Happer on The Truth About Greenhouse Gases

The dubious science of the climate crusaders.

The object of the Author in the following pages has been to collect the most remarkable instances of those moral epidemics which have been excited, sometimes by one cause and sometimes by another, and to show how easily the masses have been led astray, and how imitative and gregarious men are, even in their infatuations and crimes,” wrote Charles Mackay in the preface to the first edition of his Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. I want to discuss a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. The “climate crusade” is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types—even children’s crusades—all based on contested science and dubious claims.

I am a strong supporter of a clean environment. We need to be vigilant to keep our land, air, and waters free of real pollution, particulates, heavy metals, and pathogens, but carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is not one of these pollutants. Carbon is the stuff of life. Our bodies are made of carbon. A normal human exhales around 1 kg of CO2 (the simplest chemically stable molecule of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere) per day. Before the industrial period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 270 ppm. At the present time, the concentration is about 390 ppm, 0.039 percent of all atmospheric molecules and less than 1 percent of that in our breath. About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate atmospheric CO2 as a “pollutant.” According to my Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, to pollute is “to make or render unclean, to defile, to desecrate, to profane.” By breathing are we rendering the air unclean, defiling or desecrating it? Efforts are underway to remedy the old-fashioned, restrictive definition of pollution. The current Wikipedia entry on air pollution, for example, now asserts that pollution includes: “carbon dioxide (CO2)—a colorless, odorless, non-toxic greenhouse gas associated with ocean acidification, emitted from sources such as combustion, cement production, and respiration.”

As far as green plants are concerned, CO2 is not a pollutant, but part of their daily bread—like water, sunlight, nitrogen, and other essential elements. Most green plants evolved at CO2 levels of several thousand ppm, many times higher than now. Plants grow better and have better flowers and fruit at higher levels. Commercial greenhouse operators recognize this when they artificially increase the concentrations inside their greenhouses to over 1000 ppm.

Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward VIII renounced the British throne, supposedly said, “A woman can’t be too rich or too thin.” But in reality, you can get too much or too little of a good thing. Whether we should be glad or worried about increasing levels of CO2 depends on quantitative numbers, not just qualitative considerations.

How close is the current atmosphere to the upper or lower limit for CO2? Did we have just the right concentration at the preindustrial level of 270 ppm? Reading breathless media reports about CO2 “pollution” and about minimizing our carbon footprints, one might think that the earth cannot have too little CO2, as Simpson thought one couldn’t be too thin—a view which was also overstated, as we have seen from the sad effects of anorexia in so many young women. Various geo-engineering schemes are being discussed for scrubbing CO2 from the air and cleansing the atmosphere of the “pollutant.” There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2—except that we would have nothing to eat and a few other minor inconveniences, because most plants stop growing if the levels drop much below 150 ppm. If we want to continue to be fed and clothed by the products of green plants, we can have too little CO2.

The minimum acceptable value for plants is not that much below the 270 ppm preindustrial value. It is possible that this is not enough, that we are better off with our current level, and would be better off with more still. There is evidence that California orange groves are about 30 percent more productive today than they were 150 years ago because of the increase of atmospheric CO2.

Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate. Inhaling air with a concentration of a few percent, similar to the concentration of the air we exhale, hinders the diffusional exchange of CO2 between the blood and gas in the lung. Both the United States Navy (for submariners) and nasa (for astronauts) have performed extensive studies of human tolerance to CO2. As a result of these studies, the Navy recommends an upper limit of about 8000 ppm for cruises of ninety days, and nasa recommends an upper limit of 5000 ppm for missions of one thousand days, both assuming a total pressure of one atmosphere. Higher levels are acceptable for missions of only a few days.

We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. That is a very wide range, and our atmosphere is much closer to the lower end than to the upper end. The current rate of burning fossil fuels adds about 2 ppm per year to the atmosphere, so that getting from the current level to 1000 ppm would take about 300 years—and 1000 ppm is still less than what most plants would prefer, and much less than either the nasa or the Navy limit for human beings.

Yet there are strident calls for immediately stopping further increases in CO2 levels and reducing the current level. As we have discussed, animals would not even notice a doubling of CO2 and plants would love it. The supposed reason for limiting it is to stop global warming—or, since the predicted warming has failed to be nearly as large as computer models forecast, to stop climate change. Climate change itself has been embarrassingly uneventful, so another rationale for reducing CO2 is now promoted: to stop the hypothetical increase of extreme climate events like hurricanes or tornados. But this does not necessarily follow. The frequency of extreme events has either not changed or has decreased in the 150 years that CO2 levels have increased from 270 to 390 ppm.

Let me turn to some of the problems the non-pollutant CO2 is supposed to cause. More CO2 is supposed to cause flooded cities, parched agriculture, tropical diseases in Alaska, etc., and even an epidemic of kidney stones. It does indeed cause some warming of our planet, and we should thank Providence for that, because without the greenhouse warming of CO2 and its more potent partners, water vapor and clouds, the earth would be too cold to sustain its current abundance of life.

Other things being equal, more CO2 will cause more warming. The question is how much warming, and whether the increased CO2 and the warming it causes will be good or bad for the planet.

The argument starts something like this. CO2 levels have increased from about 280 ppm to 390 ppm over the past 150 years or so, and the earth has warmed by about 0.8 degree Celsius during that time. Therefore the warming is due to CO2. But correlation is not causation. Roosters crow every morning at sunrise, but that does not mean the rooster caused the sun to rise. The sun will still rise on Monday if you decide to have the rooster for Sunday dinner.

There have been many warmings and coolings in the past when the CO2 levels did not change. A well-known example is the medieval warming, about the year 1000, when the Vikings settled Greenland (when it was green) and wine was exported from England. This warm period was followed by the “little ice age” when the Thames would frequently freeze over during the winter. There is no evidence for significant increase of CO2 in the medieval warm period, nor for a significant decrease at the time of the subsequent little ice age. Documented famines with millions of deaths occurred during the little ice age because the cold weather killed the crops. Since the end of the little ice age, the earth has been warming in fits and starts, and humanity’s quality of life has improved accordingly.

A rare case of good correlation between CO2 levels and temperature is provided by ice-core records of the cycles of glacial and interglacial periods of the last million years of so. But these records show that changes in temperature preceded changes in CO2 levels, so that the levels were an effect of temperature changes. This was probably due to outgassing of CO2 from the warming oceans and the reverse effect when they cooled.

The most recent continental ice sheets began to melt some twenty thousand years ago. During the “Younger Dryas” some 12,000 years ago, the earth very dramatically cooled and warmed by as much as 10 degrees Celsius in fifty years.

The earth’s climate has always been changing. Our present global warming is not at all unusual by the standards of geological history, and it is probably benefiting the biosphere. Indeed, there is very little correlation between the estimates of CO2 and of the earth’s temperature over the past 550 million years (the “Phanerozoic” period). The message is clear that several factors must influence the earth’s temperature, and that while CO2 is one of these factors, it is seldom the dominant one. The other factors are not well understood. Plausible candidates are spontaneous variations of the complicated fluid flow patterns in the oceans and atmosphere of the earth—perhaps influenced by continental drift, volcanoes, variations of the earth’s orbital parameters (ellipticity, spin-axis orientation, etc.), asteroid and comet impacts, variations in the sun’s output (not only the visible radiation but the amount of ultraviolet light, and the solar wind with its magnetic field), variations in cosmic rays leading to variations in cloud cover, and other causes.

The existence of the little ice age and the medieval warm period were an embarrassment to the global-warming establishment, because they showed that the current warming is almost indistinguishable from previous warmings and coolings that had nothing to do with burning fossil fuel. The organization charged with producing scientific support for the climate change crusade, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), finally found a solution. They rewrote the climate history of the past 1000 years with the celebrated “hockey stick” temperature record.

The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the medieval warm period and the little ice age very clearly. In the IPCC’s 2001 report was a graph that purported to show the earth’s mean temperature since the year 1000. A yet more extreme version of the hockey stick graph made the cover of the Fiftieth Anniversary Report of the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization. To the surprise of everyone who knew about the strong evidence for the little ice age and the medieval climate optimum, the graph showed a nearly constant temperature from the year 1000 until about 150 years ago, when the temperature began to rise abruptly like the blade of a hockey stick. The inference was that this was due to the anthropogenic “pollutant” CO2.

This damnatia memoriae of inconvenient facts was simply expunged from the 2001 IPCC report, much as Trotsky and Yezhov were removed from Stalin’s photographs by dark-room specialists in the later years of the dictator’s reign. There was no explanation of why both the medieval warm period and the little ice age, very clearly shown in the 1990 report, had simply disappeared eleven years later.

The rest of the article is here

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258 Responses to Happer on The Truth About Greenhouse Gases

  1. spangled drongo says:

    Great wisdom. These words should be set in stone.

  2. Ian H says:

    Please check formatting – I’m seeing two copies.

    … must be a side effect of the rapture … ;-)

    [Fixed. ~dbs]

  3. John Marshall says:

    Prof Happer’s article is excellent and 95% correct. We disagree on the fact about the GHG theory which other physicists conclude does not happen due to thermodynamic law violations. There are other mechanisms that explain the temperature at the surface.

    I disagree that the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 content was 270 ppmv. We do not know what it was 300 years ago and it is certain that CO2 would not remain at one level given the earths chaotic energetic systems that are deeply involved with CO2. Proxy data for CO2 is poor and those given for Victorian England are still 270 ppmv whereas the actual measured values are up to 500 ppmv using the same methods as are still used today.

    Much of the myth and so called fact that surrounds CO2 is political and shrouded in political correctness both of which must be peeled away to get to the truth.

  4. jim karlock says:

    you appear to have duplicated text – this appears twice:

    Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward VIII renounced the British throne, supposedly said, “A woman can’t be too rich or too thin.” But in reality, you can get too much or too little of a good thing. Whether we should be glad or worried about increasing levels of CO2 depends on quantitative numbers, not just qualitative considerations.

    thanks
    JK

    [Duplicate posting deleted. ~dbs, mod.]

  5. HenryP says:

    well….,
    all that is exactly what I have been saying
    http://www.letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok
    Great minds think alike.

  6. Jim Cripwell says:

    I cannot understand how the American Physical Society, and the Royal Society can continue to support the idea of CAGW, when it is now clear that there is solid scientific evidence that Henrik Svensmark may well be right. The case made in the TAR that there are no extraterrestrial forcings, other than a minor change in the solar constant, is simply not supported by the scientific facts. There is, obvioulsy, a very real possibility that changes in the sun’s magnetic field change the earth’s climate.

  7. Bruce Cobb says:

    A well-reasoned, truthful expose of the climate crusade. As such, both it and Happer will be attacked viciously by the crusaders themselves, as befits their modus operandi. They just can’t handle the truth.

  8. richard telford says:

    One might hope that a specialist in spectroscopy would have some more original input, since the interaction between matter and radiated energy is central to the greenhouse effect. I assume the lack of critique means that you are unable to find any flaws in the science.

    Instead we find the usual blathering about CO2 being plant food, as if that were a novel observation, or of any relevance to either climate change or ocean acidification. On the latter issue you are remarkably quiet, perhaps you know enough chemistry not to make a fool of yourself twice over.

    And then the Medieval Warm Period, so embarrassing to climate scientists that you will never find any papers that mention it, unless you read some. It was more likely caused by a conflagration of straw men than CO2, so I doubt any palaeoclimate scientists will loose sleep over your observation that it was not CO2 driven. They are not foolish enough to think that all climate change has to be driven by the same forcing. The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.

  9. Richard111 says:

    “”It does indeed cause some warming of our planet, and we should thank Providence for that, because without the greenhouse warming of CO2 and its more potent partners, water vapor and clouds, the earth would be too cold to sustain its current abundance of life.””
    That statement needs support. According to Wien’s Law radiation at 15 microns (CO2 favourite) equates to a temperature of 193.2K or -79.95C. Most of the earth’s surface is way above this temperature. So how much warming and where please.

  10. liza says:

    Thank you for this article Anthony. I’ve been a long time reader here but haven’t ever commented before. It is nice to be in the same opinion as a professor of physics at Princeton University when I’ve been blocked for days from replying to lucia and mosher (and others) on the Blackboard for trying to say these same things. I’ve been in a long standing argument over there over geological evidence that tell us the story of climate on this planet verses their modern thermometer data. This week they’ve called my opinion boring and tiring. I wonder who else is being censored.

  11. LazyTeenager says:

    About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.
    ————-
    Here is something to have a good debate about,

    1. What were land and sea conditions like 50Myr ago?
    2. Could our agricultural systems evolve to handle this?
    3. Could human civilization exist in these conditions?
    4. Can the USA as a nation cope with the transition to such a high CO2 regime?

    This is all a bit SciFi but it’s worth considering.

    I get the impression when climate skeptics try variations on this debating point that they imagine that will have no effect on their lives or maybe it’s just a matter of turning up the AirCon a bit. This looks like a failure of imagination to me.

    So let’s run with this a little. If it offends you just imagine that the change was brought about by some natural cycle and not by CO2 and that the climate scientists just had a lucky guess.

    Have fun.

  12. Tom in Florida says:

    R Gates is one who should stop sipping the kool aid long enough to read the article, the entire article.

  13. stephen richards says:

    Telford, you can be such a bore. Nothing you have said provides the other side of the scientific discussion. Put up or shut up, please

  14. Bruce Cobb says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.
    Ah, the good old Precautionary Principle. Haven’t seen that CAGW “argument” used in a while. Always good for a laugh. Please do tell us more about these “dials”, though, and how we’re “twisting” them.

  15. The rest of the article is well worth reading. I hope the CAGW crowd tries to refute it, and bring more attention to it. “But it wasn’t published in Nature.” isn’t going to fly.

  16. Marion says:

    A really excellent article – many thanks for posting it, Anthony. William Happer is spot on in his assessment. There are so many excellent observations it’s difficult to know which to highlight but I think this paragraph is a contender –

    “A major problem has been the co-opting of climate science by politics, ambition, greed, and what seems to be a hereditary human need for a righteous cause. What better cause than saving the planet? Especially if one can get ample, secure funding at the same time? Huge amounts of money are available from governments and wealthy foundations for climate institutes and for climate-related research.”

    For those of you who think politicians have been duped by scientists – no, this is not the case. Senior politicians have directed the ‘science’ into naming CO2 as the ‘enemy’ that has to be taxed out of existence. This is not scientifically driven but politically driven with the ‘scientists’ as useful tools! The same with the scientific associations – their boards are riddled with political cronies who are intent on slanting the science for their own benefit.

  17. Roger Carr says:

    William Happer: “There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2…”
    AND
    “Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate.”

    I thought humans needed CO2 to trigger breathing?

    (I post this with only a couple of paragraphs read, hoping that by the time I have finished reading an answer will be waiting for me in a comment.)

  18. Jeff Mitchell says:

    I’ve been puzzled about all the commentary about what is “good” or “bad” to the planet. What exactly do they mean by it? Mother nature, bless her heart, doesn’t care. The vast majority of the universe is lifeless because it is either too hot or too cold. At some point, the sun will expand and destroy the earth. Carbon dioxide won’t be the culprit. Is that good or bad?

    What these people are saying, and rather indirectly at that, is that WE are going to get hurt by the extra CO2. We like the arrangement of the world as it is and don’t want it changed. We care. Nature does not. If nature cared, it wouldn’t blast the landscape with asteroids or volcanoes. If it cared about human population, it would tune down the reproductive urges. Yet it does not. Nature has let us get to where we are and has shown no signs of stopping us. The characterization of nature as an entity that cares about the planet is religious in nature, not scientific. It is worship of yet another god under pseudo-scientific claims.

    We are the ones that care. But I don’t see warming as a threat. We adapt. If the oceans rise, people move away from the lower elevations. That does not happen all of a sudden with a tsunami, it happens millimeters at a time over years. There is plenty of time to adapt. And there may not be much we can do about it. There weren’t industrial processes responsible for CO2 during the previous warming periods, and nobody tried to take CO2 out of the air to cause the little ice age. This post reminds me of a story told in a church sermon. A monkey in a zoo is content. He is distracted by the noise of a passing airplane, and disturbed, the monkey shakes his fist at it. The plane goes away. Monkey thereafter thinks that his shaking his fist at it made it go away. In the future, he shakes his fist at all planes flying overhead, and they all go away. He is content. The warmists remind me of that monkey.

  19. William says:

    In reply to:

    “richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    And then the Medieval Warm Period, so embarrassing to climate scientists that you will never find any papers that mention it, unless you read some. It was more likely caused by a conflagration of straw men than CO2, so I doubt any palaeoclimate scientists will lose sleep over your observation that it was not CO2 driven. They are not foolish enough to think that all climate change has to be driven by the same forcing. The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.”

    Richard, the issue is the clear manipulation of the paleoclimatic record by the IPCC to hide the Medieval warm period and to smooth out the Little Ice age.

    The Climate Gate emails showed there is a cabal of “Climate Scientists” that are overtly working to manipulate the climate data and to block scientific papers that do not support the extreme AGW position.

    Current observations support the assertion that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in warming of less than 1 C.

    Happer on The Truth About Greenhouse Gases

    “The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the medieval warm period and the little ice age very clearly. In the IPCC’s 2001 report was a graph that purported to show the earth’s mean temperature since the year 1000. A yet more extreme version of the hockey stick graph made the cover of the Fiftieth Anniversary Report of the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization. To the surprise of everyone who knew about the strong evidence for the little ice age and the medieval climate optimum, the graph showed a nearly constant temperature from the year 1000 until about 150 years ago, when the temperature began to rise abruptly like the blade of a hockey stick. The inference was that this was due to the anthropogenic “pollutant” CO2.”

    Richard why are there no comments in the general press and the IPCC reports about the benefits of increasing atmospheric CO2?

    Plants eat CO2.

    Commercial greenhouses inject CO2 to increase yield and reduce growing times. C3 plants loss roughly 50% of their absorbed water due to low CO2 levels. The optimum CO2 level for plants is around 2000 ppm. As CO2 levels rise plants produce less stomata on their leaves enables them to make effective use of water.

    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm#f1

    For most crops the saturation point will be reached at about 1,000–1,300 ppm under ideal circumstances. A lower level (800–1,000 ppm) is recommended for raising seedlings (tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers) as well as for lettuce production. Even lower levels (500–800 ppm) are recommended for African violets and some Gerbera varieties. Increased CO2 levels will shorten the growing period (5%–10%), improve crop quality and yield, as well as, increase leaf size and leaf thickness. The increase in yield of tomato, cucumber and pepper crops is a result of increased numbers and faster flowering per plant.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T3Y-4N6FNPR-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1133437266&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=602850a304857db4767613a021735d61

    Impact of elevated CO2 and temperature on rice yield and methods of adaptation as evaluated by crop simulation studies

    But increases in the CO2 concentration up to 700 ppm led to the average yield increases of about 30.73% by ORYZA1 and 56.37% by INFOCROP rice.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T3Y-4N6FNPR-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1133437266&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=602850a304857db4767613a021735d61

    Impact of elevated CO2 and temperature on rice yield and methods of adaptation as evaluated by crop simulation studies

    But increases in the CO2 concentration up to 700 ppm led to the average yield increases of about 30.73% by ORYZA1 and 56.37% by INFOCROP rice.

    Check out figure 1.

    http://www.ncasi.org/publications/Detail.aspx?id=3025

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030509084556.htm

    Greenhouse Gas Might Green Up The Desert; Weizmann Institute Study Suggests That Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels Might Cause Forests To Spread Into Dry Environments

    The Weizmann team found, to its surprise, that the Yatir forest is a substantial “sink” (CO2-absorbing site): its absorbing efficiency is similar to that of many of its counterparts in more fertile lands. These results were unexpected since forests in dry regions are considered to develop very slowly, if at all, and thus are not expected to soak up much carbon dioxide (the more rapidly the forest develops the more carbon dioxide it needs, since carbon dioxide drives the production of sugars). However, the Yatir forest is growing at a relatively quick pace, and is even expanding further into the desert.

    Plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, which leads to the production of sugars. But to obtain it, they must open pores in their leaves and consequently lose large quantities of water to evaporation. The plant must decide which it needs more: water or carbon dioxide. Yakir suggests that the 30 percent increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial revolution eases the plant’s dilemma. Under such conditions, the plant doesn’t have to fully open the pores for carbon dioxide to seep in – a relatively small opening is sufficient. Consequently, less water escapes the plant’s pores. This efficient water preservation technique keeps moisture in the ground, allowing forests to grow in areas that previously were too dry.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html

    The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers).

    Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.

    The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan. In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne’s Africa Research Unit in Germany.

    “Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass,” said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades…

  20. kramer says:

    This is an excellent article because it has so much factual information in it. As such, I bet the pro-AGW crowd will attack the messenger (ad hom) as the way to discredit the article.

  21. RockyRoad says:

    Just one word about the article: Exactly!

  22. Jeff Mitchell says:

    One other question I have, is that to get to 1000 ppm of CO2, how much oil would we have to burn? Is there that much in reserve?

  23. Will Gray says:

    Instinct says its the sun and ocean currents, yes? An old bloke said to me once and it stuck ‘Carbon dioxide is a self regulating gas.’ http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm

  24. William says:

    Richard why are there no comments in the general press and the IPCC reports about the benefits of increasing atmospheric CO2?

    Plants eat CO2.

    Commercial greenhouses inject CO2 to increase yield and reduce growing times. C3 plants loss roughly 50% of their absorbed water due to low CO2 levels. The optimum CO2 level for plants is around 2000 ppm. As CO2 levels rise plants produce less stomata on their leaves enables them to make effective use of water.

    http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/00-077.htm#f1

    For most crops the saturation point will be reached at about 1,000–1,300 ppm under ideal circumstances. A lower level (800–1,000 ppm) is recommended for raising seedlings (tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers) as well as for lettuce production. Even lower levels (500–800 ppm) are recommended for African violets and some Gerbera varieties. Increased CO2 levels will shorten the growing period (5%–10%), improve crop quality and yield, as well as, increase leaf size and leaf thickness. The increase in yield of tomato, cucumber and pepper crops is a result of increased numbers and faster flowering per plant.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T3Y-4N6FNPR-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1133437266&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=602850a304857db4767613a021735d61

    Impact of elevated CO2 and temperature on rice yield and methods of adaptation as evaluated by crop simulation studies

    But increases in the CO2 concentration up to 700 ppm led to the average yield increases of about 30.73% by ORYZA1 and 56.37% by INFOCROP rice.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T3Y-4N6FNPR-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1133437266&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=602850a304857db4767613a021735d61

    Impact of elevated CO2 and temperature on rice yield and methods of adaptation as evaluated by crop simulation studies

    But increases in the CO2 concentration up to 700 ppm led to the average yield increases of about 30.73% by ORYZA1 and 56.37% by INFOCROP rice.

    Check out figure 1.

    http://www.ncasi.org/publications/Detail.aspx?id=3025

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030509084556.htm

    Greenhouse Gas Might Green Up The Desert; Weizmann Institute Study Suggests That Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels Might Cause Forests To Spread Into Dry Environments

    The Weizmann team found, to its surprise, that the Yatir forest is a substantial “sink” (CO2-absorbing site): its absorbing efficiency is similar to that of many of its counterparts in more fertile lands. These results were unexpected since forests in dry regions are considered to develop very slowly, if at all, and thus are not expected to soak up much carbon dioxide (the more rapidly the forest develops the more carbon dioxide it needs, since carbon dioxide drives the production of sugars). However, the Yatir forest is growing at a relatively quick pace, and is even expanding further into the desert.

    Plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, which leads to the production of sugars. But to obtain it, they must open pores in their leaves and consequently lose large quantities of water to evaporation. The plant must decide which it needs more: water or carbon dioxide. Yakir suggests that the 30 percent increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the start of the industrial revolution eases the plant’s dilemma. Under such conditions, the plant doesn’t have to fully open the pores for carbon dioxide to seep in – a relatively small opening is sufficient. Consequently, less water escapes the plant’s pores. This efficient water preservation technique keeps moisture in the ground, allowing forests to grow in areas that previously were too dry.

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-green-sahara.html

    The green shoots of recovery are showing up on satellite images of regions including the Sahel, a semi-desert zone bordering the Sahara to the south that stretches some 2,400 miles (3,860 kilometers).

    Images taken between 1982 and 2002 revealed extensive regreening throughout the Sahel, according to a new study in the journal Biogeosciences.

    The study suggests huge increases in vegetation in areas including central Chad and western Sudan. In the eastern Sahara area of southwestern Egypt and northern Sudan, new trees—such as acacias—are flourishing, according to Stefan Kröpelin, a climate scientist at the University of Cologne’s Africa Research Unit in Germany.

    “Shrubs are coming up and growing into big shrubs. This is completely different from having a bit more tiny grass,” said Kröpelin, who has studied the region for two decades…

  25. Lonnie E. Schubert says:

    Follow the link Anthony provided and read the rest of the article. It is worth it.
    Also, http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/01/12/22506/

  26. William says:

    In reply to:

    “richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    And then the Medieval Warm Period, so embarrassing to climate scientists that you will never find any papers that mention it, unless you read some. It was more likely caused by a conflagration of straw men than CO2, so I doubt any palaeoclimate scientists will lose sleep over your observation that it was not CO2 driven. They are not foolish enough to think that all climate change has to be driven by the same forcing. The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.”

    Richard, the issue is the clear manipulation of the paleoclimatic record by the IPCC to hide the Medieval warm period and to smooth out the Little Ice age.

    The Climate Gate emails showed there is a cabal of “Climate Scientists” that are overtly working to manipulate the climate data and to block scientific papers that do not support the extreme AGW position.

    Current observations support the assertion that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will result in warming of less than 1 C with most of the warming occurring at high latitudes which is beneficial for the biosphere.

    Happer on The Truth About Greenhouse Gases

    “The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the medieval warm period and the little ice age very clearly. In the IPCC’s 2001 report was a graph that purported to show the earth’s mean temperature since the year 1000. A yet more extreme version of the hockey stick graph made the cover of the Fiftieth Anniversary Report of the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization. To the surprise of everyone who knew about the strong evidence for the little ice age and the medieval climate optimum, the graph showed a nearly constant temperature from the year 1000 until about 150 years ago, when the temperature began to rise abruptly like the blade of a hockey stick. The inference was that this was due to the anthropogenic “pollutant” CO2.”

  27. richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.

    Richard, the MWP demonstrates nothing of the sort. The MWP merely demonstrates that temperature fluctuations over the past century are not unusual compared to those observed in the millennial historical record.

    Such observed temperature fluctuations do not require high climate sensitivity per se. They merely require forcings that are by themselves strong enough to move the global average temperature in the manner we have seen.

    For example, take the recent spate of evidence supporting Svenmark’s hypothesis. These findings point to stronger natural forcings, making it less> likely that we have a sensitive climate.

    In other words, the temperature swings by themselves are not indicative of high climate sensitivity.

  28. Mike Bromley says:

    Nicely done. Twice! Rapture. Maybe Mr. Telford should repost, just for balance sake! The salient points, that this is a Crusade in Charade’s Clothing, are amply demonstrated. Hockey sticks are for Canuckistan’s National Sport, not for disguising the Crusade’s climate (1090-1290). The UN has made a botch-job of many of its missions, and the IPCC should come as no surprise as one of its champion bonehead accomplishments. Its dissolution will be a service to mankind.

    I applaud you, Dr. Happer. More voices of reason, please!

  29. Dr. Happer is just as wrong as the climate alarmists, on the greenhouse effect. As I have also posted at “climaterealists”:

    “Scientists critical of the alarmist climate “consensus” are now trying to present a common front on the science, with for example Prof. Claes Johnson today (5/21) referencing this article by William Happer on his own blog, even though Johnson does not accept a CO2 climate sensitivity of “about 1°C” for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, but less than 0.3°C. But there is a more fundamental difference among consensus critics, and that is whether there is a “greenhouse effect” at all, as claimed by the mass of scientists. Mr. Happer readily avows there is such an effect, but I (and supposedly Johnson, who has written a book against it, and others) know better. I encourage you to read the definitive evidence against it at

    Venus: No Greenhouse Effect

    The comparison of Venus/Earth atmospheric temperatures shows that Venus (with 96.5% atmospheric CO2) is not made any warmer than the Earth (with only 0.04% CO2) by its much greater concentration of CO2. The Venus atmosphere at a given pressure is 17% hotter than the Earth atmosphere at the same pressure level, over the entire range of Earth tropospheric pressures, and that is entirely, precisely, due to Venus being closer to the Sun. Their temperature versus pressure profiles, corrected for their different distances from the Sun, are essentially the same, although by current (Happer’s) thinking the Venus profile should be higher than the Earth’s by more than 11°C (96.5% is more than 11 “doublings” of 0.04%). There simply is no sign of a greenhouse effect at all. That is therefore an established physical fact, and it is the DEFINITIVE physical fact for science.

    What is wrong with current science, that so many refuse to heed this definitive evidence? Because they are tied to a dogma that they will not question, and will not allow to be openly questioned: That the atmosphere can only be warmed from the ground, that the surface must first be warmed by the Sun and the atmosphere then warmed by the surface. But the Venus/Earth comparison indicates this common belief among scientists is simply wrong; as I have explained at the above link, both planetary atmospheres must be warmed by absorption of the same portion of the incident solar radiation, and that portion must be in the infrared. You don’t have to be a world-famous scientist to understand this. Incident heat from the Sun is taken up directly by the atmosphere and by the surface, independently of one another.

    Scientists are right that absorption of infrared radiation heats the atmosphere, but the source of that heat is incident solar, not the surface. And adding more CO2 does not add more heat to the atmosphere, as the Venus/Earth comparison proves. There is enough infrared absorption, even with no CO2, to heat the atmosphere to the limit of its ability to hold the heat. The heat content of the atmosphere is a function only of its distance from the Sun and its density (which varies with its depth), and is constrained by the observed temperature lapse rate, as long recognized in the precise quantitative definition of the Standard Atmosphere. Venus’s surface temperature is far higher than Earth’s, because its atmosphere is far deeper, and far denser at the bottom, than Earth’s.

    My simple comparison of the Venus/Earth temperatures is thus a revolutionary finding, and one that physicists and climate scientists like James Hansen, who has championed the “runaway” greenhouse effect from the very beginning of his career (and continues to make fearful, apocalyptic claims to the public about it), should have done long ago, and rejected the greenhouse effect then. (The Venus data was collected in late 1991). And scientists who reject the current climate consensus, but still claim the greenhouse effect is real, are not getting to the bad science at the heart of the controversy. There is NO greenhouse effect at all, as they believe they understand it. They understand a falsehood, and continue to mislead the world on the basic science of the atmosphere. That almost everyone still believes in the greenhouse effect, after so many years of study, and after the definitive Venus/Earth evidence against it, tells us the problem is one of runaway, religiously-held dogma, among scientists (of all people!), not runaway climate. “

  30. old construction worker says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    ‘One might hope that a specialist in spectroscopy would have some more original input, since the interaction between matter and radiated energy is central to the greenhouse effect. I assume the lack of critique means that you are unable to find any flaws in the science.’

    ‘………radiated energy is central to the greenhouse effect. ‘
    Would you buy stock in a Space Blanket Company? If not, why not?

  31. Don K says:

    I agree with almost everything. One exception – The maximum permissible level of CO2 should not be the level that healthy adults can tolerate with no obvious affect for a few months or years. It should be the level that can be tolerated continuously for the entire lifespan from infancy to old age by the most genetically unfortunate members of the human race. Or lower if there are non-human lifeforms that can’t tolerate CO2 as well as humans can. We don’t have the slightest idea what that level is. We really ought to find out.

    It is claimed that some individuals show immediate symptoms — confusion, sleepiness — at levels of 10000 ppm of CO2. http://www.inspectapedia.com/hazmat/CO2gashaz.htm If that’s true, it’s a little hard to believe that 8000 or 5000 ppm continuous is “safe” for everyone. On the other hand it seems likely that there is considerable headroom above the current 370 ppm.

    Personally, I think that we’re spending too much money on “climate science”. I’d like to see some (not all) of the money diverted into research on CO2 toxicity and other things that have more real urgency than dubious modeling of stuff we don’t understand well enough to model accurately.

  32. Richard M says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    One might hope that a specialist in spectroscopy would have some more original input, since the interaction between matter and radiated energy is central to the greenhouse effect. I assume the lack of critique means that you are unable to find any flaws in the science.

    Well, this appeared to be a general thesis and the intended audience consists of people without a scientific background.

    However, since you brought up “spectroscopy”, why do you and other alarmist scientists continue to ignore the cooling effect of GHGs? By my back of the envelope calculations the cooling effect should be about 1/2 the warming effect.

    That means the often quoted 1.2C increase per doubling of CO2 is really about .6C. Interestingly, this matches the estimates of Spencer and Lindzen using other techniques.

  33. Thanks William Happer, Anthony,

    Very interesting, well-written article. Deserves wide exposure.

  34. berniel says:

    stephen richards says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:38 am
    Telford, you can be such a bore.

    This might be true Stephen Richards but these statements are, in the least, missleading:

    The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the medieval warm period and the little ice age very clearly.

    and

    There was no explanation of why both the medieval warm period and the little ice age, very clearly shown in the 1990 report, had simply disappeared eleven years later.

    The sketch graph in the 1st IPCC report that ‘shows clearly’ a global medieval climate optimum is not based on global evidence but on a graph based on evidence gathered by HH Lamb from Central England only. Other evidence does often suggest a generalisation to surrounding regions. However, whereas this optimum peaks in the the 12 century, other evidence from other proxies and from elsewhere around the globe gives peaks anywhere from the 9th to the 14th century.

    A global Medieval Warm Period is no better supported by science in the First report, than the hockey stick is in the Third. Moreover, there are explanations in subsequent IPCC reports (at least in the SAR as I recall) for the disappearance of the MWP, which say that, in fact, the evidence does not suggest a unified global temperature peak at this time.

    The existence of the little ice age and the medieval warm period was not well established by the FAR, and so it is we, ourselves, who should be careful to avoid any future embarrassment by supporting it for mere rhetorical reasons.

    The IPCC 1st report graph:
    http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/global-temperature-graphs/1990-ipcc-first-report-working-gp-1-section-7-2-1/

    Lamb’s original Central England graph:
    http://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/global-temperature-graphs/1964_1966_britiansclimateinthepast-unpub-lecture-pub-inchangingclimate/

  35. Charles Higley says:

    Unfortunately, the author here has also fallen for some of the junk science.

    “Before the industrial period, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 270 ppm.”

    CO2 goes up and down and was never the consistently low level before industrialization as propounded by the IPCC. They created the 270 ppm value by cherry-picking the data. Ernst Beck, using 80,000 direct chemical readings, showed quite clearly that CO2 has been much higher than now during three periods of the last 200 years, 440-550 ppm even in the 1940s during which temperatures began to fall.

    The IPCC chose the values they used as the available data was too “variable,” neglecting the fact that when put on a time line the values shows clear upward and downward trends. Of course, they “knew” that CO2 had been low as they had to show that it is unusually high now.

  36. L Nettles says:

    I dub this “the Epitaph of Global Warming Hysteria I predict that history will prove it.

  37. Joel Shore says:

    John Marshall says:

    Prof Happer’s article is excellent and 95% correct. We disagree on the fact about the GHG theory which other physicists conclude does not happen due to thermodynamic law violations.

    And, by the same token, it could be said in an article about the age of the earth that other geologists conclude that the Earth is only 6000 years old. The fact that you could find a few trained scientists who, for whatever reason, have decided to peddle pseudo-science doesn’t make it correct. The reason that people like Happer don’t embrace such nonsense is that they actually want to maintain a reasonable scientific reputation by not saying things that are scientifically ridiculous.

    I disagree that the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 content was 270 ppmv.

    Again, this just shows what total nonsense you are willing to believe.

  38. Elmer says:

    Best blog entry, ever, on the whole issue.

  39. Latimer Alder says:

    @berniel

    A global Medieval Warm Period is no better supported by science in the First report, than the hockey stick is in the Third.

    Umm

    But there is plenty of historical evidence that such a period existed. Written records and buried things and archaeology and stuff

    Disregarding these just because it doesn’t suit your argument is no better than saying that Stonehenge doesn’t exist because we can’t find the original architect’s drawings. And probably about as useful as relying on a hokey hockey stick.

  40. Anton says:

    If the plants died off because of low CO2, wouldn’t the planet’s oxygen levels plummet or disappear altogether? And as human population increases, don’t we need a corresponding increase in CO2 to make plants more effective oxygen-producers? It seems to me that attempting to artificially lower and manipulate atmospheric CO2 levels could be far more damaging than anything predicted by the Warmists.

  41. Pamela Gray says:

    On a personal level, those that must breath tanked oxygen (Navy seals, etc), O2 toxicity is a far greater concern than CO2 toxicity. An increase in the concentration of oxygen can lead to convulsions and lung damage (and those that are O2 sensitive are kicked out of training schools toot sweet). No so with CO2.

    Technical advances in dealing with too much O2 have been the main research endeavor regarding scuba gear. Hardly any attention has been paid dealing with CO2. Why? Relative changes in O2 lead to more toxic affects than relative changes in CO2.

    Yet we still see oxygen bars and deep breathing gurus, heralding the benefits of ridding ourselves of CO2 and enriching our supply of oxygen in our bodies. Where does this silly notion come from? The idea of CO2 being a toxic waste gas goes back to the days of puritanical notions of evil human excrement. And is echoed in early versions of colon cleansing rituals practiced by vegan commune groups. The old aged hippie, now turned scientist, is likely imbued with this unconscious (or very conscious) bias, leading to all kinds of silly statements backed by silly science.

  42. Henry Galt says:

    Well said.

    Telford trolls by, as early as he can in the thread, and doesn’t respond well to … anything.

    We have to fight the crusade with their metrics so they cannot dismiss the entire argument on the basis of spelling mistakes (Telford’s loose, as opposed to lose, for example) and other trivial s(tuff)

    berniel says:
    May 21, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Medieval Warm Period Record of the Week- http://www.co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php

  43. Kate says:

    I am frightened when I read blog posts at other places that express deep anger against attempts to constrain the EPA. The coming presidential election will be impacted by this. How can we make this issue clear to the general public? And soon.

    To Harry Dale – How can we build a clear message and then get it out there?

    To Happer – What is the best way for scientists to get this message out before the fall of 2012? Can you reconcile Harry Dale’s conclusions?

  44. Theo Goodwin says:

    Bruce Cobb says:
    May 21, 2011 at 4:21 am
    “A well-reasoned, truthful expose of the climate crusade. As such, both it and Happer will be attacked viciously by the crusaders themselves, as befits their modus operandi. They just can’t handle the truth.”

    As a professor at a liberal university, he is used to it. However, the personal mistreatment of the good professor is likely to increase because of this article.

    Actually, the crusaders do not even compute truth. They cannot handle dissent. I am not exaggerating. The climate of PC is such that raising a topic can be as harmful to one’s health or career as taking a strong anti-PC position. The “Madness of Crowds” needs to be updated to include the madness of institutions though, come to think, Vaclav Havel in his plays has been doing that for a while. And we must give credit to Orwell for identifying Semantic Warfare before the communists had taken over entire institutions of Western civilization.

  45. Will Gray says:

    Years ago a thought bubble exploded. (Having read many popular climate blogs.) Society must flourish however the regressive element of back to eden greenies will need to be dealt with. Simple- let them use C02 as the evil gas- doomed to fail.
    Case closed.
    Now we can move on to an enormously positive future.
    There got that one off my mind.
    And just for the record Co2 does not and never will cause CAGW.
    With this link i am waiting still for someone to REALLY take this guy on.

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/author/nasif-s-nahle/

  46. Doug in Seattle says:

    “A major problem has been the co-opting of climate science by politics, ambition, greed, and what seems to be a hereditary human need for a righteous cause. “.

    Countering the first three might be easier if not the last. Since the 1960’s the “righteous cause” of environmentalism has led us down the path where we find ourselves. It has morphed beyond a cause and become one of the dominant religious movements of our time.

  47. Will Gray says:

    I read alot, 4% Co2/96 O2 is the mix to pump air down for minning. Safety standards go to 15% C02 for workers. WTF. Referances tomorrow.

  48. Latitude says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.
    ==============================================
    Let’s assume you are correct, and there was a MWP.

    Do you have any idea what caused it?

    ….because no one else does

  49. Will Gray says:

    Homes and bussiness environs, that have central heating, breath up to 1000 ppm.
    Now do/have you lived/ worked in an environ with CH?
    Co2 is an essential component of life, below 170 ppm nothing will grow.
    The economic damage of CAGW is catastrophic and the really sad part is people believe C02 is EVIL.
    More wind farms, how about lots more. Its insane.
    http://www.jmt.org/assets/pdf/wind-report.pdf

  50. François Marchand says:

    William, please, show us the faulty IPCC graphs, alongwith their explanations, please, please.

  51. Annei says:

    This is an excellent article. Thank you.

  52. DirkH says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    “The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.”

    If the MWP would be an argument for the warmists, then the warmists would not have serially attempted to delete it from history and rename it to a “climate anomaly”; they would have tried to exaggerate it and renamed it to “Medieval Climate Catastrophe”. As this hasn’t happened, we can conclude that the warmists know very well that climate sensitivity to OTHER “forcings” exists but is intentionally covered up to give all the emphasis to CO2. Richard Telford, you have just violated this code of silence. I’m not sure whether your warmist friends will be glad about that.

  53. Charlie Foxtrot says:

    Reading Dr. Happer would be a good place to start for the general population. Acording to a Yale survey, only about 7% of Americans know what the approximate concentration of CO2 is in the atmosphere.
    http://environment.yale.edu/climate/files/ClimateChangeKnowledge2010.pdf
    Many more think that the ozone hole is a major factor in warming the planet. The warmists use this lack of knowledge to further their goals of brainwashing the public. What is surprising is the large percent of people who have become cynical about the scientific community. They don’t appear to trust authority figures very much. Perhaps the warmists overplayed their hand?
    I believe that, if a person of reasonable intelligence was presented with unbiased facts about past and present climate, with no agendas hidden in the materials, he/she would conclude that CO2 is most likely not the principal driver of global temperatures. Unfortunately, unless people seek out more information, they will be bombarded with global warming propaganda several times a day. Some “documentary” type TV channels appear to have taken on the goal of blaming every negative event in nature on CO2.

  54. Greg, Spokane WA says:

    Jim Cripwell says:
    May 21, 2011 at 4:16 am

    I cannot understand how the American Physical Society, and the Royal Society can continue to support the idea of CAGW…
    ==========
    Our current administration appears to be coercing the news media into only providing one side of the story (not that said media is entirely unwilling to only provide that one side.)

    Why not exert similar pressure on scientific organizations? “I need to inform you, Dr. Scientist, that there may be funding issues…”

  55. Gareth Phillips says:

    Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics .
    Are you sure? Is this a relative of Dame Hinge of Hinge and Bracket fame? You almost had me there! Interesting article all the same.

  56. Myrrh says:

    Good link re LIA to appreciate the full force of the cold – http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

    Of course the LIA has to be removed from the consciousness of those to be conned by the AGW claims or they’ll want to know why it’s a problem that the Earth has been warming since, and the MWP proves our current warming is not exceptional.

    I hope Happer expands on his theme here. The technical arguments about the Hockey Schtick mean nothing to the mass of people, but information as to why it was created is in short supply, ditto about CO2 and other basics, and without this knowledge the finer points of the scam can’t be appreciated.

  57. Ralph says:

    >>Jeff Mitchell says: May 21, 2011 at 5:56 am

    Nice summary of the dispassionate nature of nature, and nobody could disagree. But try replacing ‘nature’ in your missive with ‘god’, and then see the sparks fly. But they are the same word, are they not?

    .

  58. Jimbo says:

    About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.

    Shhhhhh! Don’t say that.

    And no runaway warming may I add.

  59. Katherine says:

    There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2—except that we would have nothing to eat and a few other minor inconveniences, because most plants stop growing if the levels drop much below 150 ppm.

    Actually, humans require carbon dioxide for proper respiration. CO2 is a natural vasodilation agent that facilitates perfusion.
    http://www.normalbreathing.com/CO2-vasodilation.php

    In fact, hypocapnia (the state of reduced carbon dioxide in the blood) causes cerebral vasoconstriction, leading to cerebral hypoxia and causing transient dizziness, visual disturbances, anxiety, and even blackouts.

  60. aaron says:

    I think he forgot to cite himself.

  61. pat says:

    Gaia’s way of growing more plants to feed the humans

  62. walt man says:

    There is evidence that California orange groves are about 30 percent more productive today than they were 150 years ago because of the increase of atmospheric CO2.
    The trees, use of fertilizer, watering, temperature, etc. of course would not have changed
    ==============================
    A well-known example is the medieval warming, about the year 1000, when the Vikings settled Greenland (when it was green) and wine was exported from England.

    try facts rather than hearsay!
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/07/medieval-warmth-and-english-wine/
    The earliest documentation that is better than anecdotal is from the Domesday Book (1087) – an early census that the new Norman king commissioned to assess his new English dominions, including the size of farms, population etc. Being relatively ‘frenchified’, the Normans (who had originally come from Viking stock) were quite keen on wine drinking (rather than mead or ale) and so made special note of existing vineyards and where the many new vines were being planted. Sources differ a little on how many vineyards are included in the book: Selley quotes Unwin (J. Wine Research, 1990 (subscription)) who records 46 vineyards across Southern England (42 unambiguous sites, 4 less direct), but other claims (unsourced) range up to 52. Lamb’s 1977 book has a few more from other various sources and anecdotally there are more still, and so clearly this is a minimum number.

    Of the Domesday vineyards, all appear to lie below a line from Ely (Cambridgeshire) to Gloucestershire. Since the Book covers all of England up to the river Tees (north of Yorkshire), there is therefore reason to think that there weren’t many vineyards north of that line. Lamb reports two vineyards to the north (Lincoln and Leeds, Yorkshire) at some point between 1000 and 1300 AD
    By 1977, there were 124 reasonable-sized vineyards in production – more than at any other time over the previous millennium. This resurgence was also unremarked upon by Lamb, who wrote in that same year that the English climate (the average of 1921-1950 to be precise) remained about a degree too cold for wine production. Thus the myth of the non-existant English wine industry was born and thrust headlong into the climate change debate…

    Since 1977, a further 200 or so vineyards have opened (currently 400 and counting) and they cover a much more extensive area than the recorded medieval vineyards, extending out to Cornwall, and up to Lancashire and Yorkshire where the (currently) most northerly commercial vineyard sits. So with the sole exception of one ‘rather improbably’ located 12th Century Scottish vineyard (and strictly speaking that doesn’t count, it not being in England ‘n’ all…), English vineyards have almost certainly exceeded the extent of medieval cultivation. And I hear (from normally reliable sources) they are actually producing a pretty decent selection of white wines.
    ————————-
    http://www.greenland-guide.gl/reg-south.htm
    During the summer, South Greenland fully lives up to its Danish name, Green Land, as this is the most fertile part of the country. In fact most of the flora of Greenland grow in this particular region. The winter climate is relatively mild, and summer temperatures reaching 16-18°C are not uncommon. Because of these conditions, the economic life of this area is also very different from the rest of Greenland, with sheep farming and agriculture playing an important part. If you take a boat trip along the fjords you will see isolated sheep farms, some of which have paths and rough roads leading to them, while for others the only contact with the outside world is by boat or radio transmitter.

    The sheep are rounded up in September, and some 20,000 lambs are taken on flat-bottomed boats to the slaughterhouse in Narsaq, one of the three sizeable large towns in South Greenland.

    Many sheep farmers have built cabins near their farms, in which guests can stay for a day or two before they continue on foot to the next farm.

    The abundant fertility of this region was also the reason why Eric the Red chose to live in South Greenland in around 985 AD, after he was outlawed from Iceland

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

    During the “Younger Dryas” some 12,000 years ago, the earth very dramatically cooled and warmed by as much as 10 degrees Celsius in fifty years.
    Not in the data I have seen:
    7.6C in 95 years!!!! from GISP (greenland) 4.78C in 1032 years from EPICA (Antarctica)!!!!!!
    ==============================

    Plausible candidates are spontaneous variations of the complicated fluid flow patterns in the oceans and atmosphere of the earth—perhaps influenced by continental drift, volcanoes, variations of the earth’s orbital parameters (ellipticity, spin-axis orientation, etc.), asteroid and comet impacts, variations in the sun’s output (not only the visible radiation but the amount of ultraviolet light, and the solar wind with its magnetic field), variations in cosmic rays leading to variations in cloud cover, and other causes.

    Continetal drift over the 500M years would not have a “perhaps” effect it would be major
    Milankovic cycles are well known and are one of the causes of massive changes in global climate – ice ages.
    Care to say how magnetic field affects climate. UV is a small part of the solar out put a change in UV of a few % will have very very little effect.

    ==============================
    The first IPCC report, issued in 1990, showed both the medieval warm period and the little ice age very clearly. In the IPCC’s 2001 report was a graph that purported to show the earth’s mean temperature since the year 1000. A yet more extreme version of the hockey stick graph made the cover of the Fiftieth Anniversary Report of the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization. To the surprise of everyone who knew about the strong evidence for the little ice age and the medieval climate optimum, the graph showed a nearly constant temperature from the year 1000 until about 150 years ago, when the temperature began to rise abruptly like the blade of a hockey stick.

    so an IPCC plot with no temperatue axis is “THE TRUTH” and everthing else by the IPCC is lies.

  63. Jon Salmi says:

    Great article – however, I would have liked to have seen more on correlation. Anyone looking at the correlation between CO2 and temperature on a time scale of 60 years or more, no cherry-picking allowed, would quickly note the lack of correlation. And, after all, lack of correlation IS lack of causation. Also, there was no mention of the Growth Constant e, which simply states that each incremental increase in temperature takes twice as much of an increase in CO2 as the previous increase by the same increment.

  64. Karen D says:

    Formatting wise, the entry repeats — not that that’s a bad thing, it’s worth reading twice! But since there’s space available, why not include the entire article right here. It’s excellent reading.

  65. M. Simon says:

    William Happer Bracketts the Fogg. Next round – fire for effect.

  66. onbe says:

    CO2 does not cause global warming.CO2 has a poor heat coefficient. Water vapor, nitrogen, oxygen, and methane have much better coefficients. One would think that the temperature on Mars would be much warmer then it is considering that Mars has about 95% CO2 atmosphere if CO2 is to blame.

  67. Reed Coray says:

    What DirkH said (May 21, 2011 at 8:51 am) rings true to me. If on balance the MWP could be used to promote (sell) CAGW, the CAGW establishment would not have tried to suppress it. The fact that some prominent CAGW team members did try to suppress the MWP means the CAGW establishment may not take too kindly to Mr. Telford.

  68. R. Gates says:

    Tom in Florida says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:29 am

    R Gates is one who should stop sipping the kool aid long enough to read the article, the entire article.
    ____
    Yes, I know R. Gates is often the fly in the ointment here at WUWT, and apparently it is believed by some that I never read scholarly articles and books about climate change, and haven’t spent decades studying the subject that includes every possible position on the subject…”warmist” and skeptic alike.

    My biggest issue with William Happer’s basic points is that he try’s to compare CO2 levels of today with levels 50 million years ago as some indication that we’d be just fine with higher levels, because life flourished under such conditions. Life is a broad category, and I would think that most of of would not just be concerned with what levels “life” flourished under, but rather, the conditions that human life, and more specifically, civilization flourished under. Over the past 800,000 years CO2 levels have been lower than we are seeing now. During this period (for more relevant than 50 million years ago) we saw homo sapiens emerge while CO2 levels remained in a range of 150 to 280 ppm. William Happer is making a huge leap into completely unfounded territory to suggest that CO2 levels much higher than we even have to day would be good for human life and existence. If you doubt this, I would point out the fact that the cultivated grain crops of the world, which are the backbone of our food supply, did not exist 50 Million years ago, and their emergence only came about fairly recently (in the past tens of thousands of years), during the period that CO2 levels remained in a that range between 150 and 280 ppm. During the period of earth’s history when CO2 levels were 1,000 ppm or higher, the wonderful grain crops that we all depend on would have never been possible, for you’d never see acres and acres of wheat, barley, corn, etc. growing in steamy hot jungles.

    It is certain that that the grain plants of the earth represent the very foundation of our civilization, and indeed, civilization came forth when farming and agriculture arose. It is also true that some plants do thrive under higher CO2 levels, but the raw ppm of CO2 and it’s direct affect on the growth of plants is not the only factor that must be looked at. We know that the hydrological cycle is greatly dependent on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. This fact, completely overlooked by William Happer, is one of the keys to the effects of higher CO2 levels on our climate, and thus, to the individual weather events that taken as a whole over the longer term, add up to make that climate. Thus, one inescapable fact of higher CO2 levels is an acceleration of the hydrological cycle. This is the earth’s nature negative feedback process that keeps CO2 levels in that range we’ve seen over the past 800,000 years. Increase CO2 levels and you increase the existence of heavy downpours in areas prone to rain, and also increase the persistence of drought in areas prone to drought. Neither of these are conducive to growing the large acreage of grains upon which the world’s civilization depend.

    I am curious if William Happer has studied the connection between CO2 levels and the hydrological cycle. If he had, and done so in an honest and thorough way, I wouldn’t think he’d be so keen on thinking that we could see CO2 levels at 1,000 ppm without extremely negative effects on the large scale agriculture around the world, and those negative effects would not necessarily come as a result of the actual raw ppm of CO2, but rather the disruptive climate effects and alterations in the hydrological cycle caused by these higher CO2 levels. No matter how much the wheat plant may or may not like higher CO2 levels, it is hard to grow it when the fields are flooded or dry as a bone.

  69. Ed Scott says:

    The “problem” of greenhouse gas emissions should be addressed to the source – the greenhouse.

    Until some inventive person conceives a device to attach to a greenhouse that will convert greenhouse gas emissions to atmospheric gases, the problem of greenhouse gas emissions can never be solved.

    However, the UN/IPCC can solve this problem by international treaty banning all greenhouses and assessing crippling fines to treaty violators.

    In the meantime, we can protect against the dangers of greenhouse emissions by acquiring factual information on the science surrounding the controversy by referring to the common sense exposition of scientific facts by Professor Happer:
    Professor denies global warming theory
    http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/01/12/22506/print/

    “This is George Orwell. This is the ‘Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda,” Happer, the Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, said in an interview. “Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that’s a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult.”

    and by referencing the comprehensive work of The Galileo Movement: http://www.galileomovement.com.au/galileo_movement.php

  70. R. Gates says:

    Katherine says:
    May 21, 2011 at 9:41 am

    There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2—except that we would have nothing to eat and a few other minor inconveniences, because most plants stop growing if the levels drop much below 150 ppm.

    Actually, humans require carbon dioxide for proper respiration. CO2 is a natural vasodilation agent that facilitates perfusion.
    http://www.normalbreathing.com/CO2-vasodilation.php

    In fact, hypocapnia (the state of reduced carbon dioxide in the blood) causes cerebral vasoconstriction, leading to cerebral hypoxia and causing transient dizziness, visual disturbances, anxiety, and even blackouts.

    _____
    As I’ve pointed out numerous times here on WUWT…the troposphere, much like the human body, likes to see CO2 in a RANGE, not too high, and not too low. Likewise, the human body, like the planet, have natural negative feedback responses to keep CO2 in a range. In both cases, if those natural feedback processes are overwhelmed by a large influx of CO2, some interesting (and usually rather nasty) effects begin to occur.

    “All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison….” Paracelsus (1493-1541)

  71. Smokey says:

    walt man says:

    “so an IPCC plot with no temperatue axis is “THE TRUTH” and everthing else by the IPCC is lies.”

    You’re pretty close. The 1st Assessment Report was generally acceptable science. But every subsequent IPCC report has gotten progressively less honest. At this point it is simply self-serving propaganda written by alarmists and the WWF, with no honest skeptical scientists permitted to author.

    Next, R.B. Alley shows the abrupt and extreme temperature changes just prior to the Holocene.

    Finally, current temperatures and trends are nothing unusual, and even NOAA shows clearly that the MWP existed [click in chart to embiggen]. And the ice core records from both hemispheres show close correlation, indicating that the MWP and similar events were global.

    Fine article by Dr. Happer. Great to see an esteemed physicist talking facts and evidence, instead of parroting the always-inaccurate computer model predictions.

  72. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    ………carbon dioxide (CO2 ) is not one of these pollutants……

    Richard Feynman on CO2 in the environment. CO2 is a natural part of life.

  73. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Now the Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate atmospheric CO2 as a “pollutant.”

    —————————————————————————————–

    “Greenhouse gases are pollution.”

    –Lisa Jackson
    current EPA head

    31 second video where the quote came from:

    H2O is a greenhouse gas. Is H2O pollution?

  74. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    The current rate of burning fossil fuels adds about 2 ppm per year to the atmosphere, so that getting from the current level to 1000 ppm would take about 300 years

    That would assume all factors in the earth stay the same as they are now. If there is cooling in the earth CO2 will sink into the oceans. That would throw the math of the statement off.

  75. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Other things being equal, more CO2 will cause more warming.

    That may not necessarily be true.

    This 2 part video series with Roy Spencer shows there may be cooling.

    part 1

    part 2

  76. jorgekafkazar says:

    Judging from the number of trolls coming out of the woodwork, this article is a significant threat to the CAGW industry. Well done!

  77. Dr T G Watkins says:

    Harry Dale Huffman is not the only one to present compelling evidence about the so called ‘greenhouse’ effect. As well as Claes Johnson, Lubos Motl and John Nicoll (emeritus Prof. Physics, James Cook Uni. Townsville, Aus.) have written analyses.
    Jo Nova has had a recent post on this subject where she suggests that denying the ‘greenhouse’ effect is for morons and makes sceptics somehow unscientific for not accepting the back-radiation theory.
    Clearly my ‘Alzheimer’s’ is progressing rapidly but I hope I’m still compus mentis when the science is agreed.
    For what it’s worth based only on extensive reading, I’m with Huffman, Motl et al.

  78. Andrew H says:

    Thanks for putting Prof Happers article on WUWT. It should be compulsary reading for all politicians, especially the ones in our (UK) government.
    A rise in CO2 from 270ppm to 380ppm sounds a lot but it does not sound so great when it is 0.00027% to 0.00038% (if the former figure is accurate, which I doubt). What it does show is that plants must be highly efficient to utilise this minute percentage of gas. Surely they will draw off more CO2 from the atmoshere if the amount does increase. Common sense tells me that this tiny percentage is going to make s*d all difference to global temperatures.

  79. Ken Harvey says:

    What a pity it is that too few scientists have the ability to express themselves with Dr. Happer’s clarity. Lucidity overcomes so many faults.

  80. Engchamp says:

    Richard Telford says…
    “Instead we find the usual blathering about CO2 being plant food, as if that were a novel observation, or of any relevance to either climate change or ocean acidification. On the latter issue you are remarkably quiet, perhaps you know enough chemistry not to make a fool of yourself twice over.”
    Since when was a pH>7 acidic? The variation of ocean alkalinity does vary, but it has never been acidic. Some pockets of mild acidity may be there in certain seas, but not in general.

  81. Myrrh says:

    Re CO2 necessary to kick-start breathing, yes, if the level too low in the lungs they begin to shut down breathing to hold onto what they have to transport oxygen around the body firstly; so like an asthmatic attack, not being able to breathe in a defence mechanism to keep alive.. We are contributors to atmospheric CO2, producing our own to give an optimum level of around 6% in each lungful – we couldn’t survive on the amount in the atmosphere. Plants can.

  82. Sam Glasser says:

    I read a lot of opinions by R. Gates. Perhaps he should try’s (sic) to document some of them. He would appear to have a lot of knowledge? I like to look at data, myself.

  83. richard telford says:

    DirkH says:
    May 21, 2011 at 8:51 am

    we can conclude that the warmists know very well that climate sensitivity to OTHER “forcings” exists but is intentionally covered up to give all the emphasis to CO2. Richard Telford, you have just violated this code of silence. I’m not sure whether your warmist friends will be glad about that.
    ————-
    A conspiracy? Certainly no climate scientist ever published on the impact of solar variability, volcanic forcing, insolation changes, freshwater outbursts, changes in vegetation cover, ice-albedo changes, or dust on climate, except in papers that you have obviously not read.

  84. To R. Gates,

    The processes of evaporation/condensation and freezing/thawing are the climate controlling factors that also control the natural level of atmospheric CO2. CO2 is not a controlling factor and is just going along for the ride. There is a correlation between global temperature and CO2 and CO2 can be used as an indicator of a global change in climate. However, it is a lagging indicator. Global temperatures rise and fall ahead of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The myth of CAGW has nothing to do with these natural processes. CAGW was created to give some excuse to globally control the distribution and use of fossil fuels as a source of energy.

  85. Stephen Skinner says:

    “A normal human exhales around 1 kg of CO2 (the simplest chemically stable molecule of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere) per day. ”
    That means that the human population is exhaling around 2.5 billion tons of CO2 a year. Aviation puts out over 0.5 billion tons and is considered the number 1 threat. Is my math wrong?

  86. u.k.(us) says:

    R. Gates says:
    May 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

    ….”We know that the hydrological cycle is greatly dependent on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.”…..
    ==========
    This is news to me, do you have data to back it up?
    (that CO2 is the driver).

  87. ANH says:

    This is one of the best and most comprehensive articles I have read. It should be required reading for all politicians.

  88. Stephen Skinner says:

    R. Gates says:
    May 21, 2011 at 11:22 am
    “Thus, one inescapable fact of higher CO2 levels is an acceleration of the hydrological cycle.”

    Is this proven and what data is there that shows any observed changes to a specific hydrological cycle anywhere on the planet is driven by a change in CO2? How is this measured if there are many other factors that can disrupt/alter an hydrological cycle, such as general land development.

  89. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    I keep asking this question but no one has answered it yet: Do co2 enhanced greenhouses need less heating than a greenhouse with normal levels of co2?

  90. Douglas says:

    richard telford says: May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am
    [ —————. The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.
    ——————————————————————————-
    Richard telford. Perhaps you might define and describe the extent the forcing that affected the earth’s climate during the MWP.

    Thank you in anticipation of your response.
    Douglas

  91. richard telford says:

    Engchamp says:
    May 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Since when was a pH>7 acidic? The variation of ocean alkalinity does vary, but it has never been acidic.
    ——————-
    I presume you are one of those people who will never become old, just less young; and never fat, just less thin; and never poor, but less rich. And you don’t put beer in the fridge to make it cooler, but less warm; and only turn the light on to make it less dark, never brighter. You use the brakes on your car to go less fast rather than to slow down; turn the volume on your ipod up to make it less quiet, never louder. The ice in your soda never melts but becomes less frozen; your windows need undirtying rather than cleaning; and you never use a dictionary to find out what acidification means. So let me save you the effort: acidification means a decline in pH. That’s all. But if you want to call it dealkalinification, be my guest.

  92. MartinGAtkins says:

    Richard111 says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:10 am

    That statement needs support. According to Wien’s Law radiation at 15 microns (CO2 favourite) equates to a temperature of 193.2K or -79.95C. Most of the earth’s surface is way above this temperature. So how much warming and where please.

    I don’t know why you’ve left out H2O but if as you as say CO2 equates to a temperature of 193.2K or -79.95C, then it must be absorbing and re-emitting 79 Wm^2.

    So your question “So how much warming and where please.” answers itself.

    I may however misunderstood your point.

  93. Douglas says:

    Professor Happer said:
    ‘I want to discuss a contemporary moral epidemic: the notion that increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, will have disastrous consequences for mankind and for the planet. The “climate crusade” is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types—even children’s crusades—all based on contested science and dubious claims.’
    —————————————————————————-

    He did all that (and more). Essentially though, he put this whole episode of history (to date) in its true context, that of a contemporary moral epidemic.

    All the player groups in this moral epidemic have been identified for what they are. To me the value of this article is the succinct summary he provided of this event.

    The niceties of the science involved in the saga are, to a large extent, merely diversions, the characteristics of human behaviour so exposed in this resume are so tellingly true of our human nature as so often is the case, are the dominant factors that force the epidemic.

    Douglas

  94. juanslayton says:

    Andrew H: Drop the ‘%’ and your figures make sense.

  95. richard telford says:

    Douglas says:
    May 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Perhaps you might define and describe the extent the forcing that affected the earth’s climate during the MWP.
    ——————————-
    During the MWP there were, by chance, few large volcanic eruptions (see the ice-core sulphate records for evidence), and slightly stronger solar output (see Be-10 and C-14 records). There were also changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation, which were probably far more important in determining local climate change, and make it difficult to determine the global extent of the MWP.

  96. Robert of Ottawa says:

    This article makes the argument that I make, but much more eloquently than I do. I suggest people print this out and memorize it. The argument isn’t about whether we add CO2 to the atmosphere – we do simply by being alive – but is the additional CO2 harmful? This article spells it out – NO.

    My slogan:

    A WARM PLANET IS A HAPPY PLANET …. I live in Canada, I should know.

  97. R. Gates says:

    Stephen Skinner says:
    May 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    R. Gates says:
    May 21, 2011 at 11:22 am
    “Thus, one inescapable fact of higher CO2 levels is an acceleration of the hydrological cycle.”

    Is this proven and what data is there that shows any observed changes to a specific hydrological cycle anywhere on the planet is driven by a change in CO2? How is this measured if there are many other factors that can disrupt/alter an hydrological cycle, such as general land development.

    ______

    The connection between CO2 levels and the hydrological cycle are part of the rock-carbon cycle. The acceleration of the hydrological cycle in particular in response to increases in CO2 had only theorized prior to recent studies. Good introductory and recent articles can be found here:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/10/global-warming-river-flows-oceans-climate-disruption.html

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/09/28/1003292107.full.pdf+html

    And a quick google search will yield many more.

    The notion posited by William Happer, the human civilization would somehow benefit or at least not be harmed by CO2 levels far above the highest levels of the past 800,000 is absurd. Our civilization is based on somewhat stable and predictable weather, which we have generally seen during the holocene with a generally steady and predictable hydrological cycle that has allowed for agriculture to be developed and practiced. One only needs to look at the kinds of disruptions to agriculture caused by major floods and droughts to see what the results might be from an acceleration in the hydrological cycle.

  98. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Amino Acids in Meteorites linked to a Feynman video @ May 21, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I must thank you Mighty Amino for that link. Feynman (sp?) is THE BEST. Some decades ago, I tried to purloin a friends Feynam Physics textbook; he would have none of it, it was too important to him.

  99. gbaikie says:

    “Prof Happer’s article is excellent and 95% correct. We disagree on the fact about the GHG theory which other physicists conclude does not happen due to thermodynamic law violations. There are other mechanisms that explain the temperature at the surface.”

    Yeah, the article is mostly correct. There no evidence that increase in global CO2 has caused any increase in global temperatures.
    There is fairly good proof that Global CO2 levels have increased, and the is fairly good proof that global temperature have increase since the time of the end of the Little Ice Age- we can say when the Little Ice Age ended- meaning at that point, global temperatures started rising.
    We have a accurate record of Little Ice Age and it’s ending in measuring the advance and retreat of many different glaciers.
    It should noted that the glaciers created during the Little Ice age have not yet all melted- if one were merely looking at glacier advances and retreats, we have yet to completely leave the Little Ice Age- though we at a part of that period where there has already been very significant retreat [in regards to the Little Ice Age, but very insignificant retreat or any kind movement in regards to Ice Ages- hence term *Little* Ice Age]
    What is significant about current temperature is the warming in regard to Little Ice Age and why the Little Age was a colder than “normal” period. We warm because we were once much cooler. So rather ask what is causing warming we could ask what caused the cooler.
    And there some scientific consensus that what caused the cooling was the Sun’s activity- there was long period in which there little activity of the Sun as measured by the lack of sunspots. No one has suggested that CO2 levels had anything to do with the cause the Little Ice Age.
    So we had a centuries long period of cooling in which crops failed, had very cool weather, and glaciers were advancing and some towns/villages were destroyed by advancing glaciers. Very definite proof of “global cooling”. So, during our present rather short warming period to continue, one thing required would normal sunspot activity- as long as we don’t get a very long period in which there no sunspots, we should continue to recover from the Little Age Ice.

    Now we ice core records that show that during warming periods, CO2 levels rise. It would seem reasonable that human activity is adding to the rise of global levels of CO2, but it would unreasonable to assume that without human activity that CO2 would not rise. So perhaps without any human emission, CO2 level would be rising at a much lower rate.

  100. R. Gates says:

    u.k.(us) says:
    May 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    R. Gates says:
    May 21, 2011 at 11:22 am

    ….”We know that the hydrological cycle is greatly dependent on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.”…..
    ==========
    This is news to me, do you have data to back it up?
    (that CO2 is the driver).
    _____

    The rock-carbon cycle and it’s connection to the hydrological cycle is a huge missing piece to William Happers contention that human life would not be harmed by higher CO2 levels. But to your point, there are many good recent studies done on the connection between CO2, warmer temps, and the acceleration of the hydrological cycle. I would suggest you begin here:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/09/28/1003292107.full.pdf+html

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2010/10/global-warming-river-flows-oceans-climate-disruption.html

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/groups/schaer/research/rad_and_hydro_cycle_global

    http://www.waterandclimateinformationcentre.org/resources/8022007_Huntington2006_JHy.pdf

    ___

    Again, some plants may like higher CO2 levels, and some may not, but the bigger issue is whether or not the climate will change to such an extent that growing enough grains on a large enough scale will be possible to feed 7 Billion people if there are frequent heavy rains or droughts around the world.

  101. R. Gates says:

    Fred H. Haynie says:
    May 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    To R. Gates,

    The processes of evaporation/condensation and freezing/thawing are the climate controlling factors that also control the natural level of atmospheric CO2. CO2 is not a controlling factor and is just going along for the ride. There is a correlation between global temperature and CO2 and CO2 can be used as an indicator of a global change in climate. However, it is a lagging indicator. Global temperatures rise and fall ahead of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. The myth of CAGW has nothing to do with these natural processes. CAGW was created to give some excuse to globally control the distribution and use of fossil fuels as a source of energy

    ______
    You fail to mention the tight connection between the rock-carbon cycle and the hydrological cycle. This is all about carbon and all about a long term cycle the controls the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. From the earth’s perspective, carbon dioxide is hardly just a minor trace gas, but because it is non-condensing, and is not taken out of the atmosphere by simply lowering the temperature, it become the master thermostat of the planet. Water vapor is a strong GH gas, but is quickly condensed out when temps fall, so a slight cooling trend would be a positive feedback and be accelerated as water vapor is condensed out, whereas CO2 remains far more constant, and is only taken out of the atmosphere on a longer term basis by the weathering of rocks.

  102. Girma says:

    William

    A joy to read article.

    Thank you.

  103. ferd berple says:

    If CO2 cause warming, then why do all the models predict a tropical hot spot, yet it is clear from observation that no such hot spot exists. In any other branch of science, that would constitute falsification of the theory of greenhouse gas global warming.

    Why do we continue to say that CO2 causes warming, when the predictions do not match the observations?

    The reason is simple. The earth is 33 degrees hotter than predicted. This extra warming is assumed to result from greenhouse gas. However, this is only an assumption.

    There is an ocean of nitrogen and oxygen over our heads. The theory of greenhouse gas says that this has no effect on the surface temperature of the earth. That the full 33 degrees of extra warming results from a minute amount of H2O and even smaller amount of CO2.

    Is that reasonable? Why then does the atmosphere cool with altitude? Gravity controls the temperature difference of the air (lapse rate), and the air is in contact with the surface, how is it that gravity is not affecting the temperature of the surface? Why is gravity not accounted for in the greehouse gas theory?

  104. ferd berple says:

    “acidification” of the oceans is scientifically incorrect. Adding a small amount of acid to a large amount of base is called “neutralization”.

    Adding CO2 to the oceans is correctly called “neutralization”. Given the large amount of salt (buffer) in the ocean, it would require a fantastic amount of CO2 to render the ocean acidic. The great deposits of limestone around the world were built from CO2 and ocean salts.

  105. ferd berple says:

    “the human population is exhaling around 2.5 billion tons of CO2 per year.”

    That looks correct. People breathing produce 5 time more CO2 than does the entire UK economy. 6 times more CO2 than the entire Australian economy.

    So, if you want to get rid of CO2 polution, really the problem is people breathing.

  106. tonyb says:

    R Gates said;

    “Our civilization is based on somewhat stable and predictable weather, which we have generally seen during the holocene with a generally steady and predictable hydrological cycle that has allowed for agriculture to be developed and practiced.”

    On what do you base those assertions?

    tonyb

  107. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    The EPA says greenhouse gases are pollution. If only we could get rid of all that greenhouse pollution! Who needs a stinkin atmosphere!

  108. Dr. Dave says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    “… and you never use a dictionary to find out what acidification means. So let me save you the effort: acidification means a decline in pH. That’s all. But if you want to call it dealkalinification, be my guest…”
    ___________________________________________________________
    I presume you never learned about buffered solutions. Have you any idea of the amount of acid required to significantly change global ocean pH? Did you ever take basic inorganic chemistry?

  109. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    gbaikie says:
    May 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    So we had a centuries long period of cooling in which crops failed….

    Sallie Ballunis, astrophysicist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, with a short talk on how bad the Little Ice Age got and how humans turn on humans through superstition.

    7:39 video

  110. Douglas says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 2:42 pm
    Douglas says:
    May 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    Perhaps you might define and describe the extent the forcing that affected the earth’s climate during the MWP.
    ——————————-
    During the MWP there were, by chance, few large volcanic eruptions (see the ice-core sulphate records for evidence), and slightly stronger solar output (see Be-10 and C-14 records). There were also changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation, which were probably far more important in determining local climate change, and make it difficult to determine the global extent of the MWP.
    ———————————————————————————
    So, let me see then, if it weren’t for volcanic eruptions and stronger solar output then things would be warmer since the MWP. And just what were these changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation that seemingly ‘muddies the water’ sufficiently for you to tell me anything at all.

    Wunderbar.

    Douglas

  111. Douglas says:

    ferd berple says:
    May 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm
    [“the human population is exhaling around 2.5 billion tons of CO2 per year.”----
    So, if you want to get rid of CO2 polution, really the problem is people breathing.]
    ——————————————————————
    Well ferd, that seems to be the bottom line in the agenda.

    Douglas

  112. Old Engineer says:

    Gareth Phillips says:
    May 21, 2011 at 9:32 am
    Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics .
    Are you sure?
    =============================================================

    Perhaps you would like to see it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. The link below is Dr. Happer’s testimony before the Senate Enivronment and Public Works Committee on Feb. 25, 2009.

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/reprint/happer_senate_testimony.html

    It says in part:
    “Madam Chairman and members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee on Environment and Public Works to testify on Climate Change. My name is William Happer, and I am the Cyrus Fogg Bracket Professor of Physics at Princeton University.”

  113. sceptical says:

    It is good to see articles on this site moving beyond the “its not happening” stage to the “its happening, but won’t be bad” stage. Baby steps are still steps. Thank you.

  114. u.k.(us) says:

    R. Gates says:
    May 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm
    =============
    What’s the point of arguing, when you don’t make an effort?

  115. andy says:

    What does he mean by the “created world” at the end of the essay ?

  116. R. Gates says:

    tonyb says:
    May 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm
    R Gates said;

    “Our civilization is based on somewhat stable and predictable weather, which we have generally seen during the holocene with a generally steady and predictable hydrological cycle that has allowed for agriculture to be developed and practiced.”

    On what do you base those assertions?

    tonyb
    —————
    It’s called history. The Holocene has been one of the most stable climate regimes in the past several million years and during that time, CO2 has been far below what we have now. This stable period saw the advent of large scale agriculture and civilization. Wheat for example, was first domesticated about 9,000 BC, and is of course one of the major food crops and a reason there even can be civilization. The rapid increase in CO2 in the few hundred years may result in a disruption of the weather patterns through changes in the hydrological cycle that could be detrimental to the large scale production of many grains and other food crops. The suggestion that CO2 at 1000 ppm would good for human life and civilization in unsupported by the historical record.

  117. R. Gates says:

    u.k.(us) says:
    May 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm
    R. Gates says:
    May 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm
    =============
    What’s the point of arguing, when you don’t make an effort?
    ——–

    My reply at 3:07 on May 21st should have given you hours, if not days of research links into the role of carbon dioxide in both the hydrological cycle as well as the carbon-rock weathering cycle. I am thinking you’re not really interested in learning, but simple want to stick to the skeptical talking points…

  118. R. Gates says:
    May 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm
    The Holocene has been one of the most stable climate regimes in the past several million years and during that time, CO2 has been far below what we have now.

    You must be joking.

    “Far below” “in the past several million years” — and all this time R. Gates was patiently taking measurements.

    (Just don’t mention ice core samples. Don’t. We know all about them. We know how unreliable they are, and how their interpreters are at each others throat all the time.)

  119. robt says:

    Engchamp, acidification is standard terminology and the activist AGW people know it will confuse some people but when the ignorati in the press write articles about the acid seas eating away coral reefs and shells, they remain quiet, while at the same time complaining that they can’t get their message across. It also gives people like richard telford the opportunity to rub your nose in it if you offer the chance.

  120. onbe says:

    Kelvin Vaughan says:
    May 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I keep asking this question but no one has answered it yet: Do co2 enhanced greenhouses need less heating than a greenhouse with normal levels of co2?
    —————————–
    It is a guess but I would say no. The day to night temps on Mars vary greatly with it’s rich CO2 environment.

  121. Christopher Hanley says:

    richard telford: “..never become old, just less young; and never fat, just less thin; and never poor, but less rich….[etc]”
    I’ll try that with the bank next time I get into overdraft: ‘no I’m not in debt, sir, just less in credit’.

  122. This is the best article on climate change I have ever seen. It is comprehensive,it discusses objectively the problem from all possible aspects. For me the herd mentality was a new but interesting point.

  123. Smokey says:

    R Gates is as ignorant of history as TonyB is up to speed on the subject. Really, Gates spouts complete nonsense based on his cognitive dissonance-afflicted belief system; a true nut case if there ever was one.

    People are better off now than they have ever been before in human history; the climate is more benign now than any prior time in human history, and Machiavellian Luddites like Gates are as disconnected from reality as anyone ever was.

    Against all the evidence, cognitively disconnected people like Gates actually believe that runaway global warming and climate catastrophe is right around the corner. Truly bizarre.

  124. Professor Bob Ryan says:

    A very nice general article which summarises the contrary position to CAGW well. It touches on two themes in particular which are not regularly addressed:

    (i) Is there an ideal level of CO2 in the atmosphere which will support the replenishment of the planet’s biomass and were preindustrial levels at that optimum level? We do not know the answer to this question.
    (ii) CO2 is seen as the principal forcing explaining the uplift in global mean temperature between 1970 – 2000. The reason for choosing this particular forcing is that there are no other obvious candidates. The problem with this line of argument is that (a) we do not know what other forcings there might be, (b) for those we do (eg: clouds and precipitation) we do not know the full magnitude of their effect and (c) we do not know the full range of interaction between different forcings (sensitivities). If there was a satisfactory justification for the variations in global temperature during the MWP and the so called little ice age then I would be more willing to give credence to the explanations given for the modern warming. But as all of the effort seems to have been put in trying to prove that the MWP and the ice age did not exist when the historical evidence is abundant in asserting they did then I remain skeptical about the claims made for the role of co2.

  125. R. Gates says:

    Smokey,

    Once more you’ve got nothing to offer but your endless stream of ad hominems. Really, can’t you grasp the science well enough to stick with the issues?

    The unusually mild Holocene climate brought about the conditions whereby basic grain crops could be domesticated. Had this not happened, there’d be no civilization. During this time, CO2 stayed within a range well documented in the ice core record and it this record is not under any serious controversy. To suggest that the atmospheric levels of CO2 could now spike well outside this range without some diruption to the climate and hence disruption to the large scale agriculture that supports earths 7+ billion humans has no foundation in history or science. But as usual, these facts are wasted on you…

  126. Stuart May says:

    Increased concentrations of atmospheric co2 has also coincided with human life expectancy increasing. Would the IPCC deem this correlation as causation I wonder?

  127. tonyb says:

    R Gates

    Thanks for your reply but I am well aware of my history thank you. I was querying your assertion regarding the stability of the climate-Prof Bob Ryan in the post just above summed it up nicely;

    “But as all of the effort seems to have been put in trying to prove that the MWP and the ice age did not exist when the historical evidence is abundant in asserting they did then I remain skeptical about the claims made for the role of co2.”

    History tells us of vast shifts in our climate within the lifespan of Humanity and in particiular that of domestication-roughly since the end of the Ice Age..

    When I asked you to cite the studies that demonstrate this stability you reply in a general manner. This is a a very similar line to the Met office. I asked the MET office what supported their view that the climate was stable until the advent of rising Co2 levels. They refused to cite their evidence so I am asking you. Thank you.

    tonyb

  128. Laurence M. Sheehan, PE says:

    To attempt to reduce the concentration of the trace gas that provides us with all of the food we eat and all of the oxygen we have to breathe is total madness.

    Higher concentrations of CO2 are far likelier to bring about colder temperatures than warmer. Of course, knowledge in physics, chemistry and biology, all three, would be needed to comprehend the situation.

  129. Dave Springer says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 5:08 am

    “The MWP demonstrates that the earth’s climate is sensitive to changes in forcing, and would caution rational folk that perhaps we shouldn’t twist the dials too far.”

    No Richard. Rational folk realize that more CO2 and a warmer planet are a good thing. Rational scientists realize that the earth is in a ice age, the Holocene interglacial is near its natural end, and it would behoove us to twist the dials as far away from the next glacial epic as we possibly can.

    [snip]

  130. Dave Springer says:

    There is not a single thing in Happer’s article that is not true. The net effect of rising atmospheric CO2 is hugely beneficial to the biosphere on this third rock from the sun.

    For the nattering nabbobs of negativity which comprise the CAGW fraud: The jig is up. The party is over. Crawl back under your rocks while you still can.

  131. Andrew H says:

    Humans exhale 2.5 billion tons of CO2. What about mammals, fish, bacteria, fungi, plants (when they are not photosynthesising), insects, other invertebrates? The biomass of all these species is a lot higher than homo sapiens therefore so is CO2 output.
    When you add in forest fires, volcanic action on limestone etc the amount of CO2 produced by humans is put into the context that it should have been in all along.
    Some idiot even suggested that farting cows were to blame for global warming, so we should add in methane from natural sources as well.
    Presumably all the oil, natural gas, coal and limestone was once atmospheric CO2 as well?
    If these questions can be answered this could be another nail in the coffin of the warmists.

  132. Ross says:

    Just a quick answer to Roger Carr:

    You are correct in that CO2 is the driving force in our breathing – in an environment devoid of oxygen we can happily exhale CO2 and pass quietly into oblivion with little physiological panic. If, on the other hand we are in an atmosphere where we cannot rid our bodies of the CO2 bi-product of respiration we enter deep physiological stress and commence uncontrollable panic breathing trying to remove the CO2.

    But it not atmospheric CO2 that causes this unless the levels are extremely high and we cannot exchange the CO2 in our blood for oxygen in the air.

    So, yes CO2 drives our breathing but it is our need to remove this waste product of metabolism from our blood and has nothing to do with CO2 in the air.

    This is easily confirmed by a simple experiment most physiology students would know; a person breathes recycled air which is passed through water and limestone to remove CO2. This person breathes happily without stress until the oxygen levels decrease and the person can lose consciousness, without panic. However remove the limestone, hence concentrating the CO2 in the recycled air and the person begins to panic long before the oxygen levels drop.

    Interesting that lack of oxygen isn’t what drives our breathing and panic response – NB I’m not saying breathing rarified air isn’t difficult but being unable to remove CO2 from our bloodstream is a much more powerful response trigger.

  133. Dave Springer says:

    ferd berple says:
    May 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    “If CO2 cause warming, then why do all the models predict a tropical hot spot, yet it is clear from observation that no such hot spot exists. In any other branch of science, that would constitute falsification of the theory of greenhouse gas global warming.”

    Lack of evidence if not a proof. To be fair there are were two expected signatures. A warming in the middle tropical troposphere and attendant cooling of the stratosphere. There is evidence of the latter. In the turbulent troposphere such measurements are more difficult and the magnitude is so small it is questionable whether satellites have sufficient precision.

    “Why do we continue to say that CO2 causes warming, when the predictions do not match the observations?”

    Because, as Happer states, the underlying physics are without any reasonable doubt. If everything else remains equal more CO2 will slow surface cooling with the same surety that putting an extra blanket on your bed will help retain body heat. Both mechanisms are well understood.

    “The reason is simple. The earth is 33 degrees hotter than predicted. This extra warming is assumed to result from greenhouse gas. However, this is only an assumption.”

    The extra warming is largely the result of a liquid ocean covering 71% of the surface. Water is a greenhouse fluid. It is transparent to visible light and opaque in the infrared which are the same properties that distinguish greenhouse gases from non-greenhouse gases. There are orders of magnitude more water molecules in the mixed layer of the ocean than there are greenhouse gas molecules above it. GHGs comprise at most 5% of the weight of the atmosphere, almost all of that being water vapor, which is of far more consequence than CO2 in regard to greenhouse effect. So we have less than one pound per square inch of greenhouse gases above the ocean surface. A column of water approximately 2 feet deep contains the same amount of water. Sunlight penetrates to a depth of approximately 300 feet and warms the water to that depth. This top 300 feet of ocean is called “the mixed layer”.

    The sun radiatively warms the ocean to a depth of 300 feet yet because water is opaque to infrared it cannot cool radiatively except from an exceedingly thin (less than the width of a human hair) surface layer. So the energy from sunlight, which penetrates the ocean at the speed of light, must escape by some slower means of bringing that warmed water to the surface where it may cool.

    This is exactly what water and CO2 does. It lets energy in at the speed of light when the sun is shining but doesn’t let it escape at the speed of light when the sun isn’t shining. The inescapable result is that surface temperature will rise until equilibrium is reestablished.

    “There is an ocean of nitrogen and oxygen over our heads. The theory of greenhouse gas says that this has no effect on the surface temperature of the earth. That the full 33 degrees of extra warming results from a minute amount of H2O and even smaller amount of CO2.”

    The greatest consequence of O2/N2 is in establishing a surface pressure which raises the boiling point of water such that there is a 212F range where liquid water can exist. Without that pressure the ocean would have boiled off and been lost long ago. A secondary effect is thermal inertia. It evens out the difference between day and night temperature but does nothing to move the average temperature on way or the other.

    “Is that reasonable? Why then does the atmosphere cool with altitude? Gravity controls the temperature difference of the air (lapse rate), and the air is in contact with the surface, how is it that gravity is not affecting the temperature of the surface? Why is gravity not accounted for in the greehouse gas theory?”

    Gases only rise in temparature as they are being compressed. Unless the force of gravity at the surface is rising there can be no compressional heating.

    The reason the atmosphere gets cooler with increasing altitude (which isn’t the rule in the upper atmosphere by the way) is because the lower atmosphere is warmed by the ocean and the farther you get from the source of the heat the cooler it will be.

    The sun warms the ocean. The ocean warms the atmosphere. Got it? Write that down.

    Ferd, you’re clueless when it comes to the physics of gases but I hold out some hope for you in chemistry. The comment you made about the resistance of buffered solutions to pH change was perfect and you deserve medal for pointing out that the correct term for decreasing alkalinity is neutralization. I took inorganic chemistry 30 years ago in college and am ashamed I didn’t recall the correct terminology. I thank you for reminding me.

    [snip - I assume the last bit I've just snipped was left in in error ~jove, mod]

  134. philincalifornia says:

    robt says:
    May 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm
    Engchamp, acidification is standard terminology and the activist AGW people know it will confuse some people but when the ignorati in the press write articles about the acid seas eating away coral reefs and shells, they remain quiet, while at the same time complaining that they can’t get their message across. It also gives people like richard telford the opportunity to rub your nose in it if you offer the chance.
    ——————————————–
    Yes, it was a standard colloquial terminology that reducing the pH of an alkaline solution by addition of, in this case, carbonic acid was acidification. Not so any more. Now that the frauds and their willing dupes, like Telford, have abused the innocent, but slightly inaccurate terminology to further dupe the masses on a large scale, chemists (myself included) need to spread the word that going from a pH state that has nothing to do with acidity to another pH state that has nothing to do with acidity is NOT acidification.

    Their abuse of science and its historical values is not only temporary but furthermore, when this abuse of science is pointed out to non-scientists, these frauds are seen to be not only below the level at which they can legitimately claim to be scientists, but that they are also liars.

    ………… but yet they still think that doing more of the same will get their bogus message across !!!

  135. Joe Lalonde says:

    Anthony,

    Science biggest mistake is lumping C02 and heat together as the same source.

  136. Buzz Belleville says:

    Of course, the definition of “pollutant” that EPA is required (REQUIRED!) to apply is written in the Clean Air Act, not in Webster’s or Wikipedia. That definition includes “any physical, chemical, biological or radioactive substance or matter that is emitted into the ambient air.” CO2 is undeniably a ‘pollutant’ under that Congressionally-prescribed definition.

  137. Smokey says:

    Dave Springer,

    That was an excellent overview of the basics. Maybe a little harsh calling ferd clueless; he was mostly just asking questions. And you might want to re-visit the 212°F statement – water freezes at 32°F. Otherwise, a fine explanation.

  138. R. Gates says:

    Tonyb said: (to R Gates)

    ” I asked the MET office what supported their view that the climate was stable until the advent of rising Co2 levels. They refused to cite their evidence so I am asking you. Thank you.

    ———–
    I have no idea what the MET office’s reasoning behind anything is. The geologic record, ice core data, and the basic theory behind the rock weathering-carbon cycle all indicate that rising amounts of CO2 are naturally balanced by the the negative feedback process of increased rock weathering that removes CO2 from the atmosphere so net effect over long periods of geologic time is to keep CO2 in a range. The increaesed rock weathering is brought about by acceleration of the hydrological cycle. This acceleration mean more heavy downpours in some areas and more intense drought in others– both of which are disruptive to large scale agriculture. Hence, the contention that CO2 levels at 1000 ppm would be good for the 7+ billion humans on earth who depend on large scale agriculture is ridiculous.

  139. theBuckWheat says:

    The data from Vostok Station shows repeated cycles of CO2 and temperature. Since there are two different levels of CO2 at a given temperature, it cannot be the primary driver.

  140. Bruce Cobb says:

    Gates says:
    To suggest that the atmospheric levels of CO2 could now spike well outside this range without some diruption to the climate and hence disruption to the large scale agriculture that supports earths 7+ billion humans has no foundation in history or science.
    And on what basis, pray tell, do you believe the increase in C02 that has occurred so far has “disrupted” the climate, or has in any way “disrupted” agriculture? Unless you call supplying crops with plant food “disruption”. It is your claim itself that actually has no foundation in either history or science, and is based on nothing more than the laughable Precautionary Principle.

  141. Dan says:

    Happer stated
    “About fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.”

    Sorry run that by me again, as I recall 50 million years ago coincides with the peak of the PETM (Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum) (55-45 million years ago) when Co2 levels did indeed spike to ~2000ppm, with the very affects being talked about linked to the current AGW problem a global temp 6°C (11°F) warmer than today and ocean acidification event that is thought to have caused 35-50% rates of extinction in the deep ocean life, corals and plankton, and in spite of the fact there were no icecaps to melt sea level rise due to thermal expansion.
    The difference today is we have polar cap that can and are melting causing a more pronounced sea level rise, and rising ocean acidification is already being measured in oceans around the world.
    This “Professor of Physics” dosn’t seem to have much of a grasp of what he is talking about.

  142. Stuart May says:

    CERN and a Dutch team are doing ongoing experiments in relation to cosmic ray effects on the earth’s climate …. what experiments have been/ will be done in relation to various concentrations of CO2 effect on the earth’s climate … given the massive doubt of this building up, I would have thought parties concerned would be falling over themselves to PROVE that rising levels of CO2 will undoubtedly warm the planet up.

  143. philincalifornia says:

    R. Gates says:
    May 22, 2011 at 5:38 am

    The increaesed rock weathering is brought about by acceleration of the hydrological cycle. This acceleration mean more heavy downpours in some areas and more intense drought in others– both of which are disruptive to large scale agriculture. Hence, the contention that CO2 levels at 1000 ppm would be good for the 7+ billion humans on earth who depend on large scale agriculture is ridiculous.
    ——————————————
    Wow, who would have thought that this climate stuff was so simple ??

    Just out of curiosity, do you have any referenced evidence for:

    Anthropogenic CO2 causing heavy downpours in some areas ??

    Anthropogenic CO2 causing more intense drought in others ??

    The above being disruptive to large scale agriculture ??

  144. Bruce Cobb says:

    It seems carbonophobes like Gates have latched onto a new pseudoscientific “explanation” for why man’s Co2 is “Bad” – the hydrologic cycle. The fact that the plants are thriving on it just can not dissuade these negative nellies from their ultimate mission – of making everyone just as miserable and life-negating as they are.

  145. philincalifornia says:

    Dan says:
    May 22, 2011 at 7:20 am

    The difference today is we have polar cap that can and are melting causing a more pronounced sea level rise
    —————————————
    What data are you looking at dude ??

    There have ben a couple or more posts on here on here in recent days on this topic. Very data intensive. There’s no excuse for spouting that crap.

  146. tonyb says:

    R Gates said

    “Hence, the contention that CO2 levels at 1000 ppm would be good for the 7+ billion humans on earth who depend on large scale agriculture is ridiculous.”

    I have certainly never argued that 1000ppm Co2 is good (although whether there is enough available carbon to reach that level is another matter.) and this wasn’t my question.

    What I asked is what evidence you have for your assertion that we had a constant climate until Co2 started reaching a somewhat arbitrary figure of of over 290ppm . The Met office refuse to tell me so I was hoping you might have the proof to hand as I’ve never seen it in all the years I’ve been researching climate change history. All the evidence points to considerable fluctuations but perhaps you (and the Met office) know better.

    tonyb

  147. Smokey says:

    Buzz Belleville,

    Under the EPA’s definition, by law everything is a “pollutant.” Oxygen is emitted by plants, as is water vapor. Wonderful for the EPA’s Ministry of Truth, eh? Ignorance is Strength, and Joe Public can be told with a straight face that “carbon” is officially pollution.

    IIRC, the latest Gallup poll indicated that 93% of Joe Public has no idea what the concentration of CO2 is: it is only a minuscule 0.00039 of the atmosphere, while the answers to Gallup’s question ranged up to 20% of the air. We have some educating to do.

  148. Smokey says:

    Gates says:

    “…so net effect over long periods of geologic time is to keep CO2 in a range.”

    Wrong as usual.

  149. Chris H says:

    I suspect that the suggested tolerable upper level of atmospheric CO2 for humans is too low. The studies by NASA are for relatively acute exposure and is limited by the ability of current human subjects to increase ventilation (total breathing) over a prolonged period and the kidneys to excrete H+ ions and create bicarbonate in order to attain a reasonable blood pH (Henderson-Hasselbach equation). The purported rise in atmospheric CO2 is going to take many hundreds of years which will allow evolutionary mechanisms to come into play. I doubt we would even notice other than slight changes in “normal” acid-base variables.

  150. Mr Lynn says:

    R. Gates says:
    May 21, 2011 at 9:09 pm
    . . . The rapid increase in CO2 in the few hundred years may result in a disruption of the weather patterns through changes in the hydrological cycle that could be detrimental to the large scale production of many grains and other food crops. The suggestion that CO2 at 1000 ppm would good for human life and civilization is unsupported by the historical record.

    [my emphasis]

    And the speculation, marked by the common Alarmist scare words “may” and “could be,” of consequences to weather patterns and crop production from increased atmospheric CO2 is equally unsupported by the historical record, or anything else for that matter.

    Even if such “changes to the hydrological cycle” could be demonstrated, we could as easily, and with more justification, speculate that mankind would switch from food crops that are doing poorly in one area to crops that do better, e.g. from wheat to rice. And remember, we now have the ability to modify plants genetically, so can create hardy new varieties in a few years instead of generations, as it took our ancestors.

    /Mr Lynn

  151. Anton says:

    Dan says:

    “This ‘Professor of Physics’ dosn’t seem to have much of a grasp of what he is talking about.”

    No Dan, you are the clown here. Had you bothered to investigate this site, you would have discovered countless articles on the non-disappearing (or more accurately, continuously increasing-then-diminishing-then-increasing) polar ice caps and the non-existent ocean acidification. The fact that you evoke as evidence of doom such laughable threats on a site where they are dealt with routinely indicates that you are not a regular visitor, or personally familiar with with either ice caps or oceans. Most of the posters here are actual scientists, not activists. I’m not one of them, but I enjoy seeing them skewer doomsayers.

    By the way, I live on a bay of the Gulf of Mexico, and can assure you the water level has not increased at all in thirty years. Unlike doomsayers glued to computers running programs they themselves have concocted in between save-the-world computer games, I did something that doesn’t seem to have ever occurred to a single one of them: I walked to the edge of the water and actually looked.

  152. Dave Springer says:

    The period 50mya to which Prof. Happer refers is called the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO). Weathering rate of strata found in the Rocky Mountains infer a CO2 level of ~1125ppm. Fossils from the era reveal deciduous forests extending all the way to the poles, sub-tropical forests to 45 degrees latitude, and tropical flora unchanged. There’s some controversy over whether the tropics were the same as some reptilian giantism in that region has been uncovered.

    Sounds pretty awful… the earth green from pole-to-pole.

    No, wait. That sounds good actually unless you’re an ice hugger. Are there those among us who prefer barren ice and rocks to green plants and animals? Anyone? Ferris Bueller? Anyone?

    These CAGW folks are nutcases down to the last man.

  153. Dave Springer says:

    What a terrible time the EEOC must have been what with the grain belt extending up to the north pole and the citrus belt extending up into Pennsylvania.

    Yeah boy, that’ll ruin the agricultural industry for sure.

    NOT.

  154. Keith Battye says:

    To those of you dissing Happer, why isn’t global warming being reflected in sea levels?

  155. Darkinbad the Brightdayler says:

    Good stuff…….a breath of fresh air……………..as it were!

  156. R. Gates,

    I read the the four references you cited and failed to find even mention of CO2 being a controlling factor in the hydrological cycle. They do indicated that the processes of evaporation/condensation and freeze/thaw tend to be self-controlling with respect to the hydrological cycles relation to temperature. You need to do your lit research objectively rather than subjectively.

  157. DCC says:

    @R. Gates who said “Thus, one inescapable fact of higher CO2 levels is an acceleration of the hydrological cycle.”

    What a pile of nonsense! Where on earth did you come up with that? Sounds like more CAGW garbage. Got a reference?

  158. DCC says:

    The Happer article seems to have struck a chord with the true believers in CAGW. I can’t recall seeing so much panic in comments on any other article posted here. As usual, their arguments are not supported by facts. Unfortunately, a few of Happer’s supporters here seem to have succumbed to fantasies of their own.

  159. Jerry Dickens says:

    An increasingly difficult aspect of being one who studies past climates:

    (1) Many people spin the data and interpretations all sorts of ways, usually depending on how one wants to support pre-conceived notions;
    (2) Very few people take the time to actually read the literature;
    (3) Remarkably fewer people fully appreciate the complexities of the science, especially including the holes in the data and the modeling, and the key unknowns.

    Take the following from the article and subsequent comments:

    “The Earth’s climate has always been changing. Our present global warming is not at all unusual by the standards of geological history, and it is probably benefiting the biosphere. Indeed, there is very little correlation between the estimates of CO2 and of the earth’s temperature over the past 550 million years (the “Phanerozoic” period).”

    “Happer stated about fifty million years ago, a brief moment in the long history of life on earth, geological evidence indicates, CO2 levels were several thousand ppm, much higher than now. And life flourished abundantly.”

    “Sorry run that by me again, as I recall 50 million years ago coincides with the peak of the PETM (Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum) (55-45 million years ago) when Co2 levels did indeed spike to ~2000ppm, with the very affects being talked about linked to the current AGW problem a global temp 6°C (11°F) warmer than today and ocean acidification event that is thought to have caused 35-50% rates of extinction in the deep ocean life, corals and plankton, and in spite of the fact there were no icecaps to melt sea level rise due to thermal expansion. The difference today is we have polar cap that can and are melting causing a more pronounced sea level rise, and rising ocean acidification is already being measured in oceans around the world. This “Professor of Physics” dosn’t seem to have much of a grasp of what he is talking about.

    “What data are you looking at dude ?? There have ben a couple or more posts on here on here in recent days on this topic. Very data intensive. There’s no excuse for spouting that crap.

    “…so net effect over long periods of geologic time is to keep CO2 in a range.”

    As to what we are almost certain:

    (A) Absolutely, Earth’s climate has changed significantly over time.

    (B) The early Paleogene (from about 57 to 45 million years ago, Ma) is rightfully interesting in this regard, because it was much warmer than today. One only has to look at fossils from this time, such as palms from Wyoming or crocodilians from the Canadian Arctic to appreciate this concept. One can also delve into the records of oxygen isotopes or crenarchea lipids or numerous other independent and more sophisticated approaches.

    (C) The absolute temperature difference relative to present-day remains somewhat unconstrained. Nonetheless, multiple independent estimates for the time of peak warmth, the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO), between about 52 and 50 Ma, suggest about 10°C warmer on average than present-day. (Though see note below).

    (D) Multiple lines of evidence suggest the enhanced warming during the early Paleogene was related to much higher greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, especially including CO2 (Zachos et al., Nature, 2008).

    (E) There is very little (if any) evidence for significant amounts of polar ice during this time. This is certainly true for sea-ice, because we can go drill the North Pole, and cores show that sediment deposited during this time occurred during ice-free conditions (see Moran et al., Nature, 2006).

    (F) During this long multi-million year interval, there were a series of geological brief events, which we now call hyperthermals. The classic example is the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM, which was noted in a comment, but did not occurred between 45 and 55 Ma, but very over a very short interval beginning about 55.5 Ma).

    (G) These hyperthermals were characterized by additional rises in temperature (~6°C during the PETM) and pronounced environmental change. For example, during the PETM, there were major changes in mammalian assemblages (hence why there is a geological boundary) and extinction of several deep-sea organisms. More notably, almost all sediment/rock records across these events are marked by a change in sediment deposition and the chemistry of various compounds. Earth’s surface clearly changed.

    (H) The hyperthermal events are almost assuredly linked to massive inputs of carbon dioxide to the ocean and atmosphere (either as CO2 or oxidized organic carbon, such as methane). This is very clear, because, across the events, the 12C/13C ration of carbon bearing phases decreases, and carbonate dissolution occurred in deep-sea sediment. The latter is the predicted effect of adding CO2 (via formation of carbonic acid).

    All this is well documented; all this is agreed by almost everyone who has spent time looking at the data and records. Indeed, I do not think anyone has suggested anything different.

    Now, here is where all the spin begins from multiple perspectives.

    (I) The notion that “there is very little correlation between the estimates of CO2 and of the earth’s temperature over the past 550 milloin years” is correct in a general sense but incorrect in the details. For most of the Phanerozoic, there are poor records for both parameters (e.g., pCO2 and temperature). (Note that the pCO2 record shown in the comment is largely based on modeling of carbon isotopes). Even across the Cenozoic – the last 65 million years – there is only modest correlation, although the records of temperature and more importantly pCO2 can be debated. However, across time intervals with good constraints (e.g., the early Paleogene), there appears to be very good correlation between changes in temperature and changes in carbon inventories (and likely CO2). As a very important point, one has to consider changing boundary conditions (ice, solar inputs, land-ocean distribution, etc.).

    (J) That life flourished abundantly during the early Paleogene, and especially during the hyperthermals, is difficult to assess. We know that entire ecosystems changed dramatically. Certainly, some organisms benefitted (thankfully including primates); some did not.

    (K) The concept of rate is missing from such presentation. We are adding about 8 GT C/yr to the atmosphere circa 2011. This is probably at least 10 times as fast as carbon entered the ocean/atmosphere system during the onset of the PETM.

    (L) While the evidence for major change across the hyperthermals is obvious, putting some these into a modeling context is really difficult (does a pulse in river sediment on an ancient margin reflect increased discharge from rivers draining land with less vegetation and an amplified hydrological cycle?).

    (M) Out of the 1000+ pages of the IPCC 2007 document, about one page of text is devoted to the early Paleogene, despite the fact that this interval has the most obvious and best-constrained examples of geologically rapid warming and massive carbon input (e.g., the PETM).

    (N) Much of the IPCC 2007 section on the early Paleogene and PETM is incorrect. The most egregious examples are (a) that the section is prefaced with the idea that we know past pCO2 but there are large uncertainties in temperature, and (b) that changes in pCO2 during the PETM drove the large temperature rise and environmental changes. We have much better constraints on past temperature than past pCO2, and there is zero evidence to support the second notion.

    On the second concept, all information suggests that warming drove (in part) the carbon massive input. This has also led to spin: do we consider the PETM a good example as to where CO2 does not cause a temperature rise, or a worrisome example of where a huge carbon cycle feedback lies in our future?

    (O) Nobody has developed even simple climate or carbon cycles model that can explain basic data for the early Paleogene in general or the hyperthermals in particular. There are two main problems.

    First, all evidence suggests the pole-to-equator temperature gradients were much lower. Even after removing ice from polar regions (and any ice-albedo effect), small increases in greenhouse gases can explain Equatorial temperatures but then the poles are too cold; large increases in greenhouse gases can explain polar temperatures, but then the Equator is too hot.

    Second, there is no mechanism in conventional models of the global carbon cycle (an opening Figure and premise to the IPCC documents by the way) to explain the changes in carbon inventories. Humans are very good at adding massive amounts of carbon to the atmosphere and ocean; it is much harder to conceptualize how this occurs naturally.

    (P) The scientific community is, in my opinion, at a bit of loss as to what to do about this information. There are obvious past examples, notably the PETM, where a major temperature rise, a massive input of carbon, and profound environmental change occurred rapidly and very close in time. This is almost indisputable – just look at the records. Some of the basic relationships are qualitatively similar to those predicted by climate models. However, the causal relationships, the quantitative details and the significance to the present-day remain very murky.

    This brings up a really interesting problem. From conversations, my understanding is that the next IPCC document will remove much of the paleo data because it is too qualitative and difficult to model. In other words, the best past analogs in which to frame many of the issues regarding the current situation should not be discussed because we do not understand them and various people will spin things accordingly. And whatever happened to curiosity-based science and trying to understand how the world works?

  160. Bart says:

    Dave Springer says:
    May 22, 2011 at 3:33 am

    A few comments:

    “If everything else remains equal more CO2 will slow surface cooling with the same surety that putting an extra blanket on your bed will help retain body heat.”

    “If everything remains equal” is the rub. The IPCC does not assume everything will remain equal. It assumes warming will beget more warming (positive feedback). Without that, there is no catastrophic rise in temperatures. In fact, if there is negative feedback, as several lines of evidence indicate is the case, there may be little rise at all.

    “This is exactly what water and CO2 does. It lets energy in at the speed of light when the sun is shining but doesn’t let it escape at the speed of light when the sun isn’t shining. The inescapable result is that surface temperature will rise until equilibrium is reestablished.”

    This description makes me uncomfortable. It’s not just the speed of egress. It has to be integrated over the surface area of a closed boundary.

    “The reason the atmosphere gets cooler with increasing altitude (which isn’t the rule in the upper atmosphere by the way) is because the lower atmosphere is warmed by the ocean and the farther you get from the source of the heat the cooler it will be.”

    It’s not so much distance from the source, as surface area over which the heat is dissipating, which increases as radius squared (i.e., very quickly).

  161. Bart says:

    Jerry Dickens says:
    May 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I think you are elucidating something which is very much on my mind when reading the literature – it is the absolute assurance in which data with very large error bars are treated as though they established incontrovertible fact.

  162. Bart says:

    … and the games which are played in which to disguise the manifold uncertainty, e.g., an average of biased measurements is still biased. It does not matter if multiple lines of evidence give the same answer – that is merely a necessary condition that they indicate Truth, but it is not sufficient. The theoretical backing must be sound and derivable from first principles.

  163. Joel Shore says:

    ferd berple says:

    If CO2 cause warming, then why do all the models predict a tropical hot spot, yet it is clear from observation that no such hot spot exists. In any other branch of science, that would constitute falsification of the theory of greenhouse gas global warming.

    As Dave Springer points out, the empirical evidence is far from clear. Furthermore, the existence or absence of the hot spot has nothing to do with the mechanism of the warming being due to greenhouse gases. It is a general consequence of the lapse rate in the tropics. Even Richard Lindzen agrees on this (and on the data likely being the problem) http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/17/richard-lindzen-a-case-against-precipitous-climate-action/ :

    For warming since 1979, there is a further problem. The dominant role of cumulus convection in the tropics requires that temperature approximately follow what is called a moist adiabatic profile. This requires that warming in the tropical upper troposphere be 2-3 times greater than at the surface. Indeed, all models do show this, but the data doesn’t and this means that something is wrong with the data.

    ferd berple says:

    Is that reasonable? Why then does the atmosphere cool with altitude? Gravity controls the temperature difference of the air (lapse rate), and the air is in contact with the surface, how is it that gravity is not affecting the temperature of the surface? Why is gravity not accounted for in the greehouse gas theory?

    You should know the answer to this because you were present in one of the threads where it was discussed: The only physical mechanism by which gravity could cause the surface temperature to be warmer than that required by detailed balance if the earth’s atmosphere were transparent to terrestrial infrared radiation would be continual gravitational collapse converting gravitational potential energy into thermal energy. We know that is not happening.

  164. A clear typo in my previous post courtesy of MSWord! Across the hyperthermal events, there are decreases in the 13C/12C ratio. Interestingly, this is very much analogous to what is happening at present-day.

    As for recent comments on ocean acidification (neutralization), I am not sure how to respond (also as a chemist). The chemistry is not difficult to understand. You add CO2 to headspace/atmosphere; CO2 enters water; the pH decreases. The relationship between CO2 and pH (at equilibrium and with water with known concentrations of dissolved species is straightforward). There is a very good reason that the pH of many popular beverages is less than 7.

    It is correct that, even with a massive input of CO2 to the ocean or atmosphere, ocean pH (average for surface waters, about 8.1) will not drop below 7.0 and become truly acidic. Nonetheless, pH should drop, and the solubility of carbonate is sensitive to changes in pH between 8.0 and 7.0. Both are testable predictions.

    We can (and have) measured a small drop in the pH in surface seawater over the last ~20 years; we can clearly see carbonate dissolution during past times of massive carbon input. Interestingly, in ocean chemistry models, things do get a bit complicated, because the total effect, especially over long (>1000 yr time scales), depends on multiple parameters, such as the flow of deep water and the amount of seafloor carbonate dissolved (what I think of as neutralization and why we separate the terminology … it’s not because of any agenda, at least among my colleagues … but because we need to model both CO2 addition and CO2 neutralization over time). Indeed, it gets even more complicated, when one considers the past, because of differences in Ca concentrations, initial seafloor carbonate distributions, bioturbation, and other parameters.

    However, that ocean pH will decrease with massive carbon addition is, in my opinion, pretty much obvious and demonstrable, at present-day and in the past. Indeed, this is far clearer than most predictions regarding climate change. I don’t think a fixation on the terminology (acidification versus neutralization), and subsequent dismissal of a clearly defensible idea is a good approach.

    Now, what the magnitude of the pH change will be, and more importantly how this will affect organisms and whether it is significant is another matter entirely. This is where the questioning should lie.

  165. Myrrh says:

    Good summary page of the history of CO2 measurements – really a must read to understand the Callendar/Keeling choice of ppm. http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/historic-variations-in-co2-measurements/

    It should also be borne in mind that Keeling had his own agenda, no scientist has credibility when he announces after less than two years of ‘gathering’ data that he had found a definite rise of CO2 due to man-made emissions. On top of the world’s largest active volcano and surrounded in constant volcanic activity producing CO2 to boot. There is no way that anything supposedly ‘background’ can be accurately monitored there. And they don’t, they just wait until they get levels within the boundaries they have pre-set of what is or is not volcanic, and adjust to fit the Keeling curve. All they are measuring is local production.

    For a different look at pre-historic level until now: http://www.american.thinker.com/2009/01/co2_fairytales_in_global_warmi.html

    The CO2 after R.A.Berner, 2001 is this Berner: http://earth.geology.yale.edu/~ajs/2001/Feb/qn020100182 pdf

    Ferdinand Engelbeen’s look at Beck’s measurements has some interesting comparisons of levels if not taking Keeling et al as ‘gospel’. Bearing in mind that CO2 being heavier than Air will sink in windless conditions and readily joins with water to come down in the rain so tends to be produced and distributed locally, so not reading from the slant that these are not therefore accurate, but rather the natural variations of CO2 where it’s required – where it’s first required, where plants can use it.. (Plants by the way take in Carbon Dioxide through stomata on the the underside of their leaves – seems they’re not looking for this ‘well-mixed background’ level high in the sky.)

    And finally a short summary of various studies from Beck: http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm

    Actually not finally, I can’t find it for the moment, but someone posted a link to CO2 danger levels and was quite worried about rising amounts in the atmosphere because of this. The examples were from places like auditoriums where a lot of people gathered in not too well ventilated rooms – if you convert the figures into parts per million you’ll be able to compare it with levels in our atmosphere.

    CO2 is a trace gas, it doesn’t even make a stitch in this ‘insulating blanket’ of AGW fame. Which means the blanket is practically all holes, practically 100% not CO2, so doubling the level of CO2 isn’t going to make any difference at all – there is no blanket, there’s no danger of us getting even a headache from it. However, if you’re going for a p-up in a brewery, don’t fall asleep on the floor..

  166. Myrrh says:

    ferd berple asks: “Why is not gravity accounted for in the greenhouse gas theory?”

    Because an ideal gas isn’t subject to it? That’s how CO2 stays well-mixed in the atmosphere.

  167. Buzz Belleville says:

    Smokey — That’s not “EPA’s definition.” It is the definition provided in the Clean Air Act, passed by Congress not EPA.

    And while many things do indeed qualify as ‘pollutants’ under that definition, EPA is only required to regulate such pollutants when they “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare,” with welfare defined broadly to include impacts on weather and climate. (Hence, the endangerment finding).

  168. Smokey says:

    Thanks, Buzz, I got that. It’s the definition EPA operates under. And as you point out, it is so vague as to be meaningless when they use words like “anticipated.”

  169. Smokey says:

    Gates says:

    “I would ask the honest skeptic out there: What is the chance that the highest CO2 levels in 800,000 years (40% higher than we had as an average over that 800,000 year period) is not having some effect on the polar regions– specifically, for now, the N. pole?”

    The honest skeptic answers: I’ve repeatedly asked you to produce evidence, if you can. After a 40% increase in CO2 – enough to scare the pants off any true believer alarmist – there certainly must be reams of testable, verifiable raw data and observations showing conclusively that CO2 is causing Arctic ice decline.

    Go ahead and post it. I’ll wait here.

  170. Chris Riley says:

    “We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people”

    What if, in the absence of human intervention, CO2 concentration can be shown to be taking a random walk, and the catastrophic part of CAGW is actually trivial , and any harm from whatever temperature increases the combustion of fossil fuels causes can be ignored (TAGW replaces CAGW) ?

    If these conditions are met then any application of the precautionary principle would involve a negative Pigovian tax (subsidy for CO2 emissions) as the current concentration is now much closer to the level where it would be too low for the amount of agricultural productivity necessary for human prosperity than it is to the point where it seriously interferes with the physiology of animals.

    Of course the answer might be different, or the optimum subsidy smaller, if it is the log of the concentration that is taking the walk.

  171. Roger Carr says:

    Katherine says: (May 21, 2011 at 9:41 am)
    Actually, humans require carbon dioxide for proper respiration.

    Myrrh says: (May 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm)
    Re CO2 necessary to kick-start breathing, yes, if the level too low in the lungs they begin to shut down breathing…

    Which would confirm my concern that near the head of this story, William Harper said both: “There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2…” and “Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate.”

    This error or slip tarnished the full article for me, and weakens it.

  172. philincalifornia says:

    Jerry Dickens says:
    May 22, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I don’t think a fixation on the terminology (acidification versus neutralization), and subsequent dismissal of a clearly defensible idea is a good approach.
    ————————————————–

    First, thanks Jerry for your excellent and highly educational posts.

    Let me also clarify a few things about your comments regarding my posts as it appears at first glance that we are are talking at cross-purposes when, in actual fact, we are not really talking about the same thing.

    When I responded to this – “The difference today is we have polar cap that can and are melting causing a more pronounced sea level rise”, from Dan, I believe, I was correcting his view that there is a more pronounced sea level rise – as in recent history. As the CU data shows, his statement is simply not true. This was not related in any way to the early Paleogene and PETM, and I’m not sure why you thought it was.

    More importantly, my post regarding the phrase “ocean acidification” was not related to the simple science you describe. It was related to how a simple slight “mistake” in historical chemistry terminology is being exploited, by the usual suspects who can’t get real jobs, to scare people into thinking that the oceans are turning into something that resembles a hydrochloric acid solution or some such garbage, so that their self-righteous indignation to this can foster more theft of taxpayer money to pay for their fraudulently manufactured jobs. If you don’t believe me, Google “ocean acidification corrosive”, and tell me that these pages are not meant to give the impression that the oceans are at pH 2, 3 , 4, 5, as opposed to being slightly alkaline ??? I’m sorry Jerry, but this is deliberate and fraudulent abuse of the term “acidification”.

    When I posted that, it was with my Organic Chemist Ph.D. hat firmly off. I’m definitely interested in your opinion on this when you take your equivalent hat off too. You see, the public will catch on to the fact that this is another semantic scam (as in “the climate crisis”), but by then, the fake environmentalists will have spent the money that real environmentalists could have used to actually preserve and better the environment.

  173. DCC says:

    @Roger Carr said:

    Myrrh says: (May 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm)
    Re CO2 necessary to kick-start breathing, yes, if the level too low in the lungs they begin to shut down breathing…

    Which would confirm my concern that near the head of this story, William Harper said both: “There is no lower limit for human beings, but there is for human life. We would be perfectly healthy in a world with little or no atmospheric CO2…” …

    This error or slip tarnished the full article for me, and weakens it.

    You need to read more carefully. The statement was that there is no lower limit of CO2 in the atmosphere. The CO2 that is necessary for human life is in the lungs, NOT in the atmosphere.

  174. philincalifornia says:

    Roger Carr says:
    May 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Katherine says: (May 21, 2011 at 9:41 am)
    Actually, humans require carbon dioxide for proper respiration.

    Myrrh says: (May 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm)
    Re CO2 necessary to kick-start breathing, yes, if the level too low in the lungs they begin to shut down breathing…

    This error or slip tarnished the full article for me, and weakens it.
    ————————————————————-

    Let me remove that tarnish for you.

    Katherine and Myrrh mean well, but they’re confusing atmospheric levels of CO2 and physiological levels of CO2 in the blood (primarily). The latter levels are a function of oxygen metabolism, and their perturbation downwards are associated primarily with hyperventilation, and are not related to atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Now, human survival without food would be another matter entirely, but I don’t think that was Happer’s point.

  175. philincalifornia says:

    Just saw DCC’s comment.

    So there’s no confusion – blood levels, lung levels, either synonymous or directly related given the half tennis court surface area for gas transfer between the bloodstream and the lung.

  176. So, I went to Google and typed “ocean acidification corrosive”.

    The first thing that popped up, at least for me, was “scholarly articles”, with three papers listed. The second of these papers is by Scott Doney and colleagues, and is entitled “Ocean Acidification: the other CO2 problem.” This is fortunate because their paper is a very thorough and very balanced review on the subject. It is also fairly approachable and I think “open access” (i.e., anyone can download it). I encourage people to read their paper if they really want to understand the phenomenon of ocean acidification, including current open issues.

    Following this are links to press articles, blogs, etc., but I found nothing in the first 15 or so links that would give an impression that the oceans will be pH 2, 3, 4, 5, as opposed to being slightly alkaline. Thankfully, there is nothing blatantly incorrect regarding the chemistry. Maybe we have different filters on Google?

    Most of the press releases refer to the possible effects of lower ocean pH on the growth and development of calcifying organisms. This is, in my opinion, an interesting field of research because:
    – we know that many organisms make their “skeletons” out of calcite and aragonite;
    – we know the solubilities of calcite and especially aragonite are highly dependent on pH (yes, even between pH of 8.1 and 7.5);
    – we do not know how the growth and development of calcifying organisms in nature will be impacted by a drop in pH of X, 2X, 3X, etc. (The Doney et al. paper discusses this all three of these concepts in some detail).

    I will admit that some of the press releases have somewhat loaded terminology (e.g. one begins with “imminent danger”, another by abc news begins with “threatens ecosystems” and “a monster of a problem”). This is an unfortunate sign of the times where spin is ubiquitous. It should be emphasized, though, that it is often not the scientists who lay the spin.

    In any case, I do not see the endeavor of understanding ocean acidification and its effects a fraudulent waste of resources, as long as it remains an interesting and potentially important scientific pursuit. Basically, “what happens to the chemistry and biology of the ocean when massive amounts of CO2 enter the atmosphere?” An answer of “nothing” makes no sense and is demonstrably incorrect on theoretical, experimental and observational grounds; many other, more specific and more quantified answers span the unknown circa 2011.

  177. Roger Carr says:

    DCC says: (May 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm) [to me]
    You need to read more carefully. The statement was that there is no lower limit of CO2 in the atmosphere. The CO2 that is necessary for human life is in the lungs, NOT in the atmosphere.

    philincalifornia says: (May 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm) [to me]
    Katherine and Myrrh mean well, but they’re confusing atmospheric levels of CO2 and physiological levels of CO2 in the blood (primarily).

    My confusion is only compounded by the above attemps to educate me.
    If there is no CO2 in the atmosphere, where do we get our supply for the blood?

  178. R. Gates says:

    DCC says:

    “The statement was that there is no lower limit of CO2 in the atmosphere. The CO2 that is necessary for human life is in the lungs, NOT in the atmosphere.”

    ____

    Contrary to some skeptics belief, there actually is a very good reason and necessity for CO2 in the atmosphere that has nothing to do with the fact that plants need it. Unlike water vapor, CO2 is a non-condensing GH has, such that, when the planet goes through the natural Milankovitch induced long-term ice ages and water vapor is reduced in the atmosphere (yes, colder means a more dry atmosphere), CO2 stays in the atmosphere, and in fact, will even increase in ppm during these colder periods. As such, CO2 can act the main thermostat, increasing when it gets too cold and decreasing when it gets too warm. What is the mechanism for such a negative-feedback process than any good thermostat should have? It’s call the the rock-carbon cycle and the related hydrological cycle. During warm periods, CO2 is initially higher, and then hydrological cycle speeds up, leading to greater rock weathering which reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which then brings the temps back down. When it gets too cold, the hydrological cycle slows down, allowing more CO2 to stay in the atmosphere and keeping temperatures from getting too cold. A perfect negative-feedback thermostat, allowing earth to maintain a range in which life can go on.

  179. Ammonite says:

    The “climate crusade” is one characterized by true believers, opportunists, cynics, money-hungry governments, manipulators of various types—even children’s crusades—all based on contested science and dubious claims.

    Hmm. Could there possibly be any distortion or exaggeration in the quote above?

    For the development of agriculture and the problems civilizations run into when it fails try Jared Diamond “Collapse” (also “Guns, Germs and Steel”). For the possible effects of progressively higher global temperatures try Mark Lynas “Six Degrees”. The idea that 7 billion people on today’s agricultural base would flourish at 1000ppm CO2 is laughable.

  180. Douglas says:

    Buzz Belleville says:
    May 22, 2011 at 4:40 am
    Of course, the definition of “pollutant” that EPA is required (REQUIRED!) to apply is written in the Clean Air Act, not in Webster’s or Wikipedia. That definition includes “any physical, chemical, biological or radioactive substance or matter that is emitted into the ambient air.” CO2 is undeniably a ‘pollutant’ under that Congressionally-prescribed definition.

    No wonder I am infuriated with people who deliberately distort the meaning of words in the English language.
    ——————————————————————————-
    So now pollutant can mean even the breath that we exhale is a pollutant according to this definition. And what, may I ask, is their definition of the ‘ambient air’ And also their definition of the location of that same ‘ambient air’.

    It seems to me that this is yet another trough designed for the legal profession’s snouts.

    Douglas

  181. savethesharks says:

    R. Gates says:
    May 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Contrary to some skeptics belief, there actually is a very good reason and necessity for CO2 in the atmosphere that has nothing to do with the fact that plants need it.

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

    Besides the silly “contrary to skeptics belief” proviso, the rest of his post could be summed up in one word:

    DUH. Nothing new under the sun here. But plenty of spin still “skeptics belief.”

    Would you rather be called a “believer” I take it?

    Have you accepted Global Warming as your personal lord and saviour?

    I thought so.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  182. DCC says:

    @Roger Carr who said:

    “DCC says: (May 22, 2011 at 7:10 pm) [to me]
    You need to read more carefully. The statement was that there is no lower limit of CO2 in the atmosphere. The CO2 that is necessary for human life is in the lungs [blood,] NOT in the atmosphere.”

    My confusion is only compounded by the above attempts to educate me.
    If there is no CO2 in the atmosphere, where do we get our supply for the blood?

    Ordinary metabolism (conversion of food to energy by “burning oxygen”) builds up CO2 in your muscles where it passes into your blood stream. The CO2 in your blood is removed by your lungs and is replaced by the oxygen that you inhale. You then exhale the CO2. In other words, your body creates the CO2 that is in your lungs.

    See also the first paragraph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lung

    It is the CO2 level in your blood stream that tells your body to breath faster or slower. If it’s low, it says no need to breath fast. Example: if you were to hyperventilate breathing helium, the blood’s CO2 level would drop rapidly and so would your respiration rate, despite the fact that your are in desperate need of oxygen. You would pass out and, hopefully, start breathing oxygen again.

    Do not try this experiment at home.

  183. Larry in Texas says:

    R. Gates cites this juicy little quote:

    “All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison….” Paracelsus (1493-1541)

    Of course, old darling, the debate we are having here, and the whole point of the Happer article is exactly, what is the “right dose?” You seem to boldly conclude (without much quality authority, I would contend) that we are at the “right dose” now. And of course, there is nothing actually happening to justify that conclusion, which you constantly seem to ignore.

  184. Larry in Texas says:

    richard telford says:
    May 21, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Engchamp says:
    May 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Since when was a pH>7 acidic? The variation of ocean alkalinity does vary, but it has never been acidic.
    ——————-
    I presume you are one of those people who will never become old, just less young; and never fat, just less thin; and never poor, but less rich. And you don’t put beer in the fridge to make it cooler, but less warm; and only turn the light on to make it less dark, never brighter. You use the brakes on your car to go less fast rather than to slow down; turn the volume on your ipod up to make it less quiet, never louder. The ice in your soda never melts but becomes less frozen; your windows need undirtying rather than cleaning; and you never use a dictionary to find out what acidification means. So let me save you the effort: acidification means a decline in pH. That’s all. But if you want to call it dealkalinification, be my guest.

    ——————————

    Richard, if I am 5 feet, 10 inches, and originally weigh 165 (a normal body weight for that height), but I gain 5 pounds to weigh 170, does that make me fat? That is the problem with your characterization and use of the word “acidification.” Miniscule changes in the pH of the ocean that do make it less alkaline, would that really be “acidified?” Especially when we know scientifically at what pH a true acid occurs? The popular imagination, which the warmist scientists are attempting to capture, aren’t using the word in the technical sense. They are overdramatizing the situation to score political points on the subject of CO2 and climate change.

    I would suggest you discontinue your disingenous habits of mind.

  185. DCC says:

    @Ammonite who said:

    For the development of agriculture and the problems civilizations run into when it fails try Jared Diamond “Collapse” (also “Guns, Germs and Steel”). For the possible effects of progressively higher global temperatures try Mark Lynas “Six Degrees”. The idea that 7 billion people on today’s agricultural base would flourish at 1000ppm CO2 is laughable.

    Jared Diamond? Please! The man is an idiot full of nonsensical theories. If he gets a few right, it’s a complete accident.

    I’ve not read anything by Lynas, but I am not encouraged by his bio in Wikipedia. An historian who is “an environmental activist focusing on climate change.” No thanks. We have enough ignorance from real climate scientists.

    I suggest that you read with a more questioning attitude.

  186. Spector says:

    RE: R. Gates: (May 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm)

    “Unlike water vapor, CO2 is a non-condensing GH has, such that, when the planet goes through the natural Milankovitch induced long-term ice ages and water vapor is reduced in the atmosphere (yes, colder means a more dry atmosphere) …”

    This is a rather interesting comment. I think if we exclude the “Iceball Earth” condition, then we must assume that there would still be appreciable water vapor in the atmosphere during these periods. There would still be clouds (probably fewer) reflecting sunlight from the surface over non-frozen regions of the surface. I would expect that the level of the tropopause would be lower only in proportion to the general temperature reduction. I would also expect that active precipitation would still be a factor in determining the overall heat budget of the planet.

    It is my understanding that soundings of the atmosphere indicate that the daily ground the temperature variations disappear at a relatively low altitude. This should be the altitude where most of the radiant energy from the surface subject to absorption has been absorbed by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. At those low levels, I believe water vapor is still the most important greenhouse gas.

    As water dearly wants to be solid or liquid at atmospheric temperatures, I expect that the processes of active micro-scale condensation and evaporation (by interaction with the most energetic molecules in the atmosphere) may result in the water vapor component of the atmosphere having an energy distribution equivalent to a higher temperature than that of the atmosphere as a whole. I think this may facilitate cooling of the upper atmosphere by shorter-wavelength radiation—from these energetic water vapor molecules—that can pass directly through the transparent windows in the CO2 spectrum.

  187. Myrrh says:

    philincalifornia – I’m not confusing it at all, I stated that we produce our own Carbon Dioxide, the amount in the atmosphere isn’t enough for us.

    That amount is 6% of the air in our lungs as we mix it with the air we take in on inhaling, what this works out as in ppm re average lung capacity is around 60,000 ppm, the amount in the atmosphere is around 400. (I think my arithmatic is all right here, I’ve merely taken Oxygen at 21% in the atmosphere and therefore 210,000 ppm.)

    We are around 20% Carbon. The rest of us is mainly water, 60-70%, and other important odds and sods. We are called Carbon Life Forms because we are, because we’re created out of Carbon, the building block of Life.

    We get our Carbon from plants via the food chain, if plants can’t get enough of it they will die and so will we and all Carbon Life forms dependent on them. A plant takes the Carbon from the Carbon Dioxide it ‘breathes in’ and releases the Oxygen back into the Atmosphere. Note, it only does this only during photosynthesis, the rest of the time plants take in Oxygen and breathe out Carbon Dioxide, just as we do. It’s all interrelated and interdependent, the Carbon Life Cycle.

    Those calling, and even legislating, that Carbon Dioxide is a “major pollutant” in our atmosphere, are ignoramuses. That ignorance translates to practical insanity.

    We should be celebrating its existence, not demonising it.

    Here more accurate percentages by weight: http://www.livescience.com/3505-chemistry-life-human-body.html

    65% Water
    18% Carbon

  188. Larry in Texas says:

    Jerry Dickens says:
    May 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Excellent post. I’ve learned a lot from what you wrote. I’m curious about a couple of things: (1) What caused the “hyperthermals” you referred to? Was it volcanic activity or something else (or do we even know for sure)? (2) What observations do you have about what the historic record of CO2 and temperatures of the last 65 million years seem generally to indicate – that temperature changes occur before CO2 changes? Or is this an incomplete or off-base assumption, given what you have said?

  189. Myrrh says:

    Re ‘amount and poison’ – not the standard definition of what is toxic. Carbon Dioxide is classed as a non-toxic gas, compared with Carbon Monoxide which is classed as toxic.

    This too is being smudged and adjusted for AGW propaganda.

    Carbon Dioxide suffocates. Like a pillow, by preventing the intake of Oxygen. A pillow is not a poison, not matter how many of them you have.

    Carbon Dioxide IS HEAVIER THAN AIR. That actually means something in the real world of gravity where gases have volume and weight, i.e. not in the imaginary AGWScience world where Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen and Nitrogen are classed as IDEAL gases – WHICH DO NOT EXIST.

    Carbon Dioxide cannot rise up through the REAL GAS AIR in our atmosphere as if it were an ideal gas, zipping along at vast speeds in empty space. Our space is not empty.

  190. Spector says:

    RE: Dave Springer (May 22, 2011 at 3:33 am)

    “If everything else remains equal more CO2 will slow surface cooling with the same surety that putting an extra blanket on your bed will help retain body heat. Both mechanisms are well understood. ”

    I believe adding more CO2 is more like adding extra scarves as the CO2 absorption effect is confined to narrow radiation bands. You might still freeze no matter how many scarves you put around your neck.

  191. Roger Carr says:

    To DCC:
         Thank you for taking the time to add explanation (your post May 23, 2011 at 12:43 am). I have read what you wrote, and the link you gave.
         Both had added to my knowledge, but do not go to the heart of my concern, which is that William Happer states in this essay: “Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air…” and this is wrong.
         It is no harm to me that he has written this; but I do believe it harms his message; a strong and powerful message the world can welcome.
         It would be better if it were exacting.

  192. philincalifornia says:

    Jerry Dickens says:
    May 22, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I will admit that some of the press releases have somewhat loaded terminology (e.g. one begins with “imminent danger”, another by abc news begins with “threatens ecosystems” and “a monster of a problem”). This is an unfortunate sign of the times where spin is ubiquitous. It should be emphasized, though, that it is often not the scientists who lay the spin.
    ———————————————
    That was my point Jerry. I wasn’t getting on the scientist’s cases. The real scientists in this field seem to be somewhat responsible.

    So let’s not let the fraudsters pollute this area of science by hijacking the term “acidification” (for something that’s above pH 7).

  193. Myrrh says:

    There are 3 basic descriptions in AGWScience re Carbon Dioxide “well-mixed in the atmosphere” and “able to stay in the atmosphere for hundreds and even thousands of years accumulating”.

    1. Oxygen and Nitrogen, which make up the bulk of our atmosphere, and Carbon Dioxide are described by the Ideal gas laws (though they cherrypick here too). These molecules as per descriptions of ideal gases therefore, these pin pricks taking up no space zip around the mostly empty space in between molecules bouncing off each other elastically to mix thoroughly. Ideal gases do not have volume, weight, are not subject to gravity, do not interact via attraction, etc. are in high temperature and low pressure.

    2. Carbon Dioxide acts in the atmosphere according to Brownian motion, that is, it is moved around randomly by the Oxygen and Nitrogen molecules, so mixes thoroughly.

    3. The atmosphere is continually turbulent with wind mixing it all up evenly, so same proportion Carbon Dioxide throughout.

    1: I have had a Physics PhD, teacher and examiner, tell me that Carbon Dioxide is exactly like an ideal gas in an ideal gas atmosphere. That a pool of it on the floor of a closed room will of itself, because it moves quickly and randomly as an ideal gas, rise up off the floor and mix thoroughly, diffuse, in the atmosphere without work being done, e.g. no windows opened to move it, no fan to disturb it, and once mixed it cannot be unmixed.

    At first he denied that CO2 could pool at all, but when many examples produced he then accepted it and deleted the post containing his denial, a moderator on this particular forum. When I then asked how this Carbon Dioxide could pool except by the known science and properties of it being heavier than Air and so displacing Air to fall to the ground, he said, ‘it came down in a package of Air bringing the Air with it because of its greater volume’.

    So, no blue tack or similar required for CO2 to rise aided into the Air by using it to stick the lighter molecules together as balloons, nor to stick themselves together trapping Air to bring it down with itself when in large amounts it sinks to ground and pools. Zero understanding then that an Ideal gas is an imaginary construct such as ‘average’, that no Real gas is such. No understanding of the meaning of Real in Real gases v Ideal Gases. No concept of real volume and weight and convection in our atmosphere.

    Therefore, the idea prevalent among AGWScience influenced scientists, that neither CO2 nor the other real gases can separate out from each other in our atmosphere where they are thoroughly mixed and the same proportionally throughout. If at all admitted, it is claimed only a temporary aberration, the gases will all mix thoroughly because it is their nature to zip around moving quickly and randomly and mixing up by bouncing off each other in the vast empty space between them. There can be no sound in this imaginary atmosphere, can there? Perhaps that’s why they can’t hear all the real world physics arguments?

    2: Brownian motion is misapplied to CO2 in the Air. This is about microscopic particles such as pollen being randomly moved around in a fluid medium and limited to nano to 1mm scales. The examples given from AGWScience to promote this idea is one of dropping ink into a glass of water or of perfume spreading through the air in a room. These are spread by convection, not Brownian motion.

    3: Wind then like a big wooden spoon churning everything up and mixing the atmosphere like making a cake. That wind does not even cross hemispheres, some mixing at the equator, is irrelevant, i.e. doesn’t exist in their science. That wind is Air on the move doesn’t exist, so convection can be ignored. The Airs data that shocked those involved because they thought it well mixed, showed CO2 lumpy instead and they said that they’d have to go and think about this wind thingy.

    So, all these together and mixed up bits from each are the reasons given, that I’ve found, for the claim that Carbon Dioxide mixes thoroughly in the atmosphere and exists proportionally throughout and can stay up for hundreds and hundreds of years accumulating, evenly distributed as if in an ideal gas world of low pressure and high temperature without any real interaction with the real world it’s in.

    What’s really frustrating here is that all the arguments pro and con end up arguing about a little bit of the elephant, and getting bogged down in this. Just these three points when pulled together show how absurd their idea of our atmosphere; instead of the heavy weight of the Gas Air they have vast distances of empty space, nothingness full of radiation alone.

  194. Myrrh says:

    Sorry, p.s. – with radiation alone doing the heating, oxygen and nitrogen irrelevant.

  195. Buzz Belleville says:

    Douglas — I guess I don’t understand how the English language is being distorted. I just gave you the CAA definition of pollutant because the author here cites to Webster’s and Wikipedia in a irrelevant attempt to argue that CO2 is not a pollutant under those sources.

    To answer your other question, “ambient air” is not defined in the CAA. It is defined in the regs as “that portion of the atmosphere, external to buildings, to which the general public has access.”

  196. Pteradactyl says:

    Has anyone mentioned the fact that as the Co2 levels are rising so is life expectancy of man . . . . Now there’s a correlation.

  197. Dave Springer says:

    Spector says:
    May 23, 2011 at 2:10 am

    “I believe adding more CO2 is more like adding extra scarves as the CO2 absorption effect is confined to narrow radiation bands. You might still freeze no matter how many scarves you put around your neck.”

    Practically speaking that’s true. More CO2 is a case of diminishing returns. But the return never falls to zero it just gets so small at some point it becomes neglible. There’s an effect called “shoulder broadening”. CO2 absorbs LWIR in windows with center frequencies where most absorption is at the center frequency with less and less absorption as you move away from the center frequency. Each side of the center frequency comprises the “shoulders”. As the number of molecules of CO2 in the LWIR path increases the center frequency becomes saturated but the shoulders do not and continue to absorb farther from the center frequency.

    Coincidently the scarves analogy illustrates it perfectly. The first scarves you put on insulate just your neck and at some point your neck is so well insulated that additional scarves do very little to help retain heat lost from the neck but as they grow thicker they will also be insulating more and more of your shoulders.

  198. Roger Carr says:

    Myrrh (May 23, 2011 at 3:53 am)
    Wonderful post, Myrrh. It sings!

  199. philincalifornia says:

    Roger Carr says:
    May 23, 2011 at 3:14 am
    To DCC:
    Thank you for taking the time to add explanation (your post May 23, 2011 at 12:43 am). I have read what you wrote, and the link you gave.
    Both had added to my knowledge, but do not go to the heart of my concern, which is that William Happer states in this essay: “Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air…” and this is wrong.
    It is no harm to me that he has written this; but I do believe it harms his message; a strong and powerful message the world can welcome.
    It would be better if it were exacting.
    ——————————————
    Yes, I know, we’re belaboring this point somewhat.

    His point is technically correct though on that one specific issue (breathing). We humans don’t need to get carbon from the atmosphere, as we get all we need from food.

    He then, in the next sentence, talks about that other specific issue (the requirement for CO2 for having food to eat).

    I’m guessing that if Professor Happer is reading this thread, he might change the wording in that paragraph in future essays to be more clear, but I still maintain that he is technically correct.

  200. Dave Springer says:

    Myrrh says:
    May 23, 2011 at 3:53 am

    I missed whatever point you were trying to make ire; CO2 mixing in the atmosphere. In general it is well mixed. You get the essentially the same PPM reading high atop Mauna Loa, in the Antarctic, and in your backyard. They all track together. Antarctica lags a little behind. The northern and southern hemispheres oscillate out of phase with the seasons as the CO2 sinks and sources change their rate of uptake and release with the seasons. But the longer trend remains the same everywhere.

    That said, CO2 can pool. There are documented instances of people dying from CO2 poisoning because some underground source released a hellacious amount too fast for turbulence in the atmosphere to mix it. Once mixed it stays mixed.

    I meant to comment on Ernst Beck’s 2007 finding upon analysis of a 150 years of CO2 measurements of great variance from place to place and time to time. This is essentially caused by the same reason that makes Antarctica lag behind Mauna Loa. There are no sources or sinks of CO2 in the Antarctic interior and it takes a while for a rising concentration elsewhere on the planet to make its way to Antarctic interior. Close to ground level where the sources and sinks are active there can be rather wide variance from place to place and time to time. Biological sources and sinks bloom and fade for numerous reasons. Green plants are CO2 sinks but fungi, bacteria, and animals that decompose dead plants are sources. The ratio between sinks and sources varies. Chemical sinks and sources also vary by location. Anthropogenic sinks and sources vary as well. But that’s all close to the ground and the greenhouse effect comes from a column of gas reaching several kilometers above the surface.

    Anecdotally I have taken CO2 measurements in my backyard occasionally over the years with both chemical and electronic sensors and never observed any variance. The measurements I obtained matched those reported at Mauna Loa to within the margin of error of whatever I was using to obtain the measurement. My electronic CO2 sensor died a few years ago. They’re rather expensive instruments and I happened to get one designed to control ventilation fans in commercial buildings really cheap at an auction and don’t feel like spending $500 to replace it.

  201. Dave Springer says:

    philincalifornia says:
    May 23, 2011 at 5:19 am

    I believe Happer is more than just technically correct that most animals will do fine without any CO2 in the air up to the point where they starve because the primary producers in the food chain (green plants) will not do fine in the absence of CO2.

    Animals produce CO2 they don’t consume it. Breathing rate is controlled by blood level of CO2. More or less CO2 in the air does no more than change the rate of gas exchange in the lungs. If there’s more CO2 in the air removing it from the blood becomes increasingly difficult but at concentrations below several thousand parts per million the atmospheric concentration is of little consequence. Prolonged exposure to 10,000 ppm (1%) causes drowsiness. Anthropogenic emission from fossil fuel combustion can’t possibly get anywhere near that high as there isn’t enough recoverable fossil fuel. At the current rate of consumption it rises by about 2ppm per year. A thousand years at that rate would make it ideal for plants and have no direct effect on air-breathing animals other than a great abundance of food from the primary producers in the food chain. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) at current rate of consumption there isn’t enough recoverable fossil fuel to last 1000 years and since rate of consumption is increasing there isn’t enough to last more than a couple of centuries. The fact that fossil fuels are not in infinite supply is the only good reason (and a very good reason) to be concerned about CO2 emission as CO2 emission is a proxy for fossil fuel consumption rate. CO2 in and of itself is a good thing.

  202. Iain Dutton says:

    As a layman, I am constantly surprised that much of the scientific community and through them the politicians, the general public are referring to the supposed pollutant as Carbon. If the suspect was to be water they would presumably name it hydrogen pollution.
    I suspect that this is no accident for carbon is understood by many to be rather a dirty black substance and by coining such phrases as ‘Carbon Footprint’ etc., they are implanting in the minds of many a very different picture than if they used the correct term, Carbon Dioxide Footprint. Admittedly it does not have the same ring to it but this should not matter to a scientific mind.
    It is gratifying to note than in this excellent article and most of the resulting comments, this has not been the practice.

  203. Dave Springer says:

    re; acids, bases, and buffered solutions

    ph 7.0 is called “neutral”

    A solution less than or greater than pH 7.0 moving towards pH 7.0 is being “neutralized”. The ocean is a base solution (greater than pH 7.0) where increasing CO2 is moving it closer to neutral. This is called “neutralization” not “acidification”. Acidification is a solution of pH 7.0 or less that is being lowered i.e. become more acid. Alkalinization is a solution of pH 7.0 or greater that is being made more basic (or alkaline if you prefer).

    Distilled water is an unbuffered solution with pH 7.0. A tiny amount of an acid or base will dramatically raise or lower its pH. Adding sodium chloride to distilled water does not change its pH but it turns it into a buffered solution where it takes a large amount of acid or base to change its pH.

    This is all covered in high school chemistry class if not earlier and I must once again thank Ferd Berple for reminding me that neutralization is the correct term for what higher CO2 level does to the ocean (which is a highly buffered solution).

    That’s NOT to say that neutralization has no effect on living things. Different organisms have adapted differently and have optimum pH levels for reproduction and growth and varying tolerances for pH variation outside the optimum. That said the ocean is so highly buffered and anthropogenic driven pH change so small, so slow, and moving towards a net optimal level that while there will be some losers and some winners the net effect is more winners.

    The reason there will be more winners than losers is that the earth for most of the past 500 million years has had far greater atmospheric CO2 than present. Thus most of the adaptation (or evolution if you prefer) of oceanic life took place in a less alkaline ocean. Ocean neutralization is occuring so slowly that natural selection has plenty of time to select for individuals within species that prefer less alkalinity. Adaptation is all about allele frequency in a population. In a higher alkaline environment alleles that function better at higher pH become more frequent in the population and alleles that function better at lower pH become less frequent. Natural selection over the course of one or just a few generations changes allele frequencies. Life will adjust just fine to the minor neutralization occuring in the ocean just as it adapted to the minor alkalinization that has occured over the past few million years in which the modern ice age lowered atmospheric CO2 to a level far below the 500 million year norm.

    Climate boffins seem to have very little knowledge of what’s the normal (or predominant if you prefer) state of the earth’s atmosphere and climate over the past 500 million years since the Cambrian explosion when virtually all the modern phyla appeared, Ediacaran phyla disappeared, and air-breathing living things crawled out of the marshes and tidal zones to cover land surfaces. The present earth biosphere is a pale shadow of itself struggling against the cold and dangerously low atmospheric CO2 level. The optimal climate, and it’s labeled as such in the nomenclature of geologic epics such as the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (50 million years ago, the period to which Happer mentions) was characterized by CO2 level around 1000ppm and deciduous (temperate if you prefer) forest reaching all the way to the poles with sub-tropical forest stretching all the way to 45 degrees north and south latitude.

    Green plants having at least some warm growing season all the way to the poles and year round growing seasons halfway to the poles is a recipe for great abundance in the world of living things. Ice and snow are anathema to living things where they at best manage to survive freezing cold winter months and at worst perish where the freeze never lifts.

  204. Vince Causey says:

    Roger Carr says:
    May 23, 2011 at 3:14 am

    To DCC:
    Thank you for taking the time to add explanation (your post May 23, 2011 at 12:43 am). I have read what you wrote, and the link you gave.
    Both had added to my knowledge, but do not go to the heart of my concern, which is that William Happer states in this essay: “Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air…” and this is wrong.
    ========================

    Despite 3 attempts to clarify the point being made, you continue to assert ‘this is wrong’. Now I’m confused. In what way is it wrong? In what way is it harmful to animals if the level of co2 in the air was zero?

  205. Dave Springer says:

    DCC says:
    May 23, 2011 at 12:43 am

    “Example: if you were to hyperventilate breathing helium, the blood’s CO2 level would drop rapidly and so would your respiration rate, despite the fact that your are in desperate need of oxygen. You would pass out and, hopefully, start breathing oxygen again.”

    That’s not what happens. Your body cells will keep on producing CO2 as long as metabolism has not stopped and it won’t exchange with helium any faster than normal atmosphere. In fact when body cells are starved for oxygen they produce even more CO2 as they switch from an efficient aerobic metabolism called the Krebs Cycle which requires the organelle called mitochondria to a much less efficient anaerobic metabolism called glycolysis. Glycolysis produces excessive amounts of lactic acid. The pain you feel when you exercise in intense bursts, such as runnning away from a hungry tiger, is caused by the buildup of lactic acid. You’ll hurt like a mofo breathing helium for long.

    I don’t want to get too dark here but this is why Dr. Kevorkian doesn’t use a tank of helium, or CO2 for that matter, because that’s painful before you lose consciousness. Instead the gas of choice is carbon monoxide. CO chemistry in the blood has some other effects aside from direct metabolic effect. Helium is inert and will only effect metabolism by oxygen deprivation while CO is very active chemically. One of those chemical effects of CO is neurological and causes you to lose consciousness before you feel any major discomfort.

  206. Dave Springer says:

    It is NOT harmful for animals to breathe air with no CO2. Oxygen is the ONLY essential gas for animals. It is toxic only at partial pressures high enough to cause involuntary hyperventilation. That pressure is above 1 bar. Oxygen toxicity becomes a concern, for instance, for divers breathing from a tank of pure O2 as each 33 feet of depth underwater adds 1 bar. Oxygen toxicity is also a concern in hyperbaric chambers.

  207. mkelly says:

    Myrrh says:
    May 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm
    ferd berple asks: “Why is not gravity accounted for in the greenhouse gas theory?”

    Because an ideal gas isn’t subject to it? That’s how CO2 stays well-mixed in the atmosphere.

    All gases are subject to gravity that is why they stay as atmosphere and not wonder off into space. Further, all atmospheric gases, except water vapor, and air itself can be considered ideal gases as they are far from their critical temperatures with an error of less than 1%. PV=nRT describes the temperature (0 C) of near surface atmosphere given no increase in atmospheric volume and as far as I know the volume hasn’t changed much in many years.

    http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryglossary/a/stpdefinition.htm
    STP corresponds to 273 K (0° Celsius) and 1 atm pressure.

  208. R. Gates says:

    Re: Spector May 23 @ 1:23 a.m,

    You miss the essential point. If water vapor alone was the only greenhouse gas, then once cooling began it would become a positive feedback situation until we once more saw the snowball earth return. This is simply the way it is since water vapor would condense more and more as the atmosphere cooled and dried out. CO2 acts as a regulator or thermostat to keep the snowball event from happening when a glacial period begins. The notion that the minor trace gas, CO2, is not absolutely essential for maintaining the greenhouse conditions of our planet is just simply, unequivocally, wrong.

  209. DCC says:

    @Dave Springer:
    Great theory, but if you are not breathing in oxygen, and at the same time are hyperventilating, you deplete your blood of CO2 and don’t replace it with oxygen. That, in turn, reduces your body’s ability to create CO2, but more importantly, your brain no longer gets enough oxygen. You will pass out.

    Furthermore, at issue here is the CO2 level of the blood. Glycolysis, as you said, is anaerobic. It produces no CO2.

    Helium also speeds up the process of removing oxygen from your blood stream by creating a diffusion gradient that washes out the oxygen. Each breath of helium takes more oxygen out of your system.

    On the other hand, carbon monoxide is poisonous because it combines with hemoglobin, preventing oxygen from doing so. You will definitely feel ill and, in amounts over 1,000 ppm, throw up if you are poisoned by CO. Trust me, I had a college classmate dumb enough to climb up inside the “bell tower” which had no bell but was actually a flue for the campus boiler. His leg caught on the rung of the ladder and he died a horrible death.

    Do not try to disprove this experimentally.

    At 10:21 AM 5/23/2011, you wrote:
    DCC said: May 23, 2011 at 12:43 am
    “Example: if you were to hyperventilate breathing helium, the blood CO2 level would drop rapidly and so would your respiration rate, despite the fact that your are in desperate need of oxygen. You would pass out and, hopefully, start breathing oxygen again.”
    To which Springer replied:
    That’s not what happens. Your body cells will keep on producing CO2 as long as metabolism has not stopped and it won’t exchange with helium any faster than normal atmosphere. In fact when body cells are starved for oxygen they produce even more CO2 as they switch from an efficient aerobic metabolism called the Krebs Cycle which requires the organelle called mitochondria to a much less efficient anaerobic metabolism called glycolysis. Glycolysis produces excessive amounts of lactic acid. The pain you feel when you exercise in intense bursts, such as running away from a hungry tiger, is caused by the buildup of lactic acid. You’ll hurt like a mofo breathing helium for long.

    I don’t want to get too dark here but this is why Dr. Kevorkian doesn’t use a tank of helium, or CO2 for that matter, because that’s painful before you lose consciousness. Instead the gas of choice is carbon monoxide. CO chemistry in the blood has some other effects aside from direct metabolic effect. Helium is inert and will only effect metabolism by oxygen deprivation while CO is very active chemically. One of those chemical effects of CO is neurological and causes you to lose consciousness before you feel any major discomfort.

  210. DCC says:

    Roger Carr said:

    To DCC:
    Thank you for taking the time to add explanation …. I have read what you wrote, and the link you gave.
    Both had added to my knowledge, but do not go to the heart of my concern, which is that William Happer states in this essay: “Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air…” and this is wrong.
    It is no harm to me that he has written this; but I do believe it harms his message; a strong and powerful message the world can welcome.
    It would be better if it were exacting.

    Just how is it wrong? I see no lack of exactitude. What needs to be added to make it “exact?”

  211. Kate says:

    R. Gates – what is your recommendation for solving the over-population of the globe?

  212. Kate says:

    Anthony – please comment on Harry Dale Huffman’s post.

    It seems to be an Essential idea and is receiving no attention.

  213. Vince Causey says:

    R. Gates

    “You miss the essential point. If water vapor alone was the only greenhouse gas, then once cooling began it would become a positive feedback situation until we once more saw the snowball earth return. This is simply the way it is since water vapor would condense more and more as the atmosphere cooled and dried out. ”

    It is you who are missing the point. If water vapour disappeared from the air, clouds would also disappear, and lower the Earth’s albedo, thus increasing insolation and raising temperatures.

    Why do warmists only ever consider one side of the equation?

  214. Smokey says:

    Jerry Dickens says:

    “(1) Many people spin the data and interpretations all sorts of ways, usually depending on how one wants to support pre-conceived notions;…”

    I enjoyed reading your thoughtful post. I am quoting your comment above because it is the reason many of us no longer trust scientists unquestioningly, like we once did. The major blame must be laid at the feet of those paid-off scientists flogging catastrophic anthropogenic global warming [CAGW]. We see over and over in peer reviewed papers references to “global warming” and such, even in papers that have little bearing on the climate.They are trolling for a piece of the $7 – $* billion per year handed out by the federal government in grants to “study global warming climate change.” That leads to corruption, which we now observe throughout mainstream climate science [which is tightly controlled by a relatively small clique].

    In scavenging the lion’s share of science funding based on climate alarmism, they not only deny funding for more deserving areas of science, but they poison the well of professional ethics.

    Regarding those peer reviewed papers in your later post, you write:

    “I will admit that some of the press releases have somewhat loaded terminology (e.g. one begins with “imminent danger”, another by abc news begins with “threatens ecosystems” and “a monster of a problem”). This is an unfortunate sign of the times where spin is ubiquitous. It should be emphasized, though, that it is often not the scientists who lay the spin.”

    But often it is the scientists, and they should certainly know better. One egregious example is Michael Mann, whose now debunked Hockey Stick chart – which did much to support the false claim that there was no climate change prior to the industrial revolution, and which mendaciously erased the MWP and the LIA – has been shown to be based on completely cherry-picked trees, whilehiding the larger tree ring sample that would have shown that temperatures had declined, in a file labeled “censored.” Mann is not the only scientific charlatan writing peer reviewed papers, and his mendacious cherry-picking of proxies has not gone unnoticed.

    When scientific charlatans lie, and are rewarded with great fame and fortune, others notice. Most scientists are honest. But not all are, and many are completely lacking in professional integrity. Thus, we now have bogus alarmism over non-problems such as “ocean acidification.”

    Along with reading those papers paid for with grants of public funds, I refer you to this article by Willis Eschenbach, an uncompromised peer reviewed citizen scientist – a vanishing breed that values knowledge and truth over easy money and fame. He decisively deconstructs the false notion that human emitted CO2 is causing any measurable “acidification” of the oceans. David Middleton is another unpaid researcher who debunks the acidification scare.

    After reading the articles, if you still believe the immense buffering capacity of salt water oceans can be affected by a minor trace gas, I would challenge you to post verifiable evidence measuring the pH changes caused by human emissions. If you can show any empirical evidence of ocean pH changes following human CO2 emissions, you will be the first to be able to do so.

    Without evidence and observation, the scientific method stalls at Conjecture. It can go no farther without evidence based on raw data, and accurate, verifiable predictions that proceed from that data. At this point, “ocean acidification” is no more than an evidence-free conjecture – against verifiable evidence that salt water efficiently buffers the effect of CO2.

  215. R. Gates says:

    Kate says:
    May 23, 2011 at 9:39 am
    R. Gates – what is your recommendation for solving the over-population of the globe?
    ———-
    Since you use the term “solve”, I take it you mean that world being over-populated represents a prolem to be solved. That’s the common thinking, and it certianly appears to be correct, as many millions of are going hungry. I also think that the issues of hunger are also related to distribution and resource allocation. I look at all the overweight people in the developed world and wonder how we could have transferred those calories to those who are starving. But more to the point, the huge population increase was a direct result of the agricultural revolution and the widespread use of fossil fuels in farming as fuel and in fertilizers. If somehow the system of mega-agriculture as practiced today breaks down, either through climate change or through reductions in the supply of fossil fuel, millions, and perhaps billions more will be on the edge of starvation.

  216. R. Gates says:

    Vince Causey says:
    May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am
    R. Gates

    “You miss the essential point. If water vapor alone was the only greenhouse gas, then once cooling began it would become a positive feedback situation until we once more saw the snowball earth return. This is simply the way it is since water vapor would condense more and more as the atmosphere cooled and dried out. ”

    It is you who are missing the point. If water vapour disappeared from the air, clouds would also disappear, and lower the Earth’s albedo, thus increasing insolation and raising temperatures.

    Why do warmists only ever consider one side of the equation?
    ————–
    Um, I don’t think you’ve thought this through. Take a look at the albedo of Antarctica where there is very little moisture left in the air (it is technically a desert). During the snow ball earth episodes, ice sheets reached nearly to the equator. The atmosphere was much more dry than today and the albedo was also quite high due to the extensive ice. It is thought that massive volcanic activity, releasing massive amounts of non-condensing CO2 is what finally broke the earth out of this period.

  217. Gary Pearse says:

    R. Gates

    CO2, and black dirt from the volcanoes

  218. Ammonite says:

    DCC says: May 23, 2011 at 12:58 am
    I suggest that you read with a more questioning attitude.

    Hi DCC. I read Jared Diamond, Mark Lynas and WUWT with a questioning attitude. I am specifically attacking the facile suggestion that because life flourished at 1000ppm CO2 that it would somehow be no problem for modern humanity. Diamond’s “Collapse” has many references worth following even if you think he is an “idiot”. Lynas also has many worthwhile references and has a lot to say about possible effects of rising global temperature. If, as multiple lines of inquiry suggest, climate sensitivity is around +3C it would do everyone well to find out what that might entail. I recommend “Six Degrees” as an aid to considering well founded risks should temperature continue to rise (feel free to ignore chapters beyond +4C).

  219. Kate says:

    R. Gates you wrote: “the huge population increase was a direct result of the agricultural revolution and the widespread use of fossil fuels in farming as fuel and in fertilizers. If somehow the system of mega-agriculture as practiced today breaks down, either through climate change or through reductions in the supply of fossil fuel, millions, and perhaps billions more will be on the edge of starvation.”
    How magnanimous of you to care so much about all the starving people. Spoken like a true socialist.
    And you are the guys who will help us all out of this. Like in North Korea and Cuba, right?

  220. Dave Springer says:

    R. Gates says:
    May 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Vince Causey says:
    May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am
    R. Gates

    “You miss the essential point. If water vapor alone was the only greenhouse gas, then once cooling began it would become a positive feedback situation until we once more saw the snowball earth return. This is simply the way it is since water vapor would condense more and more as the atmosphere cooled and dried out. ”

    It is you who are missing the point. If water vapour disappeared from the air, clouds would also disappear, and lower the Earth’s albedo, thus increasing insolation and raising temperatures.

    Why do warmists only ever consider one side of the equation?
    ————–
    Um, I don’t think you’ve thought this through. Take a look at the albedo of Antarctica where there is very little moisture left in the air (it is technically a desert). During the snow ball earth episodes, ice sheets reached nearly to the equator. The atmosphere was much more dry than today and the albedo was also quite high due to the extensive ice. It is thought that massive volcanic activity, releasing massive amounts of non-condensing CO2 is what finally broke the earth out of this period.

    If by that you mean the CO2 is “kindling” for the water cycle then we have some common ground. After we have a liquid ocean covering 70% of the planet I believe CO2’s role as greenhouse diminishes to the point where it’s insignificant.

    Water in the ocean itself is a greenhouse agent. It is transparent to visible light and opaque in the infrared which are exactly the properties that distinguish greenhouse gases from non-greenhouse gases.

    As water surface gets covered in ice and water vapor gets frozen out of the atmosphere then CO2 is the only thing preventing a spiral down into a snowball earth episode and even then it might not be enough to stop the decline but has to accumulate from volcanic activity until there’s enough.

  221. R. Gates says:

    Kate says:
    May 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm
    R. Gates you wrote: “the huge population increase was a direct result of the agricultural revolution and the widespread use of fossil fuels in farming as fuel and in fertilizers. If somehow the system of mega-agriculture as practiced today breaks down, either through climate change or through reductions in the supply of fossil fuel, millions, and perhaps billions more will be on the edge of starvation.”
    How magnanimous of you to care so much about all the starving people. Spoken like a true socialist.
    And you are the guys who will help us all out of this. Like in North Korea and Cuba, right?

    _____
    Odd that you’d think I was a socialist as I am quite other…more closely aligned with Ayn Rand or even Ron Paul. Only economic systems that allow individuals the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential as human beings are worthy as far as I am concerned. Socialism tends to make people quite unmotivated so an economic socialist I am not. Of course, many people wrongly asume that the economic and political system we have in the U.S. is truly a democratic or capitalistic. We have more of a more of an odd mixture of corporate plutocracy, militarism, and even quasi-socialism…and of course, we’re broke because of it all. The masses are kept happy with the distractions of sports, TV, emotional platitudes from Polticians, petty fighting over issues of no consequence, and of course, Walmart’s full of products. This is no different than what the Romans did with their masses and the distraction and eventual brutality diplayed at the Colosseum, while the real power was with those who would forever expand the empire if allowed. It is quite telling that the majority of our “Senators” (a term appropriately borrowed from the Romans) are millionares. Do they really represent “we the people”, or their corporate donors?

    And by the way, I care very much about the plight of those less fortunate than me, and do what I can to assist them to become productive independent human beings but it is hard to learn a new skill or take a class when your basic needs are not being met and your belly aches from hunger.

  222. R. Gates says:

    Dave Springer says:
    May 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm
    R. Gates says:
    May 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Vince Causey says:
    May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am
    R. Gates

    “You miss the essential point. If water vapor alone was the only greenhouse gas, then once cooling began it would become a positive feedback situation until we once more saw the snowball earth return. This is simply the way it is since water vapor would condense more and more as the atmosphere cooled and dried out. ”

    It is you who are missing the point. If water vapour disappeared from the air, clouds would also disappear, and lower the Earth’s albedo, thus increasing insolation and raising temperatures.

    Why do warmists only ever consider one side of the equation?
    ————–
    Um, I don’t think you’ve thought this through. Take a look at the albedo of Antarctica where there is very little moisture left in the air (it is technically a desert). During the snow ball earth episodes, ice sheets reached nearly to the equator. The atmosphere was much more dry than today and the albedo was also quite high due to the extensive ice. It is thought that massive volcanic activity, releasing massive amounts of non-condensing CO2 is what finally broke the earth out of this period.

    If by that you mean the CO2 is “kindling” for the water cycle then we have some common ground. After we have a liquid ocean covering 70% of the planet I believe CO2′s role as greenhouse diminishes to the point where it’s insignificant.

    Water in the ocean itself is a greenhouse agent. It is transparent to visible light and opaque in the infrared which are exactly the properties that distinguish greenhouse gases from non-greenhouse gases.

    As water surface gets covered in ice and water vapor gets frozen out of the atmosphere then CO2 is the only thing preventing a spiral down into a snowball earth episode and even then it might not be enough to stop the decline but has to accumulate from volcanic activity until there’s enough.

    _____

    I would say the we agree on the essential nature of CO2 to maintaining the greenhouse conditions of earth. If it weren’t present, we have snowball earth rather rapidly, and the noncondensing nature of the gas makes this possible. It is, as you say the “kindling”, but it is more than that, for through the hydrological cycle and rock weathering process, truly provides a negative feedback process to keep the earth in a range. Water vapor, due to the condensing nature of this more potent GH gas, cannot act as the longer term thermostat and was of no help to prevent the snowball earth.

  223. Roger Carr says:

    philincalifornia says: (May 23, 2011 at 5:19 am) [to me]
    I’m guessing that if Professor Happer is reading this thread, he might change the wording in that paragraph in future essays to be more clear, but I still maintain that he is technically correct.

    And I fully agree with your point one, accept your point two, and retire, satisfied. Thanks, Phil and all who have pursued my concern for me.

    Vince Causey (May 23, 2011 at 7:19 am). I hope my response to philincalifornia above explains why I have pursued this, Vince. What is stated in this essay just needs to be “more clear” for the sake of the message, and the “message” is very, very important in this new age of raptures.

  224. philincalifornia says:

    You’re most welcome Roger. Happy to oblige.

    This, as with many/most threads on WUWT, was just excellent, from the top down.

    I’d feel sorry for those cretins on the warmist rapture sites except for the fact that deserve each other.

  225. philincalifornia says:

    …. they deserve each other, even.

  226. Julian Braggins says:

    R.Gates,
    I have followed your arguments through this thread and must say that many of them are convincing.

    However, the premise that you introduce early on that water vapor necessarily increases with temperature does not seem to hold up with observation, however intuitive.

    Ferenc Miskolczi with the resources of NASA behind him found that as other GHG’s go up, water vapor goes down by a similar amount, retaining the atmosphere’s tranmissivity at ~1.87. In fact a graph linked to-day by tallbloke ,

    http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/shumidity-ssn96.png

    shows that rather than temperature, the sunspot number as a proxy shows a much better relationship. Of course, as many suspect that we are in a cooling period, the decline of water vapor is no surprise.

  227. Myrrh says:

    Roger Carr – thank you !

    Dave Springer says:
    May 23 2011 at 5:38 am

    Re my post May 23 at 3:53

    I missed whatever point you were trying to make [re:] CO2 mixing in the atmosphere. In general it is well mixed. You get the essentially the same PPM reading high atop Mauna Loa, in the Antarctic, and in your backyard. They all track together. … but longer trend remains the same everywhere.

    In a previous post, May 22 at 3:34 pm, I posted some links on CO2 and ‘background’ measurements, the bottom line of which is that the Mauna Loa figure was cherry picked [and all subsequent data fixed to match from the Keeling and Son involvement in the other stations over the decades] and an example of other studies showing completely other picture for the same time scale from the usual ice core data, and, via Beck’s and also from Ferdinand’s page, that it is actually “local” production which shows the true nature of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. There are many current studies of the local cycle of CO2 in various regions which show the same greater variations than the ‘background’ figure commonly touted – which is itself based on a premise that CO2 is “well-mixed” in the atmosphere.

    My post you’re responding to is looking at the claim from AGWScience that CO2 is “well-mixed” and “able to stay in the atmosphere for hundreds and even thousands of years, accumulating”. These three reasons, I gave in that post, are the responses I’ve received when asking about this from AGW supporters. They don’t make sense in traditional physics which knows the properties of Carbon Dioxide very well indeed and it does the real atmosphere of the gas Air which is our atmosphere. My questioning showed that the reasons given for this “well-mixed, etc.” come from a combination of misapplied ‘laws’, taken out of context, and absence of actual physical conditions in the real world, wind and weight of molecules etc.

    That said, CO2 can pool. There are documented instances of people dying from CO2 poisoning because some underground source released a hellacious amount too fast for turbulence in the atmosphere to mix it. Once mixed it stays mixed.

    Which as you show here in your combination, the common AGW misconceptions.

    First of all, CO2 is not a poison. It kills by suffocation if in amounts large enough to displace the Oxygen in the atmosphere. In traditional science it is classed as non-toxic because it is non-toxic. Traditional science can tell the difference between non-toxic and toxic, so for example, classes Carbon Monoxide toxic. Just this statement of yours takes your understanding, and those who keep repeating it because they think it is true, away from the real nature of CO2. It is not a poison. It is benign. It is not a poison in any large amounts any more than a pillow used to suffocate suddenly becomes a poison if 50 pillows are used to suffocate. This is an important distinction between properties in the real world. What you are repeating is the deliberate manipulation of science language to demonise Carbon Dioxide by AGWScience creators. Please don’t do it.

    Why does Carbon Dioxide pool? It pools because it is heavier than Air. As simple as that. It is 1.5 times heavier than the gas Air which is our atmosphere. And just as stuff lighter than Air rises up in the gas Air, because they are less dense, so stuff heavier than Air sinks, displacing Air. Water Vapour is lighter than Air, it rises in Air, called evaporation, and Water is heavier than Air, when Water Vapour condenses out at higher colder levels of the gas Air which is like an ocean above us, it comes down as rain. Methane is lighter than Air, it is a hazard encountered in mining so known well that it separates out of the Air in the atmosphere of the mine in which it is found, and rises to the top to pool at the ceiling.

    It is very well known in real world traditional science that this is what happens in our our atmosphere, the ocean gas Air pressing down on us around a ton a square foot, because traditional science has studied it thoroughly.

    Not so very long ago in mining, and perhaps still in parts of the world, before entering a new mine, miners would cover themselves in wet towels and carry a flame on a long pole to set alight any Methane pooling at the ceiling. They were under no AGWScience illusion that the air in the mine was “well-mixed”, their lives depended on knowing the real world properties of gases. Modern methods have done away with the wet towels and naked flame solution to the problem, but the problem is still the same. Methane is lighter than Air, because it is less dense and rises in Air it will pool in large amounts when it comes to a barrier above it.

    Carbon Dioxide being heavier than Air is denser, it displaces the lighter molecules of Nitrogen and Oxygen and in large amounts this too can be a hazard. Also in mines, and in breweries, if you make your own beer you should be aware of that, but most often during volcanic activity and venting. The fairly recent large number of deaths in Cameroon from venting CO2 from lake Nyos in Cameroon an example of this. http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/Nyos.html

    Displacing the lighter Oxygen it first suffocated the people living around the rim of the crater lake, then flowed down hugging the ground to the village of Nyos because it is heavier than Air. This is a well-known hazard around any active volcanoes which can have multiple sources of venting, on Mauna Loa for example, and depressions where Carbon Dioxide can pool on the ground displacing Oxygen. It’s the lack of Oxygen that kills, suffocation.

    Here, the movement of Air, wind, eventually dispersed it. It cannot move under its own volition because it is heavier than Air. No more than dust on your desk can get up and thoroughly mix in the atmosphere of your room unless something extra comes in to move it.

    Wind may very well disperse Carbon Dioxide that in large amounts that has pooled, as in Cameroon or every day on the volcanoes in Hawaii, but that does not alter the fundamental property of the individual molecule of Carbon Dioxide. It is still, each one, heavier than the gas Air of our atmosphere. Each one, therefore, will automatically, spontaneously, fall through Air to the ground, because each molecule being denser than the Air molecules it is in will displace the lighter molecules of Nitrogen and Oxygen of the ocean of gas which is our atmosphere Air.

    This is happening all the time to all the Carbon Dioxide in the Air around us. Turbulence can disperse these molecules, whether in large amounts together or separately, but only if that turbulence is active ‘100% of the time'; when it stops, so does the dispersal. It does not stay “well-mixed” in real life, because it’s not always windy enough to do this anyway. For example, the Carbon Dioxide from a house’s chimney or a bonfire in the garden may well be moved by any wind around, but that more likely will be not very far away from the original source. Most movement of such large amounts of CO2 together will remain local; when the movement of the particular amount of gas Air, which is wind, ceases, the CO2 will revert to default and come to the ground locally. As Air reverts to its default of not being moved.

    Just to make that clear, wind is not something moving through Air, like a spoon stirring it up, it is the gas Air on the move. So ‘turbulence’ is not from ‘a something’ stirring up Air and any CO2 in it, but a volume of the gas Air moving en masse causing turbulence in the volumes of Air around it. As a mass, volume, of warmer Air rises a mass of colder Air comes in beneath it creating wind, and any CO2 will be travelling within that.

    I live on the slopes of a ‘mountain’, big hill to some.., and we’ve been having very hot days recently. One day last week I was taking the dog for a walk through the hamlet and further up the hill when I heard this really loud roar in the distance which at first sounded like a very large lorry or something, implausible as I focused the sound to the top of the hill, but as it quickly gained in strength getting louder and louder I realised it was the wind coming down the slopes and with a great roar I felt the cold air immediately displace the hotter as it reached us bringing with it ‘April showers’ as it and its coldness dispersed, sunny and warm and rainy at the same time.

    I meant to comment on Ernst Beck’s 2007 finding upon analysis of a 150 years of CO2 measurements of great variance from place to place and time to time. this is essentially caused by the same reason that makes Antarctica lag behind Mauna Loa. There are no sources or sinks of CO2 in the Antarctic interior and it takes a while for a rising concentration elsewhere on the planet to make its way to Antarctic interior.

    The naturally world is CO2 variations locally as I hope I’ve been able to show why. These examples have been replaced by AGWScience’s meme of “background and well-mixed” without any supporting methods of this being possible – wind being one choice that breaks down on analysis because, further to what I’ve already said and as I mentioned in my earlier post, ‘wind’ does not travel around the Earth as the AGW meme leads one to imagine, (from which you’ve deduced a time-lag to Antarctica).

    Winds, volumes of the gas Air on the move, stay in their particular patterns globally when not in local production as I’ve described. They stick to their own hemispheres. There is some mixing at the Equator, but otherwise the big wind patterns do not cross the Equator, but circulate in their own halves.

    http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/wwwhlpr/global_winds.rxml
    http://www.stormsurfing.com/cgi/display_alt.cgi?a=glob_250
    http://scienceclarified.com/As-Bi/Atmospheric-Circulation.html

    So how does any CO2 production in the Northern hemisphere reach Antarctica?

    And, Antarctica has active volcanoes. http://erebus.nmt.edu/index.php/volcanology/49-gas-chemistry

    What are they really measuring on Mauna Loa? Do you really think that this is as billed “a pristine site uncontaminated by local CO2 production”? I say it is impossible, really impossible, for any measurements taken at Mauna Loa to be anything other than for all practical purposes 100% local production at one of the world’s major CO2 production regions. You can spot that this is known from reading the methodology behind the measurements – they simply choose what they think it should be while claiming they are actually excluding all the volcanic production. There are articles around which look at the measuring at different stations and showing that volcanic production in the area can’t be excluded. Anyway, since all these measurements began with deliberate cherry-picking of an assumed ‘background level’ from Keeling’s work, and control of other stations’ data came within his influence, I think they’re basically manipulated nonsense, regardless your own local measurements fitting the curve..

    ..in my opinion. :)

  228. Dave Springer says:

    R.Gates

    I’ve challenged climate boffins to remove the ocean from an ocean/atmosphere coupled general circulation model. So far none have bothered. I’m very confident that absent a global ocean the earth would become a snowball very quickly.

    It’s amusing that they calculate the theoretical temperature of an earth with and without an atmosphere but not with and without a global ocean.

    Molecule for molecule liquid water is just as much a greenhouse agent as water vapor. The difference is there’s more molecules of water in the topmost meter of the ocean than there are water molecules in the column of air above it. Liquid water is SO opaque to infrared that only a surface layer several micrometers can absorb or emit LWIR. At the same time it has an albedo close to zero and sunlight penetrates to warm it to a depth of 100 meters. The energy from the sun that warms the ocean cannot escape radiatively except on that hair-thin surface layer. For the energy to escape from deeper layers it must travel upwards to the surface by either convection or conduction. Even then studies of the heat budget of the mixed layer (0-100m) find that the lion’s share of energy (approximately 70%) leaving the ocean escapes by way of evaporation with only 20% leaving radiatively. In warm summer months when relative humidity is high and evaporation rate low the mixed layer stores energy until winter comes along with dryer air and it then escapes. This is what drives what’s called “continentality” which is something discovered a couple of hundred years ago and basically states there is a greater difference between summer and winter air temperatures over continental interiors than over the ocean at the same latitude.

    Moreover, back-radiation from GHGs does very little in slowing down energy loss from the ocean due to the physics of water. A body of water cannot be warmed by LWIR. Downwelling LWIR is absorbed in the first few micrometers at the surface. All that happens is the evaporation rate increases and the energy is carried away in latent heat of vaporization. Water vapor being lighter than air travels upward by convection until adiabatic cooling drops its temperature below the dewpoint and the latent heat is released upon condensation high above the surface without ever changing the air temperature near the ocean surface.

    The GHG effect is only significant over land surfaces.

    What will happen absent a global ocean is the first winter in the northern hemisphere will never end and the first winter in the southern hemisphere will never end. Everywhere will experience “continentality”. Without an ocean to moderate winter/summer temperature difference the winter snow will raise planetary albedo to near 90% and ensure not enough insolation is absorbed at the surface to ever melt the snow. One year and the earth is a snowball for at least the many millions of years it would take for CO2 to accumulate enough so that some summer snow melt at the equator could start up and expand into higher latitudes.

    Given the only “tipping point” the earth is near right now is tipping out of the Holocene interglacial it is irrational to worry about anthropogenic CO2 because all that does is make plants grow faster, use less water per unit of growth, and lengthen the growing season in higher continental latitudes.

    A rising ocean is of course concommitant with global warming but the rate of rise is glacial (pun intended) because it’s almost all thermal expansion. To get any seriously inconvenient sea level rise requires that Greenland and/or Antarctic ice cap melt accelerates drastically. There’s no evidence at all that these ice caps won’t take at least thousands of years to reduce significantly.

    Neutralization of the ocean (i.e. lowered alkalinity) due to increased partial pressure of CO2 at the surface is similarly glacial in speed. If the ocean were distilled water it could happen faster but seawater is a highly buffered solution that requires a great deal of acid to neutralize it.

    Climate “disruption” over land is a distinct possibility from anthropogenic CO2 but I don’t believe any climate models are robust enough to predict regional climate changes and the empirical evidence so far from the rise of CO2 from 280ppm to 390ppm in the industrial age does not show any statistically significant climate disruption.

    So I’m left wondering how it’s possible for any scientest modestly well informed on geological history of the earth, botany, biology, chemistry, and physics to be concerned about anthropogenic CO2 unless they have some sort of hidden agenda where CO2 rise is merely a proxy for what really bothers them. I believe it’s a proxy for human population growth in most cases and they are in fact channeling Paul Ehrlich and his 1960’s book “The Population Bomb”. In point of fact Professor Happer appears to be exactly that kind of informed scientist that finds the CO2 bogeyman to be a ridiculous fantasy concocted not to save the planet from catastrophic climate change but to save it from catastrophic human population growth.

    I’m as concerned about population growth as anyone else but I believe science and technology will continue to produce the needed solutions in a timely manner and there’s no need for draconian measures to slow the expansion of industrial civilization in the meantime. In fact I believe those measures would be counter-productive to advances in science and technology because it’s the very expansion of global production (creation of wealth) which provides the funds needed for research and development. Take that away and there will be disposable income available for R&D as a greater fraction of income is needed just to satisfy basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter. Or another way of putting it is that industry is the goose that lays the golden eggs. It’s madness to kill that goose before you have another goose to replace it. It’s all very well and good to plan for a day when there isn’t enough fossil fuel to sustain industrial growth but throttling down consumption now will only hobble efforts to find a cleaner, cheaper, sustainable replacement.

  229. Dave Springer says:

    @Myrrh

    My post you’re responding to is looking at the claim from AGWScience that CO2 is “well-mixed” and “able to stay in the atmosphere for hundreds and even thousands of years, accumulating”.

    I believe it is “well mixed” but I don’t believe it will stay in the atmosphere for hundreds or thousands of years. Indeed, only about half of anthropogenic emissions remain in the atmosphere for a SINGLE year and this ratio stays the same no matter how much faster anthropogenic CO2 is produced. Take away the artificial production and I believe atmospheric concentration will decline at the same rate it accumulated. It appears that natural sinks and sources are seeking an equilbrium point of 280ppm and anthropogenic production is about twice as fast as natural sinks can pull it back down towards 280ppm. The further out of equilibrium it becomes the harder the sinks work to pull it back which is why that ratio of only 50% of annual anthropogenic emissions being retained in the atmosphere doesn’t change even though anthropenic production has greatly accelerated. If that’s the case then as soon as the artificial production stops the natural sinks will take up the excess CO2 just as fast as it was introduced.

  230. Dave Springer says:

    @Myrhh

    You’re just demonstrably wrong about gases in the open atmosphere layering. Oxygen and nitrogen have different molecular weights. Do they form layers in the atmosphere because of it? Of course not. Atmospheric gases except under exceptional conditions are well mixed by turbulence in the troposphere. This is empirical fact not theoretic supposition. The earth not a mineshaft. There is no diurnal temperature change in a mineshaft to drive convection and winds. The air in a mineshaft is stagnant and constant in temperature.

  231. Kate says:

    I continue to be encouraged at the level of logic and reason of my fellow Americans. There is hope.

    If you want to see more go to http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/06/climate-story-telling-angst/

    The comments section is so alluring I keep going back to it. It is a gold mine.

  232. Myrrh says:

    mkelly says:
    May 23 2011 at 9:09 am

    Re Myrrh says:
    May 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm
    “ferd berple asks: ” Why is not gravity accounted for in the greenhouse theory?”

    Because an ideal gas isn’t subject to it? That’s how CO2 [they say, because described by AGW as an ideal gas] stays well-mixed in the atmosphere [an ideal gas is not subject to gravity].”

    All gases are subject to gravity that is why they stay as atmosphere and not wonder off into space. Further, all atmospheric gases, except water vapor, and air itself can be considered ideal gases as they are far from their critical temperatures with an error of less than 1%. PV=nRT describes the temperature (0°C) of near surface atmosphere given no increase in atmospheric volume and as far as I know the volume hasn’t changed much in many years.

    http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryglossary/a/stpdefinition.htm
    STP corresponds to 273 K (0°Celsius) and 1 atm pressure.

    If it hasn’t made it more confusing, what I’ve expanded in square brackets refers to these AGWScience ideas about it.

    AGWScience says that Nitrogen and Oxygen, Air, and Carbon Dioxide behave like the
    ideal gas, it excludes Water Vapour because it says it is too variable in amount and local and ditto Methane. I wondered if ferd’s question had something to do with this. He was obviously asking about a specific aspect re missing gravity, and I thought it might have a bearing on it.

    Now, there is no such thing as an ideal gas, it is an imaginary construct, no real gas behaves that way. Lots of maths jiggling with other formulas has to be done to get an approximation of how a real gas is behaving when using the ideal gas laws to begin calculations. AGWScience however has, through this basic premise of what in our atmosphere acts as ideal gas, encourged very garbled thinking about Air and CO2.

    This is given as one of the three reasons I’ve got back of why CO2 is “well-mixed” in the atmosphere and “stays well-mixed, cannot be un-mixed”. Its actual properties, its nature and relationship to other gases, have been completely denied and replaced by these erroneous ideas that it behaves like an ideal gas. Same with Nitrogen and Oxygen which is the Air of our atmosphere, that they have the nature and behaviour of the ideal gas.

    You can look up the differences between real gases and the ideal, which is purely imaginary, but basically the ideal gas is a dimensionless point taking up no space and moving randomly in empty space with no effect on another, no interaction, except as a point of collision. No real gas obeys the ideal gas laws.

    Real gases have volume, weight, are subject to gravity, etc.

    So, from this decision to class the gas Air in our atmosphere an ideal gas, we get the AGWScience reasoning about Carbon Dioxide in it. That ‘like an ideal gas’ Carbon Dioxide zooms around empty space instead of in the real gas Air which has volume etc,; that ‘like an ideal gas’ it rapidly diffuses by collisions to mix thoroughly and can’t then be unmixed instead of being able to displace the real volume and weight molecules of Nitrogen and Oxygen because it too has real weight and volume relative to them; that ‘like an ideal gas’ it therefore has no weight relative to the other molecules, the gas Air, so stays well-mixed in the ideal empty space atmosphere where it can accumulate for hundreds and even thousands of years. Nonsense in the real world of real gases.

    There’s no concept of the Air which is our atmosphere as a real gas, with real molecules which have volume and weight and interact with each other. Instead this purely imaginary world where the atmosphere is empty space with molecules diffusing by zooming at great speeds through it bouncing off each other thoroughly mixing up.

    As I gave my experience discovering that this was taught by AGWScience, even physics PhD’s think this is a description of the behaviour of gases in our world, and they teach it. So the absolute conviction that Carbon Dioxide would rise up and diffuse rapidly into the air in a room where it had pooled and without any change to the conditions in the room which allowed it to pool in the first place. Because like an ‘ideal gas’ it’s always moving rapidly bouncing into other ideal gas molecules doing the same, but this is impossible in the real world.

    I’ve lost some old bookmarks when my computer went into primitive mode, but an example I’ve given before of how seriously this is believed among the scientists in AGW. One such had heard the argument that real gases have weight, volume, etc. and can separate out into layers and decided to test it out for himself. He and his team went to a mine and introduced Methane to prove that, even if it pooled initially at the ceiling, it would rapidly diffuse with the rest of the Air in the mine and become well-mixed. It stayed pooled. His conclusion was that there must have been another source of Methane entering the mine which was constantly adding to the diffusing Methane which he’d introduced and which had pooled at the ceiling, even though, he said, they searched thoroughly and could find no such other source, he still believed it existed somewhere in the mine. He couldn’t bring himself to believe this effect of Methane was really because it had weight relative to Air, and because lighter than Air would rise through it.

    That’s how brainwashed even the scientists from the clever manipulation of AGW propaganda.

    So now, this PV=nRT you’ve given. I have spent some time, on and off, looking for the actual temperature. All I’ve been able to find is the description of the ideal gas is in conditions of high temperatures and low pressure. Your figures don’t match my imagination here. 0°C isn’t high temperatures, and low pressures I imagined less than on the surface of Earth, higher up, what’s that layer of our atmosphere with very high temps? Don’t recall off-hand. Anyway, that’s what I’d imagined it to mean, where the atmosphere is low pressure and that coupled with high temps making the molecules of gas less dense and less closely packed together.

  233. Dave Springer says:

    @ Myrrh

    It’s people like who get us all branded as “deniers”.

    If your inane notion of gravitational layering of gases in the atmosphere were true then we’d all be immolated like the Apollo 1 astronaughts in a cabin filled with pure oxygen. Oxygen, you see, is heavier than nitrogen.

    http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/molecular-mass-air-d_679.html

    Please buy a clue.

  234. Dave Springer says:

    @Myrhh

    Perhaps you can perform this grade school experiment designed to teach toddlers how gases mix can straighten you out.

    http://www.kidsgeo.com/geography-for-kids/0050-mixture-of-gases.php

  235. Myrrh says:

    Dave Springer says:
    May 24, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    It’s people like who [you] who get us all branded as “deniers”.

    If your inane notion of gravitational layering of gases in the atmosphere were true then we’d all be immolated like the Apollo 1 atronaughts in a cabin filled with pure oxygen. Oxygen, you see, is heavier than nitrogen.

    Sigh, yes I know that.

    The difference between them is very slight, but still exists, and in minute amounts the lighter Nitrogen moves away from the heavier Oxygen, but, under gravity and subject also to their own combined weight the separation is neglibible in our lower atmosphere.

    They are the two components of the Gas Air which is 99% of our atmosphere for the purpose of measuring relationship and effects by weight, and their combination the weight against which other gases are measured.

    This note is dry Air, excluding Water Vapour which is prevalent in our immediate atmosphere from its continual evaporation from the oceans. Water vapour is much lighter than Air, therefore it spontaneously rises through Air, Carbon Dioxide is heavier, one and a half times heavier than Air, therefore it sinks. If you’re denying that gases separate out and so denying that Carbon Dioxide sinks through the gas Air then you are denying that Water Vapour rises through it, and you’ve just destroyed the Water Cycle…

    Carbon Dioxide sinks through the Gas Air by displacing the lighter molecules of Nitrogen and Oxygen. It is doing this all the time when it is not being moved higher by some other actions happening in our atmosphere, the ocean of Gas Air pressing down on us. Carbon Dioxide also readily combines with water to come down in the rain.

    Life exists because Water evaporates into the invisible gas Water Vapour and rises and recycles through the Water Cycle, cooling the Earth which would be much hotter without it, and spreading nutrients around, one of which is Carbon Dioxide.

    There seems to be a lot of confusion from the use of the word ‘turbulence’ in our immediate atmosphere. It is turbulent relative to other higher levels which are not, it is ‘turbulent’ because this is where weather happens as the Sun heats the Earth and and the volumes of hot Air rise to cool and come down again under volumes of hotter Air. These are the ‘winds’. Wind is not something other than the actual gas Air itself moving from one place to another and this can be very turbulent indeed. It is not always windy. There is not a big wooden spoon stirring all the Air around in continual ‘turbulence’, the ocean of the fluid gas Air above us is not in a washing machine going full blast mixing it all up continuously. Somehow, magically in this, the Doldrums remaining unaffected..

    Air is not empty space. It is a fluid ocean full of gas molecules pressing against each other and us. And within that, those molecules heavier than Air will rise and those lighter will sink. And all in combination with the changes in temperatures of Air, hotter Air is less dense and will rise, speeding up the process of evaporation. Wet Air is lighter than dry Air. Etc. etc.

    Nitrogen and Oxygen are not ideal gases, they are real. They have weight and volume and interact with other, attraction, combination and subject to gravity.

    They cannot ever be described as ideal gases which have no properties. To then create an ‘atmosphere’ as if these real gases act according to ideal laws is simply absurd, and that’s exactly what we end up with, absurdity on every level and in every part of the AGWScience descriptions of our atmosphere.

    Please buy a clue.

    You can be whatever kind of ‘objector’ to AGW you want. My objection is that by manipulating and misdirecting the real science of properties they have created a through the looking glass world, impossible, not making any sense on any level whatsoever. They have done this consistently, with molecules with photons with processes, sometimes attributing the properties rightly belonging to one to another which does not have them, or by associating out of context ‘laws’ to them which make them ridiculous in our physical reality.

    No wonder those taught ‘science’ from AGWScience have such a strange view of our atmosphere as seen by the three reasons given for ‘well-mixed’. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find real information, the corruption of science teaching is become endemic in the ‘western’ education system.

    So, work it out for yourself, is it true that real gases behave like ideal gases under standard pressure and temp of 0°C?

    What is that saying? That real gas molecules at sea level are vast distances apart and don’t interact with each other except to bounce off each other as they zoom around at very high speeds in the mostly empty space filled with nothing which makes our atmosphere nothing.

    So, how does sound travel in this?

  236. Dave Springer says:

    “So, work it out for yourself, is it true that real gases behave like ideal gases under standard pressure and temp of 0°C?”

    Approximately, yes. The variance is about 1%. Not coincidentally CO2 concentration drops off sharply by 1% moving from troposphere to stratosphere.

    You’re beating a dead horse. The lower atmosphere is well mixed for all practical purposes.

  237. Dave Springer says:

    “If you’re denying that gases separate out and so denying that Carbon Dioxide sinks through the gas Air then you are denying that Water Vapour rises through it, and you’ve just destroyed the Water Cycle…”

    I’m not denying that gases separate by density in stagnant mixtures. The lower atmosphere is never stagnant and the settling process is slow. Water vapor is far lighter than air (18/28) but not appreciably different than how much heavier CO2 is (44/28) so CO2 is basically falls as fast water vapor rises. The key difference between water vapor and CO2 is that water vapor is a condensing gas. As it rises it cools and eventually condenses and then falls quite rapidly in liquid form. CO2 doesn’t condense so the convective uplift created by diurnal surface temperature changes which defeat gravity in carrying CO2 upward don’t get thwarted by condensation. CO2 molecules find their way down by gravity very slowly as they bump their way through an obstacle course of other gases. The end result is that convective uplift in the lower atmosphere dominates to such a large degree in non-condensing gases that gravitational settling is negligible. The same would hold true for water vapor if it weren’t for the fact that it condenses into liquid water which is about 1000 times heavier than air. Even so, convective uplift can become so powerful that hailstones the size of baseballs (or larger) can be carried upward to great altitude.

    The lower atmosphere is well mixed and this is empirical fact not theoretical supposition. People who refuse to incorporate empirical fact into their worldviews are the whole problem in the AGW controversy. Instead they build these toy models in their heads, on paper, or lately on computers and then insist these models are infallible such that empirical evidence takes a backseat to model outputs i.e. if reality doesn’t agree with the model there must be some flaw in the empirical observations of reality. Sometimes there are indeed flaws in methods of observation happen and that’s why in the practice of science observations must be repeatable.

    CO2 measurements have been repeated millions of times in millions of places. Even I have repeated them by measuring CO2 concentration outdoors near my home and have never found any appreciable deviation from concentration reported by Mauna Loa or any other gold-standard surface stations, aircraft which obtain measurements from ground into the stratosphere, and so forth. What’s not repeatable is historical measurements which showed large deviation from place to place and time to time. Those scale deviations today can only be observed today very close to the surface where biological and chemical sinks and sources wax and wane to such an extent that they are operating faster than atmospheric mixing forces. This is why the gold standard measurements are located in places as far from active sinks and sources as practically possible. Yet still when an average Joe like me takes a sample at a random location like my grass covered backyard in the city or underneath the canopy in a forest the readings are essentially the same as that reported at Mauna Loa. The inescapable conclusion is that CO2, as a rule, is well mixed in the atmosphere but like any rule there are exceptions. Exceptions are said to prove the rule. What they actually prove is that the method of observation is robust. In cases where there are no exceptions one can wonder if the observations are flawed in some way and unable to record observations that are outside the rule.

  238. Dave Springer says:

    Anomalously high CO2 measurements concentrated around the time of WWII is almost certainly due to the anomalous uptick in industrial processes which emit copious amounts of CO2 due to the all out effort to produce war materials. Industry also sprang up in places where it didn’t exist before and was shut down after the war ended. Due to the vulnerability of highly concentrated industrial activities to attacks it was good strategy to both spread them around and hide them as much as practical versus increasing the capacity of well known production facilities. It’s a lot easier to destroy one large well known steel plant than it is to destroy ten well separated smaller plants.

    I find this a quite reasonable explanation for the WWII era “increase” in atmospheric CO2. It wasn’t really much of an increase globally but more a matter of measurements happening downwind of some large war-related artificial emitter.

  239. mkelly says:

    Myrrh says:
    May 24, 2011 at 12:55 pm
    “No real gas obeys the ideal gas laws”

    My statement says they may be “considered” ideal gases and will obey the ideal gas law within 1% error.

  240. Steve says:

    For a Physicist, this is either deliberately misleading or extremely naive. The fact that CO2 is needed to keep this planet warm enough for life is not disputed. The fact that it is a greenhouse gas is not disputed. The fact that higher CO2 concentrations trap more heat is not disputed. The fact that our civilization has grownup in a period of a more-or-less stable climate is not disputed. The correlation with CO2 concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere and temperature over long periods is also confirmed. The fact that our civilization would be drastically altered with an unstable, warmer climate with higher sea-levels is obvious. Sure, it’s not a pollutant in the generally accepted definition of the term, but so what… Not sure what his point was… Yes, let’s pit a lone physicist, using strawman arguments against well established experts in the field of climatology. Can anyone say conspiracy theory?

  241. To Dave Springer,

    What you are measuring is natural background. What measuring stations record as monthly averages is natural background. Those flask measurements that are exceptionally high (spikes in time series) are flagged and not included in averages. These spikes could be from momentary anthropogenic sources. For example, some of the early spikes in the Southpole data could be from a C-130 taking off. A site at Grifton, NC was located 7KM Northeast of a 15KW coal burning power plant and large spikes occured when the wind was blowing from that direction. These short lived spikes indicate that the CO2 from such sources does not travel far before it is lost to natural background. I think that cold water clouds are the primary sink and the background concentrations are being controlled by the amount of precipitable water vapor in the atmosphere. The global uniformity in CO2 concentrations might be the result of thunder clouds taking CO2 into the upper atmosphere (jet streams) where the water freezes and releases the CO2. The jet streams should do a good job of mixing and the CO2 has a much greater path length to the surface or water clouds.

  242. Smokey says:

    Steve says:

    “The correlation with CO2 concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere and temperature over long periods is also confirmed.”

    It is confirmed that rises in CO2 FOLLOW rises in temperature, which blows the CO2=CAGW conjecture out of the water. And the rest of your assumptions are evidence-free. Some of them may be factual. But they are still evidence-free, and once again the scientific method is ignored by a true believer whose mind is made up and closed.

  243. To Steve,

    Contrary to your claims, the science is not settled and he is not alone in disputing those claims. As a retired EPA researcher that worked under the mandates of the Clean Air Act for over 20 years, I know the present administration did not follow those mandates in finding CO2 to be a pollutant. Check out Alan Carlin’s website.

  244. mkelly says:

    Steve says:
    May 25, 2011 at 10:03 am
    For a Physicist, this is either deliberately misleading or extremely naive. The fact that CO2 is needed to keep this planet warm enough for life is not disputed. The fact that it is a greenhouse gas is not disputed. The fact that higher CO2 concentrations trap more heat is not disputed. The fact that our civilization has grownup in a period of a more-or-less stable climate is not disputed. The correlation with CO2 concentrations in the earth’s atmosphere and temperature over long periods is also confirmed. The fact that our civilization would be drastically altered with an unstable, warmer climate with higher sea-levels is obvious. Sure, it’s not a pollutant in the generally accepted definition of the term, but so what… Not sure what his point was… Yes, let’s pit a lone physicist, using strawman arguments against well established experts in the field of climatology. Can anyone say conspiracy theory?

    I am not a physicist, but I play one on the internet. :) Steve what you say here is hogwash of the highest order.

    Let’s start with “trap more heat”, this is a physical impossibility to trap heat. And CO2 having a specific heat of .84 shows that it gets rid of heat as fast as possible. Air has a Cp of slightly over 1. Water vapor near 3. So if you want to keep warm in your home make sure it has air especially moist air in it and not lots of CO2.

    “The fact that our civilization has grownup in a period of a more-or-less stable climate is not disputed.” The temperature from the Holocene Optimum until now has gone down about 6 deg F. How is that more or less stable? It is going down.

    “…with higher sea-levels is obvious.” How high? Millimeters? Oh boy. Come on the sea level measurements are available here on WUWT and they show a couple of mm per year. Or tenths of inches. And they appear to be leveling off as of now. Cannot be sure though.

    “The fact that CO2 is needed to keep this planet warm enough for life is not disputed.” It is disputed but more imprtant is the magnitude of the what CO2 is able to do. So do the math Steve and show us.

    Finally Steve gases dissipate heat and you use products every day that use that dissipating idea. Hair dryer, car radiator, electric baseboard heating, ceiling fans, etc. You have no products in your home that use the idea that CO2 can “trap heat” and make something warmer.

  245. ferd berple says:

    Dave Springer says:
    May 22, 2011 at 3:33 am
    ferd berple says:
    May 21, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    “Gases only rise in temparature as they are being compressed. Unless the force of gravity at the surface is rising there can be no compressional heating.

    That makes no sense to me. As air descends it experiences a both greater force of gravity (slight) as well as an significantly increasing weight of air above it, compressing it into a smaller volume. Thus as you note, this will increase its temperature. The rising air in contrast will experience cooling, and thus limit the amount of energy it has available to radiate to space.

    Thus the effect of vertical circulation of air is to paradoxically transfer heat downwards through compression, at the same time it is transferred upwards through convection. This is the warming effect of N2/O2 that gives rise to the unexplained 33 C in warming. It is the repeated compression and decompression of the atmosphere due to vertical circulation that slows the cooling of the planet and is the reason why the temperature of the atmospheres of the other planets vary as pressure and distance from the sun.

    This is not accounted for in the GHG theory, which is why we don’t see comparisons of earth with the other planets by advocates of GHG theory. If the GHG theory is right, then it should be observed on the other planets, according to the same physical laws used in the cliamte models. Their atmospheric temperatures should vary according to their composition, but the don’t. They vary according to their pressure.

  246. Myrrh says:

    Dave Springer says:
    May 25, 2011 at 7:49 am

    The key difference between water vapor and CO2 is that water vapor is a condensing gas. As it reises it cools and eventually condenses and then falls quite rapidly in liquid form. CO2 doesn’t condense so the convective uplift created by diurnal surface temperature changes which defeat gravity in carryong CO2 upward don’t get thwarted by condensation.

    Taking with it the Carbon Dioxide that managed to make it that high in the atmosphere..

    CO2 immediately combines with any Water around as it does in coming down with the rain. The Carbon Life Cycle and the Water Cycle.

    The only gases that can reasonably be consider to be “well-mixed” in our atmosphere are Nitrogen and Oxygen, which in combination is our Gas Air, because they are practically the same weight and size, Nitrogen slightly lighter than Oxygen but slightly bigger, Oxygen slightly heavier than Nitrogen but slightly smaller.

    Water Vapour is considered variable in AGW science and excluded, but Carbon Dioxide is also VARIABLE in our atmosphere. It is not well mixed at all. Production is local, from the ground litter decomposing, from the plants and us critters breathing it out, from the warm seas releasing it, and, as it is heavier than Air it does not rise into Air under its own volition, it needs something to move it, and that something will always be first and foremost the local conditions. But, the difference is that Water Vapor travels up spontaneously through Air, Carbon Dioxide doesn’t.

    Even if through local weather systems Carbon Dioxide gets higher in our atmosphere, there are no winds to take it from production in the Northern Hemisphere to the Antarctic, for example, whether as molecules of CO2 or as Carbonic Acid in the rain.

    Again, you’re comparing levels with Mauna Loa – which is on the world’s largest active volcano and next to constantly erupting volcanoes – which for all intents and purposes can only be measuring local production, which is constantly producing Carbon Dioxide from the constant multi sources of volcanic activity, eruptions, venting, above ground and below in the warm waters, thousands of earthquakes a year as well as the vegetation and the greatly increased plane traffic, day and night; none of this can be excluded there to achieve the claimed mythical uncontaminated pristine fib which they call ‘background’. It’s absurd. That’s why Keeling didn’t even bother to measure it properly ‘to get a trend’, in less than two years he announced he had one! You think that’s scientific? Really? What he had was an abundant local supply and it took him less than 2 years to work out how he could get the measurements he wanted to produce his ‘trend’ to his pre-conceived agenda, which was to prove that man-made CO2 levels were rising and his ‘big contribution’ to this was the idea of a mythical ‘background’ level which he claimed could be measured from anywhere…
    He’s tried the Antarctic and it just wasn’t giving him the figures he wanted.. The AIRS data showed that CO2 is lumpy and not well-mixed. And we’ve never been given the full analysis which I bet shows massive differences – all we’ve got is a graph cutting off most of the information.

    But, importantly, as well as there being no such thing as this mythical ‘background well-mixed’ CO2, what you’re actually talking about is an average and confusing average with this ‘mythical well-mixed background level’.

    If the average rainfall for your grass is 20″ a year, it does not mean that every day you get 20″ of rain.

  247. Myrrh says:

    mkelly says:
    May 25, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Re my “No real gas obeys the ideal gas laws”

    My statement says they may be “considered” ideal gases and will obey the ideal gas law within 1% error.

    First of all, the link you put in was not to the ideal gas law, as you billed, I think it’s avocados law.

    The Ideal Gas law of your original formula is for gases at low pressures and high temperatures. 0°C of your link is not high temperatures, standard pressure is not low pressures.

    The ideal gas formula is for an imaginary gas which has no properties, like ‘average’, it doesn’t exist but has its uses as a maths tool, but unlike average it is based on nothing real in our world.

    There are certain things said of such a gas which are intrinsic to it being this imaginary gas, its qualities. Which take up no space, i.e. have no volume. Which do not interact with other molecules except to bounce of them elastically, i.e. no force of attraction and hence no change when combining, as CO2 combines with Water to become Carbonic Acid, for example. Which are far apart from each other with only empty space in between. It is not a description of any real gas molecule, it is not a description of gases in our real physical world, it is not a description of our real physical world.

    Where would we find a real gas behaving like the ‘ideal’? High temperatures and low pressures make gases less dense and spread them further apart, but, as they rise in the real world and get into lower than standard pressure they quickly get into colder regions – where rain forms and where the real gas Carbon Dioxide is not at vast distances from Water molecules, but close enough to interact, to combine. It does not act like an ideal gas, it does not have the qualities of an ideal gas, it is not an ideal gas. And nor is any other real gas, and certainly not as AGW claim, the real gases Oxygen and Nitrogen.

    From AGWScience promotion of this imaginary ideal gas we get a picture of the atmosphere as EMPTY space, vast distances between molecules and these able to travel at great speeds in this empty space because there is nothing to stop them. The only other thing travelling in it the ‘solar’ radiation, ['converting to heat' at the Earth's surface and radiating back thermal IR.. But ask them to produce concrete evidence that, say, Blue Visible Light is capable of heating water and land and they can't produce it.], hence there is no Convection in this imaginary ideal gas atmosphere, because there is nothing to convect, because ideal gases do not have volume etc. so the molecules are too far apart to bring in the concept of heat transfer by Convection.

    What stops real molecules from travelling at these super speeds in the real world, is volume, weight, size, interactions such as attraction, gravity, real changes in pressures and temperatures, Air as an actually entity in other words. Because they give this claim that Air molecules and CO2 are ideal gases they not only exclude convection in heat transfer, but have no explanation for how sound travels.

    All this absurdity begins by AGW science taking this description of an ideal gas and saying that Oxygen and Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide have its qualities. They say they exclude Water Vapour because it is ‘variable’, but they really exclude it because it brings in real life movement in a real life three dimensional world and that spoils the meme.

    So, the imaginary ideal AGW atmosphere has only empty space. Air is invisible, I’ve been told, because of all this empty space between molecules. So no concept of Air as an entity, of the weight of this huge volume of the gas Air pressing down on all the other molecules and us, around a ton per square ft. That’s a heavy weight of gas. There is no way that a real molecule of gas like Oxygen can travel through the real gas Air at the speeds that AGWScience says it travels because it has the qualities of an ideal gas.

    And no concept of what Wind is. It’s obviously then, since Air is not a volume of gas, which is called wind when some of that volume moves, but empty space, it must be the gods at the four directions blowing the molecules around making it all well-mixed.

  248. Myrrh says:

    Dave Springer – a study done from 1991, on the ‘cusp’ of the change from the build-up to AGW and its full scale propaganda campaign (which began in earnest when the draft IPCC report stating that AGW wasn’t found was changed, 94/95, and Mann and his hockey stick altering the MWP and LIA).

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/1938896

  249. Not sure if I should check this blogopshere too often … there are too many things that I could comment on …

    For Larry In Texas who wrote:

    (1) What caused the “hyperthermals” you referred to? Was it volcanic activity or something else (or do we even know for sure)?

    This is a major and current topic of debate. All indications are that massive amounts of 13C-depleted carbon (similar to fossil fuels) entered the ocean/atmosphere very quickly on a geological time-frame. It is very difficult to argue that this was from volcanic activity directly, because volcanic inputs of carbon are not very depleted in 13C.

    (For any general discussion, carbon has two stable isotopes, 13C and 12C. Fossil fuels are depleted in 13C, mostly because of photosynthesis, such that when organic carbon lands on the seafloor it is depleted in 13C. It would take pages to discuss the nuances further).

    I have suggested seafloor methane. The other plausible option is input from the terrestrial biosphere. In either case, it forces the scientific community to rethink how the carbon cycle operates in the time domain. How do massive amounts of carbon enter the ocean and atmosphere naturally? Basically, we do not know.

    (Following from previous posts, this is where spin enters. The fact that we do not know how the carbon cycles over time in the details or that there were massive inputs of carbon in the past does not detract from the fact that modern society is adding enormous amounts of carbon to the atmosphere, probably at an unprecedented rate).

    (2) What observations do you have about what the historic record of CO2 and temperatures of the last 65 million years seem generally to indicate – that temperature changes occur before CO2 changes? Or is this an incomplete or off-base assumption, given what you have said?

    I do not completely follow this question, but I’ll take a stab at answering. We cannot measure atmospheric pCO2 in the distant past. This all comes through proxy evidence
    such as the density of stomata on leaves, boron isotopes in marine carbonate, carbonate mineral precipitates in lakes, etc. Nonetheless, all these proxies independently suggest much higher pCO2 during time intervals of the past when Earth was much warmer. We published a paper on this general topic (Zachos et al., Nature, 2008), and I can send if you cannot download. The basic picture is that one the world is warm there was high pCO2.

    Where things get interesting is in the details. There are some times that, with available information, temperature appears to change significantly whereas pCO2 does not and vice versa. At least for short-term excursions, it appears that temperature precedes that of carbon emission.

    (Unfortunately, this is where oodles of spin come in. The fact that pCO2 records and temperature appear coupled in a general sense but not in the details does not suggest that there is no relationship; the working hypothesis is that they are coupled in complex ways. For those in need of a simple analogy: does depression lead to alcoholism or does alcoholism lead to depression?)

    Jerry

  250. Spector says:

    RE:Steve: (May 25, 2011 at 10:03 am)
    “The fact that CO2 is needed to keep this planet warm enough for life is not disputed.”

    Actually, the degree to which this is true is the crux of the whole issue. CO2 is a symmetric molecule with so little self-attraction that it remains as a gas at temperatures as low as -78 degrees C. Thus the radiation absorption of CO2 is limited to a number of sharply defined bands corresponding to the natural vibration modes of these molecules.

    Water, on the other hand, is not symmetric with two hydrogen atoms grouped like a pair of ‘Mickey-Mouse ears’ on an oxygen atom ‘head.’ As such it has a polar electrical attraction field similar to the polar magnetic field of a ‘Y’ shaped bar magnet. This is the reason why water remains a solid or liquid at such high temperatures compared to CO2.

    In the atmosphere, water would normally be solid or liquid except for the continual collisions with high velocity gas molecules that have enough energy to break water molecule aggregates apart as fast as they form. As the atmosphere cools at higher altitudes, there would be ever fewer of these high-speed gas molecules so the atmosphere should progressively lose its ability to carry loose water molecules. The published absorption spectrum of water is quite broad (compared to CO2) as one might expect if water molecules were in a continuous state of micro-scale condensation and evaporation.

    As the concentration of water ‘vapor’ can go from perhaps as much as 75 times that of CO2 at ground level to virtually nil at the tropopause, I think a good case can be made that water in the atmosphere is the primary atmospheric determinant of the temperature regime of the troposphere.

  251. Myrrh says:

    Re Carbons 13/14

    http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

    Suess (1955) said: “The decrease can be attributed to the introduction of a certain amount of c14 free CO2 into the atmosphere by artificial coal and oil combustion and to the rate of isotopic exchange between atmospheric CO2 and the bicarbonate dissolved in the oceans.”

    Going on to say that the coal and oil combustion accounted for around 1%.

    The only reason, I can see, that the second part of his conclusion was junked by Keeling & Co., was because they began with an agenda, anti-coal. Conscious bias driven agenda, and of a kind with the Callendar/Keeling cherry picking of CO2 ‘background’ pre-Industrial level, means that no data from Keeling and Keeling influenced stations have any scientific worth.

  252. Smokey,

    Thanks for the link to the article on ocean acidification by Eschenbach. I had not read it before. It’s a stellar example of how basic science gets spun cleverly and misleadingly to make an opinionated point.

    I could spend about a day writing and explaining how and why this article is problematic. Thankfully, in the commentary to this article, “Chris” already did this.

    In my opinion, this highlights a basic problem when discussing global warming, ocean acidification, and other likely future changes in Earth systems. There are the basic science and the scientific papers; non-scientific articles are written about this, many that are very well-written; however, these often come with purposeful spin or an incomplete understanding of the topic; because the science is complex, people take what they want from the non-scientific articles to support a preconceived idea.

    Seriously, read the article by Eschenbach and the comments on this article by “Chris” and keep an open mind.

    Jerry

  253. To Myrrh, (and all others discussing whether CO2 is well-mixed in the atmosphere).

    Instead of making convoluted and sometimes truly bizarre arguments, I suggest visiting and exploring the CDIAC web site (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/). Under the tab for “products”, go to “Atmospheric Trace Gases, Isotopes, Radionuclides, and Aerosols”. Here, you will find numerous data sets regarding measurements of atmospheric pCO2 over time. You will see that atmospheric pCO2 concentrations have changed very much the same across the globe, and yes, including Mauna Loa, Antarctica and many other locations. Carbon dioxide is very well-mixed on a <3 yr time scale. It's very silly to argue otherwise because it directly conflicts with numerous observations.

    You can also find many other interesting records on this web site, including estimates of carbon emissions, and numerous CO2 carbon isotope records. With a bit of background on isotopes (fossil fuels have no 14C and are depleted in 13C), you will see how and why modern society is changing the amount and composition of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    There really is no reason to debate whether atmospheric pCO2 is rising because of human endeavors. This is a demonstrable fact. The discussion should lie in the consequences and what to do about this.

    Jerry

  254. Myrrh says:

    Jerry Dickens – if you have something pertinent to say about the actual points being discussed do make it, viz ‘background CO2 well-mixed and able to stay in the atmosphere for hundreds and thousands of years’, please go fetch the relevant information from your link instead of expecting me to dig through tons of irrelevant information to the point being discussed. If you can’t do this, I shall assume you’ve not actually given this any thought yourself and are unable to appreciate the arguments. I tend to take a generous view at first.

  255. Roger Carr says:

    I will tick (check) the “Notify” me box in the hope this thread continues.
    I have a strong feeling valuable scientific challenge and questioning is being posted here and should continue.

  256. Bart says:

    Jerry Dickens says:
    May 26, 2011 at 4:20 am

    “There really is no reason to debate whether atmospheric pCO2 is rising because of human endeavors. This is a demonstrable fact. “

    Ah, no. What is demonstrable is that measurements appear to show rising atmospheric concentrations coincident with our increasing release of latent carbon from combustion of fossil fuels. Making the leap to proclaim that the rise is due to that human release is post hoc ergo propter hoc, one of the most basic of logical fallacies.

    This is an active feedback system. It does not behave as a simple accumulator. The measured concentration bears only a superficial resemblance to the accumulated emissions. Data before 1958 are questionable. I have argued these points repeatedly in the WUWT forum.

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