Obituary: Ernst Georg Beck

Benny Pieser of the GWPF writes:

Edgar L. Gärtner, a German climate blogger, has written an obituary for Ernst George Beck./ It’s a translation from a German article here. I promised to pass it on to UK and US bloggers (see attachment). – Benny

I’ll have Part4 of Ferdinand Englebeen’s series, which discusses Beck, up tonight. – Anthony

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


Ernst Georg Beck

My friend Ernst Georg Beck died this week after a long battle with cancer. Ernst Beck was a biology teacher at the Merian technical grammar school in Freiburg and co-founder of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). He was a teacher of the old school, whom nobody could lead up the garden path. If a statement of politicians did not fit into its solid scientific conception of the world, he examined it by intensive study of international technical literature and, if possible, by own experiments. His website http://www.biokurs.de is still a treasure trove for everybody, who prepares for examines or finding answers to current scientific questions.

Due to his immense specialized knowledge and his methodical severity Ernst very promptly noticed numerous inconsistencies in the statements of the Intergovernmental Penal on Climate Change IPCC. He considered the warming of the earth’s atmosphere as a result of a rise of the carbon dioxide content of the air of approximately 0.03 to 0.04 percent as impossible. And it doubted that the curve of the CO2 increase noted on the Hawaii volcano Mauna Loa since 1957/58 could be extrapolated linear back to the 19th century.

Because he knew that for a long time before the introduction of the costly spectroscopic and/or electro acoustical CO2-measures relatively simple, but reliable chemical methods of the CO2-measures were available. Thus, well-known chemists as for instance German chemistry Nobel Laureate Otto Warburg analysed also the composition of air in industry-free, rural regions. With his special meticulousness Beck collected and analysed thousands and thousands of older measurements of the CO2-content of the air and found out that such content has been sometimes higher than today in the first half of the 20th century and also partially in the 19th century. Obvious conclusion: The rise of the CO2-content since 1958 cannot have been caused alone by the burning of rising quantities of coal and oil in the post-war period. And there is also no straight-line connection between the CO2-concentration in the atmosphere and the global temperature development.

Ernst Georg Beck published this analysis three years ago in the British technical periodical “Energy & Environment” and sowed thereby already before “Climategate” in late autumn of 2009 serious doubts about the reliability of the statements of the IPCC. Climatologists who depend on financial funding from the German Government and the European Union and who are closely linked to the IPCC could not forgive him that publication. They tried to denounce Ernst Georg Beck in the Internet as naive amateur and data counterfeiter. Unfortunately, Ernst could hardly defend himself in the last months because of its progressive illness. It is therefore particularly necessary that we as members of EIKE feel obligated to continue the work of our dear colleague, who left us much too early.

Edgar L. Gärtne

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76 thoughts on “Obituary: Ernst Georg Beck

  1. This news has come as a shock to me. I have been away and out of communication of any kind for some weeks, so I was not aware that Ernst had died.

    I consider it a privilege to have been acquainted with Ernst George Beck. His use of English was not perfect and he gave me the honour of improving the grammar of some of his papers for him prior to his submitting them for publication.

    His work was meticulous to the degree that it was beyond possibility of serious dispute. Hence, several for whom his findings were ‘inconvenient’ attempted character assassination of him. But history will record his integrity and their dishonour.

    The work of Ernst George Beck will stand for ever as a testament to the conscientious, serious and honourable nature of a man whom I boast I had the honour to have known.

    Richard

  2. 1. “And it doubted that the curve of the CO2 increase…” => “And HE doubted that…”
    2. “Ernst could hardly defend himself in the last months because of its progressive illness…” => because of HIS progressive illness…”
    – otherwise the translation looks OK to me (but I’m Danish, not German!).

    Looks to me like Ernst Beck was an honest, highly capable (and courageous!) scientist.

  3. Sad that he died, of course, but he was wrong about the reliability of the CO2 measurements he trumpeted, did not know how to discriminate useful data from useless, and was not able to accept any arguments that did not fit his preconceptions. As a result, his conclusions were erroneous.

  4. “Intergovernmental Penal on Climate Change” … while some may debate whether its members belong in a Penal Institution, it should be “Panel.”

  5. I have to agree with RW (September 23, 2010 at 9:55 am). I am a CAGW skeptic but Beck’s crazy up and down CO2 chart bears no resemblance to reality. We skeptics have much science to back us up but Beck’s work was open to easy attack by alarmists. Yes, sad that he died, but I don’t think he was a help to the climate realism (skeptical) side.

    Oh, and his name was Ernst-Georg Beck.

  6. RW:

    At September 23, 2010 at 9:55 am you assert:

    “Sad that he died, of course, but he was wrong about the reliability of the CO2 measurements he trumpeted, did not know how to discriminate useful data from useless, and was not able to accept any arguments that did not fit his preconceptions. As a result, his conclusions were erroneous.”

    With the exception of “Sad that he died” every statement you have made (and I quote here) is factually not correct.

    At September 23, 2010 at 9:21 am I wrote:

    “His work was meticulous to the degree that it was beyond possibility of serious dispute. Hence, several for whom his findings were ‘inconvenient’ attempted character assassination of him. But history will record his integrity and their dishonour.”

    I regret that you choose to continue such dishonourable behaviour (from behind a shield of anonimity) after his demise.

    Richard

  7. Hans Henrik Hansen says: 1. “And it doubted that the curve of the CO2 increase…” => “And HE doubted that…”
    2. “Ernst could hardly defend himself in the last months because of its progressive illness…” => because of HIS progressive illness…”
    – otherwise the translation looks OK to me (but I’m Danish, not German!)….

    Thank you. Of course, we aware were that the original was in German written, and allowances made.

  8. RW

    While you are entitled to your opinion, would you happen to have any evidence to support your claim that his CO2 measurements were incorrect, or the claim that he could not separate useful data from the useless?
    Or does the fact that he disagreed with you make his methods “useless”?

  9. Tain says: “Intergovernmental Penal on Climate Change” … while some may debate whether its members belong in a Penal Institution, it should be “Panel.”

    Or Penile.

  10. RW says:
    September 23, 2010 at 9:55 am
    ‘Sad that he died, of course, but he was wrong about the reliability of the CO2 measurements he trumpeted, did not know how to discriminate useful data from useless, and was not able to accept any arguments that did not fit his preconceptions. As a result, his conclusions were erroneous.’

    Repellent. There is a time and a place, AND THIS IS NOT IT. Instead of a little restraint, you demonstrate sheer arrogance. What intellectual respect I may have had for you has just evaporated.

    Dominic

  11. BBD,

    Absolutely correct. Those with little compassion for any outside of their own are the ones who shan’t be missed.

  12. I corresponded frequently with Ernst over the last couple of years, once I had become interested in the historical background to the measurement of CO2 and subsequently realised his immense contribution to the story.

    In my thread over at Air Vent a few months ago I wrote an article in which I tried to put into context the developing knowledge of Co2 during the 19th and early 20th Century, its impact on society and the nature of those who took measurements. I also pointed out the compelling case put by those who did not believe the data could be accurate. Ernst enthusiastically joined in and defended his corner against all comers.

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

    Personally I think a significant proportion (but not all) of the tens of thousands of measurements that Ernst unearthed, dating from 1830 onwards, have considerable validity and that CO2 levels in the past were at times as great as, or greater than, today.

    It would be a fitting tribute to have the data independently audited as I find it difficult to believe that in 1945 we knew how to split an atom but-according to Ernst’s detractors-were unable to split the atmosphere accurately into its component parts despite many brilliant scientists trying since the 1830’s.

    tonyb

  13. I have Beck’s “180 YEARS OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 GAS ANALYSIS
    BY CHEMICAL METHODS” downloaded as a pdf on my computer hard drive, having done so several years ago. A very interesting read.

  14. RW says: September 23, 2010 at 9:55 am
    Sad that he died, of course, but he was wrong about the reliability of the CO2 measurements he trumpeted, did not know how to discriminate useful data from useless, and was not able to accept any arguments that did not fit his preconceptions. As a result, his conclusions were erroneous.

    In equally disrespectful terms:

    You have penned what may that be your epitaph, it is stunningly appropriate.

  15. Opps, ignore “that” in previous post. RW got me worked up.

    REPLY: It’s what he does, shoot from the shadows with malicious intent, but no consequences for him -Anthony

  16. I do not know if the CO2 analysis of Ernst-Georg Beck is correct and it’s irrelevant. RWs comment just shows the venality of some. I for one regret his sad passing, may he be long remembered.

    DaveE.

  17. J Felton:

    “would you happen to have any evidence to support your claim that his CO2 measurements were incorrect…”

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/lawdome.html

    BBD: personally I find the tone of this “obituary” a little bit repellent, as it mentions nothing of who he actually was but is simply an anti-IPCC polemic. I also find it a bit repellent that Watts couldn’t even spell the name of the dead man correctly. I also find it repellent when people pretend to change their view of someone just because they have died, and I will not do this. When his death is being used as an excuse to promote his invalid analysis, it does not seem out of place to point out that his claims about CO2 were, and remain, wrong.

    REPLY: I don’t agree with some of his work, but I’m not going to beat him up in his own obituary about it. Sheesh. Have you no social skills at all? I find (as do other posters) YOU a “little bit repellent”. Take an extended time out from WUWT. We don’t need your poison here, and quite frankly I’m sick of your denigration. – Anthony Watts

  18. RW says:
    [Beck] “…was wrong about the reliability of the CO2 measurements he trumpeted, did not know how to discriminate useful data from useless, and was not able to accept any arguments that did not fit his preconceptions. As a result, his conclusions were erroneous.”

    That is a pure example of psychological projection. No citations, only baseless opinion, similar to Phil Jones’ inappropriate happy email spreading the news of the passing of the great John L. Daly. Everything RW said applies to RW, who projects his personal faults onto a meticulous and honest scientist.

    Dr Beck collated and analyzed over 90,000 separate CO2 measurements taken by esteemed, internationally recognized scientists, including Nobel laureates [when the Nobel Prize still meant something]. Most of those scientists [Haldane excepted for his mine work] took no government money, but compiled their CO2 records out of personal curiosity. They kept hand-written records of their measurements, including detailed drawings of their test apparatus. They knew their work would be inspected by other scientists, and they cared about their reputations.

    Perhaps not all 90,000+ measurements were completely accurate. So if we throw out the 20,000 highest and the 20,000 lowest CO2 measurements, we are still left with over 50,000 measurements showing that CO2 was significantly higher than today’s in both the early 1800’s and in the 1940’s — thus driving another stake through the heart of the increasingly preposterous notion that CO2 levels held steady at 280 – 285 ppmv from the MWP until the mid-1800’s.

    Dr Beck’s sources were CO2 measurements taken on isolated rural sea coasts far from cities, on unpopulated mountain tops, and on the windward side of ships crossing the Atlantic, Pacific, South Pacific, Beaufort, Arctic, and Antarctic seas and oceans, far away from any human emissions.

    The desperation to argue that Beck’s results are wrong is apparent in comments like RW’s. But Beck’s peer-reviewed work has never been falsified.

    Dr Beck will certainly be missed by everyone who appreciates the way science worked before it became corrupted by big money, by big government, by the UN, and by unrepresentative, unelected NGO’s. He was one of a dying breed: a scientist who went where the data took him, rather than one who hammered the data into the shape required to produce grant money.

  19. I too corresponded with Ernst Beck to a limited extent as a consequence of TonyB’s thread on the Airvent. It was sometimes hard to follow his reasoning as he was not fluent in English, and frequently lost his temper when baited. But when calmed down and asked to explain the concepts and terminology he was using, even his off the cuff remarks about “lunar phase reversal” turned out to be a poor choice of words to describe a very legitimate scientific analysis.

    He was a brilliant and honorable man. If there are errors in his work, they are certainly not the result of “adjustments”, and unlike his critics, he published his data. Right or wrong his work was sincere and his passing is a loss to science.

  20. There are so few skeptics in Germany; each one we lose is a blow to climate science. But that loss indeed is miniscule when compared to the sense of loss and grief his family and friends must feel now at this time. They have lost a family member; and so our thoughts are with them.

  21. I translated a couple of old Swedish papers for Ernst-Georg Beck. The exactitude of sampling and of the chemical methods of measuring CO2 were meticulously tested as was the urban influence of the CO2 values. – They analyzed samples upwind and downwind of towns and boilers. Ernst-Georg Beck meticulously compiled not 90 000 but 200 000 measurements from inhabited areas, Greenland, the Arctic and the Antarctic ocean, from balloons 10 km up and from terra firma. Blanket denial of the measurements of the great scientists of the 19th and early 20th who gave us modern medicine and modern agriculture and calling in question the judgment and intent of the person whose great effort in compiling them made them available to contemporary readers is really over the top.

  22. As a follow up to Smokey and Anthony’s comments, I followed the repellent RW’s link, and find a paper that claims that CO2 levels were relatively constant and in the 280ppm range in the preindustrial age, and rise significantly only after that time. BUT. This paper is based upon Antarctic ice cores, a proxy measurement. The paper itself allows for 40-68 years of mixing of the gases in the ice with current atmosphere, down to a level of 70m below the surface of the ice. And RW thinks that these proxy measurements are to be given more credibility than actual measurements of the atmospheric gasses conducted by highly credible scientists?

    Unless there are legitimate reasons to think otherwise, actual measurements should always be given more weight than proxy measurements.

    RW, you are not just repellent, but you are a fool. And a poor scientist.

  23. Beck’s paper (Ernst-Georg Beck, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT, VOLUME 18, No. 2, 2007, 180 YEARS OF ATMOSPHERIC CO2 GAS ANALYSIS BY CHEMICAL METHODS) should be required reading in every high school and university.

    I never met the man, but miss him already.

  24. RW,

    “BBD: personally I find the tone of this “obituary” a little bit repellent, [...] but is simply an anti-IPCC polemic. [...] repellent that Watts couldn’t even spell the name of the dead man correctly. I also find it repellent [...] When his death is being used as an excuse to promote his invalid analysis, it does not seem out of place to point out that his claims about CO2 were, and remain, wrong.”

    When in a hole, it is normally advisable to stop digging.

    REPLY: I find spell checkers that “fix” things automatically like “Georg to George” repellent. – Anthony

  25. P Gosselin says:
    September 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    This is not the time or post to argue climate science. Nothing should appear hear but condolences.

    Seconded Pierre.

    DaveE.

  26. I agree with Hans Henrik Hansen’s corrections. I saw #1 but missed #2.

    And jorgekafkazar, thanks for the humor with your possible interpretation of panel.

  27. Sad to hear of Beck’s passing and some clarity to the ill-informed interpretations assigned to Beck.

    1. His first foray into the public domain was via AIG News before E & E. when I published his essay on the topic. Unfortunately I did not know the Viscount Monckton of Brenchley sufficiently well to ask him to peer review Beck’s essay before publication.
    2. Beck’s argument was that the IPCC’s position that CO2 was stable at 280 ppmv before industrialisation was not supported by the chemically determined data determined by various scientists over a long period of time in Europe and elsewhere. (He collated all the published data but made no measurements of his own).
    3. His argument was that data were supreme and hence those who, in retort, state that the historical data were inaccurate and useless, follow Kevin Trenberth’s infamous approach and statement about the lack of warming shown by the extant temperature data – and that the data must therefore be wrong. Data is data but those who intellectualise science tend to dismiss contradictory data, while the empiricists among us the reverse – Whig science vs. Science.

    Denigrating the past scientific efforts as inaccurate etc is Whig Science and to be deplored. It boils down to accepting either ice-core data with its known problems, or the chemically determined data that formed the basis of modern science of biology and medicine etc.

  28. I am shocked by Ernst-Georg’s untimely death. My condolations to the family in these sad days.

    I had several personal discussions with him, and always will remember the discussion we had at the home of Arthur Rörsch, where each of us did show our opinion about the value of the historical data. Although we courtiously disagreed on several points and I completely disagreed with his conclusions, I only can admire the amount of work he has done to bring the many historical CO2 data from all over the world back into the light.

  29. I to am saddened at the passing of Herr Beck. The fact that his research was so despised and denigrated with no substance whatsoever seems to have demonstrated that it was close to the mark.

    I am equally saddened at the death of manners and common courtesy. Even the virulent left toned it down for President Reagan’s funeral. Apparently CAGW is so catastrophic that there is simply no time for even such niceties.

    I wonder if RW also kicks over headstones at cemeteries.

  30. I too exchanged emails with Dr Beck. The impression I got was that he would follow where ever the data would take him.

    A good man and scientist. Would that there were more like him.

  31. Engelbeen, I still have a bunch of Becks mails with updates of interesting data – i think you remember. So sad that beck is not around anymore.

    I think Beck was just very very very honest. He simply put a lot of data for anyone to see without changing them – at leats to begin with. In mails to me he wrote that his first versions where indeed comprising too large amplitudes, but his later work certainly improoved on this front.
    But I would rather have “too honest” and “too unadjusted data” than too adjusted data. With Becks work everyone is allowed to actually see what CO2 data is out there and make his own conclusions. This the IPCC and CRU could learn from.
    Beck had a respect for real data that i miss in general in the climate debate. If the data shows something absurd – at least what we think is absurd – data is still data and we cant allways just fiddle data to fit our views.
    Even if ALL data presented by Beck was “wrong” it still needs to be examined. There is no scientific argument to just ignore high quality data like the alarmist seems to prefer.

    I think what would please Beck the most was if his work was finally really appreciated, now or later. As i know him, thats what would matter to him.

    K.R. Frank

  32. To hear this news about Beck fills me with great sadness. And what a diamond of a man he was for the work that he did.

    Beck’s work was like a stake in the heart of the global warming fraud be perpetuated across the globe.

    [snip - speculating about the man's illness isn't appropriate] – Anthony

  33. I’m deeply saddened. I had some very friendly communications with Beck exactly three years ago about effects of lunation (correlation w/ moon phases) observed in his CO2 reconstruction. Many mysteries still remain about historic CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. I hope that others will be able to follow in his footsteps.

  34. There is nothing in RWs referenced Law Dome paper to refute the measurements that Beck compiled. RW has yet to explain the differences. Is RW a scientist? To start with, RW needs to prove that the Law Dome CO2 measurements give the same CO2 levels as the sites mentioned by Beck. Undoubtedly, there will be spatial and temporal differences. How big are they?

  35. RW says:
    September 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    ‘BBD: personally I find the tone of this “obituary” a little bit repellent, as it mentions nothing of who he actually was but is simply an anti-IPCC polemic. I also find it a bit repellent that Watts couldn’t even spell the name of the dead man correctly. I also find it repellent when people pretend to change their view of someone just because they have died, and I will not do this. When his death is being used as an excuse to promote his invalid analysis, it does not seem out of place to point out that his claims about CO2 were, and remain, wrong.’

    Please, call me Dominic.

    This is not the time or place for denigrating the late Dr. Beck. All you had to do was keep quiet. Simple as that.

    It’s what I would have done and so I find your comment repellent.

    Silence would have been the least damaging response on your part.

    Dominic

  36. It would be a fitting epitath if the figures compiled by Ernst could be independently audited. Has anyone any practical suggestions as to how that could be done?

    tonyb

  37. tonyb says:

    “Has anyone any practical suggestions as to how that could be done?”

    If alternate CO2 measurements were recorded by equally accomplished scientists during the same time frame and could be located, they might refute or confirm Dr Beck’s research.

    I suspect that there are no convincing physical measurements refuting Beck et al., or they would have already been published in the pal review journals.

  38. Right, wrong, or indifferent it matters not. What matters is, Ernst Beck did what he did from an obvious love and respect for the scientific method and those who preceded him and us, that developed it. He will be missed and we are the poorer for his passing. He pointed out to our modern, sometimes cynical age, that we know less then we are willing to admit. He pointed out the foundation of how we got to where we are. Our present age needs more Ernst Becks. If for on other reason that to temper the hubris and egos of us all.

  39. The data says what the data says. There is no evidence that I know of that Beck “adjusted” data. There is plenty of evidence Hansen has “adjusted” data. Hansen still recieves heaps of money, while Beck had scorn heaped on him for being honest about the facts he had at hand.

    The only way to ignore Beck’s data is to claim the chemical record he used has no validity. You can’t attack the man’s character the way you can attack Hansen’s.

    What would be really interesting is a dip in CO2 levels over the next thirty years, as we enter a thirty year period of global cooling. Cold water absorbs CO2 more than warm. I don’t yet put a dip in CO2 levels out of the realm of possibility.

  40. Thank you Anthony for providing a space for the obiturary and thank you to Benny for the translation. I was too shocked to do anything like that, having only last night read about Ernst-Georg’s death.

    Allow me to repeat what I posted in Tips yesterday:

    WUWT readers will probably remember Ernst-Georg Beck for his studious, diligent, open and honest research into the real historic levels of atmospheric CO2 as they have been measured for the past 180 years.

    He will be missed. We are in debt.

    Condolences to those who loved and knew him. And to those who respected his work.

  41. In Memorandum,

    180 years of atmospheric CO2 gas analysis by chemical methods (PDF)
    (Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Number 2, pp. 259-282, March 2007)
    – Ernst-Georg Beck

    Comments on “180 years of Atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods” (PDF)
    (Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Number 5, pp. 641-646, September 2007)
    – Ernst-Georg Beck

    50 Years of Continuous Measurement of CO2 on Mauna Loa (PDF)
    (Energy & Environment, Volume 19, Number 7, pp. 1017-1028, December 2008)
    – Ernst-Georg Beck

    My condolences to his family.

  42. I’m sorry to say this is the first I heard of him but I want to thank those that have posted here to share their experiences with him. Makes me feel slightly less of an outsider.

    I will be looking into his work because this does sound significant in the great debate.

    My condolences to his friends and family.

  43. Ernst Georg Beck did a meticulous scientific survey of historical measurements. That is something the hucksters either never did, not even informally, or if they were aware of these measurements, actively hid them. It is clear here who is to be respected and thanked for his contributions to humanity (and will be in a future, saner, world).

  44. I never had the pleasure to meet Dr. Beck, but I had many email exchanges with him. One of our discussions concerned potential problems with certain CO2 analyses. I found him to be very concerned about the reliablity of the data he had collected.

    I was very sad to hear that Dr. Beck had died. My sincerest condolensces to his family and friends.

  45. I suspect that there are no convincing physical measurements refuting Beck et al., or they would have already been published in the pal review journals.

    Keeling did comment on the Beck paper,

    Comment on “180 Years of atmospheric CO2 gas analysis by chemical methods by”by Ernst-Georg Beck (DOC)
    (Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Number 5, pp. 635-640, September 2007)
    – Harro A.J. Meijer, Ralph F. Keeling

    I posted Beck’s response above but here it is again,

    Comments on “180 years of Atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods” (PDF)
    (Energy & Environment, Volume 18, Number 5, pp. 641-646, September 2007)
    – Ernst-Georg Beck

  46. I am saddened by Ernst-Georg’s death. Like many others I corresponded with him by email. He was polite and considerate. He placed a lot of literature on his website for downloading and provided his data in files for others to examine.

    I downloaded the paper by W Kreutz 1941 which is an example of how thorough measurement should be made. I have had experience with some of the gas analysis methods. I was disgusted by the personal attacks on Ernst-Georg. I told him I respected his dedication to scientific truth. He compiled the work of others who were respected in their field -some Nobel prize winners in chemistry and other scientific disciplines.

    I hope that someone can step forward and maintain his web site as was the case for the late John Daly.

    The AGW believers seem to go for personal attacks when they don’t understand or can’t refute the science and technology. Unfortunately, I am reluctant to use my name not because of possible personal abuse but because of possible personal attacks on my daughter who bears my surname and is internationally known in her specialist field.

    Rest in Peace Ernst-Georg

  47. Sorry to hear of Mr. Beck’s passing, I wish I could say I knew him personally but I only knew him through some of his works. Like any honest scientist, I have to feel he would want us to remember him most by continuing in his path, with honesty, the search for the truth, to detect and correct errors within science when found. His friends here at WUWT and elsewhere are doing a great job at that so his legacy is in good hands.

    To his family, my thoughts are with you.

  48. Uh! Oh! I meant to put when AGW believers can NOT understand or refute the science and technology!!! I have seen no sensible criticism on scientific grounds of Beck’s peer reviewed articles.
    Sadness, must have clouded my eyes.

  49. CV

    Ernst-Georg Beck, B.A. Biology, M.A. Biology (biochemistry, plant physiology, microbiology and macromolecular chemistry), Teacher of Biology and Chemistry, State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany

  50. I looked at source data of the Co2 400+ ppm readings mid-20th century. Those readings were taken just several inches off the ground and quickly dropped down to the approximate values in ice cores for the same period in time. Near as I can tell Engelbeen won’t have any difficulty at all in discounting Beck’s survey as not at all representative of a well mixed atmosphere. Literally, with Beck 2007, it’s a case of “nothing to see here, move along folks”.

  51. I used to work as a plant physiologist gathering photosynthetic measurements. I also tried several times to measure concentrations of soil carbon dioxide. Other physiologists and biologists I knew spent a lot of time trying to determine “background” levels of carbon dioxide at ground level – and they often gave up in frustration. They would have been further ahead reading Beck’s papers and thoughts on background levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

    Over the years I have tried to reconcile the difference between Beck’s historical compilation of atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements by chemists and the carbon dioxide extracted from ice cores. In my mind, the ice core data is weak simply because the assumption being made is that a bubble of atmosphere is trapped in the snow, which turns to ice, and held exactly that way for hundreds of years with absolutely no changes occurring in the composition of that sample. There is certainly no way to test if this is a correct assumption. On the other hand, a sample of the atmosphere obtained in a glass flask, which is then quickly analyzed, seems like a pretty direct and foolproof method of sampling atmospheric carbon dioxide. No need to assume anything.

    If the musings of Beck on the Gleissberg cycle are correct and we see a drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide as a result, that will pretty much be the final nail in the AGW coffin. Time will tell.

    I am sorry to see Beck go. He has done a great service to science by reminding us that our current knowledge is built on a scientific foundation created by others over the centuries. No doubt he irked the warmists by providing a convincing alternate to their assumptions. Another demonstration that the science is far from settled.

    Tomorrow evening I will raise a pint to his memory. I hope others will do the same.

  52. CO2 is heavier than air. Greenhouse injection is done at the ceiling. If it were done at the floor it would stay there below most of the leaves on the plants. The high readings in Beck 2007 where I spot checked a 1941 paper the high readings were all close to the soil and quickly fell off to levels agreeable with Law Dome data at a height of 1 meter. At the soil level some of the readings were as high as 1100ppm. That’s because soil bacteria are what’s emitting it in terrestrial environments it isn’t well mixed close to the source.

  53. Thank you Anthony for posting this obituary about my dad Ernst-Georg Beck.
    I know there are a lot of people out there, who didn´t respect the work of my dad, but as i can see, the fact that the whole wide world have known my dad and that a lot of people supported him, makes me so proud.
    Time and Climate will show, if my dad was right.

    REPLY: It was my honor to do so, and I think I can speak for the entire WUWT community in saying that we are deeply sorry for your loss, and that right or wrong in the final analysis, your father was respected by many. Thank you for visiting and commenting during this difficult time. With sincerest condolences and regards, Anthony Watts

  54. Stefanie Ostendorf :

    Please be assured that Anthony is correct when in reply to you at September 24, 2010 at 1:01 am he says:
    “I think I can speak for the entire WUWT community in saying that we are deeply sorry for your loss, and that right or wrong in the final analysis, your father was respected by many”.

    Now is a time to honour your father and to convey condolences to you and your relatives. As Anthony says, that is the desire of the entire WUWT community, but some of the above posts may have given you a different impression. Those posts are from a few interlopers who are moral and intellectual pygmies by comparison with your father. And they have acted as they have because they fear his work so much that they have chosen this time to denigrate him and to demean his work.

    I think I can point out to you the nature of what those interlopers have attempted by refuting the worst of them which I think are
    RW at September 23, 2010 at 9:55 am
    movielib at September 23, 2010 at 10:12 am
    Poptech at September 23, 2010 at 9:58 pm
    and
    Dave Springer at September 23, 2010 at 10:46 pm.

    RW makes untrue and unsubstantiated slurs against the integrity and competence of Ernst, and movielib supports those slurs while claiming to be a CAGW skeptic.

    Poptech claims to provide the cv of Ernst but omits mention of any of Ernst’s publications. A lie by omission is a lie.

    The above mentioned interlopers display cowardice by hiding behind aliases while making their untrue, offensive and obnoxious comments. Dave Springer has the decency to provide his name but attempts to demean the immensely important work that Ernst published. The facts are that atmospheric CO2 has effects (i.e. radiative, biological, etc.) that are determined by its concentration. Those effects are not determined by a hypothetical ‘background concentration’ that has not been shown to exist anywhere. Ernst reported the magnitudes of real atmospheric CO2 concentrations and their spatial and temporal variations.

    So, Stefanie Ostendorf, your father was a great man. He displayed honesty, integrity and courage in his significant contribution to science. We who frequent WUWT know that, and the fact that the interlopers have chosen to behave as they have demonstrates that they know it, too. Those interlopers deserve and obtain our disgust and contempt.

    We grieve at the loss of a great man and we offer our condolences to you for your greater grief at the loss of your father.

    Richard

  55. This thread makes me proud to be a member of the climate skeptics community. Beck, bravo. Your evidence continues to rankle the orthodox position because it cannot be faulted but does not fit the CO2 HOCKEY STICK. May that irritation long continue.

    I’d like to remember Beck by reference to the man who I still believe has done most to question the Ice Core records that are used to provide the flat base to the CO2 hockey stick. Jaworowski and Segalstad are veterans of the old school of True Science, also smeared by the current usurpers and hence also IMHO misunderstood and undervalued even by climate skeptics like Engelbeen. I still think the Ice Core CO2 measurements constitute the biggest unrecognized piece of Bad Science, equivalent to Mann’s Hockey Stick but nobody is talking about it.

    Here’s my transcription (with Segalstad’s permission) of what I regard as Jaworowski’s best paper, with my introductory notes.

  56. Stefanie Ostendorf

    I hope you will view the thread I ran on ‘Historic Variations in Co2 measurements’ as a tribute to the work of your father who raised some difficult issues and participated fully in the ensuing lively discussion

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

    I sympathise with you and your family at this difficult time but hope you will take comfort in the thought that many of us thought he was a great man and a fine scientist.

    tonyb

  57. Richard Courtney:

    You say I claim to be a CAGW skeptic. I am a CAGW skeptic.

    I have been doing my part for years, hosting a series of threads (we’re on Part 10 now) at a site called dvdtalk.com (see current thread at http://forum.dvdtalk.com/politics-world-events/578495-one-only-global-warming-thread-part-10-post-climategate-whitewash-edition.html). There have been a total of more than 7000 posts, most of them mine. I have featured WUWT many, many times. Read through these and tell me I am not a CAGW skeptic.

    I meant no disrespect. Perhaps this was not the right time or place to say this and I apologize if I have been the source of any hurt or offense.

    You criticized RW for hiding behind anonymity. I am not afraid to reveal my identity. My name is Howard Glick and I live in Madison, WI. You can imagine my position on CAGW is not very popular here.

    Again, I apologize.

    REPLY: Howard, welcome to the light – Anthony

  58. Poptech claims to provide the cv of Ernst but omits mention of any of Ernst’s publications. A lie by omission is a lie.

    What? I linked directly to his full CV, I just posted a summary of his education and relevant experience as a reference. I have no idea how that was taken the wrong way, this is just bizarre.

  59. Dave Springer ,

    I believe you are wrong, not only to pick up the controversy on this thread, but also in your assumption that CO2 is “well mixed”. or should be “well mixed”, and that there is a virtue in going to high places over volcanoes, or cold places where there is no flora or fauna, to find the “true CO2 well mixed ” concentration, which is what Engelbeen is supporting.

    I think Beck has given the world a valuable and good historical compilation map of what CO2 was and how it was measured over the centuries since chemistry became quantitative. It will be very useful for the future generations who will not be wearing “well mixed blinders and “Keeling endorsed” studies. For this Beck will be remembered.

    I have given up commenting on Ferdinand’s threads because I am convinced that “well mixed” is nonsense , and measuring global CO2 from the top of the mountains and in desert places is ignoring reality and wearing blinders. I am waiting for more inclusive satellite measurements, but not holding my breath. The Keeling spell is strong.

  60. anna v

    There is no valid controversy in this case. Anyone who takes the time to look at the papers Beck references (due diligence) will quickly find the high readings from past decades were only found when samples were taken within several inches of the soil. Samples taken at the same time at the same location a meter or more off the ground correspond well with Law Dome data for the same year in history. This is not surprising at all if you understand the few simple biological, chemical, and mechanical processes involved.

  61. I was saddened by this news. I believe in the years to come that Ernst Beck may well prove to have made a far more significant contribution than has generally been accepted.

  62. RIP E.G. Beck !
    My condolations to the family and friends in these sad days.
    I never had the chance to meet him. He was to ill to come to my father in law, while Fred Singer was in Germany last november
    The last outstanding work published from Dr. Francis Massen, Luxembourg with Georg Beck at the “Climate 2009″, Nov 2-6, 2009, earned the first place of all published and reviewed papers

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