Physicist says fossil fuel burning is insignificant in the global carbon pool

Physicist Dr. Denis Rancourt, a former professor and environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa, has officially bailed out of the man-made global warming movement, calling it a ‘corrupt social phenomenon’.

He writes this in an essay on science trust issues plus adds this powerful closing passage about climate science:

And there is a thorough critique of the science as band wagon trumpeting and interested self-deception [4]. Climategate only confirms what should be obvious to any practicing scientist: That science is a mafia when it’s not simply a sleeping pill.

Now he thinks that fossil fuel burning isn’t a problem of significance based on the scale. Excerpts below.

Is the burning of fossil fuel a significant planetary activity?

by Denis G. Rancourt
This essay was first posted on the Activist Teacher blog.


After all, the Earth is a planet. Is even the presence of humans significant on the rough and diverse thin surface of this planet?

We certainly make every effort to see ourselves as significant on this spinning ball in space. We like to point out that the lights from our cities can be seen from our extra-atmospheric “spaceships” at night and that we have deforested continents and reduced the populations of large wild mammals and of fishes but is all this really significant in the planetary web known as the biosphere?

INSIGNIFICANCE OF FOSSIL FUEL BURNING ENERGY RELEASE

The present (2010) historic maximum of anthropogenic (caused by humans) fossil fuel burning is only 8% or so of global primary production (GPP) (both expressed as kilograms of carbon per year, kg-C/y). GPP is the rate at which new biomass (living matter) is produced on the whole planet. And of course all biomass can in principle be considered fuel that could be burned with oxygen (O2) to produce CO2 gas, H2O water, energy, and an ash residue.

This shows the extent to which anthropogenic energy production from fossil fuel burning is small in comparison to the sun’s energy delivery to Earth, since biomass primary production results from the sun’s energy via photosynthesis.

In summary, the total amount of post-industrial fossil fuel burned to date (and expressed as kilograms of carbon) represents less than 1% of the global bio-available carbon pools.

More importantly, bio-available carbon is a minor constituent of the Earth’s surface environment and one that is readily buffered and exchanged between compartments without significant consequences to the diversity and quantity of life on the planet. The known history of life on Earth (over the last billions of years) is unambiguous on this point.

This ocean acidification side show on the global warming science bandwagon, involving major nation research centers and international collaborations, is interesting to compare with the 1970s-1980s hoax of boreal forest lake acidification. [1][2]

More importantly, scientists know virtually nothing about the dynamic carbon exchange fluxes that occur on all the relevant time and lengths scales to say anything definitive about how atmospheric CO2 arises and is exchanged in interaction with the planet’s ecological systems. We are barely at the point of being able to ask intelligent questions.

For left progressives to collaborate with First World governments that practice global extortion and geopolitical wars in order to pass carbon schemes to undemocratically manage and control the developments of non-First-World communities and sovereign states is obscene, racist, and cruelly cynical.

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Here’s a video interview:

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243 thoughts on “Physicist says fossil fuel burning is insignificant in the global carbon pool

  1. I am sure all the carbon lifeforms, you know those that depend on Photosynthesis or Cellular Respiration for their lives.

    What we know, you can write a paper, what we don’t know would fill many giant libraries.

  2. The green agenda has the same purposes and goals than the promotion and enforcing of land reform all over the world: To avoid the formation and promote the disappearance, of local elites who could endanger the power of the international speculative elite.

  3. I fear this is nonsens. Dangerous nonsens. It is rather simple…take the global fossile fuel consuption and calculate theoretically how much CO2 that will produce. The simple chemical equation is sufficiant. Then calculate the volume of the earth atmosphere…also not a very difficult exercise. Then it is very easy to calculate the concentration impact of that fossile fuel burning. OK no ocean absorption… and no other phenomena…But even then it is very obvious that fossile fuel burning HAS a impact on the atmospheric CO2 concentration….whatever references and diploma’s that professor may have.

  4. “For left progressives to collaborate with First World governments that practice global extortion and geopolitical wars in order to pass carbon schemes to undemocratically manage and control the developments of non-First-World communities and sovereign states is obscene, racist, and cruelly cynical.”
    There are members of that liberal elite that fear healthy, happy, prosperous ,
    dark skinned people. This is refreshing…

  5. Who are his colleagues? Who will he convince? Up to this point, the AGW empire has remained intact; only a few flecks of paint have been chipped off. If more scientists come out to speak the truth, that could change. Rancourt’s brave words will only help if others who respect him for his past work are influenced.

  6. Lets hear it for Denis Rancourt. It is time for others to speak out. I think his statement: “More importantly, scientists know virtually nothing about the dynamic carbon exchange fluxes that occur on all the relevant time and lengths scales to say anything definitive about how atmospheric CO2 arises and is exchanged in interaction with the planet’s ecological systems. We are barely at the point of being able to ask intelligent questions.” is right on the money. Something I have believed and said myself many times. Something many readers here have as well.

    It is not just because we agree with Dr. Rancourt that he is correct though. If one truly adheres to the scientific method and its philosophical principals no other conclusion is possible.

    From one scientist to another, good on you brother.

  7. De Rode Willem says:
    September 20, 2010 at 8:54 am
    “I fear this is nonsens. Dangerous nonsens. It is rather simple…take the global fossile fuel consuption and calculate theoretically how much CO2 that will produce. The simple chemical equation is sufficiant. Then calculate the volume of the earth atmosphere…also not a very difficult exercise. Then it is very easy to calculate the concentration impact of that fossile fuel burning. OK no ocean absorption… and no other phenomena…But even then it is very obvious that fossile fuel burning HAS a impact on the atmospheric CO2 concentration….whatever references and diploma’s that professor may have.”

    I fear this is “nonsens” as, though one may calculate the amount of CO2 added, the resultant “concentration” and “impact” are quite a different story due to all of the other variables operating to increase and decrease the resultant concentration. The the impact which that has upon climate is another huge leap due to all of the other variables affecting climate.

    Nonsense, indeed!

  8. Ah…. another sane voice crying in the wilderness. I don’t know about Canada, but if he were in the US he just stepped off the funding marry-go-round. He looks too young to retire.

    You know science is on the fast track to self destruction when theories, postulates, opinions and research approaches that deviate the slightest bit from current theory are no longer even considered acceptable ‘cocktail party conversation’ by the “consensus”. I guess that’s all we can expect from government funded (controlled?) research.

  9. WUWT recently asked what the Warmist’s next name would be after ‘Global Climate Disruption’ would fail. And there were many good replies.

    But in reality history will define the whole climate change debacle as the first truly “corrupt social networking phenomenon” primarily associated with the internet. Climate change is not a clearly defined conspiracy theory, it is exactly what Rancourt describes above, a corrupt social phenomenon gaining legs via like minded
    apocalyptic scientists seeking each other out over the internet. The corruption only getting exhibited later when the collective groupthink quickly excluded those that begged to differ with their cult.

    The only name left for this true Warmist sect is ‘Global Apocalyptic Climate’.

  10. I liked and encouraged getting a handle on smog and pollution and am thankfull for the environmental cleanup push that has resulted in such improvement. I think now that the environmental movement has been hijacked by the control freaks and those who think they are so much smarter than the rest of us. My lowest iq test was 128, low in comparison to most of the posters on this site yet quite adequate to follow the ideas espoused, and I resent the idea that I need my actions of an environmental nature regulated!

  11. De Rode Willem says:
    September 20, 2010 at 8:54 am
    … “it is very easy to calculate the concentration impact of that fossile fuel burning.” …

    You do not even need to do the calculations yourself, they have been done for you.

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

    It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on these figures. But I don’t suppose we will.

  12. De Rode

    Yes, human burning of fossil fuels have put more CO2 into the atmosphere. But it is trivial compared to natural sources. Fortunately, natural sinks (biomass), absorb 99.+% of natural plus human CO2 emmissions. What you are ignoring is that our oceans, which cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, is the largest source and sink of CO2 – far exceeding all other sources, including human produced CO2!

    Time is on the skeptics side. None of the AGW computer models have been close over the past 12+ years. The longer we can prevent the AGW crowd from squandering untold trillions of dollars on worthless remedies, which hurt our economies and daily lives while having zero impact on our Earth’s climate, the better off all humans will be over the coming century!

    AGW is a scam, the largest and most destructive ever foisted on humanity!

    Bill Yarber

  13. @johnmcguire:
    The “environmental cleanup” has essentially consisted of shutting down manufacturing in the U.S. and shipping it to Asia.

  14. Little to disagree with on the science and the insignificance of man on the face of this planet, but I think Dr. Rancourt has misunderstood the political significance and intent behind carbon trading.

    As constructed, both the UN and the EU systems are designed to move both production and capital from the developed First World to the less developed world as part of the loony left’s utopian egalitarian dream that I would have thought he would actually be in favour of…

    I don’t have a problem with raising up the Third World but I really don’t want to do it by destroying what we have built over decades here in the developed world and that is precisely what capping and/or taxing CO2 production out of existence is doing.

    It is actually the developed states, and their peoples, which are being undemocratically managed and controlled – not the other way round…

  15. Is even the presence of humans significant on the rough and diverse thin surface of this planet?

    Hmm… Seems like he meant this as a serious question, not a rhetorical one.

    That’s enough right there to put him firmly in the “nutcase” category. Humans have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.

  16. This we know already!
    Seemingly insignificant additions to atmospheric CO2 as causative of increasing temperatures through ‘feedback’ is where the real argument lies. On this, Dr. Denis Rancourt says;

    “There is no justification beyond conjecture for the “amplification hypothesis”.”

    If Dr. Rancourt can nail that one then he can save mankind from the folly that he so accurately (IMHO) describes.

  17. Well, I can top that: I will officially bail out from the US Supreme Court.
    OK, I have never been a member, but that doesn’t take away the
    significance of my action.

    Denis G. Rancourt is a physicist
    “His most cited works are in the area of Mössbauer spectroscopy where he
    developed a spectral lineshape analysis algorithm” (Wikipedia).
    He is engaged in various disputes over university pedagogy since 2005
    and a climate sceptic since 2007. What’s the news here?

  18. Dr. Denis Rancourt gives a very nice summary of what I have expected all along. If we can get by all the CAGW nonsense, maybe we can get back to tackling real environmental and energy issues.

  19. johnmcguire says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I agree with you John, clean up the smog and other pollutants. Below is a link to a UN blurb stating that we have successfully turned the corner on the ozone hole, and it should close by 2048.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1313599/Ozone-layer-longer-disappearing-return-strength-2048.html

    I think it’s successes such as the above that frighten the scare mongers the most, the issues we all largely agree on (sustainability, bio-diversity, pollution) are being addressed, and they have only CO2 left to control the agenda.

    Nice to read Dr. Rancourt putting his neck on the line for sanity. All the best for his future funding.

  20. Depressing. Everywhere I’ve been I’ve seen cronyism, nepotism, power politics, manipulated data, fudged data, invented data, ignored data, intractable cognitive dissonance, and con games. Whistle blowers are punished. Somewhere there must be some exceptions — maybe aeronautical engineering? Airplanes sometimes stay up in the air, somehow.

  21. The conclusion that human CO2 emissions contribute insignificantly to CO2 accumulations is defective. The human effect is the result of both emissions and removals due to the carbon cycle. The author claims to know nothing about removals due to the carbon cycle. So lets just look at the empirical evidence.

    CO2 concentrations are going up. Humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Because of isotope ratios, we know that human fossil fuel sourced CO2 is accumulating.

    Conclusion: global warming is our fault.

  22. We contribute 8% of the whole of GPP on earth by burning fossil fuel. It’s an interesting way to reverse the argument. If anthropogenic sources are part of the whole, then they can’t be adding anything to the whole! Good thing we came along, otherwise the earth would forever only have 92% of the carbon it’s supposed to have!

    I was hoping to find evidence that 1) CO2 levels were not increasing and 2) that the additional increase wasn’t man-made. The reality is that atmospheric CO2 has been increasing (and measured) and it’s not natural (evidenced by isotopic C fractionation).

    It’s true that CO2 in the atmosphere was much greater in the past, but we don’t live in the past. It’s also thanks to those CO2 rich time periods that we enjoy the fuel (dutifully sequestered all these millions of years) that we have been using over the past 200 years, and probably use up in the next 100 or so more.

  23. This is excellent.

    A small percent change in the 95% of CO2 production due to non-human sources (bacteria, fungi, insects, etc) could clearly dwarf the small changes in human production. A naturally warming planet will have more bacteria, fungi, and insects, and they will each become more active, just as CO2 production clearly rises in the summer and falls in the winter.

    It is sophistry to claim that the science, even on the production of CO2 on Earth, is settled. The science is in its infancy.

  24. De Rode Willem says:
    September 20, 2010 at 8:54 am

    ‘It is rather simple…’

    Explaining the increase in atmospheric CO2 is simple if you ignore the much larger parts of the carbon cycle, such as biomass, oceans and volcanos. This what Engelbeen did in his recent attempt to justify the IPCC theory that attributes the CO2 increase to fossil fuel burning.

    Dr. Rancourt does not deny any effect; he says the effect is insignificant.

  25. Physicist Dr. Denis Rancourt addresses the lack of sufficient AGW (or much less CAGW) science that is actually of the “settled” or “consensus” variety. Thank you.

    Maybe some humor on uncertainty and doom/gloom is in order. I posted this over at Bishop’s blog a few hours ago, addressed originally to Josh.

    ——————–

    Above the doorway entrance to the IPCC’s HQ office should be an engraved plaque with the following quote inscribed:

    “`all hope abandon, ye who enter here of assessing uncertainty in climate science”

    [With my sincere apologies to Dante Alighieri]

    Above the exit doorway of the IPCC’s HQ office should be a plaque with:

    => a smiley face labeled: “Have a nice apocalyptic CAGW day!”

    John

  26. THINK!, have you noticed that every green proposition is tanatic?, enthropic, against Eros, against Life itself?.
    Their dream world: A Giant mountain of human compost!
    Life is Nature´s “trick” to overcome Death
    Let us awake!
    They are the preachers of Thanatos, the pontifices of doom, the church of Negation, proclaiming the Gospel of Hate!

    Then, we may sing:

    Love is a many-splendored thing,
    It’s the April rose that only grows in the early spring,
    Love is nature’s way of giving,
    a reason to believing,
    The Golden crown that makes a Man a King.

  27. Noting that his title indicates he is a “former” professor, I am sure that his comments will be dismissed by the liberal elite as the mere ramblings of a disgruntled crank. Alas, he will likely become a passing footnote marginalized, if necessary, by the same tired ad hominem attacks should he attempt to step out any further of his “place.”

  28. Anthony,
    Denis Rancourt’s first and most comprehensive essay on Global Warming came out in 2007, shocking many leftists.

    This is the introduction:

    “Global warming is often presented as the greatest potential threat to humankind and as the greatest environmental and ecological threat on the planet. It is also presented as a problem that could be solved or contained by determined international collaboration – by political will if it were present.

    I argue: (1) that global warming (climate change, climate chaos, etc.) will not become humankind’s greatest threat until the sun has its next hiccup in a billion years or more (in the very unlikely scenario that we are still around), (2) that global warming is presently nowhere near being the planet’s most deadly environmental scourge, and (3) that government action and political will cannot measurably or significantly ameliorate global climate in the present world.

    I also advance that there are strong societal, institutional, and psychological motivations for having constructed and for continuing to maintain the myth of a global warming dominant threat (global warming myth, for short). I describe these motivations in terms of the workings of the scientific profession and of the global corporate and finance network and its government shadows.

    I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized.

    Full article is here:

    http://activistteacher.blogspot.com/2007/02/global-warming-truth-or-dare.html

  29. Mr. Rancourt comments on his blog “Just because many other factors were different one billion years ago say, does not invalidate this comparisons because the main factors were the same (same planet, same biomass, diverse life, same slowly evolving sun, same large latitudinal variations in incident irradiance, etc.)” http://activistteacher.blogspot.com/2010/08/is-burning-of-fossil-fuel-significant.html#c974336068943468367

    As a physicist, he can be forgiven for not knowing much paleontology, but not all things were the same a billion years ago…

  30. “The present (2010) historic maximum of anthropogenic (caused by humans) fossil fuel burning is only 8% or so of global primary production (GPP) (both expressed as kilograms of carbon per year, kg-C/y)”

    I have had a heated discussion about this, perhaps the good readers of this blog can help.

    Is this an 8% addition of human generated CO2, compounding annually? Or is 8% of all CO2 the human contribution?

    As I am led to believe from the alarmists, the natural balance of CO2 has had an approximate equilibrium for many centuries. That is to say that the enormous amount of CO2 nature produced each year, was matched by nature in absorbing CO2.

    Now, mankind is adding a small amount annually to the natural production of CO2 and each year our additions push this equilibrium further out of balance. Is this a correct interpretation of what is happening?

    Alarmists also claim that CO2 was relatively stable at 200PPM prior to the industrial revolution, but now the current concentration of CO2 is 380PPM.

    SO getting to the crux of my heated discussion, has our 8% been an on-going annual addition which has, over 150 years, almost doubled the concentration from 200 to 380PPM? Or is the total man-made percentage of current total CO2, only 8%? Meaning that the near doubling of CO2 from 200ppm – 380ppm is almost entirely natural?

    Which view is correct?

    I am of the belief that the small addition every year is compounding and although now only 8% of the CO2 produced each year is of human origin, that is still an amount above which natural processes cannot absorb and so the total CO2 still increases and so most, if not all of the increase from 200ppm – 380ppm is caused by man’s additional annual contribution, (even allowing for a short carbon cycle). This is as far as I go in agreeing with Alarmists, as I do not believe that doubling CO2 will cause a massive increase in global temperatures. I think it will have a small effect, but nowhere near the catastrophic scenarios of the Alarmists.

  31. “We contribute 8% of the whole of GPP on earth by burning fossil fuel.”

    I thought it was 4%. Has it recently shot up?

  32. You’ve only just the other day hosted Ferdinand Engelbeen, patiently explaining how it is know, beyond all possible doubt, that fossil fuel burning has caused a 40% rise in the atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    So why do you post this article promoting obviously mistaken views? To be deliberately rude to Ferdinand Engelbeen? To show that you did not understand his article? Just to be contrary?

    Also I note again the tendency of disbelievers to use a bizarre royal we: “We are barely at the point of being able to ask intelligent questions”. He’s certainly not talking about climate scientists, because he is not a climate scientist. I presume that he means “I am” where he says “we are”

    [REPLY – Differing views are permitted here. Personally, I happen to side with Ferdinand, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hear arguments from all sides and not take it as an insult. ~ Evan]

  33. He calculates that CO2 generated by Fossil fuel burning is comparable to the CO2 exumed by humans and their domestic animals. In one of his previous blogs he says

    “Furthermore, if we consider that all living things breathe (admittedly some microbes don’t breathe oxygen) and that Earth’s (living) biomass is approximately 10^15 kg-C, then total global breathing may well exceed the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning by a factor of between ten and one thousand times greater.”

    Quite a wide margin, but he says ants for instance have ten time our biomass, but even at the low end it puts our contribution to CO2 generation into perspective.

  34. bbttxu says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:20 am

    As a physicist, he [Rancourt] can be forgiven for not knowing much paleontology, but not all things were the same a billion years ago…

    ———————

    bbttxu,

    Please clarify.

    Are you implying the laws of physics were not the same a billion years ago?

    Are you implying that we don’t know anything about the earth system a billion years ago and cannot compare to today’s earth systems?

    Are you implying physicists can’t understand the science of paleontology? Even when the principle science used by paleontology is physics (and the derivative science of chemistry)?

    John

  35. The FUTILITY of Mankind trying to Control Climate

    Just running the numbers

    On average world temperature is +15 deg C. This is sustained by the atmospheric Greenhouse Effect 33 deg C. Without the Greenhouse Effect the planet would be un-inhabitable at -18 deg C. The Biosphere and Mankind need the Greenhouse Effect.

    Just running the numbers by translating the agents causing the Greenhouse Effect into degrees centigrade:
    • Greenhouse Effect = ~33.00 deg C
    • Water Vapour accounts for about 95% of the Greenhouse Effect = ~ 31.35 deg C
    • Other Greenhouse Gases GHGs account for 5% = ~1.65 deg C
    • CO2 is 75% of the effect of all accounting for the enhanced effects of Methane and Nitrous Oxide GHGs = ~1.24 deg C
    • Most CO2 in the atmosphere is natural, more than 93%
    • Man-made CO2 is less than 7% of total atmospheric CO2 = ~0.087 deg C
    • the UK contribution to CO2 is 2% equals = 1,740 millionths deg C
    • the USA contribution to CO2 is ~20% equals = 17.6 thousandths deg C

    So closing carbon economies of the Whole World could only ever achieve a virtually undetectable less than 0.01deg C. How can the Green movement and their supporting politicians think that their remedial actions can limit warming to only + 2.00 deg C?

    So the probability is that any current global warming is not man-made and in any case such warming could be not be influenced by any remedial action taken by mankind however drastic.

    As this is so, the prospect should be greeted with Unmitigated Joy:
    • concern over CO2 as a man-made pollutant can be discounted.
    • it is not necessary to damage the world’s economy to no purpose.
    • if warming were happening, it would lead to a more benign and healthy climate for all mankind.
    • any extra CO2 is already increasing the fertility and reducing water needs of all plant life and thus enhancing world food production.
    • a warmer climate, within natural variation, would provide a future of greater opportunity and prosperity for human development. This has been well proven in the past and would now especially benefit the third world.

    Nonetheless, this is not to say that the world should not be seeking more efficient ways of generating its energy, conserving its energy use and stopping damaging its environments. And there is a real need to wean the world off the continued use of fossil fuels simply on the grounds of:
    • security of supply
    • increasing scarcity
    • rising costs
    • their use as the feedstock for industry rather than simply burning them.

    The French long-term energy strategy with its massive commitment to nuclear power is impressive, (85% of electricity generation). Even if one is concerned about CO2, Nuclear Energy pays off, French CO2 emissions / head are the lowest in the developed world.

    However in the light of the state of the current solar cycle, it seems that there is a real prospect of damaging cooling occurring in the near future for several decades. And as power stations face closure the lights may well go out in the winter 2016 if not before.

    All because CO2 based Man-made Global Warming has become a state sponsored religion.

  36. “For left progressives to collaborate with First World governments that practice global extortion and geopolitical wars in order to pass carbon schemes to undemocratically manage and control the developments of non-First-World communities and sovereign states is obscene, racist, and cruelly cynical.”

    This is misplaced hyperbole. Human history is clear: states have used credit expansion (inflation of their currency) to finance war, either to deflect some domestic issue away from the ruling elites, or to seek economic domination over others.

    But that was before the widespread adoption of welfare socialism by the west. Now governments use credit expansion to finance government spending on social programs. They in effect go to war against private holders of assets to gain resources to spread around to others in a frantic effort to retain power.

    (And the biggest recent scheme of credit expansion was Fannie and Freddie via the Community Reinvestment Act. It amounted to about twice the size of the bailouts for the banks.)

    The weapons of this new form of warfare are bureaucratic and legal in nature. Instead of conquering territory to benefit government by force of arms, for example, we have the creeping control over any land in a “watershed” in order to bring about the UN’s “Century 21″ plan of land planning, complete with “wildlife corridors” and mass resettlement of rural populations, all in the name of saving the planet. We have such creeping control over the financial system that the Bank of America is now literally owned by the US Government and few people care. And what freedom we have will only diminish as our economic serfdom is perfected by our creditors, thanks to the Thelma and Louise spending plan: drive off a cliff while laughing about the things we accomplished.

    Global Warming was the perfect weapon of this new war. Indeed, it was the Neutron Bomb, allowing government to stop any human use of energy but leaving the things government wanted to do, such as massive public works projects, untouched. The more complicated that government made the environmental laws, the more people who had to be employed and the more money government had to spend, in order to get something done. All these people, suppliers and subcontractors became beholden to the rulemakers and the money printers, and those in charge of “spreading the wealth around”.

    Government is now at war against its own citizens for the purpose of gaining as much control over them as possible. That is exactly why those who view themselves as being on the side of big and Bigger government are reacting the way they are to the Tea Party. This is why the November election is so important.

  37. Talking of Canadian scientists:

    Vancouver Sun – September 13, 2010
    Tightened muzzle on scientists is ‘Orwellian’
    “Documents reveal federal researchers, whose work is financed by taxpayers, need approval from Ottawa before speaking with media
    …………………..
    “It’s Orwellian,” says Andrew Weaver, a climatologist at the University of Victoria. The public, he says, has a right to know what federal scientists are discovering and learning.
    ………………………..
    The policy applies to “high-profile” issues such as “climate change, oilsands” and when “the reporter is with an international or national media organization (such as the CBC or the Canwest paper chain),” she wrote.”

    http://tinyurl.com/36dkadd

  38. “That’s enough right there to put him firmly in the “nutcase” category. Humans have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.”

    Been to Antarctica?
    Be interesting to know many square miles on the continental USA “hasn’t been seriously affected by human action”

  39. On one of its web sites that discusses methane hydrates, the US Geological Survey states:

    “The worldwide amounts of carbon bound in gas hydrates is conservatively estimated to total twice the amount of carbon to be found in all known fossil fuels on Earth.” [1]

    This carbon came from somewhere and that somewhere was either biological or from some physical process in the earth’s crust over time. This is all perfectly natural. I am amazed at how those who call themselves men of science presume that the present levels of CO2 in the atmosphere is somehow ideal.

    Further, anyone who looks at the graphs of temperature and CO2 levels in the atmosphere over long periods of time, such as those from Vostok station (e.g.: http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/images/Vostok.jpg ) must surely realize that at a given level of CO2 there are two temperatures. These curves show that it is impossible for CO2 to be the primary driver of climate.

    Finally, we have the quint native cliff villages in the wilds of the American southwest that show there was a time when the climate there was sufficiently moist to support agriculture. Yet long before humans started industrial-scale use of hydrocarbon fuels, the climate changed and the quaint natives perished.

    The truth is that the climate is always changing. The only question is to what extent human activity causes harmful changes. And how can we even permit ourselves to foolishly try to extrapolate 0.1 degrees of signal when over 3/4 of our measuring stations are giving us junk readings? Only when those doing the work are hell-bent on advancing an agenda that has far more about increasing government control and reducing liberty and prosperity than it has to do with actually benefiting humanity.

    [1] http://marine.usgs.gov/fact-sheets/gas-hydrates/title.html

  40. “CO2 concentrations are going up. Humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Because of isotope ratios, we know that human fossil fuel sourced CO2 is accumulating.”

    This is true, although the concentration would still be going up even without our contribution, and our contribution is probably not all that significant, especially when it comes to any measureable temperature variations.

    “Conclusion: global warming is our fault.”

    This is extremely likely to be false. The globe has been warmer in the past than it is now, and we were not even burning fossil fuels at the time unless you count wood-burning fires during some of the later periods when it was warmer than it is now. Also, it has yet to be shown that CO2 provides positive feedback which amplifies warming. If the feedback were positive, then back in the days when CO2 atmospheric concentration was 800ppm and higher (and yes that HAS happened in the past), then the Earth would have IRREVERSABLY heated to unbearable temperatures, releasing ever more water vapor and CO2 into the atmosphere, causing ever more heating, and it would have been an endless upward spiral of doom. Since this did NOT happen when CO2 concentrations were 800ppm and higher, I find it highly unlikely that it is going to happen with CO2 concentrations of 390 ppm.

  41. GregL says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:56 am

    CO2 concentrations are going up. Humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Because of isotope ratios, we know that human fossil fuel sourced CO2 is accumulating.

    a + b = c, so c = d. Your logic is defective.
    Conclusion: global warming is our fault.

  42. Ken Hall @ September 20, 2010 at 10:23 am:

    Ken, the IPCC itself actually says human CO2 production is currently about 4% of the total yearly output of the planet. If the accumulation to date were to have stayed in the atmosphere, the total concentration would be roughly 600 ppm. The CAGW advocates claim that the other roughly half of the accumulation went into the oceans, and the rest is just hanging around to be slowly removed.

    Empirical evidence against this hypothesis argues that the correlation between estimated human production and measured change is poor across all spectral components. In fact, the last several decades’ measured accumulation in the atmosphere is remarkably linear.

    Moreover, the hypothesized slow dynamics of reabsorption would naturally lead to a far ranging random walk-like behavior, which is not indicated by the historical record upon which the advocates rely. Just as Nature abhors a vacuum, it abhors maintaining any equilibrium which is not enforced by competing dynamics. To maintain the supposed historic tight equilibrium, the system would require a high bandwidth, but such a high bandwidth would prevent the observed buildup from being due to exogenous input, and so there is a contradiction.

    The conclusions, to one who really understands how dynamic systems work, are that A) the greater part of the CO2 buildup we have seen in recent decades is due to natural variation, and B) the historical record is suspect. Even now, if one plots the rate of change in measured CO2 concentration, it is abundantly clear that it is decelerating, and we have reached an inflection point. It may take a couple to three more decades if the curve is smooth, or it could happen rapidly, which the historical data indicates at least qualitatively is possible, but average CO2 concentration will almost certainly begin to decrease again in time, as it likely has bobbed up and down for centuries before we were around to observe it.

  43. OT
    Oh the irony!!!!

    Huffington Post – 16 Sept 2010
    “Hunting sticks, bows and arrows, and a 3,400-year-old leather shoe are some of the discoveries thawing out in Norway’s Jotunheimen mountains…………..According to Reuters, most international climate experts agree that glaciers diminishing from the Andes to the Alps is a result of man-made global warming.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/16/climate-change-melting-gl_n_717860.html

    Don’t these people ever ask why those artifacts are there in the first place?

  44. Dr. Rancourt, thank you for having the courage to challenge “consenus”. As a student of Physics it makes me proud to see a professional Physicst take on the consensus establishment and push for a real scientific examination. Great work.

  45. Jackie says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:15 am

    WUWT recently asked what the Warmist’s next name would be after ‘Global Climate Disruption’ would fail. And there were many good replies.

    But in reality history will define the whole climate change debacle as the first truly “corrupt social networking phenomenon” primarily associated with the internet.

    I see the internet as the only thing showing skepticism. It’s the only outlet where information flows freely. AGW got its start in the 80s. The internet didn’t really get going until late 90s (yeah, I was on the internet much earlier, but…)

    Maybe that’s what you meant, but if so, it owuld’ve been more clear to say ‘But in reality history will define the whole climate change debacle as the first truly “corrupt social networking phenomenon” primarily debunked via internet.’

  46. Being true that huge areas of our planet have been modified in some way by humankind (devastated is not the word because things in Earth are always changing, there are no absolute references on earth), it’s also true that we can feel how weak we are.

    We all know that if something would wipe us from the earth surface (let’s say a total extinction triggered by a 20km-wide comet hiting us), it surely would take only a few centuries for natural forces to remove most evidence of what the humankind once was … centuries in Earth are like minutes in our lives.

    Earth is not at risk for now … humankind always was and always will be.

    Natural forces are FAR more powerful than our primitive society. Earth receives from the Sun 10,000 times the energy we are capable to produce … this number is the best indicator of our real ‘power’ … not even being close to be a Type I civilization in the Kardashev scale, the smallest among ‘advanced civilizations’.

    AGW is a way to give scientific support to the idea that humankind has a central role in everything and that someone has to control that ‘power’ (and be paid for that). The exact same way that the acclaimed geocentric model from those prestigious greek scientist did that dirty job a thousand years ago for the Middle Age political institutions.

    Humankind is not central to anything.

    Real scientist have a deep knowledge of History of Science, because if you don’t know the past events you will for sure repeat the same mistakes. But today we are being flood with thousands of self-acclaimed scientist that don’t know anything about Ptolomy, Aristotle, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler … they just will say, write or do whatever can boost their monthly income or their political power … they don’t care about what really the Science is about … if they did, they would very, very, very careful about backing an idea that closely mimics the worst mistake in Science history.

    To all the scientist that claim that it’s obvious that the Earth won’t survive to the humankind … I will say that it’s also obvious that the Sun revolves on the sky around us … once a day !!! … do you agree ? … think about it !

    Regards.

  47. Enneagram says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Years ago (early 1970’s) National Lampoon put out plastic albumns. On the second of their records was a song titled “Deteriorata”.

    You are a fluke of the Universe
    you have no right to be here.
    And whether you can hear it or not
    the Universe is laughing behind your back.

    That is the refrain.

    The anti-human idea is getting very old indeed.

  48. There’s an old saw that if you see 100 surgeons with a complaint of abdominal pain you will receive a recommendation for surgical intervention 70% of the time. If you see 100 internists you will receive a recommendation 70% of the time for medical intervention. If you see 100 pathologists you will receive a 100% assurance that they will be able to tell your next of kin what killed you.

    Take 100 lawyers and tell them that if they can “prove” global warming damages to a jury they will be able to split a $20 billion dollar award. Take another 100 lawyers to serve as defense attorneys and tell them that each will earn $1 million if they can can successfully defend the case. Guess who will win?

    In both scenarios it is not the etiology of the abdominal pain nor the veracity of the claim for damages due to AGW that matter. It’s money that matters. Surgeons don’t make any money by not performing surgery. Internists don’t make any money by referring patients to surgeons. The group of lawyers that stand to win $20 million each will almost certainly prevail over the group that is only promised $1 million each.

    Climate scientists serve their masters. Their masters are governments who WANT to be able to tax CO2 and control energy and the economy. Duh… Is there any wonder why the vast majority of university based and government agency based “scientists” arrive at the same conclusions?

    I have a great respect for surgeons and internists and even lawyers (particularly those who have argued on my behalf). But I don’t delude myself into thinking their views are the product of truth and altruism. I know many surgeons who are quick to recommend against surgery as an option and a lot of internists who are the fastest surgical referral in the West. I even know one attorney who specializes in criminal defense who could make a LOT more money if he practiced personal injury law. He practices criminal law because he believes in what he does and this is more important to him than money (although he is a tightwad).

    In Rancourt we have just such an outlier. To him the truth means more than ideology. I’m sure he’ll pay dearly for his convictions. But are his convictions so radical? I don’t think so. Man has a long history of inflating his importance and significance and ultimately, his influence on the planet.

  49. You should check the background of “skeptics” that WUWT promotes. Rancourt was a U Ottawa physics professor, he was fired for breaking the rules. He is a anarchist who expresses contempt for fellow leftist professors. He writes at globalresearch.ca, a pseudo-academic, anti-globalization, anti-Israel, 9/11 conspiracy site. Even though there is some good science in his global warming articles, it is marred by radical political rants.

    Professor makes his mark, but it costs him his job: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/article970280.ece

    His blog: http://activistteacher.blogspot.com/

  50. It is nice to hear someone stand up for what they truly believe. In my opinion the discovery of Viking remnants coming to the surface is only proof that the world is just on some sort of a long cycle of heating and cooling. Obviously coal burning power plants did not exist when the Vikings were around and their weaponry and tools ended up on the ground level. If the thawing is revealing them wouldn’t that mean it used to be warmer and then got colder since the ice was over top, correct? Maybe we are going back to the climate of the Vikings, maybe this is also why they were so successful as sea going marauders, maybe the sea level was higher then allowing better access. I think the thing to truly worry about with burning fossil fuels is cancer, not global warming.

  51. De Rode Willem
    September 20, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I fear the lefties are liars, dangerous liars. The paleontologist record demonstrates that the earth is far more stable the you destroyers of life try to portray. The little bit of CO2 that mankind is liberating, gets incorporated into life. All of the carbon in fossil fuel, after all was living matter. Why do you greenies hate life so much?

  52. “REPLY – Differing views are permitted here”

    Lame. Would you post an article claiming that the earth is flat?

    REPLY: World RC allow anyone other than from the team to make a guest post ? Yes, your comment is lame. -Anthony

  53. GregL
    September 20, 2010 at 9:56 am

    “If she weighs the same as a duck she must be a witch.”
    “Burn here!”

    With lefty logic like that, no wonder we are in trouble.

    BTW, that whole isotope ratio thing has enough holes in it to drive a herd of methane emitting buffalo through it.

  54. Dr Rancourt has said things which support a view I have long held, which is the rationalists on the AGW debate should try to avoid turning the matter into a left right debate as there will be no winners.

    If you are on the left or right of politics and have no concern for the environment and where possible minimising mankind’s impact then my view is that you would be an extremist or opportunist.

    What many of the alarmists do not realise is that Mr Watts , Mr McIntyre, Dr Robert Carter and many more are all concerned for the environment.

    Well done Dr Rancourt you have articulated what many people have been saying for years on this and other rationalist web sites.

  55. Important post, and much respect is due to this scientist with integrity – but this story (and vid) has been on the net for a couple of months now. Why is it being posted on What’s Up just now?

  56. Climate Depot describes Dr. Denis Rancourt as a “Left-wing Env. Scientist …..”

    Here are some more left-leaning climate dissenters. These links come in handy when Warmist commenters attack you as a rabid right-winger (which I’m far from). As for accusations of oil funded I just point them to Pachauri and Glorioil. :o)

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.Speeches&ContentRecord_id=B87E3AAD-802A-23AD-4FC0-8E02C7BB8284

    http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/45269

  57. @Rancourt

    I read the wider indictment (some big lies of science) and was interested in hearing more of your take on acid rain. It that problem was inflated then it was the environmentalist movement that caused any recent warming by meddling with S02 content of fossil fuel emissions. SO2 is pretty effective at global cooling so when we burn fossil carbon without scrubbing out “pollutants” we get a balance of greenhouse gases and anti-greenhouse particates. Efforts to lower SO2 emission are ongoing with global phase-in of ultra-low sulfer diesel which will of course continue to help warm the planet. Not that warming the planet is a bad thing, mind you, it’s just that environmentalists inadvertantly caused it by insisting that particulates be removed from emissions. For that matter environmentalists encouraged the fossil fuel industry by another ill-advised 60’s and 70’s movement to limit construction of nuclear power plants.

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  58. Hadn’t heard of this guy before but he seems pretty far out there. Want some odd quotes from his famous climate change paper of 2007? Mostly he rails against global finance, corporations, shadow governments, etc. which he believes are really behind the global warming myth, in order to detour envu=ironmentalis away from their real interests.
    “a planet that has seen a dozen or so ice ages since human kind has appeared”
    “Humans have thrived in … environments (which) show mean temperature differences of as much as 50 C or more.”
    “If it where not for the global greenhouse effect, the planet would on average be 33 C colder and inhabitable.”
    Discussions of global temperature measurements do not mention satellite data – “A sudden 0.5-1 C increase in mean annual temperature (not spread over 100 years) would be imperceptible to any human and indeed could barely be detected using all of the methods of the modern scientific enterprise.”
    “even doubling the present atmospheric CO2 concentration, to the unattainable value of 800 ppm”

  59. Doctor Gee says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:16 am
    Noting that his title indicates he is a “former” professor, I am sure that his comments will be dismissed by the liberal elite as the mere ramblings of a disgruntled crank. Alas, he will likely become a passing footnote marginalized, if necessary, by the same tired ad hominem attacks should he attempt to step out any further of his “place.”

    He was dissmissed from Carleton University for giviing all his students A+’s. He believes that grades are not conducive to learning physics. The university administration felt otherwise.

    Rancourt and I may share some views regarding the abuse of science in support of AGW, but many of his positions are really quite far out there. I therfore hesitate to take his “conversion” seriously, and think his other views make him too easily dismissed by to most people.

  60. Rancourt is a well known nut case. His views are not taken seriously. Anthony knows this but he correctly assumes many of his fans will swallow whatever he dishes out.

  61. Wolfwalker you think to highly of yourself and mankind and by your statement I suspect you live in a city. I live in an area of Canada that has abandoned mining towns and after a hundred years hard to tell if anything was even there like I said only a hundred years. An old sawmill near me was abandoned and all the steel structures have collapsed and are quickly corroding and that was only 40 years with the forest taking over.. Natural microbes have taken care of a good portion of the gulf oil spill. I could go on but I think you get the idea. We need good stewardship of the earth for our survival but the earth can recover from whatever we do to it..Remember it was a molton rock at one time.

  62. forwardenergy says:
    September 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm (Edit)
    It is nice to hear someone stand up for what they truly believe. In my opinion the discovery of Viking remnants coming to the surface is only proof that the world is just on some sort of a long cycle of heating and cooling.

    ##################################

    it’s interesting to see what people take as “proof”

    Suppose, for example, that I calculated the average temperature of the world from 60 locations. I’m sure we would hear an uproar that 60 stations is not enough. So, we increase that to 500,1000, 5000, 10000 and more in some instances. And as we increased the number we would note that the average changes little. Still people would argue tat 10,000 was not enough, even when those 10000 give the same answer as a satillite view of the data.

    On the other hand, when a specific location in the past exhibits some proxy evidence of more warmth, people accept that as proof. Granting that specific locations ( even Many many specific locations) were warmer in the past, granting that, you still have to face the fundamental physics which says, if that past time in history had as much GHGs as Today, it would have been warmer than it was. The existence of past warming periods ( tenuously established by proxy methods with huge uncertainty bounds) says nothing of great consequence about the physics of GHGs. That is why gavin Schmidt calls criticisms of the hockey stick that show a warmer MWP ‘scientifically uninteresting” The theory of AGW doesnt strictly preclude the existence of warmer periods in the past. What it says is that the current warming we see is best explained by increased GHGs. I’ll put it another way: If you propose a theory which says that the effect of more Ghgs in the atmosphere is an earth that is the same temperature or cooler… Then that theory is disconfirmed by the last 160 years. If you have a theory that predicts higher temps from higher GHGs, then that theory is confirmed by the last 160 years.

  63. The isotope ratios show that the rising CO2 is likely from a biologic source. This does not confirm that humans are the main source. Most CO2 from bio-sources are not human activity related, and variations in those sources are a possible source of CO2 change.

  64. edmh says: September 20, 2010 at 10:48 am
    “Just running the numbers …
    • Greenhouse Effect = ~33.00 deg C
    • Water Vapour accounts for about 95% of the Greenhouse Effect = ~ 31.35 deg C
    • Other Greenhouse Gases GHGs account for 5% = ~1.65 deg C
    … So closing carbon economies of the Whole World could only ever achieve a virtually undetectable less than 0.01deg C.”

    What would happen if all the non-water-vapour GHGs were magically scrubbed from the atmosphere edmh?

    CO2 has a residence time in the atmosphere of ~100 years. Water vapour has a residence time measured in days/weeks. Wherever it rained temperatures would plummet and the ability of the sun to return the lost water vapour to the atmosphere would be compromised. Welcome to snowball earth. Water-vapour on its own is not self-sustaining.

    CO2 may seem an “insignificant trace gas” to some, but in many areas of life and science seemingly small concentrations have marked effects. Cyanide anyone?

  65. All so obvious that it is terrifying that it has to be said – and even more terrifying that any so-called ‘scientist’ should suggest anything different as anything but a wild hypothesis. Beddington and his ilk will, I believe, have caused devastating damage to the credibility of scientists for many decades.

    I just wonder how long it will be after this distressing scam is fully debunked before a large section of society falls for yet another apocalyptic myth?!

  66. wolfwalker
    September 20, 2010 at 9:29 am

    “Humans have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.”

    That’s enough right there to put him firmly in the “nutcase” category.

    Grasses have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by grass action, going back at least twenty million years and probably more than fifty million.

  67. This ocean acidification side show on the global warming science bandwagon, involving major nation research centers and international collaborations, is interesting to compare with the 1970s-1980s hoax of boreal forest lake acidification.

    Nice! :-)

  68. Steven Mosher says:
    September 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm
    “fundamental physics”

    Sir, please state the fundamental physics that impells us to warmer temperatures purely due to CO2.

  69. “Nature” is going to “burp” one of these fine days, and all will be forgotten, all this wrangling to no rational purpose. Perhaps (some) humans will survive, perhaps not.

  70. More importantly, scientists know virtually nothing about the dynamic carbon exchange fluxes that occur on all the relevant time and lengths scales to say anything definitive about how atmospheric CO2 arises and is exchanged in interaction with the planet’s ecological systems. We are barely at the point of being able to ask intelligent questions.

    But as Richard Lindzen talks about in this video, it is ‘an excellent vehicle for a variety of agendas’

  71. GregL says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:56 am

    CO2 concentrations are going up. Humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Because of isotope ratios, we know that human fossil fuel sourced CO2 is accumulating.

    Conclusion: global warming is our fault.

    Atmospheric CO2 may be going up because of man’s burning of fossil fuels, some good reports have been presented. On the other hand, There is still lots we don’t know about the carbon cycle. So your first paragraph as quoted above is a reasonable position. It’s too bad that you blow your creditability to smithereens with your “leap of faith” conclusion.

  72. Sandy says:
    September 20, 2010 at 11:11 am
    “That’s enough right there to put him firmly in the “nutcase” category. Humans have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.”

    Been to Antarctica?
    Be interesting to know many square miles on the continental USA “hasn’t been seriously affected by human action”

    I would add places like Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and even Texas right here in the good old US of A, as well as most of Canada and much of Africa and South America have not been changed much by people. How about Siberia? The concept that the planet is totally changed by man is an east and west coast idea coming from big city folks who have never been out much. People are very much concentrated in cities in most of the world. And that is in itself part of the problem as thier thought processes are dependency oriented.

  73. Ammonite
    September 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    “CO2 has a residence time in the atmosphere of ~100 years. ”

    What have you been smoking dude?

  74. “If you have a theory that predicts higher temps from higher GHGs, then that theory is confirmed by the last 160 years.”
    ===================================================
    Mosh, since no one knows, or can know, how much hotter, how much colder, how much of that higher temp is perfectly natural, and how much is because of GHG’s….

    …….The theory is worthless.

  75. Mosher , that post is sheer unadulterated, logically twisted, drivel.

    While the historical and proxy record shows periods in the Holocene that were warmer and colder, the present “warming”, such as it is, must be regarded as unremarkable.

    If it is a little warmer than it might otherwise be (of the order of much less than 1 degree C and essentially undetectable when you remove the background signal) the reasonable conclusion is that a little extra CO2 doesn’t actually do much except promote plant growth. When the AGW crowd learn how to do measurements properly, treat the results properly (no , when your thermometers have an accuracy of +/-0.5 deg C at best the averaged result is not better than +/-0.5 deg C) and learn how to do advanced statistics I’ll maybe start to believe that they aren’t actually a bunch of third raters playing at being scientists.

  76. k winterkorn says:
    September 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm
    The isotope ratios show that the rising CO2 is likely from a biologic source. This does not confirm that humans are the main source. Most CO2 from bio-sources are not human activity related, and variations in those sources are a possible source of CO2 change.
    ================================================
    K, you are absolutely correct.
    Thank you for bringing that up…bacteria are busy little buggers and there’s a lot of them.

  77. Steven Mosher says:
    September 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    That is why gavin Schmidt calls criticisms of the hockey stick that show a warmer MWP ‘scientifically uninteresting”

    While Gavin might ingenuously call a warmer medieval warming period “scientifically uninteresting”, the question is certainly politically interesting. Why else would they want to “disappear” the MWP? And with dubious proxy reconstructions presenting a historical climate picture contrary to anecdotal evidence (such as retreating glaciers uncovering evidence previous advances over earlier human occupation), the anecdotes do not constitute “proof” but they sure can sow doubt. I recently read and enjoyed your book on Climategate and I don’t understand your seemingly obtuse approach to the question of whether the present global temperature is “unprecedented”.

    If you have a theory that predicts higher temps from higher GHGs, then that theory is confirmed by the last 160 years.

    You might construct an hypothesis from what you already know. A theory isn’t confirmed by what you already know, it has to make predictions that in being tested, support or negate that theory. CAGW is merely an hypothesis at this stage with a poor track record of verification so far. Note that I say CAGW since AGW that is not CAGW would have no political implications and would only be of interest to esoteric ivory tower types. And there would have been no climategate or your book, the CRUtape Letters.

  78. Well reading the Good Doctor’s words; immediately brought to mind the extensive post by Ferdinand Englebeen purporting to show that (pretty much all) of the increase in atmospheric CO2 can be attributed to burning fossil fuels. That is my words summarising Ferdinand’s; and if I misstated his case; then my apology.

    But I think Dr Rancourt, may be being a bit flippant.

    Hopefully as we move into the future with a much greater energy production from Coal; especially in China and India; I would hope that at least there would be considerable (reasoanble) effort to try and make it as clean a coal technology as is practical.

    But when I read Ferdinand’s extensive treatise; I get the feeling that a lot of people spend a lot of time playing with all kinds of variations on variations of isotopic contents of a variable that seems to have totslly gross gaps in the knowledge of just what the total carbon circulations in the atmospehre really are; and what is presented as a well mixed atmospehric component is anything but that. We learn that different plants have different metabolisms and these process 13C/12C differently; and all these things vary from pole to pole, and with altitude; and evidently with closeness to advanced cindustrialized nations.

    Mean while we have one of the fundamental tenets of “Climate Science” the so-called “Climate Sensitivity” which to this day; people still insist is a logarithmic link between atmospehrics CO2 abundance and the earth mean Temperature (somewhere).

    Now it seems like the “Climate sensitivity” is not too specific about where and how you measure either T or CO2; but I take the definition of “Climate Sensitivity to mean that:-

    T2 – T1 = (cs) log|2 ((CO2,2) /(CO2,1)) ; where my symbols have their most obvious meanings; given the mathematical unfriendliness of this format.
    T2 and T1 are two observations of some measure of global Temperature (somewhere) at two differnet time epochs; while CO2,2, and CO2,1 are the corresponding atmopsheric CO2 abundances corresponding to those T values.

    Also it is to be understood that there may be some time offset, between the time the Temperatures are recorded, and the time that the CO2 abundances are recorded; and that time offset; evidently might be in the +/- 1000 year range.

    In any case I presume that there exists some data sets of Temperatures observed or Proxied somewhere at some time on earth; and CO2 data also measured or proxied.

    So here for example is one rendition of such data:-

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

    So here we have both CO2 and Temperature Proxie data (presumably) going back for 600 million years; and encompassing some five “halvings” of the CO2 abundance over that time frame.

    Now I have no idea who obtained either of these data sets; but they seem to be widely promulgated; and presumably have indergone considerable peer review.

    So just looking at these two curves by eyeball, I would say there is absolutely no simple single valued continuous mathematical relationship between these two curves. Moreover by eye, I can see no conceivable time shift between these two curves; that would bring to light some simple single valued continuous functional relationship between these two sets of data.

    So that then raises the possibility that this difficulty might disappear, if in fact we plot the Logarithm to the base two of the CO2 abundance; rather than the CO2 values themselves; since that is the form that is enshrined in the very notion of “Climate Sensitivity”.

    So somebody must have the values for the raw data that plotted these two graphs. Therefore, somebody should be able to construct a single graph of this data; plotting T versus Log|2 (CO2). Moreover it should be possible to cross-correlate these two data sets for different time offsets between the data values, and arrive at some preferred propagation delay time for whatever is the response to whatever is the driving force; and then plot the logarithmic graph for that freferred time delay.

    Well as simple as it sounds; nobody seems to have done just that; and yet everybody in theis “Scientific Discipline cites this “Climate Sensitivity” mantra as if it was carved as a footnote on the stone tablets that Moses brought down from Mt Sainai.

    So my challenge to the adherents to the cs mantra is simply this. Either refute this data; that is so widely disseminated to show why it should not be believed; or else do the cross-correlation and Logarithmic conversion to show us the graph that proves the concept of a “Climate Sensitivity” is valid. It’s about time saomebody did that.

    Alternatively; I suppose somebody could do the same thing wiht the more recent data for apparently actually measured values for the Temperature (somewhere) and the CO2 for the last 100 to 150 years; for which we apparnetly have such actually measured data. In this case it evidently only encompasses about 1/3 of one doubling of CO2; but then it is accurately measured observational data. So do the log conversion on that, and provbe it is logarithmic, and not linear; or some other functional relationship.

    I have one final observation relating to Ferdiand’s CO2 budgetary analysis.

    We have since 2008; and maybe earlier experienced a several years long period of catastrophically reduced global industrial activity; whcih must have been accompanied with a large and easily measurable reduction in the amount and rate of fossil fuel burning on planet earth. Sinc the ML and other site annual CO2 measurement data clearly indicate rapid changes in the amount of CO2 in as little as a month; then clearly the measured CO2 observations from ML and other well known global sites; should carry a clear signature of this reduced industrial activity; since Ferdinand insists that the data clearly shows a fossil fuel based increase that should have considerably diminished. These changes, should at least be as measurable as the almost microscopic changes in 13C/12C ratios; that Ferdinand says are quite visible.

    so does somebody have a citation to such data ?

  79. @ Steven Mosher:

    “I’ll put it another way: If you propose a theory which says that the effect of more Ghgs in the atmosphere is an earth that is the same temperature or cooler… Then that theory is disconfirmed by the last 160 years. If you have a theory that predicts higher temps from higher GHGs, then that theory is confirmed by the last 160 years.”

    I’ll put it another way. If you have a theory that predicts higher temps from growing governments, then that theory is confirmed by the last 160 years.

    OK, so my theory is as baseless and contrived as yours. But it suits my plan to rid the world of the vast majority of politicians, so I’m going to run with it. Who’s with me?

  80. Roy UK says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:22 am


    De Rode Willem says:
    September 20, 2010 at 8:54 am
    … “it is very easy to calculate the concentration impact of that fossile fuel burning.” …

    You do not even need to do the calculations yourself, they have been done for you.

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

    It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on these figures. But I don’t suppose we will.

    My thought are that the numbers are wrong. I do not understand where the natural additions of CO2 come from. Why would 69000+ parts per billion of ‘natural’ CO2 have accumulated in the atmosphere since ~1850.

  81. “”” Ammonite says:
    September 20, 2010 at 1:39 pm
    edmh says: September 20, 2010 at 10:48 am
    “Just running the numbers …
    • Greenhouse Effect = ~33.00 deg C
    • Water Vapour accounts for about 95% of the Greenhouse Effect = ~ 31.35 deg C
    • Other Greenhouse Gases GHGs account for 5% = ~1.65 deg C
    … So closing carbon economies of the Whole World could only ever achieve a virtually undetectable less than 0.01deg C.”

    What would happen if all the non-water-vapour GHGs were magically scrubbed from the atmosphere edmh?

    CO2 has a residence time in the atmosphere of ~100 years. Water vapour has a residence time measured in days/weeks. Wherever it rained temperatures would plummet and the ability of the sun to return the lost water vapour to the atmosphere would be compromised. Welcome to snowball earth. Water-vapour on its own is not self-sustaining. “””

    Perhaps you could elaborate on just exactly what YOU mean by :- “”” CO2 has a residence time in the atmosphere of ~100 years. “””

    I have never seen a formal definition of what that means. Being an old analog circuit designer, I would be inclined to think that such a statement would mean that If I deposit a certain number of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere; each of them having a serial number for positive identification; and they decay in some exponential fahion; meaning that the rate of loss is proportional to the difference between the present value; and the normal “equilibrium” value; as is seen in countless numbers of natural phenomena; then in 100 years, I should find perhaps n0o more than 1% of the original serial numbered CO2 molecules.

    Such a result would indicate a decay “time Constant” of 20 years; sicne five time constants is the time for decay to 1% residual. If a 5% residual amount is acceptable; then that would take three times constants; so the Time constant would be 33 years.

    But I’ll go with the more stringent requirement.

    If the time constant is 20 years, then simple mathematics shows that the initial rate of decay; due to whatever removal process has the 20 year time cosntant, would be a rate of 5% per year (1 / tau). The actual decay would be to 1/e or 37% remaining after one time constant, and about 69% of 20 years to decay to 50%.

    So how does that rate of correction stack up against actual obsevations.

    Well the actual change in CO2 that happens at the arctic region every single year, is 18 ppm peak to peak; and that change happens in just 5 months when the CO2 is going down, and in the remaining 7 months of the year when it is increasing.

    So if we take the present excess of CO2 at 390 ppm, over the apparent long term equilibrium value of 280 pppm as being 110 ppm then the average rate of decay over five months is 18/110 or -3.27% per month. This is a small enough change to take as being approximately the same as the initial rate of change which is 1/tau. So that means the decay time constant is 1/3.27% or 30.5 months; about 2 1/2 years.

    That is a whole lot faster than a 20 year time constant; eight times faster in fact; and that is actual observed measured data; which recurrs every single year.

    So I think the 100 year residence time is pure bunkum.

    In any case; it is quite academic; because one CO2 molecule is about as good as another; and the same goes for H2O molecules; and the plain fact of the matter is that the amount of water vapor in the atmospehre is always a whole lot more than the amount of CO2; and it doesn’t matter a hill of beans if one molecule exits stage left to be replaced by another; so the whole concept of “Residence time” is simply a red herring.

    No matter how quickly a particular serial numbered H2O molecule leaves the atmosphere the total number in the atmospehre remains pretty much the same on a global scale.

    And as it so happens hemans in their automobiles ; and in their respiration emit more H2O to the atmosphere than they do CO2; so if CO2 is a human caused dangerous GHG pollutant with public health problems then so too is H2O’ so we shoud restrict and or tax it as well.

  82. Steven Mosher says:
    September 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I’ll put it another way: If you propose a theory which says that the effect of more Ghgs in the atmosphere is an earth that is the same temperature or cooler… Then that theory is disconfirmed by the last 160 years. If you have a theory that predicts higher temps from higher GHGs, then that theory is confirmed by the last 160 years.
    ========================================================

    But then you’d have to find a reason the climate changed to warmer in the past, sans an increase in GHGs. It is only uninteresting to people that don’t believe current and past warming is related. Moreover, the theory was retrofitted to the “evidence”. The cyclical occurrences of nature have been documented and accepted in many different times and areas of nature. I would assert the recent warming we’ve seen is nothing more than a residual effect of in the increase in the ability to monitor such things. The fact that we don’t know all of the inputs and forcing of climate pretty much belays confirmation of anything.

    Using that logic, I can show my drinking causes global darkness. I usually drink in the evenings and lo and behold when I look out my window, it’s dark outside before I go to bed. EVERY TIME! Of course, I’ll need more funding to continue my experiments and research. Neither my nor the above theory has been confirmed by anything.

  83. What a crock. This is thoroughly discredited blather. The rise in atmospheric CO2 has closely tracked human combustion of fossil fuels, and it will continue to do so! Anyone want to challenge that notion? The march of increasing CO2 is inexorable as long as we continue to rapidly release carbon that it took nature eons to sequester.

  84. edmh says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Posts like this make it difficult to remain on the sceptic (non-catastrophic) side of the fence.

    Just running the numbers by translating the agents causing the Greenhouse Effect into degrees centigrade:
    • Greenhouse Effect = ~33.00 deg C

    So far – so good.

    • Water Vapour accounts for about 95% of the Greenhouse Effect = ~ 31.35 deg C

    The 95% figure is wrong for a start, but the main problem here is that, because of overlaps in the absorbing spectra (e.g. radiation at certain frequencies can be absorbed by either water vapour or CO2), it’s not possibe to isolate the contributions of individual ghgs in this way.

    • Other Greenhouse Gases GHGs account for 5% = ~1.65 deg C

    Wrong. If all water vapour were removed from the atmosphere more than half of the current greenhouse effect would still remain. Also, the presence of CO2 and the other ghgs are at least partly responsible for the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere. They help warm the surface which increases the rate of evaporation and warm the atmosphere so that it can hold more moisture.

    • Most CO2 in the atmosphere is natural, more than 93%
    • Man-made CO2 is less than 7% of total atmospheric CO2 = ~0.087 deg C

    Even if true, this is not the point. Human emissions have caused an imbalance in the carbon cycle which has resulted in CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere. The fact that a greater proportion of CO2 produced from fossil fuel burning is absorbed doesn’t change this fact. Humans are responsible – directly or indirectly – for most of the ~40% increase in CO2 since the start of the industrial revolution.

  85. [REPLY – Differing views are permitted here. Personally, I happen to side with Ferdinand, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hear arguments from all sides and not take it as an insult. ~ Evan]

    Absolutely spot on. This is what makes this and sceptic blogs in general infinitely superior to the pro-AGW sites.

  86. @Jim G:
    ‘The concept that the planet is totally changed by man is an east and west coast idea coming from big city folks who have never been out much. People are very much concentrated in cities in most of the world. And that is in itself part of the problem as thier thought processes are dependency oriented.’

    Quite. The planet is a lot bigger than people who live in crowded hot cities seem to imagine. When you travel by air, you easily forget how much of the earth’s surface you’ve crossed in a relatively short time. Ask a Roman legionary, marching from Britain to Syria at maybe 15 miles a day, how big the planet is; or a 17th century sailor heading to India from Europe.

  87. Amino Acids,

    You made one statement which doesn’t clarify which of my statements you feel needs proving. :)

    To increase signal-to-noise, it’s probably best to just ask a question directly and/or provide counter-evidence, if applicable.

    -bbt

  88. “…you still have to face the fundamental physics which says, if that past time in history had as much GHGs as Today, it would have been warmer than it was… The theory of AGW doesnt strictly preclude the existence of warmer periods in the past. What it says is that the current warming we see is best explained by increased GHGs. ” -Steve Mosher
    —————————————————————–
    So what you’re saying is that we need to emit more CO2 in order to avoid the next ice-age.

  89. Is the Earth sensitive to CO2 in the atmosphere?
    Arrhenius estimated that a halving of CO2 would decrease temperatures by 4-5°C and a doubling of CO2 would cause a temperature rise of 5-6°C. In his 1906 publication, Arrhenius adjusted the value downwards to 1.6°C (including water vapor feedback: 2.1°C). Recent estimates from IPCC (2007) say this value (the Climate Sensitivity) is likely to be between 2 and 4.5°C. But Sherwood Idso in 1998 calculated the Climate Sensitivity to be 0.4°C, and more recently Richard Lindzen at 0.5°C.

    Is there a positive feedback on H2O from CO2 or a negative feedback?
    According to many climatologists and the IPCC climate models, there is a positive feedback action amplifying the CO2 effect to be much more potent, but this theoretical effect has not been actually measured in practice.

  90. To what significance is Human fossil fuel burning to the warming of the globe?
    If you were to drop a lit match in a 1 acre field that is already on 1/2 on fire, well, there you go.
    It’s all your fault.

  91. Enneagram says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:16 am
    THINK!, have you noticed that every green proposition is tanatic?, enthropic, against Eros, against Life itself?.
    Their dream world: A Giant mountain of human compost!
    Life is Nature´s “trick” to overcome Death
    Let us awake!
    They are the preachers of Thanatos, the pontifices of doom, the church of Negation, proclaiming the Gospel of Hate!

    I have the proof right here. Apparently, Hitler, Stalin and Mao weren’t efficient enough exterminators –

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/global-warming-alarmist-calls-for-eco-gulags-to-re-educate-climate-deniers.html

  92. wolfwalker says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:29 am
    That’s enough right there to put him firmly in the “nutcase” category. Humans have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe.

    Where does all of this self-hatred come from? Why is every effect we have on the environment a negative, to be avoided?

    60 million or so buffalo once roamed across this country, do you really think they didn’t mess some stuff up? I’ve even heard it argued that the buffalo and the prairie are a chicken and egg argument. So, buffalo helped sculpt our landscape.

    How many nature programs have we seen where there’s a beautiful sequestered island, usually up north, surrounded by sea-each year it’s COVERED in birds, walrus’, or some other animal. They spend months there, defecating on this beautiful island. Ever seen what a hippo does in his water home after eating his fill on-shore? But, no one complains about any of this, why it’s ‘Mother Nature at work’, the very definition of beauty!

    Dr. Rancourt mentioned ants. They, along with earthworms and a variety of other critters have transformed the world! How about grass, a fairly recent addition to planet Earth? How many animals have come to rely on it? Haven’t these lowly plants and animals transformed our world?

    Of course we change the world! We bring order to it! Sometimes we make messes, but we are learning to clean them up.

    Give us a break while we grow up, we’re trying.

  93. Jim G wrote: “The concept that the planet is totally changed by man is an east and west coast idea coming from big city folks who have never been out much. People are very much concentrated in cities in most of the world.”

    Today, yes. Ten thousand years ago, no.

    One of the ways in which modern humans’ arrogance manifests itself is in thinking that “primitive” means “inconsequential.” Stephen Budiansky wrote a book about this a few years back, Nature’s Keepers, documenting some of the ways in which even primitive humans can and do manipulate their environment in massive ways. For example:

    * Whenever humans move into an area for the first time, they permanently alter local flora and fauna by their activities. It’s generally accepted that humans played some role in the extermination of several regions’ megafaunas over the last 50,000 years, more or less — all through the Americas, Australia, New Zealand…

    * The Serengeti of modern legend, with its fantastic show of wild ruminants and the predators that prey on them, is a direct result of human activity. For centuries the local people routinely burned the plains to stop natural succession and provide good grazing for their herds of cattle. In the late 1800s, epidemics devastated the natives, and soon they and their cattle and their fires were largely gone. The populations of wild ruminants exploded, as did their predators. That’s how we got the golden age of African big game hunting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    * North American Amerinds also used large-scale burns as a method of controlling vegetation. It’s now known that much of the ‘untouched wilderness’ that white American settlers found as they moved west across North America was highly unnatural, a result of Amerind land management practices followed by distorted succession when the Amerinds vanished and the areas went wild again. Much of the great American prairie of the Great Plains, grasslands stretching as far as the eye can see, was entirely artificial. When the fires stopped, the grass retreated and the trees and brush moved back in.

    * In northwestern Europe, humans cleared old-growth forest from huge tracts of land, tens of thousands of acres, in a few decades, and replaced it with open land suitable for grazing cattle and sheep. The loss of so much forest seems to have had noticeable long-term effects on regional climate and wildlife.

    * Every time humans move into a previously-uninhabited region, they bring invasive species with them — animals, plants, microbes. These invaders permanently alter the local ecosystems.

    * As Yellowstone Park’s inhabitants found to their sorrow, even attempts to protect the land from human disruption typically lead to greater disruption, as in the “fight every fire” doctrine of the National Park Service which led directly to the catastrophic firestorm of 1988.

    It’s true that, given enough time, an ecosystem will always rebuild itself. But what gets rebuilt is rarely if ever what was there before. Man’s fingerprints remain, even centuries later.

  94. Northbound says:
    September 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Reply;
    Thanks very much for posting that video! This is exactly the same reasoning I have applied to my life long study of ALL things scientific as I came into contact with new ideas and data bases. It is not about what others think you might know by the BS you are able to put out!

    Knowledge that encompasses many different fields of study to the depth you have been able to manage to investigate for your self, is much more valuable than opinions learned by wrote memory from single sources in an attempt to present a grade average for employment.

    There are many overlapping disciplines that need to be understood well before you can see the option that incorporates all of the differences between them to understand the total complexity of most natural system problems.

    Tis better IMHO to have a good grasp of everything I have come in contact with, and further researched from there out of interest, as often as is possible than to specialize in one concentrated area of a field, and become mired in inflexibility, that results in low creativity, boring routine workload, that ends up producing no new knowledge base.

    Things that promote the progression from assimilating data, history, ongoing research, application of related solutions in related fields, into innovations that transform understanding by way of a break through, are more valuable to me than money, prestige, or “political” ideal-isms.

    Seeking truth just for the sake of knowing what was not known before, to enable not just the increased depth of understanding in a field, but to form connections between seemingly isolated facts from separate areas of scientific endeavor, that increases the connectivity of the whole understanding of all of the natural world, to the point that relevance of my living my life is not wasted just eating and crapping.

    To what end is it to spend all of my life learning, if what I learned is not left for others to absorb more easily, than for them to go through the same struggle I had to go through to learn it? Depth and breath of knowledge combined is more productive at being innovative, than just proficiency in a dead end job.

  95. To the person bemoaning his 128 “IQ” test. Dr. Benjamin Fine’s 1976 Classic:

    “The Stranglehold of IQ”, should nicely dismiss any worries about IQ.

    “IQ” is quite as bogus as AWG.

    Sorry, but learning this is very important. Remember the L.A. yacht yard worker called out to haul down the “upside down” flag on the yacht, which the club members who owned the yacht had put up not only upside down but also JAMMED a rather simple mechanism…the yacht belonged to the L.A. Mensa club. One of the methods of getting into the Mensa club: An IQ test of 130 or above. Sanford and Binet would be so proud!

  96. wolfwalker says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:29 am
    “Is even the presence of humans significant on the rough and diverse thin surface of this planet?

    Hmm… Seems like he meant this as a serious question, not a rhetorical one.

    That’s enough right there to put him firmly in the “nutcase” category. Humans have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.”

    The earth just “is.” It has no conciousness. Humans might might have an interest in not fowling their own nest, but the earth could be vaporized tomorrow and that would be just as much the natural order of things as was snowball earth or ‘tropical’ earth.

    The “natural order of things ” is exactly the state of the earth at any given instant.

  97. George E. Smith says:
    September 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    so does somebody have a citation to such data ?

    George, I followed your link and found another link to the temperature graph.
    Looks like it states “Paul Fomat Project”.
    Nothing turned up on Google.

  98. Having been a student at that University while Dr. Rancourt was there. I think it was perhaps necessary that WUWT mentions that he was a former professor because he was fired what has been termed by some as academic misconduct. He was not a climate researcher and perhaps people on here have the impression he was one. The Laboratory for Climatology and Paleoclimatology was operating at the University of Ottawa and he certainly did not participate.

  99. Robert says:
    September 20, 2010 at 8:46 pm
    Having been a student at that University while Dr. Rancourt was there. I think it was perhaps necessary that WUWT mentions that he was a former professor because he was fired what has been termed by some as academic misconduct. He was not a climate researcher and perhaps people on here have the impression he was one. The Laboratory for Climatology and Paleoclimatology was operating at the University of Ottawa and he certainly did not participate.

    ===========================================

    Your subject-changing and trying to focus “against the man” don’t need any further attention.

    Good thing he can speak for himself on these interviews, and he does not need your commentary.

    Res ipsa loquiter.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  100. Northbound says:
    September 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    His cost for speaking up!

    =================================

    Thank you for that. I watched the whole thing.

    He is a brilliant, sharp individual who is punching his way out of the box.

    May we have more!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  101. RW

    You, Ferdinand and the AGW all make the same mistake, ignoring the outgassing of CO2 from the warming oceans since the end of the LIA! Ferdinand claims he knows how much is human induced because burning fossil fuels will increase the CO2-12 percentage. But he fails to see or to mentioned that the CO2 generated by ocean biomass and the CO2 outgassed by warming oceans will be almost entirely CO2-12, totally negating his analysis and conclusion. Mankind has only been producing measurable CO2 emissions for the past 60 years yet CO2 concentrations have been linearly increasing since the end of the LIA. But AGW proponents ignore data and facts that conflict with their theory and agenda!

    AGW is a scam, only a fool or someone with a ulterior motive promote it!

    Bill Yarber

  102. Owen says:
    September 20, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    “The rise in atmospheric CO2 has closely tracked human combustion of fossil fuels, and it will continue to do so! Anyone want to challenge that notion?”

    Uh, yeah. Firstly, the two don’t track very well in the lower frequency domain, beyond the qualitative observation that they are both increasing. A low order polynomial fit looks similar, but then, all low order polynomial fits of increasing series look similar, so this is one of those “who’da thunk it?” kind of observations.

    At higher frequencies, there is virtually no overlap at all of the dominant harmonics. None at all. Try it sometime. None. At. All.

  103. George E. Smith says: Sep 20, 2010, 3:31pm
    – Perhaps you could elaborate on just exactly what YOU mean by :- ” CO2 has a residence time in the atmosphere of ~100 years.” {lots of valid calculations} … So that means the decay time constant … about 2 1/2 years. So I think the 100 year residence time is pure bunkum. … In any case; it is quite academic; because one CO2 molecule is about as good as another; and the same goes for H2O molecules … so the whole concept of “Residence time” is simply a red herring.

    Hi George. I like your method for estimating residence time of an individual CO2 molecule. It is a sensible skeptical approach, yields the correct order of magnitude (see Segalstad/Essenhigh) and reveals some sloppiness in my post.

    I should have used the term “effective residence time” in reference to “100 years”, meaning the estimated time it would take to permanently scrub the increase of one accumulated CO2 molecule from the atmosphere (rather than that of a specific CO2 molecule – the figure you have calculated.) That is, if the atmosphere contained X molecules of CO2 and one was added, how long would it take before the atmosphere was back to X molecules (not necessarily the same ones it started with). Please note that the “100 year” figure is unlikely to be very precise. (Effective residence time may act as a gauge as to how long we may be stuck with a problem should CO2 have the impact predicted by many climate scientists.)

    As you also correctly point out, one molecule is as good as another. If each H2O molecule lost is reliably replaced by another it is irrelevant what the residence time is and in this sense it is indeed a “red herring” – in a steady state situation.

    The thought experiment in response to edmh’s comment was to consider what would happen should all non-water-vapour GHGs be scrubbed from the atmosphere never to return. The key question is “would a lost H2O molecule reliably be replaced in such a situation?” If so there would be little change (as is edmh’s implicit assumption from my reading). If not, there would be an inexorable decline potentially leading to snowball earth – my expectation. (In such a case H2O residence time would influence the rate of decline but not the end result.)

    Muddy enough?

  104. Dr Dave said;

    Man has a long history of inflating his importance and significance and ultimately, his influence on the planet.

    This is what Hubert Lamb said in practically his last piece of writing before his death.

    “The idea of climate change has at last taken on with the public after generations which assumed that climate could be taken as constant. But it is easy to notice the common assumption that mans science and modern industry and technology are now so powerful that any change of climate or the environnment must be due to us. It is good for us to be more alert and responsible in our treatment of the environment, but not to have a distorted view of our own importance. Above all, we need more knowledge, education and understanding in these matters.”
    Hubert Lamb December 1994

    I echo those sentiments-we need to take care of our planets environment but not to believe we can fundamentally and radically alter its climate.

    tonyb

  105. Bill Yarber says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:31 pm
    RW

    You, Ferdinand and the AGW all make the same mistake, ignoring the outgassing of CO2 from the warming oceans since the end of the LIA!

    It took an ice age and a 5-6 deg swing in temperatures to cause a 100 ppm change in CO2 levels. All the long term records, e.g. Armagh, CET, Uppsala, all show an increase in temperature since ~1800 of around 1 degree C. Since ~1850 CO2 concentration has increased by more than 100 ppm and shows no sign of slowing up.

  106. Some truth at last! Dr Richard Lindzen said ‘I feel sure that humans have some effect on climate but I have been researching this for 40 years and as yet have found no proof that they do’ Dr. Lindzin is professor of paleoclimatology at MIT.

  107. “thebuckwheat says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:56 am

    “For left progressives to collaborate with First World governments that practice global extortion and geopolitical wars in order to pass carbon schemes to undemocratically manage and control the developments of non-First-World communities and sovereign states is obscene, racist, and cruelly cynical.”

    This is misplaced hyperbole. Human history is clear: states have used credit expansion (inflation of their currency) to finance war, either to deflect some domestic issue away from the ruling elites, or to seek economic domination over others. “”

    thebuckwheat: Inflating the money supply is not free money! Those bonds are interest bearing are they not? Banksters are still collecting on war bonds! And when inflation has been abused to the point of risking the currency? An alternative scam is required, one that can still fill the bankster trough even with declining/negative GDP/growth, that’s where the carbon scam comes in IMO ;)

  108. Bill Yarber:

    “You, Ferdinand and the AGW all make the same mistake, ignoring the outgassing of CO2 from the warming oceans since the end of the LIA!”

    Measurements show that the oceans are absorbing CO2, not outgassing it.

    “Ferdinand claims he knows how much is human induced because burning fossil fuels will increase the CO2-12 percentage. But he fails to see or to mentioned that the CO2 generated by ocean biomass and the CO2 outgassed by warming oceans will be almost entirely CO2-12, totally negating his analysis and conclusion.”

    Measurements show that the oceans are absorbing CO2, not outgassing it. If they were outgassing, there is no reason why they would outgas “almost entirely” 12CO.

    “Mankind has only been producing measurable CO2 emissions for the past 60 years”

    Ever heard of the industrial revolution? Two things you should know about it: 1. it marked the start of the era of serious fossil fuel burning. 2. it was more than 60 years ago.

  109. I think that Dr. Rancourt made the same mistake as may others before him: he compares the one-way addition of CO2 by humans with the amount of natural CO2 circulating through the atmosphere, which shows very little natural variability (currently only halve the human addition)

    Compare that to a fountain with a huge pump circulating the water in the reservoir with some 10,000 liter per minute, while you add 1 liter per minute in the reservoir with a hose. The addition is only 1/10,000th of the total “addition”, but even so the content of reservoir will increase from the 1 liter per minute, not from the 10,000 liter which circulates.

    In the past 50+ years, nature was a net sink for CO2, whatever the amount of CO2 circulating through the atmosphere. Thus the contribution of nature to the increase in the atmosphere was zero, nada, nothing, at least in the past 50 years.

  110. If air had the density of water, it would cover the surface of the planet with a layer just ten metres thin. Oceans: close to 3,000 metres. Can we pollute either?

  111. Bill Yarber says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:25 am
    And many others…

    Yes, human burning of fossil fuels have put more CO2 into the atmosphere. But it is trivial compared to natural sources. Fortunately, natural sinks (biomass), absorb 99.+% of natural plus human CO2 emmissions. What you are ignoring is that our oceans, which cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, is the largest source and sink of CO2 – far exceeding all other sources, including human produced CO2!

    Some realistic figures:
    Some 150 GtC of the 800 GtC in the atmosphere is exchanged with other reservoirs, mainly the oceans and vegetation. That is exchange, which over a full seasonal cycle shows a net sink rate of 4 +/- 2 GtC per year. Thus regardless how much is exchanged over the seasons, the net result is a loss of 0.5% in total CO2 (including 0.5% of the human contribution).

    The net result is an increase of 4 GtC/year, all human caused, as nature as a whole is a net sink. The year by year natural variability is quite small: +/- 2 GtC/year, much smaller than the human contribution. See:

    The reason why the natural variability is quite small probably is that the inflows and outflows due to the seasons are countercurrent for vegetation and oceans. But from the d13C and oxygen balances can be deduced that both vegetation and oceans are net sinks for CO2, not sources.

  112. Ken Hall says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:23 am

    SO getting to the crux of my heated discussion, has our 8% been an on-going annual addition which has, over 150 years, almost doubled the concentration from 200 to 380PPM? Or is the total man-made percentage of current total CO2, only 8%? Meaning that the near doubling of CO2 from 200ppm – 380ppm is almost entirely natural?

    Which view is correct?

    The first view is correct. Humans have added more than enough CO2 directly to the atmosphere to explain the increase, as the removal of an excess amount of CO2 takes some time (some 40 years half life). Over the ice ages, CO2 levels changed between 180 and 300 ppmv, depending on (and lagging) temperature changes with a quite linear ratio of 8 ppmv/°C. That means that for the current warm period, the natural CO2 level would be around 290 ppmv, while we measure 390 ppmv. The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is a near perfect match of the increase in total emissions over the past 100+ years:

    and

    There is little doubt that humans are responsible for the increase: all observations match the human origin. But I agree with you (and Prof. Lindzen, Dr. Spencer,…) that the effect of the increase is far less than what the climate models and the IPCC “project”.

  113. FrankSW says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:36 am
    And many others…

    He calculates that CO2 generated by Fossil fuel burning is comparable to the CO2 exumed by humans and their domestic animals. In one of his previous blogs he says

    “Furthermore, if we consider that all living things breathe (admittedly some microbes don’t breathe oxygen) and that Earth’s (living) biomass is approximately 10^15 kg-C, then total global breathing may well exceed the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning by a factor of between ten and one thousand times greater.”

    Quite a wide margin, but he says ants for instance have ten time our biomass, but even at the low end it puts our contribution to CO2 generation into perspective.

    CO2 from natural of non-natural bush fires, wood burning, exhaling CO2 from all lifeforms, vegetation decay,… doesn’t count: it is all recirculating CO2 which was captured a few days to a few hundred years ago from the same atmosphere. That doesn’t change the CO2 content, neither the isotopic composition of the current atmosphere, except if there is an unbalance. The unbalance can be measured from oxygen use: there is a small deficit, compared to the calculated use of oxygen by fossil fuel burning. That means that all biolife together is a net producer of oxygen, thus a net sink for CO2 (and preferentially of 12CO2)…

  114. wolfwalker says:
    September 20, 2010 at 9:29 am
    Is even the presence of humans significant on the rough and diverse thin surface of this planet?

    Hmm… Seems like he meant this as a serious question, not a rhetorical one.

    That’s enough right there to put him firmly in the “nutcase” category. Humans have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.”

    And the world is better for humans around. We may have caused extinctions, but we prevent them too. Wonder how many dinosaurs would still be around had humans been around to save them. Point is: mass extinctions and global catastrophes happened all the time before even our most primitive relatives showed up. We haven’t done anything even close to that range of magnitude. Not even a minor blip.

  115. Bart says:
    September 20, 2010 at 11:39 am
    Ken Hall @ September 20, 2010 at 10:23 am:

    Moreover, the hypothesized slow dynamics of reabsorption would naturally lead to a far ranging random walk-like behavior, which is not indicated by the historical record upon which the advocates rely. Just as Nature abhors a vacuum, it abhors maintaining any equilibrium which is not enforced by competing dynamics.

    The historical record is smoothed (some 600 years for the longest records), thus fast changes aren’t seen, but current measurements show some sensitivity of 4 ppmv/°C for temperature variability around the trend. The long-term (smoothed) trend is about 8 ppmv/°C. And indeed there are competing processes, which maintain a rather tight equilibrium: oceans and vegetation counteract each other for temperature changes…

    The conclusions, to one who really understands how dynamic systems work, are that A) the greater part of the CO2 buildup we have seen in recent decades is due to natural variation, and B) the historical record is suspect.

    No, the year by year natural variation is not more that +/-2 GtC, compared to an increase of nowadays 4 GtC/year from 8 GtC/year human emissions.
    There is little doubt that the historical record is wrong.

    Even now, if one plots the rate of change in measured CO2 concentration, it is abundantly clear that it is decelerating, and we have reached an inflection point. It may take a couple to three more decades if the curve is smooth, or it could happen rapidly, which the historical data indicates at least qualitatively is possible, but average CO2 concentration will almost certainly begin to decrease again in time, as it likely has bobbed up and down for centuries before we were around to observe it.

    There are no signs that the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is decelerating, it follows the accumulated emissions with an extremely constant rate:

    Although I haven’t the latest emissions figures…

  116. Christopher Hanley – and what do you suppose has happened to the rate of increase of CO2 concentrations since 1945?

  117. I find this excerpt from Rancourt’s original 2007 paper worth quoting and keeping in mind, especially the last paragraph.

    http://activistteacher.blogspot.com/2007/02/global-warming-truth-or-dare.html

    […]
    It was no easy task to arrive at the most cited original estimated rate of increase of the mean global surface temperature of 0.5 C in 100 years. As with any evaluation of a global spatio-temporal average, it involved elaborate and unreliable grid size dependent averages. In addition, it involved removal of outlying data, complex corrections for historical differences in measurement methods, measurement distributions, and measurement frequencies, and complex normalisations of different data sets – for example, land based and sea based measurements and the use of different temperature proxies that are in turn dependent on approximate calibration models. Even for modern thermometer readings in a given year, the very real problem of defining a robust and useful global spatio-temporal average Earth-surface temperature is not solved, and is itself an active area of research.

    This means that determining an average of a quantity (Earth surface temperature) that is everywhere different and continuously changing with time at every point, using measurements at discrete times and places (weather stations), is virtually impossible; in that the resulting number is highly sensitive to the chosen extrapolation method(s) needed to calculate (or rather approximate) the average.

    Averaging problems aside, many tenuous approximations must be made in order to arrive at any of the reported final global average temperature curves. For example, air temperature thermometers on ocean-going ships have been positioned at increasing heights as the sizes of ships have increased in recent history. Since temperature decreases with increasing altitude, this altitude effect must be corrected. The estimates are uncertain and can change the calculated global warming by as much as 0.5 C, thereby removing the originally reported effect entirely.

    Similarly, surface ocean temperatures were first measured by drawing water up to the ship decks in cloth buckets and later in wooden buckets. Such buckets allow heat exchange in different amounts, thereby changing the measured temperature. This must be corrected by various estimates of sizes and types of buckets. These estimates are uncertain and can again change the resulting final calculated global warming value by an amount comparable to the 0.5 C value. There are a dozen or so similar corrections that must be applied, each one able to significantly alter the outcome.

    In wanting to go further back in time, the technical problems are magnified. For example, when one uses a temperature proxy, such as the most popular tree ring proxy, instead of a physical thermometer, one has the significant problem of calibrating the proxy. With tree rings from a given preferred species of tree, there are all kinds of unavoidable artefacts related to wood density, wood water content, wood petrifaction processes, season duration effects, forest fire effects, extra-temperature biotic stress effects (such as recurring insect infestations), etc. Each proxy has its own calibration and preservation problems that are not fully understood.

    The reported temperature curves should therefore be seen as tentative suggestions that the authors hope will catalyze more study and debate, not reliable results that one should use in guiding management practice or in deducing actual planetary trends. In addition, the original temperature or proxy data is usually not available to other research scientists who could critically examine the data treatment methods; nor are the data treatment methods spelled out in enough detail. Instead, the same massaged data is reproduced from report to report rather than re-examined.

    The most recent thermometer measurements have their own special problems, not the least of which is urban warming, due to urban sprawl, which locally affects weather station mean temperatures and wind patterns: Temperatures locally change because local surroundings change. Most weather monitoring stations are located, for example, near airports which, in turn, are near expanding cities.

    As a general rule in science, if an effect is barely detectable, requires dubious data treatment methods, and is sensitive to those data treatment methods and to other approximations, then it is not worth arguing over or interpreting and should not be used in further deductions or extrapolations. The same is true in attempting to establish causal relationships. This is in contrast to the precautionary principle which, in this context, would dictate that humans should reduce their fossil fuel burning because a resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 **might** cause serious environmental harm. I argue that we should stick to known consequences rather than potential ones – displacing people displaces people, clearing forests clears forests, etc. – and that we can apply universally accepted norms of human justice and respect for nature in limiting exploiters’ impulses.

  118. k winterkorn says:
    September 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    The isotope ratios show that the rising CO2 is likely from a biologic source. This does not confirm that humans are the main source. Most CO2 from bio-sources are not human activity related, and variations in those sources are a possible source of CO2 change.

    That would be true if the oxygen balance shows that biolife is a net sink for CO2, thus biolife increases the d13C level by a net 12CO2 uptake, but we measure a decrease…

  119. David L says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:42 am

    With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.”

    You need to get out to more or at least take a good look at the globe with google earth. I reckon’ the global ocean which covers 70% of the surface is just about exactly the same as it was a million years ago. Only about 10% of the land surface is occupied or modified by human civilization and the remaining 20% is virgin.

  120. Roy UK, you asked for comments on the website link: although water vapour is an important greenhouse gas, it also has an important negative feed-back mechanism, i.e. cloud formation. CO2 does not have this. So water vapour definitely is part of the model, but if it’s negative feedback (clouds) happened to exactly balance its greenhouse effect, that would leave CO2 as the important greenhouse gas. See what I’m getting at?

  121. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:35 am

    “That would be true if the oxygen balance shows that biolife is a net sink for CO2, thus biolife increases the d13C level by a net 12CO2 uptake, but we measure a decrease…”

    The duration of that oxygen measurement barely goes back a decade, the sample size is vanishingly small, and the signal is so tiny that it’s questionable whether it is really there at all.

  122. George E. Smith says:
    September 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    But when I read Ferdinand’s extensive treatise; I get the feeling that a lot of people spend a lot of time playing with all kinds of variations on variations of isotopic contents of a variable that seems to have totslly gross gaps in the knowledge of just what the total carbon circulations in the atmospehre really are; and what is presented as a well mixed atmospehric component is anything but that. We learn that different plants have different metabolisms and these process 13C/12C differently; and all these things vary from pole to pole, and with altitude; and evidently with closeness to advanced cindustrialized nations.

    Your pages about the different metabolisms and therefore different d13C rates of different species are very interesting. If vegetation was a net source for CO2, it would be near impossible to make a differentiation between natural and fossil CO2 from (former) vegetation. But as there is a small deficit (since about 1990) in oxygen use, the whole biological world is a net absorber of CO2. Thus whatever the 13C/12C discrimination in the different species, the current biological world increases the d13C level in the atmosphere, while we measure a decrease…

    Mean while we have one of the fundamental tenets of “Climate Science” the so-called “Climate Sensitivity” which to this day; people still insist is a logarithmic link between atmospehrics CO2 abundance and the earth mean Temperature (somewhere).

    I think that we agree on this, that the climate sensitivity for CO2 is quite limited and probably far below the 1.5-4.5°C range of the IPCC.

    I have one final observation relating to Ferdiand’s CO2 budgetary analysis.

    We have since 2008; and maybe earlier experienced a several years long period of catastrophically reduced global industrial activity; which must have been accompanied with a large and easily measurable reduction in the amount and rate of fossil fuel burning on planet earth. Sinc the ML and other site annual CO2 measurement data clearly indicate rapid changes in the amount of CO2 in as little as a month; then clearly the measured CO2 observations from ML and other well known global sites; should carry a clear signature of this reduced industrial activity; since Ferdinand insists that the data clearly shows a fossil fuel based increase that should have considerably diminished. These changes, should at least be as measurable as the almost microscopic changes in 13C/12C ratios; that Ferdinand says are quite visible.

    so does somebody have a citation to such data ?

    Unfortunately, emission figures are always years later published than CO2 levels…
    What I have heard is that emissions reduced by about 20% compared to previous years (we still use heating in cold winters… and production was lower, but not zero). That would reduce the increase rate with about 20% (or more), but the strong El Niño increased the increase rate with a higher figure last year, thus the increase rate has hardly changed…

  123. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:30 am
    “CO2 from natural of non-natural bush fires, wood burning, exhaling CO2 from all lifeforms, vegetation decay,… doesn’t count: it is all recirculating CO2 which was captured a few days to a few hundred years ago from the same atmosphere. That doesn’t change the CO2 content, neither the isotopic composition of the current atmosphere, except if there is an unbalance. The unbalance can be measured from oxygen use: there is a small deficit, compared to the calculated use of oxygen by fossil fuel burning. That means that all biolife together is a net producer of oxygen, thus a net sink for CO2 (and preferentially of 12CO2)…”

    re; net producer of O2

    Gee, ya think? It’s nice to know that the hypothetical buildup of O2 by green plants over the course of billions of years hasn’t been refuted yet.

    However, it does not follow that plants are a net sink of CO2. The reservoirs of biologically available CO2 are huge compared to the amount that is actually taken up and released by biological processes.

  124. Sorry OT, but I had to say something about this comment,

    “Water-vapor on its own is not self-sustaining.”

    Gases/minerals from the sun enters above Ionosphere as H, He, and O, and lower down diatomic molecules N2, O2, NO etc are present. The ionosphere is electrically charged ions and the UV rays ionizes these gases.

    In the ionosphere:
    O + h v = O+ + e
    N + h v = N+ + e
    In the neutral thermosphere:
    N + O2 = NO + O
    N + NO = N2 + O
    O + O = O2

    The intake of gases/partials from the the sun or processing of gases/hydrocarbons through atmospheric chemistry as nitrogen, oxygen, argon, c02, H2O and isotopes like Xenon or C-14(byproduct from the separation of oxygen and nitrogen) are aways being produced.

    The main gases found on the earth are 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, 0.03% carbon dioxide and 1% water vapor.
    Once the earth had no water, water started forming, shallow oceans slowly were created. If earth had the same amount of H2O from the beginning, there would be WAY more land compared to our 75% water surface and volume on earth est. at 1.3 bill. Cue. Kilometers, the volume above sea level land is .1% at 13 bil.cu kilometers would also be much higher. We do not lose water to space, 99.99997% of our atmospheric is below 100 km (62 mi), the ionosphere stretches from 50 to 1,000 km (31 to 620 mi). No loss of water vapor, just more.

    Oh, getting back ON-TOPIC,

    Dr. Denis Rancourt has the right idea looking at CAGW science, but believes it’s a BIG conspiracy theory. This is growing pains of scientific knowledge or understanding, always will be there. Today computer models and GIS have become science, GIGO. The scientists are not evil or plotting, just a training/ belief in a hypotheses beginning to be proven wrong and are using fantasy computer models when they have no answers or scientific evidence to back it up. A Hitech version of Rolling the bones from a shaman, only they posses the truth and interpretation. A gasp of a dieing religion. But not till they have warned of a holy Armageddon doomsday from our disbelief, penance to change it and sacrifices of non believers.

    We are there right now in more then one area of science.

  125. @Engelbeen

    “That means that for the current warm period, the natural CO2 level would be around 290 ppmv, while we measure 390 ppmv. The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is a near perfect match of the increase in total emissions over the past 100+ years:”

    And this can be falsified in principle how, exactly?

    Any hypothesis which cannot be falsified is not science but rather narrative – a just-so story.

    The carbon cycle is sensitive to total biomass. Do you have a precise direct measure that or would it be yet more narrative derived from questionable proxy data? Should we expect an increase in total biomass after 1800 which marked the end of several centuries of what’s been called “The Little Ice Age”? Should we expect an increase in total biomass from all the high nutrient runoff that has been increasingly entering the global ocean? Has there been a change in distribution of living CO2 consumers and CO2 producers due to 7 billion large mammals (humans) and twice that amount of CO2 producers in the domestic livestock kept by those 7 billion humans? These are all confounding factors that have yet to be sufficiently characterized beyond rough guesswork where that guesswork appears to be profoundly influenced by confirmation bias.

  126. Owen says:
    September 20, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    “The rise in atmospheric CO2 has closely tracked human combustion of fossil fuels, and it will continue to do so! Anyone want to challenge that notion?”

    Sure. It hasn’t even come close to tracking it. Atmospheric CO2 has increased by only a small fraction of total fossil fuel combustion. Only by half and that’s before considering how much old growth timber was harvested and burned for fuel or just simply burned away by slash and burn agriculture or made into durable goods and paper and that’s also before methane (which decomposes into CO2 after several years) has been factored in.

    The biosphere appears to be greedily sucking up the great majority of human CO2 emissions and is still asking for more. CO2 is a limiting factor for the primary producers in the food chain and in many cases it’s the only limiting factor.

  127. Max Hugoson says:
    September 20, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    “Sorry, but learning this is very important. Remember the L.A. yacht yard worker called out to haul down the “upside down” flag on the yacht, which the club members who owned the yacht had put up not only upside down but also JAMMED a rather simple mechanism…the yacht belonged to the L.A. Mensa club. One of the methods of getting into the Mensa club: An IQ test of 130 or above. Sanford and Binet would be so proud!”

    Got a link to that story that we should “remember”? It’s hard to remember things that never actually happened and I don’t think you need to be a genius to know that.

  128. John Finn says:
    September 20, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    “If all water vapour were removed from the atmosphere more than half of the current greenhouse effect would still remain.”

    Claims need to be tested. How do you propose to test that one?

    In fact the claim that water vapor dominates the greenhouse effect to that proportion was experimentally tested and confirmed over 150 years ago by John Tindall. He couldn’t even measure the longwave absorptivity of various gases in his laboratory appartus until he removed all the water vapor and he couldn’t measure any absorption at all in standard atmosphere after removing the water vapor.

  129. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:21 am
    @Engelbeen

    “That means that for the current warm period, the natural CO2 level would be around 290 ppmv, while we measure 390 ppmv. The increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is a near perfect match of the increase in total emissions over the past 100+ years:”

    And this can be falsified in principle how, exactly?

    Any hypothesis which cannot be falsified is not science but rather narrative – a just-so story.

    The carbon cycle is sensitive to total biomass. Do you have a precise direct measure that or would it be yet more narrative derived from questionable proxy data?

    To begin with: we know with reasonable accuracy how much CO2 was emitted by humans, and further with large margins of error what is emitted by land use changes and extra methane. We know with good accuracy how much CO2 increased in the atmosphere (direct measurements over the past 50+ years, firn and ice cores before that). Nothing from proxy data.

    Only the direct emissions from fossil fuel burning are already twice the increase in the atmosphere. Thus whatever the changes in biomass and/or changes in ocean circulation: these two together are not adding one gram of CO2 to the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in the yearly balance. At least over the past 50 years (+ 60 ppmv) and probably over the past 100+ years. Even if biomass was a net source during a few decades (which it probably was before 1990), that doesn’t change the fact that there was no net contribution of nature to the increase, thus the oceans simply were a larger sink in that period.

    That humans are not the only cause of the increase easely can be falsified, if the measured increase in the atmosphere was larger than the calculated emissions. As long as that is not the case, the emissions are the sole cause. It is that simple.

  130. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:03 am

    re; net producer of O2

    Gee, ya think? It’s nice to know that the hypothetical buildup of O2 by green plants over the course of billions of years hasn’t been refuted yet.

    However, it does not follow that plants are a net sink of CO2. The reservoirs of biologically available CO2 are huge compared to the amount that is actually taken up and released by biological processes.

    A reservoir of biological available CO2 doesn’t add or substract anything from the atmosphere. Even the uptake by photosynthesis at one side and the decay/burning/eating of the biological available CO2 doesn’t change the amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere. Only the unbalance between uptake and release does change the atmospheric CO2 content. That can be measured by the oxygen balance.

    Even if the change in oxygen level over the past decade is small and the error margins are huge, the balance shows that all biolife together is a net sink for CO2.

  131. RW says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:00 am “Measurements show that the oceans are absorbing CO2, not outgassing it.”

    They are doing both, and there is no reason to believe that the isotopic ratios must be the same in both directions. They will naturally vary over time, and by time of day, season of year, latitude, temperature and a thousand other factors. The net effect of the oceans on the isotope ratios could go either way, and could easily account for the observations by themselves, let alone in concert with all the other poorly understood factors.

  132. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Sure. It hasn’t even come close to tracking it. Atmospheric CO2 has increased by only a small fraction of total fossil fuel combustion.

    Come on Dave, what about the increase tracking the emissions with a ratio of 53%, good to explain 99.66% of the increase? See:

    Any natural cause which would track the emissions at such an exact ratio?

  133. We know, thanks Al, that increases in atmospheric CO2 lag rising temperature by about 800 years. Now when was that MWP again?

    My (vague) acceptance of CO2 as a driver of global temperature vanished when I considered how small a component of the atmosphere it is at 0.039%. You would have to believe that CO2 was a catalyst of some sort, like platinum say, to do anything and the “forcing” hypotheses all seem very far fetched to me.

    I live on a continent that seems to burn to a cinder every year yet nobody even counts that in the great equation, all that seems to matter is “fossil” fuel. It’s all just a crock.

    As I have said in the past on here , I have lived in this climate for over 60 years. Every year is different but in the same way. A little hotter, colder, wetter, dryer, later earlier but always much of a muchness. In the meantime the one thing that is driving poverty, pestilence, hunger and despair is bad governance.

    Bad governance around the world leads to misery and despair for many, many people yet the UN can do bugger all about it. Nothing. Yet the UN pretends that it can control the climate by introducing world wide de-industrialization. Just look at the stupid initiatives they try in Africa that all assume Africa is a playground for bizarre experiments in “appropriate technology” that just keep Africans at the bottom of the development tree while leaving bad, corrupt, incompetent governments in place.

    In other words the UN wants to bring bad governance to the whole world by reducing us all to the lowest common denominator, poverty. The UN was set up to prevent war in the world, well they have seriously failed on that count. In fact it is very difficult to point out any success story from the UN except for those instances where the USA has stepped up and done what was right.

    A small coterie of seriously deluded but very clever men have made a vigorous attempt to establish themselves at the very top of the food chain for their own benefit and if this had happened before the advent of the internet they would have found it very easy indeed.

    CO2 is not the enemy, bad government is.

  134. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:13 am
    “That humans are not the only cause of the increase easely can be falsified, if the measured increase in the atmosphere was larger than the calculated emissions. As long as that is not the case, the emissions are the sole cause. It is that simple.”

    Are you still spouting that idiotic logical fallacy? You still can’t see that in a complex continuously varying system with feedback or adaption it is meaningless to label any one thing as the “sole cause” on the basis of an underspecified simple sum? How can you call anything a sole cause when you simply do not know what would have happened in its absence? You don’t know what the CO2 concentration would have been. You don’t know what the isotopic ratio would have been. I guess I was right to ignore your parts 2 and 3. You are just making the same egregious blunders all over again.

  135. Paul Birch says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:34 am

    They are doing both, and there is no reason to believe that the isotopic ratios must be the same in both directions. They will naturally vary over time, and by time of day, season of year, latitude, temperature and a thousand other factors. The net effect of the oceans on the isotope ratios could go either way, and could easily account for the observations by themselves, let alone in concert with all the other poorly understood factors.

    Indeed oceans release and absorb CO2, but the net effect over a year and the past decades is more absorption than release. That is measured in two long-term series (Bermuda and Hawai) and several other shorter series + more sporadic ships measurements. See the increase in DIC (CO2 + bicarbonate + carbonate) at Bermuda:

    http://www.bios.edu/Labs/co2lab/research/IntDecVar_OCC.html

    The isotopic fractionation is not the same in both directions, but the average decrease from a back-and-forth transfer is -8 per mil between water and air. That means that deep ocean water upwelling would be break-even for the current atmosphere, but that surface water exchanges would increase the d13C level of the atmosphere. And as there is slightly more uptake than release by the oceans, the oceans are a net increaser for 13C in the atmosphere. As we measure a decrease, as well as in the atmosphere and with some delay in the ocean’s mixed layer, the oceans are not the cause of the d13C decline, neither of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere.

    See further the previous discussion at WUWT:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/16/engelbeen-on-why-he-thinks-the-co2-increase-is-man-made-part-3/

  136. Mark S says:
    September 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm
    @mkelly

    I had the entire thing memorized at one time so I know what it was they were saying. However, my point was, re: the refrain, is that anti human ideas go back a long way.

    Be glad your dog now gets more cheese.

  137. Paul Birch says:
    September 21, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Are you still spouting that idiotic logical fallacy? You still can’t see that in a complex continuously varying system with feedback or adaption it is meaningless to label any one thing as the “sole cause” on the basis of an underspecified simple sum? How can you call anything a sole cause when you simply do not know what would have happened in its absence? You don’t know what the CO2 concentration would have been. You don’t know what the isotopic ratio would have been. I guess I was right to ignore your parts 2 and 3. You are just making the same egregious blunders all over again.

    We have a pretty good idea what would happen today without human emissions: we would see a decrease of CO2 levels. Most skeptics and warmers alike agree on this, they only disagree on the speed of decrease.
    That is based on 800,000 years of relative equilibrium between temperature and CO2 levels over the glacials and interglacials, where the previous interglacial was warmer than today with 290 ppmv CO2.

    The same for isotopic levels, which were quite stable for the last 600 to 11,000 years, but suddenly start to decline since about 1850, just by coincidence (?) together with the increase of fossil fuel use…

    And as I have seen many times in my professional carreer, the simple answers many times are the right ones…
    In this case, still:
    8 GtC/year emissions – 4 GtC/year increase = 4 GtC/year natural sink rate

    Thus nature as a whole is a net sink, not a source, whatever the individual natural inflows and outflows might be or may have changed over the past at least 50 years.
    Indeed it is that simple…

  138. I view fossil fuel burning as tapping into nature’s piggy bank of stored photosynthetic energy and nutrients. During better times for the biosphere (read not in an ice age like we’re in now) an abundance of plants and animals, they say the earth was lush from pole to pole, expired and decomposed in anaerobic conditions into an energy & nutrient rich mix of solids, liquids, and gases. Putting it back into the biosphere during an ice age seems like a good thing for as long as we can manage it. The biggest problem in my estimation is the piggy bank has a bottom and when we get close to it that’s when the real trouble begins. Unless of course a supervolcano, big asteroid or comet impace, coronal mass ejection, nearby supernova, disease, or things of nature don’t take out modern civilization first. Life is robust and has survived these assaults countless times. Civilization is what is fragile.

  139. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 7:17 am “…”

    I quickly lost count of the number of non sequiturs and contradictions in that comment. It would be pointless trying to point them out to you, since you are still mired in your basic logical error. The fact of the matter is that neither the magnitude nor the sign of the effect of the oceans on isotope ratios is known; the data to determine them do not exist and are unlikely to do so for the forseeable future. The observations that have been and are being made are fundamentally incapable of settling the question, because they are compatible with multiple contradictory hypotheses.

  140. A greenhouse with a huge hole in its roof (ozone layer) is not a greenhouse. There can be no greenhouse effect without a greenhouse.

  141. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:15 am

    “Compare that to a fountain with a huge pump circulating the water in the reservoir with some 10,000 liter per minute, while you add 1 liter per minute in the reservoir with a hose. The addition is only 1/10,000th of the total “addition”, but even so the content of reservoir will increase from the 1 liter per minute, not from the 10,000 liter which circulates.”

    This is not an apt metaphor. The fountain has a drain.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:48 am

    “The historical record is smoothed … indeed there are competing processes, which maintain a rather tight equilibrium: oceans and vegetation counteract each other for temperature changes…”

    It is the nature of feedback systems, Ferdinand, that they do not react one way to normal inputs, and another way for others. If a tight equilibrium is being maintained, then the system has the bandwidth for low sensitivity to exogenous inputs.

    “No, the year by year natural variation is not more that +/-2 GtC, compared to an increase of nowadays 4 GtC/year from 8 GtC/year human emissions.”

    That is almost pure conjecture. It amazes me how you cannot see the number of thinly supported assumptions you implicitly make in such statements.

    “There is little doubt that the historical record is wrong.”

    I’d agree with you there, but I suspect you typed in haste.

    “There are no signs that the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is decelerating, it follows the accumulated emissions with an extremely constant rate:

    Although I haven’t the latest emissions figures…”

    Plot the annual mean growth here. It is quite obvious.

  142. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.
    ~wolfwalker 9:29

    You should come to Alberta or B.C. Canada, maybe take a drive up the Alaskan Highway.
    You’d see so much untouched wilderness from the car you would probably soil your pants in fear.

  143. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:30 am

    “CO2 from natural of non-natural bush fires, wood burning, exhaling CO2 from all lifeforms, vegetation decay,… doesn’t count: it is all recirculating CO2 which was captured a few days to a few hundred years ago from the same atmosphere.”

    And, if that captured “a few hundred years ago” were suddenly to be released?

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:13 am

    “That humans are not the only cause of the increase easely can be falsified, if the measured increase in the atmosphere was larger than the calculated emissions. As long as that is not the case, the emissions are the sole cause. It is that simple.”

    This is logically flawed. All the measured increase shows is that, at least temporarily, the net sinks are less than the net sources. But, it does not say anything about the internal composition of sinks and sources.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:36 am

    “Any natural cause which would track the emissions at such an exact ratio?”

    Any affine trend slope is a precise ratio of any other trend slope. This is a tautology.

  144. @Engelbeen

    Air entrapment in ice cores occur at depths of 60 to 100 meters. The oldest & longest core taken is 3000 meters and the bottom is ostensibly dated at 160,000 years barely reaching back into the prior interglacial. Anyhow, if the dating is accurate the average deposition time for a meter of ice is about 5 years and entrapment doesn’t occur for 300 – 500 years and that’s assuming gas migration and chemistry with and through the ice stops at that point even under tens and eventually hundreds of bars of bars of pressure where ice acts like a slow moving liquid with horizontal flow confounding things. Thus any reading of atmospheric gases in entrapped bubbles is an average of those gases at best of 300-500 years. Short term fluctuations such as might be driven by climate cycles less than a century in duration, like the decadal oscillations of ocean surface temperatures cannot be read from ice cores.

    I understand that laboratory measurements of CO2 began about 200 years ago and contrary to indirect or proxy paleoreconstructions CO2 in the past 200 years has been recorded as high as 400ppm. Warmists dismiss these with a wave of their hand saying there must be some kind of mistake made in the measurement despite the fact that beginning around 1850 it was a standard chemical test with 3% or better accuracy.

    So bascially thousands of lab measurements of CO2 for more than 100 years before Mauna Loa became the yardstick are being ignored and in this same period ice core data is missing because it takes at least 300 years for entrapment.

  145. Paul Birch says:
    September 21, 2010 at 7:56 am

    The fact of the matter is that neither the magnitude nor the sign of the effect of the oceans on isotope ratios is known; the data to determine them do not exist and are unlikely to do so for the forseeable future. The observations that have been and are being made are fundamentally incapable of settling the question, because they are compatible with multiple contradictory hypotheses.

    Have you read any of the more recent works on ocean chemistry? They follow the fate of human CO2 into the depth of the oceans, thanks to the isotope changes as tracer (and modern non-natural chemicals like CFC’s). See chapter 4 of:

    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~gruber/publication/pdf_files/gruber_thesea_02.pdf

    There is little variation in deep ocean d13C (as can be deduced from carbonate sediments) over the past millions of years, there may be some more in surface waters, but that depends mainly on net biogenic production. There is little change over the past 11,000 years since the start of the Holocene in atmospheric d13C. Thus the combined influence of ocean temperature and biolife on d13C levels in the atmosphere was minimal. Until around 1850, when d13C levels in the atmosphere and the oceans mixed layer start to decline. Because there is no source of low d13C in the oceans (and carbon levels increase in the mixed layer), the source is in the atmosphere, not in the oceans.

    And if you have references to some of the contradictory hypothesis, I am very interested.

  146. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:00 am


    John Finn says:
    September 20, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    “If all water vapour were removed from the atmosphere more than half of the current greenhouse effect would still remain.”

    Claims need to be tested. How do you propose to test that one?

    The very same radiative transfer equations which are validated by observations. Radiation ar t frequnencies which can be absorbed by water vapour can also be absorbed by other ghgs. Remove all water vapour and ~36% of the greenhouse effect would be lost, i.e. ~64% would remain. Remove all other ghgs except for water vapour and ~66% would remain. That, of course, assumes it would be possible to remove all other ghg AND retain the current concentration of water vapour.

    In fact the claim that water vapor dominates the greenhouse effect to that proportion was experimentally tested and confirmed over 150 years ago by John Tindall.

    The presence of water vapour in the atmosphere relies on (a) warming at the surface and (b) a relatively wam atmosphere to hold the water vapour. The average residence time for water vapour molecules is a matter of days. Water vapour is essentially a feedback. Without the other ghgs the surface and atmosphere would be colder and the concentration of water vapour would be reduced.

  147. ” Humans have devastated the natural order of things over most of the globe. With the possible exception of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, there isn’t a square mile of land that hasn’t been seriously affected by human action, going back at least two thousand years and probably more than fifteen thousand.”

    Whoever said this does not get out much. Humans are by and large concentrated in the cities. Come on out to the Rockies for a different perspective.

  148. Bart says:
    September 21, 2010 at 9:26 am

    This is not an apt metaphor. The fountain has a drain.

    Yes, but that doesn’t change the basic error of Dr. Rancourt: that he counts the input of the circulation as “addition”, while the only real addition is what is supplied by the hose and the drain only removes halve of what is added, still resulting in an increase of the reservoir…

    It is the nature of feedback systems, Ferdinand, that they do not react one way to normal inputs, and another way for others. If a tight equilibrium is being maintained, then the system has the bandwidth for low sensitivity to exogenous inputs.

    Agreed, but you need to take into account the time frame: in the past near million years, temperature was leading the dance and CO2 levels followed with a lag of about 800 years (warming) to several thousands of years (cooling). Thus while the equilibrium was tightly maintained, it needed many hundreds of years to reach the 100 ppmv difference between cold and warm periods. Recently we released some 200 ppmv in only 160 years (mostly in the second halve). Almost asking for a pulse response, compared to the past changes. But with a half life of only 40 years, this excess would disappear in only a few hundred years, peanuts compared to the timeframe of a glacial-interglacial or reverse changes.

    That is almost pure conjecture. It amazes me how you cannot see the number of thinly supported assumptions you implicitly make in such statements.

    The emission rates are based on fossil fuel sales (taxes!), the increase is what is observed in the past 50+ years and the variability in sink rate is the difference between these two. No assumptions at all. Only maybe some underestimates of the fuel use due to under the counter sales… See:

    I’d agree with you there, but I suspect you typed in haste.

    Indeed, the opposite was intended, but have you any indication that the ice core record is wrong (besides what Jaworowski says, but that was discussed in my part 2).

    Plot the annual mean growth here. It is quite obvious.

    You are looking at the derivative of the increase, the increase rate, which is heavily influenced by (temporal) temperature changes like El Niño’s and Pinatubo eruptions. These make that there is a variability around the trend, but that doesn’t say anything about the cause of the trend itself, see the previous figure.

  149. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 10:06 am

    …..

    I understand that laboratory measurements of CO2 began about 200 years ago and contrary to indirect or proxy paleoreconstructions CO2 in the past 200 years has been recorded as high as 400ppm. Warmists dismiss these with a wave of their hand saying there must be some kind of mistake made in the measurement despite the fact that beginning around 1850 it was a standard chemical test with 3% or better accuracy.

    So bascially thousands of lab measurements of CO2 for more than 100 years before Mauna Loa became the yardstick are being ignored and in this same period ice core data is missing because it takes at least 300 years for entrapment.

    Oh dear – I sense the Beck measurements are about to make an unwelcome comeback. These are the measurements which show some years had CO2 increases (and decreases) of anything up to 100 ppm. Let’s just say there is possibly a lack of consistency in the choice of locations for the measurements.

  150. Bart says:

    And, if that captured “a few hundred years ago” were suddenly to be released?

    That would be noticed in a sudden increase of CO2 levels, if that was a high enough quantity. But most of the recent organics are recycled within a decade or so.
    Still there are discrepancies in the definition:
    600 years old peat burning is added to human use of “fossil” fuel, while burning 600 years old wood (old house,…) is counted as “natural”.

    This is logically flawed. All the measured increase shows is that, at least temporarily, the net sinks are less than the net sources. But, it does not say anything about the internal composition of sinks and sources.

    As long as we are talking about “our” contribution against natural contribution, it doesn’t matter how the sources and sinks are distributed in nature. All we know is that nature as a whole is a net sink for CO2 (and in detail the oceans as well as vegetation). I have used the bank account comparison (too) many times:

    If you bring your reserve money of each month to the bank and you figure out in their yearly balance that the bank has an enormous turnover, but that their profit is less than your deposit that year, don’t you think that it will be safe to get your money back as soon as possible and look for another bank? Whatever what the other clients may have done in that year…

    Any affine trend slope is a precise ratio of any other trend slope. This is a tautology.

    In general yes, but in this case both are slightly exponential and while in many cases correlation is not causation, in this case it is very likely that the emissions cause the increase, as there is a simple physical explanation for it: the oceans are slow emitters/uptakers of CO2 and vegetation growth responds to higher CO2 levels, but a 100% increase in CO2 doesn’t double the uptake. Further, compare the same for temperature changes (also increasing in the period 1975-2000):

    Which shows the “normal” natural variability…

  151. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Can you comment on this paper Ferdinand. I’ve been aware of it since it first appeared. Do you know of any followup information on this information.

    George

    Science 16 October 1998:
    Vol. 282. no. 5388, pp. 442 – 446
    DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5388.442
    Prev | Table of Contents | Next

    Reports

    A Large Terrestrial Carbon Sink in North America Implied by Atmospheric and Oceanic Carbon Dioxide Data and Models
    S. Fan, M. Gloor, J. Mahlman, S. Pacala, J. Sarmiento, T. Takahashi, P. Tans .

    Accordning to this paper; the USA far from being the world’s biggest carbon polluter; is actually the only sizeable land area that is NOT a carbon polluter.

    George

  152. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 10:06 am

    Air entrapment in ice cores occur at depths of 60 to 100 meters. The oldest & longest core taken is 3000 meters and the bottom is ostensibly dated at 160,000 years barely reaching back into the prior interglacial. Anyhow, if the dating is accurate the average deposition time for a meter of ice is about 5 years and entrapment doesn’t occur for 300 – 500 years and that’s assuming gas migration and chemistry with and through the ice stops at that point even under tens and eventually hundreds of bars of bars of pressure where ice acts like a slow moving liquid with horizontal flow confounding things. Thus any reading of atmospheric gases in entrapped bubbles is an average of those gases at best of 300-500 years. Short term fluctuations such as might be driven by climate cycles less than a century in duration, like the decadal oscillations of ocean surface temperatures cannot be read from ice cores.

    You haven’t read my part 2 about ice cores at:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/20/engelbeen-on-why-he-thinks-the-co2-increase-is-man-made-part-2/

    In short: there are enormous differences in accumulation rate between ice cores, from near the Antarctic coast (Law Dome: 1.2 meters ice equivalent/year) and high altitude inland (Vostok: a few mm/year). That results in very fast to very slow closing of the gas bubbles. For the fastest Law Dome ice cores: 8 years, for Dome C: 540 years average.
    Opposite is the length of the record: Law Dome only 150 years back for the deepest usable core sections, while Dome C goes 800,000 years back in time.

    The objections of Jaworowski against the reliability of ice cores are completely outdated and already disputed by the work of Etheridge (1996!).

    I understand that laboratory measurements of CO2 began about 200 years ago and contrary to indirect or proxy paleoreconstructions CO2 in the past 200 years has been recorded as high as 400ppm. Warmists dismiss these with a wave of their hand saying there must be some kind of mistake made in the measurement despite the fact that beginning around 1850 it was a standard chemical test with 3% or better accuracy.

    So bascially thousands of lab measurements of CO2 for more than 100 years before Mauna Loa became the yardstick are being ignored and in this same period ice core data is missing because it takes at least 300 years for entrapment.

    Some of the methods were simply not accurate enough, but that is not the main problem with the historical measurements. The main problem is where was measured: in towns, fields, under and inbetween the leaves of growing vegetation,… Only measurements over the oceans or coastal with wind from the seaside would give reliable “background” measurements. And these show values around the ice core measurements for the same gas age…

  153. RW says:September 21, 2010 at 2:00 am
    Measurements show that the oceans are absorbing CO2, not outgassing it.

    Cooler water absorbs more CO2. Hmmmm, is that your point?

  154. Ferdinand,

    I do not want to continue debating items on which we will never agree, so I will just address a few of your assertions.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

    “You are looking at the derivative of the increase…”

    That would be why I stated “…it is abundantly clear that it is decelerating…”.

    “… that doesn’t say anything about the cause of the trend itself…”

    If you filter out the variability, you will see a clear deceleration. Or, if you are not familiar with designing and implementing filters, perhaps you can just do a 2nd order polynomial curve fit. What curvature do you get?

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    “But most of the recent organics are recycled within a decade or so.”

    Source? What are the error bars? Why do you trust the source?

    “All we know is that nature as a whole is a net sink for CO2…”

    You do not, in fact, know that. What you know is that your model for natural influences as a whole is a net sink.

    “…but in this case both are slightly exponential…”

    Saying they are “slightly exponential” only sounds like it conveys more information than “they have the same curvature sign.” It’s really not as portentous as you imagine. The odds of finding two such similarly progressing signals at random are about 50/50.

    “Which shows the “normal” natural variability…”

    How do you allocate which part is “natural” and which is not? Do you assume that natural variability is just the high frequency zig-zaggy part, and the rest is not “natural”? On what basis do you render such a judgment?

  155. George E. Smith says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm
    Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Can you comment on this paper Ferdinand. I’ve been aware of it since it first appeared. Do you know of any followup information on this information.

    It is possible that the increase in certain parts of the earth of vegetation growth encompasses the releases of CO2 in the same area. But I think that the time frame in this case was rather short.

    Meanwhile more measurements are available and I did find an update:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/48/18925.abstract

    where North America still is a source of CO2. Further, a period of drought has a huge impact on CO2 sequestering by vegetation…

  156. Tim Clark says:
    September 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Cooler water absorbs more CO2. Hmmmm, is that your point?

    Even warmer water absorbs more CO2 if you increase the CO2 (partial) pressure in the atmosphere, which is what happened by the emissions…

  157. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:13 am

    “That humans are not the only cause of the increase easely can be falsified, if the measured increase in the atmosphere was larger than the calculated emissions. As long as that is not the case, the emissions are the sole cause. It is that simple.”

    Okay. Then by that logic it’s just as simple that anthropogenic CO2 emissions each year are 3% of all CO2 emissions and natural emissions & sinks which are 97% of the show could easily vary by that much or much over decadal timescales. The tail doesn’t wag the dog.

  158. Scott Ramsdell says: September 20, 2010 at 9:51 am

    link to a UN blurb stating that we have successfully turned the corner on the ozone hole, and it should close by 2048.

    I think it’s successes such as [this one]…

    Hate to disabuse you Scott but that pair of pics was cherry picked. 2002 didn’t fit the anthropogenic message. Have a look (scroll down to near the bottom). Ozone fluctuation is at least partly natural and the mechanism is IIRC largely known or at least suspected. As with CO2 “warming”, the question is how much is natural?

  159. Ferdinand Engelbeen,

    Thanks for your reply on the last thread, where I still see data disagreements especially with recent data compared with older/proxy data.

    Anyway moving on to the reason why the claim by using ice core data for 1c rise in ocean temperature outgasses 8ppmv is wrong because the planet using more accurate methods show not to be. In fact using ENSO an an example shows this value is far less then the actual values of regions of the oceans warming nowadays.

    The ENSO with a region about 30 times smaller than the world oceans, with just a couple of dregrees centrigrade increase causes half measured rise of 4ppmv claimed above. Therefore if this region warmed just 1c would expect a outgassing of 2ppmv.

    The problem being this area is about 30 times smaller than the surface of the ocean so if all this area warmed 1c we would expect outgassing of 60ppmv. (maybe be even higher because the tropics would release the least CO2 per 1c rise) This is far higher than the first value quoted and a true accurate realistic value that the planet shows, not a inaccurate proxy that is crude and supporting it because it on the side of our beliefs.

    I’m sorry scientific evidence shows the oceans should and can outgass far more then estimates from dodgy proxy values given. Hence, ignoring a lot of outgassing from the oceans.

  160. Here’s a (serious) question for the statistician and math PhDs.

    Lets say I have a lot of data relating to two different variables (that might be related). I have tons of this data maybe 150 years worth or more. So much data, that I ran out of some place to store it; if you can imagine that; so I threw a lot of it away.
    Anyhow you get my point; I have a lot of data; not just a flash in the pan.

    So I plot a scatter plot of these two sets of data to try and see if they are indeed related.

    Then using whatever procedure you chaps think is appropriate, I try to see if these data fit a straight line of the form:-

    y = m. x + c

    Well that would seem to be the simplest thing to try.

    So I get a straight line as described but there’s a problem. The value I get for ( m ) seems to have a range of possible values ranging from say (m1) to say (3m1). Now I don’t know why that is even possible but that’s the way it is; maybe it depends on who is using what method to get the straight line. God knows what the range of values for (c) could be; but (m) has a 3:1 range.

    Now the question is very simple; given the previous information; what is the confidence level that in fact this enormous set of data is in fact properly representable by ANY straight line.

    And a corollary would be; if I chose to take some definable mathematical function of either or maybe both of the variables (separate functions), and plotted a straight line graph as described; what would be my confidence level that those mathematical functions of my variables were the correct ones to describe that data ?

    In case this might seem Off Topic; it’s not.

    The 150 odd years of data are for global temperatures (observations) and atmospheric CO2 abundance; and the concensus of Scientific opinion is that one of these two data sets is proportional to the logarithm of the other; so I should be able to plot log of the other against one, and get a straight line; except the slope of that line is uncertain within a 3:1 range.

    So how is it that people are quite convinced that the correct straight line relationship, is a logarithmic one; except the slope of that line is not known better than a 3:1 range.

    And as I said earlier; with my limited math skills; I have no idea how you get a 3:1 range of slope for a best straight line fit for a scatter plot of two vaiables; but I am willing to learn how that is done.

    A corollary would be; WHY DOESN’T THIS SEEM TO BOTHER ANYBODY BUT ME ?

  161. “”” Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 1:40 pm
    George E. Smith says:
    September 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm
    Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Can you comment on this paper Ferdinand. I’ve been aware of it since it first appeared. Do you know of any followup information on this information.

    It is possible that the increase in certain parts of the earth of vegetation growth encompasses the releases of CO2 in the same area. But I think that the time frame in this case was rather short. “””

    Now I thought that CO2 had a 200 year residence time; and this paper dates from 1998.

    So how could the situation have altereed very much since 1998; we certainly haven’t had any dramatic changes in emission rates over that time frame.

  162. Bart says:
    September 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm
    Ferdinand,

    If you filter out the variability, you will see a clear deceleration. Or, if you are not familiar with designing and implementing filters, perhaps you can just do a 2nd order polynomial curve fit. What curvature do you get?

    With a second order poly: some decelleration; with a third order: an accelleration. With a 3 or 5-years moving average a small decelleration…
    Hardly important, compared to the dip caused by the 1991 Pinatubo eruption and hardly important for the increase itself: still 2 ppmv/year (with emissions still around 4 ppmv/year).

    “But most of the recent organics are recycled within a decade or so.”

    Source? What are the error bars? Why do you trust the source?

    I have read it somewhere: some 50% of all vegetation (leaves and stems) is recycled within one year, the rest within a decade, except the part that is more permanently stored. Can be deduced by the fact that almost all CO2 captured by vegetation returns within a year (quantity and d13C levels over the seasons).

    “All we know is that nature as a whole is a net sink for CO2…”

    You do not, in fact, know that. What you know is that your model for natural influences as a whole is a net sink.

    What do you have with models? I have no model. I simply substract two knowns: emissions and increase in the atmosphere for each year, the difference is what nature did that year. The difference is calculated from inventories and observations, nothing modelled. 50 years long: a net sink. Simple mass balance, what else?

    “…but in this case both are slightly exponential…”

    Saying they are “slightly exponential” only sounds like it conveys more information than “they have the same curvature sign.” It’s really not as portentous as you imagine. The odds of finding two such similarly progressing signals at random are about 50/50.

    I have seen a lot of cycles in nature and a lot of variability. The possibility that two curves in nature match each other with 99.66% ánd without showing much variability simply is zero. The possibility that there is a natural cause of the increase of CO2, without much variability, which follows the cumulative CO2 emissions with such an exact ratio is zero. In comparison, the temperature – CO2 increase shows a normal natural variability and a lack of causation, as a change in temperature of halve the range has little influence on CO2 levels, while the full range should give a huge influence. That contradicts each other.

  163. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Okay. Then by that logic it’s just as simple that anthropogenic CO2 emissions each year are 3% of all CO2 emissions and natural emissions & sinks which are 97% of the show could easily vary by that much or much over decadal timescales. The tail doesn’t wag the dog.

    No, as the 97% are not “emissions” but only part of a cycle. The observed variability of this cycle is only halve what the human emissions show…

  164. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Law dome data shows a 20 year period, 1928-1948, with no statistical increase in CO2.

    The dip is somewhat at the later side (1945-1950), but one need to take into account that the accuracy of the Law Dome ice core is around 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma), and between different ice cores about +/- 3 ppmv.

  165. George E. Smith says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Now I thought that CO2 had a 200 year residence time; and this paper dates from 1998.

    So how could the situation have altereed very much since 1998; we certainly haven’t had any dramatic changes in emission rates over that time frame.

    It is a lot more difficult to measure CO2 fluxes over land than background CO2 levels far from sources and sinks. Flux measurements are done with tall towers (200-400 m height) with intakes at different heights. The CO2 level differences give an idea about the CO2 flow in/out the vegetation and/or other sources and sinks in a large area below the tower.

    But that is partly based on models about the vertical and horizontal mixing of CO2 with different wind speeds, etc. In the begin years of the measurements, these models might have been far off, nowadays better, I don’t know. I only know that flux measurements are not easy…

  166. Matt G says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm
    Ferdinand Engelbeen,

    Thanks for your reply on the last thread, where I still see data disagreements especially with recent data compared with older/proxy data.

    Anyway moving on to the reason why the claim by using ice core data for 1c rise in ocean temperature outgasses 8ppmv is wrong because the planet using more accurate methods show not to be. In fact using ENSO an an example shows this value is far less then the actual values of regions of the oceans warming nowadays.

    The ice core temperature – CO2 releationship of 8 ppmv/°C is based on a temperature proxy, which is the result of temperature changes of most of the SH oceans. The current 4 ppmv/°C changes around the trend are based on a good relationship between satellite based temperature changes and CO2 increase rate. Thus of most of the globe, not only the ENSO region. ENSO events indeed influence the whole global temperature, but it is the latter which shows the relationship.

    Further the solubility curve of CO2 in the oceans only shows some 16 ppmv/°C change, not including changes in biolife with higher temperatures and changes in land vegetation, which are opposite to the ocean changes for CO2. All together, the 8 ppmv/°C will not be far off, even not today, for the CO2 changes as result of temperature changes.

    pCO2 from different regions can be extremely divers: near the equator, pCO2(aq) is 750 microatm, thus if that regio was the leading factor, then we could have 750 ppmv in the atmosphere. But at the other end near the poles, the pCO2(aq) is only 150 microatm. The net result is a continuous flow of CO2 between the equator and poles and an average pCO2 which is slightly higher in the atmosphere at 390 ppmv than in the ocean surface.

  167. @Engelbeen

    Unless you’re looking at a different dataset than me 1928 and 1948 are almost identical as are all the years in between. While the absolute error in any one year might be off by 1% the trend should not be unless the experiment was so sloppily done it couldn’t achieve better accuracy from one test to the next. You have not explained a thing in your response.

  168. 97% certainly ARE emissions as well as “part of the cycle”. Manmade emissions are “part of the cycle” no more an no less. CO2 is CO2 no matter what source sources it or what sink sinks it. The carbon cycle is 97% natural and anthropogenic activities ostensibly adds 3% on the emission side annually without adding anything on the sink side. This is, more or less, in IPCC AR4 which has a nice diagram showing the gigatons of carbon coming and going from each source and sink.

  169. I still have serious concerns about validity of simple Ferdinand’s model of A=B+C-D complexity. But in any case the origin of CO2 is a moot question, because the global warming signature of the alleged radiative imbalance is missing. Stratosphere cooling and polar amplification aside, there are two more “burning issues” with this signature.

    Denis G. Rancourt mentions “lake acidification” hoax. I tried to look this subject up, and all I found was about acidification due to sulfur compounds and other non-CO2 related stuff. The warmists frequently hang on “CO2 leads to ocean acidification” issue. But the ocean is vast and deep, measuring means are scarce, so the “global estimate” does not look overly convincing. At the same time one might think that inner lakes have much less mass, yet their drainage basins are substantial. Therefore, if the cause of acidification in oceans is the excess CO2 in air, then lakes (say, Caspian Sea, Aral, others) must be “acidifying” like hell. I found no literature about vast acidification of lakes due to CO2.

    Likewise, it is kind of accepted in climatoilogy that ocean warming must be much better indicator (integrator) of AGW, but same difficulties in measurements do exist. At the same time, inner lakes are less deep and have much less mass than deep oceans. Yet the runoff waters flowing along their basins must be exposed to the same “excess of insolation” versus “deficit of OLR”. Therefore, on average, all inner lakes must warm up much faster than deep oceans, in inverse proportion of their (smaller) water mass prorated to the area of their basin. What is this factor? 10X? 100X? Did any inner lake warm up to 10C over last century? Obviously not. Therefore, I have a very big suspicion that theoretical estimations of “radiative forcings” due to well-mixed GH gases are seriously off, and this is the root cause of the entire “climate disruption” controversy.

  170. Once again, I am leaving aside arguments I feel will lead nowhere. I make this disclaimer because some people have suggested that, when I have moved on from previous explanations in other fora which were not making headway, they thought I was conceding the point.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    “What do you have with models? I have no model.”

    Your model is everything of which you have taken consideration.

    “The possibility that two curves in nature match each other with 99.66% ánd without showing much variability simply is zero. “

    Nonsense. They don’t match nearly that well. We went over this with Willis’ analysis way back when. Not only do they not match all that well over lower frequencies, but they share essentially no commonality in the higher frequency realm. You are using statistical methods which are not up to this task. You need more sophisticated tools.

  171. Some of the text Anthony quotes is remarkable —
    // Is even the presence of humans significant on the rough and diverse thin surface of this planet?
    […]
    The present (2010) historic maximum of anthropogenic (caused by humans) fossil fuel burning is only 8% or so of global primary production (GPP) (both expressed as kilograms of carbon per year, kg-C/y). GPP is the rate at which new biomass (living matter) is produced on the whole planet. //

    So. An environmentalist who thinks we have no significant effect on the environment.
    As for the second, we are talking not just about “primary production” but the carbon cycle.
    Consider this analogy ”
    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
    Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849

    Or See a recent exchange on this point. [at 12:30 Ian Rivlin GP] before which the recently featured
    Janet Thompson also makes an appearance.

  172. Paul Birch – no, you can’t have it both ways. The oceans are a net sink of CO2, not a net source. And they also show a declining fraction of 13C, just as the atmosphere does. You clearly didn’t know that, or you wouldn’t have made your incorrect statements about isotope ratios. Scientists, though, have known it for several decades.

  173. George E. Smith says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    A corollary would be; WHY DOESN’T THIS SEEM TO BOTHER ANYBODY BUT ME ?

    My question would be why do you expect to get an exact CO2/temperature log correlation. That correlation may show up if all other variables remained fixed, i.e. they didn’t change. There are also any possible lags to consider. Natural fluctuations due to e.g. ENSO, PDO, solar (~0.1 deg over a cycle) etc but these effects tend to be cyclical, i.e. there is no long term trend. If we consider the last 60-70 years (suppposedly the length of the PDO cycle) then the temperature rise peak-to peak is ~0.5 deg. CO2 has gone up frpm ~310 ppm to ~390 ppm. Using the IPCC calculation

    CO2 Forcing = 5.35*ln(390/310) = ~1.2 w/m2

    So 1.2 w/m2 has resulted in a 0.5 deg rise in temperature. A forcing of 3.7 w/m2 should result from a CO2 doubling which implies a warming of ~1.5 deg C, i.e. at the bottom of the range specified by the IPCC. The point is the rise will not be linear. It will be slower at some times and faster at others. It is the long term end result that counts.

  174. The notion that the global ocean does nothing but absorb CO2 is ludicrous. Surface temperature varies by 30C in general from equator to pole and the oceanic conveyor belt transports water across the divide. As well the deep ocean due to low temperature and high pressure holds a far greater concentration of dissolved CO2. In point of fact liquid (pure) CO2 droplets have been observed at oceanic ridges where new crust emerges from underwater volcanoes (the Ring of Fire).

    While in any one year the net of emission and absorption by the ocean may be a positive or negative number the difference is only a tiny amount of the whole annual exchange. When we say that anthropogenic CO2 is only a small fraction (roughly 3%) of total annual emissions that is a true statement. Moreover, total annual emission is only a tiny fraction of the total biologically available carbon. The author of the OP is quite correct in this regard.

  175. RW says:
    September 22, 2010 at 12:44 am
    “Paul Birch – no, you can’t have it both ways. The oceans are a net sink of CO2, not a net source. And they also show a declining fraction of 13C, just as the atmosphere does. You clearly didn’t know that, or you wouldn’t have made your incorrect statements about isotope ratios. Scientists, though, have known it for several decades.”

    The Earth does “have it both ways”. The oceans are both sources and sinks. CO2 is continually moving between air and oceans in all directions, as well as between the oceans and other reservoirs, such as carbonate and organic deposits on the sea floor. The oceans are not a single entity doing only one thing; they are a highly complex system that cannot be understood simply by looking at an assumed “net” figure.

    In point of fact, it is not even known for sure that the oceans are a net sink from the atmosphere. They probably are, most of the time, since they are a continuing net source for the bottom ooze, which this material has to be come from somewhere; but it is not certain. Once one considers CO2 from sub-sea volcanoes and tectonic boundaries, as well as organics, carbonates and reduced carbon washed in from the land, it is quite possible that they are a net source to the atmosphere. There are other natural sinks, magnitude unknown, which may dominate, such as the sequestration of biomass by infilling of post-glacial lakes, and the sequestration of reduced organic carbon as finely divided particles throughout the soil and continental crust (which alone contains tens of thousands of times more carbon than the atmosphere).

  176. “it is quite possible that they are a net source to the atmosphere”

    No, it isn’t. Isotopic tracers demonstrate that over the last couple of centuries, there has been a net transfer of CO2 from the biosphere and fossil fuels to the atmosphere and oceans. You can’t choose your own facts, I’m afraid.

    “In point of fact, it is not even known for sure that the oceans are a net sink from the atmosphere”

    In fact, it is known for sure. Again, isotopic tracers show this. I’m afraid you’re just making stuff up.

  177. The Rocky Mountains, eh, Jim G? Would that be the same Rocky Mountains where human farming activity destroyed the high valley micro-habitats that were used as havens by the Rocky Mountain locust, exterminating that species (as far as we know) and ending the periodic locust plagues that swept the American West in the 19th century?

    Which is not a bad thing, I might add. Not all human effects on the “natural order” are bad. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

  178. “”” John Finn says:
    September 22, 2010 at 2:00 am
    George E. Smith says:
    September 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    A corollary would be; WHY DOESN’T THIS SEEM TO BOTHER ANYBODY BUT ME ?

    My question would be why do you expect to get an exact CO2/temperature log correlation. That correlation may show up if all other variables remained fixed, i.e. they didn’t change. There are also any possible lags to consider. Natural fluctuations due to e.g. ENSO, PDO, solar (~0.1 deg over a cycle) etc but these effects tend to be cyclical, i.e. there is no long term trend. If we consider the last 60-70 years (suppposedly the length of the PDO cycle) then the temperature rise peak-to peak is ~0.5 deg. CO2 has gone up frpm ~310 ppm to ~390 ppm. Using the IPCC calculation

    CO2 Forcing = 5.35*ln(390/310) = ~1.2 w/m2

    So 1.2 w/m2 has resulted in a 0.5 deg rise in temperature. A forcing of 3.7 w/m2 should result from a CO2 doubling which implies a warming of ~1.5 deg C, i.e. at the bottom of the range specified by the IPCC. The point is the rise will not be linear. It will be slower at some times and faster at others. It is the long term end result that counts. “””

    Well John, I don’t. But then I am not the one claiming that there is such a correlation. It is embodied in the very description of
    ” CLIMATE SENSITIVITY ”
    Apparently invented by the late Dr Stephen Schneider of Stanford University; and apparently taught to every student of “Climate Science” as being gospel truth.

    I DON’T need a PhD in mathematics to understand that assigning a fixed increment (in mean global surface Temperature) to a DOUBLING of some other variable (Atmospheric CO2 abundance) , uniquely defines a logarithmic (to base 2) relationship.

    No other mathematical relationship has that unique property. Countless peer reviewed climate journal papers have repeatedly claimed the relationship is logarithmic; and the IPCC seems to assign a range of 3.0 +/-50% deg C to the constant of proportionality.

    Now of course I wouldn’t expect the observational data to exactly match any such formula; such physical quantities can never be measured exactly; and in the case of the earth’s global mean surface Temperature; we have no way to measure that at all; so of course I don’t expect an exact fit.

    But so long as purveyors of the concensus science of climatology keep on insisting that such a logarithmically related “Climate Sensitivity” even exists; I would reasonably expect that they can prove from some sort of observational data, that such a relstionship is more likely to be true than some competing relationship; such as just for example an ordinary linear; straight line fit. Or would the data better fit an equation of the form:- y = exp (-1/x^2) for example.

    The well known graphical representation going back to the Pre-Cambrian 600 million years ago; which I cited above shows absolutely no sign of any single valued continuous functional relationship between Temperature and CO2 (proxies). There are intervals of many millions of years during which totally wild changes in CO2 occur with absolutely no change in Temperature at all.

    As for intervals with small changes (in Temperature / CO2) such as you gave in your example of a CO2 change from 310 to 390 ppm, common sense tells us that over such a small change (north polar CO2 changes 18 ppm in just 5 months every year) a logarithmic relationship would be quite indistingu9ishable from a linear relationship; specially given the noisiness of the data; and also a simple linear interpolation would suffice to estimate the change due to the Stafan-Boltzmann 4th power relationship between “Forcing” in Watts per square metre, and global Temperature change (roughly).

    Now in your calculation based evidently on IPCC proclamations, the constant of proportionality is given as 5.35 presumably Watts per metre squared, per factor of (e) change in CO2. That 5.35 number implies somewhat better than a 3:1 knowledge of the proportionality relationship.

    In any case; it is well known from satellite measures of TSI over about three complete solar sunspot cycles, that TSI changes by about 0.1% of roughly 1.3 W/m^2 peak to peak; and that can be calculated to result in about a 0.07 deg C change in the equilibrium Temperature at earth’s orbit.

    So how does the IPCC justify a claim that a change of 1.2 W/m^2 should result in a 0.5 deg C increase in Temperature; that’s seven times what normal radiation laws say is physically possible.

    I don’t need a PhD in Physics to understand that the (atmospheric) heating due to CO2 (or other so called green house gas) is driven as a starting point, by the radiant emittance of LWIR thermal radiation from the earth’s surface due to its Temperature and spectral radiant emissivities. And over the globe the total radiant emittance can vary more than an order of magnitude due to local surface Temperature differences; which means that one would have to perform some appropriate global sampling observational process to come up with some sort of global average for the atmospheric heating effect expected from the presence of CO2 or other GHG in the atmospehre.

    No such data exists as far as I can tell. the AGW proponents don’t even acknowledge that “Climate Sensitivity” should even be a function of surface Temperatures; which are the primary source for the LWIR radiation that causes the “green house effect”.

    When those folks say that the mean global surface temperature changes with the logarithm of the atmospheric CO2 abundance at a rate of 3 +/- 1.5 Deg C per doubling; that to me means going from 280 ppm to 560 ppm gives the same Temperature rise as going from 1 ppm to 2 ppm.

    And if that IS NOT true; then they should quit saying that those variables are related by a logarithmic relationship; they aren’t; and that concensus science can have no credibility so long as they insist on maintaining this myth of “Climate Sensitivity”.

    The 600 million years of proxy data that is so well known; shows that there is absolutely no relationship between the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the mean global surface Temperature of planet earth.

    Quite apart from the lack of experimentally observed actual data showing a logarithmic relationship; there also is no physical theoretical basis for any such relationship to exist in the first place.

    So stop trying to peddle “Climate Sensitivity” as if it was a fundamental Physical constant akin to the velocity of light.

  179. RW says:
    September 22, 2010 at 7:22 am “Isotopic tracers demonstrate that over the last couple of centuries, there has been a net transfer of CO2 from the biosphere and fossil fuels to the atmosphere and oceans. ”

    No, they don’t. There are innumerable phenomena that can change isotope ratios in either direction (and I mean this literally – that we cannot enumerate them all), especially when the gross flows are very much greater than the net variations. The shifts that you and Ferdinand rely upon do not prove what you want them to.

  180. Ah yes, so Paul Birch knows better than the hundreds of scientists who’ve actually studied these systems, does he? Isotopic tracers, and actually many other lines of evidence, do indeed show that the rise in CO2 in both atmosphere and oceans is unequivocally attributable to the burning of fossil fuels. Perhaps you could tell me which papers you’ve read about this, and specifically which ones you disagree with, and which ones support your view.

  181. Above all mentioned statements the fact is that we deforested more than 30% of rains forests and exterminated almost 500 species of animals. As the human population grows we need more space to live, more food to eat, more energy to use. The question is: how to reach sustainable growth with minimum impact on the planet?
    All scientists have the right to talk freely about their knowledge and the right should be claimed also in Canada…

  182. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    97% certainly ARE emissions as well as “part of the cycle”. Manmade emissions are “part of the cycle” no more an no less. CO2 is CO2 no matter what source sources it or what sink sinks it. The carbon cycle is 97% natural and anthropogenic activities ostensibly adds 3% on the emission side annually without adding anything on the sink side. This is, more or less, in IPCC AR4 which has a nice diagram showing the gigatons of carbon coming and going from each source and sink.

    Dave, circulating 10,000 liter per minute over a fountain with a big pump thus “adds” 10,000 liter per minute to the cycle, while adding 1 liter per minute with a hose is only 1/10,000th of the cycle and thus negligible.

    But I am pretty sure that if the reservoir overflows, because someone forgot to close the valve of the hose, that the 10,000 liter per minute “addition” of the big pump has nothing to do with it…

  183. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Unless you’re looking at a different dataset than me 1928 and 1948 are almost identical as are all the years in between. While the absolute error in any one year might be off by 1% the trend should not be unless the experiment was so sloppily done it couldn’t achieve better accuracy from one test to the next. You have not explained a thing in your response.

    I had no time yesterday to look at the original article of Etheridge e.a. (1996) about the Law Dome ice cores. The abstract says:
    The Law Dome ice core CO2 records show major growth in atmospheric CO2 levels over the industrial period, except during 1935-1945 A.D. when levels stabilized or decreased slightly, probably as a result of natural variations of the carbon cycle on a decadal timescale.

    May be right, but hardly provable. The natural variability over the past 50+ years was +/- 1 ppmv, but that lasts not more than 1-2 years (Pinatubo, El Niño). On the other side, emissions were still low in the period 1935-1945 (even in the war period), about 0.5-0.6 ppmv/year, which should result in an average atmospheric increase of 0.25-0.3 ppmv/year. Over the 10 year period of interest that is 2.5-3 ppmv, which is the increase shown 10 years later in 1955. It seems that some extra sink of 3 ppmv over a decade was at work…

    As we haven’t accurate direct measurements of that period (the historical chemical measurements were +/- 10 ppmv), neither an indication of a 10-year cold period, I simply have no idea why the decadal CO2 leveling happened.

  184. Bart says:
    September 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Once again, I am leaving aside arguments I feel will lead nowhere. I make this disclaimer because some people have suggested that, when I have moved on from previous explanations in other fora which were not making headway, they thought I was conceding the point.

    “What do you have with models? I have no model.”

    Your model is everything of which you have taken consideration.

    “The possibility that two curves in nature match each other with 99.66% ánd without showing much variability simply is zero. “

    Nonsense. They don’t match nearly that well. We went over this with Willis’ analysis way back when. Not only do they not match all that well over lower frequencies, but they share essentially no commonality in the higher frequency realm. You are using statistical methods which are not up to this task. You need more sophisticated tools.

    OK, my “model” is the simple plotting of the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere versus the accumulated CO2 emissions:

    In another way: temperature (yearly and smoothed with a 21 one years moving average, as that was used by some to “prove” temperature as cause of the CO2 increase), CO2 accumulated in the atmosphere and accumulated CO2 emissions versus years:

    No filtering applied, no smoothing in any way for the CO2 data, no statistical tools of any kind used. Simply plotting and R^2 calculated. If one magnifies the graph over only 5 years or so, one still can see the year-by-year variation in accumulation in the atmosphere.

    I didn’t find back your discussion with Willis, but I have some suspicion that you were looking at the rate of increase, which indeed doesn’t match that good with the emissions and better with temperature changes. But as said before, then you aren’t looking at the trend, but at the derivative of the trend…

    Btw, both warmers and skeptics alike agree that the increase rate is largely influenced by temperature changes. See e.g. Pieter Tans at:
    http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/co2conference/pdfs/tans.pdf from page 11 on.

    Some skeptics then jump to the conclusion that temperature is the main cause of the increase itself. But a derivative of a trend doesn’t tell anything about the cause of the trend…

  185. Dave Springer says:
    September 22, 2010 at 3:54 am

    The notion that the global ocean does nothing but absorb CO2 is ludicrous.

    Nobody syas that. There are a lot of inflows and outflows. Both continuous between the equator and the poles and discontinuous at mid-latitudes over the seasons. But for any change in amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, all what counts is the difference in inputs and outputs. Thus the net addition or uptake. And oceans show a net uptake.

    While in any one year the net of emission and absorption by the ocean may be a positive or negative number the difference is only a tiny amount of the whole annual exchange. When we say that anthropogenic CO2 is only a small fraction (roughly 3%) of total annual emissions that is a true statement. Moreover, total annual emission is only a tiny fraction of the total biologically available carbon. The author of the OP is quite correct in this regard.

    How much carbon is available in other reservoirs than the atmosphere is completely irrelevant, even if it is 10,000 times the amount in the atmosphere. How much is exchanged over the seasons and within a year is completely irrelevant, even if it was 100 times the CO2 content of the atmosphere or 10,000 times the human emissions. Only the difference between inputs and outputs is important, as that is what changes the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    Anyone with a household budget should (and mostly does) understand that…

    And the CO2 balance was always negative for atmosphere-ocean exchanges at least over the past 50+ years. The oceans didn’t add one gram of CO2 in net amount to the total mass of the atmosphere over the past 50 years.

  186. Paul Birch says:
    September 22, 2010 at 4:59 am

    In point of fact, it is not even known for sure that the oceans are a net sink from the atmosphere. They probably are, most of the time, since they are a continuing net source for the bottom ooze, which this material has to be come from somewhere; but it is not certain. Once one considers CO2 from sub-sea volcanoes and tectonic boundaries, as well as organics, carbonates and reduced carbon washed in from the land, it is quite possible that they are a net source to the atmosphere. There are other natural sinks, magnitude unknown, which may dominate, such as the sequestration of biomass by infilling of post-glacial lakes, and the sequestration of reduced organic carbon as finely divided particles throughout the soil and continental crust (which alone contains tens of thousands of times more carbon than the atmosphere).

    Paul, the oceans are impossible as source of extra CO2 for several reasons:
    – The isotopic composition is too high. Any extra release of oceanic CO2 would increase the d13C of the atmosphere, but we see the oppsoite: the drop of d13C in the atmosphere leads to a drop in the (upper) oceans.
    – An extra amount from the oceans would increase the atmospheric CO2 content higher that 4 ppmv/year (the human addition), except if another fast source would absorb the extra CO2 from the oceans + halve the human emissions. The only other fast source/sink is vegetation. But the oxygen balance only shows an absorption of about 0.6 ppmv net by vegetation, only a fraction of the human emissions.

  187. RW says:
    September 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm
    “Ah yes, so Paul Birch knows better than the hundreds of scientists who’ve actually studied these systems, does he? ”

    If hundreds of scientists commit a logical error, it is still a logical error. Appeals to authority leave me cold. Especially when I suspect that you are radically misinterpreting those authorities, who are generally not claiming what you think they are claiming. In any case, most other scientists would agree with me on this; they know how limited our knowledge of the oceans is, how complex the “carbon cycle” is, and how easily isotope ratios can mislead. There is a fundamental epistemological problem with isotope ratios, which is that one can seldom if ever be sure that the signal one thinks one sees is not an artifact of some unrelated phenomenon; as here, it is too easy inadvertantly to assume one’s conclusions. Isotope ratios can be useful in checking for or warning of inadequacies in a model or in our understanding of a planetary environment or history; but they have almost no reliable predictive or discriminatory power.

  188. Paul Birch says:
    September 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

    No, they don’t. There are innumerable phenomena that can change isotope ratios in either direction (and I mean this literally – that we cannot enumerate them all), especially when the gross flows are very much greater than the net variations. The shifts that you and Ferdinand rely upon do not prove what you want them to.

    Yes they do. Please do read my part 3 about the isotopes of carbon and the oxygen balance, before you discuss this further:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/16/engelbeen-on-why-he-thinks-the-co2-increase-is-man-made-part-3/

  189. On this topic (ways to look at the relative significance of the amount of CO2 we are releasing in comparison with the “natural” flows) I wrote something here some time ago. My ideas haven’t changed, so I copy it below.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/16/another-look-at-climate-sensitivity/

    Regarding our release of carbon that had been locked away… just like you point out that our energy use is tiny compared with what we get from the Sun, I shall point out that our release of carbon is also tiny compared with the vast transactions between the different parts of the system. This NASA chart of the carbon cycle is illustrative for piece of mind, if viewed with proper calm:

    http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography/ocean-earth-system/ocean-carbon-cycle/

    From that chart, you see that total amount of carbon in the extant fossil fuels still in the ground is roughly 1/8 the amount of carbon in the active system. The amount we are recycling annually back into the system is about 0.015% of the total carbon in the system.

    The cause for alarm, it seems to me, comes only if you adopt the assumption that our modest recycling program represents a very grave disturbance to a static and balanced system, whose balance coincides with its state around 1850. I consider this assumption to have no rational or scientific basis whatsoever. It is merely ideological.

    To begin with, the carbon we are releasing was once part of that dynamic system. We are recycling it back into life at what appears like a reasonable rate.

    A few years ago there was some talk of a “missing sink” to refer to the supposedly surprising fact that about half the CO2 we release does not accumulate in the atmosphere. This nonsensical phrase has now been sensibly dropped. How can sinks be missing? The surprise came only from the unwarranted assumption that the other entities that hold CO2 should refuse to take any extra amounts, on some kind of unwritten principle of carbon austerity by plants and oceans.

    But why on earth would it be surprising that the plants take notice of variations in what is available for them to take – and proceed take it – as they are indeed taking it. Didn’t they once hold much of the very carbon we are now putting back in circulation? And why would it be surprising that the oceans also “take notice” of variations in the partial pressure of this gas in the atmosphere, and open their huge arms accordingly?

    Alternatively, for illustrative purposes, you could look at the atmosphere as a giant pool with huge drains and pipes leading in and out of two other giant pools represented by the oceans and the plants/soil. So now we add our own little dripping faucet contribution to this giant global commerce, and we take ourselves so seriously that we assume the huge drains of this pool will be overwhelmed by our contribution, which will thus accumulate indefinitely. There are ribald jokes about ants having grandiose perceptions of their sanitary relations with elephants, or ants standing on a railway track and worried sick that they may cause a catastrophic derailment of the next train. I find them appropriate, sometimes, to the AGW discussions.

    I think it could probably be demonstrated that even a doubling of CO2 concentrations from current levels is extremely unlikely, if not impossible, as a strict consequence of our contribution.

  190. Steven Mosher says:
    September 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm
    [….]
    If you propose a theory which says that the effect of more Ghgs in the atmosphere is an earth that is the same temperature or cooler… Then that theory is disconfirmed by the last 160 years. If you have a theory that predicts higher temps from higher GHGs, then that theory is confirmed by the last 160 years.

    First, for the record, I object to the use of the Greenhouse Gases (GHG) terminology, which is an unscientific misnomer. The debate about anthropogenic global warming will benefit by the abandonment and halt to reinforcing the popular usage of such an unscientific and misleading term of reference.

    Second, your proposition erroneously assumes there is a correlation between changes in the atmospheric concentrations of certain gases such as carbon dioxide and methane and resultant global air temperatures and sea temperatures. Paleontological and geological evidence demonstrates no such correlation. On the contrary, the changes in global air temperatures and sea temperatures have been demonstrated to be highly uncorrelated and often counter-trending. AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) proponents like to dismiss the evidence prior to their favorite recent time period, such as the last 160 years, using the argument that circumstances have changed with increased human additions of these gases from the combustion of fossil fuels.

    The fatal problem with arguing for a changed situation with anthropogenic influences is the unchanging laws of physics that were just as applicable in the recent past as they were for billions of years before. If there were any validity to the AGW argument and assumption/s about a correlation between the gases and global temperatures, the changes in these gas concentrations and global temperatures would have to have been virtually as well correlated in all past time periods of the Earth’s present third atmosphere as any putative correlations are now, including the effects of other confounding factors. Geological evidence and paleontological evidence unmistakably rule out this possibility.

    No one has shown any ability whatsoever to take the claimed warming rates for the recent past under scrutiny for human influences, apply the same first principles to the gas concentrations of the Phanerozoic Eon, and obtain calculated results that are not orders of magnitude too high and too low in relation to the observed conditions (wildly wrong). No matter whose proposed warming rate is used for the gas concentrations under discussion, they always result in proposed paleoclimate temperatures far in excess of the 20-22C mean observed in the evidence from the natural past. The only rational conclusion is to find the proposed warming rates and claimed correlations to gas concentrations are simply invalid in the absence of a correlaton in application of the rules of physics for present and past.

  191. D. Patterson

    re; greenhouse effect

    It’s not that bad of misnomer. Glass lets shortwave pass through and blocks longwave just like atmospheric gases. It’s true that the major effect of the glass in warming the greenhouse is convective cooling but that doesn’t mean it has no other effect at all. In fact it has quite an effect and you can see it all around where I live. Naive people build some grand houses with magnificent south facing views here in the Texas hill country and before the second summer passes by you’ll see sunscreens blocking the view out those windows. The sunscreen isn’t blocking convection it’s blocking light because that light is being absorbed inside the house and re-reradiated in longwave which doesn’t make it back out through the window. The house is being made warmer in exactly the same way that greenhouse gases do it.

  192. Ferdinand Engelbeen Said
    September 21, 2010 at 3.30am

    “CO2 from natural or non-natural bush fires, wood burning, exhaling CO2 from all lifeforms, vegetation decay,… doesn’t count: it is all recirculating CO2 which was captured a few days to a few hundred years ago from the same atmosphere. That doesn’t change the CO2 content, neither the isotopic composition of the current atmosphere, except if there is an unbalance. The unbalance can be measured from oxygen use: there is a small deficit, compared to the calculated use of oxygen by fossil fuel burning. That means that all biolife together is a net producer of oxygen, thus a net sink for CO2 (and preferentially of 12CO2).”

    This statement is very important because it directly contradicts IPCC and CAGW propagada. IPCC is saying everyone should be vegetarian to save the world. I live in New Zealand where an Emissions Trading Scheme has just been established, although not unduly onerous at this time. In 2015, agricluture is due to start coming in at 5% of its emissions each year. Farmers here are saying that if we have the same numbers of livestock as we had 20 years ago, how can we be penalised for our “gross emissions” when the amount of methane being released has not increased – therefore not causing GW. I, along with many others, have tried to point this fallacy out to our government but it is totally ignored.
    IPCC is saying the world should go vegetarian to save the world. Of course this will excuse rice growing, a major emitter of methane but what the heck. The other line of logic used by farmers is that a cow cannot manufacture carbon. It has to have come from the atmosphere in the first place (given that soil carbon has not changed). Again ignored. And our last line of defence is that sure cows emit methane, but so do wetlands (and India’s cows). So why don’t we drain half the wetlands and kill the indian cows? Ah – we want biodiversity and we don’t want productive cows. It is like trying to have a discussion with a lunatic.

    Alan Sutherland

  193. Dave Springer says:
    September 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    re; greenhouse effect

    It’s not that bad of misnomer. Glass lets shortwave pass through and blocks longwave just like atmospheric gases. It’s true that the major effect of the glass in warming the greenhouse is convective cooling but that doesn’t mean it has no other effect at all.[…]

    Language matters. When a pseudo-scientific term such as Greenhouse Gas and Greenhouse Effect is used without challenge as false propaganda to mislead, deceive, and indoctrinate the general public for the purpose of gaining their trust for implementing policies that result in the mass killings of human beings, it stands to reason the term is a very very “bad misnomer.” We only need to look at the death toll from Mao’s Great Cultural Revolution for the practical results of such usages of terminology, or George Orwell’s newspeak for the theory. Your own comments illustrate the problem when they repeat the pseudo-scientific myths associated with the terminology. A search of the terms “Greenhouse Gas” “misnomer” provides some informative pro and con viewpoints on the subject.

    Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within The Frame Of Physics. Version 4.0 (January 6, 2009) replaces Version 1.0 (July 7, 2007) and later. Electronic version of an article published as International Journal of Modern Physics
    B, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2009) 275{364 , DOI No: 10.1142/S021797920904984X,
    Scientific Publishing Company, http://www.worldscinet.com/ijmpb.

    R. W. Wood. “Note on the Theory of the Greenhouse”, Philosophical magazine 17
    319-320 (1909).

    Niels Bohr. On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules, Part I. Philosophical Magazine Series 6, Volume 26 July 1913, p. 1-25.

  194. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm
    Paul Birch says:
    September 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

    No, they don’t. There are innumerable phenomena that can change isotope ratios in either direction (and I mean this literally – that we cannot enumerate them all), especially when the gross flows are very much greater than the net variations. The shifts that you and Ferdinand rely upon do not prove what you want them to.

    Yes they do. Please do read my part 3 about the isotopes of carbon and the oxygen balance, before you discuss this further:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/16/engelbeen-on-why-he-thinks-the-co2-increase-is-man-made-part-3/

    If your remarks about d13C ratio being evidence of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions in the Northern Hemisphere had any validity, there could be no positive and negative excursions in the atmospheric d13C levels. In your remarks, you made claims that the d13C levels were in decline in concert with anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the statements of fact you use as the basis for your entire argument are invalid, and obviously so. The atmospheric levels of d13C have been documented to vary with a wide variety of known factors such as Solar activity on 11 year and multi-century scales, krumholz and tundra soil changes, changes in planktonic activities in the oceans, changes in calcerous planktonic activities, changes in sea levels, changes in marshland areal extents, and much much more. Investigators have also commented upon the tremendous lack of knowledge we have about other factors still waiting to be explored in their most fundamental aspects for there potential impacts upon the use of d13C in radiocarbon dating. Suffice it to observe, major excursions of d13C concentrations in the atmosphere do happen, have happened, and are the subject of much past scientific investigations. I can only wonder how and why you would choose to claim this smoothed decline in d13C contrary to all of this contrary scientific research.

  195. Dave Springer says:
    September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm
    @Engelbeen

    Unless you’re looking at a different dataset than me 1928 and 1948 are almost identical as are all the years in between. While the absolute error in any one year might be off by 1% the trend should not be unless the experiment was so sloppily done it couldn’t achieve better accuracy from one test to the next. You have not explained a thing in your response.

    You seem to be trying to make a big deal about the lack of a significant trend in CO2 concentrations during the 1930s and 1940s. Consider the following:

    Currently we emit ~7GtC per annum. The net increase in the atmosphere due to these emissions is ~2ppm. Some years (e.g. El Nino years) it will be more than 2 ppm – some years (e.g. La Nina years) in will be less. In the 1928-48 period CO2 emissions were ~1 GtC. Using the above ratios we might expect the annual increase in the 1928-48 period to be ~0.3 ppm. However, because of the fluctuations in ocean conditions (e.g. ENSO) we might also expect a drop in CO2 in some years. The 1928-48 period spans a period when a “PDO” shift resulted in a change in the El Nino/La Nina frequency. For most of the 1928-48 period the CO2 trend was consistent with what we might expect, i.e. it increased at ~0.3 ppm per annum. The trend flattened as the upper ocean cooled.

    In a nutsell, ocean conditions could easily mask the CO2 increase in these relatively low emission years.

    However, if human emissions had no effect then we would actually expect immediate post-war atmospheric CO2 concentrations to be slightly lower than pre-war concentrations. They weren’t. In fact, as emissions grew in the 1950s we observed an increased rate of accumulation in the atmosphere. In the mid-1950s global emissions exceeded 2GtC per year; by the mid-1960s they had exceeded 3GtC and by the 1970s CO2 global emissions were more than 4GtC.

    By some strange “coincidence” the rate at which CO2 concentrations accumulated in the atmosphere also increased over the same period.

    The only times that ice core data shows a CO2 increase which is anywhere near comparable to the increase seen in the last 50-100 years were following ice ages. But that took a 5-6 deg swing in temperature and several thousand years before the increases was fully realised.

  196. Francisco says:
    September 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    The cause for alarm, it seems to me, comes only if you adopt the assumption that our modest recycling program represents a very grave disturbance to a static and balanced system, whose balance coincides with its state around 1850. I consider this assumption to have no rational or scientific basis whatsoever. It is merely ideological.

    The logical, scientific basis is in the (geological recent) past: the ice ages and interglacials show a quite linear relationship between temperature and CO2 levels, where CO2 levels lag temperature. Which means that all natural processes together led to a dynamic equilibrium, which was quite stable over the past 800,000 years, only influenced by temperature changes. We are now 100+ ppmv above that equilibrium…

    To begin with, the carbon we are releasing was once part of that dynamic system. We are recycling it back into life at what appears like a reasonable rate.

    Yes, most was buried many millions of years ago at CO2 levels 10-12 times current. But the recycling rate is a little faster than the burying rate, some million times… And the difference in atmospheric change rate is about 100 ppmv in 160 years now, compared to 100 ppmv in 5,000 years during a glacial-interglacial transition…

  197. D. Patterson says:
    September 23, 2010 at 1:05 am

    If your remarks about d13C ratio being evidence of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions in the Northern Hemisphere had any validity, there could be no positive and negative excursions in the atmospheric d13C levels. In your remarks, you made claims that the d13C levels were in decline in concert with anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the statements of fact you use as the basis for your entire argument are invalid, and obviously so. The atmospheric levels of d13C have been documented to vary with a wide variety of known factors such as Solar activity on 11 year and multi-century scales, krumholz and tundra soil changes, changes in planktonic activities in the oceans, changes in calcerous planktonic activities, changes in sea levels, changes in marshland areal extents, and much much more.

    As the Epica ice core shows, the largest change in d13C was between the deepest cold period (LGM) and the current warm period, the Holocene. That shows a change of +0.5 per mil d13C in the atmosphere over a period of about 5,000 years. See:

    http://epic.awi.de/Publications/Khl2004e.pdf

    That includes all the above changes you did cite…

    The last 11,000 years in ice cores show a natural increase of 0.25 per mil in the d13C level in the first part of the Holocene, while the last part shows a drop of 0.05 per mil.
    See: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7263/full/nature08393.html

    Only in the last 150 years there is a sudden drop of -1.6 per mil in atmospheric d13C level, far beyond the natural variability of +/- 0.1 per mil in the centuries before the post-1850 period. Do you really think that any natural process is responsible for this drop, while there is an obvious cause present in the form of fossil fuel use?

  198. Francisco says:
    September 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    That read very well. Thanks. Great comment on the subject.

  199. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 23, 2010 at 2:58 am

    “The logical, scientific basis is in the (geological recent) past: the ice ages and interglacials show a quite linear relationship between temperature and CO2 levels, where CO2 levels lag temperature. Which means that all natural processes together led to a dynamic equilibrium, which was quite stable over the past 800,000 years, only influenced by temperature changes. We are now 100+ ppmv above that equilibrium…”

    Actually what you can see from ice cores is that temperature swings wildly from ice age to interglacial while CO2 remains relatively stable and what variation there is in the CO2 level is a result of temperature swings not a cause of them.

    The lack of ability to influence temperature becomes much more dramatic when looking at the geologic column outside of ice ages where we see that CO2 levels up to 20 times higher didn’t result in detrimental overheating but rather accompanies the most verdant periods in the earth’s history where the earth is green from pole to pole and where the fossil fuel beds were laid down in the first place like a person in their peak earning years saves for retirement.

  200. John Finn says:
    September 23, 2010 at 2:51 am

    You seem to be trying to make a big deal about the lack of a significant trend in CO2 concentrations during the 1930s and 1940s.

    It demonstrates that sinks and sources of CO2 vary independantly of anthropogenic emissions on decadal timescales. Combine this with the fact that ice cores going back in time more than 1000 years don’t have the temporal resolution to record decadal changes as the gas diffuses before sealing and sealing can take centuries.

    It’s a big deal if you happen to be in the business of promoting narratives that say natural sinks and sources are constants and anthopogenic sources are the variable.

    In fact, as emissions grew in the 1950s we observed an increased rate of accumulation in the atmosphere. In the mid-1950s global emissions exceeded 2GtC per year; by the mid-1960s they had exceeded 3GtC and by the 1970s CO2 global emissions were more than 4GtC.

    By some strange “coincidence” the rate at which CO2 concentrations accumulated in the atmosphere also increased over the same period.

    Glad you mentioned that. While atmospheric CO2 was growing consistently during those decades there was no increase in global average temperature which again shows that rising CO2 doesn’t precipitate higher temperatures but rather higher temperatures precipitate higher CO2 concentrations.

    So in your opinion can anthropogenic GHG contributions terminate the ice age and return the earth to being green from pole to pole and persisting in that stable state for many millions of years? One can only hope it can but I fear it cannot.

  201. D.Patterson

    The “greenhouse” term used in relation to atmospheric gases dates back to the mid-1800’s when it was believed that water vapor had this effect. In 1859 the great experimenal physicist John Tyndall proved it by measuring the longwave absorptive properties of gases in a series of thousands of experiments with varied gases, pressures, and longwave radiation sources.

    The greenhouse effect is not something either recently coined or recently adopted by scientists although it’s probably only recently popularized among those with comparatively little knowledge or interest in physics and engineering. In this day and age of instantaneous global electronic communications to the masses lots of things get popularized very quickly.

    The objection you raise I understand is quite old as well as urban legend has it that someone constructed a greenhouse using panes of rock salt instead of glass and it still worked as a greenhouse. I doubt anyone actually built a whole greenhouse of rock salt though but in principle it still would keep the temperature up in the winter somewhat although not as much as one made of glass.

    By the way, a greenhouse in the summer can get much warmer than the air outside it. That’s because convective and radiative cooling is stopped but radiative warming has not been stopped. This is most dramatically illustrated by the normal and frequent observation of what happens to the inside temperature of a car when the windows are rolled up on a hot summer day parked in the sun.

  202. Kind of OT but not really, I thoroughly enjoy threads with differing opinions and prospects. The truth is interpreted and digested so differently it opens up ones mind and understanding. A few years ago we had lots of intermingling of opinions here on WUWT and then the last couple was like preaching to the choir. Boring.
    I’m so happy to have and read posts from the CAGW side without being censored. We may differ in our understanding, but we are all here for the same reason. Truth.
    You are very welcome here and make this site better, just thought I’d let you know. :)

    Cheers

    Lance

  203. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 23, 2010 at 2:58 am

    Yes, most was buried many millions of years ago at CO2 levels 10-12 times current. But the recycling rate is a little faster than the burying rate, some million times… And the difference in atmospheric change rate is about 100 ppmv in 160 years now, compared to 100 ppmv in 5,000 years during a glacial-interglacial transition…

    Yes but on average some or all of the the CO2 sinks have been growing parallel with increasing anthropogenic CO2 contribution. It’s a well known fact that CO2 is plant food and more of it causes accelerated plant growth until something else (temperature, sunlight, water, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, iron, etc.) becomes the limiting factor. More CO2 doesn’t slow plant growth and indeed in any circumstance it brings about more efficient transpiration and decreased water use per unit of plant growth so in any situation where water is the limiting factor increased CO2 still accelerates plant growth.

    A reasonable view of what’s happening is human CO2 emission, which happens close to the ground in the immediate proximity of plants that will benefit from it simply increases the total biomass of the planet with some lag time of probably no more than several years before the biosphere grows enough so that other limiting factors come back into play. In fact this has been known for quite some time and small scale experiments in ocean fertilization with chelated iron have been conducted. In the global ocean iron is often a limiting factor in plant growth so that seemed like a quick & easy way to sequester a lot of CO2 in diatom skeletons (which contain about 10% of the carbon the diatom uses during its life) that sink to the bottom of very deep water.

    I’ve yet to find any net downside to a warmer earth with higher CO2 concentration regardless of the factors causing it. I hope it continues because there is a huge downside to falling temperatures and falling CO2 unless you happen to prefer a surface covered in ice and rocks to one covered by plants and animals. You’re not an ice hugger are you? I’ve actually little doubt that anthropogenic activity is to some significant extent responsible for the rising CO2 concentration in the atmosphere as the correlation is very compelling. Where correlation is conflated with causation (hasty conclusions) and other contributing factors are either poorly characterized or completely ignored then I begin to object.

    Historical narrative is difficult to test by the scientific method which demands, among other things, isolation of variables and repeatable experiments. There is no way, even in principle, to go back in time and stop fossil fuel consumption and see what happens as a result. Any account of what would happen is conjecture. My guess is that the atmospheric carbon cycle today would be 993 gigatons instead of 1000 gigatons and the observable change in the biosphere and the climate would be negligible. On the other hand the slight increase in the carbon cycle may have been just enough to end the Little Ice Age and without it the Holocene interglacial might be coming to a rapid ending and then we’d be in a real world of hurt along with the rest of the living world.

  204. Dave Springer says:
    September 23, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Actually what you can see from ice cores is that temperature swings wildly from ice age to interglacial while CO2 remains relatively stable and what variation there is in the CO2 level is a result of temperature swings not a cause of them.

    Did I say something different? “Relative stable”, that is relative: a difference of 100 ppmv on a scale of 300 ppmv is quite large…

    The lack of ability to influence temperature becomes much more dramatic when looking at the geologic column outside of ice ages where we see that CO2 levels up to 20 times higher didn’t result in detrimental overheating but rather accompanies the most verdant periods in the earth’s history where the earth is green from pole to pole and where the fossil fuel beds were laid down in the first place like a person in their peak earning years saves for retirement.

    You can’t compare the influence of CO2 changes over different geological times that easy (even the sun was far less active in the far past). Besides the accuracy of the proxies towards the past and the timing problems, there were huge differences in placing of the continents.

    But nevertheless, even in the past 800,000 years with minor geological changes, the influence of CO2 on temperature is small, see:

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

  205. Dave Springer says:
    September 23, 2010 at 5:22 am

    It demonstrates that sinks and sources of CO2 vary independantly of anthropogenic emissions on decadal timescales.

    Agreed, but besides the influence of temperature (which explains about 70% of the short term variability), the decadal variations are quite small (+/- 2 ppmv, of which a large part even can be from the accuracy of the ice core measurements). In the past 50 years with more accurate direct measurements only +/- 1 ppmv…

    While the resolution towards the past is worse, the different ice cores with overlapping periods show the same averages (+/- 3 ppmv) for the same gas age. That doesn’t point to more variability in the past, to the contrary, but of course we can’t prove it as we have no such fine resolution in ice cores for the far past and other measurements in proxies like stomata data with a better resolution have their own accuracy problems…

  206. Alan Sutherland says:
    September 22, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    re; methane production

    Yes, rice cultivation is responsible for about half the anthropogenic methane emission and the largest rice producers are not western civilizations. Western civilization is the designated scapegoat for global warming climate change global climate disruption so indeed you are right that the major source of methane is off-limits with regard to amelioration. Adding insult to injury is that methane, which could be easily and greatly reduced by modifying the mix of agricultural products and better capture of leaks in the fossil fuel industry, accounts for half the ostensible greenhouse gas effect that CO2 has. Basically we get beef and rice (instead of say soybeans and chickens) in return for rapidly rising atmospheric methane (methane rise is near twice as rapid as CO2 rise). On the flip side anthropogenic CO2 emission accelerates both cultivated and non-cultivated plant growth, reduces water requirements per unit of plant growth, even as it provides a ready source of cheap energy that enables the growth of industrial civilization and the great advances in technology that are concommitant with industrial growth.

    If anyone is truly concerned about the growing amount of greenhouse gases and not using it speciously to promote some underlying unvoiced Malthusian agenda then we’d be talking about methane not CO2 as the primary means of limiting the greenhouse effect. In fact since methane has a rather short lifetime in the atmosphere reducing production of it might actually have a measurable effect in a matter of years instead of decades and if we didn’t like the effect we could just as quickly reverse the change. Methane is a lot more friendly to experimentation that way. The truth of the matter is that few warmists are intested in experimentation or actually reducing the greenhouse effect. What they’re interested in is blaming western civilization for global climate disruption and that can only done if CO2 is the bogeyman.

  207. Paul Birch, it’s quite hilarious that you think the entire body of established scientific literature on this is somehow logically in error, you accuse me of misrepresenting the literature, and yet you won’t even answer the question of which papers you’ve read on the subject. Your beliefs about isotopic ratios are not shared by any of the scientists in numerous disciplines who use them as reliable indicators of a wide range of phenomena.

    Your logic, meanwhile, is deeply, deeply flawed. Observations show rising CO2 in atmosphere and oceans, and declining 13C content in atmosphere and oceans. It’s very simple and natural to understand that this is due to the release of ~1000Gt of CO2 from fossil fuels, which accounts for the magnitude of the observed rise in CO2, decline in 13C, and the time at which both these phenomena began.

    You, on the other hand, seem to believe some alternative hypothesis, although you haven’t specified what it is. Your alternative hypothesis would need to explain where all the fossil fuel CO2 went, thus requiring an unknown CO2 sink capable of absorbing about 1000Gt of CO2. It would also invoke another source of CO2 of comparable magnitude. It would also have to explain why this vast source and vast sink only appeared when major fossil fuel burning began. And it would need to explain why δ13C is declining in both the atmosphere and oceans, and why the decline started at the same time as major fossil fuel burning began.

    I await the details with great interest.

  208. Dave Springer says:
    [….]
    The objection you raise I understand is quite old as well as urban legend has it that someone constructed a greenhouse using panes of rock salt instead of glass and it still worked as a greenhouse. I doubt anyone actually built a whole greenhouse of rock salt though but in principle it still would keep the temperature up in the winter somewhat although not as much as one made of glass.
    [….]

    The rock salt panes for a greenhouse is no urban myth at all. If you read the references provided, you would see a wealth of historical information about the experiments of Tyndall and many others, including the old and recent rock salt greenhouse experiments. You are still repeating some of the old myths about how the gardener’s greenhouse warming occurs. The Earth is not warmed by the atmosphere insulating the planet like a blanket. The atmosphere is not warmed by the reflection of longwave IR radiation to the Earth’s surface. These and other myths associated with the pseudo-scientific jargon of AGW climate science is an illustration of how such newspeak is used to indoctrinate the general public with faulty concepts.

  209. Dave Springer says:
    September 23, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Yes but on average some or all of the the CO2 sinks have been growing parallel with increasing anthropogenic CO2 contribution.

    Yes, but two comments:
    – A doubling of CO2 doesn’t double plant growth, not even with higher temperatures:

    http://www.co2science.org/subject/g/summaries/temp+co2ag.php

    – An increase of CO2 in the atmosphere will increase the net oceanic absorption above the average solubility, but again not 100%, as the oceans are slow emitters/absorbers: some 40 years needed to halve the difference. Not relevant on geological times, but relevant over decades.
    Thus in both cases, some CO2 (about 45%) is absorbed, some (55%) remains in the atmosphere, as long as we go on with (increasing) emissions.

    My guess is that the atmospheric carbon cycle today would be 993 gigatons instead of 1000 gigatons and the observable change in the biosphere and the climate would be negligible.

    Just a guess, but science is beyond guessing: human emitted 340 GtC, increase in the atmosphere is 210 GtC, the rest absorbed by nature. Thus nature was a net sink for CO2, not a source. Maybe in some years, but more sink in other years and sink only in the past 50 years. Increase in the ocean mixed layer match, increasing biomass matches, isotopic changes match, oxygen use matches,…

    I am quite sure that a modest increase in temperature would be beneficial for nature and mankind. Even if I prefer icy destinations (Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Alaska,… Antarctica still on my -expensive- wish list) for visiting, my garden prefers a better climate than it has now…

  210. Dave Springer says:
    September 23, 2010 at 5:22 am


    John Finn says:
    September 23, 2010 at 2:51 am


    In fact, as emissions grew in the 1950s we observed an increased rate of accumulation in the atmosphere. In the mid-1950s global emissions exceeded 2GtC per year; by the mid-1960s they had exceeded 3GtC and by the 1970s CO2 global emissions were more than 4GtC.

    By some strange “coincidence” the rate at which CO2 concentrations accumulated in the atmosphere also increased over the same period.

    Glad you mentioned that. While atmospheric CO2 was growing consistently during those decades there was no increase in global average temperature which again shows that rising CO2 doesn’t precipitate higher temperatures but rather higher temperatures precipitate higher CO2 concentrations.

    You’re now beginning to contradict yourself. You say “CO2 was growing consistently during those decades there was no increase in global average temperature” then “higher temperatures precipitate higher CO2 concentrations” Which is it? Surely if temperatures were flat or falling then CO2 levels should have been flat or falling.

    The temperature trend throughout 1950s, 60s and 70s was flat because there was a natural cooling cycle in place. CO2 concentrations in 1970 were ~325 ppm. The forcing relative to the pre-industrial era is ~0.7 w/m2 (i.e. 5.35*ln(325/285)). This implies a warming of ~0.2 deg C which is easily offset by natural climate varibility.

    You need to get some perspective of the timescales and the magnitude of the forcings involved. The CO2/tmepratue relationship is ~10 ppm per deg C. We’ve seen more than 100 ppm increase for a temeprature rise of ~0.7 deg. Your numbers don’t stack up.

  211. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 23, 2010 at 2:58 am
    “The logical, scientific basis is in the (geological recent) past: the ice ages and interglacials show a quite linear relationship between temperature and CO2 levels, where CO2 levels lag temperature. Which means that all natural processes together led to a dynamic equilibrium, which was quite stable over the past 800,000 years, only influenced by temperature changes. We are now 100+ ppmv above that equilibrium.”
    ————–
    So if the undisputed leader in this dynamic equilibrium has always been temperature, and we have observed that temperature has never responded to changes in CO2, while always being quite forceful in making CO2 respond to its lead, one wonders why all the sudden worry that CO2 may take the lead in this relation, just because of our adding the equivalent of a trickle in a pool whose drains (which are quite elastic) handle daily flows many many many times larger. It seems obvious these two (CO2 and Temperature) cannot have a mutually reinforcing influence on each other, else they would have spiraled in a runaway whirls long ago. One leads, and the other follows the lead.

    Every single floor of the CAGW edifice seems to me fraught with wild speculations and carefully guided assumptions that attempt to mask our overwhelming ignorance of the whole system, from the analysis of pre-industrial CO2 levels, to the carbon cycle, to CO2 forcings, to climate sensitivity, to feedbacks, to sea levels, to ocean acidification, to the reconstructions of past global temperatures (and even current ones), to the effects of a 1 or 2 deg C increase in global temperatures, and to the astonishing assumption that all the bizarre carbon credit schemes will ever have any measurable effect on anything other than wealth transfers. This whole edifice is made of thin paper cards miraculously kept up by self-sustaining greed. This has to be one of the most spectacular cases of mass delusion in history.

  212. Francisco says:
    September 23, 2010 at 11:14 am

    So if the undisputed leader in this dynamic equilibrium has always been temperature, and we have observed that temperature has never responded to changes in CO2, while always being quite forceful in making CO2 respond to its lead, one wonders why all the sudden worry that CO2 may take the lead in this relation, just because of our adding the equivalent of a trickle in a pool whose drains (which are quite elastic) handle daily flows many many many times larger. It seems obvious these two (CO2 and Temperature) cannot have a mutually reinforcing influence on each other, else they would have spiraled in a runaway whirls long ago. One leads, and the other follows the lead.

    Not too fast… That temperature was (always) leading in the past, doesn’t exclude any influence of CO2 levels on temperature. We know since Tyndall times that CO2 captures IR/heat thus there must be some reaction. And as there are huge overlaps during transitions from cold to warm periods over the ice ages, that allows climate researchers to include huge feedbacks of CO2 on temperature. But there is one exception, the end of the Eemian (the previous interglacial): CO2 levels remained high while temperature was falling to a minimum. Then CO2 levels started to go down, but the 40 ppmv drop didn’t show a measurable influence on temperature. Based on that, all we can say is that the influence of CO2 is small. Smaller than what the climate models (and the official sensitivity range) indicate.

    BTW, temperature and CO2 can have a mutually reinforcing influence on each other without reaching a point of no return, as long as the combined reinforcing factor is less than 1.

  213. “”” Dave Springer says:
    September 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm
    D. Patterson

    re; greenhouse effect

    It’s not that bad of misnomer. Glass lets shortwave pass through and blocks longwave just like atmospheric gases. It’s true that the major effect of the glass in warming the greenhouse is convective cooling but that doesn’t mean it has no other effect at all. In fact it has quite an effect and you can see it all around where I live. Naive people build some grand houses with magnificent south facing views here in the Texas hill country and before the second summer passes by you’ll see sunscreens blocking the view out those windows. The sunscreen isn’t blocking convection it’s blocking light because that light is being absorbed inside the house and re-reradiated in longwave which doesn’t make it back out through the window. The house is being made warmer in exactly the same way that greenhouse gases do it. “””

    Well Dave, I wish it was all that simple; the glass blocking the thermal radiation. Of course it isn’t and the glass doesn’t.

    It is true that the glass does absorb the LWIR that is generated inside the “greenhouse”; it does not reflect it (much).

    In fact the glass absorbs that LWIR energy; and that is why the glass gets hot; very hot in fact if it is a good enough absorber.

    And then of course the heated glass itself radiaties LWIR thermal radiation correcposnding to its Temeprature; and half of THAT thermal emssion happens outside the greenhouse and it escapes.

    But the convection blocking is of course always happening too.

    Curiously the earth”s atmos-pehre absorbs a lot of LWIR radiation that it was supposed to block, and then it radiates about half of that in the secape direction; just like the greenhouse glass does.

  214. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 23, 2010 at 3:27 am

    As the Epica ice core shows, the largest change in d13C was between the deepest cold period (LGM) and the current warm period, the Holocene. That shows a change of +0.5 per mil d13C in the atmosphere over a period of about 5,000 years. See:

    http://epic.awi.de/Publications/Khl2004e.pdf

    That includes all the above changes you did cite…

    The last 11,000 years in ice cores show a natural increase of 0.25 per mil in the d13C level in the first part of the Holocene, while the last part shows a drop of 0.05 per mil.
    See: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v461/n7263/full/nature08393.html

    Only in the last 150 years there is a sudden drop of -1.6 per mil in atmospheric d13C level, far beyond the natural variability of +/- 0.1 per mil in the centuries before the post-1850 period. Do you really think that any natural process is responsible for this drop, while there is an obvious cause present in the form of fossil fuel use?

    Unfortunately for your thesis, other sources for d13C concentrations in the atmosphere, soils, and marine environments often differ or contradict the trends and magnitudes of d13C changes in the time periods.

    Cini Castagnoli, G.C., Bonino, G., Taricco, C. and Bernasconi, S.M. 2002. Solar radiation variability in the last 1400 years recorded in the carbon isotope ratio of a Mediterranean sea core. Advances in Space Research 29: 1989-1994.
    What was done
    Variations in ð13C from symbiontic foraminifera record the effects of productivity and of photosynthetic activity, varying with the ambient light level. Because ð13C time series can provide information on sea surface illumination at the time of planktonic foraminifera growth, they can be utilized as proxies of solar radiation variability. In this study, the authors search for possible solar-induced variations in the ð13C record of the foraminifera Globigerinoides rubber obtained from a sea core located in the Gallipoli terrace of the Gulf of Taranto (39°45’53″N, 17°53’33″E, depth of 178 m) over the past 1400 years.

    What was learned
    Starting at the beginning of the 1400-year record, the ð13C values increased from about 0.4 per mil around 600 A.D. to a value of 0.8 per mil by 900 A.D. Thereafter, the ð13C record remained relatively constant until about 1800, when it rose another 0.2 per mil to its present day value of around 1.0 per mil. Using a statistical procedure known as singular spectrum analysis, the authors were able to identify three important cyclical components of the record, having periods of approximately 11.3, 100 and 200 years. Comparison of both the raw ð13C and component data with the historical aurorae and sunspot time series, respectively, revealed that the records are “associable in phase” and “disclose a statistically significant imprint of the solar activity in a climate record.”

    What it means
    The authors note that the initial increase in their ð13C values coincides with the climatic transition from the Dark Ages Cold Period to the Medieval Warm Period, over which time frame oceanic productivity would indeed have been expected to increase. The other major ð13C increase starting at about 1800 coincides with the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration that accompanied the development and progression of the Industrial Revolution (see Carbon Dioxide – History: The Last 1000 Years in our Subject Index). Hence, the authors suggest that this latter productivity increase may be “possibly due to fossil fuel CO2 fertilization.” Altogether, therefore, their work appears to harmonize with what is known about decadal, centennial and millennial periodicities in solar activity, the effects of these phenomena on climate, and the beneficent effects of atmospheric CO2 enrichment on the biosphere.

    There is just one example of how a source reports paleontological evidence of an increase of d13C concentrations well beyond 0.1 mil after 1800, whereas you are claiming there is an undisputable decrease in d13C in some of the same time period. You also fail to acknowledge the innumerable ways in which atmospheric d13C concentrations can be and often are significantly diluted by means other than a fixation upon anthropogenic combustion of fossil fuels. Why have you never considered and addressed the way in which fluvial depositions of organic matter derived from anthropogenically cultivated C3 agricultural crop enriches the marine environments, where planktonic life relies upon the d13C depleted nutrients for their emissions to the atmosphere? Why do you neglect the effects of methane producing crop productions? Why do you neglect the effect of methane clathrates being released to produce d13C carbon dioxide following the end of warm climate episodes?

    In short, you give every appearance of jumping to unscientific conclusions by failing to undertake the scientific due diligence required to experimentally exclude a plethora of other evidence that contradicts your chosen source of information supporting a preconceived conclusion.

    As you know from our previous discussions, I consider your uncritical reliance upon the predominant interpretations of the ice core evidence as invalidated by other evidence, such as the demonstrated biological contamination of the ice core samples. Although you disagree, your argument that the gas molecules could not exfiltrate the ice despite the proven ability of the biological lifeforms to infiltrate the ice core sample is not a rational analysis, in my opinion.

    The Vostok ice cores, if I recall correctly, were obtained at least in part using diesel fuel oil as the drilling medium. When the ice cores were studied for their utility in establishing biological protocols for future studies of Martian samples, the researchers were surprised to find the Vostok ice cores had been infiltrated by bacteria. The pattern of infiltration was decreased from the outside surface of the ice core to levels not fully extending to the center of the ice core. This pattern suggests the bacterial contamination and infiltration must have taken placce at some time during and/following the drilling of the ice core. If the bacterial contamination had been present before drilling of the ice core, there would have to be an explanation for the pattern increasing towards the outer surface of the ice core instead of a uniform or random ditribution throughout the ice core.

    Your reasoning failed to explain how it is supposed to be impossible for gas molecules to migrate through the ice in situ or exfiltrate the ice before, during, and after drilling, when there is direct evidence of bacterial lifeforms of far greater sizes infiltrating the same ice. Given these contradictions, your reliance upon the claimed findings for the ice cores without adequate critical examinations tends to make all other analyses using this data as suspect in their findings and conclusions as well.

  215. amount to the total mass of the atmosphere over the past 50 years.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm
    [….]
    Paul, the oceans are impossible as source of extra CO2 for several reasons:
    – The isotopic composition is too high. Any extra release of oceanic CO2 would increase the d13C of the atmosphere, but we see the oppsoite: the drop of d13C in the atmosphere leads to a drop in the (upper) oceans.
    – An extra amount from the oceans would increase the atmospheric CO2 content higher that 4 ppmv/year (the human addition), except if another fast source would absorb the extra CO2 from the oceans + halve the human emissions. The only other fast source/sink is vegetation. But the oxygen balance only shows an absorption of about 0.6 ppmv net by vegetation, only a fraction of the human emissions.

    “The oceans are” possible and not “impossible as source of extra CO2 for several reasons.” For one example, methane clathrates formed during cold climate cycles are warmed during warm climate cycles and release vast quantities of methane from the seafloor to the atmosphere. The methane clathrates were formed from lifeforms that were depleted in the d13C isotope, so the methane is also depleted in d13C relative to other fossil fuels and the carbon dioxide isotopic balance standards. The methane deccomposes into atmospheric carbon dioxide that is also relatively depleted in d13C. The mixing of the d13C carbon dioxide gases released from the methane clathrates thusly decrease the percentage of d13C in the atmospheric carbon dioxide during its time of residence in the atmosphere.

    PDO and MAO cycles and other factors governing oceanic currents and upwelling of benthic nutrients modulate the isotopic carbon such as d13C emissions from the hydrosphere to the atmosphere.

  216. RW says:
    September 23, 2010 at 7:43 am “Paul Birch, it’s quite hilarious that you think the entire body of established scientific literature on this is somehow logically in error”

    No, I know that you (RW, Ferdinand and a few others) are persistently promoting a blatant logical fallacy, of ascribing sole causation to just one arbitrarily chosen factor out of many in an underspecified sum. Until you can recognise that basic fallacy, nothing you say has any value or validity, so I will not debate with you, or even bother reading what you say. You clearly do not understand the science (where much of the crucial biochemistry and physical chemistry is quantitatively uncertain) or the scientists (who are not saying what you erroneously think they are saying) or the scientific method (which must not assume its conclusions), so there is no point in discussing the scientific literature with you. It would be like debating the finer points of theology with an atheist. However, since you do seem to be authority worshippers, allow me to inform you that I have had considerable scientific experience with isotope abundance controversies, most notably the Martian N15 problem, and I cannot recall ever having come across a case in which the isotope evidence has proved conclusive or convincing, except as a confirmation of what was already well established from other sources.

  217. D. Patterson says:
    September 24, 2010 at 1:51 am

    There is just one example of how a source reports paleontological evidence of an increase of d13C concentrations well beyond 0.1 mil after 1800, whereas you are claiming there is an undisputable decrease in d13C in some of the same time period. You also fail to acknowledge the innumerable ways in which atmospheric d13C concentrations can be and often are significantly diluted by means other than a fixation upon anthropogenic combustion of fossil fuels. Why have you never considered and addressed the way in which fluvial depositions of organic matter derived from anthropogenically cultivated C3 agricultural crop enriches the marine environments, where planktonic life relies upon the d13C depleted nutrients for their emissions to the atmosphere? Why do you neglect the effects of methane producing crop productions? Why do you neglect the effect of methane clathrates being released to produce d13C carbon dioxide following the end of warm climate episodes?

    As you example indicates: the d13C change is a proxy for light intensity derived from organic matter from one species of foraminifera, not of atmospheric or sea (surface) d13C levels. The latter can be derived from calcite deposits from coccoliths, sclero sponges and corals, as these reflect the INorganic d13C levels from the (bi)carbonates in the mixed layer of the oceans.

    In contrast, the ice cores give global averages for CO2 and d13C in the atmosphere and the sponges for large areas of the oceans: near the whole North Atlantic gyre for the Bermuda sponges.

    The same for the river discharges: these may show huge differences in local d13C, but ultimately that is dispersed over much larger volumes of ocean waters and peanuts compared to the massive quantities of high d13C already in the deep oceans.

    Methane production by humans is part of the human emissions and add partly to the CO2 increase and d13C decline, that is simply additional (as good as land use changes are additional) to the use of fossil fuels. Clathrate decomposition now is not different from previous periods in history: the previous interglacial (the Eemian) was globally a few degrees warmer than this period, with temperatures in the Nordic areas over 5 degr.C higher than nowadays. Forests did grow up to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska and Siberia, halve of the Greenland ice sheet was melted away. The North Pole was largely ice free, at least in summer. Thus clathrate decomposition (from melted permafrost and oceans) would be higher than today. Despite that, CH4 levels were not more than 700 ppbv, nowadays around 1800 ppbv.

    CH4 levels were quite stable 600-700 ppbv in the past 11,000 years of this interglacial, until around 1750 and increased very rapidely after that date:

    No matter how you look at the data, there are no known sources of low d13C in nature which can explain the rapid decline of d13C in the atmosphere and ocean mixed layer in the past few hundred years. Not the deep oceans (too high in d13C), not volcanic eruptions (too high in d13C), not vegetation (more O2 production -> more 12CO2 uptake -> more 13CO2 left in the atmosphere).

    As the CO2 and CH4 increase and the d13C decrease all coincidence with the increase in agriculture, land use changes and the use of fossil fuels and no other known natural massive releases of low d13CO2 exist, the only conclusion possible is that the CO2 increase is caused by these human factors.

  218. D. Patterson says:
    September 24, 2010 at 1:51 am

    The Vostok ice cores, if I recall correctly, were obtained at least in part using diesel fuel oil as the drilling medium. When the ice cores were studied for their utility in establishing biological protocols for future studies of Martian samples, the researchers were surprised to find the Vostok ice cores had been infiltrated by bacteria. The pattern of infiltration was decreased from the outside surface of the ice core to levels not fully extending to the center of the ice core. This pattern suggests the bacterial contamination and infiltration must have taken placce at some time during and/following the drilling of the ice core.

    Some reference please?

    It is possible that cracks occur during drilling and relaxation of the ice cores, allowing outside air and bacteria to penetrate into the ice. That doesn’t influence the ice core readings that much (except for large cracks), as the two methods used have not much problems with such contamination:
    – of all ice cores, the outer part is removed and only the inner part of the ice core is used.
    – for the grating technique: sample is brought into a chamber, vacuum is applied (which should remove contaminated air from the cracks) and then the ice is crushed, releasing about 80% of the air from still closed bubbles. That is what is measured for the different constituents.
    – for the sublimation technique: initially vacuum, then the temperature is increased just below the sublimation point. All parts of the ice are cryogenically solidified and afterwards separated and measured with mass spectrometers. Mostly used for isotopic composition measurements (and checks of the grating method).

    Moreover, where serious contamination of the ice cores occured, drilling fluid is detected in the ice core parts and highly fluctuating levels are found in the same part of the core. The contaminated parts show much higher CO2 levels than the uncontaminated parts, which is normal, because the outside air is at 390 ppmv nowadays (and drilling fluid may have absorbed some extra), while the CO2 levels in the ice core are measured at 180-300 ppmv…

  219. Paul Birch says:
    September 24, 2010 at 3:51 am

    No, I know that you (RW, Ferdinand and a few others) are persistently promoting a blatant logical fallacy, of ascribing sole causation to just one arbitrarily chosen factor out of many in an underspecified sum.

    It is not only the “underspecified” sum (which is sufficient evidence on itself), it is the evidence of all observations which makes that there is only one causation left. In my professional carreer, I frequently solved chemical and physical problems much faster by eleminating the impossibilities, rather that by looking at the possibilities. As there are only two (relative) fast sources and sinks of CO2: the oceans and vegetation, and both are clear sinks for CO2 (mass balance and O2 balance) and both increase the d13C levels of the atmosphere, and the d13C and CO2 levels follow the emissions with an incredible tight ratio, I don’t see any other possibility than that the emissions are the cause of the increase, as these fit all observations.

    If you know of any other theoretical or real alternative that fits all observations, I am very interested.

  220. I note, Paul Birch, that you refuse again to specify which papers you’ve read, and which if any support your views. All you’re doing is tiresomely repeating your dislike of isotope ratios. It has been patiently explained to you that there are many independent lines of evidence which prove the same thing. And yet you persist in believing some unspecified alternate hypothesis.

    Time to come clean – you’re not actually interested in the science, are you?

    REPLY: Since you’ve brought it up, yes time to “come clean”. RW, when will you stop hiding behind shadows while accusing others who have the courage to put their name to their words? Since these sniping posts of yours originate at a college, are you certain they fall within the Acceptable Use Policy? Given the demeanor of your behaviour here, I think it would be valuable for you to read. -A

  221. [blockquote]
    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 24, 2010 at 6:52 am
    [….]
    It is possible that cracks occur during drilling and relaxation of the ice cores, allowing outside air and bacteria to penetrate into the ice. That doesn’t influence the ice core readings that much (except for large cracks), as the two methods used have not much problems with such contamination:
    – of all ice cores, the outer part is removed and only the inner part of the ice core is used.
    – for the grating technique: sample is brought into a chamber, vacuum is applied (which should remove contaminated air from the cracks) and then the ice is crushed, releasing about 80% of the air from still closed bubbles. That is what is measured for the different constituents.
    – for the sublimation technique: initially vacuum, then the temperature is increased just below the sublimation point. All parts of the ice are cryogenically solidified and afterwards separated and measured with mass spectrometers. Mostly used for isotopic composition measurements (and checks of the grating method).

    Moreover, where serious contamination of the ice cores occured, drilling fluid is detected in the ice core parts and highly fluctuating levels are found in the same part of the core. The contaminated parts show much higher CO2 levels than the uncontaminated parts, which is normal, because the outside air is at 390 ppmv nowadays (and drilling fluid may have absorbed some extra), while the CO2 levels in the ice core are measured at 180-300 ppmv…
    [/blockquote]

    The problem with your articles is your unbridled assurances that you have everything under consideration, everything accounted for, and everything pretty much fitting together to make the solution to the puzzle with little doubt to get in the way of a happy ending to the desired story. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t add up. For example:

    You contradict your own argument. You admit that there can be and are cracks in the ice cores, but you assert that a crack simply “doesn’t influence the ice core readings that much[…]as the two methods used have not much problems with such contamination:[….]

    You omit mentioning to the readers that the protocols for sampling the ice cores begins with discarding the cracked ice cores and using only the ice cores having no detectable cracks to provide a detectable means of ingress for the bacterial contamination through cracks or other forms of fissures in the ice cores. You also omitted the fact that the ice cores have been tested with deliberate contamination by laboratory grade tracer bacterial cultures to determine the extent to which a known source of bacteria is able to infiltrate the ice core.

    The testing of unintentional contamination and deliberate contamination has demonstrated it is possible to remove virtually all significant contamination resulting from drilling and post-drilling handling by bacteria, lead, DOC (Dissolved Organic Compounds) such as those from kerosene jet fuel), and other contaminants through the removal of the outer portions of the ice core. Consequently, the remaining bacterial cultures found within the inner portions of the ice core being sampled for carbon dioxide demonstrate the presence of past to present biochemical activities within the ice and air bubbles actually being sampled for its carbon dioxide content. In other words, we have direct evidence of the carbon dioxide discovered in the ice being potentially affected by at least one, if not more, factors already present in the inner ice core and perhaps introduced later in the outer ice core.

    Your descriptions of the protocols used to sample the carbon dioxide in the samples are inaccurate and incomplete in key instances. The protocols avoid the use of a contaminated outer ice core, rather than using a vacumn to evacuate contaminated air. Since the protocols typically do not use the contaminated outer portions of the ice cores to sample the carbon dioxide, it remains to be explained what makes you think the untested outer portion of the ice cores with the “contaminated parts show much higher CO2 levels than the uncontaminated parts”? Who did such testing for carbon dioxide levels in the contaminated outer portion of the ice cores?

    You have made a wide range of claims too far beyond the scope of this simple reply. However, given your responses apparently being unaware of so many elements associated with the details of the methods used to produce the conclusions regarding ice cores you rely upon so heavily, I have to wonder if you are at all aware of how many untested assumptions, untested models, adjusted data, and just plain wild guessing went into the production of those conclusions about ice cores and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations?

    Anyone tempted to just jump to a provisional conclusion that the present state of science in regard to the ice cores is likely to be as solid as the ice itself may want to think twice about pondering a fundamental problem with the conclusions. The Vostok ice core sampling for one example reports atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as low as 182.5 to 198 ppmv for very long periods of time, relatively speaking for plants wishing to survive. Someone is going to have to explain how the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels went below 200ppm for such very long periods of time without causing the extinction of nearly all life on the Earth as a consequence of photosynthesis coming to a halt or a very major decrease during those periods of time and thereby causing a great collapse of the planetary food chain? How did this nearly unique great extinction event in the geologically most recent and well evidenced past go unnoticed by the paleontologists and geologists?

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