb

  382. To Anna v,

    I suspect both the Mauna Loa and Southpole Scripps CO2 data have been adjusted to sea level to compensate for the gravitational effect. Mauna Loa and Cape Kumukahi are almost identical. The actual measured differences may have been used to make the adjustments. In any case, I think the Scripps data is our best estimate of natural background levels into which plumes of both natural and anthropogenic emissions e-fold. Pick your fudge factor to fit this model.

  383. anna v says:
    June 9, 2010 at 4:12 am
    Slioch says:
    June 9, 2010 at 1:37 am

    anna v says:
    June 8, 2010 at 9:04 pm
    I will check this, but if true, why is there an ozone level? Why does not the ozon mix well and differ very little from stratosphere to surface? It is the opposite problem, created up high, whereas CO2 is created at the surface.

    Because the O3 is created locally in the stratosphere as a result of the photodissociation of O2 by UV. The relevant UV frequencies are completely absorbed in the stratosphere so that the O3 precursors are not produced at lower altitudes. The lifetime of the O3 molecule in the atmosphere depends on altitude, it is an extremely reactive molecule, in the troposphere it only has a lifetime of the order of hours to days, even in the stratosphere it lasts only about a week. so it is necessarily confined to the region where it is created. The timescale for atmospheric distribution around the world is a few years as the following graph clearly shows:

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

  384. Hi Tony

    I had noted your comment, and I thought Phil. would reply.

    From the abstract in his refered Nature article:http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7280/full/nature08769.html#B7

    Here we quantify the median γ as 7.7 p.p.m.v. CO2 per °C warming, with a likely range of 1.7–21.4 p.p.m.v. CO2 per °C.

    Maybe you were aware of the quoted also in that abstract:
    Our results are incompatibly lower (P < 0.05) than recent pre-industrial empirical estimates of ~40 p.p.m.v. CO2 per °C (refs 6, 7)

    So I would question your quote of Phil’s numbers:
    “The most recent evaluation of this in a Nature paper came out with a median value of ~8 ppm CO2/ºC (upper limit ~20).” (per tenth of a degree centigrade warming of the oceans) Since you are careful with your quotes, maybe you could explain this “tenth of a degree” instead of “degree”.

    I do not have access to Nature, and assume you do and the “per tenth of a degree centigrade ” is what you found in the main paper, but it does not seem probable from the abstract.
    If it is not per degree, but if it is per tenth of a degree than your quote of 80ppm is fine and the conclusions you draw.

    Look at this:

    http://brneurosci.org/co2.html

    When all these equations are put together, we can calculate that an increase of 0.6°C would increase atmospheric CO2 from 288 to 292.4 ppmv, an increase of about 4.4 ppm, far short of the 80.4 needed to produce today’s levels.

  385. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 9, 2010 at 1:52 am
    Finally, the implication that I have done what Mann did is childish, uninformed, nasty and untrue. I have made it very clear where each dataset came from, and have cited where you can go get them. I have painted the Mauna Loa data bright orange to keep people from thinking that they were the same as the other data. I have not averaged the data as Mann did. I am just showing exactly what the observations show. You don’t like it? Tough. You think it is wrong? Fine, but take your snide accusations elsewhere. I’m showing what is known about the history of CO2. It may be wrong, but your claim that I am somehow trying to deceive people as Mann did is baseless, desperate, and unpleasant. If you can show that there is something wrong with the eight different ice core records that I’ve shown, bring it on. That’s science. If not, go somewhere else to make your puerile claims.

    I agree that the accusations that you are trying to deceive by the graphic you show is indeed “baseless, desperate and unpleasant”. However you did do exactly what Mann did, in his case he used blue and red to distinguish between proxy and direct measurement:

    Mann’s ‘trick’ is not what some say it is!

  386. Slioch says:
    June 9, 2010 at 1:37 am

    OK, I looked up in my thermodynamics book, (Sears, 1959, when I took the course) and though
    G=H-TS
    in infinitesimal processes
    deltaG=deltaH -TdeltaS -SdeltaT

    In the atmosphere the temperature is not constant in the column.

    In any case, I do not know how the equilibrium distribution of masses in the height of the columns would be derived from these equations. Maybe you have a link of the derivation?

  387. Phil. says:
    June 9, 2010 at 6:39 am

    And are you not saying it is not well mixed, in other words?

  388. Nick Stokes says:
    June 9, 2010 at 3:01 am
    “I understood Bern is empirical, so I don’t think it breaks down by factors.”
    I believe it incorporates an earlier “four-box” ocean mixing model (which describes both CO2 and heat fluxes) as well as some modeling of land based CO2 sinks. The ocean model seems OK in general form, but as usual, the devil is in the details. The big uncertainties are 1) the rate of physical down-mixing through the thermocline, which is said to be based mostly on “tracer studies”, and 2) assumed overall circulation rates. When you dig a little deeper, you find that there’s lots of apparently conflicting data, and the down-mixing rate turns out to be (apparently) based on yet another model…. all seems very uncertain to me. The total circulation rate and the efficiency of CO2 absorption by cold (sinking) surface waters are critically important at all time scales, not just at long scales.

    “That’s an interesting one – if heat uptake by the ocean is slow, then so would be CO2.”
    Yes, that would be true if the Bern model accurately describes the ocean uptake, but not true if CO2 uptake is primarily driven by thermohaline circulation rather than down-mixing in the thermocline. Some climate scientists are unhappy with the ARGO data because it shows that the heat uptake isn’t as fast as expected, and so calls into question the ocean circulation models and rates of ocean heat accumulation that are needed (long ocean lags) for high climate sensitivity to be correct. They are also not happy with published reports showing no decline in ocean CO2 uptake capacity, since this also casts some doubt on ocean circulation models.

    There appears to be a bit of arm-waving going on now, with at least one model group saying that even though the true sensitivity has to be near 3C or 3.5C for a doubling, the total warming up to the time of that doubling is more like 1.5C, and that it will then take several hundred years at a constant doubled CO2 level to approach the “ultimate response” of 3C or more. In other words, they are saying that after an initial 1.5C warming over ~80-90 years, an additional 1.5 C warming will take place over 300+ years, at constant atmospheric CO2 level of 560PPM!. In light of the available fossil fuel reserves, it would appear that maintaining 560 PPM for 300+ years is very unlikely, so the “ultimate response” would almost certainly never be reached.
    .
    I think we can safely bet over the next few years on more arm-waving and a gradual decline in model projections of rapid temperature increase.

  389. Fred H. Haynie says:
    June 9, 2010 at 6:03 am
    To Slioch,
    I think you are a little mixed up on your thermodynamics and kinetics. Gravity is a force which tends to separate heavy from light. It is included in the free energy term and the entropy term but not the enthalpy term. If there were no turbulence, gravity and Brownian movement would equilibrate to create a vertical concentration gradiant. The lighter oil goes to the top.

    Our atmosphere is a gas not a liquid and is mixed by turbulent diffusion, separation of gas molecules by molecular weight doesn’t occur until the mean free path becomes long compared with the mixing length. This doesn’t occur until an altitude of ~100km, below that the atmosphere is referred to as the ‘homosphere’, reactive gases such as O, O3 etc which are created locally and have insufficient lifetime to mix can form layers in the homosphere, i.e. the ozone layer.
    Most of the sources and sinks for CO2 are at or near the surface so [CO2] there depends strongly on the proximity of such sources and sinks. Above the mixing layer the CO2 becomes well mixed.

  390. anna v says:
    June 9, 2010 at 7:00 am
    Hi Tony

    I had noted your comment, and I thought Phil. would reply.

    I did this morning (I do sleep at night). Also bear in mind that my replies are delayed and so appear higher up in the thread.

  391. Nick Stokes,
    “It’s where you have to start. It is diffusive. What realistic model do you think yields exponential decay?”
    I forgot: If CO2 absorption by the ocean is dominated by thermohaline circulation, then that “model” does in fact hind cast the historical trend very well, and does project an exponential decay if CO2 emissions were to stop immediately, as Willis suggested. The diffusive model predicts a very different response to a sudden stop in CO2 emissions, much more ocean heat accumulation than ARGO data suggests, and predicts a gradually declining ocean CO2 uptake capacity…. which does not appear to be happening. The Bern model appears to be in clear conflict with the data.

  392. Anna

    My question- which Phil answered- was posed on the basis of the potential ppm increase per tenth of a degree C rise in temperature, so I asumed that was what the reply referred to. Clearly if the amount quoted is per whole degree C (which seems very small) is it difficult to see how there could be sufficient outgassing in a short time to support the 80ppm rise that we see in Becks figures.

    I wil reread all the material and try to cross reference it elsewhere. Thanks for your help

    tonyb

  393. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 9, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Anna, I truly don’t understand your point. Suppose for the moment that your idea is true, and that the CO2 is not “well mixed”, whatever that might mean to you.

    So what? What does that have to do with the question of whether humans are responsible for the recent increase in CO2, well mixed or not?

    The association is made that since the CO2 curve is going up in an unprecedented way, your figure 1, the cause is anthropogenic. You make this conclusion yourself.

    If CO2 is not well mixed, and there are equally high values over the globe over the last two centuries, it has no meaning to take the measurements on a longitude in the middle of the ocean at 2000 meters and call it “global CO2″ . To call it global CO2 you would need to integrate over the globe and if that curve showed unprecedented rise there would be an argument for the anthropogenic part.

    So even if the measurements of the Keeling curves are not doctored to show this “unprecedented” rise, still, unless a full global picture is measured we cannot know. We have indications from Beck’s compilations and from the Japanese preliminaries in any case.

    There is variation going down in latitude too as the plots of H.Haynie show.

    I think the “well mixed’ is the lynch pin on which the “anthropogenic” depends, so it is not a red herring. It is how they integrate from a few locations to all over the world.

    Fred H. Haynie says:
    June 9, 2010 at 6:38 am

    I suspect both the Mauna Loa and Southpole Scripps CO2 data have been adjusted to sea level to compensate for the gravitational effect.

    It is quite possible considering the mentality of the “scientists” working in the climate field: “this is how nature is, better find it or else”.

  394. Willis, wrt your 8 sets of data – see Lundgardh, Van Slyke, Scholander and Law Dome DE08-2. Given the long closing time of the ice DE08-2 largely represents concentration in air, not ice, and it continues a pretty smooth curve with the other 3 sources that is about 15 ppm above the ice core data in the first year of your curve. You can extrapolate back farther using the high confidence level Beck data, and you have air 20 to 30 ppm above the ice core in the early to mid 19th century. I think we can safely say that the ice core loses some atmospheric concentration through at least 3 different mechanisms as the ice closes and as samples are taken and analyzed. Hence the hocky stick is not quite so bad as presented, with concentration up about 70 ppm rather than 100 ppm since preindustrial measures.
    Certainly with 70 to 180 years for the ice to close (depending on location and rate of snow accumulation), short term peaks get smoothed (clearly visible in the ice at WW2). It is not unlikely that depressurization at time of coring leads to a fairly constant level near 270 ppm, eliminating longer term peaks. And there is some contribution from fractionation during closing also that reduces fern bottom concentration at least a bit.
    I strongly suspect that ice core data is worthless in terms of displaying a useful historic record, but that’s just my opinion. Murray

  395. Phil. says:
    June 9, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I really would like to see some measurements and calculations of this homosphere business. Do you have a link? To me it sounds like an assumption. Mixing length? How is that measured or calculated?

    The atmosphere is not always turbulent, and its turbulence is not uniform. There are circulation patterns, complete lulls, etc. etc. while the sources and sinks of CO2 keep going on and on .

  396. Phil. says @7:11 am:

    “Mann’s ‘trick’ is not what some say it is!”

    Mann’s trick is not what you say it is, true. But that is a red herring. He used a couple of other tricks to misrepresent.

    Spector says @6:16 am:

    “I believe that the data presented in figure 1 of this article, if valid, would tend to support the Dr. Mann’s hypothesis that overall global temperatures have remained constant from Y1000 to Y1800 and that the medieval warm period and little ice-age periods were probably local North Atlantic regional weather anomalies.”

    Every once in a while someone comes back and tries to flog the dead horse of a regional, rather than a global MWP.

    Do a search of the WUWT archives using the keyword: MWP. You can get up to speed, but it may take a while; the amount of information is voluminous. Or you can use this interactive graphic to search the globe.

  397. Murray Duffin says:
    June 9, 2010 at 8:08 am

    “I strongly suspect that ice core data is worthless in terms of displaying a useful historic record, but that’s just my opinion.”

    I want to point out that, without the ice core data, the “smoking gun” fit in Willis’ Figure 4 is nothing more than an arbitrary scaling to fit one increasing slope to another.

    To those who dwell on superficial resemblances, the inflections around 1950 in both the emissions estimates and the CO2 data are convincers. But, the inflection in the CO2 data is surely an artifact of the splice between proxy and direct measurement data, and has even less justification if the ice core data are bad. I have a strong suspicion that the inflection in the emissions data is no accident – it would not be difficult for the keepers of records to tweak the data to produce it, if one desired to do so, and if one knew where one wanted to place it.

    My final word to Willis: I urge you to examine the requirements for consistency in your modeling which I advised at June 7, 2010 at 11:16 pm.

  398. anna v says:
    June 9, 2010 at 8:51 am
    Phil. says:
    June 9, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I really would like to see some measurements and calculations of this homosphere business. Do you have a link? To me it sounds like an assumption. Mixing length? How is that measured or calculated?

    Any textbook on the physics of atmospheres should cover it, the following is well written but someone with a physics background such as yourself should be able to handle any of them.
    “Chemistry of Atmospheres: An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Atmospheres of Earth, the Planets, and Their Satellites”, Richard P. Wayne, Oxford Science Publications.

    The atmosphere is not always turbulent, and its turbulence is not uniform. There are circulation patterns, complete lulls, etc. etc. while the sources and sinks of CO2 keep going on and on .

    Over the lifetime of the CO2 it’s plenty turbulent enough (don’t forget the diffusion part). Once you get out of the boundary layer the air is usually moving in any case.
    In your living room with all fans, AC etc. switched off have someone open a bottle of perfume in the opposite corner of the room, how long is it before you smell it?
    In the homosphere the N2/O2 ratio remains constant with altitude, also Ar (which has a MW of 40) has a constant mixing fraction with altitude. In contrast in the heterosphere molecules are sorted by mass.

  399. Phil,

    The air isn’t always mixing. CO2 will hug the surface on a clear no wind night when the surface is cooling by radiation. I know the difference between water and air and have worked with turbulent diffusion in my research. The Scripps data is considered well mixed because the daily flask data used to calculate monthly averages are only used when there is enough wind to have turbulence.

  400. RE: Smokey (June 9, 2010 at 8:58 am) “dead horse”

    Figure 1, above, would seem to indicate that CO2 concentrations were flat, perhaps contained within a narrow 265 to 285 ppm band over the whole period from Y1000 to Y1750. If we accept this as true and valid data indicating that the average global climate was constant during the whole interval — I am not ready to do that yet — then we may be forced to admit that the regional climate horse is not as dead as we thought it was.

  401. Phil said.
    “Over the lifetime of the CO2 it’s plenty turbulent enough (don’t forget the diffusion part). Once you get out of the boundary layer the air is usually moving in any case.
    In your living room with all fans, AC etc. switched off have someone open a bottle of perfume in the opposite corner of the room, how long is it before you smell it?
    In the homosphere the N2/O2 ratio remains constant with altitude, also Ar (which has a MW of 40) has a constant mixing fraction with altitude. In contrast in the heterosphere molecules are sorted by mass.”

    What do you think the halflife is of CO2 hugging a cooling ocean surface on a cold clear night? In the same way it concentrates in forest canopies where the halflife can be a matter of hours. There could be a whole lot of CO2 that never gets out of this layer into turbulent conditions.

  402. Spector says:
    June 9, 2010 at 6:16 am

    I believe that the data presented in figure 1 of this article, if valid, would tend to support the Dr. Mann’s hypothesis that overall global temperatures have remained constant from Y1000 to Y1800 and that the medieval warm period and little ice-age periods were probably local North Atlantic regional weather anomalies.

    You believe wrong. First, there is ample data that the MWP and the Roman Warm Period were global phenomena. Second, even Mann thinks that there was a Little Ice Age, which doesn’t show up much in the CO2 record.

    The logical conclusion is not that Mann is correct. It is that CO2 has almost no effect on global temperature.

  403. Phil. says:June 9, 2010 at 6:17 am

    tonyb says:
    June 9, 2010 at 5:20 am
    Anna V

    I would particularly value your comments on an earlier post I made, repeated here for your convenience. Do you think this theoretical 80ppm is possible?

    “I linked to a graph and asked a question;

    So that I can properly understand Phils helpful reply to me at 6.38 am I confirm he said;

    “The most recent evaluation of this in a Nature paper came out with a median value of ~8 ppm CO2/ºC (upper limit ~20).”
    That is correct, note that it is /ºC not per tenth of a degree.

    So my rough estimate (12–15 ppmv per degree C) was of the right order of magnitude, but a bit large. And my claim that the change in CO2 was not due to global temperature change was correct.

  404. Willis/Anna/Phil

    Any idea what period this is over i.e would it take a constant 1 degree C rise a year to outgas 8ppm, or a month or week?

    tonyb

  405. Spector says:
    June 9, 2010 at 10:31 am

    RE: Smokey (June 9, 2010 at 8:58 am) “dead horse”

    Figure 1, above, would seem to indicate that CO2 concentrations were flat, perhaps contained within a narrow 265 to 285 ppm band over the whole period from Y1000 to Y1750. If we accept this as true and valid data indicating that the average global climate was constant during the whole interval — I am not ready to do that yet — then we may be forced to admit that the regional climate horse is not as dead as we thought it was.

    Say what? This is global CO2 data, not global climate data. It says very little about the climate. We would expect a change in global background CO2 of ~ 8 ppmv/°C, which is smaller than the margin of error in the ice core measurements. So all we can conclude from this about the climate is … nothing.

  406. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm
    Spector says:
    June 9, 2010 at 10:31 am

    RE: Smokey (June 9, 2010 at 8:58 am) “dead horse”

    “Figure 1, above, would seem to indicate that CO2 concentrations were flat, perhaps contained within a narrow 265 to 285 ppm band over the whole period from Y1000 to Y1750. If we accept this as true and valid data indicating that the average global climate was constant during the whole interval — I am not ready to do that yet — then we may be forced to admit that the regional climate horse is not as dead as we thought it was.”

    Say what? This is global CO2 data, not global climate data. It says very little about the climate. We would expect a change in global background CO2 of ~ 8 ppmv/°C, which is smaller than the margin of error in the ice core measurements. So all we can conclude from this about the climate is … nothing.

    In fact a range of ~20ppmv in the core implies a range of global temperature of ~3ºC over that timespan (hardly constant!) which is exactly the opposite of Smokey’s statement.

  407. tonyb says:
    June 9, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Willis/Anna/Phil

    Any idea what period this is over i.e would it take a constant 1 degree C rise a year to outgas 8ppm, or a month or week?

    tonyb

    The value is the equilibrium value for that temperature of the ocean, at least as far as the calculation I gave you a link to. In terms of time, it would be the same time where the difference in temperatures is observed. Given the temperature of the ocean, the ppms are the equilibrium ones.

  408. Phil. says:
    June 9, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Thanks, I will have to go to a library, if I do not find any links.

  409. Anna

    Just read your link, it’s very good. I believe sea temperatures are even more suspect than global temperatures and taking a very limited number of measuring points then averaging it does not give a realistic picture of what is happening at the ocean/air interchange.

    For example our piece of ocean (the English Channel) 200 yards from my house will range from 7 degrees C in winter to (if we are lucky) around 20C in a warm summer. So in theory it is outgasing madly from now on in, then will be sucking it all back in as it cools again in the Autumn. But does that mean it is outgasing at 15C on the way up yet absorbing at 15C when it comes back down again? Is the huge variability of temperatures in medium latitude oceans countered by the limited variabilty of temperature in tropical oceans, whilst at the same time the arctic and antarctic are also exactly countering each other in order that we can then come up with an ‘average’ ocean temperature that barely changes, and in consequence CO2 outgasing by it is barely noticeable?

    Surely the net result of all this is that temperatures have risen and fallen dramatically throughout our history with a supposedly constant level of Co2 at 280ppm and that this gas really doesn’t seem to have much to do with anything let alone CAGW.

    http://c3headlines.typepad.com/.a/6a010536b58035970c0120a7c87805970b-pi

    Tonyb

  410. RE Willis Eschenbach: (June 9, 2010 at 11:50 am ) “You believe wrong..” — I hope so — “… The logical conclusion is not that Mann is correct. It is that CO2 has almost no effect on global temperature.”

    The issue that bothers me here is not the effect of CO2 on temperature; rather it is the absolute absence of any effect of temperature on the observed the atmospheric CO2 levels. During global cold intervals, I expect to see more CO2 dissolved in the ocean and during global warm periods, see more CO2 in the atmosphere because the oceanic CO2 carrying capacity (solubility) is temperature dependent.

  411. “During the ice age to interglacial transitions, on average a change of 7°C led to a doubling of CO2.”

    We don’t know that. You are presenting that as fact when it is not. The ice core data is the only useful source of such information and it presents CO2 concentrations that are averaged over periods of hundreds of years. We don’t know what the natural variation in CO2 might be over much shorter periods.

    Note that the Mauna Loa data shows a gradual uninterrupted rise in CO2 when the output of human CO2 is not smooth and is interrupted by recessions that reduce the consumption of energy significantly.

  412. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 9, 2010 at 11:52 am

    “And my claim that the change in CO2 was not due to global temperature change was correct.”

    Er,… I don’t think so.

  413. anna v says:
    June 9, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 9, 2010 at 2:12 am

    Anna, I truly don’t understand your point. Suppose for the moment that your idea is true, and that the CO2 is not “well mixed”, whatever that might mean to you.

    So what? What does that have to do with the question of whether humans are responsible for the recent increase in CO2, well mixed or not?

    The association is made that since the CO2 curve is going up in an unprecedented way, your figure 1, the cause is anthropogenic. You make this conclusion yourself.

    If CO2 is not well mixed, and there are equally high values over the globe over the last two centuries, it has no meaning to take the measurements on a longitude in the middle of the ocean at 2000 meters and call it “global CO2″ . To call it global CO2 you would need to integrate over the globe and if that curve showed unprecedented rise there would be an argument for the anthropogenic part.

    Anna, we have thousands and thousands of measurements of the background CO2 levels, taken over the last 50 years from all over the globe. They all share several characteristics:

    1. They are all quite close to each other at any given point in time. Excluding seasonal variations, which are different in the NH and the SH, they are within 5–10 ppmv or so. See Fig. 5 here.

    2. They all only vary a couple of ppmv from year to year.

    See here for another graphic showing how little they disagree.

    In addition, we have the AIRS data showing the CO2 in the free troposphere. Again, it shows very little change (on the order of 5-10 ppmv) in the CO2 levels. In that graphic, you can actually watch it getting mixed from day to day.

    So even if the measurements of the Keeling curves are not doctored to show this “unprecedented” rise, still, unless a full global picture is measured we cannot know. We have indications from Beck’s compilations and from the Japanese preliminaries in any case.

    You have not presented a scrap of evidence that the “Keeling curves” (which are not Keeling’s, but have been taken by a variety of scientists all over the planet for over 50 years) are “doctored”. Absent that, for a physicist you are sounding very unscientific.

    Now, Beck’s data are valid … but they are not background CO2 levels. We know this because they vary from one investigator to the other by forty or fifty ppmv for the same year, and from a single investigator by forty or fifty ppmv in a single year. We have never observed this in any of the modern data.

    So you can believe the Beck data represent background CO2 levels if you wish … I don’t, and neither does Beck.

    Again, let me say that I think that the whole argument about human responsibility for CO2 is a red herring. My contention is that CO2 doesn’t affect global temperature in any meaningful way, because of the feedbacks (among others) that I discuss here. So to me it doesn’t matter whether humans are the cause of the 0.01% rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration or not, because I don’t think it will make any difference.

    If you are so passionate (and illogical) about trying to prove that humans are not the cause of the CO2 rise that you are willing to accuse scientists of “doctoring” the CO2 data and willing to believe the Beck data shows background CO2 levels, it would seem that you are agreeing that rising CO2 does cause temperature rise, and you are trying to establish that humans are not responsibile for that. Is that your position?

    In either case, you are making AGW supporters like JoelShore happy, which should give you some pause …

    The real issue is the feedbacks. That’s the part regarding which there is still huge contention. That’s the part that folks should be focusing on, not on the cause of the CO2 rise. Which is what I was trying to point out with this thread … unsuccessfully, it seems …

    I raised the issue by public demand, and I had hoped that folks would look at the observations and draw the obvious conclusions. Instead, what I’ve gotten are unfounded charges that thousands of independent CO2 measurements are “doctored”, and that the ice core records from 8 different ice cores investigated by ten different groups using different methods have been “adjusted” … riiiight …

    Ah, well. I can’t complain, I lit the fuse and I failed to run …

  414. googling “Physics of the homosphere,” I found a book open on the net by Gerd.W.Prolss ( needs an umlaut).

    It has the mathematics, it will take me some time to wade through. Have not found data yet.

  415. anna v says:
    June 8, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for the chemist POV.

    I have been looking at this “well mixed” from a physicist POV and it seems basic science agrees :) in the principles.
    ________________________________________________________________________
    “Well mixed” is a fallacy because rain (and fog and dew) is constantly removing CO2 from parts of the atmosphere. “Carbonic acid even appears as a normal occurrence in rain. As rainwater falls through the air, it absorbs carbon dioxide, producing carbonic acid. Thus, when it reaches the ground, it has a pH of about 5.5.”

    One of the more interesting bits of info I noticed is the time line.
    Mauna Loa CO2 measurements were started in 1959

    Club of Rome: Founded in 1968 at David Rockefeller’s estate in Bellagio, Italy

    Club of Rome member Henry Kissinger in 1970 states “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people; control money and you control the world.”

    The concept of ‘environmental sustainability’ is first brought to the general public’s attention in 1972 by the Club of Rome in their book entitled The Limits to Growth.

    At the same time CoR affiliate Maurice Strong chaired the UN first Earth Summit:
    “It is instructive to read Strong’s 1972 Stockholm speech and compare it with the issues of Earth Summit 1992. Strong warned urgently about global warming, the devastation of forests, the loss of biodiversity, polluted oceans, the population time bomb. Then as now, he invited to the conference the brand-new environmental NGOs [non-governmental organizations]: he gave them money to come; they were invited to raise hell at home. After Stockholm, environment issues became part of the administrative framework in Canada, the U.S., Britain, and Europe. “ Source

    Twenty years later the CoR published The First Global Revolution in which they state:
    “The common enemy of humanity is man.
    In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up
    with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
    water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these
    dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through
    changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome.
    The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”

    A listing of who is who in the Club of Rome will give you an idea of just how powerful this organization is. We have already seen the temperature data has been “manipulated” to support AGW. We have seen them try to rewrite history by removing the little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm period so why the heck do people here suddenly believe the CO2 data, gathered by the US government is pristine?

    OK so I do not trust the US government, on the other hand I have caught the US gov’t lying too many times to ever trust it again.

  416. Willis,
    “Ah, well. I can’t complain, I lit the fuse and I failed to run …”

    True, but you did maybe make a tiny bit of progress with a few… was it worth the effort?

  417. A study: The temperature rise has caused the CO2 Increase, not the other way around

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/06/09/a-study-the-temperature-rise-has-caused-the-co2-increase-not-the-other-way-around/


    Using two well accepted data sets, a simple model can be used to show that the rise in CO2 is a result of the temperature anomaly, not the other way around. This is the exact opposite of the IPCC model that claims that rising CO2 causes the temperature anomaly.

    Reckon we can put the ice cores back to bed as not appropriate for splicing onto MLO data… and lets draw a veil over the conclusion that the preponderance of evidence shows that humans are the main cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2.

  418. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 9, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    “In either case, you are making AGW supporters like Joel Shore happy, which should give you some pause …”

    I am sure Joel Shore is competent in whatever it is that is his area of speciality, but simply put, dynamics of continuous systems is clearly not his bailiwick. I do not really care what he has to say on the subject.

  419. On the subject of a “well mix” atmosphere”

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

    …These boundaries, or chemical equators, can typically be found at a “wall” created by global air circulation patterns that separates Northern and Southern hemispheric air. Called the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), it is a belt of low pressure that circles the Earth roughly at the equator…
    But this schematic is an “over-simplification,” said Geraint Vaughan of the University of Manchester in England,…
    Over parts of the Pacific Ocean, the clear band of the ITCZ visible over other oceans gives way to a “big blob of convection,” Vaughan told LiveScience. Around Northern Australia, this convection is dominated by the Australian-Indonesian monsoon (a reversal in the usual surface wind direction) in the Southern Hemisphere summer…

    So, they used a specially-equipped plane to fly north of Darwin to “find some dirty air,” as Vaughan put it, when they happened upon a steep gradient in carbon monoxide levels — an indicator of a chemical equator of sorts. Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas found in polluted air and therefore more strongly associated with the Northern Hemisphere… Earth’s Air Divided by Chemical Equator

    This is where the “well mixed” idiocy comes from: An explanation of CO2’s thorough mixing in the atmosphere given on page 8 of the EPA’s Response to Public Comments, Volume 2, in the section “Response 2-8″:

    “…turbulent mixing (e.g., through wind and convection) dominates the distribution of gases throughout the atmosphere (below 100 kilometers in altitude). The mixing of substances in a gas or fluid is only dependent on mass when the gas or fluid is perfectly still, or when the pressure of the gas is low enough that there is not much interaction between the molecules. Therefore, all long-lived gases become well-mixed at large distances from their sources or sinks…”

    “well mixed” was never based on sound science just assumed because of the assumed long residence time of CO2. That is why the NASA scientist was surprised the CO2 distribution in the upper atmosphere was “lumpy” (his word willis)

    “The real atmospheric CO2 residence time (lifetime) is only about 5 years,….

    13-C/12-C isotope mass balance calculations show that IPCC’s atmospheric residence time of 50-200 years make the atmosphere too light (50% of its current CO2 mass) to fit its measured 13-C/12-C isotope ratio. This proves why IPCC’s wrong model creates its artificial 50% “missing sink”. IPCC’s 50% inexplicable “missing sink” of about 3 giga-tonnes carbon annually should have led all governments to reject IPCC’s model.

    …. Callendar (1940, 1958) selected atmospheric CO2 data from the 19th and 20th centuries. Fonselius et al. (1956) showed that the raw data ranged randomly between about 250 and 550 ppmv (parts per million by volume) during this time period, but by selecting the data carefully Callendar was able to present a steadily rising trend from about 290 ppmv for the period 1866 – 1900, to 325 ppmv in 1956.

    Callendar was strongly criticized by Slocum (1955), who pointed out a strong bias
    in Callendar’s data selection method. Slocum pointed out that it was statistically
    impossible to find a trend in the raw data set, and that the total data set showed a
    constant average of about 335 ppmv over this period from the 19th to the 20th century.
    Bray (1959) also criticized the selection method of Callendar, who rejected values 10%
    or more different from the “general average”, and even more so when Callendar’s
    “general average” was neither defined nor given….

    Craig (1957) pointed out from the natural (by cosmic rays) radiocarbon (14-C) production rate that atmospheric CO2 is in active exchange with very large CO2 reservoirs in the ocean and biosphere.

    During the same period atmospheric CO2 measurements were started near the top of the strongly CO2-emitting (e.g., Ryan, 1995) Hawaiian Mauna Loa volcano. The reason for the choice of location was that it should be far away from CO2-emitting industrial areas. At the Mauna Loa Observatory the measurements were taken with a new infra-red (IR) absorbing instrumental method, never validated versus the accurate wet chemical techniques. Critique has also been directed to the analytical ethodology
    and sampling error problems (Jaworowski et al., 1992 a; and Segalstad, 1996, for further references), and the fact that the results of the measurements were “edited” (Bacastow et al., 1985); large portions of raw data were rejected, leaving just a small fraction of the raw data subjected to averaging techniques (Pales & Keeling, 965)….”

    Source: http://www.co2web.info/

  420. The issues raised by anna v and particularly by Gail Combs regarding CO2 levels and the mixing of CO2 in the atmosphere are somewhat removed from my area of day-to-day familiarity, but it seems increasingly difficult and imprudent to simply brush aside the points that they have made ( and supplemented with references that seem just as compelling as their logic). They have certainly given me the incentive to look more deeply into these matters. I find it particularly bothersome to note that so many scientists have apparently disregarded any measurements that fall outside of some range that they feel is the ‘right one’.

    /dr.bill

  421. Nice work Willis!

    I did something similar and found a half-life of ~35 yrs.

    My regression model was:

    c[x]=c[x-1]+ax+b-r(c[x-1]-280)

    Where:
    c[n] – atmospheric co2 in ppm for year n
    a – slope of emissions in ppm
    b – intercept of emissions in ppm
    r – rate that excess co2 is absorbed

    I used excel’s Solver add-in to find a, b, and r.

    The regression also gave a year 2100 co2 concentration of ~600ppm.

    Here’s a google version of the spreadsheet:

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AiP3g3LokjjZdFlvZVdMT0dCTDR4OHozSzFYTzNQYXc&hl=en

    Note that Google’s Solver won’t work on the non-linear model, but you can download to Excel.

    Thanks, AJ

  422. Ok back on the topic of the Mauna Loa data.

    (see quote at bottom)
    THE deal breaker is: “At the Mauna Loa Observatory the measurements were taken [in the 1950's] with a new infra-red (IR) absorbing instrumental method, never validated versus the accurate wet chemical techniques….”

    The first FTIR’s were not made commercially until the late 60’s so the new infra-red (IR) absorbing instrument would have been a dispersive IR Spectrophotometer probably a Perkin Elmer. A dispersive IR Spectrophotometer, especially one without a computer is not a particularly good tool for precise measurements in the PPM range in my experience. In the 1970’s my lab tried to develop an IR analytical method and gave up and went back to wet chemical methods because we could never get the precision and accuracy we needed. Back in the seventies a dispersive IR Spectrophotometer was considered a qualitative tool used for identifying samples and not a quantitative tool for measuring the amounts of components in a sample.

    Reading the history of the measurement of CO2 in “Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2: on the construction of the “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma.” by Tom V. Segalstad of the Mineralogical-Geological Museum, University of Oslo, Norway click Convinced me my original instinctive distrust of the CO2 data you presented was correct.

    Thank you Willis, before I looked into it I also thought the CO2 data was solid. I never realized the “rot” of dishonest “science” went all the way back to Callendar in the forties and Revelle, Pales & Keeling in the sixties. Now I understand it was an idea floating around that got promoted to the front page because it was a convenient tool for limiting access to energy and keeping the masses in poverty.

    THE QUOTE:
    “…North-European stations measured atmospheric CO2 over a 5 year period from 1955 to 1959. Measuring with a wet-chemical technique the atmospheric CO2 level was found to vary between approximately 270 and 380 ppmv, with annual means of 315 – 331 ppmv, and there was no tendency of rising or falling atmospheric CO2 level at any of the 19 stations during this 5 year period (Bischof, 1960). The data are particularly important because they are unselected and therefore free of potential biases from selection procedures, unlike the CO2 measurements based on the procedures at Mauna Loa …. During the same period atmospheric CO2 measurements were started near the top of the strongly CO2-emitting (e.g., Ryan, 1995) Hawaiian Mauna Loa volcano. The reason for the choice of location was that it should be far away from CO2-emitting industrial areas. At the Mauna Loa Observatory the measurements were taken with a new infra-red (IR) absorbing instrumental method, never validated versus the accurate wet chemical techniques….”

  423. anna v says:
    June 9, 2010 at 1:18 pm
    googling “Physics of the homosphere,” I found a book open on the net by Gerd.W.Prolss ( needs an umlaut).

    It has the mathematics, it will take me some time to wade through. Have not found data yet.

    I should think that will be fine I recall reading something by Prölss regarding satellites. LEO satellites are why these things have been studied intensely because of the importance for drag effects.

  424. Gail Combs says:
    June 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for the links and exposition.

    Yesterday I skimmed through the pages I was allowed of the Prolls book. He has a lot of differential equations counting in eddies etc. ( I am not forgetting that all the IPCC models are just that, differential equations ). One interesting tidbit from the discussion of O in the “well mixed” is it seems he will explain trace gases in section 4.3, that ( monatomic Oxygen in this case) they are not well mixed but do not matter in the density calculations. I will see if I am allowed what the 4.3 section says today with a new IP address :).

    Thinking about experimental proof of well mixing, I thought of the different trace elements measured by the Aqua satellite in AIRS. If the atmosphere is well mixed, regardless of the sources, then patterns appearing at 500mb of all trace elements should be the same.

    They are not, and maybe that is why AIRS makes the statement of “not well mixed” from this experience more than from the few ppms differences plotted of CO2.

    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/geophysical_products_multimedia/carbon_monoxide/

    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/geophysical_products_multimedia/methane/

    Unfortunately no world map of SO2.

    Water vapor is not a trace element in the strict sense, and it is not well mixed either, even though there are so many sources (75% of surface)
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/geophysical_products_multimedia/water_vapor/, and a different pattern than the others.

    Note, for the sake of my argument it is the similarity of patterns that is the experimental check not the amount of ppms or ppbs of difference. The difference is useful as showing up patterns.

    So this is another experimental evidence that the atmosphere does not “well mix”

  425. This is a very good discussion.
    I recall the discussion of the Volstock Ice Cores described chemical migration over time and with the composition of the ice cores and a disclaimer that the data may not be entirely accurate.
    Along these same lines of thought, a 155 year ‘history’ when considered in terms of the earths history of some 4 billion years +/- is rather insignificant.
    However, considering only one gas, CO2, while ignoring the effects of the chemical soup mankind has been increasingly adding to the atmosphere during this same period leaves the hypothesis needing much more substance.
    Or, lets just stop focusing on CO2 and look at the entire atmosphere for whatever we may think is happening.
    BTW, the ‘warming’ is so very insignificant it can be considered non-existent , as it is no-one really knows because the data we have has been ‘adjusted’, interpolated, smoothed, and otherwise faked.

  426. The increased biomass due to higher co2 levels is absorbing proportionately more of the isotope it prefers. This leaves proportionately more of the fossil fuel isotope in the atmosphere and so gives the impression the human emitted fraction has increased more than it really has.

  427. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 8, 2010 at 8:34 am
    “1. The Bern model appears to ignore the importance of thermohaline circulation, which is (I think) mainly responsible for net CO2 absorption. Net CO2 absorption is driven mainly by the difference between absorption by sinking (very cold) high latitude water and the out-gassing from upwelling deep waters as they warm at low latitudes, and yields an expected response to rising CO2 emissions which almost perfectly matches the historical data. It also predicts a continuing net absorption rate (for hundreds of years) that depends almost exclusively on the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere; that is, it would predict an exactly exponential decay if all CO2 emissions were suddenly to stop.”

    Nick Stokes says:
    June 9, 2010 at 3:01 am
    “I understood Bern is empirical, so I don’t think it breaks down by factors. But I think net CO2 absorption involves the temperature difference, but the actual circulation has effect on a much longer timescale.”

    Well, the THC overturns the top 100 m of the ocean in 30-40 years (which happens to be roughly the time constant Willis found). I agree with Steve – it appears that the Bern model ignores the THC. Your claim that the circulation has effect on much longer time scales is simply not correct.

    A diffusion model for CO2 in the ocean is clearly not realistic. The diffusion is dominated by the THC (and by mixing in the top layer).

  428. :( The interesting pages are protected in Prölss book glimpse on the net.
    Still need a physical library.

  429. I have not delved into ocean dynamics, but what about the tides?
    They mix whole blobs from the bottom up, no matter how deep, and create turbulences breaking against the lands. Are they in the standard calculations?

  430. If anyone cares, I’ve created another model similar to the one that I posted above, but this time using a continuous formula (i.e. calculus).

    I’ve assumed the following:
    – net co2 emissions rate = ax+b (i.e. linear, x = time)
    – excess co2 absorption rate = e^(-rx) (-r=continuous rate, x = time)
    – excess co2 = concentration over 280 ppm.

    So the atmospheric accumulation should be the summation (from 0 to t) of Integral[(a*x+b)*e^(-r*x), dx]

    To this summation, however, I will also account for the excess co2 already in the atmosphere. To do this I will simply add the starting excess co2 multiplied by the absorption formula giving the unabsorbed amount: s*e^(-rx).

    So, being lazy, I plugged Integral[(a*x+b)*e^(-r*x), dx] into Wolfram’s Online Integrator to get:

    -(e^(-r*x)*(a + b*r + a*r*x)/(r^2))

    I then sum the above between 0 and t and add the unabsorbed starting excess co2 giving:

    Excess CO2 = -(e^(-r*t)*(a + b*r + a*r*t)/(r^2)) +((a + b*r)/(r^2)) +(d*e^(-r*t))

    The link below is a copy of the excel spreadsheet that I uploaded to Google. This spreadsheet shows the results of the non-linear regression that I did of the above formula to the ppm values from Mauna Loa for the years 1959-2009. Interesting, to me anyway, is that the half-life result doubled to 73 years from what I posted earlier. The year 2100 projection, however, dropped to ~575ppm from ~600ppm.

    Feel free to have a look and let me know where I messed up. My calculus skills are iffy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s flawed.

    https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AiP3g3LokjjZdHFaNV85b1BrX0hEazFsLUJKWjZ1Qnc&hl=en

    Thanks, AJ

  431. Steve Fitzpatrick says:
    June 9, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Willis,
    “Ah, well. I can’t complain, I lit the fuse and I failed to run …”

    True, but you did maybe make a tiny bit of progress with a few… was it worth the effort?

    I think so. Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, even when we need 10,000 kilowatt stadium lighting …

  432. anna v says:
    June 10, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I have not delved into ocean dynamics, but what about the tides?
    They mix whole blobs from the bottom up, no matter how deep, and create turbulences breaking against the lands. Are they in the standard calculations?

    An excellent question, anna. I’ve been thinking about writing something regarding the Keeling (of all people) paper on tides forcing the climate, but time, time, time … in any case, it is a fascinating paper. All comments gladly accepted.

  433. anna v says:

    Thinking about experimental proof of well mixing, I thought of the different trace elements measured by the Aqua satellite in AIRS. If the atmosphere is well mixed, regardless of the sources, then patterns appearing at 500mb of all trace elements should be the same.

    No…It depends on the details of the gas, e.g., how long-lived it is in the atmosphere. I don’t think anybody has ever claimed that carbon monoxide is well-mixed. And, SO2 and other aerosols are known not to be well-mixed.

    Water vapor is not a trace element in the strict sense, and it is not well mixed either, even though there are so many sources (75% of surface)
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/geophysical_products_multimedia/water_vapor/, and a different pattern than the others.

    Its lifetime in the atmosphere is short and it is condensable with a very strong dependence of the amount that can be present on temperature. You are wacking down lots of strawmen here.

    So this is another experimental evidence that the atmosphere does not “well mix”

    If you actually read a textbook on the subject, you might discover that there is no claim made that the atmosphere in generally is well-mixed. The claim is that certain gases in the atmosphere are well-mixed (except very close to strong sources or sinks, e.g., for CO2 close to ground sources), a claim well-verified by empirical data for the gases in question.

  434. Joel Shore says:
    June 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    If you actually read a textbook on the subject, you might discover that there is no claim made that the atmosphere in generally is well-mixed. The claim is that certain gases in the atmosphere are well-mixed (except very close to strong sources or sinks, e.g., for CO2 close to ground sources), a claim well-verified by empirical data for the gases in question.

    I am 100 kilometers away at the moment from the nearest library that might have atmospheric physics textbooks, so I have to rely on what I can find on the net.

    The well mixed claim is made all over the place.

    There is no clear evidence that CO2 is well mixed, as you claim. The main measurements are at one longitude in the middle of an ocean. Stomata measurements say there have been large variations over time. AIRS notes say it isn’t well mixed.
    The same is seen in the GOSSAT measurements that have been posted, to which I linked above.

    The claim that the CO2 rise is unprecedented is crucial in order to tie it to anthropogenic sources. It has not been proven and it rests on the assumption of “well mixed” to extrapolate from one longitude in the middle of the ocean to the whole globe.

    I did find in Prölss’ book in the part that was open to scrutiny that the homosphere is called so because the gasses are well mixed, so he is one that is calling the homosphere generally well mixed. He discussed monatomic Oxygen and said that one is not well mixed and the process will be described in paragraph 4.3, except that paragraph is not available to the public scrutiny.

    So I do not know about straw men, but do know when it sounds like cherry picking to make a point:
    “CO2 is well mixed by fiat, go construct it” otherwise how could one control and tax the whole world through the guilt principle . We have to get them to say: “mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa”.
    /end sarcasm

  435. Joel Shore says:
    June 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    No…It depends on the details of the gas, e.g., how long-lived it is in the atmosphere. I don’t think anybody has ever claimed that carbon monoxide is well-mixed.

    Lets look at this straw man.

    Why would carbon monoxide not be well mixed if dioxide is? Are there not the same eddie currents and turbulences entering in the differential equations?

    If the turbulence in the atmosphere is supposed to make it a nice big mixer , like the ones mixing cement I suppose, why would CO mix differently than CO2?
    That is what my check on the patterns of different gases mean. If the mixing is kinematic, up there where it is measured by AIRS both should mix the same way.

  436. anna v says:
    June 11, 2010 at 1:16 am
    Joel Shore says:
    June 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    “No…It depends on the details of the gas, e.g., how long-lived it is in the atmosphere. I don’t think anybody has ever claimed that carbon monoxide is well-mixed.”

    Lets look at this straw man.

    Why would carbon monoxide not be well mixed if dioxide is? Are there not the same eddie currents and turbulences entering in the differential equations?

    CO reacts in the atmosphere with OH to form CO2 which means it has a lifetime of a few months. Hence it isn’t long-lived enough to be completely mixed around the planet, if you look at the AIRS results it’s easy to see which months of the year the forst burning takes place in the Amazon.

  437. anna v says:

    There is no clear evidence that CO2 is well mixed, as you claim. The main measurements are at one longitude in the middle of an ocean.

    There are many sites around the world where CO2 is measured, not just Mauna Loa.

    AIRS notes say it isn’t well mixed.

    Obviously, the term “well mixed” is in the eyes of the beholder. If you want variability of only a tenth of a percent, say, then it is not that uniform. However, the AIRS data demonstrate that it is uniform within about +/- 1%. (See here http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/AIRS_CO2_Data/ and note that the entire range of the color scale is 8 ppm, which is about 2%…hence it varies about +/-1%.) And, this is for a case when CO2 levels are changing at rates that are likely unprecedented, at least over the ice core record. For the historical variations in CO2, the rate of change was slower and thus the uniformity was, if anything, greater.

    Why would carbon monoxide not be well mixed if dioxide is? Are there not the same eddie currents and turbulences entering in the differential equations?

    Mainly because they have different lifetimes. Carbon monoxide is reactive. How much something gets mixed depends not just on the processes of the mixing but on the amount of time that you have to mix it. Think about making a batter with an electric mixer: when you only let the mixer run for a short time, the batter will not get very well mixed; if you let it run for a longer time then it will. Carbon monoxide has considerably less time to get mixed than CO2 does.

  438. For those of you who are having problems with the term “well mixed” I suggest that it can be applied the the Scripps data for specific locations but should not be used to explain the global consistancy of the data. The data that is used to calculate monthly averages has been taken when the local atmosphere was considered well mixed and probably is our best esitmate of natural background levels near sea level. The relatively spacially constant concentrations is not caused by turbulence but by the effects of water (gas, liquid, and solid) in controlling the level of CO2. It is these processes for which we don’t have rates that I expect causes CO2 to follow temperature and give the elusion of long e-fold times.

  439. Joel,

    thanks for your response but I need numbers and links. What are the other CO2 measurements that are not Keeling et al?

    I do not trust the lifetimes of CO2,

    Example: it dilutes in water vapor , it comes down in rains, let alone the biosphere take up.

    particularly for anthropogenic CO2 one which per definition is over polluting sources: pollution increases rain, for example

    The Japanese measurement have 10% difference in the column averaged numbers, not a 1% and this means that lower in the columns the values could be much higher.

    I need to see more and detailed three dimensional measurements, not opinions turned into models to be convinced that from all the trace elements, it is CO2 that is well mixed.

  440. anna v says:
    June 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Joel,

    thanks for your response but I need numbers and links. What are the other CO2 measurements that are not Keeling et al?

    We have provided you with a host of numbers and links.

    I do not trust the lifetimes of CO2,

    Example: it dilutes in water vapor , it comes down in rains, let alone the biosphere take up.

    particularly for anthropogenic CO2 one which per definition is over polluting sources: pollution increases rain, for example

    So you “don’t trust” the data? So? As you say, we need numbers and cites.

    The Japanese measurement have 10% difference in the column averaged numbers, not a 1% and this means that lower in the columns the values could be much higher.

    I need to see more and detailed three dimensional measurements, not opinions turned into models to be convinced that from all the trace elements, it is CO2 that is well mixed.

    Yes, the Japanese measurements are on the order of ±5%. But:

    a) most of them are in the range of ±3%

    b) they include ground level variations, while we are discussing background measurements

    c) they are only over the land, none over the ocean.

    Next, you say:

    The claim that the CO2 rise is unprecedented is crucial in order to tie it to anthropogenic sources. It has not been proven and it rests on the assumption of “well mixed” to extrapolate from one longitude in the middle of the ocean to the whole globe.

    I sent you a variety of cites showing measurements from all over the planet. Let me send you this one again. Look at the number of places CO2 is measured, on land and sea, from all over the globe.

    Next, you say:

    The AIRS data is not measuring a column of air from the surface to the5000 or 7000 meters which is what it plots.

    Nonsense. The AIRS data, like all satellite data, is a weighted average. 50% of it is from below 9 km, and 50% above. Or to look at it in another way, 75% of the weight is from 5 to 14 km.

    Finally, you keep talking about how the stomatal data show that the recent rise is not “unprecedented” (your word). Here’s the graphic from your citation:

    A couple very important points from you citation:

    1. The stomatal data agree very well with the Mauna Loa data that you say you don’t believe. You can’t have it both ways.

    2. The recent rise is unprecedented, whether you believe the stomatal data, the ice core data, or both.

    If you would like more numbers and links, after you have read the ones we have already sent, please let me know. I have plenty.

    w.

  441. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    and Joel,

    thank you for the globalview-co2 link. I probably missed it before, though I always check if my nickname is quoted. I will check again later to see what other links have been provided that I missed.

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/globalview/co2/co2_intro.html

    from their introduction:

    To facilitate use with carbon cycle modeling studies, the measurements have been processed (smoothed, interpolated, and extrapolated) resulting in extended records that are evenly incremented in time. Be aware that information contained in the actual data may be lost in this process. Users are encouraged to review the actual data in the literature, in data archives (CDIAC, WDCGG), or by contacting the participating laboratories.

    OK, and particularly after climate gate, I am allowed my doubts on the ability of climate scientists to be objective with the data, no?

    I suppose I could find links for the publications entering in the squiggly lines to extract height of measurement and method of calibration and whether the Keeling values are somewhere implicitly assumed. I will hit pay walls and am too old to start spending days in libraries. 75% from 5 to 14 kilometers, if “well mixed” is nonsense, cannot be a show case for global trends.

    1. The stomatal data agree very well with the Mauna Loa data that you say you don’t believe. You can’t have it both ways.

    It is not a matter of belief. It is a matter of questioning the statistical methodology at Mauna Loa as they set it forth, and a question on the validity of theconcept of “well mixed” that is necessary for the splicing of two independent measurement methods to create “unprecedented”.

    It is also a questioning on whether the whole field of CO2 measurements has been following the “throw away data that does not fit” methodology to agree with the guru’ directions. What has happened with temperatures.

    2. The recent rise is unprecedented, whether you believe the stomatal data, the ice core data, or both.
    The rise is not great, either in the stomatal records or in the ice records. It is the splicing that does the trick.

    And not to forget Beck’s compilations.

    At the moment “CO2 is well mixed” seems to be a belief not supported by three dimensional data. . The very concept of going where the air is “pure” and throwing away 2sigma outliers is scientifically invalid and suspect that it is not reflective of a real measurement on a real world. Satellite measurements should very soon clear the three dimensional picture.

    I have had these discussing with other people before, so lets leave it at that. You will not convince me unless there is a 3d representation that shows unprecedented CO2 to the extent Maona Loa does, and I will not convince you. Everybody can do their own thinking and delving into data, to the extent that they can.

  442. continued:

    Have to take back about the stomata record because that one publication, W. Finsinger et al , and Wagner et al no1,2 in the figure, take off precipitously. I now have to decide how much time I want to spend chasing stomata publications to see if the methodology is Keeling biased, in throw away data and include data manner.

    Anyway, my ending, that I am waiting for more and better 3 dimensional satellite data stands.

  443. re anna v: June 11, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    She makes good points, Willis. Two sigmas and the false positive issue with things that occur infrequently or in small quantities is a recipe for self-deception (to say nothing of the potential for purposeful deception). It needs more digging.

    /dr.bill

  444. Willis Eschenbach, on 6/7/10 at 1:25 pm, responding to a request by Steve Hempell to comment on “On Why CO2 is Known Not To Have Accumulated in the Atmosphere, etc.”, said,

    >>Yes. Like many others, he is conflating e-folding time and residence time.

    My paper dealt with IPCC’s crucial and often repeated claim that CO2 was a Long-Lived Greenhouse Gas. Neither IPCC’s reports nor my paper used the term or concept of e-folding time to have conflated it with anything.

    Specifically I quoted from the following by IPCC:

    >>[Aerosols] have a much shorter lifetime (days to weeks) than most greenhouse gases (decades to centuries) … . TAR, pp. 24-25.

    And from the following,

    >>Turnover time (T) (also called global atmospheric lifetime) is the ratio of the mass M of a reservoir (e.g., a gaseous compound in the atmosphere) and the total rate of removal S from the reservoir: T = M / S. For each removal process, separate turnover times can be defined. In soil carbon biology, this is referred to as Mean Residence Time. AR4, Glossary, p. 948.

    IPCC explicitly refers to the lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere, not its e-folding time, and makes Lifetime equivalent to Turnover time and to Mean Residence Time, which IPCC explicitly defines.

    I reported the following in my paper:

    >>Regardless of which way one poses the problem, the existing CO2 in the atmosphere has a mean residence time of 1.5 years using IPCC data, 3.2 years using University of Colorado data, or 4.9 years using Texas A&M data. The half lives are 0.65 years, 1.83 years, and 3.0 years, respectively.

    I used the identical term used and defined by IPCC, amplified by the half life figures, to show that IPCC was wrong and inconsistent about the Lifetime/Turnover Time/MRT of CO2 in the atmosphere. Furthermore, even had I converted to e-folding times, it would have effected no more than a scaling by 0.69, immaterial to whether CO2 persists a few years or “decades to centuries”, or why natural CO2 and anthropogenic CO2 might have, as IPCC implies, different lifetimes.

    I conflated nothing, and Mr. Eschenbach’s dismissive criticism, resting on that single allegation, was disingenuous and unresponsive.

  445. Jeff: Willis’s criticism is exactly right and what you are saying is confused and incorrect. The mean lifetime of a CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is short because of the large exchanges that occur between the atmosphere, the biosphere + soils, and the mixed layer of the ocean. However, the decay time for a pulse of CO2 such as produced by the burning of fossil fuels is governed by the much slower rate at which CO2 can be removed from these reservoirs into the deep ocean.

    So, what happens when you add in some new CO2 from burning of fossil fuels is that it rapidly partitions itself between the atmosphere, biosphere + soils, and the mixed layer…and now all three of these reservoirs have an elevated level of CO2. And, the decay of this elevated level is very slow.

  446. Jeff Glassman says:
    June 12, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Willis Eschenbach, on 6/7/10 at 1:25 pm, responding to a request by Steve Hempell to comment on “On Why CO2 is Known Not To Have Accumulated in the Atmosphere, etc.”, said,

    >>Yes. Like many others, he is conflating e-folding time and residence time.

    My paper dealt with IPCC’s crucial and often repeated claim that CO2 was a Long-Lived Greenhouse Gas. Neither IPCC’s reports nor my paper used the term or concept of e-folding time to have conflated it with anything.

    Specifically I quoted from the following by IPCC:

    >>[Aerosols] have a much shorter lifetime (days to weeks) than most greenhouse gases (decades to centuries) … . TAR, pp. 24-25.

    And from the following,

    >>Turnover time (T) (also called global atmospheric lifetime) is the ratio of the mass M of a reservoir (e.g., a gaseous compound in the atmosphere) and the total rate of removal S from the reservoir: T = M / S. For each removal process, separate turnover times can be defined. In soil carbon biology, this is referred to as Mean Residence Time. AR4, Glossary, p. 948.

    IPCC explicitly refers to the lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere, not its e-folding time, and makes Lifetime equivalent to Turnover time and to Mean Residence Time, which IPCC explicitly defines.

    I reported the following in my paper:

    >>Regardless of which way one poses the problem, the existing CO2 in the atmosphere has a mean residence time of 1.5 years using IPCC data, 3.2 years using University of Colorado data, or 4.9 years using Texas A&M data. The half lives are 0.65 years, 1.83 years, and 3.0 years, respectively.

    Contrary to your claim, the IPCC makes a clear differentiation between residence time on the one hand, and half-life or e-folding time on the other hand, although they give them slightly different names (“turnover time” and “adjustment (or response) time” respectively). The following is from the Glossary for the IPCC TAR. The same definition is given in the IPCC FAR Glossary. I’ve emphasised the relevant parts:

    Lifetime

    Lifetime is a general term used for various time-scales characterising the rate of processes affecting the concentration of trace gases. The following lifetimes may be distinguished:

    Turnover time (T) is the ratio of the mass M of a reservoir (e.g., a gaseous compound in the atmosphere) and the total rate of removal S from the reservoir: T = M/S. For each removal process separate turnover times can be defined. In soil carbon biology this is referred to as Mean Residence Time (MRT).

    Adjustment time or response time (Ta) is the time-scale characterising the decay of an instantaneous pulse input into the reservoir. The term adjustment time is also used to characterise the adjustment of the mass of a reservoir following a step change in the source strength. Half-life or decay constant is used to quantify a first-order exponential decay process. See: →Response time, for a different definition pertinent to climate variations. The term lifetime is sometimes used, for simplicity, as a surrogate for adjustment time.

    Note that they say “half-life or decay constant”. “Decay constant” refers to using something other than 0.5 (half, for half-life) as the constant for measuring the decay. The number “e” (2.71828) is the other commonly used decay constant in the form of 1/e, or ~ 0.37, hence “e-folding time”.

    So as I said, you have conflated the two.

  447. RE: Willis Eschenbach: (June 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm) Stomatal Data

    The primary inference I draw from the included stomatal data plot is that this seems to confirm that CO2 levels in the past were probably much more variable than that indicated by ice-core data. It seems reasonable to suppose that ice-core data may have been subject to gradual in situ diffusion or annealing processes that would progressively degrade the temporal resolution of this data over long periods of time.

    I do think that modern CO2 levels may well be unprecedented as maintained in this article, but perhaps a more balanced approach might be to say there also could be significant physiogenic (natural) as well as anthropogenic effects contributing to this change.

    I know that it is possible to ‘force-fit’ a filtered SST data curve to account for most the recent CO2 variation, but it appears there is no readily-available historical data from BT drops over the years to show just how much past and recent thermal forcing has actually penetrated into the depths of the ocean. Without this data, I do not think we can make an intelligent estimate of the amount of CO2 that could have been forced out of the sea as a result of the recent warming.

  448. Spector says:
    June 13, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I do think that modern CO2 levels may well be unprecedented as maintained in this article, but perhaps a more balanced approach might be to say there also could be significant physiogenic (natural) as well as anthropogenic effects contributing to this change.

    I will add to your comments volcanic activity as an unknown possible source of sudden increase. There is no reason to assume that the volcanoes , of which an estimate of over 200.000 vents in the ocean floors have been estimated, are in a steady state as far as CO2 exhausts go. That they are not in a steady state is evident by the occasional explosions. Maybe, if the Maona Loa etc data are not doctored out of reality, we are measuring an upswing in the chaotic mechanisms of magma circulation and venting.

  449. Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm
    My language was extreme because, as a result of Dr. Ravetz’s inanities, I have suffered innumerable personal attacks because I don’t buy into his nonsense. In addition, his “post-normal science” theory is responsible in part for the destruction of good scientific practice we see in too much of climate science.

    Just a quick comment; I hope that it’s not too far down the tail to be read.
    First, greetings to my old sparring partner Willis. I’m glad that you didn’t consider your remarks to be ad hominem.
    Then, I do regret that you were exposed to innumerable personal attacks, all because of me. As to my ‘inanities’ and ‘nonsense’, I suggest that you consult ‘Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy’ (co-authored with Silvio Funtowicz), and also the many publications of Jeroen van der Sluijs, including the ‘Guidance’ for uncertainty management adopted by the Dutch environmental agency. You will find there that I do not airily substitute a politically-correct ‘quality’ for Truth; but with others I try to develop standards and methods whereby quality can be assessed and ensured in those sciences where simple Truth is not so easily obtained. If you still believe that Truth is just a simple matter of applying Scientific Method in such areas as the evaluation of the CO2 record, then we still have some fundamental disagreements. If that be corruption, so be it.
    I am now in dialogue, in terms of mutual respect, with some other severe critics. It’s a pity that you still consider me to be some mixture of villain and idiot.
    All best wishes – Jerry Ravetz

  450. Jerome Ravetz says:
    June 14, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    June 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    My language was extreme because, as a result of Dr. Ravetz’s inanities, I have suffered innumerable personal attacks because I don’t buy into his nonsense. In addition, his “post-normal science” theory is responsible in part for the destruction of good scientific practice we see in too much of climate science.

    Just a quick comment; I hope that it’s not too far down the tail to be read.
    First, greetings to my old sparring partner Willis. I’m glad that you didn’t consider your remarks to be ad hominem.
    Then, I do regret that you were exposed to innumerable personal attacks, all because of me. As to my ‘inanities’ and ‘nonsense’, I suggest that you consult ‘Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy’ (co-authored with Silvio Funtowicz), and also the many publications of Jeroen van der Sluijs, including the ‘Guidance’ for uncertainty management adopted by the Dutch environmental agency. You will find there that I do not airily substitute a politically-correct ‘quality’ for Truth; but with others I try to develop standards and methods whereby quality can be assessed and ensured in those sciences where simple Truth is not so easily obtained. If you still believe that Truth is just a simple matter of applying Scientific Method in such areas as the evaluation of the CO2 record, then we still have some fundamental disagreements. If that be corruption, so be it.
    I am now in dialogue, in terms of mutual respect, with some other severe critics. It’s a pity that you still consider me to be some mixture of villain and idiot.
    All best wishes – Jerry Ravetz

    Jerry, thank you for your note. I don’t consider you either a villain or an idiot. I consider your ideas very dangerous. They are much more dangerous because you are neither villainous nor idiotic. You are both smart and well intentioned, making you a perfect man for your present position, the man in charge of the paving job to the place of eternal perdition …

    However, your “drive-by” style of posting sucks. You post your pearls of wisdom, and then tell us you can’t stay, you are running off to some secret location to impress some unknown folks who are willing to osculate your fundament in some mystical manner that I obviously don’t understand.

    When you get up the nerve up to post something and then actually stick around to discuss it, please let me know, as you will be very welcome, and we will have what is called a “dialogue”. So far, all you have provided here are monologues. Monologues reveal that you don’t want to defend or discuss your ideas, just espouse them. I find it less than coincidental that this reluctance to answer questions and objections is rampant in climate science these days … the reason that you didn’t find a dialog here is that you posted, and then NEVER REPLIED to our questions and objections. You’d make a great mainstream climate scientist with that attitude. If you want a dialogue, you have to participate.

    Which is why your style of posting sucks.

    Is that ad hominem? As I said before, I don’t think your ideas are dangerous because of who you are, that would be ad hominem and it is meaningless in any case. I think your ideas are dangerous because they mislead scientists into coming up with “scary scenarios” and not revealing their doubts, because they say that facts are meaningless and “quality” (as defined by you) is all-important …

    Which is why I am surprised that your dialogues are monologues. I thought you espoused “quality”, but your postings reveal that you don’t care about quality in the slightest, you care about pushing and promoting your ideas at the expense of having a quality discussion about those ideas.

    Jerry, the invitation for a dialogue is always open here. But please, spare us your monologues … they’re too low quality for me.

    PS – Let me disabuse you of your convenient notion that I have not read your work with Funtowicz, or that of van der Sluijs. The reason that I dislike your ideas is not that I am not familiar with them. It is because I know them very well, and I find them both puerile and dangerous. We could have a discussion about why, but you don’t seem to want to discuss things, only pontificate about them.

  451. Spector says:
    June 13, 2010 at 8:41 pm (Edit)

    RE: Willis Eschenbach: (June 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm) Stomatal Data

    The primary inference I draw from the included stomatal data plot is that this seems to confirm that CO2 levels in the past were probably much more variable than that indicated by ice-core data. It seems reasonable to suppose that ice-core data may have been subject to gradual in situ diffusion or annealing processes that would progressively degrade the temporal resolution of this data over long periods of time.

    Thanks, Spector. Anyone espousing your idea would have to explain why the historical stomata data vary so quickly and so far, while both the modern stomata and Mauna Loa data vary so little. What are your ideas on that question?

  452. Jerome Ravetz says:
    June 14, 2010 at 7:34 am:

    If you still believe that Truth is just a simple matter of applying Scientific Method in such areas as the evaluation of the CO2 record, then we still have some fundamental disagreements.

    Dr. Ravetz, if you think you can approach Truth in the case of CO2CAGW without applying the Scientific Method – a defect which characterizes ipcc Climate Science – then you are not even interested in the search for Truth to begin with, nor in the wellbeing of Humanity. It’s as simple as that.

  453. Jerome Ravetz said;

    “If you still believe that Truth is just a simple matter of applying Scientific Method in such areas as the evaluation of the CO2 record, then we still have some fundamental disagreements.”

    I wonder if, when you were working towards your PHD, your lecturer had said that the scientific method could be set aside as irrelevant in some instances, would you have protested against this?

    Would you have said that if a theory can not stand up to the scientific method it should be discarded and another one examined?

    The notion that the scientific method is irrelevant in some cases is extraordinary to many of us. I wonder if Willis could do an article enumerating the other areas of science where this proven method has been set aside after vast resources have been thrown at it, in order to follow the much less time honoured system of post normality? A short article I think Willis.

    What I find concerning is the obfuscation that surrounds climate science. In particular the rewriting of history to demonstrate that there was only the merest hiccup to represent the Little Ice age or the Medieval Warm period. No doubt the melting of the glaciers that allowed the Romans to march their armies across the High Alps was also an illusion, and the well trodden path I attempted to take to follow in their footsteps did not exist?

    If the case for radiative physics is so strong why does it need to be shorn up with the nonsenses of temperature manipulation as our climate history is rewritten to suit the new post normal ‘facts’ Why has sea level history been allowed to be based on absurd reconstructions from three highly disjointed northern hemisphere tide gauges which are then taken to represent the whole globe? The pillars of present climate science are very shaky. Temperatures have been rising since the depths of the LIA around 1690. Whoever would have thought it?

    Cast your mind back to your student days Mr Ravetz and and see for yourself how far the path you have now chosen to tread in pusuing post normal science lies from the methods you would have learnt at your University.

    As Willis says it would be good if you stuck around for a normal dialogue as surely we all have much to learn from each other?

    Tonyb

  454. 100612 ESCHENBACH WUWT 100616

    Willis Eschenbach says on June 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    >>>>Adjustment time or response time (Ta) is the time-scale characterising the decay of an instantaneous pulse input into the reservoir. The term adjustment time is also used to characterise the adjustment of the mass of a reservoir following a step change in the source strength. Half-life or decay constant is used to quantify a first-order exponential decay process. See: →Response time, for a different definition pertinent to climate variations. The term lifetime is sometimes used, for simplicity, as a surrogate for adjustment time. [Quoting from IPCC glossaries]

    >>Note that they say “half-life or decay constant”. “Decay constant” refers to using something other than 0.5 (half, for half-life) as the constant for measuring the decay. The number “e” (2.71828) is the other commonly used decay constant in the form of 1/e, or ~ 0.37, hence “e-folding time”.

    >> So as I said, you have conflated the two.




    Mr. Eschenbach reaches into IPCC’s glossaries for a term IPCC explicitly excludes from use in climate. IPCC does not violate its edict. It never uses e-folding time with respect to CO2. As a result, and combined with the fact that I didn’t use the term e-folding time either, I could not have conflated e-folding time, or any synonym of it, with anything as Mr. Eschenbach imagines. Mr. Eschenbach reads “e-folding time” where it is not written to make a false accusation.

    Next, Mr. Eschenbach conflates “e”, a number, with a “decay constant”, a parameter. Even Wikipedia manages to get this straight where it says “(lambda) is a positive number called the decay constant: … N(t) = N_0*e^(-lambda*t). Accord: HyperPhysics, Britannica Online, Weisstein’s World of Physics, etc., etc. The number e, appropriately dimensionless, and the decay constant, which has the dimension of time, are quite different, and should not have been conflated.

    Mr. Eschenbach never responds to the fact that using half-life vs. e-folding time is a matter of a small scale factor (0.69 = ln(2)). Even if I had conflated the terms, as he wrongly alleges, it would have caused no substantive difference in my argument that CO2 lasts a few days, supported by IPCC’s formula, vs. “decades to centuries” as IPCC concludes. His accusation, in which he persists, that I conflated terms is not only false, but immaterial.

  455. Jeff,

    I doubt your sophistry in the above post will convince anyone (except perhaps yourself). Frankly, it’s embarrassing. You write a whole post about half life vs. e-folding time as if that is the primary subject of the argument. It is not. You are the king of trouncing strawmen.

    The primary point is your inability to distinguish between the characteristic time (whatever you want to define it as, e-folding, half-life, or whatnot) that a CO2 molecule spends in the atmosphere vs. the characteristic time it takes for a pulse of CO2 to decay. The two are very different because there are fast processes of exchange between the atmosphere, the land sink (biosphere + soils), and the mixed layer of the oceans. So, when you add some additional CO2 to the atmosphere, it rapidly partitions between these three reservoirs. However, the slow rate-limiting process is the transfer from the ocean mixed layer to the deep oceans. So, what you get well after the CO2 has equilibrated within these three reservoirs is a rise in the “height” (i.e., CO2 level) in all three reservoirs and it is this that then takes a long time to decay.

    It’s easy to make an analogy with reservoirs containing water: Take two reservoirs that each contain 10 gallons of water and two pumps, one that pumps from the reservoir A to reservoir B and one that pumps from reservoir B to reservoir A, each at 1 gallon / minute. Now, imagine adding 1 gallon of water to reservoir A. The half-life of an individual molecule in that added gallon will be on the order of 5 minutes or so. (Actually, I think the precise answer is ~6.93 minutes, assuming the reservoirs are perfectly well-mixed, but we won’t quibble on the details.) However, it is wrong to conclude that after, say, 1 hour (when nearly all…~99.75%…of the molecules from the added gallon would have gone through the pump from reservoir A to B) that the amount of water in reservoir A will be essentially 10 gallons. In fact, as the problem is strictly stated, Reservoir A would remain with 11 gallons in it forever. (A better analogy would have the pump from A to B pump at a higher rate than the pump from B to A when there is more water in reservoir A than B and vice versa. In that case, the long term limit would have 10.5 gallons in each reservoir. So, the additional gallon has been divided between the two reservoirs but then remains in them forever.)

    In this simple analog, the half-life of a water molecule added to reservoir A is only about 7 minutes but a “pulse” of water persists in that reservoir forever (after, possibly, dividing itself equally between the two reservoirs); in the real system, the pulse of CO2 does not persist in the atmosphere forever (because there are processes that remove it from the reservoirs) but it does persist for a lot longer than the characteristic time for a molecule of CO2 to be in the atmosphere.

  456. Jeff Glassman says:
    June 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Mr. Eschenbach never responds to the fact that using half-life vs. e-folding time is a matter of a small scale factor (0.69 = ln(2)). Even if I had conflated the terms, as he wrongly alleges, it would have caused no substantive difference in my argument that CO2 lasts a few days, supported by IPCC’s formula, vs. “decades to centuries” as IPCC concludes. His accusation, in which he persists, that I conflated terms is not only false, but immaterial.

    Jeff, thanks for your reply. I did not say you were conflating half-life and e-folding time. My exact statement was:

    Like many others, he is conflating e-folding time and residence time.

    As you point out, half-life and e-folding times are just different ways of measuring exponential decay of a pulse of CO2 into the atmosphere. You are correct that the IPCC uses half-life rather than e-folding time, although other researchers in the field use the latter. My point was that you are conflating exponential decay (whether it is measured by half-life or e-folding) and residence (what the IPCC calls “turnover”) time.

    For example, you say:

    Regardless of which way one poses the problem, the existing CO2 in the atmosphere has a mean residence time of 1.5 years using IPCC data, 3.2 years using University of Colorado data, or 4.9 years using Texas A&M data. The half lives are 0.65 years, 1.83 years, and 3.0 years, respectively.

    First, you gave no citations for those figures. The IPCC says (op. cit.):

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an extreme example. Its turnover time is only about four years because of the rapid exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean and terrestrial biota.

    More to the point, you are still conflating residence (turnover) time, and half-life. One is how long the average CO2 molecule remains in the air. The other is how long it takes a pulse of CO2 to decay back to equilibrium. They are very different things, as seen in the IPCC definitions. You go so far as to calculate (on some unexplained basis) what you refer to as the half-life of the residence time, a number which makes no sense …

    For more on this subject, including the equations to calculate the half-life, see Jacobson.

  457. RE: Willis Eschenbach: (June 15, 2010 at 8:23 pm) “Thanks, Spector. Anyone espousing your idea would have to explain why the historical stomata data vary so quickly and so far, while both the modern stomata and Mauna Loa data vary so little. What are your ideas on that question?”

    I think the lack of variation in the two modern data sets is because that data was taken during a single monotonic CO2 increase interval and we probably have a better handle on the dates represented by the stomata. Perhaps we need a third proxy or a more robust collection of stomata data to get a better picture of what was going on in the past.

    It might be interesting to take several CO2-free ice-cores and expose the open end-faces on one side to a pure CO2 atmosphere for several months, say at -5, -15, and -40 degrees C and see just how much and how far CO2 is absorbed into each core.

  458. Spector,

    I think your diffusion experiment could put some numbers to what some of us postulate to explain “trapped” gas bubble ages being always younger than the ice containing it and the age differences increaseing with age. Also, the observation of C14 in ice older than 5000 years old. The mechanism that has been postulated is that as pressure is released on the ice cores, the highly compressed gases expand creating microcracks in the ice into which modern air diffuses.

  459. Re Willis Eschenbach on 6/16/10 at 7:53 pm and Joel Shore on 6/12/10 at 7:59 and 6/16/10 at 7:23 pm:

    Mr. Eschenbach continues not to respond to Steve Hempell’s request for his comments on my paper, “On Why CO2 Is Known Not To Have Accumulated in the Atmosphere, etc.”. Clearly Mr. Eschenbach did not read it, yet was able to conclude that I had conflated two bits of physics. He quoted the following paragraph from my email,

    >>>> Regardless of which way one poses the problem, the existing CO2 in the atmosphere has a mean residence time of 1.5 years using IPCC data, 3.2 years using University of Colorado data, or 4.9 years using Texas A&M data. The half lives are 0.65 years, 1.83 years, and 3.0 years, respectively.



    omitting the following introductory part,

    >>I reported the following in my paper.

    Then he says,

    >> First, you gave no citations for those figures.

    He shows no evidence of reading emails either.

    >>You go so far as to calculate (on some unexplained basis) what you refer to as the half-life of the residence time, a number which makes no sense … 


    My paper says,

    >>>>Turnover time (T) (also called global atmospheric lifetime) is the ratio of the mass M of a reservoir (e.g., a gaseous compound in the atmosphere) and the total rate of removal S from the reservoir: T = M / S. For each removal process, separate turnover times can be defined. In soil carbon biology, this is referred to as Mean Residence Time. AR4, Glossary, p. 948.

    >>Now throw in approximately 100% replenishment, and you have an eleventh grade physics or chemistry problem where the level in the bucket is only slowly changed but the solution is quickly diluted. This is a different question from residence time, elevated to a mass balance problem.

    >> Regardless of which way one poses the problem, the existing CO2 in the atmosphere has a mean residence time of 1.5 years using IPCC data, 3.2 years using University of Colorado data, or 4.9 years using Texas A&M data. The half lives are 0.65 years, 1.83 years, and 3.0 years, respectively. This is not “decades to centuries” as proclaimed by the Consensus. Climate Change 2001, Technical Summary of the Working Group I Report, p. 25. See The Carbon Cycle: past and present, http://www.colorado.edu/GeolSci/courses/GEOL3520/Topic16/Topic16.html & Introduction to Biogeochemical Cycles Chapter 4, http://www.colorado.edu/GeolSci/courses/GEOL1070/chap04/chapter4.html, UColo Biogeochem cycles.pdf; The Carbon Cycle, the Ocean, and the Iron Hypothesis, http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/carboncycle.htm

    The “unexplained basis” is IPCC’s formula, quoted and cited. The sources for all the data are cited specifically.

    That the number makes no sense is Mr. Eschenbach’s personal limitation.

    He quotes from IPCC, omitting the first sentence, included next:

    >> In more complicated cases, where several reservoirs are involved or where the removal is not proportional to the total mass, the equality T = T_A no longer holds. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an extreme example. Its turnover time is only about four years because of the rapid exchange between the atmosphere and the ocean and terrestrial biota.

    This is a violation of Henry’s Law, the law of solubility, and a law which IPCC not only never uses but suppressed when it arose in an AR4 draft. The uptake of CO2 is proportional to its partial pressure in the atmosphere, and its partial pressure is the equivalent of its total mass. (See for example AR4, ¶7.3.4.3, p. 532, where IPCC gives a change in pCO2 in units of ppm.) Furthermore, IPCC makes leaf water the largest flux in that uptake at 270 Gtons/year (TAR, ¶3.2.2.1, p. 191), and then never uses leaf water in its carbon cycle (see for example TAR, Figure 3.1, p. 188; AR4, Figure 7.3, p. 515). By omitting that 270 Gtons/year, IPCC’s data yield a turnover time, which is the same thing (and according to IPCC specifically for “soil carbon biology” and SO2 aerosol), of 3.55 years (“about four”) instead of the 1.5 years IPCC data and formula yield.

    Mr. Eschenbach says,

    >>More to the point, you are still conflating residence (turnover) time, and half-life. One is how long the average CO2 molecule remains in the air. The other is how long it takes a pulse of CO2 to decay back to equilibrium. They are very different things, as seen in the IPCC definitions.

    To the contrary, neither the glossary in the Third nor the Fourth Assessment Report refers to the lifetime of a CO2 molecule in any respect.

    Similarly, Mr. Shore says,

    >> The primary point is your inability to distinguish between the characteristic time (whatever you want to define it as, e-folding, half-life, or whatnot) that a CO2 molecule spends in the atmosphere vs. the characteristic time it takes for a pulse of CO2 to decay. The two are very different …

    and

    >>in the real system, the pulse of CO2 does not persist in the atmosphere forever (because there are processes that remove it from the reservoirs) but it does persist for a lot longer than the characteristic time for a molecule of CO2 to be in the atmosphere.



    The model under discussion here is the exponential decay of a pulse, slug, or mass of CO2 in the atmosphere by its uptake into other reservoirs. The pulse, slug, or mass is given by the number of molecules. Computing the average lifetime of a molecule from the decay of the pulse is trivial. It is precisely the mean residence time, which is identically the half-life divided by ln(2), and the reciprocal of the decay constant, for the pulse. One wonders how Eschenbach and Shore might think the mean molecular lifetime of a molecule might be defined and calculated if not by observing a large mass of them being absorbed.

    The notion that the characteristic time for a CO2 molecule is different than the characteristic time for a pulse, slug, or mass of them is foolishness. It is an invention, repeated here and there, and now by Eschenbach and Shore, to salvage IPCC’s justification for and reliance on anthropogenic CO2, but not natural CO2, accumulating in the atmosphere. It is related to IPCC claims that MLO data are global, that atmospheric CO2 is well-mixed, and that CO2 is a Long Lived GreenHouse Gas (LLGHG), and to IPCC’s implication that the ocean uptake of natural and manmade CO2 are significantly different. These are all false.

  460. Jeff Glassman says:
    June 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

    The notion that the characteristic time for a CO2 molecule is different than the characteristic time for a pulse, slug, or mass of them is foolishness. It is an invention, repeated here and there, and now by Eschenbach and Shore, to salvage IPCC’s justification for and reliance on anthropogenic CO2, but not natural CO2, accumulating in the atmosphere.

    My friend, if after all of this you continue to claim that the residence (or turnover) time is the same thing as the pulse decay time (half-life), I’m afraid that you need more help than either Joel or I can give you. I have given references to a variety of sources, along with a simple basin model. In both, there is a clear distinction between how long a molecule stays in a given reservoir (residence or turnover time), and how long it takes a pulse to decay back to equilibrium (half-life). For CO2, the residence time is on the order of six or eight years or so.

    The half-life of a pulse of CO2, however, is variously estimated between 30 and over a hundred years. My figures put it in the 30’s.

    Neither I nor Joel “invented” the difference between residence time and half-life. It is found in the textbooks, in the scientific papers, and in the popular press.

    Finally, the IPCC does not say that only anthropogenic CO2 “accumulates” in the atmosphere. That’s a misunderstanding, fairly common to be sure, but wrong none the less.

  461. Willis Eschenbach on 6/19/10 at 1:40 pm said,

    >> My friend, if after all of this you continue to claim that the residence (or turnover) time is the same thing as the pulse decay time (half-life), I’m afraid that you need more help than either Joel or I can give you.

    I never made the claim asserted, and consequently could not have continued to make it. To the contrary, I quoted from by paper specific pairs of values for residence time and half-life, and the numbers were not the same. To be helpful to anyone, a teacher must cite precisely and accurately.

    Mr. Eschenbach says,

    >> The half-life of a pulse of CO2, however, is variously estimated between 30 and over a hundred years. My figures put it in the 30′s.


    Mr. E. has made no point, and the use of the passive voice here doesn’t help his argument. I had already cited in my posts here and on my blog, that IPCC puts the characteristic time of CO2 in the range of “decades to centuries” (citing TAR p. 25). This contradicts IPCC’s own formula. The fact that Mr. E. adopts IPCC’s figures is not to his credit.

    Mr. Eschenbach says,

    >> Neither I nor Joel “invented” the difference between residence time and half-life. It is found in the textbooks, in the scientific papers, and in the popular press.


    I’m sure neither of them did. Half-life is mean residence time multiplied by ln(2), a fact about as old as Euler (1707-1783) and the Euler number, e. If Mr. E. is responding to my post, he misunderstands what I wrote. I actually said,

    >> The notion that the characteristic time for a CO2 molecule is different than the characteristic time for a pulse, slug, or mass of them is foolishness. It is an invention, repeated here and there, and now by Eschenbach and Shore, to salvage IPCC’s justification for and reliance on anthropogenic CO2, but not natural CO2, accumulating in the atmosphere.

    What I claimed was invented is the silly notion that the half-life of a molecule was different than the half-life of a pulse of CO2. And I did not claim that either Eschenbach or Shore invented it, only that they repeated it.

    Mr. Eschenbach says,

    >> Finally, the IPCC does not say that only anthropogenic CO2 “accumulates” in the atmosphere. That’s a misunderstanding, fairly common to be sure, but wrong none the less.

    Quite to the contrary, IPCC refers to CO2 accumulation when it says,

    >>Assuming that accumulation of CO2 in the ocean follows a curve similar to the (better known) accumulation in the atmosphere, the value for the ocean-atmosphere flux for 1980 to 1989 would be between −1.6 and −2.7 PgC/yr. TAR, ¶3.5.1 Atmospheric Measurements and Global CO2 Budgets, p. 207.

    More specifically, IPCC makes the following analysis and attribution:

    >>From 10 kyr before present up to the year 1750, CO2 abundances stayed within the range 280 ± 20 ppm. During the industrial era, CO2 abundance rose roughly exponentially to 367 ppm in 1999 and to 379 ppm in 2005. Citations deleted, AR4, ¶1.3.1 The Human Fingerprint on Greenhouse Gases, p. 100.

    >>Cumulative carbon losses to the atmosphere due to land-use change during the past 1 to 2 centuries are estimated as 180 to 200 PgC and cumulative fossil fuel emissions to year 2000 as 280 PgC, giving c