Antarctic Ocean: The Big Kahuna of glacial period carbon sinks

UF research gives clues about carbon dioxide patterns at end of Ice Age

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — New University of Florida research puts to rest the mystery of where old carbon was stored during the last glacial period. It turns out it ended up in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica.

The findings have implications for modern-day global warming, said Ellen Martin, a UF geological sciences professor and an author of the paper, which is published in this week’s journal Nature Geoscience.

“It helps us understand how the carbon cycle works, which is important for understanding future global warming scenarios,” she said. “Ultimately, a lot of the carbon dioxide that we’re pumping into the atmosphere is going to end up in the ocean. By understanding where that carbon was stored in the past and the pathways it took, we develop a better understanding of how much atmospheric carbon dioxide the oceans can absorb in the future.”

Scientists know that during the transition from the last glacial period to the current inter-glacial period about 14,000 years ago, carbon dioxide levels rose very quickly at the same time that the age of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere fell, as measured by radiocarbon data. That suggests carbon dioxide had been stored in the ocean and suddenly released, she said.

One idea holds that it was building up in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, where extensive sea ice on the surface of the ocean initially prevented the exchange of gasses into the atmosphere, Martin said. The other possibility is that the same process occurred in the Northern Hemisphere with ice sheets in the North Pacific Ocean, she said.

In her lab, Martin and lead author Chandranath Basak, a UF graduate student in geological sciences; Keiji Horikawa, a UF postdoctoral fellow in geological sciences; and Thomas Marchitto, a University of Colorado geology professor, studied that question by using a technique to measure isotopes of neodymium, a rare earth element not commonly found in marine sediments but preserved in microscopic fossil fish teeth. The isotopic signature of a water mass, which is captured in the fish teeth, reflects the location where the water mass came from, she said.

“It’s essentially what we call a water mass tracer,” Martin said. “You can tell where the water masses have formed and where they have moved to by using this tracer.”

The researchers took samples that had been shown to have old carbon in them and measured the neodymium isotopes on fish teeth from the sediments to see if they could reconstruct whether they had come from the North Pacific or the Southern Ocean, she said.

“When we did this, we got a signal that looks very much like the Southern Ocean,” she said. “It implies that all the carbon was being stored in the Southern Hemisphere and as the ice sheet melted back, it released that carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing part of the big increase in carbon dioxide and introducing old carbon back into the atmosphere.”

By giving information about environmental conditions during the last glacial period, the research findings can help scientists to reconstruct what the world was like at that time, she said.

The implications are that while large amounts of carbon could be stored in the ocean when there was a great deal of sea ice, the opposite is the case in a world that is warming, with less ice, which allows more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere, Martin said. Thus, in a warming scenario the oceans may not be able to store as much carbon dioxide as they could under glacial conditions

The oceans are a critical part of the carbon dioxide cycle, Martin said. “The oceans have 60 times more carbon dioxide in them than the atmosphere, so when we worry about what’s happening with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we often look to the oceans as a potential source or sink.”

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the glacial periods was about 200 parts per million, compared with 280 parts per million during a typical interglacial period, Martin said. Today that level has soared to about 380 parts per million, she said.

The time period that encompasses the last glacial period to the current interglacial period when carbon dioxide levels went up very quickly is often referred to as the “mystery interval” because scientists hadn’t known where the carbon was stored, Martin said.

“Now we have a better understanding of how the system worked,” she said.

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One wonders how the sea life down there tolerated all that extra carbon resulting in “ocean acidification”.

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108 Responses to Antarctic Ocean: The Big Kahuna of glacial period carbon sinks

  1. Michael Jankowski says:

    Translation: A lot of CO2 released to the atmosphere is “natural.”

    Spin: Global warming is going to release more sequestered CO2 by melting Antarctic “ice sheets pullling back,” which means “it’s worse than we thought.”

  2. Will Crump says:

    Mr. Watts,

    Thank you for posting this article which identifies another potential positive feedback to additional global warming.

    “The implications are that while large amounts of carbon could be stored in the ocean when there was a great deal of sea ice, the opposite is the case in a world that is warming, with less ice, which allows more carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere, Martin said. Thus, in a warming scenario the oceans may not be able to store as much carbon dioxide as they could under glacial conditions.”

    REPLY: You act as if this is news, any kid in high school chemistry class knows about the solubility of CO2 in water, in fact I’ve posted on it many times here on WUWT.

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/co2-h2o_solubility.png

    What’s news is that this team confirmed the southern ocean was the main sink then. This finding also points to why CO2 lags temperature in paleoclimate temperature and CO2 reconstructions.
    - Anthony

  3. DocattheAutopsy says:

    So, effectively warm oceans release CO2, and cold ones store it?

    Seems like something chemists have known for about 100 years now.

  4. Nick Luke says:

    As a non-scientist, does this mean that the temperature had to drop before the CO2 could be sequestered in the water? Conversly, did the temperature have to rise before the gas was re-released into the atmosphere? Or have I misunderstood Boyle’s Law all these years?

  5. Mike Davis says:

    Proudly funded by NSF with your money and mine! Science has truly become a contest to see who can write the most preposterous funding proposal.

  6. Jacob says:

    So, does this support the theory that CO2 rises in response to warming (not causing it) ?
    That is: warmer temps cause sea ice melt, and this causes co2 release from the oceans that the ice hindered before?
    So, a rise of co2 concentrations follows the warming, and is not it’s cause it ?

  7. Stop Global Dumbing Now says:

    Just these:
    1) “Thus, in a warming scenario the oceans may not be able to store as much carbon dioxide as they could under glacial conditions”
    Didn’t we already know this?
    2) “The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the glacial periods was about 200 parts per million, compared with 280 parts per million during a typical interglacial period”
    Haven’t we already proven that in past interglacials it was much higher?
    3) “introducing old carbon back into the atmosphere.”
    Does “old carbon” have a similar chemical signature to fossil fuel carbon? Wouldn’t that confound the measurements of evil AGW carbon vs pristine polar bear carbon? (I guess that would be penguin carbon since it’s in Antarctica.)

  8. Mike Davis says:

    It is good to see that these researchers understand that a warmer ocean allows more CO2 in the atmosphere to allow more biological activity through photosynthesis which provides more O2 for the animal kingdom to breath.

  9. Jimbo says:

    One wonders how the sea life down there tolerated all that extra carbon resulting in “ocean acidification”.

    Their shells grew thicker?
    http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=63809&ct=162
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;320/5874/336

    Stop the alarm over acidic oceans!!!
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006…/2006GL026305.shtml

  10. Bernie says:

    I do not understand the notion of new and old carbon dioxide. If carbon dioxide was stored, how is it older or younger than the carbon dioxide that was not stored. Is this a press release gaffe?

  11. charles nelson says:

    ‘…rare earth isotopes…. water mass tracer…you can tell where the water mass has formed….microscopic fish teeth….we’re getting a signal that looks very much like the southern ocean….’
    ‘Hey…wake up…wake up!’
    ‘Huh?’
    ‘You were talking in your sleep.’
    ‘What was I saying?’
    ‘Dunno…sounded like complete bollocks to me.’

  12. Robert E. Phelan says:

    So, cooler oceans sequester CO2 and warmer oceans release CO2. Who would have guessed?

  13. Golf Charley says:

    A fizzy drink, loses its fizz quicker, as it gets warmer. Another way to reduce the fizz quicker is to reduce atmospheric pressure. The reverse may also be true. Different laws of physics apply to oceans.

    The fizz is CO2, and putting it into drinks, to make them fizzy, has yet to be targeted for cap and trade, so the fizzy drink industry must be capturing all its CO2 from the atmosphere, rather than producing CO2 by other means. Could the fizzy drinks industry share the secret, they could save the world?

    I do not seem to be getting any of the Big Oil money that (allegedly) slushes around these sites, so can I get some AGW grant funding instead please?

  14. Nigel Brereton says:

    ‘The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the glacial periods was about 200 parts per million, compared with 280 parts per million during a typical interglacial period, Martin said. Today that level has soared to about 380 parts per million, she said.’

    My God is she going to have a bitch fit if CO2 doubles, even though it won’t affect temperatures as predicted.

  15. DocattheAutopsy says:

    Bernie said:

    “I do not understand the notion of new and old carbon dioxide. If carbon dioxide was stored, how is it older or younger than the carbon dioxide that was not stored. Is this a press release gaffe?”

    Nope. Stored carbon is a small percentage C-14, which eventually decays to N-14 through beta decay. We can use the isotopic ratio of a carbon source to determine its age up to about 50,000 years old. So, “old carbon” is simply carbon with depleted C-14.

  16. Katherine says:

    “When we did this, we got a signal that looks very much like the Southern Ocean,” she said. “It implies that all the carbon was being stored in the Southern Hemisphere

    Doesn’t that just mean their samples were all from the south? Unless they’re implying that there were no fish in the north.

  17. Garry says:

    Bernie says October 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm: “If carbon dioxide was stored, how is it older or younger than the carbon dioxide that was not stored. Is this a press release gaffe?”

    Not a press release gaffe, it’s just climate “science.”

    ’Twas brillig, and the slithy trace
    Did gyre and gimble in the water mass;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths on old carbon.

  18. latitude says:

    poor UF, UF is trying so hard to be cutting edge climate science….
    Watching all that money pass them by….

  19. JDN says:

    So, are they proposing a non-mixing portion of the ocean? If that’s it then it doesn’t seem plausible. Are there any examples of this that we can observe (besides brine pools in deep water which are probably maintained by the life forms that live in them).

  20. Will Crump says:

    [comment is way oversized -please break it up into smaller posts ~mod]

  21. Jeff (of Colorado) says:

    “The oceans have 60 times more carbon dioxide in them than the atmosphere”

    Does this partly cause the sine wave in the CO2 graph from Hawaii? The Northern Hemisphere is removing CO2 while Antartica stops producing it?
    So 1.3% change in ocean CO2 doubles/halves current atmospheric CO2. What percentage is lost or gained when long term climate warms and cools? This neatly correlates the delay between temperature and CO2.

  22. D Caldwell says:

    Jacob says:
    October 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm
    “So, does this support the theory that CO2 rises in response to warming (not causing it) ?That is: warmer temps cause sea ice melt, and this causes co2 release from the oceans that the ice hindered before?So, a rise of co2 concentrations follows the warming, and is not it’s cause it ?”

    Jacob, any true climate scientist knows that natural, non-CO2 forcings are very weak and can only produce just a little bit of temporary warming – way less than 0.5C for sure. This little bit of non-CO2 forcing caused a release of CO2 from the oceans, which caused a lot more warming that set off a cascade of positive feedbacks, which ended the glacial period. Therefore, substantial increases in atmospheric CO2 always do the heavy lifting in any global warming scenario. All the climate models approved by true climate scientists confirm this.

    Now you can clearly understand how all true climate scientists happily ignore that the actual data indicate warming at the end of each glacial period always preceeded increases in CO2 by several hundred years.

  23. tallbloke says:

    “isotopes of neodymium, a rare earth element not commonly found in marine sediments but preserved in microscopic fossil fish teeth.”

    Interesting. Neodymium is the stuff the Chinese make superstrong magnets from. I wonder if fish use it for navigational purposes.

  24. Enneagram says:

    Did anyone see the Antarctica penninsula?. We´re looking for it :-)
    It starts from the same falsified hypothesis, or rather BELIEF from the church of GW, while stirring their CO2 incense burners. Holy betwetters! More of the same CO2 concoction, now from fish teeth!…

  25. Sean says:

    Interesting article and observations but I think that you have to note that CO2 sequesters naturally in the oceans (after all they were studying fish teeth) by precipitating out carbonate rocks such as limestone and dolomite. Calcium carbonate has an odd solubility, its less soluble in warm water than in cold. But even the solubility is not so simple as the CO2 in water can be carbonic acid or a bi-carbonate which actually increases the solubility of calcium in the presence of CO2. When you think about the southern oceans or any other oceans for that matter, you also have to keep in mind the currents take water loaded with carbonate and bi-carbonate ions and transport these toward the equator where the water is warmer leading to breakdown of the soluble calcium bicarbonate ions into CO2 (g) and calcium carbonate (s) so half the carbon dioxide gets precipitated out. (Think of all the limestone deposits in the tropics as well at the amount of limestone rock that is a permanent repository of formerly gaseous CO2. I personally like point out view from the edge of the Grand Canyon to anyone who doesn’t believe CO2 can be sequestered.) So I wonder out loud if the results of this study may indicate that the mechanism for transporting CO2 from the cold polar regions to the warm tropic regions might have been shut down during the glacial periods and when the glaciers melted, did it bring this bicarbonate saturated water back to the equatorial regions to release half the gas that was simple dissolved?

  26. John Kehr says:

    It is well understood that the CO2 is more soluble in water as the temperature of the water decreases. Since the Northern Hemisphere started having glacial cycles 2.6 million years ago it is no surprise that global CO2 levels have dropped. That the colder region of the planet should store more of the CO2 is expected.

    It is nice to see the science line up properly with the real world. Of course too many believe that the falling CO2 levels is what “caused” the cooling. That is where science has failed.

    John Kehr
    The Inconvenient Skeptic

  27. TallDave says:

    This finding also points to why CO2 lags temperature in paleoclimate temperature and CO2 reconstructions.

    Does this mean I’ll finally stop hearing that the lag was just a measurement error because we all know CO2 is the primary driver of climate?

  28. DonK31 says:

    A good explanation of why CO2 in the atmosphere is a trailing indicator of warming and cooling instead of a leading indicator.

  29. rbateman says:

    This would explain the lag of C02 in the Ice Ages. It takes time for it to travel to the Antartic, and it has to melt before the C02 can be released. So, an Antarctic that grows colder is busy dunking C02.

  30. R. Gates says:

    Jacob says:
    October 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm
    So, does this support the theory that CO2 rises in response to warming (not causing it) ?
    That is: warmer temps cause sea ice melt, and this causes co2 release from the oceans that the ice hindered before?
    So, a rise of co2 concentrations follows the warming, and is not it’s cause it ?
    ______

    This is the common logical falacy that is propagated by many AGW skeptics. Namely that a temperature rise prior to CO2 increases proves that CO2 cannot cause warming. Yes, rises CO2 levels follow temperature increases in many instances in the geological record, but then once the CO2 begins to increase, it functions to extend and amplify the warming. Furthermore, it is glaciation that serves to increase CO2 levels through a slowing of the hydrological cycle. To say that a rise in CO2 can not affect an increase in global temperatures simply because is sometimes lags a rise in temperature is one of the biggest logical falacies that I see coming from the skeptical community. CO2 can act as a positive feedback to a general warming that may have been initiated through astrononomical (i.e Milankovitch) or other natural cycles.

  31. One idea holds that it [CO2] was building up in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, where extensive sea ice on the surface of the ocean initially prevented the exchange of gasses into the atmosphere, Martin said. The other possibility is that the same process occurred in the Northern Hemisphere with ice sheets in the North Pacific Ocean, she said.

    How can they vacillate like that? They do assert that they got a “a signal that looks very much like the Southern Ocean.”

    Mind you, I can’t see how anyone can get a “signal” that has any geographical features, let alone those of the Southern Ocean.

    Nevertheless, the UF news item insults the readers by concluding,

    “Now we have a better understanding of how the system worked,” she said.

  32. James Sexton says:

    TallDave says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    This finding also points to why CO2 lags temperature in paleoclimate temperature and CO2 reconstructions.

    Does this mean I’ll finally stop hearing that the lag was just a measurement error because we all know CO2 is the primary driver of climate?
    ========================================================

    In our wildest fantasies. Maybe one day when people can understand the insignificance of a ton, better yet, a gigaton of CO2. Can someone relate a gton of CO2 to ppm?

  33. Zeke the Sneak says:

    tallbloke says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm
    Interesting. Neodymium is the stuff the Chinese make superstrong magnets from. I wonder if fish use it for navigational purposes.

    Yes that is another kettle of fish. What are all of these magnetic nanocrystals doing in nearly every organism, even those who don’t seem to use any kind of navigation system wrt the geomagnetic field of the earth?
    http://elements.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/5/4/235

    Biomineralization of magnetite crystals has even been found to be occuring in the human brain.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/89/16/7683.abstract
    “elemental analyses identify minerals in the magnetite-maghemite family, with many of the crystal morphologies and structures resembling strongly those precipitated by magnetotactic bacteria and fish. These magnetic and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy measurements imply the presence of a minimum of 5 million single-domain crystals per gram for most tissues in the brain and greater than 100 million crystals per gram for pia and dura.”

    Perhaps “much further research is required to understand fully the origin and function of biomagnetism.”

  34. Bernie says:

    DocattheAutopsy & Garry:
    Thanks for your responses. But I still am confused. At what point does Carbon achieve its age? Can you point me to a basic explanation on carbon dating? This article has raised some confusing points.

  35. Gareth says:

    This finding would suggest that coming out of the Little Ice Age could cause a substantial increase in CO2.

    This finding would also suggest that there is no runaway CO2-induced warming effect otherwise there would have never been repeated glacial periods.

  36. jorgekafkazar says:

    [comment is way oversized -please break it up into smaller posts ~mod]

    I’ve found that any comment over two screens long is usually either a rant or has a high BS content, so I rarely read anything that long. Save your breath. Brevity is the soul of wit.

  37. George E. Smith says:

    “”””” “The oceans have 60 times more carbon dioxide in them than the atmosphere, so when we worry about what’s happening with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we often look to the oceans as a potential source or sink.” “””””

    How does that grab you the total atmospheric CO2 is 1/60th of the amount in the ocean.

    So if ALL of the atmospehric CO2 were to dissolve in the Ocean it would change the pH by some huge amount that would simply dissolve all shellfish and corals.

    So it’s really worse than we thought.

    Hey I do like the proxy technique though; that sounds pretty clever..

    But I don’t think ocean acidification needs to be taken care of before election day.

  38. James Sexton says:

    R. Gates says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Logical falacies? Ok, I’ll play…..

    “……..but then once the CO2 begins to increase, it functions to extend and amplify the warming. …….”
    =======================================================

    So what then, pray tell, stopped the death spiral? Because we all know CO2 causes an increase in the temps, and the increase of the temps causes ice melt, and ice melt causes increase in temps because of the albedo. Such a vicious, vicious never ending cycle of doom! So, please tell me, at what point did the process halt, and how did it halt?

    Logical falacies?

  39. rbateman says:

    R. Gates says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Yes, rises CO2 levels follow temperature increases in many instances in the geological record, but then once the CO2 begins to increase, it functions to extend and amplify the warming. Furthermore, it is glaciation that serves to increase CO2 levels through a slowing of the hydrological cycle.

    Sure am glad I didn’t have a mouthful of coffee when I read that !
    Well, darn it all, that must mean that C02 will finish the Ice Ages once and for all.. just as soon as its done warming and accelerating all the sequestered C02, there will never ever be another Ice Age due to all that released supercarbonisticoxyextrametitglacious blistering the Planet.
    Ok, so I’m being a bit rough here.
    Tell me, how does this accelerant not runaway and peel the crust off the Earth?

  40. Richard Sharpe says:

    George E. Smith says on October 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    “”””” “The oceans have 60 times more carbon dioxide in them than the atmosphere, so when we worry about what’s happening with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we often look to the oceans as a potential source or sink.” “””””

    How does that grab you the total atmospheric CO2 is 1/60th of the amount in the ocean.

    So if ALL of the atmospehric CO2 were to dissolve in the Ocean it would change the pH by some huge amount that would simply dissolve all shellfish and corals.

    So it’s really worse than we thought.

    Hey I do like the proxy technique though; that sounds pretty clever..

    But I don’t think ocean acidification needs to be taken care of before election day.

    So, what fraction of a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere would end up in the oceans and what would that do to the pH?

  41. FijiDave says:

    Now hang on, you lot!

    Billions of dollars, quadrillions of man-hours, squadrillions of words, and there is still an argument over whether or not twelve man-made carbon dioxide molecules per one million molecules of air is catastrophically heating the atmosphere?

    Can this be for real?

    Really, as just an ordinary bloke, I shouldn’t have to know that carbon dioxide absorbs long wave radiation, and re-emits it. Should I have to know that this re-radiating of heat by the CO2 molecule is isotropic and the heat can ping off in any direction including up?

    Should I have to worry about whether the National databases holding temperature records around the globe are up to standard and that the publicised temperatures from same are honest?

    Ice flows, polar bears, glaciers, water vapour, methane, ozone and a million other esoteric minutiae associated with climate should, unless one is keen on such things, merely exist on the fringes of one’s consciousness.

    Most people deal with facts. 1 kilogram equals 2.2046 pounds, E=MC2, for example. Radio propagation is proven by the fact that everyone’s cell phone magically receives information without a bundle of wires. We trust that the science is empirically demonstrated, and use our cell phones without having a clue how it works. How is it that one can’t say the same of climate science?

    Why hasn’t the expenditure of billions of dollars, the endeavours of thousands of scientists, or the babble of millions of bloggers over the last three decades been able to pin the beast down so that ordinary folks like me can say, “Yep! We’re warming up through our careless production of CO2. We’d better do something before it’s too late!”

    Well, it hasn’t, because it can’t.

    And if I’ve got some facts wrong, well tough titty, as I’ve other things to do.

  42. Robert of Texas says:

    Carbon-14 mostly comes from low energy neutrons colliding with nitrogen in the upper atmosphere. Higher energy nuetrons can also produce C-14 if they are slowed down first, or strike something like ice, but this is not considered a major source of naturally occuring C-14 in our environment.

    C-14 has a half life of about 5,700 years. You can use it to determine the age of a carbon source back about 50,000 to 100,000 years depending on the technique.

    I am mystified that people think they can tell the “average” age of carbon in the atmosphere. It depends on the raito of carbon isotopes of course, but also on the production rate which many seem to think is a constant. I can’t imagine neutron bombardment being a constant over large time periods. You also have to consider whether their are any biases of c-14 over other carbon isotopes in mineral creation, biological use, and degassing or absorbtion under a wide variety of temperatures and conditions.

    Because there is more c-14 in the oceans (expressed as a ratio) than in the atmosphere, some think this proves its “old carbon” from the burning of fossil fuels, which were buried and losing their C-14 steadily to decay. Well, maybe. Or maybe there is some other reason why the ocean has more c-14. I wonder if anyone has actually studied the production of c-14 in ice and water in the environment – or we just assume its too rare to be of importance. Just one of those naggin details.

  43. James Sexton says:

    rbateman says:
    October 25, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    R. Gates says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Sure am glad I didn’t have a mouthful of coffee when I read that !
    ======================================================
    Yeh, well, I had a mouth full of beer and now my keys are sticking!!! I think he did that on purpose!

  44. Joe Lalonde says:

    Anthony,
    Sometimes these theories have me ask more questions than what answers they give.

    If there is a great amount of precipitation in the last Ice Age, then would that not dilute the CO2 readings? It could be far more.
    Meltings can also give the opposite by concentrating the CO2 into the ground layers.

    The current CO2 seems to be changing the wind speeds at the planets surface and in doing so would change the speed of heat disipating from the planets surface depending on cloud cover and weather conditions. But there is definately a pressure build-up in our atmosphere. Global Warming was blamed for growth up mountains when in fact, the built-up pressure is climbing the mountain.
    CO2 is a dangerous gas in pushing normal lighter gases into the atmosphere generating compression with cloud cover.

  45. bob says:

    Man! For a minute, there, I thought somebody had discovered fizzy ice. This would have been really big stuff because then I could pour my scotch whiskey over fizzy ice cubes and not have to dilute it so much with fizzy water.

    But, then, AGW has been a real disappointment.

  46. James Sexton says:

    Joe Lalonde says:
    October 25, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    “Anthony,
    Sometimes these theories have me ask more questions than what answers they give.
    ……………
    CO2 is a dangerous gas in pushing normal lighter gases into the atmosphere generating compression with cloud cover.”
    ======================================================
    Yes, they should, the theories always leave me with more questions, too. It simply illustrates that we don’t know enough to make a determination about anything yet. Our knowledge of what makes up our climate is woefully inadequate to make any significant definitive statements. While I’m not Anthony, I’d try to answer (as best I could)but, your last statement, leaves me a bit perplexed as to your meaning.

  47. Colin from Mission B.C. says:

    FijiDave says:
    October 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Well said, FijiDave. Thanks for speaking for Everyman. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  48. Chuck says:

    Well done.

    That which was proved is proved.again.

    The Polar Region ice caps and glaciers are the Earth’s freezers.

    Simple! Simple! Simple!.

  49. Nevertheless, the UF news item insults the readers by concluding,

    “Now we have a better understanding of how the system worked,” she said.

    Note: “worked” (past tense). Can’t help but add the implication that, sadly, the system doesn’t work like that anymore.

  50. docattheautopsy says:

    Bernie says:

    “DocattheAutopsy & Garry:
    Thanks for your responses. But I still am confused. At what point does Carbon achieve its age? Can you point me to a basic explanation on carbon dating? This article has raised some confusing points.”

    There’s not really a base “age”, per se, but a point at which carbon-14 is saturated by neutron bombardment, as Robert of Texas explained.

    Carbon-14′s base is the amount of Carbon-14 in living organisms. Since we’re all eating carbon, and essentially we get carbon from plants, who get it from atmospheric CO2, we continuously pass carbon through us, so there’s an equilibrium amount of carbon in us, sustained by us eating and passing carbon from our system.

    The atmospheric CO2 is, by current research, losing Carbon-14 because fossil fuels over 50-70k years old have lost the C-14 to time, so the ratio of C-14 to C-12 is much lower than what we get from the carbon cycle.

    The wikipedia article is actually OK and pretty simple to follow.

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

    I’m on the fence about C-14 concentrations in the atmosphere coming from fossil fuel sources, simply because the data I’ve seen falls within the margin of error and it’s not conclusive, although it is persuasive, so I’m waiting for better data to come out.

  51. James Sexton says:

    FijiDave says:
    October 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm
    ========================================================

    I’ve probably tried to state the same thought 15 different times in 15 different manners, but I never came close to your articulation of the same. Well done!

  52. Zeke the Sneak says:

    “The isotopic signature of a water mass, which is captured in the fish teeth, reflects the location where the water mass came from, she said.”
    http://www.geochem.geos.vt.edu/bgep/pubs/Chapter_1_Weiner_Dove.pdf

    Excuse me?
    “Ulrey et al recognized that certain phyla may not deposit their skeletal material in isotopic equilibrium with their environment, and within a few years it was clearly demonstrated that some phyla completely control their isotopic composition, as well as their Mg and Sr skeletal contents.”

    I would hate to see the venerable science of biomineralization become just another hand grenade in the hands of these climate quacks.

  53. Paul Deacon, Christchurch, New Zealand says:

    R. Gates says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    This is the common logical falacy that is propagated by many AGW skeptics. Namely that a temperature rise prior to CO2 increases proves that CO2 cannot cause warming. Yes, rises CO2 levels follow temperature increases in many instances in the geological record, but then once the CO2 begins to increase, it functions to extend and amplify the warming. Furthermore, it is glaciation that serves to increase CO2 levels through a slowing of the hydrological cycle. To say that a rise in CO2 can not affect an increase in global temperatures simply because is sometimes lags a rise in temperature is one of the biggest logical fallacies that I see coming from the skeptical community. CO2 can act as a positive feedback to a general warming that may have been initiated through astrononomical (i.e Milankovitch) or other natural cycles.
    **********************************************************************
    R Gates – please point me to one or more periods in the paleo-climate record when you believe that the above positive feedback as described by you caused a catastrophic runaway increase in atmospheric temperatures.

    Thanks.

  54. Vorlath says:

    I was reading through it… trying to figure out what percentage of climate scientists drink carbonated drinks and why they did not give a quarter to the ones who don’t.

    Also while reading this article, I was waiting for the part about where they have to say that the situation is hopeless, we must act now, everything is spiraling out of control. It did not disappoint.

    “The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the glacial periods was about 200 parts per million, compared with 280 parts per million during a typical interglacial period, Martin said. Today that level has soared to about 380 parts per million, she said.”

    There it was. Confirmation I’m still in the same Universe.

  55. TimM says:

    I’ve been conducting research for over twenty years now regarding CO2 stored in cold liquids.
    The hypothesis is that a cold liquid stores CO2 and outgasses it as it warms.
    My method is to compare drinking a warm beer versus a cold beer, and see which is bubblier as it hits my throat. I am expecting to observe that a cold beer is much bubblier, as it should have (if the hypothesis is correct) stored more CO2 at cold temps, and the CO2 should outgas as the beer warms in my mouth. Warm beer should (if the hypothesis is correct) have already outgassed much of the CO2 and should be quite flat as it hits my throat.
    Observations so far seem to support the hypothesis (although reading my handwriting the day after the experiments has been a little tricky).

  56. savethesharks says:

    R. Gates says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    “This is the common logical falacy [sic] that is propagated by many AGW skeptics. Namely that a temperature rise prior to CO2 increases proves that CO2 cannot cause warming.”

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

    Wow. Who is committing the logical fallacy here?

    No one is saying that this “proves CO2 cannot cannot cause warming.”
    So stop putting words in our mouth, bud!

    R, since you certainly are the wizard of logical fallacies, you should know a logical fallacy when you saw it.

    Nobody is saying “all or nothing”, here. Your reducing it to that….is a logical fallacy in and of itself.

    Checkmate.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  57. wayne says:

    What’s news is that this team confirmed the southern ocean was the main sink then. This finding also points to why CO2 lags temperature in paleoclimate temperature and CO2 reconstructions.
    - Anthony

    And immediately implies the high ocean acidification occured thousands of years ago and has been decreasing ever since, pH moving up. High school stuff, right? We may be near a high in pH if this article is correct and we are topping off a ‘period’ of coming out of the last ice age, may have already started the slide down from MWP.

    Give give thanks this Thanksgiving for what warmth we have! (ps Anthony: hope the best is happening for all)

  58. earthdog says:

    ‘The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the glacial periods was about 200 parts per million, compared with 280 parts per million during a typical interglacial period, Martin said. Today that level has soared to about 380 parts per million, she said.’

    Am I wrong? I thought that CO2 concentrations in many past epochs had been much higher then now?

  59. JRR Canada says:

    FijiDave thats the right way to call it. Thankyou one of the best summaries yet.

  60. bob says:

    James Sexton asks:

    So what then, pray tell, stopped the death spiral? Because we all know CO2 causes an increase in the temps, and the increase of the temps causes ice melt, and ice melt causes increase in temps because of the albedo. Such a vicious, vicious never ending cycle of doom! So, please tell me, at what point did the process halt, and how did it halt?

    Logical falacies?

    No Logical falacies, but the black body radiation from the earth’s surface increases with the fourth power of the temperature, so a small increase in temperature can balance a large increase in forcing.

    The runaway warming stopped on Venus, after all the water evaporated and the carbonate rocks turned to gas.

  61. Graeme W says:

    R. Gates says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm
    This is the common logical falacy that is propagated by many AGW skeptics. Namely that a temperature rise prior to CO2 increases proves that CO2 cannot cause warming. Yes, rises CO2 levels follow temperature increases in many instances in the geological record, but then once the CO2 begins to increase, it functions to extend and amplify the warming. Furthermore, it is glaciation that serves to increase CO2 levels through a slowing of the hydrological cycle. To say that a rise in CO2 can not affect an increase in global temperatures simply because is sometimes lags a rise in temperature is one of the biggest logical falacies that I see coming from the skeptical community. CO2 can act as a positive feedback to a general warming that may have been initiated through astrononomical (i.e Milankovitch) or other natural cycles.

    Firstly, in R Gates’s defense, a positive feedback doesn’t have to run away. For example, suppose the increase in CO2 adds 20% (percent of what, I hear you ask, but let’s ignore the actual numbers for now so I can explain the principle) to the temperature, which in turn causes a release of more CO2, which adds another 4% (ie. 20% of 20%) to the temperature, etc. As you can see, while the temperature has increased, it’s not a runaway situation.

    That’s the theory that I’ve been told when I first raised the same question. It’s certainly reasonable, though I’m not saying it’s a fact. It’s a theory, with little (if any) evidence that I’ve seen to support that theory.

    However, while R Gates is correct that having a CO2 increase lagging temperature doesn’t preclude the possibility that a CO2 can also cause a temperature increase, it doesn’t provide any evidence in support of that statement, either, and does provide circumstantial evidence against that theory. In particular, as I saw someone else note in a thread here at WUWT, the lag in the geological record appeared to be around 700-800 years, and it’s been 700-800 years since the MWP….

    Finally, according to the geological graphs I’ve seen, not only does the CO2 rise lag behind the temperature rise, but the CO2 drop also lags behind the temperature drop. Again, not proof that CO2 can’t cause a temperature rise, but it provides no evidence to support that position, either, and the implication is that the historical CO2 changes were driven by the temperature changes, or by something else that was causing both.

  62. Robert Wykoff says:

    ‘The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the glacial periods was about 200 parts per million, compared with 280 parts per million during a typical interglacial period, Martin said. Today that level has soared to about 380 parts per million, she said.’

    I know that there have been many studies regarding concentration of CO2 and plant life. I know there is a minimum value where photosynthesis all but shuts down. I do not remember the exact PPM, but I do believe 200ppm was very very close to it. So, we either came very close to a huge extinction event, or the 200ppm number is total BS.

  63. Alvin Warwas says:

    [snip] post in Tips & Notes please

  64. Will Crump says:

    Gosh Mr. Watts:

    I do not have a chemistry doctorate, but is that why those little bubles climb to the top of a beer glass as it warms?

    I did not realize the CO2 saturation point of the Antarctic Oocean was so close to a tipping point, until you provided the info.

    Thanks again.

  65. Grey Lensman says:

    Bob says

    Quote

    The runaway warming stopped on Venus, after all the water evaporated and the carbonate rocks turned to gas.

    Unquote

    Nice to see the paper on that?

  66. Biobob says:

    [i]“Bernie says:
    October 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm
    I do not understand the notion of new and old carbon dioxide.”[/i]

    I believe they are referring to the C12 // C13 ratios — both of these Carbon isotopes are stable and can be differentially taken up by photosynthetic processes. Some scientists use this fact and the observed differential isotope ratios in fossil fuels vs biotic processes to claim that the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 is the result of fossil fuel consumption. This can be considered controversial and IMO it’s overstating our current understanding.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/increasing-atmospheric-co2-manmade%E2%80%A6or-natural/

  67. rational debate says:

    bob says: October 25, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    The runaway warming stopped on Venus, after all the water evaporated and the carbonate rocks turned to gas.

    And there was clearly no atmosphere on the moon and therefor it was utterly impossible for there to be any water there….

    And lets not forget Mars, Mars unquestionably had no water either, and no life (the latter now seems to be up in the air at this point).

    Meanwhile, why has the Earth not gone the way of Venus long long ago, each and every time we came out of an ice age?

    Fascinating news to me to hear from you that we’ve got good, extensive, accurate mineral surveys of the entire surface of Venus, such that we know the status of CO2 entrainment or lack thereof on the planet. Somehow I missed that bit of amazing scientific astronomical space exploration news!

  68. kuhnkat says:

    Rational Debate,

    Can’t vouch for what is in the surface of Venus, but, they have done a pretty good job of showing very little hydroxyl, and therefor little water, in the atmosphere of Venus. Could you explain the mechanism for the surface and below to hold H2O at temperatures in excess of 400C even at the surface pressure that exists on Venus?

  69. kuhnkat says:

    Rational Debate,

    that question goes for compounds of CO2 also.

  70. Randy says:

    These results would seem to indicate why CO2 levels lag behind temperature changes. When the temperature goes us then the ice melts and releases more CO2 but at a certain time after the temperature started to rise. I would also think the reverse would also be true that as temperature goes down the CO2 would lag behind the temperature.

    I wonder if this also might explain the yearly fluctuation in CO2 levels (low in the northern winter and higher in the northern summer)

  71. Malaga View says:

    The other possibility is that the same process occurred in the Northern Hemisphere with ice sheets in the North Pacific Ocean

    What is it with these people… where does their prejudice against the North Atlantic come from… this blatant example of Anti-Atlanticism needs to be addressed… OK I know us poor European cousins can’t afford to give our fish neodymium teeth fillings… but hey… we eat fish in Europe… we don’t send them to the dentist… and besides… I thought the Homer Simpson University of Springfield had this cold beer thingy sorted out long ago… cold beer is best…. pour… drink… belch… QED… and everyone knows that all those empty Duff beer cans drift south to the South Pole when you toss them overboard… just take a cruise to Hawaii if you don’t believe me… Oh! You have… now I understand.

  72. mutantjedi says:

    The R. Gates comment…

    In order for his scenario to work, you have to accept that 1) a little change in atmospheric CO2 can have a large effect on water vapor concentration which has a large effect on temperature, and 2) while not stated directly by R. Gates, when the astronomical or other natural trigger to the initial warming is removed, the absence trigger’s contribution to the warming, while not enough to account for the subsequent warming after the introduction of the trigger, is enough to overpower the positive feedback contribution of the CO2/Water system.

    Yes, it is very much like having your cake and eating it too.

  73. Malaga View says:

    Last weekend I retreated into the countryside to marvel at the wonders of the chestnut season… thus I was sitting in a peaceful valley listening to the sound of chestnuts falling from the trees… the evening air was cool and calm… and as I opened another can I began to wonder about this heavier-than-air CO2 stuff… or more specifically… how come I am not wading knee deep through a cloud of CO2 as it settles out of the cool, calm air… and whether giraffes evolved when CO2 levels were much higher… like above-my-head much higher… and perhaps this is why woman wear high heels… if only all scientific research was this much fun.

  74. rbateman says:

    The Solar Wind is theorized in many astrophysical papers to have classified the early Solar System. The Earth managed to keep it’s tectonic and volcanic mechanisms going to replenish the early scouring from Solar Wind, thanks also in part to a protective magnetic field and a tugging Moon. Mars magnetic field froze up and lost its shield. Venus is another story. But, AGW is the only theory that I know of that makes a trace gas in an atmosphere the master molecule by which temperature is controlled.

  75. kwik says:

    Seems the young ones has discovered old physical laws. So warmer ocean release CO2.
    Good. Hopefully they dont believe more CO2 makes it warmer, which release more CO2. Because then you have an unstable situation.

    Historical data contradicts such an unstable situation.

    We wouldn’t be here if that was the case.

  76. Malaga View says:

    rational debate says:
    October 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Reckon you are onto something here… this Deniers are from Mars, Believers are from Venus debate has been going on for long enough… can we please settle the science once and for all.

  77. Steve B says:

    I think I read somewhere that during the time of the dinosoars, CO2 was several thousand ppm. If that was the case, what is so remarkable about a lousy 380ppm.

  78. Philip Thomas says:

    This is why AGW alarmists are now trying to find a ‘middle ground’ of lower temperature increases but solid CO2=warming ‘science’. Once the ‘science’ is accepted there will be a starters pistol for releasing articles like this promoting new positive feedback concerns, once agin suggetsing high temeperature increases and putting CAGW back on the map.

  79. Paul Loock says:

    To R. Gates :
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm
    Please tell me by what kind of mechanism the death spiral of CO2 and temperature has turned again and again into the opposite direction in history.

  80. Glassman and Segalstadt understand the CO2 oceanic cycle perfectly well… and have therefore been marginalized. It’s so simple. As Akasofu shows, overall warming has been steadily continuing since 1850 or so… so naturally the oceans’ deep outgassing of CO2 lags… and with the inertia, rises very steadily… with local spikes for the differences between summer and winter caused by both vegetation and ocean surfaces… the whole natural flux is vastly bigger than our contribution.

    See my notes and Glassman’s page. His picture should be one of the first icons anyone ever learns if they want to study the CO2 cycle, IMHO.

  81. Joe Lalonde says:

    rbateman says:
    The Earth managed to keep its tectonic and volcanic mechanisms going to replenish the early scouring from Solar Wind.

    This would not be happening thanks to rotation.
    Our planet compressed and stored a vast supply of energy that is constantly being released due to planetary slowdown. If a crust had not formed, centrifugal force would have kept disintergrating this planet, such as how the moon was formed. In pealing a piece of mass off, it rotated opposite to this planet but didn’t have the vast amount of gases stored that our planet has.
    Compressing mass and gases and storing and releasing energy is very easy to show by using a string, a weight and a lightly compressible coil spring.

  82. Caleb says:

    I would like to see a nice, simple calculation of how much more CO2 the ocean would hold if the average temperatures of all the waters dropped .05 degrees. Call it “anti-degassing.”

    Then do a comparison of this calculation with reality. When the sea’s temperatures rise .05 degree, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere should rise X amount, and then decrease by the same X amount when the seas temperatures fall by .05 degree.

    The place where “degassing” and “anti-degassing” would occur is where the atmosphere is in contact with the sea. Therefore SST ought be most important.

    When an El Nino shifts to a La Nina, and a “warm” PDO turns “cold,” and later when the “warm” AMO turns “cold,” some sort of blip ought appear in the Mauna Loa CO2 record.

    I haven’t seen any sign of such blips.

  83. cal says:

    mutantjedi says:
    October 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm
    The R. Gates comment…

    In order for his scenario to work, you have to accept that 1) a little change in atmospheric CO2 can have a large effect on water vapor concentration which has a large effect on temperature, and 2) while not stated directly by R. Gates, when the astronomical or other natural trigger to the initial warming is removed, the absence trigger’s contribution to the warming, while not enough to account for the subsequent warming after the introduction of the trigger, is enough to overpower the positive feedback contribution of the CO2/Water system.

    Yes, it is very much like having your cake and eating it too.

    I would like to go further. All the periods of global warming have occured when CO2 has been low and all the periods of global cooling have occured when CO2 has been high. The logical conclusion is that CO2 has, most likely, a cooling effect!

    However what is most likely is not always true. It is possible that the effect is a warming one but, as the above post points out, it must be small compared with the original astronomical driver. Perhaps more significantly it must also saturate before it reaches around 400 ppm, since it does not lead to continued warming at these levels and, in fact, it was at these levels when each period of rapid global cooling began.

    As far as we know there is no effect that drives cooling on a regular basis so one has to assume that the natural state of the earth is one of ice age. Whatever causes the interglacial period is powerful but transient and we should enjoy it while we can. It would be nice to think that releasing CO2 might help us stave off the inevitable but all the evidence is that any warming effect is too puny to do so.

  84. Jimbo says:

    One wonders how the sea life down there tolerated all that extra carbon resulting in “ocean acidification”.

    Further to this showing increased shell thickness:
    http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=63809&ct=162
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;320/5874/336
    There is also this just out:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11511624

  85. Paul says:

    Does this not present problems for ocean acidification theory?

  86. Janet says:

    docattheautopsy says:
    October 25, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    “… Since we’re all eating carbon, and essentially we get carbon from plants, who get it from atmospheric CO2, we continuously pass carbon through us, so there’s an equilibrium amount of carbon in us, sustained by us eating and passing carbon from our system…”

    I read that and thought: equilibrium … only for adults who never gain weight, surely? And then I thought: we should all have lots of children, and all get as fat as possible, thereby sequestering the evil carbon from the atmosphere by constantly growing … overpopulation and obesity are desirable elements in short term (it only works up to death, obviously) combatting of CO2-driven climate change … can I get a grant to study this?

  87. Jeff says:

    so measuring a rare earth metal in fish teeth tells us how much CO2 was held in the Antarctic Ocean 14,000 years ago … really ???
    Couldn’t they just use some bristlecone pine trees and just make sh*t up like Mann ?
    How is this any different ?
    I call proxy BS on this nonsense …
    This is a guess based on starting with a theory and cherry picking data that supports said theory …
    couldn’t they just go measure the actual CO2 levels under the Antarctic sea ice today ?

    Oh, right … no field work …

  88. Billy Liar says:

    Will Crump says:
    October 25, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Are you allowed to drink at your age?

  89. bob says:

    Grey Lensman, you are such a sceptic,
    here is a couple news releases for papers you may be interested in.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402202055.htm

    http://www.esa.int/esaMI/Venus_Express/SEMGK373R8F_0.html

    But again, radiation emitting from an object increasing with the fourth power of temperature is what leads to stopping of the runaway from the positive feedbacks.

    That’s the work of Max Planck

  90. HaroldW says:

    James Sexton (October 25, 2010 at 4:49 pm):
    “Can someone relate a gton of CO2 to ppm?”

    Here are two back-of-the envelope methods:
    From the IPCC’s AR4, “net [atmospheric] uptake of CO2 of approximately 3.3 GtC [per year]“, where GtC = 1 gigatonne of carbon = 10^9 metric tons. Because a molecule of CO2 contains approx. 12 parts by weight of carbon for every (12 + 2*16)=44 parts total weight, 1 GtC = 3.7 Gt CO2. So 3.3 GtC /yr from IPCC becomes 12 GtCO2 /yr, assuming all of the atmospheric carbon is in the form of CO2 — this ignores methane, for example, but that’s measured in parts per billion rather than parts per million. To convert to ppmv, we can compare the 12 Gt CO2 / yr rate to the change in CO2 concentrations in the Keeling curve, which is about 1.5 ppmv / yr currently.

    As 12 Gt CO2 / yr corresponds to 1.5 ppmv /yr, each Gt CO2 is equivalent to 1/8 ppmv.

    As an alternative method, one can look up the atmospheric weight as 5 x 10^18 kg, or 5 x 10^6 Pg. (1 Pg = 10^15 g is the same as 1 Gt.) So 1 Pg CO2 is about 0.2 ppm by weight. However, the concentrations are typically expressed in ppm by volume (ppmv), so a conversion is necessary. According to the ideal gas law, volume is proportional to number of moles of a gas (holding temperature and pressure constant), so let’s convert to moles. Average atmospheric molecular weight is about (80% x 28 + 20% x 32), using the molecular weights and concentrations for N2 and O2 respectively; this comes out to 28.8. [This is a rather crude approximation, but it will do for the purpose.] By mole ratio, 1 Pg CO2, at a molecular weight of 44, is
    (1 Pg CO2 / 44 g/mole ) / (5×10^6 Pg atm / 28.8 g/mole) = .13 ppm. If CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere, the mole ratio is equal to the ratio by volume; that is, one can replace ppm with ppmv.

  91. Brian W says:

    This Ellen Eckels sure knows how to get mileage out of fish teeth! Apparently in 2006 she has also proved when the Drake passage opened with fish teeth as well! From Underwater times.com news service April 20, 2006 15:42 est “Gainsville, Florida –Ancient fish teeth are yielding clues about when Antarctica became the icy continent it is today, highlighting how ocean currents affect climate change”. Here comes the juicy bit, ” Scientists have long puzzled over the rapid cooling that seemed to sweep over Antarctica more than 30 million years ago, replacing boreal pine forests with ice and snow. The cooling occurred in a very warm era when levels of carbon dioxide, the gas responsible for the greenhouse warming effect, were three to four times today’s levels”. Huh? Say what? So Co2 was between 1140ppm and 1520ppm and there was a “rapid cooling” ? So we can go INTO to an ice age with 1140ppm – 1520ppm in the atmosphere and we now have 380ppm????? But wait this article states That ” The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere during the glacial periods was about 200 parts per million, compared with 280 parts per million during a typical interglacial period, Martin said. Today that level has soared to about 380 parts per million, she said. Notice the use of the word “soared”. The 200ppm IS obviously ridiculous and made up. Such contradictions. This article is nothing but an AGW inspired pseudoscientific mess designed to convince under a cloud of confusion. Pure crap! Its even crap on crap.

  92. Enneagram says:

    Zeke the Sneak says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm
    Magnetite grains were found at the nasal bones, years ago by an English anthropologist, who analyzed hundreds of female and male skulls, finding that men’s facial bones had much more iron than women (That’s women usually give wrong directions :-) )
    As you know, M.Vukcevic has shown the relation between the Z vector of the magnetic field and temperatures:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GeoMagField.gif
    BTW: In Spanish a magnet is called a IMAN (pron.: eemahn), and the Islam tradition tells that there were two Imams guarding the Qubt (the cube or Kahbah), one to the right and one to the left (I wonder if these two guys were called Magnetism and Electricity :-) )

  93. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Chuck says:
    October 25, 2010 at 7:21 pm
    Well done.

    That which was proved is proved.again.

    The Polar Region ice caps and glaciers are the Earth’s freezers.

    Simple! Simple! Simple!. “””

    Well not so simple; Those polar ice caps and glaciers are there BECAUSE it is cold there; they are not the CAUSE of it being cold there; they are the RESULT of it being cold there.

  94. tallbloke says:

    tallbloke says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm
    Interesting. Neodymium is the stuff the Chinese make superstrong magnets from. I wonder if fish use it for navigational purposes.

    Yes that is another kettle of fish. What are all of these magnetic nanocrystals doing in nearly every organism, even those who don’t seem to use any kind of navigation system wrt the geomagnetic field of the earth?
    http://elements.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/5/4/235

    Biomineralization of magnetite crystals has even been found to be occuring in the human brain.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/89/16/7683.abstract
    “elemental analyses identify minerals in the magnetite-maghemite family, with many of the crystal morphologies and structures resembling strongly those precipitated by magnetotactic bacteria and fish. These magnetic and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy measurements imply the presence of a minimum of 5 million single-domain crystals per gram for most tissues in the brain and greater than 100 million crystals per gram for pia and dura.”

    Perhaps “much further research is required to understand fully the origin and function of biomagnetism.”

    Thanks Zeke, more interesting. My dad, who is a pretty level headed octogenarian tells me of the water diviner he used to employ from time to time to find underground pipes during his long career as a water engineer. He says the guy used to get a strong physical reaction when he crossed the pipeline, and from weakening waves of the same reaction as he moved further from it, could also estimate the depth at which it was buried. Dad assures me he was usually right to within 18 inches.

  95. Dave Andrews says:

    Brian W,

    During an ice age the oceans are, by definition, pretty cold and therefore, as the biggest sinks of CO2, they do not outgas it as they do when they are warm.

    Some research suggests there was a ‘CO2 burp’ that helped bring an end to the last ice age because the oceans were starting to warm up.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100527141959.htm

  96. rational debate says:

    re:

    kuhnkat says: October 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm and October 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Rational Debate,

    Can’t vouch for what is in the surface of Venus, but, they have done a pretty good job of showing very little hydroxyl, and therefor little water, in the atmosphere of Venus. Could you explain the mechanism for the surface and below to hold H2O at temperatures in excess of 400C even at the surface pressure that exists on Venus?

    that question goes for compounds of CO2 also.

    kuhnkat, you miss my point entirely, unfortunately – it had nothing to do with water per se. The point is that claims were being made about mechanisms, events, and the physical conditions on Venus that we quite simply have no way to know at this point in time. The point was that all sorts of claims have been made in the past and proven incorrect – with a few quite recent examples of water on the moon and mars. Those were issues that science had ‘settled’ long ago and had been taken as almost without question to be factual and correct, taught in science classes in both high school and college for decades.

    Now, with the AGW fad, Venus’s condition is suddenly ‘runaway global warming’ caused by CO2. I’m dating myself, but there used to be absolutely logical reasonable explanations for Venusian conditions that had nothing to do with CO2 caused global warming. To my knowledge, those explanations still hold and the ‘runaway CO2 global warming’ of Venus isn’t any better explanation – and has some necessary base assumptions that we’ve no way to verify or really know occurred.

  97. rational debate says:

    Malaga View says: October 25, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    rational debate says:
    October 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Reckon you are onto something here… this Deniers are from Mars, Believers are from Venus debate has been going on for long enough… can we please settle the science once and for all.

    ROFLMAO!!! Brilliant. Love it!

  98. Graeme W says:

    I’ve just had a thought. Given this outgassing of CO2 from the Southern Ocean, what would the ‘age’ of this CO2 be?

    As I understand it, the ‘age’ of CO2 has been used to determine the human component of the current CO2 levels. Does this outgassing distort the calculations that were done, since I believe they were largely based on isotope ratios. If the CO2 being released from the Southern Ocean has an ‘abnormal’ isotope ratio, the calculations to derive the human activity CO2 proportion could be wrong.

  99. R. Gates says:

    Paul Deacon, Christchurch, New Zealand says:
    October 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm
    R. Gates says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    This is the common logical falacy that is propagated by many AGW skeptics. Namely that a temperature rise prior to CO2 increases proves that CO2 cannot cause warming. Yes, rises CO2 levels follow temperature increases in many instances in the geological record, but then once the CO2 begins to increase, it functions to extend and amplify the warming. Furthermore, it is glaciation that serves to increase CO2 levels through a slowing of the hydrological cycle. To say that a rise in CO2 can not affect an increase in global temperatures simply because is sometimes lags a rise in temperature is one of the biggest logical fallacies that I see coming from the skeptical community. CO2 can act as a positive feedback to a general warming that may have been initiated through astrononomical (i.e Milankovitch) or other natural cycles.
    **********************************************************************
    R Gates – please point me to one or more periods in the paleo-climate record when you believe that the above positive feedback as described by you caused a catastrophic runaway increase in atmospheric temperatures.

    Thanks.
    _____

    I am not a subscriber to “catastrophic” runaway increases in atmospheric temperatures through AGW…i.e. there is no “C” in front my general agreement with AGW, so I can’t site you any period that such has occurred. Eventually, as the CO2 levels increase to the point that the hydrological cycle is at an extreme end, we would get lots of weathering of rock with lots of CO2 being removed from the atmosphere, and this would naturally bring the system back into balance. One could even imagine this “accleration” of the hydrological cycle would even slow down the antropogenic output of CO2 as well as a curious side effect. But of course, the natural wearing down of rock and “scrubbing” of CO2 from the atmosphere occurs over millions of years, but even that is still a blink of the eye in the billions of years the earth has existed.

    So, while I do, in general believe that humans are impacting the oceans, eco-systems, atmosphere, and other life sustaining systems of the earth in various negative ways, that could lead to some very unfortunate circumstances for humans, sub specie aeternitatis (to use Spinoza out of context), such impacts of humans, and the human race in general are but a brief ghost like phantoms moving across the unimaginably long landscape of earth’s history and life and the earth will always find a way long after we are gone.

  100. Jacob says:

    “To say that a rise in CO2 can not affect an increase in global temperatures simply because is sometimes lags a rise in temperature is one of the biggest logical falacies …”

    I didn’t say “Co2 can not affect an increase in global temperatures…”. Maybe it can. But maybe it didn’t.

    What I was implying is that it is possible that the current increase in CO2 (or part of it) is caused by the warming of the oceans. It’s not all man-made.
    The same about global warming. Since the earth did warm in the past due to other reasons, unrelated to CO2, maybe some of the warming, at least in the last years, is also caused by other factors.

  101. BigWaveDave says:

    FijiDave says:
    October 25, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    “Billions of dollars, quadrillions of man-hours, squadrillions of words, and there is still an argument over whether or not twelve man-made carbon dioxide molecules per one million molecules of air is catastrophically heating the atmosphere?”

    Love the post, but I think you may want to say twelve CO2 molecules per one hundred thousand molecules of air.

    Brian W says:
    October 26, 2010 at 7:29 am

    ” This article is nothing but an AGW inspired pseudoscientific mess designed to convince under a cloud of confusion. Pure crap! Its even crap on crap.”

    In other words, a typical AGW article.

    BWD

  102. Zeke the Sneak says:

    Enneagram says:
    October 26, 2010 at 8:29 am
    Magnetite grains were found at the nasal bones, years ago by an English anthropologist, who analyzed hundreds of female and male skulls, finding that men’s facial bones had much more iron than women (That’s women usually give wrong directions :-) )

    Which, we find, is quite attractive! And its cute how they take so long to get ready too! :-D

  103. Alex the skeptic says:

    R. Gates says:
    October 25, 2010 at 4:39 pm
    This is the common logical falacy that is propagated by many AGW skeptics. Namely that a temperature rise prior to CO2 increases proves that CO2 cannot cause warming.
    _________________________________________________________
    The fallacy is in the theory that CO2 is the cause of the 20th century warming. The major greenhouse gas is water vapour not CO2. It has 95 times the warming effect of CO2 while CO2′s warming effect decreases logarithmitically. Increases of CO2 above the current level would not cause any significant warming.

    If what you theorise is true, then the planet would have had a runaway warming> heating>burning up many millions of years ago. But that never happened and will only happen when the sun decides to blow up in some billions of years in the future.

    The amount of CO2 dissolved in the oceans is 50 times that in the atmosphere. So, if a tiny warming of the oceans due to ANY cause were to release 2% of the oceans’ CO2, this would mean a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 in simplistic terms, but then feedbacks are so complicated.

  104. Zeke the Sneak says:

    @tallbloke says:
    October 26, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Perhaps a telluric current was finding the copper pipes to be a quicker path! :-)

  105. Will Crump says:

    Mr. Watts:

    Doesn’t high school physics show that increasing the atmosphere concentration of CO2 cause an increase in the greenhouse effect?

    You stated:

    “What’s news is that this team confirmed the southern ocean was the main sink then. This finding also points to why CO2 lags temperature in paleoclimate temperature and CO2 reconstructions.”

    This is not the first time a study has been issued on this subject.A May 2010 study, described below, previously identified the southern ocean as a major carbon sink that is capable of producing a “burp” of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    Skinner, L.C., Fallon, S. Waelbroeck, C., Michel, E. and Barker S., ‘Ventilation of the deep Southern Ocean and deglacial CO2 rise’ is published in Science on 27 May 2010.

    Scientists Detect Huge Carbon ‘Burp’ That Helped End Last Ice Age
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100527141959.htm

    Excerpt:
    ScienceDaily (May 28, 2010) — Scientists have found the possible source of a huge carbon dioxide ‘burp’ that happened some 18,000 years ago and which helped to end the last ice age.

    The results provide the first concrete evidence that carbon dioxide (CO2) was more efficiently locked away in the deep ocean during the last ice age, turning the deep sea into a more ‘stagnant’ carbon repository — something scientists have long suspected but lacked data to support.

    According to Dr Skinner: “Our results show that during the last ice age, around 20,000 years ago, carbon dioxide dissolved in the deep water circulating around Antarctica was locked away for much longer than today. If enough of the deep ocean behaved in the same way, this could help to explain how ocean mixing processes lock up more carbon dioxide during glacial periods.”

    But changes in Earth’s orbit could only have acted as the ‘pace-maker of the ice ages’ with help from large, positive feedbacks that turned this solar ‘nudge’ into a significant global energy imbalance.

    Changes in atmospheric CO2 were one of the most important of these positive feedbacks, but what drove these changes in CO2 has remained uncertain.

    Scientists think more CO2 was locked up in the deep ocean during ice ages, and that pulses or ‘burps’ of CO2 from the deep Southern Ocean helped trigger a global thaw every 100,000 years or so. The size of these pulses was roughly equivalent to the change in CO2 experienced since the start of the industrial revolution.

    If this theory is correct, we would expect to see large transfers of carbon from the ocean to the atmosphere at the end of each ice age. ”

    In 2007 the IPCC noted the CO2 lag in FAQ 6.1

    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/faq-6-1.html

  106. FijiDave says:

    BigWaveDave says:
    October 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks your kind comment.

    “Love the post, but I think you may want to say twelve CO2 molecules per one hundred thousand molecules of air.”

    Not wanting to be pedantic, but if there are 390 molecules of CO2 in in 1,000,000 molecules of air in the atmosphere (390 ppmv), and anthropogenic CO2 is 3.2% of that 390 ppmv, then 390*3.2% = 12.45.

    Or, have I, like an old draught horse, got my blinkers on too tight, and not seeing something which I ought?

    Cheers

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