Engelbeen on why he thinks the CO2 increase is man made (part 4).


A CO2 symbol aflame in front of a coal power plant in Germany. (Photo: Reuters) Image via knowledge.alliance.com - click for more info

Foreword: This is the final entry in a four part series by Fedinand Engelbeen. While the narrative is contrary to the views of many of our readers, it is within the framework of WUWT’s goal of providing discussion on the issues. You won’t find guest posts like this on RC, Climate Progress, Open Mind (Tamino), or Skeptical Science where a guest narrative contrary to the blog owner(s) view is not allowed, much less encouraged in a four part series.

That said, I expect this final entry to be quite contentious for two reasons. 1) The content itself. 2) The references to the work of Ernst Georg Beck, recently deceased.

As Engelbeen mentions below, this part was written weeks before, and readers should not get the impression that this is some sort of “hit piece” on him. Unfortunately, it simply worked out that the appearance of part 4 happens after his death, since I had been running each part about once a week. I had considered not running it, but I’m sure he would invite the discussion, and we’d have a lively debate. It is our loss that he will not be able to. For that reason, I’d appreciate readers maintaining a civil tone in comments. Moderators, don’t be shy about enforcing this. My thanks to Ferdinand Englebeen for his hard work in producing this four part series. – Anthony

Links to Parts 1 2 3

About background levels, historical measurements and stomata proxies…

1. Where to measure? The concept of “background” CO2 levels.

Although there were already some hints of a “global” background CO2 level of around 300 ppmv in previous years, the concept was launched by C.D. Keeling in the fifties of last century, when he made several series of measurements in the USA. He found widely varying CO2 levels, sometimes in samples taken as short as 15 minutes from each other. He also noticed that values in widely different places, far away from each other, but taken in the afternoon, were much lower and much closer resembling each other. He thought that this was because in the afternoon, there was more turbulence and the production of CO2 by decaying vegetation and/or emissions was more readily mixed with the overlying air. Fortunately, from the first series on, he also measured 13C/12C ratios of the same samples, which did prove that the diurnal variation was from vegetation decay at night, while during the day photosynthesis at one side and turbulence at the other side increased the 13C/12C ratio back to maximum values.

Keeling’s first series of samples, taken at Big Sur State Park, showing the diurnal CO2 and d13C cycle, was published in http://www.icsu-scope.org/downloadpubs/scope13/chapter03.html , original data (of other series too) can be found in http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/literatur/keeling/Keeling_1955.doc :


Figure 1. Diurnal variation in the concentration and carbon isotopic ratio of atmospheric
CO2 in a coastal redwood forest of California, 18-19 May 1955, Big Sur St. Pk.
(Keeling, 1958)

Several others measured CO2 levels/d13C ratios of their own samples too. This happened at several places in Germany (Heidelberg, Schauinsland, Nord Rhine Westphalia). This confirmed that local production was the origin of the high CO2 levels. The smallest CO2/d13C variations were found in mountain ranges, deserts and on or near the oceans. The largest in forests, crop fields, urban neighborhoods and non-urban, but heavily industrialized neighborhoods. When the reciprocal of CO2 levels were plotted against d13C ratios, this showed a clear relationship between the two. Again from http://www.icsu-scope.org/downloadpubs/scope13/chapter03.html :


Figure 2. Relation between carbon isotope ratio and concentration of atmospheric CO2 in different air types from measurements summarized in Table 3.4
(Keeling, 1958, 1961: full squares; Esser, 1975: open circles; Freyer and Wiesberg, 1975,
Freyer, 1978c: open squares). All 13C measurements have not been corrected
for N2O contamination (Craig and Keeling, 1963), which is at the most in the area of + 0.6‰

The search for background places.
Keeling then sought for places on earth not (or not much) influenced by local production/uptake, thus far from forests, agriculture and/or urbanization. He had the opportunity to launch two continuous measurements: at Mauna Loa and at the South Pole. Later, other “baseline” stations were added, all together 10 from near the North Pole (Alert, NWT, Canada) to the South Pole, all of them working continuous nowadays under supervision of NOAA (previously under Scripps Institute), some 60 other places working under other organizations and many more working with regular flask sampling.

We are interested in CO2 levels in a certain year all over the globe and the trends of the CO2 levels over the years. So, here we are at the definition of the “background” level:
Yearly average data taken from places minimal influenced by vegetation and other natural and human sources are deemed “background”.
For convenience, the yearly average data from Mauna Loa are used as reference. One could use any baseline station as reference or the average of the stations, but as all base stations (and a lot of other stations, even Schauinsland, at 1,000 m altitude, midst the Black Forest, Germany) are within 5 ppmv of Mauna Loa, with near identical trends, and that station has the longest near-continuous CO2 record, Mauna Loa is used as “the” reference.

As the oceans represent about 70% of the earth’s surface, and all oceanic stations show near the same yearly averages and trends, already 70% of the atmosphere shows background behavior. This can be extended to near the total earth for the part above the inversion layer.

Measurements above the inversion layer.
Above land, diurnal variations are only seen up to 150 m (according to http://www.icsu-scope.org/downloadpubs/scope13/chapter03.html ).
Seasonal changes reduce with altitude. This is based on years of flights (1963-1979) in Scandinavia (see the previous reference) and between Scandinavia and California (http://dge.stanford.edu/SCOPE/SCOPE_16/SCOPE_16_1.4.1_Bishoff_113-116.pdf ), further confirmed by old and modern https://wiki.ucar.edu/display/acme/ACME flights in the USA and Australia (Tasmania). In the SH, the seasonal variation is much smaller and there is a high-altitude to lower altitude gradient, where the high altitude is 1 ppmv richer in CO2 than the lower altitude. This may be caused by the supply of extra CO2 from the NH via the southern branch of the Hadley cell to the upper troposphere in the SH.

From the previous references:


Figure 3. Amplitude and phase shift of seasonal variations in atmospheric CO2
at different altitudes, calculated from direct observations by harmonic analysis
(Bolin and Bischof, 1970)
From https://wiki.ucar.edu/display/acme/ACME :


Figure 4. Modern flight measurements in Colorado, CO2 levels below the inversion layerin forested valleys and above the inversion layer at different altitudes

As one can see, again the values above the inversion layer are near straight and agree within a few ppmv with the Mauna Loa data of the same date. Below the inversion layer, the morning values are 15-35 ppmv higher. In the afternoon, these may sink to background again.

If we take the 1000 m as the average upper level for the influence of local disturbances, that represents about 10% of the atmospheric mass. Thus the “background” level can be found at 70% of the earth’s air mass (oceans) + 90% of the remaining land surface (27%). That is in 97% of the global air mass. Only 3% of the global air mass contains not-well mixed amounts of CO2, which is only over land. These measured values show variations caused by seasonal changes (mainly in the NH) and a NH-SH lag. Yearly averages are within 5 ppmv:

Figure 5. Yearly average CO2 levels at different baseline stations plus a non-baseline station (Schauinsland, Germany, only values taken when above the inversion layer and with sufficient wind speed).
General conclusion:
Background CO2 levels can be found everywhere over the oceans and over land at 1000 m and higher altitudes (in high mountain ranges, this may be higher).

2. The historical data

2.1. The compilation by Ernst Beck.
Note: this comment was written weeks before we heard of the untimely death of Ernst Beck. While I feel very uncomfortable that this is published now, as he can’t react anymore on this comment, I think that one need to know the different viewpoints about the historical data, which is a matter of difference in opinion, and has nothing to do with what one may think about Ernst Beck as person.

What about the historical data? While I only can admire the tremendous amount of work that Ernst Beck has done, I don’t agree with his interpretation of the results. Not in light of the above findings of what one can see as “background” CO2 levels.

The historical measurements show huge differences from place to place, sometimes within one year, and extreme differences within a day or day to day or over the seasons for the same place. That there are huge differences between different places shows that one or more or all of these places are not measuring background CO2, but local CO2 levels, influenced by local and/or regional sources and sinks. This is clear, if one looks at the range of the results, often many hundreds of ppmv’s between the lowest and highest values. Modern measurements, sometimes interestingly done at the same places as the historical one’s, either don’t show such a wide range, and then can be deemed background for the modern ones and therefore the historical one’s must be inaccurate as method or there were problems with the handling or with the sampling. Others show huge variations also today, which means that neither the modern, nor the historical data are background.

But let us have a look at the compilation of historical CO2 measurements by Ernst Beck:

Figure 6. Compilation of historical data by Ernst Beck.

From: http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm

Beck only gives the yearly and smoothed averages and the instrument error. That doesn’t say anything about the quality of the places where was measured, thus which of these measurements were “background” and which were not. One may be pretty sure that measuring midst of London, even in 1935, would give much higher (and fluctuating) CO2 levels than near the coast with seaside wind. Moreover, a peak of some 80 ppmv around 1942 is hardly possible, but removing such a peak in less than 10 years is physically impossible. The total amount of CO2 involved is comparable to burning down one third of all living vegetation on land and growing back in a few years time. The oceans are capable of having a burst of CO2 with a sudden decrease of pH, but simply can’t absorb that amount back in such a short time span, even if the pH would go up again (and what should cause such a massive change in pH?). Therefore I decided to look into more detail at the peak period in question, the years 1930-1950.

2.2. The minima, maxima and averages

Here is a plot of all available data for the period 1930-1950, as used by Ernst Beck (plus a few extra I did find in the literature). These can be found at his page of historical literature:

http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/historical.htm

Figure 7. Minima, maxima and averages of historical measurements in the period 1930-1950

Not all measurements were published in detail. Several authors did provide only an average, without any indication of number of samples, range or standard deviation. But for those where the range was given, the results are widely varying. What is obvious, is that where the range is small, in most cases the average of the measurements is around the ice core values (Law Dome in this case, the values of three cores, two of them with a resolution of 8 years and an accuracy of 1.2 ppmv, 1 sigma). That is especially the case for the period 1930-1935 where several measurements were performed during trips over the oceans. And even most of the worst performers show minima below the ice core values.

And as one can see, the “peak” around 1940-1942 is completely based on measurements at places which were heavily influenced by local/regional sources and sinks. That doesn’t say anything about the real background CO2 level of that period. Moreover, the fact that the average of measurements at one part of the world is 600 ppmv and at the other side of the globe it is 300 ppmv within the same year, shows that at least one of them must be at the wrong place.

2.3. The accuracy of some apparatus

Some of the measurements were done at interesting places: Point Barrow and Antarctica, where currently baseline stations are established. Unfortunately, for these measurements, the portable apparatus was as inaccurate as could be:

Barrow (1948) used the micro-Schollander apparatus, which was intended for measuring CO2 in exhaled air (some 20,000 ppmv!). Accuracy +/- 150 ppmv, accurate enough for exhaled air, but not really accurate to measure values of around 300 ppmv.

The same problem for Antarctica (1940-1941): Accuracy +/- 300 ppmv, moreover oxygen levels which were too low at high CO2 (1700 ppmv), which points to huge local contamination.

2.4. What caused the 1941 peak?

The 1941 peak is heavily influenced by two data series: Poona (India) and Giessen (Germany). With a few exceptions, the results of Poona should be discarded, as these were mostly performed within and below growing vegetation, which may be of interest for those who want to know the influence of CO2 on growth figures, heavily influenced by CO2 production from soil bacteria, but not really suitable to know the background CO2 levels of that time.

Giessen is a more interesting place, as the measurements were over a very long period (1.5 years), three samples a day over 4 heights were taken. And we have a modern CO2 measuring station now, only a few km from the original place, taking samples every 30 minutes. Thus let us see what the historical and modern CO2 levels at Giessen are, compared to baseline places:

Figure 8. Historical data of Giessen, during a few days of extra sampling to measure diurnal changes.

Figure 9. A few days in the modern summer life of CO2 at Linden-Giessen compared to the raw data from a few baseline stations for the same days.

Data for Linden-Giessen are from http://www.hlug.de

Baseline stations hourly average CO2 levels, derived from 10-second raw voltage samples, are from ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/in-situ/

These are all raw data, including all local outliers at Barrow, Mauna Loa, the South Pole and Giessen. It seems to me that it is rather problematic to figure out anything background-like from the data of Giessen, modern and historical alike. And I have the impression that Keeling made not such a bad choice by starting measurements at the South Pole and Mauna Loa, even if the latter is on an active volcano.

2.5. Estimation of the historical background CO2 levels.

Francis Massen and Ernst Beck used a method to estimate the background CO2 levels from noisy data, based on the fact that at high wind speeds, a better mixing of ground level CO2 with higher air masses is obtained (see http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/CO2_versus_windspeed-review-1-FM.pdf ). This works quite well, if you have a lot of data points with wind speeds above 4 m/s and a relative narrow range at high wind speeds. Here the “fingerlike” data range at high wind speed measured at Diekirch (small town in a shielded valley of Luxemburg):

Figure 10. CO2 levels vs. wind speed at Diekirch, Luxemburg.

Compare that to a similar plot of the historical data from Giessen:

Figure 11. Historical CO2 levels at Giessen vs. wind speed.

There are only 22 data points above 4 m/s, still a wide range (300 ppmv!) and no “finger” in the data at high wind speeds.

Further, the historical three samples of Giessen, taken in the morning, afternoon and evening already give a bias of some 40 ppmv (even the continuous modern sampling at Giessen shows a huge bias in averages). The afternoon measurements have a higher average than the morning and evening samples, which is contrary to almost all other measurements made in that period (and today): during daylight hours, photosynthesis lowers the CO2 levels, while at night under an inversion level, CO2 from soil respiration builds up to very high levels. And at the other end of the world (Iowa, USA) in 1940, CO2 levels of 265 ppmv were found over a maize field. Unfortunately, there are no measurements performed at “background” places in that period, except at Antarctica, which were far too inaccurate.

My impression is that the data of Giessen show too much variation and are too irregular, either by the (modified Pettenkofer) method, the sampling or the handling of the samples.

2.6. Comparing the historical peak around 1941 with other methods:

The ice core data of Law Dome show a small deviation around 1940, within the error estimate of the measurements. Any peak of 80 ppmv during years should be visible in the fastest accumulation cores (8 years averaging) as a peak of at least 10 ppmv around 1940, which is not the case (see Figure 7.).

Stomata data don’t show anything abnormal around 1940 (that is around 305 ppmv):


Figure 12. CO2 levels vs. stomata data calibration in the period 1900-1990.

From: http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2004-1214-121238/index.htm

And there is nothing special to see in the d13C levels of coralline sponges around 1940. Coralline sponges follow the 13C/12C ratios of CO2 in the upper ocean waters. Any burst and fall of CO2 in the atmosphere would show up in the d13 levels of the ocean mixed layer: either with a big drop if the extra CO2 was from vegetation, or with a small increase, if the extra CO2 was from the deep oceans. But that is not the case:

Figure 13. d13C levels of coralline sponges growing in the upper ocean layer.

2.7. Conclusion

Besides the quality of the measurements themselves, the biggest problem is that most of the data which show a peak around 1941 are taken at places which were completely unsuitable for background measurements. In that way these data are worthless for historical (and current) global background estimates. This is confirmed by other methods which indicate no peak values around 1941. As the minima may approach the real background CO2 level of that time, the fact that the ice core CO2 levels are above the minima is an indication that the ice core data are not far off reality.

3. About stomata data.

Stomata index (SI) is the ratio between the number of stomata openings to the total number of cells on leaves. This is a function of CO2 levels during the previous growing season (Tom van Hoof, personal communication). Thus that gives an impression of CO2 levels over time. As that is an indirect proxy of CO2 levels, one need calibration, which is done by comparing the SI of certain species over the past century with ice core and atmospheric CO2 measurements. So far, so good.

The main problem of the SI is the same as for many historical measurements: the vegetation of interest grows by definition on land, where average CO2 levels may vary within certain limits for one period of time, but there is no guarantee that these limits didn’t change over time: the MWP-LIA change might have been caused in part by changes in the Gulf Stream away from NW Europe, this bringing less warm wet air over land, even changing the main wind direction from SW to E. That may have introduced profound changes in type of vegetation, soil erosion, etc., including changes in average CO2 levels near ground over land.

Further, land use changes around several of the main places of sampling might have been enormous: from wetlands and water to polders and agriculture, deforestation and reforestation, all in the main wind direction, as all happened in The Netherlands over a full millennium.

Conclusion:

Stomata index data may be useful as a first approximation, but one shouldn’t take the historical levels as very reliable, because of a lack of knowledge of several basic circumstances which may have influenced the local/regional historical CO2 levels and thus the SI data.

About these ads

164 thoughts on “Engelbeen on why he thinks the CO2 increase is man made (part 4).

  1. I’m not sure that counting the oceans as “background” is accurate, as this is one of the greatest sources of natural CO2 out there. Suboceanic volcanoes are an unaccounted for source of CO2. I find it interesting that he used an active volcano for his other source of background. The second largest release from an active volcano is CO2, which is isotopically similar to that released from coal, etc. Nicely written, badly thought out.

  2. I had the privilidge of having Ferdinand post at my forum two years ago.

    I understood where he was coming from, but Derek, TonyB and myself among others did not agree with some of his conclusions about CO2 and particularly about the reliability of the MLO data.

    But I agree with Anthony, that differing viewpoints that are presented civilly and rationally should be supported. Mr. Engelbeen was all that and more at my forum.

  3. “You won’t find guest posts like this on RC, Climate Progress, Open Mind (Tamino), or Skeptical Science where a guest narrative contrary to the blog owner(s) view is allowed, much less encouraged in a four part series.” Should that not be “…view is NOT allowed,…?

    [Fixed, thanks. ~dbs]

  4. Ferdinand

    I know you to be an honourable person and that it is just coincidence that this piece is being run so soon after the death of Ernst Beck and that you mean no disrespect in any of your comments. It is right that Anthony should decide to run it.

    As Ernst can not contribute can I offer readers my thread on ‘Historic variations on Co2′ earlier this year on which both Ernst and Ferdinand participated. As the name implies I examined the historic background to the taking of measurements back to 1830 so to some extent this is a counter point to the material that Ferdinand writes about. The 200 plus comments also add a great deal.

    I have several questions for Ferdinand;

    1) The people who regularly took Co2 measurements back to 1830 were brilliant scientists. Why do you think that whilst by 1945 we were able to split the atom yet we were still unable to split the composition of the atmosphere-despite 120 years of trying?

    2) A 1 degree C rise in ocean temperature is supposed to produce 7ppm of Co2. At what temperature does the ocean outgas Co2 and at what temperature does it absorb? Presumably as it is only the surface that is in contact with the atmosphere it is the SST we need to be most interested in, which can vary considerably in temperature

    3) Despite your excellent series of articles you remain sceptical of the actual real world effects of co2. Can you explain what you believe the temperature rise would be if Co2 levels doubled from the 300pm claimed for the start of the 20th century

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

    Tonyb

  5. where a guest narrative contrary to the blog owner(s) view is allowed…
    Not allowed, I am sure!
    Geoff Alder

    [Fixed, thanks. ~ dbs, mod.]

  6. So what. This still does not prove CO2 makes any changes to the climate.
    Here is a clue, check out the Maxwell_Boltzmann energy distribution curves for N2 molecules when the air temperature is below 0C, which most of the troposphere is above 2,500 meters.
    Just what is exciting the CO2 molecules under those conditions to give that deadly “backradiation”?

  7. While I think Engelbeen makes good points, I’m still thinking about the historical data presented by Beck. Wasn’t there a study done where CO2 levels before the historical record actually followed the temperature rise? If Beck’s data was due to ineffective measurement equipment, wouldn’t the same hold true for older temeprature data? All in all, good article, well thought out and presented.

  8. The Stomata Index is measurable experimentally. Plants can be grown in the laboratory in an atmosphere with a fixed amount of CO2. That allows setting the SI to CO2 concentration in a direct way. From this information, it is possible to calibrate ice core data based on the SI, using plants preserved from the same period of time as the ice core section being tested. Ice core samples should not be used to calibrate the SI. Plant fossils provide SI values that cast doubt the reported ice core CO2 levels (the ice core levels are too low). See http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html.

  9. I have visited your web pages and presented your work to my students in the past Ferdinand and agree with the conclusion that atmospheric C02 is rising and the change is almost certainly anthropogenic in origin.

    My doubts over the scale of AGW originate from proxy temperature reconstructions and assumed large positive feedback in GCMs. However I think the lack of acceptance of uncertainty by the hockey team and there dismissal of McIntyre and McKittrick was what first raised my suspicions that all was not what they wanted us to believe. The warmists really did damage their cause by being so aggressive in their responses to well founded criticism.

  10. Good points made, but not convinced with the certainty of the conclusions. It well known that during cool periods La Nina, that the annual increases in CO2 vary significantly. For a short period in 2008 during the depths of the La Nina there was a month or two with hardly any increases. This signifies to me that natural variability is as significant as the increase in CO2 which is attributable to man. Given that evidence I’m waiting for this cooling period to develop and see how it will affect the CO2 levels. Like everything else in climate science, detailed observations started during the solar maximum. It looks like we are now entering a solar minimum.

  11. I would add to my comment above. If the increase of the CO2 can vary between 2.5 and 0 ppm in the space of a few months, then Beck’s observation is by no means unbelievable, it demonstrates that the capacity of the environment to absorb CO2 is indeed capable of very significant variation.

  12. If we accept the evidence that CO2 “background” levels are rising and that isotope ratios indicate a biologic source (rather than simple ocean outgassing or volcanoes), the issue is still far from settled. The following questions still need to be answered:

    1. What is the total amount of bioavailable carbon in the oceans and soil (not in the atmosphere)?
    2. What is the annual rate of CO2 production from that reservoir of carbon (by bacteria, fungi, etc.)?
    3. How does that production vary as a function of changes in the earth’s average temp?

    We know from info above that diurnal changes in bio-production of CO2 are massive. It is not a leap of faith to hypothesize that as the Earth warms from other non-human causes (eg solar or earth-orbit related) that CO2 production by the biosphere may follow in a lagging manner. The global rise in CO2 could be due to increased non-human bio-activity.

  13. Keith D says:
    September 24, 2010 at 8:57 am

    I’m not sure that counting the oceans as “background” is accurate, as this is one of the greatest sources of natural CO2 out there. Suboceanic volcanoes are an unaccounted for source of CO2. I find it interesting that he used an active volcano for his other source of background. The second largest release from an active volcano is CO2, which is isotopically similar to that released from coal, etc. Nicely written, badly thought out.

    The historical and current CO2 measurements over the oceans, coastal and at high altitude (mountains) or latitude (South Pole) all show the same CO2 levels and trends, plus a recurrent seasonal cycle and a NH-SH lag. The degassing/absorption of CO2 by the oceans is huge, but spread over a year and with sufficient wind speed fast mixed in, so that the change of levels within a day is even unmeasurable in the trend. Even the sporadic volcanic outgassing with downslope wind at Mauna Loa only disturbs the data with not more than 4 ppmv, this is included in the raw data of figure 9…

  14. CO2 levels are not important, CO2 has nothing to do with anything but plant life.
    Only Al Gore and his cronies who are making millions on the Global warming scam, and the ignorant press who believe the fairy tails made up to make Gore millions, think its important. CO2 certainly does not affect the worlds warming or cooling, that much is a proven fact.

  15. All very interesting but the important question isn’t ” Is the CO2 man made?”

    It is “Is the climate sensitive to CO2 changes?”

    Seems to be a lot of uncertainty for a settled science. Good to have the discussion though.

  16. The whole thing reads like a scientific reach in to the minutia. As an engineer, I was always trained to look for the far greater inputs to a system. The controlling inputs. It should be abundantly obvious that it is not CO2. Millions of man hours have been wasted chasing this ridiculous tempest in a teapot for largely political reasons.

    As Ike warned, this is what happens when government funds science.

  17. Tonyb

    Fair questions and remarks except for 2). Outgassing of CO2 has little to do with SST, but rather the temp of a thicker active layer (down to 700m? perhaps). Solution of CO2, similarly couldn’t be much in the few mm of sea surface. I suspect that it too has to do with a thicker layer that is stirred up by winds and influenced by rising and sinking currents of cool and warm water. It is interesting though that were the entire ocean to be calm, that few mm would likely be a barrier to CO2 both ways.

  18. “Moreover, a peak of some 80 ppmv around 1942 is hardly possible, but removing such a peak in less than 10 years is physically impossible. The total amount of CO2 involved is comparable to burning down one third of all living vegetation on land and growing back in a few years time.”

    During that time period, there was rapid industrialization, world wide. Further, rapid destruction, world wide and consequently rebuilding in many parts of the world. Many refer to the time period as WWII.
    Doesn’t this seem to fit?

  19. Maybe I read the article incorrectly; I thought the point was that a large portion of the CO2 increase was man-made; I don’t think it made any claim that the CO2 was the key factor in global warming.

  20. Nice post. Thanks to Ferdinand Engelbeen for providing this long and interesting material and to Anthony Watts for providing an honest and open forum. I’m sure it will provoke much polite controversy.

  21. John in NZ hits the nail on the head. The central question is this: does a rise in CO2 cause a measurable rise in temperature? Or, did the rise in T cause the rise in CO2? [Note that the rise in CO2 follows the rise in temperature.]

    If a doubling of CO2 [of which the anthropogenic contribution to total CO2 is about one molecule out of 34] causes a rise in T of less than 1°C, then there is nothing to be concerned about; it is a non-problem, and all the alarmist discussion about CO2 increasing temperature is a waste of pixels.

    The big scare regarding the rise in CO2 has been the threat of runaway global warming. But the ≈40% rise in CO2 has not caused the predicted temperature rise. The models are wrong. The real world evidence indicates that the increase in CO2 from 0.00028 to 0.00039 of the total atmosphere has been entirely beneficial.

    I have read Ferdinand’s analysis, and have no quarrel with it. But it avoids the obvious conclusion: planet Earth is telling us that the CO2 scare was a false alarm.

  22. Following is some “back of the envelope” analysis I did a couple of years ago. Unfortunately the figures don’t copy and I don’t know how to get around that. However I agree the Ferdinand that at least 70% of the CO2 increase we have seen is anthropogenic, and that a lot of the high readings from Beck are local effects. I include my speculation about the ca 1941 peak, which clearly shows as a flat in the ice core data. everyone has a right to his own speculation – right?

    The following analysis supports a ca 30 year air/ice age shift, and supports Jaworowski’s contention that pre-industrial CO2 concentration was higher than claimed due to CO2 loss from ice core depressurization. However it seems that the CO2 loss was only about 20 ppm for 1780, and probably no more than 30 ppm for ancient ice.

    See:
    1)http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm Rich source of CO2 data. And:

    2)

    Data from Ernst Georg Beck 2006

    In Beck’s curve above, readings prior to 1840 seem totally anomalous, and probably should be discarded. The three lowest readings between 1840 and 1850 look plausible. Other readings before 1865 appear questionable.

    If we take the smooth moving average from 1870 to 1960, excluding the peak from 1935 to 1950, Beck’s data seems to be consistently 10 to 15 ppm higher than the ice core data. Let us say 10 ppm to be conservative. If the ice core data is good, then we should conclude that Beck’s data is biased 10 ppm high.

    Going to 1) above we can find 10 sites in the SIO air sampling network, and 8 sites in Germany, plus one in Italy that appear reasonably unbiased. For 1986, the European sites average 346 +- 7 ppm. The 10 SIO sites average 345 +- 2 ppm. Isolated sites in Europe, reasonably unaffected by urban bias are at world average atmospheric CO2 concentrations in 1986. 1980 Law Dome air age is also within 1 ppm of Mauna Loa 1980. It seems then that there is no depressurization loss of CO2 in sampling recent ice with low pressure differential.

    If we take the 3 low 1840 to 1850 readings as good, and correct them for the 10 ppm bias, we have 300 ppm for European air in 1845. If the ice core air/ice age shift can be believed, this would correspond to about 1765 ice. Looking at Law, Siple and Vostok average we find about 280 ppm for 1765. This would suggest a decompression loss of 20 ppm for 200+ year old ice. And a pre-industrial real atmospheric concentration of more like 300 ppm than 280 ppm.

    From the Vostok ice core, making a scatter plot of CO2 concentration vs temperature we find that atmospheric CO2 concentration increases 10 ppm for every 1 degree C rise in temperature. The global average temperature has increased about 1 degree C since 1780, contributing 10 ppm CO2. Therefore the anthropogenic CO2 increase is probably only 70 ppm, rather than the 100 ppm claimed by AGW believers.

    The share of anthropogenic CO2 remaining in the atmosphere may be overstated by 30%.

    3)

    Beck data smoothed.

    In 3, taking data only from ca 1865 as good, we can clearly see both WWI and WWII. As noted above, Europe 1986 corresponds with Antarctica 1986, which suggests strongly that Beck 1960 is biased 10 ppm high.

    I went from
    > Jaworowski to Beck, to RC on Beck, to Law Dome, and to
    > several other sources. Seems to me that most all are right, and most all
    > are wrong. To wit:
    > Both Jaworowski and Beck seem to think that the measurements Beck presents
    > are global, and therefore ice cores are wrong. They also are thinking
    > statically rather than dynamically. RC agrees and points out, corectly,
    > that there was no CO2 source that could create the 1942 peak (globally).
    > Beck says the peak is not WWII because there are elevated readings in
    > Alaska and Poona India.
    > Let’s assume that the warm spell peaking about 1938 made a small
    > contribution and WWII made a large contribution. There is no reason that
    > there couldn’t have been local spikes also in Alaska (military staging)
    > and Poona (industrialized part of India supporting the Asian campaign).
    > Most of the measurements were from Europe, and in ’41/’42 Europe was in
    > flames. Imagine a high ridge of elevated CO2 across Europe that is
    > continuously flowing out to become well mixed around the world. By the
    > time it gets to the South Pole 200 ppm would probably be no more than 20
    > ppm.
    > Now consider that a few year spike (bottom to bottom 1935 to 1952) gets
    > averaged out over abouit 80 years during ice closure, so its maybe 4 ppm.
    > By the time the core is made, 1942 ice is deep enough to form CO2
    > clathrates, but not oxygen or nitrogen per Jaworowski, so when the core
    > depressurizes, some more of the peak is lost, now 1 ppm.
    > Now see Law Dome, per Etheridge “flat to slightly up and down” from about
    > 1935 to 1952.
    > You can take the Law Dome CO2 plot, look only at the last 100 years, and
    > fit Beck’s peak right on the unexplained flat.
    > There was plenty of CO2 to generate that ridge over Europe, and it was
    > WWII. Beck is right, the ice core is right, RC is right; Beck is wrong, RC
    > is wrong, but the ice core remains right.
    > It would be nice if people didn’t jump to conclusions and would think
    > dynamically.

  23. So in heavily vegetative valleys the daily CO2 values bounce up and down from night to day 20% of background, and in densely inhabited coral reefs as much as 100% along with heavy Ph shifts. The temperatures daily, seasonally, and annually also range wildly….and I am supposed to go live in a cave in fear of a 4ppm CO2 annual increase that is some years only 2ppm, that is supposed to produce an almost unmeasurable gradual change in the background temperature?

  24. tonyb says:
    September 24, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I have several questions for Ferdinand;

    1) The people who regularly took Co2 measurements back to 1830 were brilliant scientists. Why do you think that whilst by 1945 we were able to split the atom yet we were still unable to split the composition of the atmosphere-despite 120 years of trying?

    2) A 1 degree C rise in ocean temperature is supposed to produce 7ppm of Co2. At what temperature does the ocean outgas Co2 and at what temperature does it absorb? Presumably as it is only the surface that is in contact with the atmosphere it is the SST we need to be most interested in, which can vary considerably in temperature

    3) Despite your excellent series of articles you remain sceptical of the actual real world effects of co2. Can you explain what you believe the temperature rise would be if Co2 levels doubled from the 300pm claimed for the start of the 20th century

    Hi Tony, some time ago we met…

    About your questions:

    1) The scientist were brilliant, the methods they used were good for that time, and quite accurate at +/- 10 ppmv for most of them. There might have been problems with some methods (the Pettenkofer method is critisized as having 50% too high values by some), but in general that is not the problem. There were two problems: the accuracy of most methods was even not fine enough to know that there were seasonal differences, although several researchers did suppose that, but then based on measurements within vegetation. And the concept of “background” CO2 levels was not even invented, as most measurements were taken “as is” for “rural”, “town”, “polar”, “mid-latitude” air masses (the latter two over the oceans). Only with the insight of C.D. Keeling and his new method with a much better accuracy of +/- 0.1 ppmv and continuously measured, one could see that there were seasonal changes (to his own surprise), as the prevailing theory was that the oceans would level off alle differences, including the human emissions.

    2) There are large differences in ocean surface temperature between the equator and the poles, that makes that the pCO2 of the ocean waters near the equator is much higher than of the atmosphere. On the other side, biolife uses a lot of CO2, far more near the equator than near the poles, that lowers the pCO2 difference, but still temperature wins. Thus there is a permanent release of CO2 near the equator. The opposite happens near the poles, and especially in the NE Atlantic at the THC sink place, which act as a permanent sink for CO2. The mid-latitudes act as a sink in winter and a source in summer.
    See Feely e.a. at http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/maps.shtml
    (their previous pages are interesting too, but there are errors in the calculation of average fluxes in/out the oceans, although the sign would be right)

    The oceans surface layer (the “mixed” layer) equilibrates more or less within a year with the atmosphere (that is a dynamic equilibrium), but the main sink for CO2 from the atmosphere is at the THC sink place, which takes CO2 down to the deep oceans to return many hundreds of years later at the mid-Pacific upwelling. Thus temperature is important, but not the only factor. Even so, the increase in the atmosphere makes that the oceans for the same average temperature absorb more and more CO2, as the pCO2 in the atmosphere increases and thus the pCO2 difference between atmosphere and oceans decreases over warm oceans (reducing the outgassing) and increases over cold parts (increasing the uptake)…

    3) Based on absorption rates, a CO2 doubling would give an increase in temperature of about 0.9°C. Including (an already doubtful) feedback from water vapour, that would give an increase of about 1.3°C. That is all (and I would like that in my mostly cool, wet country). Climate models include a lot of feedbacks, of which cloud feedback is the most important and always positive, according to the modelers. If you put that question before cloud scientists, they agree that clouds are a negative feedback. Dr. Spencer has written several articles on this, including clouds as forcing, not as feedback.

    Further, to fit the 1945-1975 cooling period, climate modellers included an extra negative forcing: aerosols. In my opinion, the effect of (sulphate) aerosols in climate models is far overblown (and therefore also the effect of GHGs), as I discussed on RealClimate (before I did give up to comment there as half of my comments were censored):

    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=245

    See comment #6 with a lot of links to more comments…

    Last but not least, there is a period at the end of the previous interglacial, where CO2 levels dropped 40 ppmv without measurable effect on temperature, which points to a low influence of CO2:

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

    Thus in my opinion (and of many others), while there may be an influence of CO2 on temperature, it is very modest and (far) below what the climate models (and the IPCC) “project”…

  25. I just want to pass along a compliment again to Anthony about his choice of the picture for this post. I liked the modified pics for “Chicken of the Sea” on the James Cameron piece, but really like this one.

    Not sure if you meant it, Anthony, but there’s such a degree of understated irony in picking the shot of CO2 on fire from the alarmist camp. CO2, of course, doesnt burn – in fact having characteristics that allow it to be the active ingredient of the majority of fire extinguishers – just one more of its beneficial uses that I hadn’t considered before – CO2 as a “cooling” agent.

    And I share others’ compliments to you for running Mr. Engelbeens narrative. It does show a great deal of maturity lacking elsewhere. But somewhat selfishly, I find it useful because I get to see the AGW arguments in order sharpen my anti-AGW arguments. I sure don’t want to try to drag them out of the trash at RC or CP.

  26. ATTN: ALL

    THE FOLLOWING IS REALLY IMPORTANT SO PAY ATTENTION!

    After analysis, the concentration for CO2 in a sample of local air is reported for purified dry air (PDA) which does not occur in the earth’s atmosphere and is comprised of nitrogen, oxygen, the inert gases, which are the fixed gases, and CO2. The composition of PDA (i.e., the relative amounts of the fixed gases and CO2) is fairly uniform through out the atmosphere and is idependent of location, pressure, temperature, and humidity except for local variations in particular with respect to CO2. This is the origin of the term “well-mixed atmospheric gases.”

    For PDA at STP (i.e., 273.15 K and 1 atm. pressure), there are presently about 390 ml, 17.4 millimoles, 766 mg, or 0.000766 kg of CO2 in 1 cubic meter. The density of PDA at STP is 1.29 kg per cubic meter. The concentration of CO2 in PDA is 390 ppmv.

    Consider this: Will o.ooo766 kg of a gas have the capability of influencing the physical state of 1.29 kg of the fixed gases? I don’t think so.

    In real air there is no uniform distributon of the masses of the consituents including water vapor and clouds in the atmosphere in space and time as is shown by daily weather maps of the various regions of the earth. High pressure cells have more mass of the gases than do low pressure cells, and thus there is no uniform distribution of CO2 in the atmosphere. Air containing water vapor is less dense than dry air and has less mass of the fixed gases and of CO2 both of which will vary with humidity.

    Clouds are liquid water in the air, and the tiny droplets of water will contain the atmospheric gases, the amount of which will depend on local temperature and pressure. Since clouds move about, they can transport CO2 in the liquid phase from location to location. Depending on local conditions, they can release into local air some of the gases or dissipate and release water vapor and all of the gasses.. The clouds can also release rain drops which will carry the atmospheric gases to the earth’s surface. A heavy and prolonged rainfall can deposit substantial amounts of CO2 on the earth’s surface.

    The metric used for CO2 in climate model calculations is ppmv and is incorrect.
    The metric that should be used is either mass per unit volume or moles per unit volume. Current climate models use the incorrect metric for CO2 and thus are fatally flawed. Another fatal flaw is not taking into account the CO2 in the water droplets of clouds which can also release water vapor.

    For interesting info and much useful data on the atmosphere and air, go to Universal Industrial Gases Inc.’s website at:

    http://www.uigi.com/air.html

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

    CO2 is a gas essential to life. All carbohydrates are made of it. The sugar you eat, the bread you have eaten in your breakfast this morning, even the jeans you wear (these are made from 100% cotton, a polymer of glucose, made of CO2 you did’nt know it, did you?)
    You and I, we are made of CARBON and WATER.
    CO2 is heavier than Air, so it can not go up, up and away to cover the earth.
    The atmosphere, the air can not hold heat, its volumetric heat capacity, per cubic centimeter is 0.00192 joules, while water is 4.186, i.e., 3227 times.
    This is the reason why people used hot water bottles to warm their feet and not hot air bottles.
    Global Warmers models (a la Hansen) expected a kind of heated CO2 piggy bank to form in the tropical atmosphere, it never happened simply because it can not.
    If global warmers were to succeed in achieving their SUPPOSED goal of lowering CO2 level to nothing, life would disappear from the face of the earth.

  28. Bob from the UK says:
    September 24, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Good points made, but not convinced with the certainty of the conclusions. It well known that during cool periods La Nina, that the annual increases in CO2 vary significantly. For a short period in 2008 during the depths of the La Nina there was a month or two with hardly any increases. This signifies to me that natural variability is as significant as the increase in CO2 which is attributable to man. Given that evidence I’m waiting for this cooling period to develop and see how it will affect the CO2 levels. Like everything else in climate science, detailed observations started during the solar maximum. It looks like we are now entering a solar minimum.

    The influence of temperature variations on the CO2 increase rate is about 4 ppmv/°C, but that only influences the variability around the trend, not the trend itself. The long-term influence (as seen in ice cores, including the MWP-LIA cooling) is about 8 ppmv/°C, by far not enough to explain the current 100+ ppmv increase with an about 1°C increase in temperature since the LIA.
    The current rather flat temperature in the last decade didn’t give a change in ratio between the increase in the atmosphere and the emissions (about 55% of the emissions).

    Bob from the UK says:
    September 24, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I would add to my comment above. If the increase of the CO2 can vary between 2.5 and 0 ppm in the space of a few months, then Beck’s observation is by no means unbelievable, it demonstrates that the capacity of the environment to absorb CO2 is indeed capable of very significant variation.

    The fastest change is by vegetation: every spring CO2 levels are at maximum, falling rapidely (in the NH) when mid-latude leaves are growing and photosynthesis starts again. The opposite happens in fall, when a lot of leaves are decaying back to CO2 by soil bacteria. The opposite happens in the oceans, where summer gives more release and winters more absorption. As both act countercurrent, the net natural variability is surprisingly small: some +/- 1 ppmv from year to year, while the human emissions currently reach 4 ppmv/year and the average increase in the atmosphere is 2 ppmv/year:

    While the seasonal change is huge (about 60 GtC back and forth for vegetation, some 90 GtC back and forth for the oceans), that doesn’t imply the possibility of a huge change in sink capacity: the earth is greening (thanks to the extra CO2), but not with 200 GtC in less than 10 years (as Beck’s 1941 peak implies), only 1.2 GtC/year extra…

  29. Keith D says: Suboceanic volcanoes are an unaccounted for source of CO2.

    But there is no reason to expect a change in undersea volcanoes in the last ~150 years. In a sense, then, they are “accounted for, since they presumable are part of the natural equilibrium that had been keeping CO2 near 300 ppm for millennia.

    Richard111 says:
    Here is a clue, check out the Maxwell_Boltzmann energy distribution curves for N2 molecules when the air temperature is below 0C, which most of the troposphere is above 2,500 meters.
    Just what is exciting the CO2 molecules under those conditions to give that deadly “backradiation”?

    The IR from the earth’s surface (and directly by sunlight for that matter) is exciting the CO2 molecules. As the IR travels thru the atmosphere, some gets absorbed by the various greenhouse gases. (That is pretty much the definition of a green house gas.) The molecule that had absorbed the IR photon very quickly loses it again. But since it is emitted in a random direction, some of the IR that would have escaped (if there were no greenhouse gases) gets directed back toward the earth.

    Is the basic physics of green house gases really under question? GHG’s absorb and re-emit IR photons; they keep the earth warm (and keep Venus VERY warm). More GHG will block more IR and warm the earth further.

    The possibility of negative feedback mechanisms and positive feedback mechanisms make it difficult to predict the extent of the warming — some say negative feedback will mean very limited changes in temp; others say that positive feedback could lead to catastrophic increases in temp. But feedback only matters when there is a real change to begin with, like GHG’s redirecting IR photons back to the earth.

  30. One fire season in one country contributed 2.6Gt of carbon

    “Wildfires that scorched parts of Indonesia in 1997 spewed as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire planet’s biosphere removes from it in a year, shows new research published this week. The fires, which destroyed thousands of forest acres and left peat bogs smoldering for months, released as much as 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon — mostly in the form of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) — into the atmosphere. ”

    http://www.albionmonitor.com/0211a/rainfire2.html

    One has to ask the obvious question. How much carbon is NOT going into the atmosphere because such fires are prevented in place like Western North America because fire crews put all of them out (some later than others)?

    What about the perpetual coal seam fires? Are there more fires because of coal mining?

    I think anyone who categorically states the rise in CO2 is man made does not have a clue.

  31. What about 3,000,000 plus underwater vocanoes? Previously the number was thought of as a lot lower. How much CO2? How much of the ocean acidification blamed on mans CO2 is caused by CO2 from underwater volcanoes?

    “Oceanographers Hillier and Watts (2007) surveyed 201,055 submarine volcanoes. From this they concluded an astounding total of 3,477,403 submarine volcanoes must reasonably exist worldwide. They based this finding on the earlier and well-respected observations of Earth and Planetary Sciences specialist, Batiza (1982) who found that at least 4 per cent of seamounts are active volcanoes.

    Read more at Suite101: Acid Oceans Due to Undersea Volcanoes?: New Study Refutes Theory Humans Are Responsible for Acidification http://www.suite101.com/content/acid-oceans-due-undersea-volcanoes-not-humans-a220085#ixzz10TpQcoKw

    http://www.suite101.com/content/acid-oceans-due-undersea-volcanoes-not-humans-a220085

  32. k winterkorn says:
    September 24, 2010 at 9:54 am

    If we accept the evidence that CO2 “background” levels are rising and that isotope ratios indicate a biologic source (rather than simple ocean outgassing or volcanoes), the issue is still far from settled. The following questions still need to be answered:

    1. What is the total amount of bioavailable carbon in the oceans and soil (not in the atmosphere)?
    2. What is the annual rate of CO2 production from that reservoir of carbon (by bacteria, fungi, etc.)?
    3. How does that production vary as a function of changes in the earth’s average temp?

    For 1) and 2) see some (rough) estimates at:

    But 2) is two-way, where the sinks via photosynthesis are slightly larger than the sources (as anyway the difference between emissions and increase in the atmosphere must go somewhere).
    The variability of 2) in sink capacity as result of temperature changes is small: about 4 ppmv/°C, or +/- 1 ppmv year by year variability, as the graph linked in my previous message shows.

    We know from info above that diurnal changes in bio-production of CO2 are massive. It is not a leap of faith to hypothesize that as the Earth warms from other non-human causes (eg solar or earth-orbit related) that CO2 production by the biosphere may follow in a lagging manner. The global rise in CO2 could be due to increased non-human bio-activity.

    The local diurnal changes are massive, but global diurnal changes are undetectable small. Seasonal changes are about 5 ppmv (at 1°C change) globally (mostly in the NH, as where is most of the vegetation) and opposite to the long-term sensitivity of CO2 for temperature changes (about 8 ppmv/°C), which is mainly ocean temperature induced.

    Biological life (including in the oceans) is not the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, as some more oxygen is produced by vegetation growth than by vegetation decay, thus more CO2 is taken away (and preferentially 12CO2) by vegetation leaving more 13CO2 in the atmosphere. But we measure a decrease of d13C levels. The only known source of low 13C besides vegetation is fossil fuel burning (and extra methane releases and land use changes, all human induced)…

  33. While Ferdinand’s articles are interesting and appear to be well-researched, I believe the point he makes is moot and therefore also irrelevant. The AGW alarmist community has not proven that current global temperatures are driven to any measureable degree by CO2, whether it is a result of human activity or otherwise, and they have not explained any interrelation between historic CO2 levels and temperature.

  34. The problem I notice here again in the dicussions is that we forget that we donot really know the influence of volcanics and what goes on beneath the surface of 70% of earth. How much CO2 is added from that? We know from the past that there were heavy fluctuations in CO2 due to whatever reasons. Maybe, in the end, we might even find that the testing of atomic bombs triggered more volcanic activities and earth quakes. Do we know how many atomic bombs were tested, and how much energy this added to the atmosphere?
    In my investigations I could not find the proof that CO2 is to blame for global warming. On the contrary, as observed by others here, more CO2 will be good for greenery and good for life.

    http://letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

  35. Gary Pearse says:
    September 24, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Fair questions and remarks except for 2). Outgassing of CO2 has little to do with SST, but rather the temp of a thicker active layer (down to 700m? perhaps). Solution of CO2, similarly couldn’t be much in the few mm of sea surface. I suspect that it too has to do with a thicker layer that is stirred up by winds and influenced by rising and sinking currents of cool and warm water. It is interesting though that were the entire ocean to be calm, that few mm would likely be a barrier to CO2 both ways.

    Indeed the “mixed layer” is some 100-200 m of ocean surface which are stirred up by winds and are responsible for the uptake and release of CO2, depending of temperature (and DIC content). See the Feely e.a. papers at:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml

  36. James Sexton says:
    September 24, 2010 at 10:50 am

    During that time period, there was rapid industrialization, world wide. Further, rapid destruction, world wide and consequently rebuilding in many parts of the world. Many refer to the time period as WWII.
    Doesn’t this seem to fit?

    Even during that period, while the war certainly destroyed a lot (especially in Europe), the rebuilding and increase in industrial activity was mainly in the years after WWII, while that are the years of the drop back to “normal” CO2 levels according to Ernst Beck’s analysis.

  37. Tim F asks:
    Is the basic physics of green house gases really under question?

    No, I don’t think so.
    my question from the start of my own investigations has been whether the net effect of CO2 in the atmosphere is cooling or warming. If the net effect is cooling, then CO2 is not really a greenhouse gas.

    If you want more science on that, here it comes:

    here is the famous paper that confirms to me that CO2 is (also) cooling the atmosphere by re-radiating sunshine:

    http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0004-637X/644/1/551/64090.web.pdf?request-id=76e1a830-4451-4c80-aa58-4728c1d646ec

    they measured this radiation as it bounced back to earth from the moon. Follow the green line in fig. 6, bottom. Note that it already starts at 1.2 um, then one peak at 1.4 um, then various peaks at 1.6 um and 3 big peaks at 2 um. You will find it all back in fig. 6 top.
    This paper here shows that there is absorption of CO2 at between 0.21 and 0.19 um (close to 202 nm):

    http://www.nat.vu.nl/en/sec/atom/Publications/pdf/DUV-CO2.pdf

    There are other papers that I can look for again that will show that there are also absorptions of CO2 at between 0.18 and 0.135 um and between 0.125 and 0.12 um.
    We already know from the normal IR spectra that CO2 has big absorption between 4 and 5 um.

    So, to sum it up, we know that CO2 has absorption in the 14-15 um range causing some warming (by re-radiating earthshine) but as shown and proved above it also has a number of absorptions in the 0-5 um range causing cooling (by re-radiating sunshine). This cooling happens at all levels where the sunshine hits on the carbon dioxide same as the earthshine. The way from the bottom to the top is the same as from top to the bottom. So, my question is: how much cooling and how much warming is caused by the CO2? How was the experiment done to determine this and where are the test results? (I am afraid that simple heat retention testing might not work here, we have to use real sunshine and real earthshine to determine the effect in W/m3 [0.03%- 0.06%]CO2/m2/24hours). I am also doubtful of the analysis of the spectral data, as some of the UV absorptions of CO2 have only been discovered recently. Also, I think the actual heat caused by the sun’s IR at 4-5 maybe underestimated, e.g. the radiation of the sun between 4 and 5 maybe only 1% but how many watts does it cause? Here in Africa you can not stand in the sun for longer that 10 minutes, just because of the heat of the sun on your skin.

    Anyway, with so much at stake, surely, you actually have to come up with some empirical testing?

    If this research has not been done, why don’t we just sue the oil companies to do this?? It is their product afterall.
    I am going to state it here quite categorically again that if no one has got these results, then how do we know for sure that CO2 is a greenhouse gas? Maybe the cooling properties are equal to the warming properties.

  38. The stomata index data are calibrated against background levels of CO2, not local levels. It seems unlogical then to suggest that they should not be proxies for historical background level but historical local levels.

  39. I would like to thank Ferdinand Engelbeen for thoroughly excellent series of posts. It just makes sense that man’s contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere, while being a small percentage of the total concentration, must hypothetically perturb the system to some extent and the estimate that about half the anthropomorphic contribution has remained in the atmosphere thereby increasing CO2 levels is not outlandish. On the basis that higher CO2 concentrations are good for plant life, we should celebrate heightened CO2 concentrations.
    A more important question is the so called lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere. The dynamic range of natural concentration flux would seem to indicate a short lifetime. Thus, we can “turn down” the greenhouse effect if any real evidence of CAGW presents itself. No need to do anything until we really know something about climate.
    And conceding that man has actually influenced the concentration of this trace gas is not really conceding very much. You still have the more important questions;
    -is the climate measurably sensitive to increasing concentration of CO2 above 290 ppm?
    – are the effects of the increased concentration of CO2 benevolent or injurious?

  40. Ferdinand says:

    “Thus in my opinion (and of many others), while there may be an influence of CO2 on temperature, it is very modest and (far) below what the climate models (and the IPCC) “project”…”

    Finally, after four articles we have the crucial answer: there ‘may’ be a CO2 effect on T, but if so it is very modest, and far below what the models and the IPCC project.

    No wonder Ferdinand was censored at RealClimate. Since the effect of CO2 on temperature is insignificant, there is no credible reason to spend $Trillions to mitigate the fabricated “carbon” scare.

    All the proposals for Cap & Trade, for registering “carbon” footprints, for forcing companies to purchase “carbon” offsets, etc., is based on bogus science promoted by organizations and individuals who are using deliberate falsehoods [runaway global warming] to extract much higher taxes, force much higher prices, and create a heavy new unelected, permanent bureaucracy to control ordinary citizens by demonizing a beneficial and harmless trace gas.

  41. I for one completely reject the AGW hypothesis, in the belief that natural feedbacks (mostly hydrological) reduce the theoretical 1 degree C effect of CO2 doubling to somewhere between a quarter of a degree and unmeasurable.

    But this series has convinced me that the CO2 increase of the last century is anthropogenic; many thanks to FE both for the thoroughness and rigor of his work and the clarity of his presentation.

    One random thought, though — in 1939–45 we had a substantial unpleasantness in Europe and East Asia involving much burning things down and blowing things up. Has anyone done any research on whether all of this had any measurable effect on CO2 levels of the period, and if so how long (even local) effects lasted?

  42. Let ‘s get this straight once and for all.People and animals must have CO2 to live .Plants give off CO2.Simple get rid of all people and animals and never grow another crop or tree or flower ever.PROBLEM SOLVED.

  43. @Engelbeen

    “My impression is that the data of Giessen show too much variation and are too irregular, either by the (modified Pettenkofer) method, the sampling or the handling of the samples.”

    Is that how science works now – by impressions?

    Color me unimpressed by your impression.

    Figure 11 is essentially identical to Figure 10 in shape.

    The shape appears to be that of a smoking gun. You’re not going to get away with shrugging that off by saying there must be some sort of error in apparatus or procedures. Your “impression” isn’t worth a tinker’s damn.

  44. Well I’m in agreement with those who congratulate Ferdinand on a well put together piece, and the whole series.

    I found Beck’s data from 1826 to be most interesting; and I am not prepared to dismiss the 1940s peak as being impossible either up or down. For teh whole of the arctic every year we get an 18 ppm drop in CO2 in five months; and it goes back up in the remaining seven moths;and there is basically nothing in the arctic to absorb that but the exposed ocean; maybe some tundra areas.

    So 80 ppm in ten years is a piece of cake, if the original peak was itself a transient event like a massivs war period for example.

    But Beck certainly doesn’t support a “background level” of any 280 ppm; which number is trotted out ad nauseum.

    If in 1826 it was 365 as Beck suggests then 390 very nearly today is hardly worth noticing.

    And even if Beck’s results are the result of local effects; that is still useful information that htis notion of a global well mixed value is a fiction.

    In any case; nothing in this information gives me ANY comfort that the mean global (near) surface Temperature is linked in any (causal) way to atmospehric CO2.

    But thanks for your efforts Ferdinand; I will likely be studying the details of your four episodes for some time to come.

  45. I have one area of great discomfort; looking at figs 10 and 11.

    At various values of wind speed one can find (at any single wind speed) a very large spread in the CO2 ppmv. almost 3:1 range at 2 m/s; wow there’s that Climatism fudge factor range again.

    What I find completely incomprehensible is that it is possible for such widely scattered data to yield exactly the same statistical value for the CO2 once wind speed is above 2 m/s

    What kind of noise filtering could possibly yield such an unvarying straight line “mean” or is it “most likely value” or what.

    Statistical mathematics is even more magical than my wildest imagination.

  46. Tim F said at 1:08 pm
    Keith D says: Suboceanic volcanoes are an unaccounted for source of CO2.
    But there is no reason to expect a change in undersea volcanoes in the last ~150 years. In a sense, then, they are “accounted for, since they presumable are part of the natural equilibrium that had been keeping CO2 near 300 ppm for millennia.
    If we know virtually nothing about a subject, in this case Suboceanic volcanoes, how – in that ignorance – can you say they are accounted for? “Accounted for” implies – – no, REQUIRES knowledge thereof. Or that we could or should expect or not expect change? Which requires knowledge thereof also.

    And what if the half-life of an IR photon in the atmosphere as radiated from Earth? What is the half-life of a IR photon as radiated from a CO2 molecule? What percentage of those CO2 radiated IR photons go back toward the planet (prove your analysis) AND make it? (prove that analysis) Is the IR radiation from the plant a constant? If or not, what is the maximum amount of IR photons that can be absorbed by 389.92 ppm of CO2? 450ppm? 500ppm? Can a CO2 molecule absorb (as you put it) a second and third IR photon BEFORE reradiating “very quickly” (again as you put it) the first photon? And is the increase in ppm of CO2 an increase in density of CO2? Or, as suggested in the link studies above, would a decrease in the ppm of O2 & N2 cause an increase in ppm of CO2? Or could it be a general increase in density of the atmosphere?

  47. I thought this was a climate blog. If we’re going to have articles about the man-made proportions of things that have absolutely no connection or relation to climate, I’d much rather see an article distinguishing the man-made parts of Dolly Parton from the natural parts of Dolly Parton.

  48. FWIW there were inter-calibrations of the various wet methods against the IR method in the early sixties. The wet methods were shown to be unreliable, probably due to operator errors/inconsistent application. I think that Ferdinand underestimates this. It is not just that sampling was done in the wrong places (I too started from that point, but have always been aware of the difficulty of the analytical wet methods). Reading some of the older literature, one finds almost no (tempted to say none) examples where wet methods were calibrated against known samples of CO2 as was done by Keeling and Co, another reason to reject the wet methods.

    Some time ago I sent Ferdinand a paper on the volcanic influence on the Mauna Loa record, the answer being, that it was small and infrequent. If the ML volcano was having a significant effect, it would show synchronously with the eruptions (it does not) and if Beck’s claims were true, M-L would be above, not below what Beck claimed in the wet method record.

  49. One other thing that has increased greatly over this same time period is drilling holes in the Earth’s crust to explore and produce oil and gas. Does this better follow the curve except in the war years of the 40’s when all of the men were off to war?

  50. Murray Duffin says:
    September 24, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Some hap-snap remarks on your long comment:

    If we take the 3 low 1840 to 1850 readings as good, and correct them for the 10 ppm bias, we have 300 ppm for European air in 1845. If the ice core air/ice age shift can be believed, this would correspond to about 1765 ice. Looking at Law, Siple and Vostok average we find about 280 ppm for 1765. This would suggest a decompression loss of 20 ppm for 200+ year old ice. And a pre-industrial real atmospheric concentration of more like 300 ppm than 280 ppm.

    The (gas age) 1850 CO2 levels are about 285-288 ppmv, from 6 different ice cores (individual accuracy +/- 1.2 ppmv, core to core better than 5 ppmv). Not far away from the historical measurements with an accuracy of +/- 10 ppmv:

    Beck says the peak is not WWII because there are elevated readings in
    > Alaska and Poona India.

    Alaska (Point Barrow) measurements are unreliable. Accuracy of the apparatus was +/- 150 ppmv: outside air was used for calibration (that were the measurements which were noticed) if the values were between 200 and 500 ppmv, the apparatus was deemed fit for the purpose it was intended for: measurements of CO2 in exhaled air (some 20,000 ppmv)…
    Poona has a lot of measurements below and in between leaves of growing crops. Not really comparable to “background” CO2 levels…

    Now consider that a few year spike (bottom to bottom 1935 to 1952) gets averaged out over abouit 80 years during ice closure, so its maybe 4 ppm. By the time the core is made, 1942 ice is deep enough to form CO2 clathrates, but not oxygen or nitrogen per Jaworowski, so when the core depressurizes, some more of the peak is lost, now 1 ppm.

    Several problems here: a one-year peak of near 100 ppmv would be seen in the two fast ice cores of Law Dome still as a peak of at least 10 ppmv over 10 years (the closure time is only 8 years with 1.2 meter ice equivalent snow precipitation). As the peak is Gaussian over several years, that would even be much higher than 10 ppmv in the ice cores.

    IF CO2 clathrates were formed and air escapes via cracks during decompression, that would lead to too high CO2 levels, not too low, as N2/O2 under internal pressure would escape first before CO2 clathrates decompose. When the CO2 clathrates decompose, there is no or less pressure left to escape (CO2 gives only 0.03% of the pressure of O2/N2). Remaining clathrates are effectively destroyed by vacuum at measurement time.

  51. Doesn’t CO2 rise lag temperature. So the Medieval warming was a few hundred years ago, so we couldn’t expect the CO2 levels to stay constant and not go up when we had that massive spike in warmth in the middle ages. That’s why we have all those amazing cathedrals in europe at the time, because of the warming, it took us out of the dark ages.

    Why are lakes not becoming “acidified” while the ocean is? Undersea volcanoes….

  52. Ferdinand, after reading ALL the parts I understand better what you are trying to show and my comment to part 1 was less than …. Well let’s leave it at – My Bad!

    But, there is something I don’t understand in your analuysis:
    Almost 99% of atmospheric CO2, contains the less heavy carbon, 12C. A small part, 1.1% of CO2, is somewhat heavier, since it contains 13C.

    Terrestrial vegetation …., in the process of photosynthetic absorption of CO2, discriminate against heavy molecules prefering 12C to 13. In this way, the carbon trapped in continental flora contains a smaller than 1.1% proportion of 13C than of the carbon in atmospheric CO2. Phrased in another way, and inclusive of the first sentence, the carbon trapped in continental flora contains 99% + proportion of 12C very similar to carbon in atmospheric CO2, which is 98.9%.

    Then –
    The formula for d13C (in ‰) is as follows:

    (13C/12C)sampled – (13C/12C)standard
    ——————————––––––––––––––– x 1.000
    (13C/12C)standard

    Because of discrimination during photosynthesis, the d13C of terrestrial organic matter (in vegetation….) has a mean value of -26‰. The d13C of atmospheric CO2 is close to -6‰.

    WHAT? How does 1% of d13C in “Terrestrial vegetation” (or is it “terrestrial organic matter”) calculate to a value of -26 but 1% of d13C in “the carbon in atmospheric CO2”, calculate to -6?

    BTW, the mean value of d13C in oil is around -30‰. Really not “about the same” (20% off) as “Terrestrial vegetation”.

  53. Lars Kamél says:
    September 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    The stomata index data are calibrated against background levels of CO2, not local levels. It seems unlogical then to suggest that they should not be proxies for historical background level but historical local levels.

    Indeed, the SI data are calibrated to recent background CO2 levels, so that the local bias e.g. of +40 ppmv is compensated for. The problem is that one doesn’t know how the local bias changed over the centuries before the calibration.
    E.g. one of the main SI proxies is in the south of the Netherlands: leaves from oaks which stand there for over a millenium. In the same period there were tremendous changes in landscape and land use in the main wind direction (and a lot of industrialisation in the past century!). As even the main wind direction may have changed during the MWP-LIA cooling, there are a lot of possibilities that the local bias in different periods was quite different (and more variable) compared to current times.

  54. Ferdinand

    I am grateful for your detailed explanation of the sea as a source and sink and I read the links you provided.

    However the study did not provide an answer to the specific question I asked and nor did you, so I will rephrase it.

    The ocean is 100 yards from my home. It mitigates the heat in the summer and warms us during the winter. The sea is at its warmest around now and coldest around March. As a result we rarely get a frost before February. Let us for the sake of convenience say that the ocean temperature is as follows
    Jan 7C
    Feb 7C
    March 6C
    April 8C
    May 10C
    June 12C
    July 15C
    August 16C
    September 17C
    October 16C
    Nov 12C
    Dec 9C

    My question is during which months would the sea in front of my house be outgasing Co2 and in what months would it act as a sink?

    Secondly, the study says there is a 6 month time lag between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere so in effect whilst one hemispheres oceans warms the other cools, thereby keeping co2 levels roughly equal.

    However, there have been some periods-for example the 1940’s- when both hemispheres oceans were largely outgasing at the same time due to warm SST’s thereby presumably contributing co2 without one hemisphere offsetting the other. This was one of the periods that Beck noted as having high readings.

    The oceans have such a vast potential for being a sink or source that it seems remarkable that they don’t contribute to much more dramatic fluctuations in Co2 than the Mauna Loa records show.

    Incidentally these have been an excellent series of articles.

    Tonyb

  55. Henry Pool says:
    September 24, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    The problem I notice here again in the dicussions is that we forget that we donot really know the influence of volcanics and what goes on beneath the surface of 70% of earth. How much CO2 is added from that? We know from the past that there were heavy fluctuations in CO2 due to whatever reasons. Maybe, in the end, we might even find that the testing of atomic bombs triggered more volcanic activities and earth quakes. Do we know how many atomic bombs were tested, and how much energy this added to the atmosphere?

    If the undersea volcanoes added a lot of CO2 recently to the (deep) ocean layer, that isn’t noticed at all. First, most of it would be absorbed in the deep ocean layers, where most of the earth’s carbon already resides. Next, any upwelling of extra CO2 from the deep oceans (and most volcanic eruptions/venting) would increase the d13C level of the atmosphere, while we measure a decrease. Theory rejected by the observations…

    Btw, one modest earthquake has the energy of a many megatons atomic bomb test… Nature still is a lot more powerfull. But some of the tests may have triggered earthquakes which were ready to occur some time later.

  56. How nice it is to read a relatively civil discourse among informed people of differing points of view; how gracious it is for Anthony to provide such a forum for such discourse, and how pleasant it is to witness that the attendees at this forum appreciate such graciousness.
    If only other sites were so civil then we might make some real progress, scientific progress, which has emerged from the collision, discussion and amalgamation of variously informed individuals.
    I have my own thoughts about the subject under discussion and I find that my thoughts are amended daily, by varying degrees, by everything which I read here.
    It is fascinating!

  57. @Engelbeen

    “Stomata index (SI) is the ratio between the number of stomata openings to the total number of cells on leaves. This is a function of CO2 levels during the previous growing season (Tom van Hoof, personal communication). Thus that gives an impression of CO2 levels over time. As that is an indirect proxy of CO2 levels, one need calibration, which is done by comparing the SI of certain species over the past century with ice core and atmospheric CO2 measurements. So far, so good.”

    No, that’s not so good. Gas exchange isn’t primarily regulated by stomata density. Stomata open and close as required. The relaxation and contraction that opens and closes them are the closest things to muscles that plants have.

    Stomatal density, or SI, is controlled by a many immediate environmental factors and genetically through natural selection across generations. Temperature, humidity, and CO2 all play both immediate roles and long term roles. The temperature, humidity, and CO2 level present when the leaf is forming cause a wide variation in stomata count thus leaves on the same plant differ markedly depending on the position of the leaf (higher or lower on the plant) and what the environment was like as it was growing, changing level of competition from other plants, nutrient levels, sunlight, all play a role.

    Adding insult to injury is that SI/CO2 correlation assumes that near ground CO2 levels in biologically active areas are good indicators of background CO2 levels – a concept which you, elsewhere in the same article, vigorously dispute in order to show that Beck’s survey cannot be used to determine the so-called background CO2 level.

    This is yet another example of the logical fallacy called a hasty conclusion seen a lot in climate science. Correlation is not causation but with the world about to end from global warming I guess there isn’t time to do the science well, huh? Write that down. Those who grab at hasty conclusions often end up with egg on their face or get caught making the more dishonest logical fallacy of exclusion where contrary evidence is purposely discarded (also sometimes called “selection bias”). Take Michael Mann for instance who conflated a correlation between tree ring width and temperature with causation. This then led to the infamous “hide the decline” where tree ring data that contradicted the hypothesis was excluded and data from a more agreeable source was stitched in to replace it. That goes beyond mere cherry picking.

  58. My purpose in life is increase the quantity of joy and vitality of Life on Eath (especially intelligent human life) by exploding the death-dealing lies in our way: Overpopulation panic (a half truth in that we do need to moderate growth) and global warming hysteria being the two biggest ones.
    CO2 generates carbon-based life such as plants and people, and with natural farming breakthroughs, such as Sonic Bloom (R) http://www.originalsonicbloom.com, and use of composts in soil, among other things, we can restore to Sahara to verdancy and otherwise raise the carrying capacity of Earth.
    But it requires CO2. I love Engelbeen! I hope he is right, for that means we feed the hungry every time we drive somewhere. It means we can improve our Earth consciously.
    But greening the Earth requires TRUTH and that means listening to all opinions and considering them fairly. In that, Anthony Watts is a Godsend.

  59. Henry Pool says:
    September 24, 2010 at 10:28 am
    He has not proven that an increase in Co2 is bad for us.
    so, this does not change my mind

    I have long since come to the conclusion that the true believers in the AGW scam work on the principle that ANYTHING that mankind does, any impact humanity has is bad. Every creature, and plant for that matter, has some effect on its surroundings and envnironment but with other creatures its taken as “natural”. Man on the other hand, is assumed to be malevolent. Co2 is latched onto because it is measureable and a way of accounting for man’s “sins”. The actual effect is not the point. This also explains why other, more obvious, climactic drivers such as the sun are totally ignored. It only counts where there is a measurable human impact.

    The logical conclusion to this approach is set out in this article about the views of Finnish “philosopher” Pentti Linkola –

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

    This may seem extreme, but is it really that different from John Holdren and James Hansen and other who have advocated similar things in, perhaps, more subdued language.

  60. Harold Pierce Jr says: September 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Consider this: Will o.ooo766 kg of a gas have the capability of influencing the physical state of 1.29 kg of the fixed gases? I don’t think so.

    Consider this: Will 0.000020 kg of a solid (a typical amount of iron in your diet) make a difference in 1 kg of food eaten daily? I DO think so.
    Consider this: Will 0.000001 kg of dopants make a difference in 1.29 kg of semiconductor? I DO think so.
    Consider this: Will o.ooo766 kg of black paint (about 1 cm^3) have the capability of influencing the temperature of 1.29 kg of metal (about 6 cm on a side)? I DO think so.

    Nature has lots of examples where small amounts of things cause big effects. Get over it.

    Basic physics (specifically the Stefan-Boltzmann Law) tells us the earth would be significantly cooler with no GHG. This simple fact that the earth is as warm as it is says that GHG’s do influence the temperature of the earth.

  61. Dave Springer says:
    September 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Is that how science works now – by impressions?

    Color me unimpressed by your impression.

    Figure 11 is essentially identical to Figure 10 in shape.

    The shape appears to be that of a smoking gun. You’re not going to get away with shrugging that off by saying there must be some sort of error in apparatus or procedures. Your “impression” isn’t worth a tinker’s damn.

    Figire 10 and 11 are attempts to make something background like from the noisy data. For Diekirch that may be possible, as there are enough datapoints above 4 m/s wind speed, for Giessen, there simply are not enough datapoints.

    But my “impression” is based on figures 8 and 9. The modern data from Linden/Giessen give a clear diurnal variation, while the historical data don’t. Many historical data give such a clear difference, with lowest values in the afternoon, due to photosynthesis, but the historical data of Giessen show higher values in the afternoon.

    Moreover the (modified) Pettenkofer method used in Giessen has its critiques. From
    a comment of PeterD on Jennifer Marohassy’s blog about Beck’s data:

    Caldwell performed five series of tests comparing the Pettenkofer method with known values of CO2 and with the Letts and Blake modification of the Pettenkofer, which was itself of a high accuracy when compared with known CO2 volumes. His summaries show actual CO2 concentration to vary from 0.66 to 0.89 of the amount measured by the Pettenkofer method.”
    In other words, the Pettenkofer values- and, by implication, many of those reported by Beck as supporting his >400 ppm values in the 1930s-1940s- may have been over-estimated by 50%!

    You see, my “impressions” have some scientific base…

    Moreover, as Eli Rabett already mentioned, we have no idea of how well the reagens were prepared, how frequently they were checked for exhaustion, how frequent the equipment was calibrated, how well the temperature was maintained (important for some types), how good the skill was of the persons involved, how careful sample taking and handling (contamination avoiding) was, etc.

    Compared to the current calibration and quality control procedures (see http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html ), we simply know nothing of the historical ones, except for the initial tests of some of the equipment types in ideal circumstances.

  62. In fact, the more I look at Beck’s graph that follows oil and gas exploration to a tee. Up in 20’s to 1940, down during WWII and couple of years while economy recovered. I’m not speaking of the amount of carbon fuels we use and burn but the number of dry and wet holes it takes to supply it. What of all that co2. Does it dwarf our use?

    We now know co2 has little to due with overall temperatures (Miskolczi) so this is merely addressing where some of the excess co2 is coming from out of curiosity.

    When we drill a “dry” hole, is the hole hermetically sealed off or are any gases venting, and you know they are there, merely sent into the atmosphere? We know the huge amount of co2 volcanoes supply but it seems logical that all of the half to mile deep holes, wet or dry, would also vent co2.

    This has to do with the question, does the atmosphere stop at the surface on dry land, or, does the atmosphere extend many miles deep in the cracks and crevasses in the soil and rocks. In that very stable environment co2, the heaviest of the gases would settle out to a higher concentration by gravity. You know it occurs. There is no mass convection in these tiny pores. We then drill a deep hole into this “sub-atmosphere” which know allows convection.

    I see no problem for the future from this co2 aspect. Without going on and on does anyone get my point? Has anyone considered this aspect?

    These types of questions are fun but might lead lead nowhere! Just exploring.

  63. The CO2 concentration began to rise from the supposed pre-industrial level of about 280 ppm around 1800
    http://zipcodezoo.com/Trends/Trends%20in%20Atmospheric%20Carbon%20Dioxide_2.gif ,
    while human fossil fuel use did not begin to skyrocket until c. 1945, by which time the CO2 concentration was already around 310 ppm.
    http://www.solarnavigator.net/images/Global_Carbon_Emission_graph.png .

    Further, if human emissions were solely responsible for CO2 rise c. 1910 – c. 1940 and consequently most of the temperature rise c. 1910 – c. 1940, then the enormous leap in fossil fuel related CO2 emissions after 1945 would be expected to result in a much faster and steeper temperature rise than pre-war, instead of the 35 – 40 year hiatus.

    Wouldn’t that suggest that, as with other aspects of claimed AGW, it’s not one thing or the other, but a combination of CO2 responding to rising temperature (from the LIA nadir), a human emission overlay and many other natural factors which the IPCC are only too ready to dismiss.

  64. Ferdinand, thanks for reminding Eli of the Caldwell study. One of the things about CO2 that often gets washed out is the pioneer effect, the early increase in concentration due to land use changes as North America, Australia and Siberia were settled in the last half of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth, that coupled with increasing coal consumption for such things as steel manufacture and the coming of the oil economy contributed to the increase in concentrations before 1950, which were small compared to those in the last sixty years, but not insignificant.

  65. Ancient CO2 might be released through warming of deeper water where chemical and biological processes can be influenced. With warming: 1) Methane clathrates may begin to release gas into the sea; 2) methanogens may digest settled materials more efficiently and release more methane than in colder seas; 3) methanotrophs may proliferate in seas with more methane, converting it to CO2. In this final step, the carbon released could have originated from undersea vents, volcanoes, or decaying organic matter. The carbon could lack 14C. As a result, there is no unambiguous human signal in the loss of 14C from the atmosphere.

  66. “Christopher Hanley says:
    September 24, 2010 at 4:44 pm
    Wouldn’t that suggest that, as with other aspects of claimed AGW, it’s not one thing or the other, but a combination of CO2 responding to rising temperature (from the LIA nadir), a human emission overlay and many other natural factors which the IPCC are only too ready to dismiss.”

    A combination of many aspects? Now there’s some real reality and I so agree. This “it’s this” or “it’s that” are all off track unless science can rule out with emperical evidence all of the other aspect’s influence to be zero.

  67. Admittedly I have not read the other three parts, but I was surprised in his dealing with the idea that the oceans cannot absorb CO2 at the rate of change after 1941. The half-life of CO2 appears to be about 5–6 years, so large changes could occur concurrently with changes in ocean temperatures.

    It is also basically ingenuous to believe that CO2 has been as historically steady as Keeling maintained. The variations described by Beck back in the 1800’s and the peak in the 1940s lagging the warm peak of the 1930s fits what we know of Henry’s Law. They are much more believable – nature just does not do constant very well.

  68. Ferdinand

    “Moreover, as Eli Rabett already mentioned, we have no idea of how well the reagens were prepared, how frequently they were checked for exhaustion, how frequent the equipment was calibrated, how well the temperature was maintained (important for some types), how good the skill was of the persons involved, how careful sample taking and handling (contamination avoiding) was, etc.”

    I find it hilarious that the same people here who scream about the accuracy and methods in the land temps, the same people who scream about buckets and SST methods, the same people who look at thermometer specs, who complain about calibration records, who worry about getting + sings wrong in METARS, who worry about the accuracy of ice cores, or tree ring methodology.. the list of skeptical nit picking goes on.. I’m amused that when it comes to work like this, they drop their skeptical approach entirely. why is that

  69. Steven Mosher says:
    September 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm
    Ferdinand

    “Moreover, as Eli Rabett already mentioned, we have no idea of how well the reagens were prepared, how frequently they were checked for exhaustion, how frequent the equipment was calibrated, how well the temperature was maintained (important for some types), how good the skill was of the persons involved, how careful sample taking and handling (contamination avoiding) was, etc.”

    I find it hilarious that the same people here who scream about the accuracy and methods in the land temps, the same people who scream about buckets and SST methods, the same people who look at thermometer specs, who complain about calibration records, who worry about getting + sings wrong in METARS, who worry about the accuracy of ice cores, or tree ring methodology.. the list of skeptical nit picking goes on.. I’m amused that when it comes to work like this, they drop their skeptical approach entirely. why is that
    ===================
    Amusement, about a topic that is deadly serious to many.
    Why do you bother commenting? Shits and grins?

  70. Steven Mosher says:
    September 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    “I’m amused that when it comes to work like this, they drop their skeptical approach entirely. why is that.”

    Well, Mosh, I guess it’s because you are so much brighter and more principled than anyone else, and most of all because you are always right.

    Suitably chastened, I will remember that in the future.

  71. u.k.(us) says:

    “Amusement, about a topic that is deadly serious to many.”

    “Amused” is an alarmist code word, like “robust.” It is useful when there is no better argument available.

  72. Ferdinand,
    A fine article and I saw no disrespect toward Beck in it. It’s just science. I think you should also be commended for including in your article your doubts regarding the amount of warming attributed to CO2. In the increasingly poisoned debate about global warming, I know that is a tough stance for a research active scientist to take.
    That said, I think some of your criticisms of Beck’s results are not the whole picture.

    Your first argument against Beck’s CO2 graph is that the peak of 80 ppm in the early 40’s is hardly possible and the complete absorption of that peak over the next 10 years is impossible. I’m not so certain.

    Consider, as you explained, that the over all sensitivity of the oceans results in an out gassing to the atmosphere of about 7 ppm per degree of warming on a global basis. Accepted. You also alluded to the north and south hemispheres working in opposition to each other as one is warming while the other is cooling annually, and the consequence of their average gives the 7 ppm per degree on a global scale. Also accepted. You further explained that CO2 is out gassed from the oceans at the equatorial regions, and absorbed in the polar regions. Also accepted. Now let’s put all of these things together and look at them on a decadal scale while keeping in mind two other important points:

    1. Global temperature fluctuations are very pronounced at the poles and almost non existent in the equatorial regions. NASA/GISS, Hadcrut and others all show the same thing when you break them down by latitude.

    2. An increase in global temperatures does not cause out gassing from the oceans to the atmosphere per se. Since the equatorial regions are stable temperature wise, they outgas based on what is delivered to them via ocean circulation from colder regions. The polar regions on the other hand, still absorb CO2 when the temperature goes up, but they absorb a lot less than they would have, resulting in a build up of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    So let’s consider certain factors on a decadal scale. If one looks at the hemispheres, they aren’t just in opposition to each other annually, but over longer time periods as well. Check out ice extent for example, and in most cases it is in decline in one hemisphere while increasing in the other both seasonaly and on a decadal scale. The same is true for temperature in that the warming and cooling trends of the hemispheres over a period of decades are mostly in opposition to each other. I say mostly, because it isn’t always true.

    While the SH was well below normal and the NH was well above normal from about 1930 to 1960, there was a very interesting time period, that correlates exactly to Beck’s results, when both experienced warming. NASA/GISS shows that the area 64N to 90N warmed one degree, and 64S to 90S warmed 4 degrees between 1930 and 1940. They both then cooled from 1945 to 1953, then resumed their more normal pattern of one cooling while the other was warming. Awful coincidental when one looks at Beck’s graph. So let’s put that all together with the original points I raised.

    The sudden and very rapid warming evident in the temperature record would have resulted in a massive reduction of CO2 absorption in the key polar regions. At the same time, large temperature increases for those few years would no doubt have driven back the snowline on mountain tops and polar regions, exposing in a very short time period decayed biomass that had been under snow cover for years, perhaps decades or centuries, releasing large quantities of CO2. Consider also the snow melt itself. How much snow that would have otherwise been stable melts when the 64S to 90S temperatures surge by 4 degrees in just a few years? I don’t know, but my expectation is a considerable amount and the CO2 trapped would consequently also (though not entirely) be suddenly released. So the surge suddenly doesn’t seem all that unlikely. What of the absorption that followed?

    As unlikely as you seem to think it is, it seems very plausible when one considers the above factors and then extrapolate to the next phase. From 1945 to 1953 the polar regions were both cooling instead of following their usual pattern of being in opposition to one another. Consider that this happened immediately following the sudden warming of both regions. What happens to the atmospheric CO2 as a consequence?
    For starters, cooling scrubs a lot of moisture out of the atmosphere in the form of rain and snow. That rain and snow takes CO2 with it. At the same time, the colder temperatures cause an increase in the absorption rate of the ocean surface in the polar regions in particular. But there is one more factor, and it is a whopper.

    As stated earlier, the equatorial regions outgas CO2, and are relatively stable temperature wise. So one would assume that the amount of CO2 out gassed would also be stable. Not so. The CO2 has to come from somewhere, and the source is CO2 absorbed in the colder polar regions. So what might the phase delay be between CO2 being absorbed at the poles, circulating to the equator, and then being out gassed? I’m no oceanographer, but a few years seems very plausible. In brief then:

    1. During the 80 ppm peak in Beck’s graph, the polar regions were both working to increase CO2 levels instead of cancelling each other out.
    2. Sudden warming of several degrees in polar regions would have released large amounts of CO2 from melted snow and exposed biomass.
    3. During the decline in Beck’s graph, the polar regions were both working to decrease CO2 levels instead of cancelling each other out.
    4. Massive amounts of moisture would have been scrubbed from the atmosphere, taking CO2 with it.
    5. Out gassing from the equatorial regions would likely have fallen sharply as the water from the polar regions with far less than normal CO2 levels would have just been reaching the equatorial regions in that time frame.

    In fact, if one considers all of these issues, one might ask the question as to how it would be possible for there NOT to be a CO2 spike in that timeframe. With that in mind, allow me to throw in one more coincidence that is simply too difficult to dismiss.
    A big part of Climategate was exposing the fact that Mann et al had spliced actual temperatures to the ends of their graphs instead of using the proxy data that the rest of the graph was comprised of. Their excuse was “divergence”, that depending on the specific proxy being used, tree ring data ceased following global temperatures somewhere between 1950 and 1960. What do plants need to grow?

    They need water, sun, and CO2. A shortage of any of the three becomes the limiting factor in their growth, regardless of the abundance of the other two. Look closely at Beck’s graph. The tree rings would have followed the temperature if they could, but they didn’t have the CO2 to do it with post 1950. Of course of that were true, then we would expect the divergence problem to disappear as CO2 levels began to increase again. You may want to google “bristle cone pines” and “divergence”. It seems that this species, which was amongst the first to “diverge” began to “undiverge” according to some recent (2005) papers, over the last decade or so. Since precipitation wasn’t much different, and the tree rings are tracking temperature again… One can only conclude that CO2 increases have enabled them to do so. Just as decreases disabled them in the 1950’s.

  73. Michael:

    Well, Mosh, I guess it’s because you are so much brighter and more principled than anyone else, and most of all because you are always right.

    Suitably chastened, I will remember that in the future.

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

    It’s not a matter of being right. It’s a matter of always applying the same process of doubt. When I see people switch their process I wonder why? I dont know why, I wonder why? So when Jones switched from sharing data with Mc, to not sharing it with him, I just merely ask the question why? I find these changes in behavior funny.
    I find it funny that people who doubt a temperature series because it only has 5000 stations, suddenly latch onto a single warm spot in greenland in the past. odd. Funny that they don’t see the structure of their thinking changing. I find it odd that people who get riled up about the calibration of thermometers would just let these measurments go un inspected. odd. I don’t know why, so there is nothing for me to be “right” about. I found a bug today. The difference between my answer and somebody else answer was bothering me. So I asked myself. If I saw this in a Mann paper what would I do? why, I’d go hard on it. I think it pays to be as hard on the science we like as the science we dont like. Maybe that’s funny to you. I dunno, we all have different senses of humor.

  74. I don’t disagree with you, Mosh, that one should be as rigorous in evaluating evidence for as against propositions one favours, or for that matter, disagrees with.

    However, there is the matter of tone to consider. You are indeed bright and principled, but imo you need sometimes to work a little harder on how you choose to express yourself. There are a dozen different ways you could have said what you said that wouldn’t have risked causing offence, and, more importantly for you, risked alienating people. These are those who, despite not themselves being lukewarmers, have done you the courtesy on many occasions of listening to what you have to say with due respect.

    If you can give lessons, so can I, in this instance by mirroring your own technique. I’m hoping this one will stick, because I generally greatly value your contributions on a number of different blogs, as I did your book, co-authored with Tom Fuller, on Climategate, which I shelled out my hard-earned cash for.

    I did not enjoy, however, your sarcastically-phrased comment to one of my posts elsewhere, where you assumed my intentions were quite different than they actually were. Be careful about imputing motives to individuals, or casting aspersions on whole groups of people who, did you but know it, are amongst your strongest allies.

  75. David M Hoffer

    You make precisely the same points-but expressed better-in your post of 9.21 as I did in my earlier post of 3.28.

    I hope Ferdinand will deal with both of them together. If you have a specific answer to the temperature question I posed I would be interested to hear it.

    Tonyb

  76. Hi Ferdinand.
    You made a good point and somehow I never doubted in my heart that the bulk of the increase in CO2 of the past 50 years probably was caused by man.
    What still puzzles me is this:
    The carbon dioxide content has increased by about 0.01% in the past 50 years from ca. 0.03% to 0.04% m/m. This compares with an average of about 1,0 % for water vapor in the air. (Water vapor in the air has nothing to do with clouds. That is still separate). Note that most scientists agree that water vapor is a much stronger green house gas than carbon dioxide… (if indeed carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which, like I said in an earlier post here, has yet to be proven to me). It is also logical for me to suspect that as a result of human activities relating to flying, driving, burning, bathing, cooking, boiling, countless cooling processes (including that for nuclear energy!), erection of dams and shallow pools, etc. etc., a lot more water vapor than carbon dioxide is put up in the air by humans. Especially the amount of new dams being put up for human consumption/ irrigation etc. must cause a definite increase in humidity on earth (shallow water evaporates quicker because of higher temps. attained quickly).
    So, I reckon that an awful lot more than 0,01% was added to the atmosphere since 1960 due to human activities.
    What puzzles me now is that nobody on any of the climate bloggs investigates, talks or writes about this increase in humidity – it is as if this does not happen or is not happening or it is considered completely inconsequential compared to the increase in CO2. That, to me, is completely incomprensible.

  77. Milwaukee Bob says:
    September 24, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    WHAT? How does 1% of d13C in “Terrestrial vegetation” (or is it “terrestrial organic matter”) calculate to a value of -26 but 1% of d13C in “the carbon in atmospheric CO2”, calculate to -6?

    BTW, the mean value of d13C in oil is around -30‰. Really not “about the same” (20% off) as “Terrestrial vegetation”.

    As the difference in 13C/12C levels is expressed in per mil, the difference is in the next digits:
    The zero per mil in the VPDB scale is at 1.123% 13C, the rest is 12C (the tiny fraction of 14C is somewhere at 10E-14: negligible as mass, still interesting for carbon dating)
    The discrimination of 13C/12C by building organic matter gives -24 per mil VPDB, that means 1.097% 13C, hardly a difference, but easely detectable with mass spectrometers and good enough to discriminate the origin (organic/inorganic) of the CO2 which caused the change in d13C of the atmosphere, which was pre-industrial at 1.116% 13C (-6.5 per mil, nowadays -8 per mil). I left out some more decimal digits, but you can see that the differences in absolute levels are very small.

    Oil indeed is lower in d13C, natural gas even much lower (-40, sometimes -60!), in general one uses the average mix of coal, oil and gas use (and burning efficiency) to calculate the emitted CO2 amounts and theoretical d13C level changes…

  78. Tim Folkerts says:
    September 24, 2010 at 4:13 pm
    Harold Pierce Jr says: September 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Consider this: Will o.ooo766 kg of a gas have the capability of influencing the physical state of 1.29 kg of the fixed gases? I don’t think so.

    Until a scientist constructs an apparatus and measures the heating effect of trace amount of CO2 in dry air, I shall assume that it is very small and causes little if any temperature change of the dry air.

    “Basic physics (specifically the Stefan-Boltzmann Law) tells us the earth would be significantly cooler with no GHG. This simple fact that the earth is as warm as it is says that GHG’s do influence the temperature of the earth.”

    You can not use the S-B law to calculate the temperature of the earth because it is not a black body. This calculation assumes inter ali that the earth has a uniform absorptivity, emissivity and albedo which it certaintly does not.

    This calculation does not take into account that earth has thick layer of an insulating gas mixture which regulates the earth temperature and keep it between -90 deg C and +60 deg C. Also there is no uniform illumination of the earth’s surface by sunlight which is due to the tilt of its axis of rotation This and unequal mass distribution of the two hemisphere causes these to heat and cool at different rates.

    I suspect that the GHG’s have little or no influence on the temperature and climate.
    The temperature plots of many deserts or arid regions show no increase overtime, i.e., CO2 has no influence on temperature in these regions.

    Go to the late John Daly’s website “Still Waiting For Greenhouse” at

    http://www.John-Daly.com

    Under the tab “Station Temperature Data” check out the many temperature-time plots of remote weather stations, in particular Death Valley, Tombstone and Dodge City.

  79. Dave Springer says:
    September 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Stomatal density, or SI, is controlled by a many immediate environmental factors and genetically through natural selection across generations. Temperature, humidity, and CO2 all play both immediate roles and long term roles. The temperature, humidity, and CO2 level present when the leaf is forming cause a wide variation in stomata count thus leaves on the same plant differ markedly depending on the position of the leaf (higher or lower on the plant) and what the environment was like as it was growing, changing level of competition from other plants, nutrient levels, sunlight, all play a role.

    Adding insult to injury is that SI/CO2 correlation assumes that near ground CO2 levels in biologically active areas are good indicators of background CO2 levels – a concept which you, elsewhere in the same article, vigorously dispute in order to show that Beck’s survey cannot be used to determine the so-called background CO2 level.

    I think you misunderstood my opinion about stomata data. I don’t think that SI data are reliable enough to give more than a first approximation of CO2 levels in the past, as the difference between local average CO2 levels and global background levels may have largely changed over time. But some use the SI data to “prove” that ice core CO2 data are wrong, as the SI data are more variable and show higher levels some 600-1000 years ago. That is without taking into account the local bias factor. And changes in other factors also may play a role.

    BTW, I too was in the opinion that stomata density was a direct result of CO2 levels at the moment that the leaves are growing in spring, but Tom van Hoof (stomata scientist) said that the SI of the new leaves is based on CO2 levels of the previous growing season. Maybe already incorporated in the buds formed in fall of the previous year…

  80. Christopher Hanley says:
    September 24, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Wouldn’t that suggest that, as with other aspects of claimed AGW, it’s not one thing or the other, but a combination of CO2 responding to rising temperature (from the LIA nadir), a human emission overlay and many other natural factors which the IPCC are only too ready to dismiss.

    The increase of less than 1°C since the LIA is good for about 8 ppmv increase in CO2 level (the opposite 0.8°C MWP-LIA cooling does show a drop of 6 ppmv in the Law Dome ice core). The increase since 1850 is about 100 ppmv, while humans have emitted somewhat less than 200 ppmv by burning fossil fuels in the same period. Plus land use changes and extra methane releases (which started already 6,000 years ago)…

  81. Joseph Day says:
    September 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    Ancient CO2 might be released through warming of deeper water where chemical and biological processes can be influenced. With warming: 1) Methane clathrates may begin to release gas into the sea; 2) methanogens may digest settled materials more efficiently and release more methane than in colder seas; 3) methanotrophs may proliferate in seas with more methane, converting it to CO2. In this final step, the carbon released could have originated from undersea vents, volcanoes, or decaying organic matter. The carbon could lack 14C. As a result, there is no unambiguous human signal in the loss of 14C from the atmosphere.

    There are no signs of a warming in the deep ocean layers, but the level between 700 meters and the mixed layer (100-200 m depth) may be warming somewhat, including more methane releases from the continental shelves. But that is not different from the previous interglacial, the Eemian, which was warmer than today, with forests growing up to the Arctic Ocean, leaving less/no permafrost, no ice at the North Pole (at least in summer) and halve of the Greenland ice sheet melted away… In that period, the CH4 levels were around 700 ppbv. There were relative small changes in d13C over the ice ages.

    The ice cores over the past 11,000 years also show 600-700 ppbv until about 1750. After that a rapid increase to 1800 ppbv nowadays. Including a large excursion of d13C. That points to a human source…

  82. Charles Higley says:
    September 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm
    Admittedly I have not read the other three parts, but I was surprised in his dealing with the idea that the oceans cannot absorb CO2 at the rate of change after 1941. The half-life of CO2 appears to be about 5–6 years, so large changes could occur concurrently with changes in ocean temperatures.

    You’re probably confusing the average time a CO2 molecule spends in the atmosphere with the decay time of an impulse of CO2. Each molecule has an average ‘lifespan’ in the atmosphere of ~5 years but these molecules are constantly being replaced (and added to by human emissions). This is due to the annual/seasonal/daily carbon cycle. The time taken for an impulse of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere (e.g. the ~100ppm over the past ~150 years) is different. Estimates vary but I’ve seen a convincing argument that the half-life (i.e. 50 ppm removed) is ~55 years.

    It is also basically ingenuous to believe that CO2 has been as historically steady as Keeling maintained. The variations described by Beck back in the 1800′s and the peak in the 1940s lagging the warm peak of the 1930s fits what we know of Henry’s Law. They are much more believable – nature just does not do constant very well.

    You fail to appreciate the scale of an 80ppm increase (and decrease). The difference in CO2 accumulation rates between a powerful El Nino (1997/98) and a deep La Nina (1998-2000) is ~2 ppm. What on earth happened in the 1940s? Why haven’t we seen a sudden 80 ppm jump following this period of warming?

    Several ice core records tell the same story. The only significant variation in the ‘recent’ past has been before and after ice ages. The rises and falls here were in response to temperature shifts of 5-6 deg and took thousands of years to be full realised. In the last 150 years we have observed an increase at least as large as that following the last ice age.

    In Ferdinand’s post, he shows 5 locations which have been considered appropriate for measuring background CO2 levels. The measurements at each location (thousands of miles apart) are virtually identical. It is inconceivable that there was an 80 ppm increase in just a few years and even more inconceivable that there was an equivalent fall.

    Regarding your comment that “nature just does not do constant very well”. I disagree. Despite the huge daily and regional variation in temperatures across the world, the global averages as measured by GISS, Hadley, UAH & RSS rarely show year on year variation of any more than a couple of tenths of a degree.

  83. TonyB says:
    September 24, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I am grateful for your detailed explanation of the sea as a source and sink and I read the links you provided.

    However the study did not provide an answer to the specific question I asked and nor did you, so I will rephrase it.

    The ocean is 100 yards from my home. It mitigates the heat in the summer and warms us during the winter. The sea is at its warmest around now and coldest around March. As a result we rarely get a frost before February. Let us for the sake of convenience say that the ocean temperature is as follows
    Jan 7C
    Feb 7C
    March 6C
    April 8C
    May 10C
    June 12C
    July 15C
    August 16C
    September 17C
    October 16C
    Nov 12C
    Dec 9C

    My question is during which months would the sea in front of my house be outgasing Co2 and in what months would it act as a sink?

    If we may use the temperature profile of Bermuda, which has detailed pCO2(aq) calculations, then we can conclude that the SST near the English coast is low enough to be a permanent sink for CO2, of course more in winter than in summer. The Bermuda SST goes from ~19°C in winter to ~28°C in summer and only in summer the pCO2 of the oceans exceeds the 390 ppmv of the atmosphere. Thus the current border of outgassing of the oceans is at about 25°C. That doesn’t take into account the local/regional differences in pH and DIC (total inorganic carbon) which also influence the pCO2(aq), but it gives a rough indication of where the border between outgassing and uptake is. See:

    http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/archive/sst_series_bermuda_path.html

    and

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

    Secondly, the study says there is a 6 month time lag between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere so in effect whilst one hemispheres oceans warms the other cools, thereby keeping co2 levels roughly equal.

    However, there have been some periods-for example the 1940′s- when both hemispheres oceans were largely outgasing at the same time due to warm SST’s thereby presumably contributing co2 without one hemisphere offsetting the other. This was one of the periods that Beck noted as having high readings.

    I have the NH/SH SST plots from the Hadley centre here:
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadsst2/rayner_etal_2005.pdf at page 19

    While the SH/NH SST temperatures are largely parallel, the SH SST shows a cooling in the period 1940-1950, which is not visible in the NH SST. Even so, the increase since 1960 in both the NH and SH SST’s is about double the SST peak around 1940, but from the different observations it is clear that the oceans were net absorbers of CO2 after 1960, not sources…

    The oceans have such a vast potential for being a sink or source that it seems remarkable that they don’t contribute to much more dramatic fluctuations in Co2 than the Mauna Loa records show.

    There are several problems with the oceans, which prevent them to be very fast sources/sinks of CO2: the ocean surface DIC changes (CO2 + bicarbonate + carbonate) are only 10% of the changes in the atmosphere to reach a new equilibrium. The transfer rate between oceans and atmosphere is small and mainly a question of wind speed. And the main potential is in the deep oceans, which only have a limited exchange with the atmosphere via the THC.

    On the other side, temperature changes also influence vegetation, but these act opposite: higher temperatures show more vegetation growth, thus more CO2 sequestering, while one has more CO2 releases of the oceans. The net result is about 4 ppmv/°C short term (5 ppmv over the global seasonal cycle of about 1°C) to 8 ppmv/°C for long term temperature swings.

  84. Dr A Burns says:
    September 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    http://activistteacher.blogspot.com/2010/08/co2-emission-from-fossil-fuel-burning.html

    Except that human/animal breathing CO2 is CO2 which was captured a few months to a few decades before out of the same atmosphere and thus doesn’t add to the total amount of CO2. In contrast, fossil fuels were captured many millions of years ago at CO2 levels which were many times higher than today, thus adding to the current amounts in the atmosphere…

  85. Steven Mosher says:
    September 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I find it hilarious that the same people here who scream about the accuracy and methods in the land temps, the same people who scream about buckets and SST methods, the same people who look at thermometer specs, who complain about calibration records, who worry about getting + sings wrong in METARS, who worry about the accuracy of ice cores, or tree ring methodology.. the list of skeptical nit picking goes on.. I’m amused that when it comes to work like this, they drop their skeptical approach entirely. why is that

    I am every time supprised by that attitude too, maybe that is what is called “confirmation bias”. Most people are (far) more critical to what they don’t like than to what they do like as answer.

    I try to be as critical to both sides of the fence, but even then, I am only human…

  86. TonyB,
    I can’t answer your question about temperature but I can advise that there is a very interesting paper by Annti Roine on equilibrium pressures of CO2 over sea water and the cycle of exchange with the atmosphere. Roine provides detailed theory and calculations followed by correlation of results with geological record and recent records. I discussed this at one point with Beck who advised that Roine’s approach and his were very close, and a more exhaustive analysis would appear in his new paper. He was already ill by then and I don’t know if that was ever published. I doubt it as the paper was intended to respond to Beck’s critics on other matters such as the ones raised here by Ferdinand. In any event, Roine’s paper is on his web site at:

    http://www.antti-roine.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=73

  87. Ferdinand,
    In addition to your argument that the spike in Beck’s graph was not possible, your criticism of Beck’s results falls into two categories. I’ve already dealt with the “possibility” issue in my comment above, and TonyB asked a pertinent question in the same vein. I hope that you answer, but having gotten a few hours sleep, I’d like to comment on the other aspects of your argument.

    The first category relates to the accuracy and suitability of the measurements Beck used. As you demonstrated, there are a considerable number of issues which bring many of the measurements in Beck’s data into question. This came up in a blog I was following and Beck lost his temper and made some remarks that made him sound frankly, a bit looney. I corresponded privately with him and at one point he asked “do they think I am so stupid as to make such a mistake?”. I responded to him that he needed to understand the nature of debate in an open blog and the difference between a serious question about the science and an attack intended to discredit him by creating a perception regardless of the science. Ultimately however, I said that if he wanted to silence his critics he would have to publish the exact methods he used to arrive at which samples to use, which to discard and why, and precisely how the various samples that remained were analyzed and quantified to arrive at his final graph. He agreed with me and advised that his upcoming paper would go into considerable detail on that matter. He was already ill by then and having lost touch with him I don’t know how far it proceeded. I haven’t heard of a recent publication. Hopefully his work is in the hands of colleagues or family members and we will eventually see it because he did in fact have answers as to how he removed data that was suspect for the very reasons you mention in your article.

    The second matter in your argument relates to ice core data which does not reflect the spike in Beck’s graph. I corresponded on this matter as well with Beck, and he had some pretty good theories which he was intending to travel to somewhere (Vlostok?) with a colleague to gather additional data to either prove or disprove his theory.

    Again, he was already ill and I don’t know if this occurred or not. The point however is that Beck had some compelling reasons why the spike he showed would not, in fact could not, show up in the ice core record. While he never shared the detailed calculations with me, he did explain his position. I hesitate to paraphrase it here because much of it was over my head and he had to dumb down some of the answers. I shall do my best however because his answers have merit and perhaps colleagues or others with more in depth knowledge can fill in the gaps. Any discrepancies between Beck’s actual position and my explanation are purely errors on my part.

    In brief, Beck’s perspective began with how ice cores are formed. Snow falls in layers, each new layer compacting the ones below it. After a number of years, there is enough pressure from the weight of the snow to turn the bottom most layer into ice. Until then, the snow is porous and can exchange gases with the atmosphere. The lattice structure of snow traps water within it, and even ice has unfrozen water within the lattice structure. As a consequence, the ice core doesn’t show the CO2 levels from the year the snow fell, it shows the CO2 levels that the snow was exposed to during the course of being compressed into ice. I asked what a fair estimate of the resolution was, and got an answer well over my head. The dumbed down version was at best 30 years and at worst 200 years depending on a number of factors. In brief, the resolution of the ice cores is insufficient in his opinion to show the brief spike in his results. Again, this was to be part of the paper he was working on along with his explanation of how he analyzed historical CO2 data. Beck also surmised that as snow is compacted to ice, air pockets in the snow, which would be reflective of current CO2 levels as they would equilibrate to the atmosphere, not the snow they were trapped in that fell decades previous, would form bubbles and under sufficient pressure, clathrates. So any given sample of ice would have CO2 trapped within it from various time periods and various forms; bubbles, clathrates, water trapped in the lattice structure and so on. I asked how one would differentiate CO2 from a bubble versus CO2 from water trapped in the lattice structure of a snow flake eventually compacted to ice over a period of years and he answered something to the effect of “exactly!”. My impression was however, that he had thought of some mechanisms for quantifying this, and that was part of his intended trip to Vlostok to obtain the ice samples he would need.

    Regardless if he was able to make that trip or not, or what happened to any data that resulted, one has to admit that his points have merit. My reading of the ice core data is that there is a known phase delay between the age of the ice and the age of the CO2 trapped within it. It makes considerable sense that a process which captures CO2 through the formation of ice over a period of a few decades would at best show the spike in Beck’s data only if it had lasted for at least 30 years. It did not.

  88. Since the oceans hold many many times more CO2 than the atmosphere, it seems that any increase in atmospheric CO2, say a doubling, would have to be (eventually) almost entirely absorbed by the oceans to regain pressure equilibrium, even taking into account the modest degassing from a slight increase in temperature, if it were to occur. The only question is how fast the absorption would be. I imagine the absorption rate should increase as the pressure unbalance increases. Also, this absorption would have a nearly insignificant effect in ocean CO2 concentration. But do we know what atmospheric CO2 levels represent equilibrium with the oceans at current temperatures?

  89. One last thing on Beck’s results. Beck had identified specific areas where carbon absorption into the ocean was much higher than average. He described one as the triangle bounded by Greenland, Spietzbergen and an island he didn’t name. He said that there were multiple smaller zones off South America and Antarctica with similar characteristics. The Greenland/Spietzbergen triangle experience warming of 12 degrees C from 1918 to 1936, and a study by Schneider and Steif showed similar results for the zones in the SH from 1939 to 1942. Also mentioned was a paper by Polyakov which he said also supported this. If key absorption zones fluctuated in temperature by that much, a spike in CO2 levels starts to look rather reasonable.

    Point being that Beck, when calmed down and asked to explain his comments, had credible answers for his critics, much data to back them up, and was in the process of collecting still more data and publishing the whole thing at once. I hope that his colleagues and family have preserved as much of that work as possible so that others can continue it because I suspect that in the long run, Beck will be vindicated.

  90. I find it interesting that no mention is made in the article or the subsequent comments about the CO2 record going back 600 million years by Berner. CO2 now is 1/18th of what it was 600 million years ago, and the temperature record (Scotese) all during this time has been in a tight range between 12C and 22C, about 6% of the time at 12C and about 46% of the time at 22C. Now, we are at 14.5C, only 25% off the bottom of the geological temperature range. Why does the agw crowd always fail to recognize this firm 600 million year record of CO2 and temperature, but is quick to jump on much smaller changes as proof of gw? History simply is not on their side.

  91. Ferdinand and DavidmHoffer

    Thanks for all the excellent information. A family party prevents me reading and answering until tomorrow, but one final question to Ferdinand.

    Would the ocean around both our cool shores be a greater sink in January than it would be in say April?

    tonyb

  92. Steven Mosher,

    “I’m amused that when it comes to work like this, they drop their skeptical approach entirely. why is that.”

    We should all be sceptical. I believe Beck’s data reveals local variations, as Englebeen has shown, similar to the way locality can effect station temperature readings. Confirmation bias? Absolutely. But doesn’t that also apply to both sides of the AGW debate?

  93. davidmhoffer says:
    September 24, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Some more details following what I already wrote to Tony…

    1. Global temperature fluctuations are very pronounced at the poles and almost non existent in the equatorial regions. NASA/GISS, Hadcrut and others all show the same thing when you break them down by latitude.

    2. An increase in global temperatures does not cause out gassing from the oceans to the atmosphere per se. Since the equatorial regions are stable temperature wise, they outgas based on what is delivered to them via ocean circulation from colder regions. The polar regions on the other hand, still absorb CO2 when the temperature goes up, but they absorb a lot less than they would have, resulting in a build up of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    1. Agreed

    2. The main removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is at the THC sink place, where water temperatures are just below zero. There is a shift in THC sink rate between summer and winter and there may be a shift in place where the THC sinks, just away from the ice cover, but I don’t think that the total area of the THC sink rate is much different with not too large changes in global/hemispheric SST.

    So let’s consider certain factors on a decadal scale. If one looks at the hemispheres, they aren’t just in opposition to each other annually, but over longer time periods as well. Check out ice extent for example, and in most cases it is in decline in one hemisphere while increasing in the other both seasonaly and on a decadal scale. The same is true for temperature in that the warming and cooling trends of the hemispheres over a period of decades are mostly in opposition to each other. I say mostly, because it isn’t always true.

    The opposite action of the SH/NH oceans is mainly on seasonal scale, but the warming over the years is mostly parallel, with the exception of 1940-1950 where the SH shows a sharp drop and a sharp rise after that, while the NH is relative flat 1940-1980 and rises after that. But as already said to Tony, the rise 1960-2000 is double the 1940 peak, while is proven that the oceans since 1960 are net sinks for CO2, not sources.

    While the SH was well below normal and the NH was well above normal from about 1930 to 1960, there was a very interesting time period, that correlates exactly to Beck’s results, when both experienced warming. NASA/GISS shows that the area 64N to 90N warmed one degree, and 64S to 90S warmed 4 degrees between 1930 and 1940. They both then cooled from 1945 to 1953, then resumed their more normal pattern of one cooling while the other was warming. Awful coincidental when one looks at Beck’s graph. So let’s put that all together with the original points I raised.

    Agreed, but one would expect a doubling of the peak in the period 1960-2000, compared to 1930-1940, if SST was the main driver, as both hemisphere SST’s go up.
    Moreover, other proxies don’t show anything abnormal in the period 1930-1950. Neither stomata data (with their own problems, but a peak of 80 ppmv would give an enrmous drop in stomata index), nor coralline sponges: if the extra atmospheric CO2 did come from the oceans (either surface or deep), that would tremendously increase the d13C level of the ocean mixed layer, but all we see is a smooth decrease in d13C level in ratio with the low d13C fossil fuel use.

    The sudden and very rapid warming evident in the temperature record would have resulted in a massive reduction of CO2 absorption in the key polar regions. At the same time, large temperature increases for those few years would no doubt have driven back the snowline on mountain tops and polar regions, exposing in a very short time period decayed biomass that had been under snow cover for years, perhaps decades or centuries, releasing large quantities of CO2. Consider also the snow melt itself. How much snow that would have otherwise been stable melts when the 64S to 90S temperatures surge by 4 degrees in just a few years? I don’t know, but my expectation is a considerable amount and the CO2 trapped would consequently also (though not entirely) be suddenly released. So the surge suddenly doesn’t seem all that unlikely. What of the absorption that followed?

    You forget that most of the vegetation (as well on land as in the oceans) increases its activity when temperatures increase (except in very dry places…). That is what can be seen over the seasons as a drop in CO2 in spring-summer and a release of CO2 in fall-winter. The average global short-term ratio of oceans+vegetation is 4 ppmv/°C, for the 1930-1940 period the global SST increase is about 0.3°C, that would give an increase of 1.3 ppmv CO2. Hardly visible in the ice cores. The above ratio is based on the Pinatubo eruption and the 1998 El Niño, both excursions of about 0.6°C down and up. Of course, the regional temperature/CO2 changes might be much larger near the poles, but the total surface reacts like that.

    As unlikely as you seem to think it is, it seems very plausible when one considers the above factors and then extrapolate to the next phase. From 1945 to 1953 the polar regions were both cooling instead of following their usual pattern of being in opposition to one another. Consider that this happened immediately following the sudden warming of both regions. What happens to the atmospheric CO2 as a consequence?
    For starters, cooling scrubs a lot of moisture out of the atmosphere in the form of rain and snow. That rain and snow takes CO2 with it. At the same time, the colder temperatures cause an increase in the absorption rate of the ocean surface in the polar regions in particular. But there is one more factor, and it is a whopper.

    As stated earlier, the equatorial regions outgas CO2, and are relatively stable temperature wise. So one would assume that the amount of CO2 out gassed would also be stable. Not so. The CO2 has to come from somewhere, and the source is CO2 absorbed in the colder polar regions. So what might the phase delay be between CO2 being absorbed at the poles, circulating to the equator, and then being out gassed? I’m no oceanographer, but a few years seems very plausible. In brief then:

    The delay between the THC sink and upwelling is about 800 years, not short term…
    Cooling means less evaporation, thus less rain and snow scrubbing CO2 (as far as that happens, rain falling down also releases much of its CO2)…

    1. During the 80 ppm peak in Beck’s graph, the polar regions were both working to increase CO2 levels instead of cancelling each other out.
    2. Sudden warming of several degrees in polar regions would have released large amounts of CO2 from melted snow and exposed biomass.
    3. During the decline in Beck’s graph, the polar regions were both working to decrease CO2 levels instead of cancelling each other out.
    4. Massive amounts of moisture would have been scrubbed from the atmosphere, taking CO2 with it.
    5. Out gassing from the equatorial regions would likely have fallen sharply as the water from the polar regions with far less than normal CO2 levels would have just been reaching the equatorial regions in that time frame.

    1. Agreed, but that is not different now since 1960.
    2. Agreed, but temperatures in moderate latitudes were going up too, increasing the uptake by vegetation.
    3. Agreed.
    4. Disagree, as colder means less water circulation. The overall residence time for water vapour is only a few days, thus adjustment to temperature changes is only a few days too, which means that the remainder of the CO2 “peak” over 10 years has less influence from scrubbing out.
    5. Disagree, the THC circulation time is much longer.

    tree ring data ceased following global temperatures somewhere between 1950 and 1960.

    Although this is far OT, tree rings start to diverge around 1960 at some places, after 1980 at other places and some don’t diverge. There is no influence visible of some 80 ppmv CO2 extra (and relative higher temperatures) around 1940 in tree ring series, as far as I know, but I haven’t looked into that topic in detail. I don’t think that this supports the 1940 peak, if one expects an extra growth from extra CO2…

  94. davidmhoffer says:
    September 25, 2010 at 7:58 am
    That is precisely the topic of Annti Roine’s paper which you just managed to paraphrase. He (she?) concludes 140 to 160 I believe, but as with all things science, it is more complicated than that.

    http://www.antti-roine.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=73

    ——————–
    We should hope he or she is wrong. Because if such low concentrations represent equilibrium at current temperatures, and they eventually come to be, most life on earth will be in enormous trouble, to say the least.
    I don’t suppose there is any reliable way of deriving what the equilibrium should be straight from physical principles.

  95. Charles S. Opalek, PE says says September 25, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I find it interesting that no mention is made in the article or the subsequent comments about the CO2 record going back 600 million years by Berner. CO2 now is 1/18th of what it was 600 million years ago, and the temperature record (Scotese) all during this time has been in a tight range between 12C and 22C, about 6% of the time at 12C and about 46% of the time at 22C. Now, we are at 14.5C, only 25% off the bottom of the geological temperature range. Why does the agw crowd always fail to recognize this firm 600 million year record of CO2 and temperature, but is quick to jump on much smaller changes as proof of gw? History simply is not on their side.

    Well, the reality is that Gaia has been reducing CO2 in the atmosphere in lockstep with the increase in solar output to protect us all.

    Then of course, we evil humans came along and upset the balance. The AGW crowd are simply trying to get us to see the evil of our ways and the sacrifices in our standard of living (and the monetary compensation the AGW crowd are seeking) are small compared to the benefit to us all.

  96. davidmhoffer says:
    September 25, 2010 at 6:42 am

    The first category relates to the accuracy and suitability of the measurements Beck used. As you demonstrated, there are a considerable number of issues which bring many of the measurements in Beck’s data into question. This came up in a blog I was following and Beck lost his temper and made some remarks that made him sound frankly, a bit looney.

    I had the impression that Ernst Beck believed that all chemical methods were equally accurate, while e.g. the micro-Schollander apparatus, as described in one of the historical papers on his own website clearly indicated that the accuracy was +/- 150 ppmv. Unfortunately that apparatus was used at Barrow, which is a very good place to measure, one of the baseline stations nowadays is there.

    Hopefully his work is in the hands of colleagues or family members and we will eventually see it because he did in fact have answers as to how he removed data that was suspect for the very reasons you mention in your article.

    I hope that it will be published too, as I like to see the new data. But I fear that if you remove all the suspect data, that not much is left in the 1935-1945 period…

    The second matter in your argument relates to ice core data which does not reflect the spike in Beck’s graph. I corresponded on this matter as well with Beck, and he had some pretty good theories which he was intending to travel to somewhere (Vlostok?) with a colleague to gather additional data to either prove or disprove his theory.

    Again, he was already ill and I don’t know if this occurred or not. The point however is that Beck had some compelling reasons why the spike he showed would not, in fact could not, show up in the ice core record. While he never shared the detailed calculations with me, he did explain his position. I hesitate to paraphrase it here because much of it was over my head and he had to dumb down some of the answers. I shall do my best however because his answers have merit and perhaps colleagues or others with more in depth knowledge can fill in the gaps. Any discrepancies between Beck’s actual position and my explanation are purely errors on my part.

    In brief, Beck’s perspective began with how ice cores are formed. Snow falls in layers, each new layer compacting the ones below it. After a number of years, there is enough pressure from the weight of the snow to turn the bottom most layer into ice. Until then, the snow is porous and can exchange gases with the atmosphere. The lattice structure of snow traps water within it, and even ice has unfrozen water within the lattice structure. As a consequence, the ice core doesn’t show the CO2 levels from the year the snow fell, it shows the CO2 levels that the snow was exposed to during the course of being compressed into ice. I asked what a fair estimate of the resolution was, and got an answer well over my head. The dumbed down version was at best 30 years and at worst 200 years depending on a number of factors. In brief, the resolution of the ice cores is insufficient in his opinion to show the brief spike in his results. Again, this was to be part of the paper he was working on along with his explanation of how he analyzed historical CO2 data. Beck also surmised that as snow is compacted to ice, air pockets in the snow, which would be reflective of current CO2 levels as they would equilibrate to the atmosphere, not the snow they were trapped in that fell decades previous, would form bubbles and under sufficient pressure, clathrates. So any given sample of ice would have CO2 trapped within it from various time periods and various forms; bubbles, clathrates, water trapped in the lattice structure and so on. I asked how one would differentiate CO2 from a bubble versus CO2 from water trapped in the lattice structure of a snow flake eventually compacted to ice over a period of years and he answered something to the effect of “exactly!”. My impression was however, that he had thought of some mechanisms for quantifying this, and that was part of his intended trip to Vlostok to obtain the ice samples he would need.

    Regardless if he was able to make that trip or not, or what happened to any data that resulted, one has to admit that his points have merit. My reading of the ice core data is that there is a known phase delay between the age of the ice and the age of the CO2 trapped within it. It makes considerable sense that a process which captures CO2 through the formation of ice over a period of a few decades would at best show the spike in Beck’s data only if it had lasted for at least 30 years. It did not.

    Different ice cores show quite different resolution. The fastest accumulation ice cores, 2 out of 3 Law Dome cores have a resolution of only 8 years, more than fast enough to show any peak of 20 ppmv lasting only 1 year, thus anyway would show a Gaussian peak of 80 ppmv over 20 years… The ice age – gas age difference is not important, only the time needed from start closing to full closure of all bubbles is important. That depends of the local accumulation rate, which is 1,2 meters ice equivalent at Law Dome down to a few mm for Vostok (with a resolution of about 600 years).

    Water is (except around salt/dust inclusions) completely absent below -30°C (Vostok is at -40°C) and only forms a thin layer (a few atoms thick) at -20°C (Law Dome) at the ice-air border. Inbetween ice crystals, the ice structure is deformed, but hardly “liquid”. The possibility of CO2 to hide there (or to migrate) is very, very low at -20°C and virtually absent at -40°C.

    Clathrates are formed at a certain pressure and temperature, but after drilling, the ice is allowed to relax at low temperatures (mostly on site below the surface) for up to a year, which decomposes most of the clathrates. And at measurement time, vacuum is applied while grating the ice, which effectively decomposes any remaining clathrates.

    Thus all together, we have ice core data which are reliable enough and have a sufficient resolution to detect any peak even far lower and with a shorter duration than the 1940 peak according to the historical data. And no proxies of any kind show something special in the same period…

  97. @Engelbeen

    “Moreover, a peak of some 80 ppmv around 1942 is hardly possible, but removing such a peak in less than 10 years is physically impossible.”

    The normal seasonal variation at Mauna Loa is on the order of 8-10ppm (last 5 years) and that’s riding on top of a consistent annual rise of nearly 2ppm. Evidently pumping 12ppm CO2 in or out of the atmosphere is a routine annual occurrence.

    There are lots of things that happen which cause the ratio to change between living CO2 producers (fungi, bacteria, and animals) and consumers (plants). Given the annual carbon exchange between living things and atmosphere is some 50ppm or more an imbalance of plus or minus 10% or so in global plant mass which persisted for a decade or two would cause an 80ppm background change. It might not even be terribly noticeable by eyeballing anything as 90% of the food chain would still be conducting business as usual.

    During WWII hundreds of oil and fuel tankers with 5 million gallons or more each were sunk all over the Atlantic and Pacific. Thousands of other large merchant and military vessels went down too taking their fuel tanks to the bottom with them. One commenter in a BP spill thread here on WUWT here said tarballs littered east coast beaches into the 1950’s such that they kept a can of gasoline handy to scrub it off their feet after a day at the beach. Imagine the havoc that must have wreaked on the global ocean ecology, its bottom and surface chemistry, and gas exchange characteristics. Major volcanos would have the same disruptive effect and for all we know major solar magnetic field disruptions could do it too.

  98. Mosher: “I find it funny that people who doubt a temperature series because it only has 5000 stations”

    5000? I’ve looked at GISTEMP. Less than 10% of their stations actually have current temperatures.

    What a shill.

  99. Henry Pool says:
    September 25, 2010 at 12:31 am

    So, I reckon that an awful lot more than 0,01% was added to the atmosphere since 1960 due to human activities.
    What puzzles me now is that nobody on any of the climate bloggs investigates, talks or writes about this increase in humidity – it is as if this does not happen or is not happening or it is considered completely inconsequential compared to the increase in CO2. That, to me, is completely incomprensible.

    The increase in humidity from human activities is about 0.1% of the total circulation of water vapour, if I remember well. The increase of water vapour (if the precipitation rate in the Arctic may be used as base) in the atmosphere is about 6% over the past 60 years. Thus the temperature increase is far more important than the direct human contribution. This is included in the climate models, as positive feedback, as more CO2 gives higher temperatures and these give more water vapour, which increases the temperature somewhat further. The increase in water vapour seems quite right for the lower troposphere, but is absent where all models expect the highest increase: in the upper troposphere of the tropics (the “hot spot”).

    Thus water vapour sometimes is discussed, but in general as feedback for CO2 increase. Sometimes overblown, as is the case for Europe, where water vapour increases (caused by a positive NAO) may be responsible for the increasing temperatures in NE Europe. That is far more than a feedback would imply. See the discussion of the Philipona paper at RC:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/11/busy-week-for-water-vapor/

    With my comment at #22 and more comments from Raypierre and Philipona below that.

  100. Dave Springer says:
    September 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

    The normal seasonal variation at Mauna Loa is on the order of 8-10ppm (last 5 years) and that’s riding on top of a consistent annual rise of nearly 2ppm. Evidently pumping 12ppm CO2 in or out of the atmosphere is a routine annual occurrence.

    There are lots of things that happen which cause the ratio to change between living CO2 producers (fungi, bacteria, and animals) and consumers (plants). Given the annual carbon exchange between living things and atmosphere is some 50ppm or more an imbalance of plus or minus 10% or so in global plant mass which persisted for a decade or two would cause an 80ppm background change. It might not even be terribly noticeable by eyeballing anything as 90% of the food chain would still be conducting business as usual.

    One need to make a differentiation between the back-and-forth cycle and what can be released or removed beyond the cycle.
    The cycle involves large quantities of CO2 which in one season are captured and in another season are released again. That is mainly by the growth and decay of mid-latitude forest leaves and wood. A change in temperature and precipitation will influence this somewhat, but even at current high temperatures, the pre-1990 near break-even rate increased to only some 1.2 GtC/year extra CO2 uptake.

    The 1940 peak implies a change of 160 GtC in less than 10 years up and 10 years down or 16 GtC/year average up and down. The total carbon mass involved is about what is present in 1/3rd of all land vegetation. That is practically impossible and not seen anywhere.

    Further such huge changes in land (or sea) release and uptake would give an enormous impression on d13C levels, which is not seen at all, even not in high resolution (2-4 years) coralline sponges.

    Theoretically much is possible, but several observations show that it didn’t happen.

  101. tonyb says:
    September 25, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Would the ocean around both our cool shores be a greater sink in January than it would be in say April?

    As the SST in January is average 1°C cooler than the April temperature, the sink rate in January will be higher than in April, all other influences being equal (wind speed as the most important, but biolife not to be forgotten).

  102. Francisco says:
    September 25, 2010 at 6:47 am

    Since the oceans hold many many times more CO2 than the atmosphere, it seems that any increase in atmospheric CO2, say a doubling, would have to be (eventually) almost entirely absorbed by the oceans to regain pressure equilibrium, even taking into account the modest degassing from a slight increase in temperature, if it were to occur. The only question is how fast the absorption would be. I imagine the absorption rate should increase as the pressure unbalance increases. Also, this absorption would have a nearly insignificant effect in ocean CO2 concentration. But do we know what atmospheric CO2 levels represent equilibrium with the oceans at current temperatures?

    If we may use the equilibrium rates from the Vostok ice core (recently extended with the Dome C 800,000 years record), the we should be around 290 ppmv at the current temperature. The sink rate indeed increases with the difference between current and equilibrium CO2 level, but the real pCO2 difference between atmosphere and ocean mixed layer is only 7 ppmv in average, see Feely e.a. at:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml

    which btw disputes the figures of Antti Roine.

    The small difference is because the mixed layer follows the atmosphere within about 1.5 years. But the main CO2 sink into the deep oceans at the THC sink place shows a difference of ~240 microatm.

  103. Ferdinand says: 1) The increase in humidity from human activities is about 0.1% of the total circulation of water vapour, if I remember well. 2) The increase of water vapour (if the precipitation rate in the Arctic may be used as base) in the atmosphere is about 6% over the past 60 years. Thus the temperature increase is far more important than the direct human contribution. This is included in the climate models, as positive feedback, 3) as more CO2 gives higher temperatures and these give more water vapour, which increases the temperature somewhat further

    Sorry Ferdinand
    1) nobody can possibly calculate the extra water vapor being added to the atmosphere due to man’s continued erection of shallow dams and pools.
    2) are we sure about that 6% increase in humidity (worldwide)? How do you separate that which is man made and that which is natural (due to global warming )?
    3) as posted here earlier, nobody has yet proven to me that the net effect of CO2 is warming rather than cooling

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/24/engelbeen-on-why-he-thinks-the-co2-increase-is-man-made-part-4/#comment-491160

  104. @Engelbeen

    Biologically active carbon in land biota (vegetation, soil, detritus) is over 2000gt. A 160gt change up or down is 8% of it. So you are saying that a change in terrestrial carbon reservoir of less than 1% per year up or down for ten consecutive years is “practically impossible”? Is that another one of your “impressions”?

  105. Henry Pool says:

    Sorry Ferdinand
    1) nobody can possibly calculate the extra water vapor being added to the atmosphere due to man’s continued erection of shallow dams and pools.
    2) are we sure about that 6% increase in humidity (worldwide)? How do you separate that which is man made and that which is natural (due to global warming )?
    3) as posted here earlier, nobody has yet proven to me that the net effect of CO2 is warming rather than cooling

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/24/engelbeen-on-why-he-thinks-the-co2-increase-is-man-made-part-4/#comment-491160

    1) The 0.1% was directly from energy use (fossil fuel burning and cooling towers from power plants), not including the surface evaporation from dams etc… On the other side, many wetlands were drained and cultivated, rivers were straightened and narrowed, but irrigation again added to the overall evaporation. Hard to calculate the amounts involved.
    But as 70% of the surface are oceans, I suppose that SST is the main driver for humidity in the air and precipitation, hardly influenced by some extra human input…
    2) The 6% increase is only based on the increase in discharge of Arctic rivers. I have no idea if that is applicable to global water circulation. But it is anyway an indication of the increase of water circulation within the polar circle with increasing temperatures there.
    The global satellite record is probably still too short to give any firm conclusions. Models (more or less confirmed by observations) assume a constant relative humidity with increasing temperature. See

    http://www.dgf.uchile.cl/~ronda/GF3004/helandsod00.pdf

    And look at the Final Remarks
    3) No comment on this, I haven’t studied that in detail, only did see that the models overestimate the influence of (cooling) aerosols, thus overestimating the influence of GHGs and the lack of influence of a drop of 40 ppmv CO2 at the end of the previous interglacial, which also points to a low influence of CO2.

  106. Dave Springer says:
    September 26, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Biologically active carbon in land biota (vegetation, soil, detritus) is over 2000gt. A 160gt change up or down is 8% of it. So you are saying that a change in terrestrial carbon reservoir of less than 1% per year up or down for ten consecutive years is “practically impossible”? Is that another one of your “impressions”?

    Don’t mix up changes in reservoirs with changes in fluxes… If you want 16 GtC/year increase and decrease, that needs a change of some 15% in soil bacteria activity or an opposite 15% change in vegetation growth (wood + detritus) or a mix of both over a period of 10 years up and 10 years down. Only as result of a temperature change of some 0.3°C. Since that period, we have an increase of 0.6°C, which shows a similar increase in CO2, which is proven not from vegetation, as the temperature (or CO2) increase led to a net absorption of about 1.2 GtC/year in the biosphere, opposite to what allegedly happened in 1940.

    And nothing happened with the d13C level around 1940, except for the steady decline caused by the use of fossil fuels.

    Again my “impression” is based on scientific facts…

  107. Ferdinand

    Has any study been done on the effects of wide scale aerial irrigation on Co2 levels? It is common to see jets of water pumping high into the air and thereby(presumably) Co2 as well, whilst also increasing hunidity in the air around it.

    tonyb

  108. Ferdinand,
    Thanks for your clear and concise answers to the issues I raised. I do have some quibbles with some of them, but I also have a commitment to the matriarch of my household in regard to the completion of a concrete pad at the back of the house. Global warming, having failed to provide the promised extension to the concrete pouring season, I fear this may be my last weekend before to complete the pad before temperatures become too cold around here to do so. So allow me touch on just a couple of things:

    1. You advised that if Beck was aware of the limits of the data he was using and eliminated those measurements which could not be relied on, it would leave so few measurements that nothing meaningful could be achieved. Not so. You proceed on the assumption that the known problems with the data could not dealt with to arrive at valid calculations. Check out this article by Francis Massen on combining wind speed measurements with CO2 measurements to arrive at accurate background CO2 measurements.

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/guest-post-a-simple-tool-to-detect-co2-background-levels-by-francis-massen/

    Note that Massen colaborated with Beck on this paper, and that this was not the only technique that Beck used to derive accurate results from otherwise innacurate data. The variety of technicques and approaches, tested against real world measurement, were a big part of the paper he was working on and brought a considerable amount of the data you assume should have been discarded into a proper analysis.

    2. You dismissed my point about sudden warming releasing CO2 being counter balanced by uptake from the biosphere. On a long term basis certainly. Allow me to expand on the short term issue.

    During a cooling period, snow lines advance, covering dead biomass. The assumption that this dead biomass just freezes is incorrect. The assumption that the snow layer is just snow down to the ground is also incorrect. When teaching kids about winter camping and how to build a quinzzy (sort of like an igloo, but constructed of loose snow piled up and then hollowed out), one of the things to show them is the thin layer of ice, usually just a half cm or so above the ground, which formed during the first snowfall of the year. The fluffy snow on top is insulation, the heat latent in the ground during the first snow melted some of it, which then refroze as a layer of ice as the ground lost its own heat and fell below the freezing temperature.

    Beneath that layer of ice you will frequently find that it is microbially active. Decaying processes continue, though at a much slower rate, and are mostly locked beneath the snow by that thin layer of ice. Spring wheat (planted in the fall) gets a massive jump on the growing season because it is germinated early enough to take advantage of the moisture from snow melt instead of waiting for the first rains after seeding, and because that snow melt carries nutrients from decaying biomass from the whole winter.

    So let’s apply what happense seasonaly as the snow line extends and retreats to a warming globaly of several degrees in extreme temperate and arctic regions over a very short period of time. Snow lines would retreat rapidly, exposing decayed biomass that had been locked under snow and ice for decades, perhaps centuries, much of it microbially active for a very long time, releasing to the atmosphere in a matter of months what had been collecting for decades or longer.

    The biosphere would of course increase uptake, but there would be a susbtantive delay, it would take many years for the biosphere to absorb that pulse. The oceans however, would have no such challenge. As Annti Roine contends, the uptake of the oceans sky rockets as the equilibrium pressure between the atmosphere and the oceans diverges.

    http://www.antti-roine.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=73

  109. Ferdinand wrote

    quote
    Moreover, a peak of some 80 ppmv around 1942 is hardly possible, but removing such a peak in less than 10 years is physically impossible. The total amount of CO2 involved is comparable to burning down one third of all living vegetation on land and growing back in a few years time.
    unquote

    I’d be interested in some workings through of that statement — in very simple terms.

    It’s interesting to see the coincidence of this ‘impossible’ peak with the SST peak in the Hadcrut graph — coincidental, that is, if one rejects the Folland and Parker bucket correction. Of course, it may just be chance.

    If one looks at wind speed records for the same time period, there is an interesting excursion of up to 7 m/s (from memory: I can’t trace the FOA paper which is filed as an image rather than as a document and which was primarily concerned with fish stocks) in the North Atlantic with lesser excursions in the SA, NP and SP in that order. This latter paper is what made me decide that the Folland and Parker correction is untrustworthy and that the abrupt rise and fall of SSTs around the 39-45 period are real and not an artefact of measurement.

    Two excursions may be coincidence: so too, of course, might be three, but that’s not the way to bet. There is a high probability that something happened which disturbed the oceans during that period and as such I cannot agree with your cavalier dismissal of changes as physically impossible. If, as I have postulated, the changes are due to disruption of the nutrient flows in the upper ocean, then the response of the oceanic biosphere is possibly enough to produce huge swings both in production and isotope pumping.

    I lack the knowledge to suggest an experiment which would show oceanic primary production over the critical period — it would have to be far ocean production as I suspect the primary cause would not show up in coastal waters which are well mixed by wave action and fed by land run-off. Similarly, I have reservations about shallow sea relevance — well out to sea is where the problems would show. Or not, of course.

    The dismissal of unfortunate data, as you do to Beck’s graph above, is all too common in climate science, explaining away rather than explaining. If the scientists who cannot explain the warming and cooling episodes of the last 70 or so years had not decided to correct anomalies away, then I would have much more confidence in their overall findings.

    Oceanic primary production is around 50 billion tons of carbon per year. In the last 60 years the phytoplankton population has fallen by 40%. Something is going on. I’d expect the change to show — compare 40% of that 50 billion with the change in humanity’s production over the same period.

    JF

  110. davidmhoffer says:
    September 26, 2010 at 11:17 am

    1. You advised that if Beck was aware of the limits of the data he was using and eliminated those measurements which could not be relied on, it would leave so few measurements that nothing meaningful could be achieved. Not so. You proceed on the assumption that the known problems with the data could not dealt with to arrive at valid calculations. Check out this article by Francis Massen on combining wind speed measurements with CO2 measurements to arrive at accurate background CO2 measurements.

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/guest-post-a-simple-tool-to-detect-co2-background-levels-by-francis-massen/

    Note that Massen colaborated with Beck on this paper, and that this was not the only technique that Beck used to derive accurate results from otherwise innacurate data. The variety of technicques and approaches, tested against real world measurement, were a big part of the paper he was working on and brought a considerable amount of the data you assume should have been discarded into a proper analysis.

    The data in the period 1930-1935 taken during cruises over the North Atlantic Ocean show a small range and the averages are around the ice core values. That are data in “background” environment. None of the data in the period 1935-1943 were taken in “background” places and all show an enormous range and high averages, but still the minima are below or near the ice core values. This should already give a warning about the value of the measurements.
    Moreover, averages from measurements taken at different places in the same year also show huge differences: in e.g. 1940 from around 250 ppmv to 600 ppmv. Current differences between stations from near the North Pole to the South Pole don’t differ with more than 5 ppmv for yearly averages (15 ppmv for monthly averages, including the seasonal differences)…
    Then 1944 again shows oceanic measurements with an average this time even below the ice core value.

    As the minima are probably taken either at high wind speed or in the afternoon with more turbulence, these approach the background better than the averages. But in fact one should better discard them all.

    The two series which give the highest contribution to the 1941 peak are Poona (India) and Giessen (Germany). Most of the data from Poona were taken under and in between growing vegetation. There is no way to compare or translate that to real background levels of that time. The Giessen data are more interesting (1.5 years, 25,000 samples), as these were taken 3 times a day at four different heights.

    I have commented on the Massen/Beck method in the introduction here (chapter 2.5). The method may work, under condition that there are enough datapoints at high wind speed (over 4 m/s) and a “fingerlike” pattern. These conditions are not met for the historical data from Giessen: only 22 datapoints over 4 m/s still with a range of some 300 ppmv. It is impossible to deduce the real background CO2 levels from such a range, see Figures 10 and 11.

    Moreover, there are questions about the reliability of the Giessen data, as the (modified) Pettenkofer method used there may give results up to 50% too high. And further the afternoon data in average are higher than the morning and late evening averages. That is contrary of what is found near everywhere current and historic alike for (semi) rural data: at night CO2 levels are highest (inversion layer, plant respiration), in the afternoon lowest (photosynthesis, turbulence).

    2. You dismissed my point about sudden warming releasing CO2 being counter balanced by uptake from the biosphere. On a long term basis certainly. Allow me to expand on the short term issue.

    During a cooling period, snow lines advance, covering dead biomass. The assumption that this dead biomass just freezes is incorrect. The assumption that the snow layer is just snow down to the ground is also incorrect. When teaching kids about winter camping and how to build a quinzzy (sort of like an igloo, but constructed of loose snow piled up and then hollowed out), one of the things to show them is the thin layer of ice, usually just a half cm or so above the ground, which formed during the first snowfall of the year. The fluffy snow on top is insulation, the heat latent in the ground during the first snow melted some of it, which then refroze as a layer of ice as the ground lost its own heat and fell below the freezing temperature.

    Beneath that layer of ice you will frequently find that it is microbially active. Decaying processes continue, though at a much slower rate, and are mostly locked beneath the snow by that thin layer of ice. Spring wheat (planted in the fall) gets a massive jump on the growing season because it is germinated early enough to take advantage of the moisture from snow melt instead of waiting for the first rains after seeding, and because that snow melt carries nutrients from decaying biomass from the whole winter.

    So let’s apply what happense seasonaly as the snow line extends and retreats to a warming globaly of several degrees in extreme temperate and arctic regions over a very short period of time. Snow lines would retreat rapidly, exposing decayed biomass that had been locked under snow and ice for decades, perhaps centuries, much of it microbially active for a very long time, releasing to the atmosphere in a matter of months what had been collecting for decades or longer.

    The biosphere would of course increase uptake, but there would be a susbtantive delay, it would take many years for the biosphere to absorb that pulse. The oceans however, would have no such challenge. As Annti Roine contends, the uptake of the oceans sky rockets as the equilibrium pressure between the atmosphere and the oceans diverges.

    http://www.antti-roine.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=73

    Nobody says that the biomass stops emitting when it is freezing. CO2 levels go up in (the NH) winter, because of ongoing decay by bacteria, despite cooling oceans, which absorb more in winter. But (fortunately) the figures of Antti Roine are wrong, as the measured (!) average difference in pCO2 between atmosphere and oceans is only 7 microatm, not over 100 microatm. I don’t know what is wrong with his figures. See:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml

    Further, the mixed layer of the oceans only needs about 16 GtC from the 160 GtC extra in the atmosphere to get again in equilibrium (within about 1.5 years), thus is not the main buffer, while the exchanges with the deep ocean are limited and according to you even more limited as the THC sink place warmed up…

    Las but not least a sudden release of 160 GtC organics would decrease the d13C level of atmosphere and ocean mixed layer enormously (the calculation gives a drop of near 3 per mil in the atmosphere, that would be somewhat less in the oceans), which is not seen in tree wood, ice cores, coralline sponges or anything else. Neither is the CO2 increase of 80 ppmv itself seen in fast accumulating ice cores or in any proxy (including a growth spurt in tree rings).
    The resolution of coralline sponges is 2-4 years the accuracy is +/- 0.1 per mil d13C.

    In summary: the 1940 “peak” is solely based on measurements taken at places which show enormous (diurnal and random variability), thus which were (and still are) unsuitable for background measurements. The peak is not confirmed by any other observation or proxy. To the contrary.

  111. A couple of more comments

    1) IF CO2 from underwater volcanoes were a major source of CO2, this would imply a pH profile in the oceans which is NOT seen

    2) The question about the coke effect is interesting in the sense that there is much more ocean in the SH than in the NH. That implies that the maxima would be observed in SH summer

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

  112. I cannot resist stating my two cents on CO2.

    I have often said that if we measured temperatures the way the Keeling school measures CO2 we should be doing it in “pure places”, like ravines at the top of the mountains at night far away from sources of heat.

    I will take another tack.
    Why are we interested in CO2? Because it is a greenhouse gas.
    What else is a green house gas? H2O.
    How do we measure it? By measuring humidity.

    Do we go to the deserts to measure humidity, far away from water sources?

    If CO2 acts as a type of “blanket” it is the average CO2 versus height in the atmosphere that is important. Not the “pure” background on the top of mountains and in ice regions.

    Therefore, Beck’s compilations are highly relevant to the effect CO2 has on heat retention ( greenhouse effect) where humans live, and thermometers measure, at 2meters, certainly not in the arctic and antarctic and at 4000 meters. And Beck’s compilations tell us that CO2 has been as high in previous times , when temperatures were low, as now . Mauna Loa measurements are relevant to Mauna Loa.

    We need detailed satellite measurements of average CO2 versus height over the globe, and we have to wait in order to get a long enough time sequence.

    Now if the objective is to accuse humans of an increase in CO2, the Mauna Loa curves do not prove it, because correlation is not causation. The logical sequence that would tie the two up has many parameters and many holes in the form of lack of knowledge bridged with hand waving. Particularly suspicious is the “well mixed” hypothesis and also the available satellite graphs do not support it well.

    It can well be that humans are increasing measurably CO2 and at the same time CO2 has a small effect in the greenhouse effect, commensurate to its ppm. It cannot be nailed down with this method.

  113. Ferdinand

    here is an interesting result from an experiment I did for you.
    I have a swimming pool, ca. 50 m2
    I filled it up to mark last week monday. Today, a week later (monday), I filled it up to mark again. I now read the meter before and after filling up.
    I used 2,506 m3 (= 2506 liters) in one week. This is how much water evaporated in one week.
    Note the parameters where this result applies:
    no clouds, clear blue skies (for the whole week)
    max. temps during the day, 31 -34 degrees C
    the average water temp. in the pool was 25-26 degrees C

    Compare this with my patrol (gas) consumption. I use ca. 40 liters of patrol/ month.
    That is 10 liters in week
    Do you understand now why I am saying that everyone in the agw crowd is barking up the wrong tree? (assuming there is something to bark about, i.e. that global warming is real and not part of a natural process)
    Now look at everywhere in the world (e.g India, China, USA, Europe) where they have dams and are busy building new dams. Surely, the implications of my simple result are enormous.

  114. Julian Flood says:
    September 26, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I’d be interested in some workings through of that statement — in very simple terms.

    It’s interesting to see the coincidence of this ‘impossible’ peak with the SST peak in the Hadcrut graph — coincidental, that is, if one rejects the Folland and Parker bucket correction. Of course, it may just be chance.

    If one looks at wind speed records for the same time period, there is an interesting excursion of up to 7 m/s (from memory: I can’t trace the FOA paper which is filed as an image rather than as a document and which was primarily concerned with fish stocks) in the North Atlantic with lesser excursions in the SA, NP and SP in that order. This latter paper is what made me decide that the Folland and Parker correction is untrustworthy and that the abrupt rise and fall of SSTs around the 39-45 period are real and not an artefact of measurement.

    Two excursions may be coincidence: so too, of course, might be three, but that’s not the way to bet. There is a high probability that something happened which disturbed the oceans during that period and as such I cannot agree with your cavalier dismissal of changes as physically impossible. If, as I have postulated, the changes are due to disruption of the nutrient flows in the upper ocean, then the response of the oceanic biosphere is possibly enough to produce huge swings both in production and isotope pumping.

    I lack the knowledge to suggest an experiment which would show oceanic primary production over the critical period — it would have to be far ocean production as I suspect the primary cause would not show up in coastal waters which are well mixed by wave action and fed by land run-off. Similarly, I have reservations about shallow sea relevance — well out to sea is where the problems would show. Or not, of course.

    The dismissal of unfortunate data, as you do to Beck’s graph above, is all too common in climate science, explaining away rather than explaining. If the scientists who cannot explain the warming and cooling episodes of the last 70 or so years had not decided to correct anomalies away, then I would have much more confidence in their overall findings.

    Oceanic primary production is around 50 billion tons of carbon per year. In the last 60 years the phytoplankton population has fallen by 40%. Something is going on. I’d expect the change to show — compare 40% of that 50 billion with the change in humanity’s production over the same period.

    To begin with: I suppose that the 0.3°C SST peak around 1940 is real.
    If that peak was the cause of the 80 ppmv rise and decline, then we should see a 160 ppmv rise from the 1960-2000 rise of 0.6°C in SST, where temperatures after 1985 are even higher than at the 1940 SST peak.
    But even with the real increase of some 55 ppmv / 110 GtC in the atmosphere (and about 11 GtC in the oceans mixed layer) since 1960, the oceans were a net sink for atmospheric CO2 over the entire period 1960-2000.

    Then NPP in the oceans is one part of the equation: temeprature and NPP gives the fluxes between atmosphere and deep oceans at one side and ocean mixed layer at the other side. The NPP increases in the mid-latitudes in summer, thanks to temperature increases, but that also depends of winter storm mixing with the deep ocean layers, and thus increasing nutritients (CO2 is not the limiting factor in the mixed layer), but that all doesn’t say anything about the net exchanges between the oceans mixed layer and the atmosphere and deep oceans.

    Temperature is the most important influence on CO2 fluxes: Most of the back and forth exchanges of CO2 between air and water are caused by regional temperature changes over the seasons: a change of 10°C between summer and winter SST over the mid-latitudes is a huge difference. Besides that, there is a smaller permanent flux between the upwelling at the warm equator waters and the sinks near the poles. Both together are good for some 90 GtC exchange back and forth between oceans and atmosphere over the seasons. The average was rather in equilibrium in pre-industrial times, but nowadays shows a net sink around 2.5 GtC/year. Thus while the seasonal and permanent exchanges are huge, the net changes are relative small. As the net changes are what gives the changes in CO2 level in a reservoir, only huge more permanent changes in temperature will give more permanent changes in CO2 levels.

    Something similar for NPP: the NPP is mainly from plankton, both as organic matter as from calcite formation by some species. Again, most of what is bound at one side is released in the same reservoir: plankton is at the base of the food chain, but most of the chain grows and dies or is used and exhaled in the mixed layer, thus doesn’t contribute to changes in CO2 level. See the (rough) indications in the NASA diagram:

    While the NPP is about 50 GtC/year, only 10 GtC drops out of the mixed layer and goes into the deep. If the NPP halved, that would influence the whole chain, and theoretically halve the drop out of carbon out of the mixed layer, decreasing the take up of the oceans and thus increasing the increase rate caused by fossil fuel use. But reality is different:

    The idea of increasing the NPP by iron fertilization was tested somewhere (don’t remember the source), which indeed increased plankton growth, mainly increased fish stock, but didn’t give more drop out of carbon out of the mixed layer. Thus even if there was a real drop of 40% in NPP, that doesn’t imply a reduction in CO2 sink rate…

    At Bermuda, there was continuous monitoring of NPP, pCO2, DIC, pH,… of the North Atlantic Ocean. See:

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

    The winter storms and temperature changes over the Atlantic cause a year by year variability of +/- 0.3 GtC.
    See: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/298/5602/2374
    The extra severe (winter) storms around 1940 may be responsible for an extra uptake of 1 GtC (0.5 ppmv) over several years, which would explain the small drop in CO2 levels in the Law Dome ice core of that period. But the winter storms only explain a drop (of a few ppmv), there is no explanation for a 80 ppmv peak…

    See further about the impossibility of a 80 ppmv peak and drop in my previous answer to davidmhoffer…

  115. anna v says:
    September 26, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I cannot resist stating my two cents on CO2.

    I have often said that if we measured temperatures the way the Keeling school measures CO2 we should be doing it in “pure places”, like ravines at the top of the mountains at night far away from sources of heat.

    I will take another tack.
    Why are we interested in CO2? Because it is a greenhouse gas.
    What else is a green house gas? H2O.
    How do we measure it? By measuring humidity.

    Do we go to the deserts to measure humidity, far away from water sources?

    If CO2 acts as a type of “blanket” it is the average CO2 versus height in the atmosphere that is important. Not the “pure” background on the top of mountains and in ice regions.

    Therefore, Beck’s compilations are highly relevant to the effect CO2 has on heat retention ( greenhouse effect) where humans live, and thermometers measure, at 2meters, certainly not in the arctic and antarctic and at 4000 meters. And Beck’s compilations tell us that CO2 has been as high in previous times , when temperatures were low, as now . Mauna Loa measurements are relevant to Mauna Loa.

    We need detailed satellite measurements of average CO2 versus height over the globe, and we have to wait in order to get a long enough time sequence.

    Now if the objective is to accuse humans of an increase in CO2, the Mauna Loa curves do not prove it, because correlation is not causation. The logical sequence that would tie the two up has many parameters and many holes in the form of lack of knowledge bridged with hand waving. Particularly suspicious is the “well mixed” hypothesis and also the available satellite graphs do not support it well.

    It can well be that humans are increasing measurably CO2 and at the same time CO2 has a small effect in the greenhouse effect, commensurate to its ppm. It cannot be nailed down with this method.

    Dear anna v,

    I expected your reaction already much earlier…

    A few points, as we have discussed this a few times in the past:

    – Temperature is not “well mixed” in the atmosphere, neither is water vapour, while CO2 is well mixed in 95% of the atmosphere. Only in the few hundred meters over land near huge sources and sinks, one can find any CO2 level, changing over minutes, diurnal, or over longer time frames. Averaging these values doesn’t help, as in general there are huge local/regional biases present.
    – Well mixed doesn’t mean that everywhere at every moment all levels are equal. That would be right if there were no sources and sinks at work. As some 20% of all CO2 of the atmosphere is removed and readded, that is seen in the measurements as (modest) seasonal changes. Plus a NH-SH lag, due to reduced mixing of air masses between the hemispheres.
    Despite that, yearly averages all over the world in 95% of the atmosphere are within 5 ppmv. See figures 3-5 in the introduction.
    – CO2 levels are less important at the first few thousand meters, as water vapour is the most important GHG there and largely overlaps the CO2 bands. The higher one comes, the more (relative) important CO2 becomes, as water vapour rapidely drops to very low levels with height.
    – Even if the first 1,000 m over land was permanently at 1000 ppmv, that hardly influences temperature rise: the absorption at that level would give a direct increase (without feedbacks) of 0.1°C in temperature over land, or 0.03°C globally. That is all. In reality, the levels in average are even lower, thus the errors by not including the higher levels in the first 1,000 meter over land are negligible.
    – Beck’s compilations only give a clue what the CO2 levels locally were in Giessen or Vienna or Philadelphia, not of global CO2 levels, except if taken over the oceans. As good as the temperature measurements in towns are influenced by the surroundings and should be discarded for global averages. For temperature, that has a real local impact, but local/regional higher CO2 levels have hardly any impact on temperature. Thus why should one use them at all? You shouldn’t use temperature measurements over a hot asphalt parking lot for global averages either…
    – Mauna Loa and other baseline stations show levels which are near the same in 95% of the atmosphere, thus near global. And all the items shown in the 4 part series are more than sufficient proof of human emissions as cause of the increase. If you know of an alternative explanation which fits all observations, I am very interested…

  116. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    The fastest change is by vegetation: every spring CO2 levels are at maximum, falling rapidely (in the NH) when mid-latude leaves are growing and photosynthesis starts again. The opposite happens in fall, when a lot of leaves are decaying back to CO2 by soil bacteria. The opposite happens in the oceans, where summer gives more release and winters more absorption. As both act countercurrent, the net natural variability is surprisingly small: some +/- 1 ppmv from year to year, while the human emissions currently reach 4 ppmv/year and the average increase in the atmosphere is 2 ppmv/year:

    While the seasonal change is huge (about 60 GtC back and forth for vegetation, some 90 GtC back and forth for the oceans), that doesn’t imply the possibility of a huge change in sink capacity: the earth is greening (thanks to the extra CO2), but not with 200 GtC in less than 10 years (as Beck’s 1941 peak implies), only 1.2 GtC/year extra…

    What I was referring to was not the seasonal change but the year on year change at the same point in the year, i.e the trend.
    The trend can change very dramatically from year to year. Therefore it is highly plausible that it could reverse with a cool ocean as Beck suggests.

  117. Well if there is anything new on this subject that Ferdinand hasn’t addressed; I would offer that we probably don’t need to know it.

    I applaud his patience in addressing the concerns of all of us who have sought clarifications or offered objections. I don’t know how you have the intestinal fortitude to address so many responses; and I am sure many times dragging up the same issues. Thansk for the Effort Fedinand.

    I also noted the several visits from Eli Rabbett; and wonder why he can’t get his thoughts posted at the real Climatism sites like RC. But it’s good to see anyone coming here with ideas; on either end of the issues. I’m all for hashing out the issues in the open. That way we can all learn something.

  118. Bob from the UK says:
    September 27, 2010 at 6:06 am

    What I was referring to was not the seasonal change but the year on year change at the same point in the year, i.e the trend.
    The trend can change very dramatically from year to year. Therefore it is highly plausible that it could reverse with a cool ocean as Beck suggests.

    The year by year natural variability is remarkably small (probably because oceans and vegetation act opposite of each other), despite the huge fluxes back and forth over the seasons: only +/- 2 GtC/year (+/- 1 ppmv) around the trend over the past 50 years. See:

    There is little trend in the variability and the variability is mainly the result of the variability in (sea surface) temperature: a drop during the the 1992 Pinatubo eruption leading to more absorption and an increase during the 1998 El Niño, which leads to less absorption. The result is about 4 ppmv/°C variability. Again another argument that it is quite impossible that the 0.3°C peak in temperature around 1940 has caused a 80 ppmv peak in CO2.

  119. Henry Pool says:
    September 27, 2010 at 2:41 am

    here is an interesting result from an experiment I did for you.
    I have a swimming pool, ca. 50 m2
    I filled it up to mark last week monday. Today, a week later (monday), I filled it up to mark again. I now read the meter before and after filling up.
    I used 2,506 m3 (= 2506 liters) in one week. This is how much water evaporated in one week.
    Note the parameters where this result applies:
    no clouds, clear blue skies (for the whole week)
    max. temps during the day, 31 -34 degrees C
    the average water temp. in the pool was 25-26 degrees C

    Compare this with my patrol (gas) consumption. I use ca. 40 liters of patrol/ month.
    That is 10 liters in week
    Do you understand now why I am saying that everyone in the agw crowd is barking up the wrong tree? (assuming there is something to bark about, i.e. that global warming is real and not part of a natural process)
    Now look at everywhere in the world (e.g India, China, USA, Europe) where they have dams and are busy building new dams. Surely, the implications of my simple result are enormous.

    So, it seems that it is your fault that we only had more rain than sunshine here since end July, with all that extra water vapour? Anyway where you live seems a much better climate than in my cool (last night already near freezing) country…

    Beyond kidding: there surely will be a contribution of constructed open waters and irrigation to the global atmospheric water vapour content. The main question is how much, compared to the oceans (70% of all surface) and natural vegetation and pools, rivers and lakes. I still think that this is minor on global scale, but it can have a huge impact on regional scale, both ways (irrigation vs. cutting rainforest).

  120. George E. Smith says:
    September 27, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Well if there is anything new on this subject that Ferdinand hasn’t addressed; I would offer that we probably don’t need to know it.

    I applaud his patience in addressing the concerns of all of us who have sought clarifications or offered objections. I don’t know how you have the intestinal fortitude to address so many responses; and I am sure many times dragging up the same issues. Thansk for the Effort Fedinand.

    Thanks for the compliment!

    I suppose that all now is said that could be said. Nevertheless, if more questions remain, don’t hesitate to ask them, I only need a few hours sleep…

    Now, everybody can return to his/her belief, although I hope that I could convince some more people that all effort to prove that humans are not responsible for the CO2 increase works counterproductive: The “consensus” on this is rock solid and based on many different observations which all tell the same story. Attacking that, without bringing an alternative which fits all observations, undermines the credibility of the skeptics case where the “consensus” is far from settled, like the sensitivity of climate for the CO2 increase. That is the main reason why I wrote these series.

    I am a skeptic towards both what is said by the “warmers” as by the “coolers”, but I accept any good scientific facts (from any side), until new facts emerge which contradict the previous ones…

    Nothing is left to say than thanking Anthony Watts for hosting this series. And I wish to thank all in this debates for the civility in tone (I have had quite different experiences in the far past with other debates on a different topic…).

  121. Ferdinand says:The main question is how much (i.e. evaporation caused by human activities), compared to the oceans (70% of all surface) and natural vegetation and pools, rivers and lakes. I still think that this is minor on global scale, but it can have a huge impact on regional scale, both ways (irrigation vs. cutting rainforest).

    I just said that taken together it must be a lot more than CO2 – remember that all energy processes including rocket fuel and nuclear as well as burning fossil fuels release water vapor in the air. Apart from that there is the added evaporation of water from man made pools and dams which, as illustrated, seems to be enormous.
    It is clear that the more shallow the water, the higher the evaporation rate. The deeper the water (e.g. oceans) the more heat gets diffused to the bottom, and the less evaporation occurs.

  122. Henry Pool says:

    I just said that taken together it must be a lot more than CO2 – remember that all energy processes including rocket fuel and nuclear as well as burning fossil fuels release water vapor in the air. Apart from that there is the added evaporation of water from man made pools and dams which, as illustrated, seems to be enormous.
    It is clear that the more shallow the water, the higher the evaporation rate. The deeper the water (e.g. oceans) the more heat gets diffused to the bottom, and the less evaporation occurs.

    I don’t think that it is that easy. The residence time of water in the atmosphere is only a few days and any excess above the maximum humidity which the air can hold would precipitate out where temperatures are cold enough. In contrast, any excess CO2 needs some 40 years to halve the difference with the (pre-industrial) equilibrium.

    At one side, more constructed water surfaces increase “human” extra water vapour, and in particular more irrigation, as the surfaces involved (and sprinkling water drops) give far more water vapour than energy use. At the other side, cutting forests, in particular rainforests, reduce water vapour emissions, as far less evaporation happens in traditional crops than from tree leaves (including the microclimate below the tree canopy). Further, the increase in CO2 reduces the number of stomata of leaves, which reduces water evaporation (and water use), as is found in deserts by researchers from Israel, which is a positive effect, thanks to the human increase of CO2…

    And don’t underestimate the evaporation speed from the oceans: while any temperature increase needs much more energy than in a shallow pool, the IR part (near 50%) of the solar energy is captured in the upper fraction of a mm of the ocean surface, leading to higher temperatures of the “skin”, and also increasing direct evaporation…

    But that all may not be giving higher temperatures, as cloud feedback and upper troposphere humidity changes play a larger role than the increase of water vapour in the lower troposphere. See the articles by Dr. Roy Spencer:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/14/spencer-on-water-vapor-feedback/

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/28/congratulations-finally-to-spencer-and-braswell-on-getting-their-new-paper-published/

  123. …..
    OK. Good. We found a way out for all that man-made water vapor. Just one more question.

    What happens when all that (man induced) water vapor condenses ? It releases energy does it not? The opposite (when water vaporises) – is that not the principle of a water cooling plant? So where does all that energy go?

  124. Ferdinand Engelbeen says


    …the variability is mainly the result of the variability in (sea surface) temperature: a drop during the the 1992 Pinatubo eruption leading to more absorption

    But that is exactly the point, if the (sea surface) temperatures were to drop, to levels below that after the 1992 Pinatubo erruption, I would expect CO2 levels to decrease. After the erruption the CO2 increase was just 0.5 ppm, with an anomaly of -0.1 on average for the year. Over the decade it has been significantly higher, more like 2 ppm. Beck’s prediction was based on a SST decrease, I would approximate to be 1.5 to 2 degrees cooler than now, that would be significantly cooler than after the Pinatubo erruption. Your conclusions are based on a different expectation of a temperature trend. So if a cooling of 0.5 degree reduces the CO2 increase by 1.5 ppm, then a cooling of 2 dgrees would give you annual CO2 decreases of roughly the same magnitude as the increases we’ve seen over the last few years.

  125. Henry Pool says:
    September 28, 2010 at 2:18 am

    What happens when all that (man induced) water vapor condenses ? It releases energy does it not? The opposite (when water vaporises) – is that not the principle of a water cooling plant? So where does all that energy go?

    The evaporation certainly cools the tropic oceans (look what a tropical storm does over the Atlantic: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/24/igor-cool-ocean/ ) and when the vapour condensates at much higher altitude, the energy is freed, radiating a lot of energy to space. That is one of the mechanisms the earth uses to cool down the oceans if the temperature is getting too high. Other (slower) mechanisms are distribution from the equator to the poles via ocean currents and wind…

    We are very lucky to live on a water planet where the different forms of water keeps the earth within (for us) habitable temperatures…

  126. Bob from the UK says:
    September 28, 2010 at 3:17 am

    But that is exactly the point, if the (sea surface) temperatures were to drop, to levels below that after the 1992 Pinatubo erruption, I would expect CO2 levels to decrease. After the erruption the CO2 increase was just 0.5 ppm, with an anomaly of -0.1 on average for the year. Over the decade it has been significantly higher, more like 2 ppm. Beck’s prediction was based on a SST decrease, I would approximate to be 1.5 to 2 degrees cooler than now, that would be significantly cooler than after the Pinatubo erruption. Your conclusions are based on a different expectation of a temperature trend. So if a cooling of 0.5 degree reduces the CO2 increase by 1.5 ppm, then a cooling of 2 dgrees would give you annual CO2 decreases of roughly the same magnitude as the increases we’ve seen over the last few years.

    The influence of temperature on the CO2 increase rate is some 4 ppmv/°C around the trend, that is for a (continuous) change in temperature, not for a fixed temperature (thus not 4 ppmv/°C/year). Once a new temperature is reached, the influence on the increase rate drops back to zero, simply because the average increase rate is beyond the influence of small changes in temperature.

    If we may assume that the very long term ice age – interglacial CO2/temperature ratio still is applicable today for short term changes, a change of 80 ppmv only can be caused by an increase and drop in temperature of some 10°C, while the SST shows only a peak of 0.3°C around 1940, good for maximum 2.5 ppmv difference…

  127. @Engelbeen

    “Even if the first 1,000 m over land was permanently at 1000 ppmv, that hardly influences temperature rise”

    I don’t think so. Increasing partial CO2 pressure by 150% in the first kilometer nearest the source of the all important 15um upwelling radiation (where there is little absorption overlap with water vapor) means that extinction would occur at a greatly reduced altitude AGL and hence raise the sensible temperature in that column of air at the expense of a lower temperature above it.

  128. More studies of the kind by Annti Roine kind are needed, as this seems to be a crucial issue, yet it remains surrounded (as usual) by impenetrable uncertainty.

    It would be good to know with more certainty some of the following:

    1. What level of CO2 in the atmosphere represents pressure equilibrium with the oceans at current temperatures.

    2. What the ocean absorption rate is for a given deviation from this equilibrium (say 100 ppm above equilibrium).

    3. How much the absorption rate increases with larger departures from equilibrium.

    Point 3, for example, might lead to the discovery of a function that sets a quick limit in our ability to keep increasing CO2 in the atmosphere through the combustion of fossil fuels.

    This limit would be even quicker if there is validity to the theories that the rate at which we can extract these fuels is now at or near its limit (peak oil etc).

    Another aspect of this matter I don’t hear much discussion about is this: Freeman Dyson has suggested many times that, in the very unlikely event that CO2 acumulation ever became a problem, it could be easily managed by the creation of biosinks.
    E.M. Smith (The Chiefio) had a post a few years ago attempting to calculate the “scrubbing” powers of things like “fast forests,” pond scum etc. At the end of his calculations he came to some surprising conclusions which I copy below

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/of-trees-volcanos-and-pond-scum/

    EXCERPT:
    [...]
    So a “fast forest” species like Poplar or Eucalyptus can completely deplete about twice as much volume of air as sits above that forest (all the way to space) and a fertile pond growing pond scum could completely deplete about 20 times the volume of air as sits above it. In one year.
    Golly.
    So let me think about this for just a minute… If I grow a fast forest for 50 years, it will completely deplete 100 times the volume of air that sits above it. So 1% of the planet surface being these fast species would completely scrub all present CO2 from the air in one lifetime… 75 years in the PPM by volume case.
    And pond scum could do it in 5 years. 7 and a bit years if CO2 is ppm volume. (Which I think it is, per wiki).
    My Surmise
    I think I know now why plants are CO2 limited in their growth. They have scrubbed the CO2 down to the point where they are seriously unable to grow well. Otherwise they would have removed it all not very long ago in geologic (or historical) time scales.
    I come to 4 conclusions from this:
    1) We desperately need more CO2 in the air for optimal plant growth. Plants must have depleted the air to the point of being seriously nutrient limited.
    2) Any time we want to scrub the air or CO2, we can do it in a very short period of time using nothing more exotic than trees and pond scum on a modest fraction of the earth surface.
    3) Biomass derived fuels will be CO2 from air limited in their production, especially if we start some kind of stupid CO2 “sequestration” projects. Siting biofuel growth facilities near CO2 sources (like coal plants) ought to be very valuable.
    4) Any CO2 sequestration project that does get started by The Ministry of Stupidity needs to allow for CO2 recovery in the future. Things like ocean iron enrichment that sink it to the “land of unobtainable ocean depths” are a very bad idea. We are one generation away from CO2 starvation for our crops at any given time.
    Not quite where I’d expected to end up, but enlightening all the same. Not only is CO2 increase not a problem, it is a valuable feature. And not only could we use plants to reduce CO2 in the air (if we wanted to), but we are in danger of them overdoing it all by themselves. Our biosphere is limited by the CO2 in the air and probably has been for some time.
    One could speculate that the historical CO2 levels would indicate when CO2 was rate limiting for life and tell us when it was not; and thus indicate when plants were less stressed and growing much faster. It would be interesting to see if these times were followed by CO2 crashes to lower “modern” levels.
    [...]

  129. OK Ferdinand, here is a list of my unknowns:

    1) whether the influence of Keeling and the throwing away of data that are 2 sigma away from the average is making nonsense of the Keeling curves, particularly if it gives a rising trend a la hockey stick ( if averages are taken backwards in time). Needs a statistician to study it.

    2) How much does the soil, desert etc., absorb and release CO2 in addition to the oceans and green covered land?

    3) How much CO2 falls down with rain ?

    4) What if there exists a coincident in time rise in CO2 from the mantle coming out all over the earth, as a fluke, from ocean bottom to land. PH of the sea is no answer, because these will be bubbles blowing out. And we are once again on “correlation is not causation”. Are there time measurements of CO2 over volcanic re gions?

    5) Human created CO2 is released 2m to 30 meters over land together with a lot of pollutants. It is a well known fact that rain is much more frequent over towns and polluted areas. How much of the human generated CO2 goes down the drains into the oceans and/or water table and never reaches the Keeling curves?

    One needs satellite measurements over the globe as a function of height to make any sense of whether really the rise in CO2 observed in Mauna Loa and the rest of the Keeling curves is real and not an artifact of measurement.

  130. Ferdinand,
    you say
    “when the (water) vapour condensates at much higher altitude, the energy is freed, radiating a lot of energy to space”
    I think that is true – for a part but not all. Obviously when water vapor condenses we have rain. So is it not more probable: 50/50, i.e. 50% of that heat is radiated back to space and 50% back to earth?

    So I am saying: there is (most probably) your real cause for global warming, if global warming is or ever does become a real problem, don’t you agree? It is the increase in water vapor caused by human activities.

    In comparison, the CO2 does little nothing to the temp. on earth. In fact, if you ask me, looking carefully at the spectra, I would say that it pretty much evens between the warming (by trapping earthshine) and cooling (by deflecting sunlight) of CO2

    Anyway, thanks for this discussion. It was interesting

  131. Eddieo says:
    September 24, 2010 at 9:44 am
    I have visited your web pages and presented your work to my students in the past Ferdinand and agree with the conclusion that atmospheric C02 is rising and the change is almost certainly anthropogenic in origin.

    Did you also present the works of Pielke et al, WUWT, surfacestations.org, Climate Audit, and others refuting AGW hypotheses to your students, or was this a biased presentation to your students?

    If one of your students were to perform a science fair experiment demonstrating how plants in a greenhouse consume carbon dioxide and quickly reduce 1200ppm levels to about 200ppm levels in the greenhouse environment during the daylight hours of photosynthesis, what kind of grade will you give your student/s?

  132. Dave Springer says:
    September 28, 2010 at 5:41 am
    @Engelbeen

    I don’t think so. Increasing partial CO2 pressure by 150% in the first kilometer nearest the source of the all important 15um upwelling radiation (where there is little absorption overlap with water vapor) means that extinction would occur at a greatly reduced altitude AGL and hence raise the sensible temperature in that column of air at the expense of a lower temperature above it.

    This is easily calculated with modtran, the moderate resolution transmittance program from the Archers:

    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/Projects/modtran.html

    Start with 395 ppmv (the current level), 1976 U.S. Standard atmosphere and 1 km height of the sensor, looking down. The result is 351.994 W/m2 going out.
    Then change the CO2 level to 1000 ppmv, the rest being the same: now the outgoing radiation is 351.680 W/m2, a small decrease.
    Then adjust the ground temperature offset from zero to 0.06°C: the outgoing radiation again is 351.994 W/m2. Thus the influence of 1,000 ppmv CO2 in the first 1,000 meter is only 0.06°C at worst (no feedbacks included).

    As there is average far less than 1,000 ppmv in only a few hundred meters near the surface, the influence is even less…

  133. I think I understand why you say that this piece supports a “narrative” that isn’t consistent with the views of many who read this site, Anthony, but I’m not sure I understand why you say go on to say that it is unlike the case at alarmist sites where articles contrary to the views of the blog owner(s) are blocked.

    Are you saying that this piece is contrary to your own views? I can see why one might say “Wait a minute — if the temperature is changing we’ve got to account for SOME of the rising CO2 by considering the temperature-dependence of the constant in Henry’s Law”. But are you all that skeptical about the human factor as a major component in the change in CO2 levels?

    As I read your writing, you are neither here nor there on the issue of whether there is a weak or strong human signature in the Keeling curve. Nor am I, for that matter. Even the guys over at co2science.org don’t appear to take issue with it.

    As for myself, I regard the human contribution to CO2 levels as heroic — I credit much of the agricultural revolution that has fed the world population at levels far above what “experts” in the 1970’s said was possible, and who project being able to feed a much larger population in the decades to come, before the population is expected to peak around 2050, to increasing CO2 levels.

    In my view the burning of fossil fuels merely returns carbon to the atmosphere that belongs there, but was sequestered over periods of hundreds of millions of years by the interment of biomatter. Over geological time the biosphere began to suffocate, being deprived of one of its two most fundamental airborne nutrients: O2 and CO2. I regard the last few million years as lean years for the biosphere as vegetation struggled to survive at 1/4 or less of its “normally” available CO2. I personally wonder if it wasn’t just cataclysmic events that killed the dinosaurs, but the dissipation of CO2 from the atmosphere to the point that the planet simply could no longer support the massive plant-eating behemoths and the titanic carnivores that fed upon them — animals with more efficient metabolic cycles and smaller carbon signatures took over, while plants simply hunkered down with slower growth rates, lower overall vegetative health, smaller size and more cautious photosynthesis.

    As the thousands of studies referenced at co2science.org show, when even modern plants are exposed to double, triple, quadruple the CO2 in the current atmosphere the results are spectacular, and one gets what can only be described in contemporary terms as “superplants”. But this is looking at it wrong. What one gets are ordinary, healthy plants. What we see around us in the world today, beautiful and green as they may be, are a mere shadow of what they ought to be, and would be in the atmospheric environment in which they and their ancestors arose.

    Mankind, by increasing the background CO2, has given the biosphere a breath of new life, as it were, and has stayed the long, slow collapse into decay and ruin, the apparently inevitable carbon suffocation of the planet. Engelbeen’s paper merely provides tangible evidence for humanity’s role in this heroic rescue.

  134. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 27, 2010 at 4:31 am
    [....]
    A few points, as we have discussed this a few times in the past:

    – Temperature is not “well mixed” in the atmosphere, neither is water vapour, while CO2 is well mixed in 95% of the atmosphere. Only in the few hundred meters over land near huge sources and sinks, one can find any CO2 level, changing over minutes, diurnal, or over longer time frames.

    According to NASA, “carbon dioxide is not well mixed in Earth’s atmosphere” having CO2 in concentrations from 364ppmv to 382ppmv in “the distribution of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide” of the “free atmosphere above the surface layer.” It is going to be rather difficult it would seem to explain how the mid-tropospheric atmosphere somehow comprises less than 5% of the atmosphere, or less than 5% of the atmosphere in combination with the surface layer. It would also appear that any of your conclusions using the assumption of a well mixed carbon dioxide concentrations as a basis for conclusions must be erroneous.

    AIRS data show that carbon dioxide is not well mixed in Earth’s atmosphere, results that have been validated by direct measurements. NASA

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/agu/airs-images20091214.html

  135. D. Patterson
    September 28, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    According to NASA, “carbon dioxide is not well mixed in Earth’s atmosphere” having CO2 in concentrations from 364ppmv to 382ppmv in “the distribution of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide” of the “free atmosphere above the surface layer.”

    NASA has a strange definition of “not well mixed”, if the variability (within one month) is only 3% of the full range (which is btw the error margin of the NASA satellites), including seasonal differences, which are caused by back and forth fluxes of 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere with other reservoirs.
    This is what was already known from the 1970’s, see Figure 3 in the introduction. Average that over a year and the differences are less than 1% of the range within the same hemisphere, 2% between the hemispheres, mainly caused by the NH-SH lag (see Figure 5)…
    And look at the differences if one plots the same data on full scale:

    That are the average CO2 levels from near the surface (Barrow and Samoa) to 3400 m high (Mauna Loa) and from near the North Pole (Barrow) to the South Pole…

    If that is not well mixed, whatever can be well mixed?

  136. Francisco says:
    September 28, 2010 at 7:26 am

    More studies of the kind by Annti Roine kind are needed, as this seems to be a crucial issue, yet it remains surrounded (as usual) by impenetrable uncertainty.

    It would be good to know with more certainty some of the following:

    1. What level of CO2 in the atmosphere represents pressure equilibrium with the oceans at current temperatures.

    2. What the ocean absorption rate is for a given deviation from this equilibrium (say 100 ppm above equilibrium).

    3. How much the absorption rate increases with larger departures from equilibrium.

    Point 3, for example, might lead to the discovery of a function that sets a quick limit in our ability to keep increasing CO2 in the atmosphere through the combustion of fossil fuels.

    I haven’t checked the figures of Antti Roine, but I suppose that either he has taken the solubility of CO2 in fresh water or he didn’t take into account what happens with the pCO2 pressure in seawater if that is absorbing some extra CO2.
    If the pCO2 of the atmosphere increases with some 30% (as is the case in the past 1.5 century), that will increase the free CO2 content of the oceans mixed layer too. But free CO2 is only a very tiny part (around 1%) of total CO2 in the mixed layer. The rest are bicarbonate and carbonate ions. The total carbon (DIC) in this case is based on the sum of the three (thus CO2 + bi + carbonate) and these are in (dynamic) equilibrium which each other. Only free CO2 plays a role in Henry’s Law of solubility, but pH is influenced by the other two and if more CO2 is dissolved, the pH goes down pushing the equilibria back to more free CO2.
    The net result is that for a 30% increase in the atmosphere, the increase of total carbon (DIC) in the oceans mixed layer is only 3%, with some 1,5 years delay. That makes that the current real difference in pCO2 between the atmosphere and the mixed layer is only 7 microatm in average, not 100 microatm. See:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml

    1) If we may assume that the CO2/temperature equilibrium still is the same as found in ice cores, then the (dynamic) equilibrium CO2 level is about 290 ppmv for the current temperature.

    2) Near zero at zero wind speed… The problem with CO2 is that the diffusion speed in water is very, very low. Thus the best mixing is by wind, which moves water around from depth to the surface, including thorough mixing with air at the surface. See Fig. 5 in:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/maps.shtml

    The difference in pCO2 between oceans and atmosphere is heavily dependent of temperature: much higher near the equator (outgassing) and much lower near the poles (uptake). But also pH, salt content and (bi)carbonate content play an important role.

    3) The oceans mixed layer is readily saturated with extra CO2 from the atmosphere. The real excape route is via the THC sink directly into the deep oceans. But that has a limited capacity. The current net absorption of the oceans is about 2.5 GtC from the 8 GtC emissions. With the current (still increasing) emissions, there is no sign that the increase rate in the atmosphere is decreasing (maybe temporarely with the economic crisis), the above ratio remains more or less the same. Only if the emissions wouldn’t increase further, we may expect that the increase rate of CO2 in the atmosphere would decrease and reach zero at a certain level of CO2.

  137. anna v says:
    September 28, 2010 at 8:12 am
    OK Ferdinand, here is a list of my unknowns:

    1) whether the influence of Keeling and the throwing away of data that are 2 sigma away from the average is making nonsense of the Keeling curves, particularly if it gives a rising trend a la hockey stick ( if averages are taken backwards in time). Needs a statistician to study it.

    2) How much does the soil, desert etc., absorb and release CO2 in addition to the oceans and green covered land?

    3) How much CO2 falls down with rain ?

    4) What if there exists a coincident in time rise in CO2 from the mantle coming out all over the earth, as a fluke, from ocean bottom to land. PH of the sea is no answer, because these will be bubbles blowing out. And we are once again on “correlation is not causation”. Are there time measurements of CO2 over volcanic re gions?

    5) Human created CO2 is released 2m to 30 meters over land together with a lot of pollutants. It is a well known fact that rain is much more frequent over towns and polluted areas. How much of the human generated CO2 goes down the drains into the oceans and/or water table and never reaches the Keeling curves?

    One needs satellite measurements over the globe as a function of height to make any sense of whether really the rise in CO2 observed in Mauna Loa and the rest of the Keeling curves is real and not an artifact of measurement.

    1) One don’t need to be a statistician to see that it doesn’t make any damn difference if you throw out outliers or not: the difference in yearly average between all data, including outliers, and “cleaned” data is less than o.1 ppmv (I have checked it for 2006). Here the magnified graphs of Mauna Loa and the South Pole where the raw hourly averages and the “cleaned” daily and monthly averages of 2008 are plotted together:

    Thus the cleaning method itself has no influence at all on the trend, as if the average is somewhat too low one year, that adds in the next year increase (the satellite data btw show the same trend over the past years).

    2) That is part of the biosphere. While there are huge uncertainties about the fluxes, the net absorption or release of CO2 to/from the biosphere can be deduced from oxygen use. That shows a net uptake of 1.4 +/- 0.8 GtC/year in the period 1991-1997.

    3) Hardly known, but as far as I have read, rain slightly increases momentary CO2 levels, as the raindrops were saturated during condensation (at lower temperatures) and some water evaporates on the ground (and temperature increases somewhat).

    4) d13C levels of most volcanic CO2 is at the “high” side e.g. the Solfatara crater near Naples (-1.3 per mil d13C) compared to the atmosphere (-8 per mil). That would increase the d13C levels in the atmosphere, but we see a decrease…
    On several places of the earth CO2 outgassing of the earth crust is monitored around volcanoes:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v344/n6261/abs/344051a0.html

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/lvo/activity/monitoring/co2.php

    5) No idea, but not important at all, as that just is part of the total sink of around 4 GtC from the 8 GtC emissions. As the total sink is calculated as the difference between calculated emissions (from fossil fuel sales) and the measured increase, one doesn’t need to know any details of any individual flow of CO2.

    The satellite measurements (average above the inversion layer) show similar trends as the Keeling curve:

    Including the ground level variations will increase the noise, but will not change the trend, as (also nowadays) the mixing of the ground level variations with the rest of the atmosphere is a matter of hours to days…

  138. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    September 29, 2010 at 2:55 am

    NASA has a strange definition of “not well mixed”, if the variability (within one month) is only 3% of the full range (which is btw the error margin of the NASA satellites), including seasonal differences, which are caused by back and forth fluxes of 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere with other reservoirs.

    NASA says “AIRS can observe the concentration of carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere, with 15,000 daily observations, pole to pole, all over the globe, with an accuracy of 1 to 2 parts per million….” Now 1-2ppmv is far less than what you are claiming for “the error margin of the NASA satellites.”

    This is what was already known from the 1970′s, see Figure 3 in the introduction. Average that over a year and the differences are less than 1% of the range within the same hemisphere, 2% between the hemispheres, mainly caused by the NH-SH lag (see Figure 5)…
    And look at the differences if one plots the same data on full scale:

    That are the average CO2 levels from near the surface (Barrow and Samoa) to 3400 m high (Mauna Loa) and from near the North Pole (Barrow) to the South Pole…

    If that is not well mixed, whatever can be well mixed?

    Something far less than the actual observed 364ppmv to 382ppmv in “the distribution of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide” of the “free atmosphere above the surface layer” will do nicely. Also, your numbers don’t add up where you ignore how this 18ppmv unequal distribution is in the mid-tropospheric free atmosphere and comprises considerably more than the something around 3% to 5% portion of the atmosphere you keep claiming is not background levels of carbon dioxide concentrations. NASA says it is not well mixed, after you denied it was well mixed. NASA reported AIRS accuracy of 1-2ppmv, while you deny such satellite accuracies. You claim the higher carbon dioxide concentrations occur over the continental lnd masses, whereas the satllites show the carbon dioxide is occuring over the oceans in proximity to the continental lnad masses and not in proximity to the continental land masses.

    You are salso still trying to claim you can actually calculate how much carbon dioxide enters and leaves the sinks, yet you still completely fail to account for the way in which plant life voraciously consumes carbon dioxide to near extinction of photosynthesis. You act as if there is a delicate balance between the capacity of the biosphere to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere versus the sources of emissions to the atmosphere. The reality of a closed greenhouse reveals to any biologist studying photosynthesis in plants that the biosphere has far more capacity to consume carbon dioxide over short periods of time than there is in the prsent atmosphere to consume. You have also failed to explain how it is possible for the 182.5ppmv to 198ppmv observed in the Vostok ice cores te accurately represent carbon dioxide concentrations in the last 800,000 years when such low levels would have caused a mass extinction of life on the planet which has never been observed in the geological record.

  139. D. Patterson says:
    September 29, 2010 at 8:04 am

    NASA says “AIRS can observe the concentration of carbon dioxide in the mid-troposphere, with 15,000 daily observations, pole to pole, all over the globe, with an accuracy of 1 to 2 parts per million….” Now 1-2ppmv is far less than what you are claiming for “the error margin of the NASA satellites.”

    The error margins claimed in the early days of the satellite measurements were +/- 10 ppmv, compared to ground based stations. It is possible that they increased the accuracy by calibrating against ground stations and inflight measurements. No problem with that.

    Something far less than the actual observed 364ppmv to 382ppmv in “the distribution of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide” of the “free atmosphere above the surface layer” will do nicely. Also, your numbers don’t add up where you ignore how this 18ppmv unequal distribution is in the mid-tropospheric free atmosphere and comprises considerably more than the something around 3% to 5% portion of the atmosphere you keep claiming is not background levels of carbon dioxide concentrations. NASA says it is not well mixed, after you denied it was well mixed. NASA reported AIRS accuracy of 1-2ppmv, while you deny such satellite accuracies. You claim the higher carbon dioxide concentrations occur over the continental lnd masses, whereas the satllites show the carbon dioxide is occuring over the oceans in proximity to the continental lnad masses and not in proximity to the continental land masses.

    You are mixing up a lot of things:
    1) No dateline is given for the pictures with the wide range of +/- 9 ppmv, probably a short period (one day?). The monthly average for July 2009 only shows a range of +/- 4 ppmv, which difference can be seen between land based stations too for monthly averages for the same month. See:

    and

    2) Momentary (daily) differences of +/- 10 ppmv are peanuts if the ground based differences over land (5% of the atmosphere) can differ with several hundred ppmv within a few hours (see Figure 9 of the introduction). I thought that I made it clear that “well mixed” doesn’t imply that CO2 levels at any moment everywhere are exactly the same. That would only be possible if there were no huge sources and sinks at work. If the NASA means with “not well mixed” that there are (relative modest) variations within a day or a few days, then they are right. But that is not the definition of “background” Keeling and I used: background levels can be found in 95% of the atmosphere, where yearly CO2 averages are minimal influenced by natural and human influences.

    I haven’t seen yearly averaged CO2 levels from the AIRS satellite data yet, but I suppose that these will show less that 2 ppmv within each hemisphere and less than 5 ppmv between the NH and SH, as also the ground stations show.

    3) That the CO2 levels are higher near land masses over the oceans simply shows that the CO2 levels leaving the ground are rapidely (!) mixing into the winds circulating West to East all over the mid-latitudes. While Barrow still is freezing like hell, CO2 levels increase in spring, simply because CO2 comes in from the mid-latitudes with the air circulation from the Ferell cells.

    4) If a doubling of CO2 over the full air column (290 to 580 ppmv) has only a direct influence of some 0.9°C (without feedbacks), what do you think that the influence of +/- 10 ppmv difference (over a day, month, year) will be?

    You are salso still trying to claim you can actually calculate how much carbon dioxide enters and leaves the sinks, yet you still completely fail to account for the way in which plant life voraciously consumes carbon dioxide to near extinction of photosynthesis. You act as if there is a delicate balance between the capacity of the biosphere to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere versus the sources of emissions to the atmosphere. The reality of a closed greenhouse reveals to any biologist studying photosynthesis in plants that the biosphere has far more capacity to consume carbon dioxide over short periods of time than there is in the prsent atmosphere to consume. You have also failed to explain how it is possible for the 182.5ppmv to 198ppmv observed in the Vostok ice cores te accurately represent carbon dioxide concentrations in the last 800,000 years when such low levels would have caused a mass extinction of life on the planet which has never been observed in the geological record.

    To begin with, the carbon (as CO2) content of the atmosphere is 800 GtC. The carbon content of the whole terrestrial biosphere is about 600 GtC. If that increased substantially in short term, one would see a drop of CO2 of the atmosphere. But there is no drop at all. Only a deficit of 4 GtC from the 8 GtC emissions. Based on the oxygen balance, there is some 1.4 GtC uptake by the biosphere, the rest is going into the oceans. Thus whatever the local uptake may be from new planted forests, the global uptake is not more than 0.2% of the total biomass currently present.

    Different plant species like grasses and grains developed the C4 photosynthesis. C4 plants like maize still show a net photosynthesis at 100 ppmv.
    C3 plants will have more problems with low CO2 levels, but they have one escape…
    As all terrestrial plants live on land by definition, CO2 levels increase at night, thanks to soil bacteria. Even if that drops fast to low background (180 ppmv) in the morning sun, at least a few hours of photosynthesis are possible. And when background levels are higher, the day heat gives enough turbulence to refresh at least a part of the CO2 at ground level. Again see the CO2 levels at Linden/Giessen of Figure 9.

    Further, I found older works (1943) which investigated plants at low CO2 levels, until respiration and uptake were in equilibrium (thus no more growth). That included grain, alfalfa and sugar beets. Depending of temperature (the lower the temperature, the lower the CO2 equilibrium), the minimum equilibrium for grain and alfalfa was around 80 ppmv, for sugar beet around 60 ppmv. See

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC438162/pdf/plntphys00280-0194.pdf

    I didn’t find back if alfalfa and sugar beet are C3 or C4 plants, grain anyway is a C4 plant…

  140. @Engelbeen

    This is easily calculated with modtran, the moderate resolution transmittance program from the Archers:

    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/Projects/modtran.html

    Start with 395 ppmv (the current level), 1976 U.S. Standard atmosphere and 1 km height of the sensor, looking down. The result is 351.994 W/m2 going out.
    Then change the CO2 level to 1000 ppmv, the rest being the same: now the outgoing radiation is 351.680 W/m2, a small decrease.
    Then adjust the ground temperature offset from zero to 0.06°C: the outgoing radiation again is 351.994 W/m2. Thus the influence of 1,000 ppmv CO2 in the first 1,000 meter is only 0.06°C at worst (no feedbacks included).

    Modtran with default settings (375ppm CO2) except for altitude changed to 1km gives me 406.316 w/m^2 (not the number you claimed – you must have screwed up the settings somehow).

    I changed the CO2 setting to 999999 (pure CO2) just to see what would happen and got a reading of 401.606 w/m.

    Then I changed it to 1ppm and got a reading of 406.944 w/m

    Then I changed the altitude to 20km and 999999ppm CO2 and got a reading of 201.243.

    The interesting thing about the last reading is that the shoulders broadened to extinguish 400 wavenumbers.

    Going from 1ppm to 999,000ppm CO2 in the first kilometer of air changed the output only 5 w/m^2!

    I don’t trust the physics and/or the programming behind the Modtran model farther than I can throw it. It gives ridiculous results. In engineering (I understand you’re an engineer) we call what I did with the model a “sanity test”. It didn’t pass.

  141. @Engelbeen

    Using Modtran (default settings except altitude and CO2) looking down from 1km and 1ppm CO2 examining the IR spectrum output there is no absorption at 15um which is what one would expect. Changing the CO2 to 999,999ppm there is STILL no dent at 15um where in reality this would easily result in complete extinction of 15um.

    The indisputable result is that Modtran is completely broken at least when it comes to looking down from 1km. It’s accuracy elsewhere must therefore be questioned.

    Try again.

  142. Dave Springer says:
    September 30, 2010 at 6:08 am

    Modtran with default settings (375ppm CO2) except for altitude changed to 1km gives me 406.316 w/m^2 (not the number you claimed – you must have screwed up the settings somehow).

    You probably didn’t change the Locality to “1976 U.S. Standard Atmosphere”, as the initial choice is for the tropics only.

    I changed the CO2 setting to 999999 (pure CO2) just to see what would happen and got a reading of 401.606 w/m.

    Then I changed it to 1ppm and got a reading of 406.944 w/m

    Then I changed the altitude to 20km and 999999ppm CO2 and got a reading of 201.243.

    The interesting thing about the last reading is that the shoulders broadened to extinguish 400 wavenumbers.

    Going from 1ppm to 999,000ppm CO2 in the first kilometer of air changed the output only 5 w/m^2!

    I don’t trust the physics and/or the programming behind the Modtran model farther than I can throw it. It gives ridiculous results. In engineering (I understand you’re an engineer) we call what I did with the model a “sanity test”. It didn’t pass.

    The calculation includes water vapour and a lot of other GHGs in the “standard” atmosphere, which doesn’t exist in a Venusian atmosphere. But the calculation still may be right if the extra CO2 absorption is only for the 15 micron band and only for the first km…

    And it seems that there is something wrong with the plotting. If you look at the detailed calculations (“Save output for later retrieval”, after submissions ask for “view the whole output file”), there are a lot of zero’s in the transmissions around 15 micron, but the plot only shows them from 10 km height, but then even with only 1 ppmv CO2.

  143. @Engelbeen

    Modtran breaks when CO2 gets too high. When confined to commonly accepted CO2 maximums and temperature in the geologic column (such as the Eocene Optimum) it matches up pretty good. I withdraw any qualms I had about it.

    At 2800ppm (10x pre-industrial, Eocene typical) with all other gases including water vapor set to zero, 76 US Std Atmos., no clouds/rain, 70K looking down, surface temp rise is 3.8K which is just about how much warmer it was in the Eocene Optimum.

    Everything else I tried (within reasonable bounds) was exactly what I expected.

    I never really had any substantial objections to observed CO2 in recent history being due to human emission nor to the greenhouse effect of CO2 in isolation. I just don’t think it can be proven any more than it can be proven that all swans are white. It can only be disproven. I don’t think I’d agree it’s ready to be a theory of CO2 quite yet but I’d call it the best explanation and best explanations are what science is all about.

    The bone of contention for me are twofold:

    1) The only way to match up the geologic column CO2/temperature relationship to what Modtran indicates is with zero feedback.

    2) CO2 of 10x pre-industrial level is a great net benefit to the biosphere. The earth was green from pole to pole in the Eocene Optimum.

    3) In the current climate with CO2 at geologically low concentrations we are at extreme risk of runaway cooling and at no risk of runaway warming. The former happens frequently (every 120,000 years currently) while the latter never happened.

    What we should be doing, if we should be doing anything, is figuring out how to get Eocene-level CO2 concentration restored and hope that it ends the ice age. I’m not sure there’s enough carbon stored in economically recoverable fossil fuels to accomplish that. There certainly isn’t much more than enough.

  144. @Engelbeen

    Plus I’ve never had any objections to CO2 being well mixed in the atmosphere. Countless measurements confirm it. Those measurements include my own as I happen to have an infrared CO2 meter I got for a song at a surplus sale. It’s a Honeywell duct-mount control made to turn on ventilators in occupied buildings when too many people have been breathing the same air too long. No display on it but any old digital voltmeter can get a precise measure from the scaled voltage or current outputs. Nowhere outdoors that I personally took a precise CO2 reading differed substantially from Mauna Loa – it was well mixed even at waist level.

  145. Hi Dave Springer. I’ve followed your fascinating exchange with Dr. Engelbeen about CO2 modelling. You say

    At 2800ppm (10x pre-industrial, Eocene typical) surface temp rise is 3.8K which is just about how much warmer it was in the Eocene Optimum…
    …The bone of contention for me are twofold:

    1) The only way to match up the geologic column CO2/temperature relationship to what Modtran indicates is with zero feedback.

    2) CO2 of 10x pre-industrial level is a great net benefit to the biosphere. The earth was green from pole to pole in the Eocene Optimum.

    3) In the current climate with CO2 at geologically low concentrations we are at extreme risk of runaway cooling and at no risk of runaway warming. The former happens frequently (every 120,000 years currently) while the latter never happened.

    What we should be doing, if we should be doing anything, is figuring out how to get Eocene-level CO2 concentration restored and hope that it ends the ice age. I’m not sure there’s enough carbon stored in economically recoverable fossil fuels to accomplish that. There certainly isn’t much more than enough.

    First, that’s three-, not two-fold :-)

    Second, while I agree with the thrust of everything you say here up to that point, I don’t think that it would be healthy to return to Eocene levels of CO2. Everything has a toxicity level. You can even die from ‘water poisoning’ (by drinking too much water). So we must determine what the “optimum” level of CO2 is from a biosphere and human interest perspective before saying what level we’d like to return to.

    Plants love these megadose quantities of CO2. Animals don’t. The mildest toxic effects of CO2 in animals occurs somewhere between 1500 and 2000 ppmv. Where, exactly, is a bit of a judgement call. For humans, mild headache and dizziness begin somewhere in this range. 10x pre-industrial levels would be a bit higher, in a range in which toxicity effects are not controversial, though not fatal. It would probably put stress on the fauna, however.

    I guess it depends on what one means by “optimal”, but my money is on about 4x pre-industrial levels, somewhere around 1000 to 1200 ppm. I think if instantly exposed to that level one might find it a bit “stuffy” (it would be comparable to sitting in a crowded theatre). However, I also believe that over the long term one simply adapts; we are pretty plastic with regard to lung capacity, efficiency of oxygen transport and alveoli activity. Given a very slow transition to these levels one would not even notice, and the biosphere would adjust. I confess that I have no evidence for my statements above, they just “make sense” from experience and general knowledge about biology. I’d be interested in what is known from (if any) studies of long-term exposure to 1000 ppm-range levels of CO2 does for various animal species.

    In any case, I don’t think we could burn fossil fuels fast enough to exceed 1000 ppmv. The response we’re already seeing in the vegetative world is enough to indicate that any elevation of CO2 is going to be met with massive increase in photosynthesis across the biosphere. We’d have to accelerate far beyond what even the alarmists are projecting to outrun the world’s vegetation.

    But if we start to approach 1000 ppm with little slowing in the rate of increase, I confess I will begin to feel a little nervous. Up til then I’m happy as a lark to see the CO2 increase, and anyone who loves the starving millions, and the biosphere, should be happy too. I don’t think there’s anything radical about these thoughts whatsoever.

  146. Dave Springer says:
    September 30, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I think we do agree on all three of your points…

    As I wrote before:

    Thus in my opinion (and of many others), while there may be an influence of CO2 on temperature, it is very modest and (far) below what the climate models (and the IPCC) “project”…

    But I think that there is little doubt left that humans are responsible for the recent increase in CO2. After many (years) discussions about this topic, I am still waiting for an alternative explanation that fits all observations…

  147. Dave Springer says:
    September 30, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Nowhere outdoors that I personally took a precise CO2 reading differed substantially from Mauna Loa – it was well mixed even at waist level.

    If you can lend it to TonyB, he wants to measure the CO2 levels personally at Mauna Loa…

  148. Ferdinand Engelbeen wrote:
    The historical and current CO2 measurements over the oceans, coastal and at high altitude (mountains) or latitude (South Pole) all show the same CO2 levels and trends, plus a recurrent seasonal cycle and a NH-SH lag. The degassing/absorption of CO2 by the oceans is huge, but spread over a year and with sufficient wind speed fast mixed in, so that the change of levels within a day is even unmeasurable in the trend. Even the sporadic volcanic outgassing with downslope wind at Mauna Loa only disturbs the data with not more than 4 ppmv, this is included in the raw data of figure 9…
    I would like to rebut this with this quote from Timothy Casey B.Sc. (Hons.) Consulting Geologist, this is a quote from a paper he uploaded to the net.
    Uploaded ISO:2009-Oct-25
    Revised ISO:2010-May-17
    1.1 The Importance of CO2 in Volcanic Emissions
    The importance of juvenile (erupted and passively emitted) volcanic CO2 is due to the fact that carbon, and particularly carbon dioxide has a strong presence in mantle fluids, so much so that it is a more abundant volcanic gas than SO2 (Wilson, p. 181; Perfit et al., 1980). According to Symonds et al. (1994) CO2 is the second most abundantly emitted volcanic gas next to steam. Although you might imagine that there is no air in the mantle, the chemical conditions favour oxidation, and shortages of oxygen ions are rare enough to ensure a strong presence of CO2 (Schneider & Eggler, 1986). Oxidation of subducted carbon sources such as kerogen, coal, petroleum, oil shales, carbonaceous shales, carbonates, etc. into CO2 and H2O makes volcanic CO2 quite variable in back arc and continental margin volcanoes, where these volatile gases can be surprisingly abundant (eg. Vulcano & Mount Etna). Subduction isn’t the only way CO2 enters magma. At continental rift zones, where an entire continent is being pulled apart by divergent mantle convection, magma rising to fill the rift is enriched in CO2 from deep mantle sources (Wilson, 1989, p. 333). Oldoinyo Lengai is an example of a continental rift zone volcano, which has above average CO2 outgassing at 2.64 megatons of CO2 or 720 KtC per annum (Koepenick et al., 1996).
    If volcanoes produce more CO2 than industry when they are not erupting, then variations in volcanic activity may go a long way towards explaining the present rise in CO2.

    1.2 The Location of Co2 Monitoring Station in regions enriched by volcanic CO2
    Volcanic CO2 emission raises some serious doubts concerning the anthropogenic origins of the rising atmospheric CO2 trend. In fact, the location of key CO2 measuring stations (Keeling et al., 2005; Monroe, 2007) in the vicinity of volcanoes and other CO2 sources may well result in the measurement of magmatic CO2 rather than a representative sample of the Troposphere. For example, Cape Kumukahi is located in a volcanically active province in Eastern Hawaii, while Mauna Loa Observatory is on Mauna Loa, an active volcano – both observatories within 50km of the highly active Kilauea and its permanent 3.2 MtCO2pa plume. Samoa is within 50 km of the active volcanoes Savai’i and/or Upolo, while Kermandec Island observatory is located within 10 km of the active Raoul Island volcano.
    Observatories located within active volcanic provinces are not the only problem. There is also the problem of pressure systems carrying volcanic plumes several hundred kilometers to station locations. For example, the observatory in New Zealand, located somewhere along the 41st parallel, is within 250 km of Tanaki and the entire North Island active volcanic province. Low pressure system centres approaching and high pressure system centres departing the Cook Strait will displace volcanic plumes from the North island to the South Island.
    Another class of problem for monitoring stations plagues “Christmas Island”, which is actually Kiribati Island (02º00’N, 157º20’W) where the Clipperton Fracture Zone (Taylor, 2006) crosses the Christmas Ridge and is nowhere near Christmas Island (10º29’S, 105º38’E; located on the other side of Australia, 10,000 km due west of Kiribati). Christmas Ridge is formed in a concentration of Pacific Seamounts. Extraordinary numbers of seamounts are volcanically active (Hillier & Watts, 2007). Moreover, active fracture zones also offer a preferred escape route for magmatic CO2, as this CO2 also finds its way into aquifers (eg. Giggenbach et al., 1991), which can be cut by fracture zones that consequently provide a path to the surface (Morner & Etiope, 2002). This may raise doubts concerning measurements taken at the La Jolla observatory, which is located near the focal point of a radial fault zone extending seaward from the San Andreas Fault (see imagery sourced to SIO, NOAA, USN, NGA, & GEBCO by Europa Technologies & Inegi, for Google Earth).
    Amundsen Scott South Pole Station appears to be well separated by 1300 km from the volcanic lineation extending along Antarctica’s Pacific Coast (From the Ross Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula), However, Antarctic volcanoes are not nearly as well mapped as those in more populated regions, such as Japan. In any case, the strong circumpolar winds that delay mixing will inevitably concentrate Antarctica’s volcanic CO2 emissions over the Antarctic continent, including Amundsen Station. The same potential problem exists with the observatory at Alert in Northern Canada, because it is located inside the circumpolar wind zone along with the Arctic Rift and thousands of venting seamounts along key parts of the Northwest Passage.
    That leaves us with Point Barrow, arguably the only CO2 monitoring station whose CO2 measurements are unlikely to be influenced by magmatic gas plumes. However, the Canada Basin, extending seaward from Point Barrow, is also referred to as “the Hidden Ocean” because of poor access, which consequently leaves us with very little information about the sea floor in this region. The high probability of active seamounts in the vicinity of Point Barrow has not been ruled out, and in view of the fact that the other observatories probably experience significant skew due to magmatic CO2, it would not be unreasonable to remain skeptical until this possibility has been ruled out.
    This question of volcanic skew in CO2 measurements has been raised a number of times, in addition to other more serious allegations (Bacastow, 1981; Jaworowski et al., 1992; Segalstad, 1996).

    2.0 Calculated Estimates: Glorified Guesswork
    The estimation of worldwide volcanic CO2 emission is undermined by a severe shortage of data. To make matters worse, the reported output of any individual volcano is itself an estimate based on limited rather than complete measurement. One may reasonably assume that in each case, such estimates are based on a representative and statistically significant quantity of empirical measurements. Then we read statements, such as this one courtesy of the USGS (2010):
    Scientists have calculated that volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (Gerlach, 1991). This estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes, about in equal amounts.
    In point of fact, the total worldwide estimate of roughly 55 MtCpa is by one researcher, rather than “scientists” in general. More importantly, this estimate by Gerlach (1991) is based on emission measurements taken from only seven subaerial volcanoes and three hydrothermal vent sites. Yet the USGS glibly claims that Gerlach’s estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes in roughly equal amounts. Given the more than 3 million volcanoes worldwide indicated by the work of Hillier & Watts (2007), one might be prone to wonder about the statistical significance of Gerlach’s seven subaerial volcanoes and three hydrothermal vent sites. If the statement of the USGS concerning volcanic CO2 is any indication of the reliability of expert consensus, it would seem that verifiable facts are eminently more trustworthy than professional opinion.
    This is not an isolated case. Kerrick (2001) takes a grand total of 19 subaerial volcanoes, which on p. 568 is described as only 10% of “more than 100 subaerial volcanoes”. It is interesting to observe that Kerrick (2001) leaves out some of the more notable volcanoes (eg. Tambora, Krakatoa, Mauna Loa, Pinatubo, El Chichon, Katmai, Vesuvius, Agung, Toba, etc.). Nevertheless, despite these omissions Kerrick calculates 2.0-2.5 x 1012 mol of annual CO2 emissions from all subaerial volcanoes, which is understated on the assumption that the sample is from the most active volcanic demographic. This is in spite of the fact that eight of the world’s ten most active volcanoes are omitted from Kerrick’s study (Klyuchevskoy Karymsky, Shishaldin, Colima, Soufriere Hills, Pacaya, Santa Maria, Guagua Pichincha, & Mount Mayon). At 44.01g/mol, 2.0-2.5 x 1012 mol of CO2 amounts to a total of 24-30 MtCpa – less than 0.05% of total industrial emissions (7.8 GtCpa according to IPCC, 2007). My main criticism of Kerrick’s guess is that it putatively covers only 10% of a highly variable phenomenon on land, and with the cursory dismissal of mid oceanic ridge emissions, ignores all other forms of submarine volcanism altogether. If we take the Smithsonian Institute’s list of more than 1000 potentially active subaerial volcanoes worldwide, Kerrick’s 10% is reduced to 1-3%.
    According to Batiza (1982), Pacific mid-plate seamounts number between 22,000 and 55,000, of which 2,000 are active volcanoes. However, none of the more than 2,000 active submarine volcanoes have been discussed in Kerrick (2001). Furthermore, Kerrick (2001) justifies the omission of mid oceanic ridge emissions by claiming that mid oceanic ridges discharge less CO2 than is consumed by mid oceanic ridge hydrothermal carbonate systems. In point of fact, CO2 escapes carbonate formation in these hydrothermal vent systems in such quantities that, under special conditions, it accumulates in submarine lakes of liquid CO2 (Sakai, 1990; Lupton et al., 2006; Inagaki et al., 2006). Although these lakes are prevented from escaping directly to the surface or into solution in the ocean, there is nothing to prevent superheated CO2 that fails to condense from dissolving into the seawater or otherwise making its way to the surface. It is a fact that a significant amount of mid oceanic ridge emissions are not sequestered by hydrothermal processes; a fact which is neglected by Kerrick (2001), who contends that mid oceanic ridges may be a net sink for CO2. This may well sound reasonable except for the rather small detail that seawater in the vicinity of hydrothermal vent systems is saturated with CO2 (Sakai, 1990) and as seawater elsewhere is not saturated with CO2, it stands to reason that this saturation is sourced to the hydrothermal vent system. If the vent system consumed more CO2 than it emitted, the seawater in the vicinity of hydrothermal vent systems would be CO2 depleted.
    Morner & Etiope (2002) published a somewhat more representative estimate of subaerial volcanogenic CO2 output based on a more comprehensive selection and found as a bare minimum that subaerial volcanogenic CO2 emission is on the order of 163MtCpa. Morner & Etiope (2002) also provide a much better explanation of how CO2 is cycled through the mantle and the lithosphere. However, this still does not account for active volcanic emissions and remains vulnerable to eruptive variability. Based on data reproduced in Shinohara (2008), there were on average about five subaerial volcanic eruptions every year producing an average of 300KtSpa (kilotons of sulphur per year) from 1979-1989. Shinohara (2008) also presents molar ratios of CO2, SO2, & H2S from which, via the same academic daring as Gerlach (1991) and Kerrick (2001), we might derive an average ratio of 3.673 mol carbon for every mol of sulphur in gaseous volcanic emissions. That would loosely translate to 1.376KtC for every 1.000KtS. This gives us a figure of around 2MtCpa for minor volcanic activity based on SO2 emission events reported in Shinohara (2008). However, applying the same statistical assumption to some of the more notable eruptions of recent history, contrasted with one or two slightly older examples, gives us the following estimates:
    Year Volcano Mean Sulphurous Output Source Est. Carbon output during year(s) of eruption
    1883AD Krakatoa 38 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 26.14 MtCpa
    1815AD Tambora 70 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 48.16 MtCpa
    1783AD Laki 130 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 89.44 MtCpa
    1600AD Huaynaputina 48 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 33.02 MtCpa
    1452AD Kuwae 150 MtH2SO4pa Witter & Self (2007) 67.40 MtCpa
    934AD Eldja 110 MtSO2 Shinohara (2008) 75.68 MtCpa
    1645BC Minoa 125 MtSO2pa Shinohara (2008) 86.00 MtCpa
    circa 71,000BP Toba 1100 MtH2SO4pa Zielenski et al. (1996) 494.24 MtCpa
    Notice how all but one of the individual annual volcanogenic carbon outputs, estimated above, dwarf the global subaerial volcanogenic carbon outputs estimated by both Gerlach (1991) & Kerrick (2001). Even the Morner & Etiope (2002) subaerial estimate (163 MtCpa) is shaken by most of these figures and dwarfed by one. If this is not enough evidence of just how unreliable volcanic emission estimates can be, let us take a closer look at my 89 MtCpa estimate for the 1783AD Laki eruption. Consider the difference it makes if, instead of using the average ratio by weight for carbon and sulphur emissions I derived from Shinohara (2008), we take the ratio we use for the Laki estimate from more direct observations. Agustsdottir & Brantley (1994) studied emissions from Grimsvotn, from which Laki extends as a fissure, and found that Grimsvotn outgasses 53 KtCpa for 5.3 KtSpa. In other words, the weight of carbon emitted at Grimsvotn is ten times that of the sulphur emitted there. This would extend to Laki, which shares the same source, and is described by Agustsdottir & Brantley (1994) as a fairly stable ratio. By this ratio, Laki’s 130 Mt of sulphur dioxide in 1783AD translates to an emission of 650 MtCpa that year. This demonstrates just how much uncertainty is involved when trying to audit the volcanic contribution to the “carbon budget”.
    As you can see, volcanic systems are diverse and unpredictable. They cannot be statistically second-guessed for the same reason that lottery numbers cannot be statistically second-guessed. This in itself raises serious doubt concerning the reliability of volcanic carbon dioxide emission estimates. This is especially problematic when significant elements of the estimates, such as passive submarine volcanic emission, all active volcanic emission, and at least 96% of passive subaerial emissions, are based on statistical assumptions rather than on any actual measurement.

  149. R. Craigen says:
    September 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Plants love these megadose quantities of CO2. Animals don’t. The mildest toxic effects of CO2 in animals occurs somewhere between 1500 and 2000 ppmv. Where, exactly, is a bit of a judgement call. For humans, mild headache and dizziness begin somewhere in this range. 10x pre-industrial levels would be a bit higher, in a range in which toxicity effects are not controversial, though not fatal. It would probably put stress on the fauna, however.

    OSHA safe exposure limit is 5000ppm in the workplace. Prolonged exposure to 10,000ppm causes mild drowsiness. Headache begins at 30,000ppm but breathing air at that level has been tolerated for at least as long as one month. The body becomes acclimated to it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide#Toxicity

    Atmospheric CO2 of 2000ppm is on the low side of the geologic norm. It ranges up to about 5000ppm. It is only during ice ages that it drops as low as it is today (the earth is currently in an ice age). Given that the vast majority of time since terrestrial forms of life appeared (air breathing plants and animals have been around for about 500 million years) had atmospheric CO2 at 10x-20x current levels it is reasonable to presume this is what evolution optimized terrestrial life around.

  150. Thanks for the reference Dave, I defer to you. Apparently the EPA hasn’t yet pushed an alarmist slant on Wikipedia; now that’s a refreshing surprise. :-) I was working by memory from a technical source; it’s entirely possible that in my head I slipped an order of magnitude.

    In any case I seriously doubt that we could reach 1000 ppmv with anyone’s projected use of fossil fuels — partly because of Henry’s law, which tell us that 90 or 95% of it will go into the ocean, and partly because of the known response of plant life.

    I’m sure animals can adapt to higher CO2 levels, but I believe there are two kinds of adaptation that are relevant. First, the adaptation of a single individual when exposed to CO2. Over a period of months I think the blood oxygen transport, chest capacity and surface area of the alveoli would adjust to the oxygen content, which would probably slightly extend the upper range of the individual’s tolerance of the gas.

    Further, natural selection, over several generations, would help entire species adapt to major changes in CO2 beyond the tolerable range. The key here is that animals need merely to be able to “tolerate” CO2, we do not rely on it directly for life, as plants do. This is why we see that plants, even millions of years after the higher CO2 range, thrive when concentrations are returned to those levels. They evolved in a high-CO2 environment, and while they can adapt to lower levels, they cannot eliminate their CO2 dependence without transforming into something else altogether.

    Thus animals can adapt over time to different levels and probably do as well at 5000 ppm as at 100 ppm, but plants cannot because of their fundamental dependence on the nutrient.

  151. Keith D says:
    October 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I don’t differ in opinion about 1.1, except to point to the d13C level of most of the volcanic outgassing: mostly around zero per mil, positive if the origin is carbonate subduction and slightly negative it is deep core CO2. I have only found one volcanic outgassing which was quite low at -7 per mil. Thus if volcanic outgassing was the cause of (most of) the increase, that would increase the d13C levels of the atmosphere (currently at -8 per mil). But we see a year by year decrease.

    Adn I don’t want to discuss chapter 2: The total amounts of volcanic outgassing are indeed only best guesses, but if the 30% increase was the result of more outgassing, there should be an increasing tectonic activity, which isn’t observed. Further the largest eruption of the previous century, the Pinatubo eruption, caused a drop in CO2 increase, as the resulting temperature drop caused by the volcanic ash and sulfates did give more uptake of CO2 than the Pinatubo emitted.

    But let us have a look at chapter 1.2:

    1.2 The Location of Co2 Monitoring Station in regions enriched by volcanic CO2
    Volcanic CO2 emission raises some serious doubts concerning the anthropogenic origins of the rising atmospheric CO2 trend. In fact, the location of key CO2 measuring stations (Keeling et al., 2005; Monroe, 2007) in the vicinity of volcanoes and other CO2 sources may well result in the measurement of magmatic CO2 rather than a representative sample of the Troposphere. For example, Cape Kumukahi is located in a volcanically active province in Eastern Hawaii, while Mauna Loa Observatory is on Mauna Loa, an active volcano – both observatories within 50km of the highly active Kilauea and its permanent 3.2 MtCO2pa plume. Samoa is within 50 km of the active volcanoes Savai’i and/or Upolo, while Kermandec Island observatory is located within 10 km of the active Raoul Island volcano.
    Observatories located within active volcanic provinces are not the only problem. There is also the problem of pressure systems carrying volcanic plumes several hundred kilometers to station locations. For example, the observatory in New Zealand, located somewhere along the 41st parallel, is within 250 km of Tanaki and the entire North Island active volcanic province. Low pressure system centres approaching and high pressure system centres departing the Cook Strait will displace volcanic plumes from the North island to the South Island.
    Another class of problem for monitoring stations plagues “Christmas Island”, which is actually Kiribati Island (02º00′N, 157º20′W) where the Clipperton Fracture Zone (Taylor, 2006) crosses the Christmas Ridge and is nowhere near Christmas Island (10º29′S, 105º38′E; located on the other side of Australia, 10,000 km due west of Kiribati). Christmas Ridge is formed in a concentration of Pacific Seamounts. Extraordinary numbers of seamounts are volcanically active (Hillier & Watts, 2007). Moreover, active fracture zones also offer a preferred escape route for magmatic CO2, as this CO2 also finds its way into aquifers (eg. Giggenbach et al., 1991), which can be cut by fracture zones that consequently provide a path to the surface (Morner & Etiope, 2002). This may raise doubts concerning measurements taken at the La Jolla observatory, which is located near the focal point of a radial fault zone extending seaward from the San Andreas Fault (see imagery sourced to SIO, NOAA, USN, NGA, & GEBCO by Europa Technologies & Inegi, for Google Earth).
    Amundsen Scott South Pole Station appears to be well separated by 1300 km from the volcanic lineation extending along Antarctica’s Pacific Coast (From the Ross Shelf to the Antarctic Peninsula), However, Antarctic volcanoes are not nearly as well mapped as those in more populated regions, such as Japan. In any case, the strong circumpolar winds that delay mixing will inevitably concentrate Antarctica’s volcanic CO2 emissions over the Antarctic continent, including Amundsen Station. The same potential problem exists with the observatory at Alert in Northern Canada, because it is located inside the circumpolar wind zone along with the Arctic Rift and thousands of venting seamounts along key parts of the Northwest Passage.
    That leaves us with Point Barrow, arguably the only CO2 monitoring station whose CO2 measurements are unlikely to be influenced by magmatic gas plumes. However, the Canada Basin, extending seaward from Point Barrow, is also referred to as “the Hidden Ocean” because of poor access, which consequently leaves us with very little information about the sea floor in this region. The high probability of active seamounts in the vicinity of Point Barrow has not been ruled out, and in view of the fact that the other observatories probably experience significant skew due to magmatic CO2, it would not be unreasonable to remain skeptical until this possibility has been ruled out.
    This question of volcanic skew in CO2 measurements has been raised a number of times, in addition to other more serious allegations (Bacastow, 1981; Jaworowski et al., 1992; Segalstad, 1996).

    While Mauna Loa is on an active volcano, the influence of the volcanic vents is easely recognised:
    – the values are slightly higher (up to 4 ppmv) and very irregular.
    – only with downslope wind from certain directions.
    The opposite conditions happen sometimes in the afternoon, with upwind conditions: CO2 levels are slightly depleted due to vegetation in the valleys (down with about 4 ppmv)
    Both conditions are recognised and the hourly average data are flagged and not used for daily, monthly and yearly averages.
    The data used are mainly from trade winds blowing over halve the Pacific Ocean. These show not more variability that a few tenths of a ppmv over a day…
    See the hourly average raw data, including all outliers and the selected daily and monthly data from Mauna Loa and the South Pole:

    The same for data from New Zealand: these are only taken into account if the wind is from the south, as that is only ocean influenced over a very long distance…

    Further, there are 10 “baseline” stations today, but some 70 more which measure CO2 in pristine areas, plus regular flight measurements and ship’s measurements. All show values close to the Mauna Loa values if averaged over a year. And all show the same trend over the years, even the 400+ stations which are intented to measure CO2 fluxes over land in/out vegetation and human sources show the same trend.
    See the carbon tracker:

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

    It would be quite strange that the outgassing of volcanoes and/or faults would be quite identical all over the world… Thus there is a common, worldwide source at work.

    Last but not least: the increase in the atmosphere is about 50% of the human emissions over the past 110 years. If volcanoes were the main cause of the increase, that would show over 100% increase, higher than the emissions.

  152. From both sides of this idiotic discussion it is always the same… your words get twisted anyway… I explained how stomata response works to Ferdinand, but anyways the authors think they studied this proxy enough to be able to make their own good scientific judgement… Funny part of the stomata data is that neither the deniers as the pro-global warming activists really like it… this is how SCIENCE works… both camps claim it is purely coincidental that the dutch data match the USA data and that both curves match earlier ice core data. Mind you that fact that the wiggle around 1200AD is found in the Netherlands, in the USA and on Antarctica is already evidence enough that this is not a local signal…. but anyways, I won’t even try anymore to have an unbiased climate discussion with both sides, fruitless anyways

  153. Tom says:”both camps claim it is purely coincidental that the dutch data match the USA data and that both curves match earlier ice core data. Mind you that fact that the wiggle around 1200AD is found in the Netherlands, in the USA and on Antarctica is already evidence enough that this is not a local signal…. ”

    I am dutch living in South Africa,
    skeptic scientist, e.g.

    http://letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

    I am trying to figure out what you mean here Tom?

  154. Tom van Hoof says:
    October 4, 2010 at 5:37 am

    “From both sides of this idiotic discussion it is always the same… your words get twisted anyway… I explained how stomata response works to Ferdinand, but anyways the authors think they studied this proxy enough to be able to make their own good scientific judgement…”

    As our previous discussion was quite clear: stomata data are a good proxy, and quite reliable. One point is that it responds to local/regional CO2 levels which may have a relative stable bias in the current period, compared to “background” CO2 levels, thus can be eliminated by calibration with ice cores and direct measurements.

    The unresolved question in our discussion is that one doesn’t know how the bias changed over longer periods. As the landscape in The Netherlands changed tremendously over the centuries, how do we know what effect that had for CO2 levels in St. Odiliënberg? Further, temperature and current changes over the oceans (MWP-LIA) may give quite huge changes in main wind direction over land. How does that change CO2 levels locally more inland?

    The SI data from Jay Bath (Western USA) and The Netherlands (and ice core CO2 from Antarctica) are similar around the MWP-LIA transition, but Jay Bath shows much more variability than The Netherlands, thus one of both is less backgound (usually the most variable…).

    Note: see the differences in monthly averages between Giessen (Germany), somewhat southeast of St. Odiliënberg, farther inland:

Comments are closed.