Little Bubbles, part 1

Guest Post by Caleb Shaw

Ice core sample from Antarctica - Image: British Antarctic Survey

Preface:  Climate Scientists and School Girls – A humorous description of a layman trying to investigate the little bubbles in ice cores,  involving both the actual science,  and a layman’s amazement over the politics.

My last layman’s paper generated a wonderful and polite peer-review from WUWT readers, teaching me a great deal, not the least of which was that I should avoid using the word “pneumatic” when I mean “hydraulic.”  It is in the hopes of receiving a similar polite response that I will venture to ask some questions about a Climate Gospel, even though it is a Climate Gospel that earns most questioners a severe pummeling.

I will attempt to be cheerfully naïve, however in some situations that is not enough.  A Texan can be cheerful and naïve all he wants, but, when he is making cheeseburgers out of a Holy Cow in a Hindu village, he is liable to find he has a riot on his hands.  There are some things Thou Shall Not Do.  Sometimes Thou Shall Not Even Question.

My questions involve those little bubbles in ice cores.  It may seem a harmless subject,  but those little bubbles are a basement upon which a great many papers have been written, and upon which a great many grants depend.  Dare you question the little bubbles,  and all sorts of hell breaks lose.

In fact if you poke around the subject of those little bubbles your don’t-go-there alarm will start to go off,  along with your I-don’t-have-time-for-this alarm, (if you have one.) However sometimes a man’s got to do what he least wants to do.

As anyone who has raised teenaged daughters understands, there are times when you have “to go there,” despite the fact your don’t-go-there alarm is blaring, and times you have to make time, even though your I-don’t-have-time-for-this alarm is howling.

Daughters teach a man that, despite all efforts to ban bullying and legislate spirituality, ostracism remains mysteriously crucial to schoolgirl adolescence, and the same daughter who was sobbing about being ostracized on Monday may be gleaming with glee over a nemesis being ostracized on Tuesday.  Fathers often have to make sense of this emotional and blatant hypocrisy, even if it means turning off the TV just before the big game.

You may be wondering what this has to do with little bubbles in ice caps.  I don’t blame you, but bear with me.

Please notice that, in the above example, it is the daughters doing the teaching. They are teaching their fathers about wild swings of emotion involved with having a non-scientific and supposedly irrational thing called “a heart.”

Scientists don’t like being compared with schoolgirls, because, in humanity’s constant battle to balance the heart and head, Science represents the purified essence of the head.  However just because Science focuses on the head does not mean Scientists have no hearts. “If you prick them, do they not bleed?”

The only thing a scientist is suppose to be passionate about is being dispassionate, however in their quieter moments most will confess there have been times they’ve failed to be totally objective, and have slapped themselves on the forehead because they were blind to some obvious truth staring them in the face.  However even this humbleness underscores an egotism they have about being more objective than most people.  Also, if anyone is going to slap their forehead, they prefer it to be themselves.  They don’t like it one bit when you compare them with schoolgirls.  They get all emotional if you accuse them of being emotional.

Nothing makes people angry faster than accusing them of being angry when they’re not.  A calm, peaceful soul can be reduced to frothing and to spitting snakes, because no one likes being falsely accused.  You can get them even madder if , after you have angered them by accusing them of being angry when they weren’t, you look smug and say, “See?  I told you that you were angry.”

Scientists are no different, and if you tweak them in the right way, then they, who are so focused on the head, will lose their heads and demonstrate they have tremendous hearts. Sometimes the revealed heart is tremendously good, but sometimes it is tremendously otherwise.

Scientists do not like being tweaked in this manner, because that is not what science is all about.  Raving is beneath the dignity of science.  However, when politics enters the hallowed halls of science, scientists get tweaked plenty,  for study is no longer funded for its intrinsic value.  A scientist may abruptly be defunded due to an election.  Men are jarred awake in their Ivory Towers, as they are confronted by a mentality befitting thirteen-year-old schoolgirls:  It matters who is “in” and who is “out.”

Therefore, despite all my shortcoming concerning Physics classes I never took, (or preferred to spend dreaming out the window during,) I do have an understanding others lack, as I approach the delicate subject of little bubbles in an icecap’s ice, because I have been the father of schoolgirls, and know the politics of ostracization and marginalization, and what such things do to the human heart and to human tempers.

One can study both the little bubbles, and also the path to marginalization, by taking a hard look at the travails of Zbigniew Jaworowski.

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=25526754-e53a-4899-84af-5d9089a5dcb6&p=3

And also looking at a paper he wrote:

http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/Jaworowski%20CO2%20EIR%202007.pdf

A quick perusal of Jaworoski’s paper taught me that all sorts of complex chemistry may (or may not) being going on in those innocent little bubbles,  but most of the chemistry was over my head.  Not that I couldn’t understand, if I put my mind to it, but I actually had some simple questions, and, until I got those simple questions answered, it seemed I’d be getting ahead of myself if I tackled the complex chemistry.

Therefore I headed to Wikipedia.  Not that I trust it as a source, but it often has links to truer sources, and one hopes Wikipedia gets the most basic facts right.

However even in terms of the most basic facts I seemed to be getting a wide variety of answers.  For example,  how long does it take fluffy snow to be compacted to ice with little bubbles in it?  The answers I got ranged from sixty to five-thousand years.

Likely this variance occurred due to the fact Antarctica includes some areas of very dry desert, where snow accumulates very slowly, whereas Greenland is subject to  Atlantic gales, and snow can accumulate very quickly.  However it was unclear which data-set was being referred to, and that made things rough for a layman like myself.  I had to keep switching back and forth from source to source, and then, when I went back to find an important link at the Wikipedia source, “Greenland ice cores,” just a week ago, I found it had vanished,  and instead there was this message:

06, 12 September 2011 Timothy’s Cannes (talk | contrib.) deleted “Greenland ice cores” ‎ (Mass deletion of pages created by Marshallsumter: questionable creation by now-indeffed editor: see

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Administrators%27_noticeboard/Incidents&diff=449961454&oldid=449959111)

As a scientific researcher, my conclusion at this point was, “Oh, Drat.”

Unless you are the sort who rushes in where angels fear to tread, do not, I repeat, DO NOT go to that Wikipedia message board.  I only went because I wanted to see what ice core data “Mashallsumter” got wrong.  As far as I could tell from the morass I waded out into,  the reason “Greenland ice cores” was deleted had nothing to do with the data on that  page,  but rather had to do with some strange beliefs “Mashallsumter” was expressing, and strange research he was involved with, elsewhere in the Wiki-world.

I didn’t much want to know about the fellow’s beliefs and activities, as it seemed to have very little to do with little bubbles in ice, but I couldn’t help notice the marvelous effort that was made to throw “Mashallsumter” from the hallowed halls of Wiki. He was found guilty of both the crime of being original, and the crime of copying.  (What is the third alternative?)  In any case,  “Greenland ice cores” was history, and was history in a hurry, and was deleted history, which hardly counts as history because you can’t find it.

At this point I almost gave up my research, because it occurred to me that something about the study of little bubbles in ice cores makes people weird.  I did not want to become weird.  However my wife reassured me I had nothing to fear, because I already am weird, and that gave me the courage to forge onwards.

part two tomorrow…

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152 thoughts on “Little Bubbles, part 1

  1. I await the sequel with bated breath… has there been disallowed chemistry going on between water and dissolved gases when under high pressure? Have the been pH changes that change the solubility of CO- and H+ ions during a long period of non-STP conditions? Could there be some doubt about the validity of atmospheric CO2 concentrations from gas bubbles from 500 to 5,000 decades ago?

    Whatever could it be? Whatever could it mean?

  2. Caleb Shaw, glad you are questioning those bubbles in the ice cores. If it takes an adolescent daughter for the enlightenment inspiration, more power to you. “But those little bubbles are a basement upon which a great many papers have been written.” Sixty to 5,000 years, huh? If people (scientists are people?) get wierd around bubbles in ice cores, I understand why you were worried about being wierd just contemplating them. I have had many questions about the articles telling us what Earth’s climate is/has-been due to proof from ice cores. I very much look forward to Part 2 — tweaking?. I commend you for taking highly inconvenient time for a daughter’s emotional “issues”.

  3. An interesting account of an honest man’s search.

    P.S try googling ice core bubbles rather than rely on Wiki

  4. I’m also skeptical of the little bubbles.

    First, they show a tripling of atmospheric methane over the last 150 years, supposedly due to man-made emissions. But the methane rise has disappeared even though manmade emissions continue to rise.

    Second, the ice core data conflicts with leaf stomata proxies.

    Cheers!

  5. I too have questioned those little bubbles, and the “science” based on them. Scientists are retrieving the air trapped in these bubbles and making assumptions that the air trapped in these bubbles is representative of the atmosphere at the time the air was trapped. For me, many questions pop into my mind about these assumptions.

    How much of the CO2 becomes absorbed into the surrounding ice matrix, like CO2 in soda pop?
    How much of the CO2 migrates through the ice, and is this migration at the same rate as the oxygen and nitrogen, or does CO2 concentration shift relative to O2 and N2?
    How much CO2 is adsorbed by the ice crystal surfaces, does it release when the bubble is sampled, and does any of it get absorbed by liquid water during the sample process.
    How much of the CO2 reacts with the water and forms carbonic acid?
    Not that long ago I saw an article about viable micro-organisms being found in cores of ancient ice. How has the metabolism of these living micro-organisms affected CO2 concentrations?
    Some molecules, like methane, can form hydrates with ice under cold and pressure; can CO2 form hydrates?
    With cold and pressure, can small amounts of CO2 which migrate into the ice crystals congregate into pockets of dry ice?

    Until every one of these questions was researched and definitely answered, I wouldn’t trust the absolute values of CO2 concentrations, though relative values might show trends with reasonable accuracy…

  6. As a very wise man once said, “When a Texan fancies takin’ chances, chances will be taken, and that’s for sure. “

  7. We need someone to lead the board in a round of

    “Tiny Bubbles” while we wait.

    I’m worried about you Caleb – many a bubble has been burst due to something that was there one day and gone the next on Wikipedia.

  8. Very intriguing – I look forward to Part 2….

    Also, I’m glad it’s not just me – my now-17 year old daughter has left me speechless and blinking with surprise on numerous occasions!

  9. However just because Science focuses on the head does not mean Scientists have no hearts. “If you prick them, do they not bleed?”

    I’d need to see the data.

  10. I’m with Frank on this, ie. I would like to see some answers to his questions.

    It always seemed curious to me that the bubbles, including their CO2, could collapse and be absorbed into the ice and yet the CO2, which had just shown itself to be capable of travelling into the ice, was somehow incapable of travelling through the ice. How does it know, after it has gone in, that it has to stop?

    And Caleb – re Jaworowski: He appears to be in the same basket as Ernst-Georg Beck and a few others. The scientific establishment don’t like him so they ignore him. Now maybe that’s being unfair to the scientific establishment, but these things do happen.

  11. Caleb: If I can’t offer anything else, and I can’t, you write charmingly. Very enjoyable, very human and a very fun read. Thanks for an enjoyable few minutes, it was the highlight of my day.

    Let the dissection of minute bubbles in the Arctics begin!

  12. Calib; yes teenage girls are insane and change like the wind. Good news! they will become adults around 23 years of age. Until then, just try to bend a little with the breeze and in time they will calm.

    As to the tiny bubbles, The science appears to me to be defective. Gasses are very mobil in water and ice, specially when pressures change. I suspect BS (bad science) pg

  13. petermue says: October 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    “This man is a real and truthful climate scientist.”

    He isn’t a climate scientist. His regular job was/is
    “Zbigniew Jaworowski is chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and former chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (1981–82)”

    But the post could be right – bubbles may do strange things. Here is Zbig explaining why radiation is good for you.

  14. One morning I was thirty six years old.

    That afternoon, my 12 year old daughter gave me a great big hug, looked up at me with her great big eyes, and said, with a great big smile:

    “I need a bra!”

    I went to bed that night at the age of forty six.

    Daughters not ony teach you things, they have the ability to warp time and accelerate aging.

  15. The fairy tale of objective science is why I left Anthropology and eventually ended up in Computer Science. I came up with all sorts of hieratical conclusions when examining the same data as the established priesthood – and I was ostricized for it. Nevermind many of my hieratical tenants eventually came to be main science – The priesthood protects their canon.

    And so it is with Climate Science. And in 20 years sutdents will look back and wonder how stupid we all were – refusing to recognize that which was staring us in the face.

    Emotions trumph logic. Ask the father of any teenager – girl or boy. And many of us never manage to grow up.

    Good posting. It touched me… :-)

  16. If I remember correctly, Jaworowski goes into detail regarding the microfractures that occur during decompression as the core is extracted and brought to the surface. He hypothesized a 30–50% loss of CO2. Then there are losses due to pressure forcing the CO2 into the ice phase and even chemistry which might remove it altogether..

    If you back calculate the CO2 data with an average of 40% loses, you end up with values the same or a bit higher than today. Using 30–50% you end up with the same CO2 range that Ernst Beck gathered from the direct CO2 chemical bottle data for the 1800s–1900s.

    There is another different treatment of the ice core data that also ends up with values similar to today, but I will have to dig back a few years to find it in my rather disorganized archives.

  17. I spent a lot of time looking into this and found all of the ‘science” is based on some very questionable assumptions.
    1. Can you really obtain ice cores in the manner they did (with no effort to keep the cores under pressure) without losing the CO2 that was consolidated in hydrates? I say “No”.
    This would be easily amenable to experimentation but I have never seen any evidence of such an experiment.
    2. The way they shifted the axis in this work to cause the CO2 measured in the cores and modern atmospheric CO2 is very questionable. They based it on an assumption that the firn closes in about 70 yrs, merely an assumption.
    3. They justify this on the basis of isotopic ratios (of O if I remember right) but the gases they used for isotopic analysis do not form hydrates (clathrates actually) as easily as CO2.

    Until I see an experiment showing that CO2 in air consolidated in bubbles in compacted snow has the same ratio as CO2 in the air, their measurement is meaningless.

  18. I enjoyed reading this and the comments, I don’t understand the point. Sorry, I don’t. Some of us who understand logic try and put a lot of time into understanding conceptual logic, and most of it is pure crap, there are reasons that you have a right to call me harshly critical, being harshly critical is not one of them…
    These days to study Bubbles in our icy polar caps would mean more to me if there was honesty, in fact, I have been informed otherwise, any fact is hereby been made null and void, even the most tiny amount of truth, falsified by overwhelming lies.

  19. Caleb,

    You write as well as Willis, but differently. I am very much looking forward to the next instalment.

  20. It was Denzel Washington’s lawyer character in “Philadelphia” who repeatedly said “Explain it to me like I was six years old”. That’s always been my reaction to the notion that thousand-year-old gas bubbles contain thousand-year-old air that fully represents the contemoporaneous atmosphere. Or thousand-and-seventy-year-old air. Whatever.

    Jeez, just how does that happen? How do the air bubbles survive all the ice-phase changes during burial, compaction, drilling, recovery, and transportation to the laboratory?

    Beck has shown real variation (250 to over 400 ppm) in atmospheric CO2 from traditional chemical analysis between early 1800s and today. Jawarowski has show all the potential mischief that can influence ice-core gas data.

    What empirical tests have been conducted to warrant high reliance on the validity of ice-core data?

  21. “If you prick them, do they not bleed?”

    The rate of blood flow is in direct proportion to the hysteria level of scientist prick

  22. Nick Stokes says:
    October 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    He isn’t a climate scientist. His regular job was/is
    “Zbigniew Jaworowski is chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and former chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (1981–82)”

    In case of ice cores, and that’s the actual subject, he’s in the field of climate science.
    I know Zbig and we’ve swapped our ideas. From his essentials, I’m working on another hypothesis, that CO2 values have had been on a steady 340 +/-40 ppmv since history of ice core records.
    For me, there were no 180 ppmv at the last glacial and no 280 ppmv at pre-industrial era, and I think, I can evidence it. Those numbers originated misinterpreted ice core readings.
    That’s also why SIPLE ice core was shifted 83 years for no reason.

    But the post could be right – bubbles may do strange things. Here is Zbig explaining why radiation is good for you.

    Should I be worried about that link? References are given in the footnote and as far I can see, they’re all published papers.

  23. I had a similar experience with wikipedia a couple of years ago.

    On some board somewhere a couple of people were debating the possibility of modelling the climate given that it is a chaotic system.
    The debate went something like this:

    Person A : Climate is chaotic and cannot be modelled.

    Person B : Climate may be complex bit that doesn’t mean we can’t make predictions. We don’t know whether climate is chaotic or just complex. I suggest you look at Chaos on wikipedia, here’s the link …(link).

    Person A : Well if you look at the link you just gave me it states
    “Everyday examples of chaotic systems include weather and climate”

    So I looked at the link;

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

    and found the line;

    “Chaotic behavior can be observed in many natural systems, such as the weather.[5]”

    SO sometime between when this debate took place and when I looked at the reference someone had come in and edited out the words “and climate”.

    OK, I thought, maybe the reference given does not cover climate and someone has overstepped the mark a bit.
    Let’s have a look at the reference.

    ^ a b Sneyers Raymond (1997). “Climate Chaotic Instability: Statistical Determination and Theoretical Background”. Environmetrics 8 (5): 517532.

    Despite the fact that the reference was about climate rather than weather (as if there is any real difference) someone had chosen to edit out the word ‘climate’ and leave in the word ‘weather’.

    To me this is just another example of the micro meddling efforts people will go to to hide inconvenient facts.

  24. @Lew Skannen

    Simple answer:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/pdf/TAR-14.PDF

    (Page 774)

    “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate
    research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing
    with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the
    long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    I want to see an alarmist disagree with the IPCC ;-)

  25. Even if you are not in agreement with Joworowski on his conclusions he does a fine job of describing the methods and flaws of ice core data retrieval and exposing some of the flaws in the IPCC narrative.

    I am enjoying your writing style Mr Shaw !

  26. @ davidmhoffer

    Hello David,

    I was never blessed with a girl (3 boys, 25,22 and 15)

    One morning I woke up I was 40.

    That day one of my teenage boys shuffled up to me with a wicked grin and said:

    “Dad, how do you undo a bra?”

    I went to bed that night at 50.

    Boys not only teach you things…………..etc.

    :)

  27. If the “bubble” scientists didn’t try to take into account the chemistry going on, they their results are all wrong. Changes in pressure, chemical reactions, UV light, will cause “chemistry” to happen in those bubbles. If the bubble-scientists just melted the ice and measured the gases, then their results are totally wrong. I always assumed these people had a semblance of competence and had chemists interpret their result to cater for the chemistry that went on over in the bubbles.

  28. Little Bubbles, part 1
    Posted on October 31, 2011 by Anthony Watts
    Guest Post by Caleb Shaw

    “Person A : Climate is chaotic and cannot be modelled.

    Person B : Climate may be complex bit that doesn’t mean we can’t make predictions. We don’t know whether climate is chaotic or just complex. I suggest you look at Chaos on wikipedia, here’s the link …”

    It is meaningless to speak on that what NOT is, because it has no existence. Science is a method to understand what IS. That what IS is order. No one can show what not IS.

    Nature is order, and it is ONE order. Not two or many.

    Chaos is a phantom out of a busy mind which does not understand order.

    Climate is order and is solved.

    It is science.

    V.

  29. The only way you can be sure that bubbles are a proxy for atmospheric levels is to measure carbon dioxide at the time it is being “bubbled” and then come back 500 to 1000 years later to sample ice cores. Anything else is just speculation that some one-shot [snip . . cmon , you know the rules] has built a career upon (and perhaps I being a little unkind here since there are so many “scientists” forced into a one-shot, one-dimensional career by the politics of their situation – but then again it’s their choice to either call it as they see it or prostitute themselves to the job).

    Bubbles in ice showing historical levels of carbon dioxide – c’mon, get real. Would you bet your retirement savings on stock in a company pitching that idea as a sure thing?

    You would? Gee, I’ve got some carbon credit certificates for you – not too expensive. It’s my own company – we sequester carbon dioxide down at the local brew pub. Its a local. Its organic. It uses local suppliers. What more could you ask for?

  30. Would somebody be interested in a very simple experiment or is it already documented somewhere. Winter is coming soon so fine snow will be easily available. The idea is as follows: Collect snow and mix it well in a known CO2 atmosphere and compact it hydraulically, at the same time collect air from the same site in a reference bottle. Let some of the ice core groups analyze the artificial ice cores without knowing the origin.

    It would be fairly simple to:
    – Get hard information on how accurate the ice bubble analysis is (real error limits).
    – Storing the samples for a few years possibly doing a number of temperature cycles to simulate the surface temperature variations during the first few years should give an indication on how CO2 content changes with time. Temperature cycles close to zero deg. C in combination with high pressure should fairly fast produce clear ice with bubbles.
    – Does known carbon/sulphur contaminants influence the CO2 content in the bubbles?

    Does anybody have any pointers to some article where this simple and obvious test has been done?

  31. ggm says:
    October 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    If the “bubble” scientists didn’t try to take into account the chemistry going on, they their results are all wrong. Changes in pressure, chemical reactions, UV light, will cause “chemistry” to happen in those bubbles. If the bubble-scientists just melted the ice and measured the gases, then their results are totally wrong.

    Don’t worry we will get BEST to check out the bubble process, grow a whole new set of bubbles and then declare it’s worse than we thought, the ice warms!!

  32. @T.C.

    The only point of an ice core showing real CO2 values is in the top layer.
    If this layer gets covered over the time, the pressure increases and physical effects take place, like outwashing, degassing or diffusion.
    If the former top layer reaches the depth of firn layer, the ice is almost exhausted from CO2, and clathrate formation begins.

    The hockey stick only shows a momentum image of actual conditions.
    So if you would have drilled the ice core let’s say 5000 years ago, there would be also a hockey at the stick.
    That’s why I’m convinced, there hasn’t been any huge difference for top layers than 340 +/-crumbs.
    See the SIPLE core and it’s “adjustment” to MLO data by fraudulent shifting of 83 years.
    If you would follow the original curve to the top, there would have also been a ~350 ppm value before 1900 (still ~330 ppm at 5 bar pressure in 1890!)

  33. Y’know, I’ve wondered about those little bubbles. Pull a core out from where its bubbles are surrounded by their peers in age and composition, then keep them in contact (approx =) equilibrium with modern air, then declare that they’re grade A evidence for whatever. Hmmm. Can’t wait for part two!

  34. >>
    In any case, “Greenland ice cores” was history, and was history in a hurry, and was deleted history, which hardly counts as history because you can’t find it.
    >>

    Everything on Wikipedia (or any other content created with the software called Wiki, no it’s not the same thing) has an audit trail.

    If you have lost the link to something important just look back through the edit history, find out who was doing the mass removals and compare old and new versions. You should find whatever you are missing.

    I have not even looked at your link there yet but I can smell foetid odour AGW zealots already.

    Indeed that this is clearly labelled as content removed solely on the basis of the author rather than any criticism of the content shows that WP is still in the hands of the zealots. Even after the exposure and temporary ban of William H Christ Connelly, WP has still not addressed the fundamental problem.

  35. Look forward to Part two Caleb.

    18 months ago I wrote what turned out to be a highly controversial and much commented on article entitled ‘Historc variations in Co2 measurements.’

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

    Controversial because in examining this subject the subject of ice cores will rear its ugly head. To get a good idea of the argument it would be best to read the entire article, but the ice core stuff is there in part two, for those with limited time. A read of the comments demonstrate that this thread has become a great source of knowledge on the subject. It attracted what must have been one of the last contributions by Ernst Beck-a hugely controversial figure.

    As to the truth of ice cores as a reliable measurement? Personally I doubt their reliability for reasons that Caleb might come up with in his part two.. Those reasons are political as much as scientific in as much ice cores are one of the foundations of climate science.

    tonyb

  36. Thanks to all for the interesting comments.

    For those interested in the genesis of part one, it began as a single-paragraph-introduction to part two. Then I decided one idea needed a bit more explaining, and then it seemed to me the explanation needed more explaining. And so on.

    This is just the way my mind works. Sometimes I can totally ruin a well-written introduction, simply by thinking about it. Back in the dark ages before word processors were invented I used to have so many inserts between lines and in margins that my rough drafts became unreadable. Often the easiest thing to do was to start over. Back in those days you had to actually wrinkle up a piece of paper. The delete key was a great invention.

    I very nearly deleted this introduction, but decided it was amusing enough to keep.

    This brings me to Sparks comment at 9:25 on Oct 31: “I enjoyed reading this and the comments, I don’t understand the point. Sorry, I don’t.”

    First, it was written for your enjoyment. If you enjoyed it, you got the point.

    Second, you bring up a question which, if I had asked it of myself, would have made me include even more paragraphs, until part one would have turned into part 1A and part 1B.

    The short answer is this: Despite a love of science, I reached a point in my life where I had to decide what I wanted to focus on: Fact or Fiction. As a writer, I chose fiction. I lacked the discipline to be a true scientist, but had a surplus of imagination.

    What’s so good about fiction? It not just nothing but lies?

    No. The best fiction is as concerned with Truth as science is. It focuses on a different aspect, however. (That is why I brought up the battle between the “heart” and the “head.”) Ask yourself why Shakespeare’s works have survived 400 years. There was never any guy named Romeo or gal named Juliet. It’s nothing but a lie, if you want to get all factual, but it holds truth that resonates in people.

    Consider the work “Animal Farm.” Can farm animals actually talk and run a farm? No, it’s nothing but a lie. However within the fiction is a criticism of Socialism which would have been as boring as hell to read, if stated as a dry essay. (I wonder if it would even be published, if it was written now rather than back then, considering how many editors deem themselves “gatekeepers.”)

    Anyway, I was minding my own business in the world of fiction, gazing at clouds and checking the weather reports, when I became aware strange stuff was happening in the world of weather. Weather was no longer was a topic to talk about when you wanted to avoid religion and politics. In fact the science seemed to be breaking the very rules I obeyed, when I chose “The Arts” rather than “The Sciences.”

    That is what has brought me back to scientific fields where I don’t truly belong. It is only because Climate Scientists have started trespassing on MY territory. When they substitute fudge for fact, they are on MY turf. That’s fiction, and I am not going to put up with Scientists crossing the border onto my landscape any more than any scientist should put up with fiction entering their data. Both are cases that muddle the pursuit of Truth.

  37. davidmhoffer says (October 31, 2011 at 8:54 pm); “One morning I was thirty six years old.

    That afternoon, my 12 year old daughter gave me a great big hug, looked up at me with her great big eyes, and said, with a great big smile:

    ‘I need a bra!'”

    HonEEEEE!

  38. The hallowed BBC ran a 5 minute piece on bubbles in ice of antarctica the weekend. Now I am a long dead physicist and have been interested in climate/weather for some 50 yrs so I won’t claim to fully understand the chemistry but just to note what might seem obvious.

    The over enthusiastic scientist, like a daughter and I have 2, cut a slice and said ” look at these bubbles, they are 80,000 yrs old. Then he cut another and said “these bubbles are 800,000 yrs old.

    So what I hear you say. Well, there were far far fewer bubbles in the old slice than the more recent slice. Where had the bubbles gone if they are stable. IE If the gas cannot be transposed or change composition over time where have the bubbles gone??

  39. I also have a daughter and severe “bubble trouble”. If it is a choice between bubbles and Beck (historical chemical analysis results) I know which I would put more faith in.

    Question – has anybody tried to repeat the historical chemical analysis using the original equipment and methods?

    Looking forward to part 2.

  40. GeologyJim and higley7 both mentioned the early CO2 studies of Ernst Beck. I don’t know which is marginally more precise: Beck’s wet chemistry or modern instrumental methods. To me, that question is not even interesting. But first, some background.

    Precision means doing the ‘same’ measurement many times, and getting reasonably close agreement. It’s kinda like target-shooting with a revolver. If you manage to get a 1-inch group at 25 yards, then your precision is good. But that doesn’t mean that your accuracy is good. It’s very possible that your tight group is on the target’s outermost ring, rather than the bulls-eye that you were aiming at.

    Anyway, precision is not the issue here. The issue is sampling error.

    I’d expect there to be fairly large variations in measured values of CO2 taken in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. And if my aging brain remembers correctly, that was in fact the case. If you had taken two CO2 measurements on two successive days, and if the wind had changed direction in the interim, I’d expect that you’d get significantly different values. Why? Forest fires, industrial smokestacks, cooking fires, etc.

    Our present Mauna Loa-based system is much better. And it would continue to be much better even if we switched back to the slower wet chemistry methods that Beck used. Why? Much less man-made CO2 and forest-fire CO2 to gum up the works when we’re using that measurement as a proxy for global average CO2 concentration.

    I don’t know what the global average CO2 concentration in the late 19th Century was, and I don’t know how I’d make that determination today. Perhaps geologists could help us to answer that question.

  41. Nick Stokes:

    At October 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm you malign the great Zbigniew Jaworowski when you write.
    “He isn’t a climate scientist.”

    Really!? If that is so then nobody who works on ice cores is a “climate scientist”.

    I have the honour of having known and worked with Zeb for decades. When illness prevented his attendance at the first Heartland Climate Conference he gave me the privilege of presenting his paper on the problems with ice core data on his behalf.

    He is the ‘father’ of ice core studies and he travelled the world obtaining ice cores which he analysed before many who now study ice cores were born. He invented and developed most of the techniques used in ice core studies. Simply, he is probably the world’s greatest authority on ice core studies, and all who now study ice cores learned most of their job from his work.

    And he was shocked when he read the (deliberate?) mistakes being made by ‘climate scientists’ working with ice cores.

    You say;

    His regular job was/is
    “Zbigniew Jaworowski is chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and former chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (1981–82)”

    Yes, it was. And he developed ice core studies as one method to determine how and where radiactive materials dispersed. When the Chernobyl accident happened the UN appointed him to investigate the dissemination and effects of substances released from the damaged plant. That was at the height of the Cold War, and Zeb was on the same side of the Iron Curtain as the Chernobyl accident, but nobody – and no government – commented on Zeb’s appointment because everybody knew Zeb was the outstanding scientist of knowledge, ability and integrity for the job.

    Nick Stokes, your posts on WUWT are often reprehensible. Your attempt to defame the great Zbigniew Jaworowski is disgusting. He is my friend and in light off his age and present health I do not intend to inform him of it, but I demand that you apologise.

    Richard

  42. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a core foundation of an accepted theory being demolished, as it means more theories can replace it, some may be better, some may not. But at least is allows progress to be made. These pauses while scientists all agree are what holds us all back. I am just hoping that the folk working on the Opera experiment in Cern do break the speed of light as it would open up that field of science to new ideas as well.

  43. Dear Caleb,

    I have looked at the basic assumptions of Jaworowski. His opinion is based on his knowledge, which ended in… 1992. Since then he obviously didn’t read any scientific literature, or he wilfully ignored it. Many of the objections he had were answered by the work of Etheridge, already in 1996, who worked on three ice cores at Law Dome. They used three different drilling techniques, wet and dry (no difference in results), measured CO2 levels in still open bubbles top down until closing depth (no difference between CO2 in ice and firn at closing depth) and they had an overlap of about 20 years (1960-1980) between direct measurements at the South Pole and in the ice core (no difference beyond the accuracy of the measurements). See:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1996/95JD03410.shtml

    unfortunately behind a paywall…

    Jaworowski is completely wrong on at least two important points:

    – He alludes that CO2 is migrating out of the bubbles during storage. But we measure 180-300 ppmv in the bubbles while the outside world is at 390 ppmv. That simply is physically impossible.
    – He accuses Neftel of using an “arbitrarely” shift in timing to allign the Siple Dome ice core CO2 with the Mauna Loa data. But he used the age of the ice layer, while the average gas age is (much) younger. He insists that the ice age and gas age are the same, while the difference was measured in the Law Dome ice/firn already in 1996.

    These two points are already enough to ignore Jaworowski as ice core “specialist”.
    See further:

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

    BTW, even if CO2 is hiding in clathrates or liquid veins of the ice, that doesn’t matter for the newest measurement technique: total sublimation and cryogenic freezing of all ice and subsequent selective measuring of the different components. This technique decomposes all clathrates and measures all CO2 and air components. The conventional technique by crushing the ice under vacuum at -20 degr.C over a cold trap (to remove water vapor) gives the same results.

  44. Are you secretly one of those unemployed writers for the recently defunct All My Children?
    You certainly have a knack for “the hook”.

    Ps If you run into Susan Lucci, give her a little pinch for me.

  45. My experience indicates that daughters and grey hair are synonymous…

    Looking forward to Part Two… and keeping my fingers crossed you might provide some answers to the questions raised by Hans-Joachim Zillmer regarding the Greenland Icecore Project – GRIP where a bore core of 3,028 meters was extracted before bedrock was encountered.

    1) If this ice core represents 250,000 years then each year’s snowfall has been compressed into 1.2 centimetres of ice [on average].
    Is this true?
    Is this valid?
    How old really is the ice cap?

    2) The uppermost sections display 14,500 distinct layers which are assumed to represent a year.
    Is this true?
    Is this valid)
    Can more than one layer accumulate in a year?
    How many years do these layers really represent?

    3) How does anyone determine the age of the ice beneath the layered section?

    4) Are the last 100,000 years of the ice core really compressed down to only 1 millimetre annually?

    5) Do we really know the fluid dynamics of deep ice?

    6) Do we really know the chemistry and dynamics of gases and particles buried in deep ice?

  46. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Your post at November 1, 2011 at 2:12 am preempts Part 2 of Caleb’s posts. But I think it important to point out to those who do not know that you have much ‘invested’ in your belief that ice core data are Gospel Truth: your claims concerning an anthropogenic cause of recent atmospheric CO2 rise rely on that belief.

    Your entire post is – to say the least – debatable and some of it is offensive in the same manner as the post from Nick Stokes. The work of Letheridge does not refute the factual statements of Jawarowski.

    And all your other assertions are plain wrong, for example you say;
    “- He alludes that CO2 is migrating out of the bubbles during storage. But we measure 180-300 ppmv in the bubbles while the outside world is at 390 ppmv. That simply is physically impossible.”

    Your claim of “physically impossible” demonstrates your willful ignorance. Surfaces of ice and ice crystals are coated in a liquid phase (i.e. water) at all temperatures down to -40 deg. C (incidentally, this is why ice is slippery). And CO2 dissolves in water. So, CO2 certainly will migrate out of bubbles: it will dissolve and then experience ionic diffusion through the intergranular (i.e. between crystal) zones.

    Simply, your assertion that the bubbles trap the CO2 is an assertion of a physical impossibility (and I have good reason to suspect that you know it is).

    All your other points are equally fallacious.

    Richard

  47. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 1, 2011 at 2:12 am

    - He alludes that CO2 is migrating out of the bubbles during storage. But we measure 180-300 ppmv in the bubbles while the outside world is at 390 ppmv. That simply is physically impossible.

    Sorry, but you forgot one thing:
    The only point where ice cores show the real value is at the top layer.
    As soon as that layer was covered by new snow/ice and is exposed to pressure, it loses CO2 by outwashing, degassing and diffusion.
    The deeper the lyer goes, the lower the CO2 values will be.
    And the more you get wrong CO2 values for the past!
    If your ice core shows i.e. 280 ppm at 10000 years in the past, the real value at that time could also be 380 ppm. If you will drill the core 2000 years in the future, you’ll get the same results.

    By distortion from pressure, outwashing, degassing and diffusion, you will *always* have a hockey at the stick, no matter which time you would have drilled the core.

    Let me show that in a draft image:

    Never forget, the famous SIPLE/Vostok etc. hockey graph is only a snapshot of a timeline!

  48. “He isn’t a climate scientist.”

    That surely is the silliest comment ever but at least it indicates the mindset of the AGW brotherhood.
    We are not talking about The Climate, we are just talking about bubbles in ice. How the final results are interpreted in a climate model is another matter. One does not have to be “A Climate Scientist” to read a thermometer, measure a wind speed, test a pH sample or resuscitate a half drowned polar bear…

  49. Richard S Courtney says: November 1, 2011 at 2:00 am

    I said Dr Jaworowski isn’t a climate scientist. That’s not maligning him – I’m not one either. In so far as he has written on ice core analysis, he can maybe claim to be a glaciologist.

  50. Wonderful stuff, Caleb, but, tch, tch, you can’t have a third alternative; you can have one option or an alternative one, or alternate between them, but after that you have to talk of third, fouth etc options/courses of action or why.

    But I’m just a nitpicking Scotsman……………. .
    But can’t wait for tomorrow.

  51. I always preferred clear ice in my cocktails, http://www.instructables.com/id/make-crystal-clear-ice!/
    .But the Antarctic Ice Cores would make an interesting conversation ice. I would have to start with just the right temperature water at the right air pressure to get the carbonic acid ratio just perfect for bubble distribution and count.

    Served with carbonated ice cream, http://www.boston.com/news/science/articles/2005/08/28/mit_crew_churns_out_ice_cream_with_sizzle/ it could be an interesting party.

  52. Caleb,

    Very well presented! I look forward to Part Two!

    The bubble folk have also been quite rude to the authors of stomata-derived CO2 reconstructions. Wagner et al., 1999 drew a very hostile response from Indermühle and other bubble folk. All Dr. Wagner-Cremer did to them, was to falsify one little hypothesis…

    In contrast to conventional ice core estimates of 270 to 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv), the stomatal frequency signal suggests that early Holocene carbon dioxide concentrations were well above 300 ppmv.

    […]

    Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2concentrations that were >300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception (⁠23⁠).

    If you smooth the MLO and stomata CO2 with a 30-yr filter, they tie into the Law Dome DE08 ice core quite nicely… Fig. 1.

    The deeper DSS core has a much lower temporal resolution due to its much lower accumulation rate and compaction effects. It is totally useless in resolving century scale shifts, much less decadal shifts.

    The bubble folk correctly assume that resolution is dictated by the bubble enclosure period. However, they are incorrect in limiting the bubble enclosure period to the sealing zone. In the case of the core DE08 they assume that they are looking at a signal with a 1 cycle/1 yr frequency, sampled once every 8-10 years. The actual signal has a 1 cycle/30-40 yr frequency, sampled once every 8-10 years.

    30-40 ppmv shifts in CO2 over periods less than ~60 years cannot be accurately resolved in the DE08 core. That’s dictated by basic signal theory.

    There’s nothing really “wrong” with the bubbles. The problem is that the bubble folk don’t have a firm enough grasp of the resolution limits of those bubbles.

    The incorrect assumption of a 3C ECS to CO2 is entirely driven by a spectral mismatch of temperature and CO2 data.

  53. Caleb,

    First it was turtles all the way down.

    Now it is bubbles all the way down.

    Thanks for your part one.

    John

  54. I’m going to comment in the same line as the blog post.

    Couldn’t someone just pass wind and trap it in an ice cude, leave it for say a month then defrost it and see if it still smells?

    Please remember I’m trying to get a climate grant so this maybe just what Stanford or some such Uni is looking for for new revenue streams, if you could make the cheque out to Mr Udgunda of Nigeria please.

    /sarc off.

  55. Richard Courtney, I agree with you. I find Nick Stokes lacks ethics and from posts I have read and lacks much understanding of the subjects he is commenting on.
    It is sad to see Ferdinand Engelbeen continually deride the conscientious and ethical scientist (the late) Ernst-Georg Beck who was not paid by anyone. He analysed the work of many others including nobel prize winners, His analyses were peer reviewed. He was conscious of variations around the world. At his web site, still operated by his daughter, http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm look under papers at the peer reviewed article he jointly wrote with Prof Massen which takes into account wind. As one who has measured CO2 and fallout from plumes of industrial chimneys and read many of the articles cited and linked by Beck on his web site, I certainly respect his work in preference to others who have little ethics.

  56. From the Wikipedia thoughts:

    “Person B : Climate may be complex bit that doesn’t mean we can’t make predictions….”

    Sorry but to me, that is a stupid statement. Of course one can make predictions about the future climate…they will be wrong every time, but you can make predictions ;-)

    Jeff

  57. Ooooh the anticipation! It’s enough to make a lesser bloke come over all trembly and quivery with a bout of the vapours.

  58. ggm says:
    October 31, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    I was told just the other day on this board that the chemistry of CO2 has nothing to do with ‘warming’ as it’s a ‘physical’ process. Of course, there was no explanation provided. It must have been covered by the ‘consensus’.

  59. Great writing! I too have two teenage daughters so I can relate immensely. Can’t wait for part 2…

    Writings like yours always get me thinking. Assuming that the methodology for reading bubbles in ice cores is correct, I have another question:

    I found this sentence in NASA’s Earth Observatory, Paleoclimatology: The Ice record – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Paleoclimatology_IceCores/ and I quote:

    “Like marine sediment cores, an ice core provides a vertical timeline of past climates stored in ice sheets and mountain glaciers.”

    When I read that, the thought came to layman’s mind that the statement must be based on two assumptions:

    That,

    a) the ice field is permanently static – it never moves, or….

    b) if it does move, as in a glacier, then the ice field is monolithic – meaning that even though it moves it does so at the same rate vertically from top to bottom.

    Concluding, there is no mixing of the different layers of ice at any depth, ever. Can this be true????

    Best,

    J.

  60. Anthony
    If you want to consider the “political” reliability of encapsulating CO2, you can always compare it with the effort made to reliably sequester radioactive material in impermeable ceramic in Yucca mountain. Then contrast that with the consequent risk of forcing power companies to store dangerous radioactive materials near civilian populations. For a real dose of hard reality, consider the reliability of maintaining essential cooling of spent radioactive waste in “swimming” pools liable to crack in an earthquake, or of losing power due to a tsunami. Such is the rationality of NIMBY “green politics”.

  61. Nick Stokes says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:29 am
    Richard S Courtney says: November 1, 2011 at 2:00 am
    I said Dr Jaworowski isn’t a climate scientist. That’s not maligning him>>>

    Yes it is. It is a favourite tactic of the CAGW set to, when confronted with science contrary to their position, to try and discredit it by dismissing it out of hand as not coming from a climate scientist.

    It maligns the scientist in a most eggregious way, and relies on the presumption of stupidity on the part of the reader to have any effect. Since you know full well that not being a “climate scientist” has nothing at all to do with the science in question, your drive by insulting insinuation amounts to nothing more than strategy on your part to discredit Jaworowski with those readers stupid enough to consider that relavent. Your agenda is clear, and it has nothing to do with honestly evaluating factual evidence.

  62. Nick Stokes says:
    October 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    It has long been suspected that low levels of radiation are good for you.

  63. Volker Doormann says:
    November 1, 2011 at 12:00 am

    It is meaningless to speak on that what NOT is, because it has no existence. Science is a method to understand what IS.

    Well, that all depends on what the definitioin of ‘is’ is.

  64. “The only thing a scientist is suppose to be passionate about is being dispassionate, however in their quieter moments most will confess there have been times they’ve failed to be totally objective, and have slapped themselves on the forehead because they were blind to some obvious truth staring them in the face.”
    There is a group called “The Union of Concerned Scientists” that is always stoking doomsday fears, usually about nuclear war. The name always struck me as odd as I would be more likely to listen to a “Union of Unconcerned Scientists”.

  65. This blog is becoming more and more fun to read every day.
    ” Please, Tomorrow, speed your coming, as I can’t wait for part 2 “

  66. Knowing absolutely nothing about this I’ll throw in my 20 cents worth and then you can all use me as the “Dodo Reference Point” :-)

    I thought that as time went past, volcanic ash fell on top of the ice, and then as more snow fell and more ice was made, layers were formed ; knowing when the eruptions occurred thus gave a time reference for how much CO2, sulfur, methane, etc .. came to ground and was trapped between the ice layers.

    Knowing that (roughly) 41% of CO2 falls to ground, 44% in the frozen areas and 14% on the ocean one can then work out the total CO2 for any age.

    The timing of the eruptions being known through archeological research on land, I think they are called sedimental layers.

    The “Dodo Reference Point” thus asks … Am I right or …. wrong?

    Very interesting blog, nice read.

  67. Oops. I got the Union of Concerned Scientists confused with the doomsday clock people. The Union of Concerned Scientists is concerned with all the usual green stuff, not nuclear war.

  68. That’s it, just question everything.

    First you ask, is it really warming? Then you ask how much did it really warm? Then you follow up with questions like has it ever warmed like this before? Is it truly unprecedented? Is the data any good? Are the models accurate? Are the stations well sited? Are greenhouse gases really driving climate change? Is the peer-review process corrupted? Did some researches conspire to keep dissenting work from being published? Is the urban heat island effect underestimated? Is the scientific method being followed? Are the AGW predictions accurate?

    And now you want to know if the ice core data is reliable! The next questions surely are, are gases truly sealed in those ice cores, or does some leak out? Is the historical atmospheric CO2 record derived from the ice cores accurate, or does it underestimate the amount in CO2 because the ice does not permanently trap CO2 as assumed? Was the pre-industrial revolution level of CO2 really as low as the ice core data appears to indicate?

    Sheesh, what is it with you guys? You just question everything! Can’t you let these climate scientists have a little attention? Must you spoil everything?

    Sometimes I think you’re just resentful of people who get more press coverage than you do.

  69. I’m waiting for part 2. I’ve always just assumed that the CO2 and temperature reconstructions weren’t accurate but that they were precise, so trends such as the 800-1,000 year CO2 lag behind temperature were true, but the actual values were in question.

    Perhaps part 2 will show I’ve gone one assumption too far. I’ll wait and see.

  70. Nick Stokes says:
    October 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm
    petermue says: October 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    “This man is a real and truthful climate scientist.”

    He isn’t a climate scientist. His regular job was/is
    “Zbigniew Jaworowski is chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and former chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (1981–82)”

    But the post could be right – bubbles may do strange things. Here is Zbig explaining why radiation is good for you.

    And Einstein was a nobody working as a patent clerk when you wrote an amazing series of paper in 1905. No doubt many of Einstein’s detractors liked to bring that up rather than provide meaningful criticism of the science.

  71. In science, and most especially medicine, I’ve noticed that the more sacred the cow, as evidenced by the sheer bile and nastiness exhibited by those who ferociously attack anyone who dares question that cow’s existence, the more likely there may indeed be something fundamentally wrong with that cow. Another indication is, of course, whose ox may be gored in questioning said sacred cow, and what they may stand to lose.

    Nick Stoke’s comment below, for example, uses some of the standard methods of attack, such as his shameless attempt to use the poisoning the well and ad hominem attack arguments. To wit:

    “But the post could be right – bubbles may do strange things. Here is Zbig explaining why radiation is good for you: http://www.angelfire.com/mo/radioadaptive/jaworowski.html

    Examining his attack argument further, one sees his use of a complete fabrication, that Zbig claimed that “radiation is good for you”. One only has to read the actual paper to see that this is a gross exaggeration, and an attempt to smear. But, I must thank Nick for providing that link, and for his blatant attempt to use it to attack Zbig’s reputation, and by extension, his work on C02 analysis. Indeed, because the idea that small amounts of ionizing radiation, far exceeding what today is considered “safe” may, in fact be not only not harmful, but indeed have beneficial effects is fascinating. I was immediately reminded of the hysteria surrounding emmissions of radiation from the Fukushima plant. The parallels between the hysteria over radiation, and C02 are strikingly similar.
    I also thank Caleb for his post, and enjoy his writing style immensely. I’ve been struck by his writing before, in comments, and even saved one I particularly liked.
    I look forward to part 2.

  72. Bubbles… Co2… etc etc etc… I think the public are now viewing, with deep suspicion, anything ‘climate scientists’ tell us … and I mean all ‘climate scientists’, and climate institutions and agencies.

    Since the creation of the IPCC, there has clearly been a political contamination of climate science, to the extent that people have lost faith in ‘climate scientists’? The field of climate science seems to be infected with ‘scientists’ prepared to let political bias and influence sway their judgement and encourage them to manipulate ‘the science’ to achieve a particular outcome.

    Many of us long for the day when we can start seeing some of these climate change charlatans dragged into the Courts and held accountable for misrepresenting the climate science, and for engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct. Until that day comes, people should be excused for thinking that ‘climate scientists’ are simply a bunch of highly educated academics with reputations rated far below that of shonky ‘used-car salesmen’ standing in front of a big sign that reads “Get a twentieth opinion”.

  73. I like Caleb’s writing style, but Ferdinand Engelbeen has thoroughly addressed this (even here @ WUWT) for many years, and his logic is sound.

    Caleb, please study Ferdinand’s website — I believe he addresses your concerns. The consistency of CO2 levels in the ice at least as far back or more than 600,000 yrs is powerful evidence that the CO2 is “sealed” in the ice whether by bubbles or dissolved.

  74. Allan M says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:38 am

    Volker Doormann says:
    November 1, 2011 at 12:00 am
    It is meaningless to speak on that what NOT is, because it has no existence. Science is a method to understand what IS.

    Well, that all depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.

    Sorry, No. It is a fallacy: That what IS, depends on nothing. If that what IS would depend on something, the order of nature would not be recognizable as one</ order.

    Something – of that what IS – cannot be true and in the same time be untrue, and because of this it is impossible to define it, without to define a contradiction. Science does not believe in contradictions.

    V.

  75. All that learning.
    All those years of study.
    All that time learning that all atoms and molecules vibrate, and move around, and migrate.
    Reading about the curious behavior of machinery in space: machinery which should move freezes due to molecular bonding.
    Recalling the disaster when airplanes first flew where the air was thin, and the bearings in old-style generators froze solid, due to the loss of the air film in the bearings.
    The wonderful experiment in high school Chemistry where dissimilar liquids, one incorporating a dye, were carefully decanted into a cylinder and then left alone. Over the year the liquids gradually diffused together.
    How, I ask, can you model diffusion over a period of thousands or millions of years? Better answer that question first before you go hog-wild over gas bubble analyses. Is the diffusion constant over time? Or does it slow down? Or speed up?
    UNVARYING RULE: extrapolation can get you wildly false conclusions.
    We have two variables: amount of carbon dioxide sequestered, and amount of carbon dioxide escaping due to diffusion. How can you separate the two? Too many assumptions.

  76. According to one paper I’ve read (Ho, Don, Journal of Hawaiian Music, 1966), researching those tiny bubbles will make you feel happy, make you feel fine

  77. Nick Stokes,

    Thanks for the link on the radiation paper. I am not going to assume you were trying to be denigrating. The important thing is the information.

    As someone with 10+ years in nuclear power generation and another 4 in submarines, it has always amazed me how most people have this boogyman view of radiation. I tend to think a lot of it results from movies from the 50’s and 60’s – giant spiders, the amazing 50 ft woman, etc. It is basic lack of knowledge and the subsequent fear that results where people hear “radiation” or “nuclear” that got me interested in science education.

    I see a lot of the same issues with climate science. People are being told scare stories about what “global warming” is going to do to them. Are the stories true? Here is a hint – seen any giant spiders or 50 ft women?

    BTW – did you know the the US government did long term studies on shipyard workers who worked on nuclear powered warships, compared to workers in civilian shipyards and found no evidence of increased cancers? What was a bit surprising is their finding that the nuclear workers tended to have a slightly lower incidence of other diseases.

    This has also shown up in the surviviors of the WWII atomic bomb attacks in Japan. Their average lifespans and incidence of disease is less than the national average. Researchers can say definitively that this is a result of the radiation exposures they received, as it could be natural selection for people who are genetically favored for long life.

  78. “However just because Science focuses on the head does not mean Scientists have no hearts. “If you prick them, do they not bleed?””

    And if you wrong them, shall they not revenge?

    Teenage boys can also teach their mothers a lot. When my eldest was 16, he came home after school and asked a simple question: “Mom, what would you do if I got a girl pregnant?”
    Luckily, one of my other children needed some immediate attention, and I was able to avoid the question that evening. However, he repeated the question the next day. Having had some time to compose myself, I answered in a straightforward and logical manner. I don’t believe in abortion, he would have to marry the girl, and if he thought it was rough living at home as a single person, it was even rougher to live at home as a married person. I think I also mentioned that he should pick someone that could clean house.
    The years passed by. He joined the military, eventually got married, and had his first child. I called him one evening, and reminded him of his question. He laughed, and said he hadn’t realized at the time that he was putting me on the spot. Evidently he and some friends had been discussing the plight of a fellow student who had gotten pregnant, and one girl said that if she got pregnant her father would kill her. My son, being quite logical, said “Well, you know he wouldn’t literally kill you. So what would he really do?” So they made an agreement to go home that night and ask a parent what they would do if their child got pregnant, or got someone pregnant.
    Turned out that my answer was deemed the best by this group of friends, as everyone else’s parent(s) simply started yelling and threatening, and several of the young people were grounded for a week.

  79. Volker Doormann says:
    November 1, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Allan M says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:38 am

    I see the irony evaded you.

  80. Statement written for the Hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    Climate Change: Incorrect information on pre-industrial CO2

    March 19, 2004

    Statement of Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski
    Chairman, Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection
    Warsaw, Poland

    “Determinations of CO2 in polar ice cores are commonly used for estimations of the pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric levels. Perusal of these determinations convinced me that glaciological studies are not able to provide a reliable reconstruction of CO2 concentrations in the ancient atmosphere. This is because the ice cores do not fulfill the essential closed system criteria. One of them is a lack of liquid water in ice, which could dramatically change the chemical composition the air bubbles trapped between the ice crystals. This criterion, is not met, as even the coldest Antarctic ice (down to –73oC) contains liquid water[2]. More than 20 physico-chemical processes, mostly related to the presence of liquid water, contribute to the alteration of the original chemical composition of the air inclusions in polar ice[3].”

    Mr. Shaw I hope the above will be of assistance to you.

  81. Shevva says:
    November 1, 2011 at 5:00 am…………………………
    Please remember I’m trying to get a climate grant so this maybe just what Stanford or some such Uni is looking for for new revenue streams, if you could make the cheque out to Mr Udgunda of Nigeria please.
    ——————————

    Oops, you forgot to include your bank account number so I can deposit your check.

  82. “Likely this variance occurred due to the fact Antarctica includes some areas of very dry desert, where snow accumulates very slowly, whereas Greenland is subject to Atlantic gales, and snow can accumulate very quickly.”

    That is what the weather is like now in those areas, what was it like during the periods being “estimated”? Oh, that’s what the possibly ‘variable based upon weather conditions’ ice cores are supposed to tell us along with CO2 concentrations! Seems like a catch 22. But all that aside, the models tell us it is getting warmer because of CO2, so who could possibly question their validity?

  83. I’m home for lunch, and pleasantly suprised by the comments. Humor is risky business, and the jokes that leaves one crowd in stitches will go over like a lead balloon before the next group. Even the best joke will usually offend at least one person, and as they explain to me why my joke was not funny I quite often agree with them, and something that stuck me as witty will abruptly make me cringe. However my aim is to make people chuckle, and I’m glad to see I succeeded in many cases.

    I am sad to learn Zbigniew Jaworowski has been in poor health. I wish him the best. He represents the sheer tenacity and toughness of Poland, of whom Winston Churchhill said, even as Hitler’s troops swarmed in, “The soul of Poland is indestructible and she will rise again like a rock, which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave, but still remains a rock.”

  84. Enjoying the comments on my lunch break, except for the news Zbigniew Jaworowski is in poor health. I wish him well. I think he represents the toughness of which Winston Churchhill spoke, even as H-word invaded Poland, “The soul of Poland is indestructible and she will rise again like a rock, which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave, but still remains a rock.”

  85. If it’s important, don’t go to Wikipedia, or Snopes. They are only good for settling alcohol lubricated bar bets.

    I have empathy for any man who has had teenage daughters. I remember those days, and the parental pain that went with adolescent female hormones. On the other hand, I am the one she goes to when there’s a problem, like, money.

    Now, she has her own daughter, and boy-oh-boy, is she in for it!

  86. I to have wondered about the little bubbles.

    The entire co2 house of cards rests on that one cornerstone.

    Evidence that historic co2 levels may have been higher than the cores record would destroy the entire unprecedented and dangerous nonsense.

  87. Leaving Jaworowski aside, there is a rich and growing literature dedicated to understanding microbial growth and survival in cold environments, specifically glacial ice. Perhaps the main proponent of this investigation, though there are many others, is Buford Price (NAS member). He brought this investigation to the forefront with his article,

    Temperature dependence of metabolic rates for microbial growth, maintenance, and survival,

    PNAS 2004 101 (13) 4631-4636; doi:10.1073/pnas.0400522101

    http://www.pnas.org/content/101/13/4631.full

    Over the past decade, I have become less surprised at every publication of where microbes can survive, if not grow. An early study found microbes in the snow at the South Pole at a concentration of ~10^3 cells/cm^3 with ~15% being from the Deinococcus-Thermus group. These are the hardy extremophiles, resistant to just about everything. Deinococcus radiodurans is the Guinness “world’s toughest bacterium”, able to survive 5,000 Gy of ionizing radiation (humans die at 5 Gy).

    Finding them is one thing, but are they alive? Are they metabolizing? The answer is yes to both. Carpenter et al. (Applied and Environmental Microbiology, October 2000, p. 4514-4517, Vol. 66) reported incorportation of precursors into both protein and DNA at ~ -15 C for cells trapped in ice at the South Pole. The extent to which they are metabolizing is a different, thornier issue.

    Another question is where are they living? From the above discussion, we have read about veins of “unfrozen” water and the possible diffusion of gasses, minerals and organic compounds through them. Several studies have shown that bacteria survive and metabolize in these environments, though very, very slowly. All the while, they are exchanging CO2, N2O, CH4, etc. with their environment. Price and colleagues have also suggested that another environment is conducive for supporting metabolism and viability: within the ice crystals themselves. From the abstract of the paper, Diffusion-controlled metabolism for long-term survival of single isolated microorganisms trapped within ice crystals, they state,

    “…microbe[s] frozen in ice can metabolize by redox reactions with dissolved small molecules such as CO2, O2, N2, CO, and CH4 diffusing through the ice lattice.”

    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/42/16592.full.pdf+html

    No doubt, the diffusion and partitioning of small molecules like CO2 in glacial ice is not a trivial matter. Ice is not the equivalent of zircon, and chemistry and metabolism do occur at temperatures found in polar glaciers. The influence of a metabolizing microbial community on measurement of past CO2 concentrations is, in my book, an open question. I should also note that photosynthetic bacteria are also found in glaciers and that their chlorophyll content increases with depth (sorry can’t find the reference or talk right now). Moreover, chlorophyll containing bacteria are not the only ones that can incorporate CO2: bacteria with both proteorhodopsin and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (think C4 plants) can at least incorporate some CO2 but cannot survive on CO2 alone. The involvement of these bacteria in the carbon cycle is only now being investigated.

    Why haven’t we heard about these biological stories before? My guess is that interest in growth of bacteria in these extreme environments has been limited to the environmental microbiology, astrobiology, and origin of life communities. Implications of measuring gas and metabolite diffusion through ice and their in situ biosynthesis on proxy measurements of green house gasses is never brought up in these papers: why incur the wrath of climatologists whose ice cores you depend upon to do your work?

    Microbes have shaped and continue to shape the composition of our biosphere. It would not be surprising to me if they also shape the glacial environment as well.

  88. Thx to all above for the Jaworowski links. No mystery why he had to be sent to poli-sci purdah.

    I wonder how lukewarmists rationalize his results and observations and thoughts. A test for intellectual honesty, IMO.

    Extra thx to Garacka for the superb “Tiny Bubbles” rendition.

    And everything Caleb Shaw has to offer will be received with delighted gratitude.

  89. jason says: November 1, 2011 at 10:31 am
    “I to have wondered about the little bubbles. The entire co2 house of cards rests on that one cornerstone. Evidence that historic co2 levels may have been higher than the cores record would destroy the entire unprecedented and dangerous nonsense.”

    Jason – you said it all!

    When it is shown that the bubble stuff is rubbish the entire house of cards collapses.

  90. Janice:
    What a marvellous story, marvellously well told. It fits so neatly with Caleb’s. It also portends the fate of all who dare to ask pointed questions over at RealClimate…

  91. petermue says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:22 am
    @David Middleton

    There is another method that results in the same values, 335 +/- 40 ppm.

    J. J. Drake tried to correct the age of the ice with the age of the gas.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jdrake/Questioning_Climate/userfiles/Ice-core_corrections_report_1.pdf

    Surprisingly these values also match historic chemical measurements of CO2.

    http://www.pensee-unique.fr/001_mwr-083-10-0225.pdf

    (see Fig. 2)

    And they also match the unshifted SIPLE core hockey

    I’ve been trying to develop a similar compensation function… Just wish I had more time form my “hobby.”

    The “funny” thing is that the bubble folk know about the amplitude attenuation problem and they actually try to correct for it….

    Neftel A, Oeschger H, Staffelbach T, Stauffer B. 1988. CO2 record in the Byrd ice core 50 000–5000 years BP. Nature 331: 609–611.

    Because the enclosure process acts as a low pass filter, the CO2 record stored in the ice bubbles of polar ice archive is a smoothed record of the atmospheric CO2 concentration. In the Byrd core the air is enclosed between 60 and 80 m below the surface (m.b.s.) and the duration of the enclosure is ~50 yr during the Holocene.

    […]

    Oscillations of the atmospheric CO2 concentration with a period corresponding to twice the enclosure time, 2T would be attenuated to 40% in the ice and would be reinstalled to 82% of the orginal value after the deconvolution procedure. For oscillations corresponding to the duration of the ecclosure time, the percentages would be 8.5% for the CO2 record in ice and 18% for the reconstructed record by the deconvolution procedure. Faster changes are suppressed and cannot be seen in either the ice or reconstructed by deconvolution.

    The ice core values are not raw measurements of in situ CO2. They have used a deconvolution routine to attempt to restore the true amplitude of the CO2 signal.

    The more amplitude they recover and the more they whiten the data, the more variable the preindustrial CO2 becomes, forcing greater variability in the natural carbon flux…

    Trudinger, C. M., I. G. Enting, P. J. Rayner, and R. J. Francey (2002), Kalman filter analysis of ice core data 2. Double deconvolution of CO2 and δ13C measurements, J. Geophys. Res., 107(D20), 4423, doi:10.1029/2001JD001112.

    JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 107, 4423, 24 PP., 2002
    doi:10.1029/2001JD001112

    Kalman filter analysis of ice core data 2. Double deconvolution of CO2 and δ13C measurements

    A new method for deconvolving ice core CO2 and δ13CO2 measurements to estimate net CO2 uptake by the terrestrial biosphere and the oceans has been developed. The method, which uses the Kalman filter, incorporates statistical analysis into the calculation. This allows a more rigorous analysis of CO2 variability than the usual deconvolution method. The Kalman filter method estimates uncertainties on the deduced fluxes as part of the calculation. The deconvolution method is applied to the Law Dome CO2 and δ13C ice core record. The calculation suggests that natural variability in CO2 fluxes may be as large as 1 GtC yr−1 on the timescale of just less than a decade. The Law Dome CO2 measurements show a slight decrease in CO2 around the 1940s. Analysis with the carbon cycle model and a numerical model of firn processes suggests that about 3 GtC yr−1 uptake (mostly oceanic) is required in the 1940s to match the ice core measurements. The estimates of variation in the terrestrial biospheric flux between 1950 and 1980 from the double deconvolution calculation are in very good agreement with an independent estimate of the global terrestrial flux from a climate-driven ecosystem model.

    MacFarling Meure, C., D. Etheridge, C. Trudinger, P. Steele, R. Langenfelds, T. van Ommen, A. Smith, and J. Elkins (2006), Law Dome CO2, CH4 and N2O ice core records extended to 2000 years BP, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L14810, doi:10.1029/2006GL026152.

    The stabilization of atmospheric CO2 concentration during the 1940s and 1950s is a notable feature in the ice core record. The new high density measurements confirm this result and show that CO2 concentrations stabilized at 310–312 ppm from ~1940–1955. The CH4 and N2O growth rates also decreased during this period, although the N2O variation is comparable to the measurement uncertainty. Smoothing due to enclosure of air in the ice (about 10 years at DE08) removes high frequency variations from the record, so the true atmospheric variation may have been larger than represented in the ice core air record. Even a decrease in the atmospheric CO2 concentration during the mid-1940s is consistent with the Law Dome record and the air enclosure smoothing, suggesting a large additional sink of ~3.0 PgC yr-1 [Trudinger et al., 2002a]. The d13CO2 record during this time suggests that this additional sink was mostly oceanic and not caused by lower fossil emissions or the terrestrial biosphere [Etheridge et al., 1996; Trudinger et al., 2002a]. The processes that could cause this response are still unknown.

    [11] The CO2 stabilization occurred during a shift from persistent El Niño to La Niña conditions [Allan and D’Arrigo, 1999]. This coincided with a warm-cool phase change of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation [Mantua et al., 1997], cooling temperatures [Moberg et al., 2005] and progressively weakening North Atlantic thermohaline circulation [Latif et al., 2004]. The combined effect of these factors on the trace gas budgets is not presently well understood. They may be significant for the atmospheric CO2 concentration if fluxes in areas of carbon uptake, such as the North Pacific Ocean, are enhanced, or if efflux from the tropics is suppressed.

    Within less than a decade, they went from a stable preindustrial carbon flux to “natural variability as large as 1 GtC yr−1 on the timescale of just less than a decade,” to an “additional sink” of ~3.0 GtC yr-1 from ~1940–1955.

    That 3.0 GtC yr-1 is based on a flattening of CO2 at ~311 ppmv from ~1940–1955… But that’s really a flattening of the 30-yr average. So the annual flux variability was probably a lot greater than 3.0 GtC yr-1.

    The fact is that they have no idea what the preindustrial flux variability was. Plant stomata indicate a very large preindustrial flux variability.

  92. Volker Doormann says:
    November 1, 2011 at 12:00 am
    “It is meaningless to speak on that what NOT is, because it has no existence. Science is a method to understand what IS. That what IS is order. No one can show what not IS.”

    Allan M says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:38 am
    “Well, that all depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.”

    Volker Doormann says:
    November 1, 2011 at 7:43 am
    “Something – of that what IS – cannot be true and in the same time be untrue, and because of this it is impossible to define it, without to define a contradiction. Science does not believe in contradictions.”

    Allan M says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:38 am
    “I see the irony evaded you.”

    T. Kobashi et al. have analyzed bubbles: “Persistent multi-decadal Greenland temperature fluctuation through the last millennium in an ice core from Greenland”.

    I have analysed the heliocentric movement of (six) solar objects for the last millennium:
    http://volker-doormann.org/images/greenland_ghi_5x.gif” .

    I wrote above: “Climate is order and is solved

    The point is, science is able to verify the outward manifestations of nature, because they are visible for all, but science is not able to verify the consciousness of an other person.

    Logic and metaphysics are the basis of science and philosophy. No one can show the reference from that he is able to recognize truth. This reference is neither an object of democracy nor of bloggers, nor of a busy mind.

    V.

  93. Sounds like it’s a good thing all I have are boys. Four of ‘em to be precise.

    Great, enjoyable read. Thank you.

  94. petermue says:
    October 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    This paper from Zbigniew Jaworowski is better and more expressive.

    It describes the scientific deficiencies of ice cores, physical defects, and why anthropogenic CO2 can’t be the cause for global warming based on his calculation.

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/icecore/IceCoreSprg97.pdf

    This man is a real and truthful climate scientist.
    _____________
    AMEN

    For the laymen there are pdfs including much of Jaworowski’s work at Segalstad’s site: http://www.co2web.info/

    It is well worth reading (References to various papers are included)

  95. JuergenK says:
    November 1, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Volker said: “Climate is order and is solved.”
    (http://www.volker-doormann.org/climate_code_s.htm)

    Volker, have you read the work of Ivanka Charvátová?

    http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Charvatova_SIM.pdf

    Although she’s looking from another perspective it seems you both look at the same temperatur driving mechanism, principally.

    Yes I know her work. And yes, the solar movements are a mirror of the movements of the outer planets.

    If I say the climate is solved it means that the code is solved, from which it is possible to simulate precisely in time the terrestrial temperature proxies for the time of 3000 B.C.E. to 3000 C.E. But the physical mechanism is still unknown. There are strong hints from the solar neutrino capture rate that suggests that the solar fusion process is controlled by the outer planets, because the simulation of the tide functions of couples fits as well with the reconstructed global temperature and with the neutrino rate. http://volker-doormann.org/images/snu_rss_ghi8_2b.gif” .

    It I also possible to identify discrete frequencies in a FFT power spectrum of the Homestake data, they can be related to frequencies of the inner planets like Venus and/or Mars and their eccentric motion.

    A lot of scientific work can be done. And it would be no science fiction work to fool consumers with fallacies.

    V.

  96. @David Middleton

    I’m still going through that papers atm.
    For the mentioned 1940 period, this paper from Schneider & Steig seems very interesting.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/34/12154.full.pdf

    Now I’m asking myself, when temperatures have increased within this period, why could there exist an additional carbon sink? Somehow contrary and puzzling.

    As alarmists often confuse cause and correlation, their temperature driven CO2 does not seem as robust as they always emphasize.
    Take a look at the annual growth rate of CO2

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

    Interestingly the strong annual declines are connected with strong volcano eruptions.

    1963-64 Surtsey
    1975-76 Tolbachik
    1982-83 Gunung Galunggung, El Chichon
    1991-92 Mt. Pinatubo
    1998-99 Etna, Piton de la Fournaise

    That raises some questions:

    a)
    Why have had their volcanic ashes so much influence on insolation that even
    atmospheric CO2 growth decreases in such a strong way (up to minus 75-80%)?
    b)
    What about climate sensitivity, if CO2 growth declined in such a strong and rapid way?
    c)
    What about the CO2 lifetime of 50-200 years, assumed by Houghton & Hackler, resp. IPCC, when CO2 is able to react so rapidly?

    Seems that aerosols outweigh a huge part of the forcings. Imagine, those eruptions would have continued…
    Wasn’t the beginning of the hype somewhere near the beginning 80s, when “Green & Clean” act introduced catalysators and areosol filters?

    There something stinks with that whole CO2-GH hypothesis, I tell you. ;-)

  97. petermue says:
    October 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Nick Stokes says:
    October 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    He isn’t a climate scientist. His regular job was/is
    “Zbigniew Jaworowski is chairman of the Scientific Council of the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection in Warsaw and former chair of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (1981–82)”

    In case of ice cores, and that’s the actual subject, he’s in the field of climate science.
    I know Zbig …

    For me, there were no 180 ppmv at the last glacial ….

    __________
    For me the 180 ppmv was the real killer. If it actually got that low we would all be dead.
    “200 pm CO2 trees starve” http://biblioteca.universia.net/ficha.do?id=912067
    but the link no longer works…

    But there is this reference (they missed the practical greenhouse references in the purge I guess)
    …. photosynthesis can be halted when CO2 concentration approaches 200 ppm… (Morgan 2003) Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and does not easily mix into the greenhouse atmosphere by diffusion… Source

    You are not going to have healthy growing plants if you go below 200ppmv

    This may be why Zbigniew Jaworowski got interested. He smelled something rotten.

    In the paper by Tom Quirk “ Sources and Sinks of Carbon Dioxide” The isotopic balance in the atmosphere is far more complex and there are many more variables than most think. Consider 94% of all anthropogenic CO2 is released into the northern hemisphere. Next the CO2 is not as well mixed as the IPCC state. From the nuclear tests in the 60’s the mixing north to south is very slow, like several years ( another rhetorical question) so why is the average northern hemisphere CO2 not higher than the south?

    I worked in industry sampling solid and liquid batches and the phrase “Well Mixed” instantly sets off alarm bells. If a kettle with no additional inputs and sophsysticated mixers can successfully and frequently screw up mixing I very much doubt the atmosphere is “well mixed” with just the wind and thermals.

  98. Good story. I’ll see you tomorrow.
    I wonder who this marshallsumter dude is. What’s he done to the mainsteam?
    Like the old saying: You know your over the target if your getting flak.
    Holds true if you get shot down too.

  99. Richard S Courtney says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Your claim of “physically impossible” demonstrates your willful ignorance. Surfaces of ice and ice crystals are coated in a liquid phase (i.e. water) at all temperatures down to -40 deg. C (incidentally, this is why ice is slippery). And CO2 dissolves in water. So, CO2 certainly will migrate out of bubbles: it will dissolve and then experience ionic diffusion through the intergranular (i.e. between crystal) zones.

    Richard, CO2 dissolves in water. Right. But that is as good for CO2 from outside the core as from inside. Thus with an outside CO2 level for some periods more than twice the inside CO2 level, CO2 would migrate from outside to inside via water vains, ultimately pushing the inside CO2 level equal to the outside if that mechanism was at work at all.

    But even the influence of any hiding of CO2 in water veins is proven wrong: the newer method sublimates all ice at very low temperature under vacuum, where ALL CO2 present is measured quantitatively, no matter if that was originally in the bubbles or in liquid veins. But that doesn’t indicate higher CO2 levels than the standard method where only CO2 from the bubbles is measured by crushing the ice under vacuum.

    Further, as said before, the average air composition outside the bubbles at closing depth was measured in situ by Etheridge. There was a difference of 30 years between the average air age (compared to direct measurements at the South Pole) and the ice age (measured by counting the layers) at that depth (and no difference with the air already enclosed, as measured by the standard ice crushing method). According to Jaworowski (1992 and personal correspondence in 2009) there is no difference in age of ice and gas…

    Further, I don’t “belief” that the ice core CO2 measurements are right, I am pretty sure that they are right, because a lot of people from a lot of organisation of a lot of countries do measure them under the best analytical circumstances, looking for possible artefacts and avoid them or correct them… And all ice cores, taken under extremely different circumstances of temperature, precipitation and contamination show similar CO2 levels (+/- 5 ppmv) for overlapping periods.

    And as you know, I don’t “belief” that the current increase of CO2 is man-made. I am pretty sure that that is the case, based on the fact that the increase fits all available evidence and that the two main possible sources: oceans and vegetation are proven sinks for CO2. And because all possible alternatives I have heard of conflict with one or more observations. For those interested:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html#The_mass_balance

  100. I remember as a geology student in my first lecture in petrology when the professor stated that for any theory to be truly valid, three conditions must be satisfied – field observations and measurements, physical-chemical principles and laboratory experimental results (I think I have it about right!).

    Also in geology, the compositions of fluid inclusions in minerals have long been used to estimate the pressures, temperatures and chemistry of fluids within the earth’s crust that were related to the nucleation and growth of certain crystals. But not any old crystals. Many crystals have weak lattices and fluid inclusions are subject to profound compositional changes related to subsequent deformational events and differential diffusion phenomena. So the post-crystallization history of the crystal’s host rock must always be assessed. The lattices of gypsum and calcite are so weak that such minerals are rarely used for fluid inclusion work; quartz, being common and much stronger, is the preferred crystal.

    Ice must have by far the weakest lattice of any crystal occurring in nature so surely there must be a large body of experimental laboratory studies directed at studying changes in the gas composition of entrapped air bubbles relating to compression, deformation and other post depositional changes? Or is this a tabu subject?

  101. Gail Combs says:
    November 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    For me the 180 ppmv was the real killer. If it actually got that low we would all be dead.

    Fortunately for land plants (sea plants don’t have that problem, plenty of CO2 in the oceans), the levels of CO2 near the surface are much (30-50 ppmv, up to several 100’s in the morning hours) higher than in the rest (95%) of the atmosphere, so that they could survive even at 180 ppmv “background” CO2 levels…

    why is the average northern hemisphere CO2 not higher than the south

    Tom Quirk was completely wrong on this point: he used a method to determine the NH/SH CO2 lag over the months, which doesn’t make a differentiation between 2, 14 or 26 month lags or alternatively 10, 22 or… month leads. In reality, there is a near 1.5 year lag of the SH CO2 level after the NH CO2 increase and there is a 0.5 year lag with altitude:

  102. LOL, great muse.

    I can’t wait until you get to the part amount the amount of ice core, with little bubbles, that is necessary to deliver a reading.

  103. petermue says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Sorry, but you forgot one thing:
    The only point where ice cores show the real value is at the top layer.
    As soon as that layer was covered by new snow/ice and is exposed to pressure, it loses CO2 by outwashing, degassing and diffusion.

    If that was true, then there wouldn’t be any change from 180-280 ppmv as seen in several ice cores of sufficient length (at least 20,000 years), as the diffusion would be at work during 800,000 years for the oldest ice of Dome C. And as Etheridge showed: the ice core record at Law Dome and the atmospherice levels overlap for the period 1960-1980:

    Futher, there are extreme differences in temperature (from -20 to -40°C), extreme differences in accumulation (from a few mm/year for Vostok and Dome C to 1.5 m ice equivalent at Law Dome), thus extreme differences in pressure and possible migration speed. Despite that, all ice cores show nearly the same CO2 levels (and the same HS shape) for the same time frame:

    Last but not least, the theoretical migration was calculated from the Siple ice core, based on CO2 migration near remelted ice layers. That shows that the migration broadens the resolution (that is the averaging period, but that doesn’t change the average!) at middle depth from 20 to 22 years and at full depth (70,000 years old) from 20 to 40 years…

  104. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    And all ice cores, taken under extremely different circumstances of temperature, precipitation and contamination show similar CO2 levels (+/- 5 ppmv) for overlapping periods.

    I don’t doubt that +/- 5ppm, however, if the initial CO2 volume has already been changed from physical and chemical processes, you still get wrong results.
    The deeper layers below the locking firn layer that show i.e. 180-280 ppm, might have been at 335 +/- 40 ppm at the time of their development thousands of years ago.
    You can’t substantiate it with the modern analyse methods, but those pysical and chemical processes most likely suggest that obvious changes.

  105. Ferdinand Engelbeen and petermue:

    I intend no offence to either of you but I do not intend to continue discussion of the ice cores in this thread: I shall get involved in the thread of Caleb’s next instalment. Ferdinand and I have been disputing these issues for many years and it seems unlikely that we can resolve our disagreements in the few comments of this thread before publication of Caleb’s Part 2.

    Richard

  106. cementafriend says:
    November 1, 2011 at 5:42 am

    It is sad to see Ferdinand Engelbeen continually deride the conscientious and ethical scientist (the late) Ernst-Georg Beck who was not paid by anyone. He analysed the work of many others including nobel prize winners, His analyses were peer reviewed. He was conscious of variations around the world.

    I never derided the late Ernst Beck as person, to the contrary, I admire the tremendous
    amount of work he has done to get all the old writings out of the archives. But that doesn’t mean that I do agree with his conclusions.

    The main problem is that he didn’t make any differentiation between the good, the bad and the ugly measurements. As we know today, any measurements taken in the first few hundred meters over land should be discarded, as too close to local sources and sinks. Extremely variable over a day, doesn’t even present the local average, even if you take three samples a day (as only a few did over longer term). If you look at his 1942 “peak”, that is mainly based on two longer series: Poona, India and Giessen, Germany. The first did measure CO2 levels under and inbetween leaves of growing plants. Of zero value for knowing “background” CO2 levels of that time.
    Giessen now has a modern continous measuring station. Here a few days out of its summer life, compared to Barrow, Mauna Loa and South Pole measurements of the same days (all raw data):

    The historical Giessen data were from three samples a day, of which two were at the flanks of the huge decrease/increase of CO2 levels at morning/night. The average variability of the historical CO2 data at Giessen was 68 ppmv (1 sigma), currently at Mauna Loa less than 1 ppmv (around the seasonal variation)… See further:

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

    The method used by Massen and Beck may be useful if one has enough reliable data at high wind speed. Unfortunately, the Giessen data have only some 20 data above 4 m/s wind speed with an enormous spread… No way to use that method for the Giessen (or other) historical data.

  107. Gail Combs says:
    November 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    For me the 180 ppmv was the real killer. If it actually got that low we would all be dead.
    ____________-
    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Fortunately for land plants (sea plants don’t have that problem, plenty of CO2 in the oceans), the levels of CO2 near the surface are much (30-50 ppmv, up to several 100′s in the morning hours) higher than in the rest (95%) of the atmosphere, so that they could survive even at 180 ppmv “background” CO2 levels…
    ____________________

    The logic of that answer does not work.
    If the levels of CO2 near the surface are “higher than in the rest (95%) of the atmosphere” then where the heck are the glaciers??? In the stratosphere?

    And do not tell me the CO2 is lower at the poles than elsewhere because there are volcanoes at both poles.

    Here is Becks information from Barrow Alaska.
    Date – – – – Co2 ppm * * latitude * * longitude * * *author * * location
    1947.7500 – – 407.9 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1947.8334 – – 420.6 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1947.9166 – – 412.1 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.0000 – – 385.7 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.0834 – – 424.4 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.1666 – – 452.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.2500 – – 448.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.3334 – – 429.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.4166 – – 394.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.5000 – – 386.7 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.5834 – – 398.3 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.6667 – – 414.5 * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow
    1948.9166 – – 500.0 * * * * *71.00* * * -156.80 * * *Scholander * *Barrow

    Finally Jaworowski was made an example of . He was ridiculed and fired. The rest of the sheep scientists fell back in line. I have certainly seen several real life examples of that method of “Team Building” and Anthony has reported other cases here at WUWT.

    There are trillions of dollars riding on “CO2 is increasing and the Temperature is increasing and MAN CAUSED IT. ” Any hole in the “Message” is going to get plugged.

    “The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from it’s profits or so dependant on it’s favors, that there will be no opposition ….” — Rothschild, 1863

    For those who are not interested in money “we are lying to save the environment” or “we are lying to bring about social equality” works just fine.

  108. petermue says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:22 am

    There is another method that results in the same values, 335 +/- 40 ppm.

    http://www.umweltluege.de/sceptics/vostok/cvostokdiff.png

    The gas age – ice age difference (which according to Jaworowski doesn’t exist) has nothing to do with CO2 levels. JJ Drake did find a correlation, but that is completely spurious. What happens is that you have a typical problem of:

    A causes B (temperature changes cause changes in gas age – ice age differences)
    A causes C (temperature changes cause CO2 level differences)
    as both A/B and A/C show a high correlation, there is a high correlation between B and C but in fact zero causation… Thus there is not the slightest physical reason to “compensate” the CO2 levels found with the ice age – gas age difference.

  109. petermue says:
    November 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm
    @Volker Doormann
    You can find Earth’s temperature gradient in lots of other data, like Sun’s MUV, magnetic flux and
    i.e. all the great historic Minima.
    Solanki et al.

    http://www.umweltluege.de/pdf/solphys-2004.pdf

    (Fig. 4)
    How can the Sun copy Earth’s temperature gradient? ;-)

    There are a storks on houses of people in Germany where are babies have come. That seems interesting. But the very point of argumentation is that there are also fresh new babies in winter in Germany, when there are absolute no storks next to the houses, they have moved to Africa.

    Such a point is the fact that the variation of the terrestrial temperature anomaly in the last half century correlates with the variation of the measured temperature anomaly of the planet Neptune:

    The same effect is known to the planets Uranus and Pluto.

    Question: ‘How can the increasing CO2 content in the atmosphere of the Earth increase the temperature of Neptune?’

    Answer: ‘Wrong question. The question suggests that the rising temperature on Neptune is related to the rising CO2 content on Earth. But that is an weak argument. A more strong argument is that a common variable heat source drives a heat current to both Earth and Neptune and all the other outer bodies.

    But it seems this is still a taboo.

    V.

  110. RandomReal[] says:
    November 1, 2011 at 10:52 am

    At the -40°C of the Vostok ice core, some bacteria can survive, but that is restricted to DNA repair. For that purpose they use CO2 via an alternative cycle, using NH4 oxydation as the energy source. If one assumes that all N2O measured in the ice core was the result of that type of metabolism, then less than 1 ppmv CO2 was used for DNA repair by the concentration of bacteria found with dust at some depth in the Vostok ice core. See point 11 of

    http://www.pnas.org/content/101/13/4631.full

  111. Gail Combs says:
    November 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    If the levels of CO2 near the surface are “higher than in the rest (95%) of the atmosphere”then where the heck are the glaciers??? In the stratosphere?

    The difference is that the poles are free from sources and sinks (not many plants or factories at the South Pole, but measurements must be done upwind from the base…), while most of the historical measurements were in the middle of towns, even then using fuel to heat their houses and after 1900 with an increasing number of cars, or in the fields and forests where measurements taken 15 minutes later can give you hundreds of ppmv difference… Measuring CO2 at the South Pole is at least 2,000 km from the nearest volcano. Even Mauna Loa at a few hundred meters of volcanic vents only shows 4 ppmv increase if the wind is downslope from the vents…

    About the Barrow measurements, you need to follow the description of the apparatus. That was the micro-Schollander method to detect the health of the workers at the Barrow weather station by measuring the CO2 content of their exhaled air (at around 20,000 ppmv!). Every now and then, the apparatus was calibrated against outside air, which are the figures you did find at Beck’s site. If the measurements were between 200-500 ppmv the apparatus was deemed OK for its purpose!. Thus in other words, the accuracy of the micro-Schollander apparatus was +/- 150 ppmv! Completely useless for accurate CO2 measurements in air… Which is a pitty, because that is one of the current baseline stations for CO2 measurements (as long as the wind is not from land side in summer…).
    The same problem with historical measurements in Antarctica: they measured extreme high levels of CO2 at some moments, but at the same time low O2 levels. Which shows contamination of the samples (even breathing near the sampling can give false results)…

    As said before, the late Ernst Beck used all available measurements, including Barrow and Antarctica, without any quality control, lumped all 90,000 datapoints together, even if one side of the earth shows 500 ppmv and the other end shows 250 ppmv for the same year. That results in a 1942 “peak” which is not seen in any other direct or indirect indication of CO2 levels, be it ice cores, stomata data, coralline sponges, sediments,… And which is physically impossible. It is theoretically possible to have a sudden outburst of 1000 Pinatubo’s at once in a short period of 7 years, even if that is very unlikely to give an increase of 80 ppmv. But there is no physically explanation that the same amount disappears again within the same time span of 7 years. At the current +100 ppmv, the oceans and vegetation only absorb 2 ppmv/year, thus it would take far longer than 7 years to remove 80 ppmv…

    Last but not least, all available historical CO2 measurements taken over the oceans (seaships) or coastal with wind from the seaside give low values, around the ice core measurements for the same period…

  112. kuhnkat says:
    November 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    saw a cool animation yesterday:

    Not quite what I had been led to believe!

    What you see are the changes from vegetation and oceans due to seasonal temperature changes.
    Well mixed doesn’t mean that all CO2 levels at every moment are equal. It means that any change at one place is mixed within all parts of the world in a reasonable time period. An increase at sealevel in the NH of 2 ppmv/year (that is 0.5% of the total CO2 level) needs a few weeks to distribute over the same latitude and altitude, a few months for other latitudes and altitudes in the same hemisphere and a few years to level off over the hemispheres. But as there is a continuous increase mainly in one hemisphere and a cyclic change in opposite ways between the hemispheres, there still are a lot of differences visible over monthly to yearly averages, be it less than +/- 5% of the values for monthly averages and less than +/- 1% for yearly averages.

  113. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    is mixed within all parts of the world in a reasonable time period

    What is a “reasonable” time period in your view?

    The WDCGG holds CO2 data that is somewhat curious. For example this station in the mountains of Bulgaria, far off any civilisation. If you look at the location of the instrument, you’ll see no environmental influence. There is, compared to other stations, nothing that can distort the measurement.
    But where are the 390 ppm in that?

    (Data at ftp://gaw.kishou.go.jp/pub/data/current/co2/monthly/beo642n00.inrne.as.cn.co2.nl.mo.dat )

    341.6 ppm declining!

    Station in vodeo

    That might be real values.

    There are good reasons to avoid stations like Mauna Loa, or even near ocean stations, because they could give wrong measurements per se. See

    http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

    (paragraph 1.2)

    A reason for that might be ocean degassing.
    Why?
    Go ahead reading paragraph 5.0 and 6.0.
    Estimated 3,500,000 submarine volcanoes, that’s also one thing noone likes to talk about as it seems.

    “We can expect a higher percentage in the case of the count taken by Hillier & Watts (2007) because it includes smaller, younger seamounts; a higher proportion of which will be active. Nevertheless, in the spirit of caution and based on our minimum inference of 4% seamount activity from Batiza’s observations, I estimate 139,096 active submarine volcanoes worldwide.”

    About 139,096 active submarine volcanoes, that exhaust estimated ~25 GtC/y, that is far more than assumed man-made CO2!

    All I can find in literature about examination of volcanoes relates to about only 20-30 subaerial volcanoes.

    So the aCO2 hypotheses sounds not very conclusive to me.

  114. The killer micro-observation for me was the question, ‘How do they compensate for the rapid decompression of the core and its bubbles as it is brought to the surface?’ From tons of pressure per sq.” to 15 lbs? Pretty drastic. Unless you imagine the ice cores are perfectly rigid and infinitely strong.

  115. Ferdinand,

    Thank you for your reply. Indeed, ammonia oxidation by this one group of microbes would change CO2 concentrations by 1 ppm. But (there is always a but), you have to consider that this is one metabolic product that was measured. That is, the excess N2O is only one of several potential metabolic products that a variety of different bacteria could produce. If you could point me to papers on other metabolic products, such as acetate and formate, found in glacial ice, I certainly would appreciate it. 140,000 years of bacterial metabolism, albeit horrendously slow, could certainly affect local CO2 concentrations well above the 1 ppm, mentioned above.

    In support of your implied conclusion that microbial activity does not significantly affect gas concentrations Rhode, Price, Bay & Bramall state in a follow up,

    From the point of view of its value as a climate proxy, it is
    fortunate that the concentration of atmospheric CO2 in the ice is so
    high relative to the microbial concentration that CO2 excesses or
    deficiencies caused by in situ microbial metabolism are unlikely to
    be detectable except in basal ice that was formed on a highly
    concentrated microbial habitat, such as was present in wetland
    before glaciation.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/25/8667.full.pdf+html?with-ds=yes

    While I have no evidence to the contrary and thus take ice core CO2 measurements as a good first approximation (even better with the total sublimation data), I would certainly like to see analyses of what was left over in the sublimation studies. Acetate, I suspect, would not be volatile at the temperatures and pressures for such experiments and as for formate, I wouldn’t hazard a guess. Moreover, cells that do happen to grow, even if their doubling time is measured in kyr, could in principle draw down CO2 concentrations into nonvolatile compounds.

    An alternative hypothesis with regard to CO2 concentration is that during relatively dry glacial periods, there is an increase in microbial cell concentration in the glaciers. Through photosynthetic and other processes, the CO2 in the ice is fixed in a higher proportion compared with relatively wet interglacial conditions. There might be a lower bound concentration for these processes, ~200 ppm?, and thus the low CO2 concentrations, and CH4 for that matter, found during maximal glaciation periods could in part reflect a slow but persistent metabolism by a diverse microbial community. Who knows? One way to test this is to determine the total carbon content per unit volume and compare it with the CO2 concentration. If microbial metabolism has no effect, then total C should be directly proportional to CO2. Conversely, if there is a is an effect, it would show up as a lower ratio of CO2/total C.

    I am not sure of your DNA repair reference. I should note that bacteria devote ~25 % of their energy production (ATP and redox) to what is referred to a maintenance energy, the amount required for survival. DNA repair is not in and of itself a large energy consumer, but for a cell to perform DNA repair, it has to maintain overall energy, synthesize the repair enzymes, and have a proper concentration of dNTP. In fact, there are several such systems that function in every cell. For a cell to survive, it must also maintain its membrane integrity and fluidity, a proton gradient across the membrane, have the proper transport and redox proteins within their membranes, the proper set of enzymes to harvest energy, carbon, nitrogen, etc., be able to detect and degrade misfolded proteins, synthesize replacements for these degraded proteins,and the list goes on. Given all that a cell requires just to stay alive, I am astounded that they can survive at all, and in some cases, thrive in what we refer to as extreme environments.

    One last tidbit, I have heard, but haven’t followed up, that photosynthetic bacteria have been found in communities associated with deep sea thermal vents. What light are they harvesting? Light from neutrino/dark matter collisions? Who knows? I only bring this point up since the history of microbiology has been consistently marked by “that can’t happen”/”it would contribute nothing” statements, that are usually overturned when people actually look carefully.

    Thank you for your patience and your persistent scientific grounding. It has certainly helped to keep my feet on the ground when it comes to thinking about the carbon cycle etc. Last fun fact to know and tell: there are ~10^31 bacteriophage on earth and can devour up to 50 % of a cell population per day in ocean environments.

  116. End of a long hard day. I can’t really respond to 145 responses.

    My daughters are now 31 and 28, and are in some ways now more worldly-wise than I can ever hope to be. But Lord Oh Lord, did they ever teach me a lot, when they were teens!

    The worst part is when they are just barely teens, and you are expected to protect them from predators, and they are very good looking. At that point, fathers go through a spell where just about every man alive is a predator. Hair gets grey pretty fast.

    It’s amazing how being a father can turn you into a prude. I’m glad I survived that time. I didn’t think I would, but you do. And you learn a lot, if you listen.

    So much for daughters. On to little bubbles.

    Only at WUWT could I learn about carbonated ice-cream invented at MIT.

    I was glad Ferdinand showed up to defend the holy cow. After all, what’s the use of offending a holy cow, and talking about how pummeled you get if you do so, if no one shows up to pummel you?

    However I think we can safely say the science is not settled, even concerning a cornerstone like the icecore records.

    No one came close to guessing what part 2 holds.

    .

  117. RE: petermue says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Watch it. You are meddling with a sacred cow even more sacred than the ice core records.

  118. petermue says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    If you look at the location of the instrument, you’ll see no environmental influence. There is, compared to other stations, nothing that can distort the measurement.

    Take a better look at the film: there is grass around the site. That means photosynthesis and thus higher CO2 levels at night (although probably not in this case, because over the inversion layer at night) and lower during the day. From the noisy monthly averages, it is already clear that the continuous measurements are very noisy, thus not well mixed and thus not background. Compare that to the Mauna Loa data, which have irregular downwind extra CO2 from volcanic vents and upwind lower CO2 from vegetation (mainly in the afternoon), and the South Pole measurements where there are no nearby sources or sinks. Raw data (hourly averages) compared to selected daily and monthly averages:

    The fact that the data are noisy is the best indication that the CO2 from nearby sources and sinks is not mixed in and that the station can’t be used for background CO2 measurements…

  119. petermue says:
    November 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Some more comments on:
    There are good reasons to avoid stations like Mauna Loa, or even near ocean stations, because they could give wrong measurements per se. See
    http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/ (paragraph 1.2)

    I had read that some time ago.
    It would be very interesting to see that volcanic vents are the cause of the increase, as that would imply some teleconnection between human emissions and volcanoes, as the increase in the atmosphere is average halve of the emissions in the past 160 years. Moreover, the yearly average trends at Barrow, Mauna Loa, South Pole and 70 other stations are similar, only with a lag for altitude and a NH/SH lag:

    where it is clear that Barrow is leading (better visible in detail), far from any known volcano…

    About 139,096 active submarine volcanoes, that exhaust estimated ~25 GtC/y, that is far more than assumed man-made CO2!
    Land based volcanoes and vents emit less than 1% of what humans emit (based on several measurements around volcanoes), sea floor vents may emit (much) more, but that is not of interest: they emit under great seawater pressure, thus most is absorbed in the deep oceans. The deep oceans have some limited exchange with the atmosphere via the THC (and other) sinks and upwellings, but more important, both near all volcanic vents and the (deep) ocean waters have a high 13C/12C ratio, compared to the atmosphere. If the (deep) oceans and/or volcanic vents were responsible for the increase in the atmosphere, then the 13C/12C ratio of CO2 in the atmosphere would increase, but we see a steady decrease in ratio, as well as in the atmosphere as in the ocean surface:

    Thimoty Casey is wrong about the 13C/12C ratio of volcanoes: all volcanoes I have read of were between -7 and +7 per mil d13C, where deep mantle volcanoes are at the low side and subduction volcanoes at the high side. But in every case, the volcanic vents were all above the current -8 per mil of the atmosphere. Fossil fuels are average at -24 per mil…

  120. RandomReal[] says:
    November 1, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Indeed it is very interesting stuff that microbacterial life can even survive 400,000 years at -40°C… I don’t think it matters that much for CO2, but other less abundant stuff like CH4 and NH4/N2O could be more affected. Anyway, if there are real influences, that would be visible in the data series as some extra up or down where much dust and bacteria are found. That is the case near the bottom of the cores, where the temperature (due to isolation and earth warmth) is near melting the ice and thus much more water veins allow foodstuff exchanges and higher metabolism.

    An alternative hypothesis with regard to CO2 concentration is that during relatively dry glacial periods, there is an increase in microbial cell concentration in the glaciers.

    Indeed during glacial periods, there is less water vapour which gives less clouds and rain and, which brings more dust and bacteria even until far inland cores. But as the coastal cores always show much higher salt/dust/bacterial contamination and higher temperatures (-20°C vs. -40°C), that should reflect in the CO2 (and other) levels, but that is very limited: all ice cores are within 5 ppmv for the same periods in time…

  121. Caleb says:
    November 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    However I think we can safely say the science is not settled, even concerning a cornerstone like the icecore records.

    I never believed in holy cows, to the contrary, that includes cows in India, whales and polar bears for Westerns, etc… Only when there is good evidence for the reliability of the observations, I will accept them, based on facts, not because the “mainstream” says so. In the case of CO2 measurements in the atmosphere and in ice cores and the available evidence about the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, I agree with the “mainstream” and not with many skeptics.

    My impression is that many skeptics use any possible (even implausible) straw for every subject that directly or indirectly supports the AGW “consensus”. That makes that the case where the real battle needs to be fought, the real impact of the CO2 increase on climate, is weakened by at least dubious claims on items where the science is really strong…

    BTW, I have two daughters too. I survived their teenage time… The oldest follows my wife as teacher, the other inherited my technical skills and travelling mood and is flying around the world as helicopter pilot…

  122. Ferdinand,

    With regard to coastal versus inland, concentrations of the bacteria, and presumably their effects, are reasonably close. Temperatures would have a transient effect because of rates, but nutrient limitation would likely predominate over the long term. It is interesting to look at the dust vs CO2 in the Vostok core: the lowest CO2 is correlated with high dust.

    The essential issue with the ice core data is that they are the only reasonably reliable measure of past climate conditions and GHG. All the other proxies have very large uncertainties. Given their importance, it is incumbent upon the researchers to completely rule out any plausible confounding effect. As they do, the data becomes stronger. I would like to see a CO2/total C ratio across at least one glacial/inter-glacial period. Changes in such a ratio would indicate biological activity, though other chemical processes could also be at work.

    With regard to the total sublimation technique you mentioned, I only could find papers that allowed sublimation for a time period necessary to release gas that was caught in clathrates and not a complete sublimation. Though perhaps not feasible for large scale, high throughput studies, has any one taken what is left over after the CO2/gas extraction and have done quantitative TOF-MS or similar analyses. My basic point is that to be thoroughly convincing a detailed analysis on the complete composition (soluble, insoluble, volatile, organic, inorganic) of the ice is a necessary control.

    Cheers

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