New interpretation of Antarctic ice cores

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Researchers at Alfred Wegener Institute expand prevailing theory on climate history

Climate researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association (AWI) expand a prevalent theory regarding the development of ice ages. In the current issue of the journal Nature three physicists from AWI’s working group “Dynamics of the Palaeoclimate” present new calculations on the connection between natural insolation and long-term changes in global climate activity. Up to now the presumption was that temperature fluctuations in Antarctica, which have been reconstructed for the last million years on the basis of ice cores, were triggered by the global effect of climate changes in the northern hemisphere. The new study shows, however, that major portions of the temperature fluctuations can be explained equally well by local climate changes in the southern hemisphere.

The variations in the Earth’s orbit and the inclination of the Earth have given decisive impetus to the climate changes over the last million years. Serbian mathematician Milutin Milankovitch calculated their influence on the seasonal distribution of insolation back at the beginning of the 20th century and they have been a subject of debate as an astronomic theory of the ice ages since that time. Because land surfaces in particular react sensitively to changes in insolation, whereas the land masses on the Earth are unequally distributed, Milankovitch generally felt insolation changes in the northern hemisphere were of outstanding importance for climate change over long periods of time. His considerations became the prevailing working hypothesis in current climate research as numerous climate reconstructions based on ice cores, marine sediments and other climate archives appear to support it.

AWI scientists Thomas Laepple, Gerrit Lohmann and Martin Werner have analysed again the temperature reconstructions based on ice cores in depth for the now published study. For the first time they took into account that the winter temperature has a greater influence than the summer temperature in the recorded signal in the Antarctic ice cores. If this effect is included in the model calculations, the temperature fluctuations reconstructed from ice cores can also be explained by local climate changes in the southern hemisphere.

Thomas Laepple, who is currently conducting research at Harvard University in the US through a scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, explains the significance of the new findings: “Our results are also interesting because they may lead us out of a scientific dead end.” After all, the question of whether and how climate activity in the northern hemisphere is linked to that in the southern hemisphere is one of the most exciting scientific issues in connection with our understanding of climate change. Thus far many researchers have attempted to explain historical Earth climate data from Antarctica on the basis of Milankovitch’s classic hypothesis. “To date, it hasn’t been possible to plausibly substantiate all aspects of this hypothesis, however,” states Laepple. “Now the game is open again and we can try to gain a better understanding of the long-term physical mechanisms that influence the alternation of ice ages and warm periods.”

“Moreover, we were able to show that not only data from ice cores, but also data from marine sediments display similar shifts in certain seasons. That’s why there are still plenty of issues to discuss regarding further interpretation of palaeoclimate data,” adds Gerrit Lohmann. The AWI physicists emphasise that a combination of high-quality data and models can provide insights into climate change. “Knowledge about times in the distant past helps us to understand the dynamics of the climate. Only in this way will we learn how the Earth’s climate has changed and how sensitively it reacts to changes.”

To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes. Cyclic changes, as those examined in the Nature publication, take place in phases lasting tens of thousand or hundreds of thousands of years. The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years adds to the natural rise in greenhouse gases after the last ice age and is unique for the last million years. How the climate system, including the complex physical and biological feedbacks, will develop in the long run is the subject of current research at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

###

Notes for editorial offices:

Your contacts at the Alfred Wegener Institute are Prof. Gerrit Lohmann (Tel: +49(471)4831-1758; e-mail: Gerrit.Lohmann@awi.de), Dr. Martin Werner,Tel: +49(471)4831-1882; e-mail: Martin.Werner@awi.de) and Dr. Thomas Laepple (Thomas.Laepple@awi.de). Your contact in the Communication and Media Department is Ralf Röchert (Tel: +49 (0)471 4831-1680; e-mail: medien@awi.de).

The original title of the publication to which this press release refers is: Laepple, T., M. Werner, and G. Lohmann, 2011: Synchronicity of Antarctic temperatures and local solar insolation on orbital time scales. It will be published in the magazine Nature on 3 March 2011 (doi:10.1038/nature09825).

You will find printable pictures at: www.awi.de

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and mid latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides major infrastructure to the international scientific community, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the seventeen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

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81 thoughts on “New interpretation of Antarctic ice cores

  1. “models can provide insights into climate change”
    &
    “To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.”

    Knew it was in there somewhere… nothing new here… move along.

  2. I’ve seen more solid evidence from throwing chicken bones than these guys can conjure from their ice cores and sediments …. they are guessing on a grand scale with no true underlying theory …

  3. Why the disclaimer near the end of the article?

    “To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.”

    REPLY: It is what came with the press release, go figure – Anthony

  4. “For the first time they took into account that the winter temperature has a greater influence than the summer temperature in the recorded signal in the Antarctic ice cores. If this effect is included in the model calculations, the temperature fluctuations reconstructed from ice cores can also be explained by local climate changes in the southern hemisphere.”

    Does this simply mean they changed the parameters of the model and got a different result?

  5. “To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.”
    Well,of course it doesn’t. It is a study of ice core records which, of course, do not provide information on the last century.
    So why is it ‘very important for the AWI scientist’s to say this? Simple. If they don’t say this, they don’t get any more research funding – and what could be more important than that?

  6. Thus the Antarctica can be isolated and handed off as “local only”. This is simply great news for the worshippers of AGW since it will eliminate the coldest places on Earth. This elimination will make (surprise!!) the Northern Hemisphere even “hotter” due to the concentration of Western industry and all those billions living north of the equator (think China, India, EU, US, USSR, etc).

    Never forget – the Left plays chess but only plans a strategy that is no more than four plays ahead. They rely on the “public” being perpetual checkers players regarding science. That is when they take time away from the Charlie Sheens and Paris Hiltons.

  7. To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.

    Or in other words: “Please let our paper through and don’t interfere with our grants “

  8. The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years

    .. has since 1750 increased the number of CO2 molecules from three to four per other ten thousand molecules in the air.

    The disclaimer is of big necessity when dealing with ice core data, because GISP2 or Vostok II ice cores show that the natural climate variability is immense and modern era is in no way indistinguishable from it. Except the Hockey stick of course.

  9. That last comment makes it look as if someone has hitched a donkey to the stagecoach at the last minute.
    If the Authors did, they’ve just downgraded their work from interesting to unlikely.

  10. “To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.”

    Interpretation: Please fellas, don’t unleash your fury at us, we really do believe in AGW and wish to be able to continue publishing in prestigeous journals and have our share in the great AGW honey pot. Oh! A special hello to Gavin S and Michael M, we love them and admire their work.

  11. “The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years adds to the natural rise in greenhouse gases after the last ice age and is unique for the last million years. ”

    Yes. And so is Rock music. So what? This will be remebered as “The Carbon Age” unfortunately, and not “The Age of Enlightenment”.

  12. “To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change …..”

    Anthony, maybe if you added this to the end of your paper you would find it easier to get it published. /sarc

  13. Jeff Wiita says: March 3, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Why the disclaimer near the end of the article?

    “To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.”

    By inference they are saying this could be construed as calling into question the causation of “currently observed climate change“, and furthermore something is very important for the AWI scientists.

    What is very important? That is the real question … And they answer it!

    Note it does not say: “it is very important there is no misunderstanding“, it says: “a final point is very important“, and the final point is manmade causation. This means that the important point for the AWI scientists is not avoiding misunderstanding but avoiding calling into question the manmade causation.

  14. FTA: “The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years adds to the natural rise in greenhouse gases after the last ice age and is unique for the last million years.”

    Define drastic. Anthropogenic climate gases vs. Natural climate gases within a few hundred years? Unique? For the last million years? Propaganda, impure belief and no science in the all important disclaimer.

  15. “Juraj V. says:
    March 3, 2011 at 5:44 am
    The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years

    .. has since 1750 increased the number of CO2 molecules from three to four per other ten thousand molecules in the air.

    The disclaimer is of big necessity when dealing with ice core data, because GISP2 or Vostok II ice cores show that the natural climate variability is immense and modern era is in no way indistinguishable from it. Except the Hockey stick of course.”

    That’s because in Hockey, the blade of the stick is where the ice stops and the wood begins.

    (I’m a quote of the week machine!)

    Maybe the whole AGW thing is why hockey sticks are made from pure carbon now.

  16. Trying to be too clever here just got them busted. Oh we can debate paleoclimate ice cores all day but all the recent AGW data is rock solid and irrefutable. How stupid do they think we are?

  17. Trying to be too clever here just got them busted. Oh we can debate paleoclimate ice cores all day but all the recent AGW data is rock solid and irrefutable. How stupid do they think we are? OK, tin foil hat back on.

  18. John Brookes says:
    March 3, 2011 at 6:05 am

    “Bit cynical here, aren’t we?”

    Gee, I wonder why?
    /sarc

    BTW Anthony, mods and fellow WUWT addicts: INGSOC is dead. I will henceforth use TrueNorthist for all my posting. I was using a couple of different names for different sites and that was confusing if not misleading.

    Cheers!
    Dave

  19. A new partyline publication!

    All publications had to end with a confirmation of ideology in case anyone happened to doubt that the message partly included “contra revolutionary” statements or conclusions.

    Slava slava Sovjetski kommunism “Long live the partyline!”

  20. To avoid misunderstandings… The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes… The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years … is unique for the last million years.

    All this goes back to defending the methodology of the ice core CO2 measurements (in which CO2 is supposedly not lost) which still leads to the second infamous Hockey Stick, the Ice Hockey Stick, and which on the grounds of shape alone, to say nothing of methodology, I regard as suspicious and long, long overdue for audit.

    Once again, read Jaworowski. My strong feeling is that here is another example of good science being lost to bad in recent times – cf Lamb’s climate science to that of his successors Wigley and Jones, bent to alarmism and trapped by the IPCC.

  21. If climate change scientists had practiced accepted standards of honesty and morality by their actions there would be no question of integrity.

    The disclaimer is, let us not have any misunderstanding. Witness good science having to beg off on their research by making it clear they support man made climate change theory.

    The highest form of political corruption is to use tax dollars to promote a political agenda that always involves tax payer money.

  22. spectacular

    UAH
    Delta (2010 05 – 2011 02) = + 1,056ºC
    The presumed change in 150 years that occurred in a few months.

    For the first time they took into account that the winter temperature has a greater influence than the summer temperature in the recorded signal in the Antarctic ice cores.
    or

    For the first time they took into account that the summer temperature has a greater influence than the winter temperature in the recorded signal in the in tree rings.

    Any Resemblance is Purely Coincidental.
    National Hockey League (NHL)

  23. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.
    ===============================================
    hostile reviewer

  24. “For the first time they took into account that the winter temperature has a greater influence than the summer temperature in the recorded signal in the Antarctic ice cores. If this effect is included in the model calculations, the temperature fluctuations reconstructed from ice cores can also be explained by local climate changes in the southern hemisphere.”

    For the FIRST time? LOL

  25. The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years adds to the natural rise in greenhouse gases after the last ice age and is unique for the last million years.

    One adjective and one adverb too many for a scientific statement. Just more BS to try to rewrite history.

    One good point raised is that the SH may have local climactic events like the NH. /sarc

  26. “The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.”

    Not so fast. This disclaimer, now as common as the Miranda warning, is not quite right. The “book” ice age scenario, as promoted largely by the well funded Scripps gang, says that the reason for the lag between CO2 and temperature at the onset of glaciations and interglaciations is driven by the Milenkovich cycle driven changes in the North. This says all bets are off.

  27. Hmm…..so, reconstructed temps may not be a proxy for world temps……….of which much of CAGW/CC theory hinges upon………but this doesn’t refute that………..????? uhmm….

  28. Shortly after Galileo’s revolutionary claims regarding empirical evidence of the blasphemous motions of the planets and their satellites, other researchers were in a quandary. It was difficult to report factually accurate data without challenging the established orthodoxy. The facts and the theory were so disparate that to support one would make it hard not to be seen as denying the other. OTOH, supporting orthodoxy meant denying empirically verifiable facts. The result was a matter-of-fact reporting style for data that avoided theoretical implications, and lip service to the established position. Only the widespread Protestant denial of Papal authority allowed unorthodox theoretical developments to flourish.
    History does repeat itself. This time the IPCC is cast in the role of the Pope.

  29. These standard AGW disclaimers are scientifically embarrassing. What is wrong with these people? Since when do peer reviewed papers, directly tell us, what something doesn’t mean?! Is that something like an anti-conclusion?? I must have skipped that paragraph inside the scientific method. These people declare themselves as “non-scientists with science degrees”, with such statements. STOP IT! GK

  30. “The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.”

    Of course it call it into question otherwise why mention it? Does the disclaimer have anything to do with getting past peer review? Continued funding perhaps?

  31. I didn’t read all the comments so I apologize if someone already pointed this out.

    For the first time they took into account that the winter temperature has a greater influence than the summer temperature in the recorded signal in the Antarctic ice cores. If this effect is included in the model calculations, the temperature fluctuations reconstructed from ice cores can also be explained by local climate changes in the southern hemisphere.

    For the first time they took into account…? Where do they think the ice came from if not from snow pack? Of course “winter temperature has a greater influence than the summer temperature in the recorded signal”, its Ice.

    You just can’t make this “stuff” up!

    Does this simply mean they changed the parameters of the model and got a different result?

  32. The disclaimer at the end is simple. Any time they discover something new, or correct something old, or expand a theory, or refine a theory, they know with certainty
    that somebody will say ” new interpretation of Ice core? does that mean C02 doesnt cause warming?” and other stupid non sequitors. They know they are going to get a flurry of uniformed cites of their press release that try to spin it into an AGW-is-wrong story. So these disclaimers are being put in to prevent that.

    Personally if I had to deal with some of the ways both sides misuse press releases, I’d put these kind of disclaimers in

  33. Tom in Florida says:
    March 3, 2011 at 5:13 am
    “For the first time they took into account that the winter temperature has a greater influence than the summer temperature in the recorded signal in the Antarctic ice cores. If this effect is included in the model calculations, the temperature fluctuations reconstructed from ice cores can also be explained by local climate changes in the southern hemisphere.”

    Does this simply mean they changed the parameters of the model and got a different result?
    ==========
    I pulled the quote, from Tom in Florida says: March 3, 2011 at 5:13 am and inadvertently left his question in the post.

    Interesting question but the issue of glacial ice formation and the validity of the Ice Core and subsequent model “assumptions” are, IMO, the real question.

  34. TO ENSURE THE GRANT MACHINE KEEPS PROVIDING AND PLACATE THE AGW WARMISTS.
    They never change do they!

    To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes. Cyclic changes, as those examined in the Nature publication, take place in phases lasting tens of thousand or hundreds of thousands of years. The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years adds to the natural rise in greenhouse gases after the last ice age and is unique for the last million years.

  35. #
    #
    James Sexton says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:57 am

    Hmm…..so, reconstructed temps may not be a proxy for world temps……….of which much of CAGW/CC theory hinges upon………but this doesn’t refute that………..????? uhmm….

    #########
    AGW theory doesnt rest or hinge on reconstructed temps.
    It rests on the theory of tyndall gases.
    That theory holds that increasing tyndall gases in the atmosphere will increase
    temperatures.

    The unanswered question for this theory is HOW MUCH warmer and what
    kind of benefit or damage will that warming cause.

    Lets be clear on that because most proponents of AGW dont even say
    what is core to their theory. The core element is tyndall gas theory. The
    unexplored element of that theory is how MUCH will the globe warm.
    when and where.

    A first order estimation of the warming is 1.2C per doubling of C02. This first order estimation assumes that everything else remains constant: constant insolation, all other forcings stay the same, no feedbacks. But we know other things dont remain
    constant.

    To get a HANDLE on what happens when other things change you have these
    two options:
    1. Look at the past
    2. project the future.

    By looking at the past the hope is to get a sense of how important the tyndall gas effect is relative to other changing forcings. So paleo gives you a range of estimates
    for the sensitivity. By looking at observations you can also get a range.
    By constructing models of the climate and projecting the future you can also get a sense of the importance of tyndal gases and other effects.

    So, paleo and projections are not really key to the fundamental core of AGW.
    They are more central to CAGW scare. But if you look at the real theory, which is
    the tyndal gas theory ( more GHG = more warming) then you’ll understand better.

  36. Karst, Haynie;
    “freezing and thawing of sea ice is the factor that causes the observed seasonal variation in carbon dioxide concentrations.” (Slide 15)

    Finally! A potent reason to track sea ice!

  37. A year or two ago I posted on WUWT asking if anyone knew why Milankovitch believed that the cycles were linked to the insolation in the Northern Hemisphere because I felt it should be linked to the Southern. No one responded. Now this paper states that Milankovitch believed this because the land responds more dynamically than the sea. I find this intriguing since this was my logic for believing the reverse!

    My logic was that the earth has a built in negative feedback due to the fourth power radiation law. To a first approximation it means that to induce the +/- 2% temperature change of a typical ice age and subsequent interglacial one needs a +/- 8% insolation change. Since no one was suggesting that the Milankovitch cycles induced a power change of this magnitude one had to look for some sort of intergration of the cooling and warming effects where this could take place without the surface warming or cooling.

    There was a plausible explanation for the cooling cycle already since the covering of the land with ice would increase the albedo and thus reduce the effective insolation. However the problem with this scenario is that the start of the interglacial is characterised by the fastest rate of warming over the whole 100,000 year cycle. If the ice albedo was such a powerful influence how did the effect not stop the rapid warming when it was at it maximum impact? Even more importantly the melting of ice requires a huge amount of energy. If the ice is over land pretty well all this has to come from insolation changes at the time the melting takes place. This compounded the problem about where the energy was coming from.

    However over the sea (which is dominant in the Southern Hemisphere ) there is the potential for a lot of energy build up. If the ice projects over the sea (as it does now) it is effectively insulating the sea from radiating to space. Thus as the insolation in the tropics increases the energy is moved away by evaporation and subsequent snow due the high winds that would accompany a big temperature difference between the tropics and the poles. Energy is also moved via the sea currents which would flow under the ice and melt it from below. Thus in this case the tropical energy would be dissapated in the latent heat of fusion of ice and latent heat of water vapour although some amount of these latent heats would be released when the snow forms. The key thing is that the temperature at the tropics and the poles would not fully reflect the change in insolation and so the normal increase in radiation that would accompany a rising land temperature would not happen.

    In my model this might carry on for perhaps a thousand years until the sea ice becomes thin enough for it to vanish during the summer. Then there would be a dramatic change. The sea, now exposed, would be relatively warm and the tropics would no longer be swept by such strong winds as the climate becomes more equable and with less condensation at the poles we might expect an increased humidity (and consequent greenhouse warming) but perhaps not so much as to induce a lot of cloud cover. Thus a dramatic rise in temperature on the land might be expected.

    Of course it is all conjecture but now I know Milankovitch was guessing also I do not feel so bad about it!

  38. steven mosher says:
    March 3, 2011 at 10:36 am

    . . .

    So, paleo and projections are not really key to the fundamental core of AGW.
    They are more central to CAGW scare. But if you look at the real theory, which is
    the tyndal gas theory ( more GHG = more warming) then you’ll understand better.

    ======
    Your comments are always a great read.

    Here’s the problem with the tyndal gas theory. Though its a reasonable conclusion from Lab experiments, its relationship/impact on the climate system is poorly understood. Its poorly understood because the climate system is poorly defined.

    The theory doesn’t support current observation. We have satellites in space quantifying regional concentrations of CO2, water vapor, and temperature [ etc.] yet the regional temperature comparisons to CO2 concentrations do not reflect regional warming. If they did then the theory would hold so we’re logically left with natural causes.

    If the theory is valid beyond the Lab, where is the evidence of CO2 impact today?

  39. With regard to the disclaimer:

    “The drastic emission of anthropogenic climate gases within a few hundred years adds to the natural rise in greenhouse gases after the last ice age and is unique for the last million years.”

    Note the cherrypicking of “unique for the last million years”. This allows them to conveniently overlook the Miocene Epoch (~23 to 5 million years ago) during which CO2 was much higher than it currently is. How DID the world survive?

  40. Brian H said on New interpretation of Antarctic ice cores
    March 3, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Brian,

    When you turn on the faucet (at the equator) and stopper the sink drain (in the Arctic) we should expect the level in the sink to rise. Unplug it and the level goes down.

  41. Fred;
    Marvelous document…
    Edit notes: (your email is a deep milsec secret, so I’ll post them here)

    increasing it’s density [its]
    sequester(er)
    were water freezes [where]
    does not contributed significantly [contribute]
    rises that cause it’s emission [its]

    You’re searching still for peer reviews, I gather. Maybe Freeman Dyson would oblige; he’s a bio-cycle advocate, so would give your thesis a good going-over. Failing that, there are probably contacts/people at SEPP who could help. (sepp.org, when it recovers from reconstruction). Also sppiblog.org, and thegwpf.org.

  42. That final paragraph can be replaced with a one-word statement more fitting to the AGW dogma: Amen.

  43. cal says: (March 3, 2011 at 11:04 am)”However the problem with this scenario is that the start of the interglacial is characterised by the fastest rate of warming over the whole 100,000 year cycle. If the ice albedo was such a powerful influence how did the effect not stop the rapid warming when it was at it maximum impact? Even more importantly the melting of ice requires a huge amount of energy. If the ice is over land pretty well all this has to come from insolation changes at the time the melting takes place. This compounded the problem about where the energy was coming from.”

    Remember that 12,000 years ago earth’s axis tilt was moving towards the max of 24.5 degrees and NH summer solstice was approaching perihelion. The combination of those conditions would be the trigger that began the melting of the great ice sheets.

  44. Slabadang says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:12 am

    A new partyline publication!

    All publications had to end with a confirmation of ideology in case anyone happened to doubt that the message partly included “contra revolutionary” statements or conclusions.

    Slava slava Sovjetski kommunism “Long live the partyline!”

    That’s exactly what the last paragraph reminded me of: An acknowledgement of the superiority of communist dogma was required somewhere in any published research in East Germany. Faithful scientists incorporated this affirmation of the party line creatively in the main text, preferably properly embedded with relevant connections established to the subject of study. Well, and if one couldn’t be bothered or got too carried away just researching, one’s boss would point out that it was missing and needed to be included if one wanted to enjoy a successful career.

    Given the vitriol heaped on anyone straying from the partyline, that such a Post Scriptum should be seen as necessary for mainstream researchers working in any climate related field today is not at all surprising. By itself, that paragraph does not allow one to draw conclusions on whether the authors are fervent believers or not, and it also does not automatically devalue the findings in the paper at all, in my view.

    Especially since these findings challenge an important and long established theory of large scale climate change.

  45. The disclaimer seems to be a product of the press release, as ever. A quick perusal of the paper does not find anything along these lines.

    One wonders why the authors of such papers put up with the spin from their institutes PR departments.

  46. Lucy Skywalker says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Once again, read Jaworowski. My strong feeling is that here is another example of good science being lost to bad in recent times.

    Fred H. Haynie says:
    March 3, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Splicing the CO2 ice core data with present day measurements produces a great hockey stick. http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf.

    Fred and Lucy,

    Even without any present day splicing, the ice core CO2 shows a nice hockeystick over the past centuries. A real one, based on real measurements, not an imaginary one, based on proxies:

    The ice cores used have quite different temperature profiles and accumulation rates, the fastest ones (2 out of 3 Law Dome cores) have a resolution of about 8 years and the core was completely above the clathrate formation level for CO2. Despite that, CO2 levels are about the same for the same average gas age for all cores.
    But the Law Dome ice cores also have a 20 years (1958-1978) overlap with the South Pole atmospheric measurements:

    A similar (opposite) HS can be seen in the direct measurements of calcite layers in coralline sponges:

    Again a HS based on real measurements, real data.

    I have read and commented on what Jaworowski says:

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

    If anyone can explain me that cracks in the ice core can lead to lower (180-300 ppmv) CO2 levels at measuring time, while the outside air is at 390 ppmv, I am very interested.

    BTW Fred, any CO2 clathrate left in the ice core would decompose, even explosively, under the vacuum applied during the measurements. Further, an alternative method used is by sublimating everything under vacuum and selectively freezing the different compounds out cryogenically. How much clathrates will be left with that method?

    The biggest impossiblility that Jaworowski shows, while accusing Neftel of fraud, is that he doesn’t seems to know that there is a difference between ice age and enclosed gas age. He simply takes the wrong column (ice age instead of gas age) in the table of Neftel. This kind of mistake is impossible for an ice researcher.

    Thus sorry, I can’t take anything that Jaworowski said seriously. Moreover, his objections were from 1992 and before. Nothing new since then. All of his objections were already rejected by the work of Etheridge e.a. in 1996.

  47. Fred H. Haynie says:
    March 3, 2011 at 11:30 am

    When you turn on the faucet (at the equator) and stopper the sink drain (in the Arctic) we should expect the level in the sink to rise. Unplug it and the level goes down.

    Except that the d13C level shows that it isn’t the oceans: the d13C levels should go up with more CO2 from the oceans, but we see a huge drop in d13C level together with the CO2 increase in winter, thus the source is vegetation decay. In summer we see the reverse: a sharp decline in CO2 when leaves start to grow in the mid-latitudes, while d13C levels increase.

  48. Ferdinand Engelbeen said on New interpretation of Antarctic ice cores
    March 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Ferdinand,

    There is a linear inverse relationship between the atmospheric amount of CO2 and the the isotope depletion data. This is the result of how the index is calculated. If you assume that CO2 from inorganic sources has an index of the PDB standard and CO2 from organic origin has the graphite standard, you can calculate the fractions of each type in the atmosphere. I have done this and the organic fraction is around one third of the total. Of that fraction, most comes from the decay of organic matter, and most of that comes from the ocean. Study my presentation http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf with an open and objective mind.

  49. The Antarctic ice core temperature data matches (or let’s say an explanation can be made for why it partially matches) the northern hemisphere Milankovitch Cycles. They do not match the southern hemisphere cycles at all which have different timing.

    Hence, the need to invoke “winter temperatures” in the new explanation. Winter temperatures at the south pole would be close to -70C in the ice ages. I don’t think -60C versus -70C is going to make much difference.

    But a funny thing happens in the Milankovitch Cycles that is not really mentioned very often. Solar insolation in the winter is actually higher than today in the ice ages so winter temperatures are not as affected as summer temperatures (as long as the location is not on top of a mile of ice). South Texas might have been about the same temperature as today during the winter in the ice ages but cooler in the summer.

    The sea ice around Antarctica greatly expanded versus today in the ice ages. At 45S, temperatures would have similar to today in the winter but much cooler in the summer. The ice just did not melt whereas it does today. So, a simple thing such as the axial tilt (which has the same impact in the north as in the south) could explain why Antarctica matches the northern (axial tilt dominated) Milankovitch Cycles.

    Having said that, it appears the Antarctic ice cores are mostly leading the changes that occur in the ice ages. We don’t have really good resolution estimates for the north so it could actually be the other way around.

    I read the supplementary to the paper and the authors have really crunched all the numbers here so their explanation could be right.

  50. It is important not to get too hung up on their final parting words of conventional “wisdom”.

    There are several interesting points coming out of this research:
    Firstly that we do not live in a global climate, but rather in two, only partly connected hemispherical climates (possible in reality in a number of poorly connected local climates, but that is outside their study).

    Secondly, the importance of considering maximum and minimum termperatures seperately.
    At the poles, the winter is most important.
    In the eastern half of temperate Australia, I have found that the maximum temperatures are more important than minumums when you are trying to establish trends.
    In Sydney, the actual seasonal and monthly maximum trends can tell you most about the climate and how the measured temperature is driven by very, very local UHI effects. Remove the UHI and there is no trend since 1866.

    So there’s much to think about in this paper, as long as you eliminate the last few lines which contain the obligitory poem to the pagan AGW god.

  51. Just more yellow journalism. Google yellow journalism to learn more.

    The future can not be foretold, even with a modern crystal ball (a monitor with a computer model running).

  52. “Our results are also interesting because they may lead us out of a scientific dead end.” “Now the game is open again and we can try to gain a better understanding [...]”

    Refreshing.

  53. Tom in Florida says:
    March 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm
    (ref:cal says: (March 3, 2011 at 11:04 am))
    Remember that 12,000 years ago earth’s axis tilt was moving towards the max of 24.5 degrees and NH summer solstice was approaching perihelion. The combination of those conditions would be the trigger that began the melting of the great ice sheets.

    Of course the changes in the tilt and obliquity etc. cause the change in insolation that increases the energy reaching the earth. My point is that the variation in energy does not seem to be enough to account for the temperature excursion. This was always the cry from the AGWers who originally tried to play down the importance of the Milankovitch cycles and, instead focus on the “positive feedback” due to the related CO2 release amplifying the effect. That of course ignoring the facts 1) the rapid warming was actually taking place when the CO2 was at a minimum 2) CO2 only increased after the temperature rise 3) The temperature rise stopped abrubtly while the CO2 was at its maximum. This clearly was not the answer.
    When you see this sort of oscillation one looks for a driven resonant circuit with high capacitance and that is what I was suggesting. My argument is also that the maximum air temperature may well coincide with the maximum insolation in the North because that is when the highest proportion of the insolation will be retained by the land and air. However my conjucture is that the greatest accumulation of energy might well occur in the Southern ocean in the period preceding this.

  54. Fred H. Haynie says:
    March 3, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Of that fraction, most comes from the decay of organic matter, and most of that comes from the ocean. Study my presentation http://www.kidswincom.net/climate.pdf with an open and objective mind.

    The overall decline of d13C is about 1/3rd of what is expected from the addition of humans burning fossil fuels (at -24 per mil VPDB) over the past 160 years (and beyond). But while the difference is caused mainly by deep ocean CO2, the latter can’t be additional, as that would lead to an increase of CO2 three times higher than from human induced CO2 alone. In reality, the increase of total CO2 is only halve the human addition, thus the smaller reduction of d13C than expected is from deep ocean throughput over the seasons (back and forth, not one-way). One can calculate the deep oceans throughput (at near zero per mil d13C), based on the d13C differences (ocean surface and vegetation have far less influence on d13C levels):

    For intra annual changes, it is quite clear that land vegetation is responsible for the rapid increase and decrease of CO2 over the seasons, as the d13C drop and rise shows, especially over the NH, where far more land resides. For the multi-annual increase, humans are to blame…

    And yes, I have read your work with an open and objective mind, as I always do with one’s work. I have a lot of remarks on your work, but this is not the place to do that. Only about the ice cores, which is important here: you are too much influenced by Jaoworowski, who’s remarks simply don’t hold, even are physically impossible.

  55. This nonsense disturbed my equilibrium, they say that the antarctic ice cores are the result of southern hemisphere weather and not the result of the climate from the northern hemisphere. Who would imagine that this could be possible, the planet that these people are from must have a two dimensional one sided climate conveyor system and they are totally surprised by this finding. I have been under the impression that when it is cold in the north it is warmer in the south and vise versa, so now they want a grant to prove this. The mandatory mention of the AGW is man made is a plea for more money. Science is meant to be above this [snip . . nonsense?].

  56. Ferdinand,

    Give me a logical reason why there is a divergence between using CO2 as a temperature proxy and isotope depletion as a temperature proxie begining around 6000 years ago; and why the CO2 proxie produces unrealistic temperatures in the last century.

    Tell my why the most seasonal variation in CO2 is observed in the arctic where their are few trees and practically no seasonal variation around the equator where there are rain forests.

  57. Fred H. Haynie says:
    March 4, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Give me a logical reason why there is a divergence between using CO2 as a temperature proxy and isotope depletion as a temperature proxie begining around 6000 years ago; and why the CO2 proxie produces unrealistic temperatures in the last century.

    I shouldn’t use CO2 as a temperatur proxy at all, as there are better ones (d2H and d18O) and d13C as a temperature proxy doesn’t sound that reliable to me too. There was a quite stable ratio between temperature proxies and CO2 levels over the past 800,000 years (CO2 always lagging temperature), but that doesn’t hold anymore since humans started to emit CO2 from fossil fuels.

    Tell my why the most seasonal variation in CO2 is observed in the arctic where their are few trees and practically no seasonal variation around the equator where there are rain forests.

    An even larger seasonal variation is found in mid-latitudes, but as these variations are over land, these are not used for “background” CO2 levels. See e.g. Schauinsland, mid the Black Forest in Southern Germany at 1,000 m high:

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/uba/uba-sc.html

    and compare that to the variability in e.g. Alert (NW Territories, Canada):

    In the mid-latitude background stations and surely at 3,400 m height (Mauna Loa), the amplitude is lower, because the regional seasonal effect is already diluted by the air masses over the oceans. The polar stations receive air directly from the mid-latitudes by the Ferrel cells:

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

    The tropics show little variation, as there is not such a big variation in temperature causing complete defoliage of a lot of trees in fall and fast regrowth in spring. But look at the seasonal changes in oxygen and compare that to the seasonal change in total CO2 in Barrow:
    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdfThe O2 levels go up when CO2 levels go down. The same for d13C levels and CO2 levels:

    http://www.barrettbellamyclimate.com/page34.htm

    This makes it clear that seasonal changes in CO2 levels are caused by vegetation, not by the oceans (via ice cover or temperature).

  58. cal says: (March 4, 2011 at 1:00 am)
    “Of course the changes in the tilt and obliquity etc. cause the change in insolation that increases the energy reaching the earth. My point is that the variation in energy does not seem to be enough to account for the temperature excursion..”

    My point was simply that when the NH ice sheets disappeared those were these conditions: 12,000 years ago earth’s axis tilt was moving towards the max of 24.5 degrees and NH summer solstice was approaching perihelion. However the current eccentricity is low and that would possibly extend the interglacial a few thousand years.

  59. “In fact, it turns out that these large year-to-year fluctuations in the rate of atmospheric accumulation are tied to temperature changes, which are in turn due mostly to El Nino, La Nina, and volcanic eruptions. And as shown in the next figure, the CO2 changes tend to follow the temperature changes, by an average of 9 months. This is opposite to the direction of causation presumed to be occurring with manmade global warming, where increasing CO2 is followed by warming.”

    This according to Dr Roy Spencer. The entire article and supporting graphs of EMPIRICAL evidence can be found here…

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

    Dr Spencer wrote this 2 years ago and ends with this simple statement, “If an expert in this subject sees a major mistake I’ve made in the above analysis, e-mail me and I’ll post an update, so that we might all better understand this issue.”

    There have been no updates, feel free to contact Dr Spencer if you disagree.

  60. Gator says:
    March 4, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Dr Spencer wrote this 2 years ago and ends with this simple statement, “If an expert in this subject sees a major mistake I’ve made in the above analysis, e-mail me and I’ll post an update, so that we might all better understand this issue.”

    There have been no updates, feel free to contact Dr Spencer if you disagree.

    There was a reaction by me, and Dr. Spencer nicely published it the next day, together with his comment:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/the-origin-of-increasing-atmospheric-co2-a-response-from-ferdinand-engelbeen/

    The main problem with Dr. Spencer’s interpretation is that he looks at the CO2 increase rate (the variability around the trend), which is highly dependent on temperature with some lag, but that doesn’t say anything about the cause of the trend itself, which is (near) completely caused by human emissions…

  61. Hey Ferdinand! I said if you find a fault, take it up with the good Dr. You claim to know it all, now go tell Dr Spencer where he has gone so terribly wrong. He has asked for this very input, now get going. Don’t sit there arguing with me, this was not my article. I gave you the link, now man up. Geesh!

  62. Ferdinand,

    I agree that CO2 is not a good proxie for temperature, but that is what CAGW is all about, climate sensitivity. The divergence shows that it is not a good proxie. Are you trying to say that climate sensitivity is greater or lesser to anthropogenic sources than natural sources?

    There is no significant longitude effect on background levels of CO2. At the same latitude and season, the concentrations are the same over land and over sea. There is a lot more sea doing it’s thing than trees in the mid latitudes doing their thing.

  63. Gator says:
    March 4, 2011 at 8:23 am

    You wrote:
    There have been no updates, feel free to contact Dr Spencer if you disagree.

    Which was what I have done. There is not a formal “update” by Dr. Spencer, but he published my comment, without any comment on the fact that he used the increase rate, not the increase itself. Does that mean that he agrees with my comment? I don’t know, but you can’t say that there was no update, if there was an immediate reaction without rebuttal…

  64. Hey Ferdinand! I read your letter and Dr Spencer’s comments. Apparently he does not agree with your assertion and has not felt it necessary to update his piece. I also do not buy your arguments, they fly in the face of my training, and logic. But feel free to try and get an update from Dr Spencer, you will get none from me.

  65. “To avoid misunderstandings, a final point is very important for the AWI scientists. The new study does not call into question that the currently observed climate change has, for the most part, anthropogenic causes.”

    Why? Do they call women’s right to vote into question? I guess not, because, if not for a better reason, the topic of their study has nothing to do with it. But, but

    But then why don’t they say so clear and firm? Is it not important for AWI scientists? Just to avoid misunderstandings (and politically correct accusations like “male chauvinist pigs” of course). Why are they so sure women don’t have a say in their funding?

    /And now… sarc off

  66. Fred H. Haynie says:
    March 4, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I agree that CO2 is not a good proxie for temperature, but that is what CAGW is all about, climate sensitivity. The divergence shows that it is not a good proxie. Are you trying to say that climate sensitivity is greater or lesser to anthropogenic sources than natural sources?

    A little careful with the definitions, please. CAGW is about climate sensitivity for CO2, not about CO2 as proxy for temperature. That is only possible if CO2 was the only driver. But I agree that the sensitivity is not large and probably overwhelmed by natural variability.

    There is no significant longitude effect on background levels of CO2. At the same latitude and season, the concentrations are the same over land and over sea. There is a lot more sea doing it’s thing than trees in the mid latitudes doing their thing.

    Indeed, the seasonal variations differ more with latitude and altitude, the latter is visible here:

    A large part of the ocean CO2 releases and sinks is not seasonal at all: constantly emitting at the Pacific Equator (upwelling of deep ocean water by the THC), constantly absorbing in the NE Atlantic at the THC sink place. See the winter/summer dpCO2 over the oceans at:

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

    Thus, indeed the seasonal variation of the oceans is mainly in the mid-latitudes. That means that the emissions from the oceans and the absorption by the biosphere in summer have their highest countercurrent action, but clearly vegetation wins, as total CO2 sinks and d13C/O2 increases.

  67. Ferdinand,

    The rates of sources and sinks is not constant any where on earth. As Spencer and I have shown you. Those rates are always changing with changing skin surface temperatures. The changes in the Arctic sink are great and that is what is mostly changing the CO2 concentrations, not trees. Also consider the effects of water absorption and evaporation on the fractionation of C12/C13.

  68. Fred H. Haynie says:
    March 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    The rates of sources and sinks is not constant any where on earth. As Spencer and I have shown you. Those rates are always changing with changing skin surface temperatures. The changes in the Arctic sink are great and that is what is mostly changing the CO2 concentrations, not trees. Also consider the effects of water absorption and evaporation on the fractionation of C12/C13.

    If you look at the Feely charts in the previous comment, you will see that the Arctic shows less deep negative pCO2 area, but near all NH mid-latitude oceans are negative. Thus most of the NH oceans are absorbing far more CO2 in winter, at the moment that average CO2 levels increase. The opposite happens in summer.

    The d13C fractionation by releasing and absorbing CO2 in the oceans gives a drop of about 8 per mil d13C. For average ocean surface waters at ~+1 to +2 per mil, the ocean-air equilibrium would be around -6.5 per mil. That is the pre-industrial equilibrium found in ice cores. The current atmosphere is at -8 per mil. Any extra addition of CO2 from the oceans would slightly increase the per mil of the atmosphere. But during the summer we see a huge increase in d13C and a huge decrease in winter. That can’t be caused by the oceans, as the change is too large.

    Based on oxygen balance, we have a good insight how much CO2 is released and taken away by vegetation over the seasons. That fits the CO2 and d13C balance quite well, the difference being what the oceans do. So the seasonal variations are dominated by vegetation (or why should the SH show less seasonal variation, if sea ice was the cause?), while the long term trend is dominated by fossil fuel emissions, as oceans and vegetation both act as sinks.

  69. Well let me see here; if I have a billion dollars to do climate research; hey make that ten billion, and I can use some of that money to put up a replacement CO2 satellite; or a sulphuric acid satellite or maybe both; and we already built those so we just have to make a copy; no reseach required.

    Or I could spend the money hiring people to dig in the mud, or bore holes in the ice in Antarctica; and I now know that these researches don’t have anything whatsoever to do with Man Made Catastrophic Climate Disruption due to anthopogenic GHGs, or man made GHGs either; so ‘splain me; why am I going to pay money to continue these studies that simply refute what some old nutcake wrote over a century ago, that we now know was rubbish.

    I should pull the plug on this research and get all those folks out of Antarctica, so the Emperor Penguins don’t get hog tied so the leopard seals can catch them.

    So do I need the sulphuric acid satellite or the CO2 one. Izzere someone other than those goofballs, who can’t undo a cone fairing, that we could get to launch the satellite for us; maybe the Russians; after all, Sputnik didn’t crash into the ocean. Yes I think some budget readjustments are in order.

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