Back to the “drawing board” on glacial period carbon sinks

From Oregon State University News, more news of unsettled science.

Nature study: Rising CO2 levels at end of Ice Age not tied to Pacific Ocean

CORVALLIS, Ore. – At the end of the last Ice Age, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rose rapidly as the planet warmed; scientists have long hypothesized that the source was CO2 released from the deep ocean.

But a new study using detailed radiocarbon dating of foraminifera found in a sediment core from the Gorda Ridge off Oregon reveals that the Northeast Pacific was not an important reservoir of carbon during glacial times. The finding may send scientists back to the proverbial drawing board looking for other potential sources of CO2 during glacial periods.

The study, which was supported by the National Science Foundation and the University of Michigan, was published online this week in Nature Geoscience.

“Frankly, we’re kind of baffled by the whole thing,” said Alan Mix, a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University and an author on the study. “The deep North Pacific was such an obvious source for the carbon, but it just doesn’t match up. At least we’ve shown where the carbon wasn’t; now we just have to find out where it was.”

During times of glaciation, global climate was cooler and atmospheric CO2 was lower. Humans didn’t cause that CO2 change, so it implies that the carbon was absorbed by another reservoir. One obvious place to look for the missing carbon is the ocean, where more than 90 percent of the Earth’s readily exchangeable carbon is stored.

The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean by volume. The deep water mass longest isolated from the atmosphere and most enriched in carbon is found today in the Northeast Pacific, so the researchers focused their efforts there. They hypothesized that the ventilation age in this basin – or the amount of time since deep water was last in contact with the atmosphere – would be older during glacial times, allowing CO2 to accumulate in the abyss.

“We were surprised to find that during the last ice age, the deep Northeast Pacific had a similar ventilation age to today, indicating it was an unlikely place to hide the missing carbon,” said David Lund, a paleoceanographer at the University of Michigan, formerly at Oregon State, and lead author on the Nature Geosciences paper.

“This indicates that the deep Pacific was not an important sink of carbon during glacial times,” Lund added. “Even more intriguing is that we found the ventilation age increased during the deglaciation, at the exact time that atmospheric CO2 levels were rising.”

The researchers reconstructed the ventilation history of the deep North Pacific, examining the sediments at a site about 75 miles off the coast of southwestern Oregon. There the water is more than a mile-and-a-half deep and is known as the oldest water mass in the modern oceans, Mix said. By radiocarbon dating both the planktonic, or surface-dwelling, and benthic (seafloor-dwelling) foraminifera, the scientists can determine whether the isotopic signatures of the foraminifera match “values predicted by the assumption of oceanic control of the atmosphere.”

The organisms that lived on the seafloor have older “apparent” radiocarbon ages than the organisms that lived at the sea surface, Mix said, even though both come from the same sediment sample and are of the same true age. The radiocarbon dating was performed using an advance particle accelerator by the authors’ colleague, John Southon of the University of California at Irvine.

“Different sources of CO2 have different apparent ages, depending on how long they have been isolated from the atmosphere,” Mix said. “We use these dates as kind of a ‘return address label’ rather than to establish precise ages of the events. The bottom line is that the deep North Pacific wasn’t the source of rising CO2 at the end of the last ice age.”

The study is important not just in tracing climatic history, scientists say, but in forecasting how the Earth may respond to future climate change. The Earth “breathes carbon in and out,” Mix said, inhaling carbon into sediment and soils, while exhaling it via volcanism and a slow exchange between the oceans, soils and plant life with the atmosphere.

When everything is in balance, the Earth is said to be in a “steady state.” But on numerous occasions in the past, the carbon balance has shifted out of whack.

“Because the ocean is such a huge repository of carbon, a relatively small change in the oceans can have a major impact,” Mix said. “We know ocean circulation changed during the ice ages and that is why many scientists assumed the deep Pacific Ocean was the source for rising CO2 levels during the last deglaciation.”

Lund said it “is conceivable that we are misunderstanding the radiocarbon signal by assuming it is controlled by ocean mixing.”

“These are volcanically active regions, so the input of carbon from volcanoes, which lacks radiocarbon because of its great age, needs to be looked at,” Lund pointed out. “But it is premature to draw any conclusions.”

The researchers’ next step will be to look for chemical traces of volcanic influence.

Another source of carbon could be from land, though the authors say it would be difficult to account for the magnitude of atmospheric carbon increase and the apparent radiocarbon age of released carbon by pre-industrial terrestrial sources alone.

“If we can better understand how carbon has moved through the Earth’s systems in the past, and how this relates to climate change, we will better predict how the carbon we are now adding to the atmosphere will move in the future,” Mix said.

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92 thoughts on “Back to the “drawing board” on glacial period carbon sinks

  1. I thought CO2 was a bi-product of biology….
    Colder, slower biology…..warmer faster biology

    “When everything is in balance, the Earth is said to be in a “steady state.””

    Only when it becomes limiting……………..

  2. First Trenberth cannot find the missing heat, and now this study suggests that they cannot find the missing carbon. Perhaps the link betwen temperatrure and CO2 is not as strong as the Team would have one believe.

  3. OT

    Anyone notice we’ve slipped into a very mild ‘La Nina’ state from ENSO neutral the last month.

  4. Did they find the missing heat while they were down there ?
    On a serious note , is it possible that some of the co2 came from decaying vegetation after the glaciers receded ?

  5. h/t to Johnny Nash…….

    “There are more questions than answers
    Pictures in my mind that will not show
    There are more questions than answers
    And the more I find out the less I know
    Yeah, the more I find out the less I know”

  6. Can I offer the obvious question: Is the premise that CO2 wags the climate change dog a false premise?
    At least these guys admit that the evidence does not support their premise.

  7. Geez people, this missing carbon was provided by a time-traveling mission by Big Oil to create doubt in the current AGW theory. Also, the Koch brothers.

  8. P Walker says:
    October 3, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Frankly, not likely. Generally speaking after glacial retreat large deposits of glacial till would be deposited – and although the glaciers may have picked up organic matter during their scouring travels – it would be proportionately tiny relative to the masses of ground rock etc they picked up! (Think of a deepish but typical U shaped glacial valley – imagine the land was flat before glaciation and then think of how much ‘topsoil’ was on the surface before the glacier ‘cut’ the valley and carried away the rock!)

  9. >>
    When everything is in balance, the Earth is said to be in a “steady state.” But on numerous occasions in the past, the carbon balance has shifted out of whack.
    <<

    The author’s bias is showing. These carbon cycles were pre-industrial and natural. The carbon cycle can only be out of whack if there is some preconceived view of what constitutes carbon cycles that are in-whack.

    Jim

  10. every thing that needs to be hid is in what is known as dark …..take the dark hole and place every question of logic and reason ,into it and there we go ……peace ps. love the site and the input

  11. >>Bill Marsh says:
    OT. Anyone notice we’ve slipped into a very mild ‘La Nina’ state from ENSO neutral the last month?<<
    Yes, in fact, I did a News search earlier today. High probability that we'll have another La Nina on our hands soon. For us Northern Hemispherians, looks cold and snowy.

  12. “When everything is in balance, the Earth is said to be in a “steady state.” But on numerous occasions in the past, the carbon balance has shifted out of whack.”
    Interesting quote…has the Earth ever been in a steady state? And are we “out of whack” now?. Like Richard G says above, at least these researchers appear to be approaching their research with the intent to see what conclusion the gathered data points towards, rather than what data the gathered conclusions points toward.

  13. You know, for a science that’s “settled”, there seem to be an awful lot of big, tough questions.

    In the future we will hear a lot of people say “but nobody told us to look in this other direction”. But there is a loud and increasingly thunderous chorus of people telling them to look in the other direction.

    CO2 doesn’t drive climate, it doesn’t drive a bus, it doesn’t even ride a bicycle. CO2 is a trace gas. As long as the planet has a molten core CO2 will be put into the atmosphere. As long as there is plant life at sea and on the land CO2 will be processed and removed from the atmosphere.

    Again… a fundamental, simple, easily digested bit of factual knowledge that SHOULD be obvious to anyone “tackling” the CO2 question. If we had an 80% CO2 atmosphere, plant life would absolutely EXPLODE and consume it… then starve. In this sense, the Gaia theory is correct. Our planet is the way it is because of life. Our atmospheric balance is primarily regulated by life. Our planet is hospitable to us, its occupants, because of hundreds of millions of years of terraforming by our own ancestors… carbon based life.

  14. As there is no creditable experiment that proves that the “greenhouse gas effect” exists ,it easy to understand why there is no correlation between raising or lowering CO2 levels in the atmosphere and global temperatures. The whole business of “Mann-made global warming is a political hoax” and the sooner people are ready to look at the physics especially the Bohr Model they realize that there is no such thing as “greenhouse gases”.
    Here is the abstract of the G&T paper that does explain the facts and the paper of Alan Siddons- The Hidden flaw of greenhouse theory”
    Falsification Of The Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects
    Within The Frame Of Physics
    Version 4.0 (January 6, 2009)
    replaces Version 1.0 (July 7, 2007) and later
    Gerhard Gerlich
    Institute fur Mathematische Physik
    Technische Universitat Carolo-Wilhelmina zu Braunschweig
    Mendelssohnstrae 3
    D-38106 Braunschweig
    Federal Republic of Germany
    g.gerlich@tu-bs.de
    Ralf D. Tscheuschner
    Postfach 60 27 62
    D-22237 Hamburg
    Federal Republic of Germany
    ralfd@na-net.ornl.gov

    Abstract

    The atmospheric greenhouse effect, an idea that many authors trace back to the
    traditional works of Fourier (1824), Tyndall (1861), and Arrhenius (1896), and which
    is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in
    which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is
    radiatively interacting with but radiatively equilibrate to the atmospheric system. Ac-
    cording to the second law of thermodynamics such a planetary machine can never exist.
    Nevertheless, in almost all texts of global climatology and in a widespread secondary
    literature it is taken for granted that such mechanism is real and stands on a rm sci-
    entifc foundation. In this paper the popular conjecture is analyzed and the underlying
    physical principles are clarified. By showing that (a) there are no common physical laws
    between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric green-
    house effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature
    of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 C is a meaningless number
    calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the
    assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction
    must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.
    Electronic version of an article published as International Journal of Modern Physics
    B, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2009) 275{364 , DOI No: 10.1142/S021797920904984X, c World
    Scientific Publishing Company, http://www.worldscinet.com/ijmpb.

    February 25, 2010
    The Hidden Flaw in Greenhouse Theory
    By Alan Siddons

    Insulated by an outer crust, the surface of the earth acquires nearly all of its heat from the sun. The only exit for this heat to take is through a door marked “Radiation.” And therein lies a tale…

    Recently, I chanced upon an Atmospheric Science Educator Guide [PDF] published by NASA. Aimed at students in grades 5 through 8, it helps teachers explain how so-called “greenhouse gases” warm our planet Earth.

    These guides are interesting on a number of levels, so I recommend that you look them over. But what caught my eye was this:

    Question: Do all of the gases in our atmosphere absorb heat?
    Answer: (Allow students to discuss their ideas. Don’t provide the answer at this time.)

    Indeed, that’s a good one to think over yourself. Almost all of what we’re breathing is nitrogen and oxygen — do these gases absorb heat? Lakes and rocks absorb heat, after all, and thereby reach a higher temperature. So can nitrogen and oxygen molecules do the same?

    Well, I won’t keep you hanging. After allowing students to discuss it, the instructor is instructed to give them the final verdict.

    Answer: No. Only some gases have the unique property of being able to absorb heat.

    These are the infrared-absorbing “greenhouse gases,” of course, substances like carbon dioxide and water vapor, and not nitrogen and oxygen.

    Now, is something wrong here? Most definitely, for NASA has a finger on the scale. Let’s review a few basics that NASA should have outlined.

    Heat consists of vibrating and colliding molecules. The motion of these molecules jostles their electrons around, and this emits light. Heat and light are thus strongly related, but they aren’t the same. For instance, heat can’t actually be radiated; only the light that heat brings about can. By the same token, light itself has no temperature because temperature is an index of molecular motion, and a beam of light isn’t composed of molecules. In short, “heat” can be regarded as molecular excitement and light as electromagnetic excitement.

    Observe how NASA describes this relationship, however.

    Question: What is the relationship between light and heat?
    Answer: Things that are hot sometimes give off light. Things under a light source sometimes heat up.

    Utterly false. Heated masses always emit light (infrared). Always. That’s a direct consequence of molecules in motion. And while it’s true that some substances may be transparent to infrared light, it doesn’t follow that they can’t be heated or, if heated, might not emit infrared. Yet NASA’s misleading formulation implies precisely that.

    There are three ways for heat (better to say thermal energy) to move from one zone to another: by conduction, convection, and radiation. Conductive heat transfer involves direct contact, wherein vibrations spread from molecule to molecule. Convective transfer involves a mass in motion: expanded by heat, a fluid is pushed up and away by the denser fluid that surrounds it. Radiative transfer arises when molecules intercept the light that warmer molecules are emitting, which brings about a resonant molecular vibration — i.e., heating.

    Heat is transferred and absorbed in several ways, then, and no substance is immune to being heated, which means that all gases absorb heat — contrary to what NASA tells children.

    So how does NASA go wrong? By consistently confusing light and heat, as you see in the illustration below, where infrared light is depicted as heat. Elsewhere, NASA expresses heat transfer in terms that pertain to radiant transfer alone:

    The Earth first absorbs the visible radiation from the Sun, which is then converted to heat, and this heat radiates out to the atmosphere, where the greenhouse gases then absorb some of the heat.

    Nowhere in its teacher’s guide are conductive and convective heat transfer even mentioned. By selective context and vagueness, then, NASA paints an impression that only light-absorbing substances can be heated. Thus, since nitrogen and oxygen don’t respond to infrared, NASA feels justified to say that “only some gases have the unique property of being able to absorb heat.”

    Astonishing.

    But a mixup like this raises a deeper question: Why does NASA go wrong? Because it has a flimsy yet lucrative theory to foist on the taxpaying public, that’s why. As the space agency explains in the Main Lesson Concept, the core idea of greenhouse theory is that downward radiation from greenhouse gases raises the earth’s surface temperature higher than solar heating can.

    To make this idea seem plausible, therefore, it’s crucial to fix people’s attention on the 1% of the atmosphere that can be heated by radiant transfer instead of the 99% and more that is heated by direct contact with the earth’s surface and then by convection. NASA is stacking the deck, you see. If they made it clear that every species of atmospheric gas gets heated mainly by conductive transfer, and that all heated bodies radiate light, then even a child could connect the dots: “Oh. So the whole atmosphere radiates heat to the earth and makes it warmer. All of the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas.”

    Crash, boom, there goes the theory. And there goes the abundant funding that this fear-promoting “science” attracts so well. For what CO2 and water vapor emit is miniscule compared to the buzzing multitude of heated nitrogen, oxygen, and even argon, all of it radiating infrared, too. Keep in mind that thermal radiation from this forgotten 99% has never been proposed or imagined to increase the earth’s temperature, although by the theory’s very tenets, it should. You simply take the NASA formulation:

    Greenhouse gases absorb heat that radiates from Earth’s surface and release some of it back towards the Earth, increasing the surface temperature …

    …and make allowance for conductive transfer, too…
    All gases in the atmosphere absorb heat from the Earth’s surface and radiate infrared back towards the Earth, increasing the surface temperature.
    Consider too that since most air molecules are infrared-transparent, they can’t be heated by the infrared that CO2 and water vapor emit. This means that downward radiation from “greenhouse gases” can only explain how the earth’s surface might get warmer, not the rest of the atmosphere. This underscores, of course, how much the surface is heating this 99% by conduction and convection alone, since radiative transfer can’t do the job.

    To repeat: Irrespective of the manner of transfer, all gases absorb heat, and all heated gases radiate heat (infrared light) in close proportion to their temperature. Major gases like nitrogen and oxygen, then, do not just radiate heat to the earth below, but the total of this radiation vastly exceeds what minor players like carbon dioxide and water vapor contribute. Ironically, another NASA publication [PDF] reinforces this point.

    In solids, the molecules and atoms are vibrating continuously. In a gas, the molecules are really zooming around, continuously bumping into each other. Whatever the amount of molecular motion occurring in matter, the speed is related to the temperature. The hotter the material, the faster its molecules are vibrating or moving.

    Electromagnetic radiation is produced whenever electric charges accelerate – that is, when they change either the speed or direction of their movement. In a hot object, the molecules are continuously vibrating (if a solid) or bumping into each other (if a liquid or gas), sending each other off in different directions and at different speeds. Each of these collisions produces electromagnetic radiation at frequencies all across the electromagnetic spectrum.

    … Any matter that is heated above absolute zero generates electromagnetic energy. The intensity of the emission and the distribution of frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum depend upon the temperature of the emitting matter.
    Accordingly, any heated gas emits infrared. There’s nothing unique about CO2. Otherwise, substances like nitrogen and oxygen would truly be miracles of physics: Heat ‘em as much as you wish, but they’d never radiate in response. 

    Yet this amounts to a double-whammy. For meteorologists acknowledge that our atmosphere is principally heated by surface contact and convective circulation. Surrounded by the vacuum of space, moreover, the earth can only dissipate this energy by radiation. On one hand, then, if surface-heated nitrogen and oxygen do not radiate the thermal energy they acquire, they rob the earth of a means of cooling off — which makes them “greenhouse gases” by definition. On the other hand, though, if surface-heated nitrogen and oxygen do radiate infrared, then they are also “greenhouse gases,” which defeats the premise that only radiation from the infrared-absorbers raises the Earth’s temperature. Either way, therefore, the convoluted theory we’ve been going by is wrong.

    An idea has been drummed into our heads for decades: that roughly 1% of the atmosphere’s content is responsible for shifting the earth’s surface temperature from inimical to benign. This conjecture has mistakenly focused on specifically light-absorbing gases, however, ignoring heat-absorbing gases altogether. Any heated atmospheric gas radiates infrared energy back toward the earth, meaning that the dreadful power we’ve attributed to light-absorbing molecules up to now has been wildly exaggerated and must be radically adjusted — indeed, pared down perhaps a hundred times. Because all gases radiate the heat they acquire, trace-gas heating theory is an untenable concept, a long-held illusion we’d be wise to abandon.

    Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_hidden_flaw_in_greenhouse.html at March 01, 2010 – 09:10:34 AM CST

  15. Will they find the missing carbon before they find the missing heat? Or will they be chasing the missing grants?

  16. Kev-in-Uk says:
    October 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm
    Just as an aside – you are aware that a great proportion of CO2 is not really derived from living biosmass, aren’t you?
    =======================================
    Kev, it’s not a “great proportion”, it’s some yes, but not a great proportion……..that would be a gross exaggeration

    The same morons that say we’re all going to die from some perma-frost methane burp, have a hard time with where does the CO2 come from when the planet warms up from an ice age……

  17. How about this. When it is cold, molecules do NOT move around as much. When it is warm, molecules are moving faster and in a larger area. That is why CO2 is a lagger indicator of the suns increased activity and not a cause. Follow that. When the sun heats up, the C02 molecules become more active. Densities change resulting from the suns inactivity or increased activity.

  18. Isn’t this just another case of reality refusing the model? Of course the model must be correct and our measurements, in error. God forbid, that a model derived by highly paid scientists could be wrong. Where is the profit in that?! GK

  19. “..“Frankly, we’re kind of baffled by the whole thing,” said Alan Mix, a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University..”

    What!! A real scientist? Get him out of there fast! Doesn’t he know that paeleoclimate is in a state of certainty with respect to CO2? All the learned societies say so…

  20. Maybe the carbon is missing, and maybe the heat is missing, because you’re looking at the whole CO2/heat issue ass-backwards?

    Heat drives CO2, not the reverse?

    Maybe?

  21. Frankly, I’m kind of baffled that such far-reaching conclusions – CO2 didn’t go into or come out of the Pacific in the cycle of the Ice Age based on a few shovelfuls of foraminifera from some ridge off the coast of Oregon. Gentlepersons, before you rush around checking for volcanogenic traces and other research based on the supposition that your original work is valid, how about looking at many locations around the Pacific, hey and Atlantic, etc.to see if you get corroborations on the first part. I wonder if Coca Cola ever has a problem with rogue CO2 that refuses to dissolve in the cold cola and fizz when it is dumped into a warm glass. Remember the blind person who thought a herd of elephants was a grove of beech trees (well, actually I made that up from some other anecdote about blind person and elephants)

  22. Could it be that this area was covered by ice sheets from the ice shelf the linked Asia & Alaska during past ice ages? If so, there would be less ocean, air interaction and less photosynthesis, therefore less deposited carbon based biological residue.

    Bill

  23. “Frankly, we’re talking out of our arse, and it don’t smell good,” said Alan Mix, a professor of something that depends today upon supporting the climate weirdening mantra to maintain funding. … “we should search for another theory to test”

    Sorry, but it’s hard not to be cynical about these jokesters. How about Alan Mix coming clean: “Frankly, this means the theory is disproved”

  24. Has anyone considered wildfire as a source? With all that water locked up in glaciers, would the subtropical zone not be a good candidate for semiarid circumstance? Seems to me I read of there being such a dateable event somewhere in the Holocene, but that was quite a while ago. Texas has been burning, why couldn’t a huge swathe of land be engulfed if conditions were right? Imagine central Asia up in smoke. Just sayin’.

  25. Good to see scientists doing actual science, ie; questioning the results not following the blind “alarmist” warmist pack.

  26. Paul Deacon says @ October 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Will they find the missing carbon before they find the missing heat?

    Paul, they will find their missing socks before they find their missing heat. At least the socks exist … somewhere.

    Oh, I am having so much fun with this. Even when they discover they are wrong, they cannot admit it; it always must be some other angel on another pinhead. Ridicule is the only honest response now; these people have lost all credibility.

  27. They looked, sampled, measured, and found……. the unexpected! They reported it and said “Hmmmmm… Our hypothesis must be wrong. Wonder what else could explain it?”

    Sounds like basic science to me….

  28. Kev-in-Uk ,
    Thanks . I hadn’t considered that before I asked the question and I used to live in a valley filled with glacial till . ( Was distracted by my wife and the Foxy Knoxy verdict . )

  29. The article quotes one of the authors saying, “We know ocean circulation changed during the ice ages and that is why many scientists assumed the deep Pacific Ocean was the source for rising CO2 levels during the last deglaciation.”

    I may be naive…not for the first time…but if ocean circulation changed during the ice ages, something that other studies suggest was true, then why does the deep Pacific have to be the source for high CO2 emissions? Everything I have read up to now suggests that oceans indeed stored consideable CO2 during the last ice age. The mechanism was windier, drier air blowing dusts from what is now southern Argentina into the Southern Ocean; these dusts had then and have today tiny amounts of iron. The iron causes phytoplankton to grow because it is the “missing nutrient.” The decaying phytoplankton and their planktonic predators fall into the deep, and the CO2 from their bodies stays in the deep oceans until circulation takes the water to the surface, where CO2 is released. During the ice age, the entire ocean became saturated with higher CO2 levels, pulling CO2 from the air, so that atmospheric CO2 was around 180 to 200 ppm. There was a steady state higher amount of CO2 in oceans, lower amount in the air.

    If this is still the way we understand how CO2 was drawn from the atmosphere, why did CO2 have to be preferentially released in the North Pacific near Oregon, especially if ocean circulation was different?

    The study seems to at least implicitly question whether the oceans because a large sink for CO2. That is a bridge too far. It seems that we need more than just a study which says that CO2 didn’t escape from oceans as much as we had assumed from one particular area, before we invalidate the idea that oceans were a very large sink for CO2 during the ice ages. Let’s wait and see on this one.

  30. Kev in UK says:

    “Just as an aside – you are aware that a great proportion of CO2 is not really derived from living biosmass, aren’t you?
    please note this.

    http://goldschmidt.info/2009/abstracts/finalPDFs/A392.pdf

    especially the last couple of sentences in the first paragraph.!!”

    That paragraph says “The Himalayan orogenesis also acts as a source of CO2
    to the atmosphere through metamorphic decarbonation. Direct evidences of these fluxes have been measured through dissolved and gas CO2 discharge associated to thermal spring
    along the MCT (=Main Central Thrust) in Himalaya”

    For your information Kev, “metamorphic decarbonation” means that limestone deposits [i]derived from living biomass[/i] carried down by mountain-building are heated at depth liberating CO2.

  31. Perhaps the dominant land mass in the northern hemisphere (which is mostly tundra or bog) may be releasing enormous quantities of CO2 when it is NOT covered in ice.

    I have often felt that this was the main reason that CO2 rises 800 years after it gets warmer and presumably glaciers have all receded. Lots of bacteria munching happily away in a massive wet tundra and exhaling copious amounts of CO2.

    Frankly, I have always had trouble with the ocean warming and CO2 out gassing theory simply because it takes astronomical amounts of energy to change the temperature of the whole ocean by even one degree.

  32. Robert of Ottawa says:
    October 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm
    “Sorry, but it’s hard not to be cynical about these jokesters. How about Alan Mix coming clean: “Frankly, this means the theory is disproved””

    On the contrary, I’m impressed by their frank admission of their surprise, and their ongoing search for an explanation. Their work is not about the question whether CO2 causes significant warming but about where that CO2 came from! They’re doign science like it should be done, and should be applauded for it.

  33. Good grief. First, they can’t find the missing heat of Global Warming, and now they can’t find the missing CO2 of the last Ice Age. Maybe they should look for CO2 derivatives, as in Climate Bubble Change.

  34. Latitude says:
    October 3, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    yes – I was meaning in terms of past CO2 ‘supply’ kind of ‘into’ the atmosphere (from tectonic movements, volcanoes, etc) . The recycling of it via the earths biomass (via sinks or emitters) is a different issue. Many folk (not on WUWT, I should hasten to add – though I can think of a couple of possible exceptions based on their comments! LOL) seem to think that CO2 is only emitted by animals and absorbed by plants – which of course is far oversimplified and indeed factually incorrect.
    All the chalk, limestone and dolomite (the main carbonates) in the world was ‘made’ by animals which fixed CO2 into their exoskeletons and deposited calcium carbonate – so these animals were net ‘sinkers’ of CO2. The question then becomes where the flip did this all this CO2 come from, that these little blighters obviously fed on and enjoyed so much? It sure as eggs are eggs wasn’t from humans burning fossil fuels or other animals – so it must have come from orogenic sources.
    Methane is more complex kettle of fish (indeed, it could be so, quite literally – joke!) as it’s current levels are perhaps more likely to be from biological origin???. However, early earth is considered likely to have had significant methane Before life even began, so maybe the known trapped methane is not all of biological origin. I am personally not well read on the methane orogenic issue – but I know it’s the subject of more recent works, especially clathrates – e.g. http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v2/n2/full/ncomms1196.html.
    one year – when I have time – I’ll get up to current speed on the methane issues!

  35. Lund said it “is conceivable that we are misunderstanding the radiocarbon signal by assuming it is controlled by ocean mixing.”

    If the radiocarbon signal isn’t “controlled by ocean mixing,” could it have something to do with the Sun, the solar wind and the galactic cosmic ray flux?

    Now… If the deep Pacific Ocean wasn’t the hiding place for glacial stage CO2, there really aren’t that many big enough hiding place left on Earth. Since the CO2 didn’t spend the glacial stages in outer space… Isn’t it just possible that Pleistocene CO2 levels were quite a lot higher than indicated by the Antarctic ice cores?

  36. tty says:
    October 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Yes and No – I think you are missing the point – that CO2 originally comes from the earth NOT plants/animals. The carbonate ‘recycling’ must have started somewhere and the biomass that created the carbonates had to have a CO2 source – so whichever way you look at it – CO2 was present originally. I think that makes sense…..?

  37. B.Klein says:
    October 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm
    “Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_hidden_flaw_in_greenhouse.html
    at March 01, 2010 – 09:10:34 AM CST”

    Thanks… It’s utterly depressing to see NASA confuse schoolkids. It’s very hard to satisfy a teacher who has his facts wrong. In school, I couldn’t convince my Biology teacher of the existence of genetic repair mechanisms. You end up learning two versions; the correct one and a distorted one for your teacher and have to do some mental bookkeeping to present the right one when asked.

    It’s especially depressing when it’s NASA.

  38. Again, the planet’s temperature during the end of the last ice-age is a guess and was most likely much higher than thought. As such, the usual suspects for increased carbon dioxide were in full tilt…

  39. Kev-in-Uk says:
    October 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm
    The question then becomes where the flip did this all this CO2 come from, that these little blighters obviously fed on and enjoyed so much?
    =============================================
    Kev, the simple answer is bacteria….
    The planet could not survive without ammonification, nitrification, denitrification, etc
    It’s those bacteria that liberate it…………….

    The whole oxic, anoxic, sub-oxic process is driven by bacteria, and they have to liberate carbon/ates in the process or it won’t work.

    Which is also why ocean acidification does not happen.

  40. Latitude says:
    October 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Nope – I cannot accept that. I think you are trying to imply that CO2 is a biomass generated product in its entirety (?)
    If this is your point, I believe is entirely false – it’s a chicken and egg situation – which came first – and it was CO2! It is considered that CO2 was emplaced by impacting bodies, along with methane, ammonia, etc….. these created the atmosphere and this was then ‘used’ to create life on earth..,…
    there is obviously a lot of speculation, but I think this is the most likely explanation – early earth had comets, asteroids etc impacting on it to provide it with the raw materials for the atmosphere as it could not be generated from the rocky iron core it started with!

  41. Latitude says:
    October 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    sorry – it might be simpler to put it another way. …. where the flip did the carbon come from? why is there so much of it? (there isn’t really – I’m being metaphorical) and how did it get made into CO2? – I’m intrigued as to your thoughts………

  42. Kev, says “All the chalk, limestone and dolomite (the main carbonates) in the world was ‘made’ by animals which fixed CO2 into their exoskeletons and deposited calcium carbonate – so these animals were net ‘sinkers’ of CO2.”

    These animals had to eat something right? So they got their Carbon for their skeletons just like we do: from eating plants!!

    Plants do the fixing.

    Surely, atmospheric CO2 is just too negligible a source of carbon for animals to be using it as a source for bones or shells.

  43. It funny they expect to find it in fossils even though it was released to the atmosphere… How can a CO2 “sinks” still exist if it was released in the atmosphere during the big melt?

  44. Jeremy says:
    October 3, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    come on Jeremy – think man! (no disrespect intended – it’s late here and I’m ready for my bed!)
    ALL the biomass lives on carbon – within the carbon cycle – which is based on what, exactly? – it’s CO2.
    compare to chicken and egg…think about it – which came first? – it HAD to be CO2!
    And as for your comment that CO2 is negligible – think about the scale – yes, it is negligible in OUR terms, as a gas – but theres a sh*tload of it in the massive volume we call the atmosphere and many many times as much ‘buried’ within the earths crust as carbonates.
    Now ask yourself the question – where did it come from?

  45. Kev, look up thermophilic bacteria………………it’s a anaerobic or sub-oxic process
    Thermophilic bacteria are believed to be the first bacteria….more or less
    Today they are found around hot springs, thermal vents, etc

    You were saying that “Just as an aside – you are aware that a great proportion of CO2 is not really derived from living biosmass, aren’t you?”

    …and I’m saying that is a gross exaggeration…..

    CO2 is also produced by bacteria that do not use living biomass….
    …and that was the original source

    Almost all of the CO2 now, is produced by bacteria as a result of ammonification, denitrification, nitrification, etc…..otherwise we would all be dead

  46. What about methane? Methane in the atmosphere oxidizes to CO2. Changing ocean temps can cause methane to accumulate or be released. Warming during a deglaciation could release quite a bit of methane accumulated over 50,000 years. Sediment studies would miss a methane contribution. Relatively speaking, not much solid methane clathrate converted to gas would be needed to create large volumes of methane gas that could result in quite a bit of CO2. I don’t have time right now to verify my back-of-envelope calcs, but an early guess is methane 10^5 km^2, 1 m deep converted to gas might be enough. Maybe that seems like a lot, but I don’t think so.

    I just found this newly minted PhD’s thesis. Some interesting numbers suggest methane might be the answer.

    http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~justinpb/Files/thesis.pdf

  47. Kev,

    I think you are fighting a strawman that you created. I think everyone accepts that higher elements are made in stars and that planets and the elements are remains of past stars or supernovas.

    So you have proved a point. The earth came first. That is before life could exist on the earth, life needed elements like Carbon, Oxygen etc to exist.

    Now does volcanic activity or weathering of limestone by rain and water modulate atmospheric CO2? So if that is your point then I quite agree – for sure it does. A catastrophic comet collision with earth would likely raise atmospheric CO2 also. As does a forest fire. Lots of possible cycles within cycles and processes.

  48. At the start of the industrial revolution the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was about 280 ppm. At present it is about 385 ppm. One hundred and sixty years of burning coal and alkanes has allegedly increased the CO2 concentation in the atmosphere by about one part per 10,000. If this sets your pants on fire I suggest you sit in a bucket of CO2; it has helped other vegetables.

  49. Latitude says:
    October 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    again, I cannot agree – you seem to be making the jump to saying that all CO2 is produced by the current biomass? I cannot accept that – you are ignoring the chicken and egg situation I described before. Look, if we have a carbon cycle (and I assume you agree) – we have to have a start point – carbon dioxide came from somewhere. what continues the cycle today is largely irrelevent – it started somewhere – and that somewhere was BEFORE life began!
    that’s my point – though I accept I am probably not making it very well. It’s a long time (30yrs) since I studied for this stuff originally, so my memory isn’t great, but I am working from first principles.
    What bugs me – as a geologist – is that the startpoint is ignored. I dunno, perhaps we could compare it to electricity generation – we all know that generation efficiency is not 100%, so energy is lost somewhere along the process – it’s the same with the carbon/CO2 cycle ? Now consider the carbon volumes in toto, and you realise that we are only ‘seeing’ what we understand and that is only some fraction of what has actually ‘been’ ? I’m a geologist, so my perception of ‘scale’ (including timescale) is generally different to others! Do you realise that a single centimetre of carbonate formation/rock may represent thousands of years of actual time? (not being facetious – just trying to put stuff in perspective for you).
    So No ! – I don’t agree that all CO2 is based on the current biomass – indeed, I suspect it is far from it, it’s probably a (small) fraction of the actual carbon cycle! I humbly apologise to Anthony and others if I have strayed too far from the thread………
    regards
    Kev

  50. Jeremy says:
    October 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks – though I didn’t realise I’d created a strawman argument! I was honestly trying to put some perspective on the subject of CO2 and the carbon cycle – and in particular, the issue of CO2 being a ‘recycled’ material that must have started from somewhere……
    best regards
    Kev

  51. The biggest source and sink of CO2 on shorter timelines is land-based vegetation. We just reviewed a study which said it might be an annual cycle of 150 billion to 175 billion tons carbon per year. This turns out to be 70 to 85 ppm of CO2.

    There is also the lag of CO2 rising compared to Temperature rising which is 800 years or more. As the Glacial Ice starts melting and the plant vegetation regrows again, the large annual vegetation sink and source returns and the overall level of CO2 rises.

    Plants take up Carbon locked up in the formerly dead frozen / buried under a mile of ice soils and returns it to the active Carbon/CO2 cycle.

    I imagine alot of CO2 was locked up in glacial ice as well.

  52. Kev-in-Uk says:
    October 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm
    again, I cannot agree – you seem to be making the jump to saying that all CO2 is produced by the current biomass? I cannot accept that – you are ignoring the chicken and egg situation I described before. Look, if we have a carbon cycle (and I assume you agree) – we have to have a start point – carbon dioxide came from somewhere.
    ============================================================
    LOL…..that’s because we’re not on the same page
    I thought you were talking about rocks weathering and a major contribution of CO2 from that…..today, now…..present
    I didn’t realize you wanted to go all the way back to the beginning……

    Today, it’s mostly from bacteria….
    ….before thermophilic bacteria evolved, who knows…nothing was alive to care…..;)

  53. Dear, God, I read these silly attempts – mostly by amateurs – trying to find the missing carbon. Fact is you’re all wrong. It’s here in the oil sands. Hasn’t anyone here hear we’re destroying the entire world mining oil sands, the natural world’s largest oil spill us humans are attempting to clean up?

  54. Fred Allen says:
    October 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    “Interesting quote…has the Earth ever been in a steady state?”

    Yes, the Christians call it the Garden of Eden and the Marxists call it “L’age D’Or,” or The Golden Age.

  55. So No ! – I don’t agree that all CO2 is based on the current biomass – indeed, I suspect it is far from it, it’s probably a (small) fraction of the actual carbon cycle!
    ===============================================================
    I think you just combined two things……
    Carbon that’s available, and carbon that’s not.

    Atmospheric carbon, CO2, is the extremely small fraction of what is available.

    But that vast majority of that small fraction is liberated by bacteria.
    The largest processes on the planet is bacterial nitrification and de-nitrification. Those bacteria liberate carbon from calcium carbonate, and all the salts of carbonic acid. The vast majority of those processes have nothing to do with biomass…

    thermophilic bacteria use elemental sulfur………

    Well, wait a min, because it does have something to do with biomass……the largest biomass on the planet is bacteria……………

  56. As long as those guys believe that CO2 can create enough extra energy to raise the Earth’s mean temperature just by recycling that old 2nd hand stuff, – move along Sun, no extra energy needed here – then, of course, it is a big disappointment for them to find that CO2 has not been doing any “Deep Sea Diving” where they (or their Models) have expected that particular gas so to do.

  57. Latitude says:
    October 3, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    You have lost me somewhere! – nitrification bacteria use CO2 and denitrifying bugs produce CO2, don’t they, as far as I recall? Is there an overall balance there? I don’t know just asking? but off to bed now, it’s even later here in Uk.
    regards
    Kev

  58. Kev-in-Uk says:
    October 3, 2011 at 5:46 pm
    =================================================
    See….I told you we weren’t on the same page…..;-)
    Thermophilic bacteria started the whole mess……..raising CO2 levels and maintaining it
    Originally there was no use for CO2, so it built up.

    Bacteria evolved, and now CO2 levels are maintained by the process of ammonification, nitrification, and de-nitrification.

    Right now, the biggest elephant in the room, is why are CO2 levels so low……………..

    and you can’t have ocean acidification until after denitrification stops……
    …and if denitrification stopped, no one would care what pH the ocean is
    because we would all be dead

  59. WOW!

    No computer model proofs? An actual attempt to test a hypothesis with observation? An admission of uncertainty about sources and sinks of CO2? And then: “The Earth “breathes carbon in and out,” Mix said, inhaling carbon into sediment and soils, while exhaling it via volcanism and a slow exchange between the oceans, soils and plant life with the atmosphere.”, what, no SUV’s? and to top it all off: “on numerous occasions in the past, the carbon balance has shifted out of whack” , what, not perfectly stable until we came along?

    For a second there I thought we had made some real progress and then they had to go and ruin it: ”“If we can better understand how carbon has moved through the Earth’s systems in the past, and how this relates to climate change, we will better predict how the carbon we are now adding to the atmosphere will move in the future,” Mix said.”

    Must pay homage to the great and mighty CAGW I guess.

  60. richard verney says:
    October 3, 2011 at 12:01 pm
    First Trenberth cannot find the missing heat, and now this study suggests that they cannot find the missing carbon. Perhaps the link betwen temperatrure and CO2 is not as strong as the Team would have one believe.
    ——————
    I don’t know richard, maybe they are both in hiding together.

  61. Robert of Ottawa says:
    October 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm
    Paul Deacon says @ October 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm
    Will they find the missing carbon before they find the missing heat? >>>
    Paul, they will find their missing socks before they find their missing heat. At least the socks exist … somewhere.>>>

    Of come on! This one was solved YEARS ago.

    Socks disappear through a black hole in the back of the clothes dryer and reappear through a similar hole in the back of your clothes closet as a wire hanger. Correlation is 100%.

    Everyone knows that!

  62. I have been following this subject for a long while. I am neither an engineer nor a climate scientist; I am only a person who reads and observes, and tries to make sense of the debate. After reading this post, I have concluded that climate scientists have no idea of anything. It’s like the proverbal blind men feeling different parts of an elephant for the first time and describing what they feel. The CO2 mongers are out of control. They are so focused on one cause that they are blind to the multitide of causes. Sorry for rambling.

  63. CodeTech says
    CO2 doesn’t drive climate, it doesn’t drive a bus, it doesn’t even ride a bicycle. CO2 is a trace gas. As long as the planet has a molten core CO2 will be put into the atmosphere. As long as there is plant life at sea and on the land CO2 will be processed and removed from the atmosphere.
    ————-
    Here is a riddle for you. If CO2 is a trace gas how can there be enough of it to be useful as plant food?

  64. B.Klein quotes

    is still supported in global climatology, essentially describes a fictitious mechanism, in
    which a planetary atmosphere acts as a heat pump driven by an environment that is
    ———-
    No. No one claims the greenhouse effect is a heat pump. This is called a straw man argument

  65. DirkH says

    It’s especially depressing when it’s NASA.
    ———-
    For goodness sake Dirk, why would you think some guy writing an article in the American Thinker has the faintest clue about the green house effect. That article has do many mistakes in it if I bothered to debunk it the text would be twice as long. Just because it sounds vaguely sciency

  66. B.Klein says:
    October 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm
    /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    An interesting post.

    If a non greenhouse gas such as oxygen cannot be heated, it would always have a constant temperature. Whenever, one came accross oxygen, and measured its temperature, it would (if it cannot be heated) always be at the same temperature. In much the same way as the speed of light is a constant.

    However, one knows that one can heat such a gas simply, for example, by pressure. Likewise, if I store the gas (in a sealed glass container) in a room at 1deg C, the gas will acquire (or tend to acquire) that temperature. If I store it in a room at say 35deg C, the gas will acquire (or tend to acquire) that temperature.

    It sounds a very fanciful proposition that non greenhouse gases cannot be heated. Of course they can and they are at different temperatures in the atmosphere depending upon then prevailing local conditions including the altitude of the gas.

  67. John says: October 3, 2011 at 2:23 pm
    quote
    []
    The mechanism was windier, drier air blowing dusts from what is now southern Argentina into the Southern Ocean; these dusts had then and have today tiny amounts of iron. The iron causes phytoplankton to grow because it is the “missing nutrient.” []
    unquote

    Before the spring plankton bloom occurs, there is a bloom of diatoms: these tiny plants (?) have silica shells and only when the dissolved silica is all used up can the normal, carbonate-shelled, phytoplankton take over. Lots of silica, few calcium carbonate phytos.

    Diatoms use a carbon-fixing metabolic pathway (C4-like say the books) which does not discriminate against the heavier carbon isotopes, which means that in a world dominated by high levels of aeolian dust there will be a pull-down of 14C (and, incidentally 13C) from the atmosphere. The figures are complicated in that the pull-down by diatoms is much reduced compared to the calcareous phytos and the deposits will have relatively more 14C. If the deposits are heavy in 14C they will appear younger by carbon dating.

    Light C signal in the atmosphere, increased CO2… oh, look, doesn’t that remind you of something?

    JF

  68. There are two volcanic sources of CO2. Above surface eruptions and those invisible ones that are far more numerous, those at construction boundaries at the ocean ridges. All produce CO2.

  69. You all should realize that scientists who attempt to quantify sub-segments of the carbon cycle have only the roughest estimates of it’s constituent processes. Just about the ONLY sub-process we can and have “accurately” measured is fossil fuel consumption and the resulting CO2 production. The rest is best thought of as a series of WAGs.

    Kev-in UK has a valid point when he mentions CO2 cycling from crustal and mantle processes acting on carbon containing bedrock, soils, etc.. Latitude is considerably off-base when he suggests that ALL CO2 derives from (bacterial) biological process fluxes. Orogeny, vulcanism, mineralization, etc. of carbon containing bedrocks and deposits are poorly quantified as a global sources of CO2, however, they are likely to be order(s) of magnitude larger than Anthropogenic combustion as a CO2 source. We don’t even need to mention that geologic processes mobilizing CO2 in fossil fuels are likely to be order(s) of magnitude more effective at consuming megatons of such CO2 sources than humans are.

    The problem here is one of scale and time. We all know about cave formation in limestone, marble, dolomite, etc deposits for example, but fail to consider the significance just how widespread carbonic acid cycle weathering and other global CO2 mobilization from non-biological processes might be. Only the most cursory consideration of CO2 production from vulcanism is another instance of how poorly we understand and quantify these kinds of numbers. Consider the issue of acidic precipitation flowing across the landscape, mobilizing megatons of CO2 from everything it touches. The fact that the vast majority of carbon on earth resides in crustal deposits should provide the clues about where CO2 comes from and ends up.

    So, this study is perhaps interesting but somewhat like the needle in the continent-wide-forest rather than the haystack.

  70. Where has all the carbon gone?
    Long time passing
    Where has alll the carbon gone?
    Long time ago
    Where has all the carbon gone?
    We are baffeled every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?

  71. Kevin -in-UK et al, can I (gently) suggest you read a bit about nucleosynthesis….how stars form elements…which gives you insight as to why some are more abundant than others.
    “The above processes explain why hydrogen and helium are in the greatest quanities in the universe (75% and 24% respectively) as they are formed during the first moments of the universe; why the next most abundant elements in the universe are oxygen, carbon, neon, nitrogen, magnesium, silicon and iron, the seven elements assembled in the greatest quantities by stellar nuclear reactions”
    And C is readily oxidised within cooler environments such as planetary masses..

  72. BioBob says:
    October 4, 2011 at 3:08 am
    . Latitude is considerably off-base when he suggests that ALL CO2 derives from (bacterial) biological process fluxes.
    ====================================================================
    Bob, show me where I said “all”……………………..and I’ll correct it.
    …I said “mostly” and “vast majority of that small fraction”…..never used the word “all”

    ….then show me where those clean surfaces are for those neat little formulas
    everything on this planet is covered in bacteria

  73. That’s an awefull lot of speculation from just one core. I don’t see how one core by itself has any meaning at all. I could list 10 pages of ‘what if’ scenarios which could cause anomalous samples at any single location.

  74. I am surprised that the obvious cause of the increased CO2 has not yet been mentioned: all the SUV trips the cavemen had to make while relocating as the climate warmed and the ice melted.

  75. Somewhat off topic but have you noticed how peoples’ names and what they do can sometimes have fortuitous connection? Studying sediment cores, oceanographer Professor Alan Mix. And, irresistible conjunction, archeologist author of ‘The Bog People’, Professor Blog. I remember that one of my teachers at primary school was called Miss Cross.

  76. Sorry, Latitude, but your statement “Almost all of the CO2 now, is produced by bacteria” is simply incorrect. CO2 is produced and consumed by the CO2 + H2O equilibrium with H2CO3 and associated processes without ANY required input from bacteria whatever. The carbonic acid cycle is one of the most pervasive INorganic chemical processes on earth. Furthermore, large amounts of CO2 are produced by oxidation of crustal carbon by inorganic oxidation processes (burning) in the earth’s crust. Almost none of these processes have been accurately measured but they likely dwarf anthropogenic CO2 production.

    Many animals DIRECTLY absorb bicarbonate / carbonic acid like Foraminifera which form chalk beds and limestone forming corals. Bacteria are perhaps only minor players in these particular processes but of course, biological processes are messy and complex. While the mass balance of these particular processes act as CO2 sinks in their formation of Ca//Mg//CO3, the inorganic carbonic acid cycle reverses the sequestration as well without any required action by bacteria.

    This is not to say that bacterial CO2 respiration and production is not a large source of CO2 – it is. Just don’t think that it is ALL or ALMOST ALL.

  77. Bob, why would you think it’s “all”? The only person that said it was “all” was you………LOL

    Show me those clean surfaces for those chemical reactions to take place…………

  78. Aside from the fact that the “published” CO2 measurements have been rigourously “selected’ by people like Callendar, Revelle and his disciple Keeling ( Mauna Loa) to fit their preconceived curves, (shades of the hockey stick only much much worse) they also ignore the buffer capacity of the oceans and the rapidity of the reactions. (See: http://www.co2web.info/ESEF3VO2.pdf and for technical details: http://www.co2web.info/stoten92.pdf)

    “….In addition to this biogeochemical balance, there is also an important geochemical balance. CO2 in the atmosphere is in equilibrium with carbonic acid dissolved in the ocean, which in term is close to CaCO3 saturation and in equilibrium with carbonate shells of organisms and lime (calcium carbonate; limestone) in the ocean through the following reactions (where s indicates the solid state, aq is the aqueous state, and g is the gaseous state):

    Partial reactions:
    CO2 (g) ø CO2 (aq)
    CO2 (aq) + H2O ø H2CO3 (aq)
    H2CO3 (aq) ø H+ (aq) + HCO3- (aq)
    HCO3- (aq) ø H+ (aq) + CO32- (aq)
    CO32- (aq) + Ca2+ (aq) ø CaCO3 (s)
    ____________________________________
    Net reaction:
    CO2 (g) + H2O + Ca2+ (aq) ø CaCO3 (s) + 2 H+ (aq)

    In addition there are a number of different aqueous metal complexes of lesser concentrations.

    A buffer can be defined as a reaction system which modifies or controls the value of an intensive (i.e. mass independent) thermodynamic variable (pressure, temperature, concentration, pH, etc.). Our carbonate system above will act as a pH buffer, by the presence of a weak acid (H2CO3) and a salt of the acid (CaCO3). The concentration of CO2 (g) and of Ca2+ (aq) will in the equilibrium Earth system also be buffered by the presence of CaCO3, at a given temperature. If the partial pressure of CO2 (g) is increased, the net reaction will go towards the right because of the Law of Mass Action. If the temperature changes, the chemical equilibrium constant will change, and move the equilibrium to the left or right. The result is that the partial pressure of CO2 (g) will increase or decrease. The equilibrium will mainly be governed by Henry’s Law: the partial pressure of CO2 (g) in the air will be proportional to the concentration of CO2 (aq) dissolved in water. The proportional constant is the Henry’s Law Constant, which is strongly temperature dependent, and lesser dependent on total pressure and salinity (Drummond, 1981).

    Questions have been raised about how strong this buffer is. It has been postulated (Bolin & Keeling, 1963) that an increase in atmospheric CO2 will be balanced when only approximately one tenth of this is dissolved in the ocean. This postulate fails for a number of reasons. An increase in atmospheric CO2 will namely increase the buffer capacity of ocean water, and thereby strengthen the ocean’s capacity to moderate an increase of atmospheric CO2; maximum buffer capacity for the system CO2 – H2O is reached at 2.5 to 6 times the present atmospheric partial pressure of CO2, depending on temperature and alkalinity (Butler, 1982). According to Maier-Reimer & Hasselmann (1987) the borate system also increases the ocean storage capacity for CO2 by more than 20% over an ocean with the carbonate-system alone.
    Furthermore, this carbonate buffer is not the only buffer active in the atmosphere / hydrosphere / lithosphere system. The Earth has a set of other buffering mineral reactions. The geochemical equilibrium system anorthite CaAl2Si2O8 – kaolinite Al2Si2O5(OH)4 has by the pH of ocean water a buffer capacity which is thousand times larger than a 0.001 M carbonate solution (Stumm & Morgan, 1970). In addition we have clay mineral buffers, and a calcium silicate + CO2 ø calcium carbonate + SiO2 buffer (MacIntyre, 1970; Krauskopf, 1979). These buffers all act as a “security net” under the most important buffer: CO2 (g) ø HCO3- (aq) ø CaCO3 (s). All together these buffers give in principle an infinite buffer capacity (Stumm & Morgan, 1970).

    Stable carbon isotopes (13C/12C) show that CO2 in the atmosphere is in chemical equilibrium with ocean bicarbonate and lithospheric carbonate (Ohmoto, 1986). The chemical equilibrium constants for the chemical reactions above provide us with a partition coefficient for CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean of approximately 1 : 50 (approx. 0.02) at the global mean temperature (Revelle & Suess, 1957; Skirrow, 1975). This means that for an atmospheric doubling of CO2, there will have to be supplied 50 times more CO2 to the ocean to obtain chemical equilibrium. This total of 51 times the present amount of atmospheric CO2 carbon is more than the known reserves of fossil carbon. It is possible to exploit approximately 7000 GT of fossil carbon, which means, if all this carbon is supposed to be burned, that the atmospheric CO2 can be increased by 20% at the most under geochemical equilibrium at constant present surface temperature.

    14C isotopes show that the circulation time for carbon in the upper part of the ocean is some few decades (Druffel & Williams, 1990). This is sufficient time for the ocean to absorb an increase in atmospheric CO2 from burning of fossil fuel at the present projected rate (Jaworowski et al., 1992 a)…..

    …..The calculations show how the IPCC’s (Houghton et al., 1990) atmospheric CO2
    lifetime of 50-200 years only accounts for half the mass of atmospheric CO2. However,
    the unique result fits an atmospheric CO2 lifetime of -5 (5.4) years, in agreement with
    numerous 14C studies compiled by Sundquist (1985) and chemical kinetics (Stumm &
    Morgan, 1970)……
    http://www.co2web.info/ESEFVO1.pdf

    If you start from the “carefully selected” CAGW CO2 data that ignores a huge amount of data showing higher (and lower) CO2 readings from ice cores and historic results then ignore the ocean’s true capacity for absorbing CO2 then you come up with the problem of the “Missing Sink”

    …Trabalka (1985) summarizes the status of carbon cycle modelling and its missing
    sinks (Trabalka et al., 1985) by: “As a first approximation in the validation of models, it
    should be possible to compute a balanced global carbon budget for the contemporary
    period; to date this has not been achievable and the reasons are still uncertain.” . . .
    “These models produce estimates of past atmospheric CO2 levels that are inconsistent
    with the historical atmospheric CO2 increase. This inconsistency implies that significant
    errors in projections are possible using current carbon cycle models.”
    http://www.co2web.info/ESEF3VO2.pdf

    Hopefully we are starting to see the whole artificial construct of manmade global warming crumbling because the basis is political and not scientific.

  79. “””””” “Frankly, we’re kind of baffled by the whole thing,” said Alan Mix, a professor of oceanography at Oregon State University and an author on the study. “The deep North Pacific was such an obvious source for the carbon, but it just doesn’t match up. At least we’ve shown where the carbon wasn’t; now we just have to find out where it was.” “””””

    Translation:- “Our grant money is just about all gone, so we are ready to receive new grants, to keep the wolf away from the door for a few more years !”

    And the good Professor’s statement calls for a retraction.

    Clearly the deep North Pacific was NOT such an obvious source for the carbon; specifically for the carbon that clearly is NOT there.

  80. “”””” Kev-in-Uk says:

    October 3, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Latitude says:
    October 3, 2011 at 11:56 am
    Just as an aside – you are aware that a great proportion of CO2 is not really derived from living biosmass, aren’t you?
    please note this.

    http://goldschmidt.info/2009/abstracts/finalPDFs/A392.pdf

    especially the last couple of sentences in the first paragraph.!! “””””

    So what was in column IV of the periodic table, in the second row, back before there was life on earth to manufacture carbon.

    The biggest mystery of planet earth is how life got started with no carbon on the planet.

  81. Kev-in-Uk says:
    October 3, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I am personally not well read on the methane orogenic issue – but I know it’s the subject of more recent works, especially clathrates – e.g. http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v2/n2/full/ncomms1196.html.
    one year – when I have time – I’ll get up to current speed on the methane issues!

    Don’t neglect to consider the implications of this:

    Note the minuscule absorption of methane. Prima facie evidence that the “powerful GHG” meme is BS. It seems it is credited with the powers of hypothetical BURNING, which would transform it into 1xCO2 + 2xH2O. But burning is the fate of very little of released methane, even if that were a valid computation (instead of a shell game travesty).

  82. LazyTeenager says:
    October 4, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Here is a riddle for you. If CO2 is a trace gas how can there be enough of it to be useful as plant food?

    Plants have billions of years of gross and fine tuning of their ability to extract it from the air. They drove it down by a factor of about 20 to the limits of their ability to absorb (with considerable help from diatoms etc. depleting ocean water and making limestone). It is now hovering just above starvation levels. They will greatly appreciate any contributions we can make towards restocking their larder, and will reward us by feeding us better.

    But you’ll never be able to acknowledge any of that. Too far gone in justifying past st**** comments.

  83. Outgassing from the THC in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific according to Henry’s Law accounts for the variable paleo CO2 record. This is the solubility pump. That water was saturated with CO2 at about 0ºC at the uptakes in polar waters, and released at the ambient, tropical surface temperature (about 30º to 35ºC) with a dominant, peak lag of about one millennium. According to contemporary estimates, the volume of CO2 released is about 90 GtC/yr, about 15 times anthropogenic emissions, at a temperature within 2º to 4ºC of Earth’s warm state maximum. See The Acquittal of Carbon Dioxide at rocketscientistsjournal.com.

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