Linking an ancient CO2 drop to the Antarctic Ice Sheet using algae as a proxy

From Purdue University , another “just in time for Durban” press release. When you see phrases like “the mother of all tipping points” and you know this is overhyped control knob science.

Drop in carbon dioxide levels led to polar ice sheet, study finds

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A drop in carbon dioxide appears to be the driving force that led to the Antarctic ice sheet’s formation, according to a recent study led by scientists at Yale and Purdue universities of molecules from ancient algae found in deep-sea core samples.

The key role of the greenhouse gas in one of the biggest climate events in Earth’s history supports carbon dioxide’s importance in past climate change and implicates it as a significant force in present and future climate.

The team pinpointed a threshold for low levels of carbon dioxide below which an ice sheet forms in the South Pole, but how much the greenhouse gas must increase before the ice sheet melts – which is the relevant question for the future – remains a mystery.

Matthew Huber, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue, said roughly a 40 percent decrease in carbon dioxide occurred prior to and during the rapid formation of a mile-thick ice sheet over the Antarctic approximately 34 million years ago.

A paper detailing the results was published Thursday (Dec. 1) in the journal Science.

“The evidence falls in line with what we would expect if carbon dioxide is the main dial that governs global climate; if we crank it up or down there are dramatic changes,” Huber said. “We went from a warm world without ice to a cooler world with an ice sheet overnight, in geologic terms, because of fluctuations in carbon dioxide levels.”

For 100 million years prior to the cooling, which occurred at the end of the Eocene epoch, Earth was warm and wet. Mammals and even reptiles and amphibians inhabited the North and South poles, which then had subtropical climates. Then, over a span of about 100,000 years, temperatures fell dramatically, many species of animals became extinct, ice covered Antarctica and sea levels fell as the Oligocene epoch began.

Mark Pagani, the Yale geochemist who led the study, said polar ice sheets and sea ice exert a strong control on modern climate, influencing the global circulation of warm and cold air masses, precipitation patterns and wind strengths, and regulating global and regional temperature variability.

“The onset of Antarctic ice is the mother of all climate ‘tipping points,’” he said. “Recognizing the primary role carbon dioxide change played in altering global climate is a fundamentally important observation.”

There has been much scientific discussion about this sudden cooling, but until now there has not been much evidence and solid data to tell what happened, Huber said.

The team found the tipping point in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for cooling that initiates ice sheet formation is about 600 parts per million. Prior to the levels dropping this low, it was too warm for the ice sheet to form. At the Earth’s current level of around 390 parts per million, the environment is such that an ice sheet remains, but carbon dioxide levels and temperatures are increasing. The world will likely reach levels between 550 and 1,000 parts per million by 2100. Melting an ice sheet is a different process than its initiation, and it is not known what level would cause the ice sheet to melt away completely, Huber said.

“The system is not linear and there may be a different threshold for melting the ice sheet, but if we continue on our current path of warming we will eventually reach that tipping point,” he said. “Of course after we cross that threshold it will still take many thousands of years to melt an ice sheet.”

What drove the rise and fall in carbon dioxide levels during the Eocene and Oligocene is not known.

The team studied geochemical remnants of ancient algae from seabed cores collected by drilling in deep-ocean sediments and crusts as part of the National Science Foundation’s Integrated Ocean Drilling program. The biochemical molecules present in algae vary depending on the temperature, nutrients and amount of dissolved carbon dioxide present in the ocean water. These molecules are well preserved even after many millions of years and can be used to reconstruct the key environmental variables at the time, including carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, Pagani said.

Samples from two sites in the tropical Atlantic Ocean were the main focus of this study because this area was stable at that point in Earth’s history and had little upwelling, which brings carbon dioxide from the ocean floor to the surface and could skew measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide, Huber said.

In re-evaluating previous estimates of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels using deep-sea core samples, the team found that continuous data from a stable area of the ocean is necessary for accurate results. Data generated from a mix of sites throughout the world’s oceans caused inaccuracies due to variations in the nutrients present in different locations. This explained conflicting results from earlier papers based on the deep-sea samples that suggested carbon dioxide increased during the formation of the ice sheet, he said.

Constraints on temperature and nutrient concentrations were achieved through modeling of past circulation, temperature and nutrient distributions performed by Huber and Willem Sijp at the University of New South Wales in Australia. The collaboration built on Huber’s previous work using the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Model 3, one of the same models used to predict future climates, and used the UVic Earth System Climate Model developed at the University of Victoria, British Columbia.

“The models got it just about right and provided results that matched the information obtained from the core samples,” he said. “This was an important validation of the models. If they are able to produce results that match the past, then we can have more confidence in their ability to predict future scenarios.”

In addition to Huber, Pagani and Sijp, paper co-authors include Zhonghui Liu of the University of Hong Kong, Steven Bohaty of the University of Southampton in England, Jorijntje Henderiks of Uppsala University in Sweden, Srinath Krishnan of Yale, and Robert DeConto of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

The National Science Foundation, Natural Environment Research Council, Royal Swedish Academy and Yale Department of Geology funded this work.

In 2004 the team used evidence from deep-sea core samples to challenge the longstanding theory that the ice sheet developed because of a shift from warm to cool ocean currents millions of years ago. The team found that a cold current, not the warm one that had been theorized, was flowing past the Antarctic coast for millions of years before the ice sheet developed.

Huber next plans to investigate the impact of an ice sheet on climate.

“It seems that the polar ice sheet shaped our modern climate, but we don’t have much hard data on the specifics of how,” he said. “It is important to know by how much it cools the planet and how much warmer the planet would get without an ice sheet.”

###

Writer: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, ekgardner@purdue.edu

Sources: Matthew Huber, 765-494-9531, huberm@purdue.edu

Mark Pagani, 203-432-6275, mark.pagani@yale.edu

Related website:

Matthew Huber Climate Dynamics Prediction Laboratory: http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~huberm/Matthew_Hubers_Climate_Dynamics_Prediction_Laboratory/CDPL.html

Related news releases:

Antarctic iced over when greenhouse gases – not ocean currents – shifted, study suggests: http://www.purdue.edu/uns/html4ever/2004/041227.Huber.Antarctica.html

Prehistoric global cooling caused by CO2, research finds: http://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2009a/090226HuberPete.html

Abstract on the research in this release is available at: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/111201HuberGlaciation.html

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79 Responses to Linking an ancient CO2 drop to the Antarctic Ice Sheet using algae as a proxy

  1. FrankSW says:

    For a mother of all tipping points it’s certainly got a long fuse, not quite as dramaitc as “ice free by 2020″ is it

    eventually reach that tipping point,” he said. “Of course after we cross that threshold it will still take many thousands of years to melt an ice sheet.”

  2. Ceri Phipps says:

    There is a major problem with this study, it assumes that CO2 is the cause and not the effect even though there is no empirical data to support such a claim. The only data showing good correlation between CO2 and temperature comes from Antarctic ice cores and shows that CO2 lags temperature.

  3. Juraj V. says:

    Cart before the horse, anyone? It is becoming boring.

  4. John Marshall says:

    A report based on some rubbish model.

    As far as we know the atmospheric CO2 levels have varied over large values for billions of years. We do not know the exact levels 100 years ago let alone thousands/millions of years ago. Claims that recent levels have been 280ppmv can be shown to be wrong by looking at the measured levels in the 1800′s in Europe which go up to 490ppmv near Gore’s tipping point. And it was colder then.

    Fossil evidence shows that corals, molluscs etc all thrived with high atmospheric CO2 levels. And not a drop of acid sea water in sight!!!!

  5. ian middleton says:

    Sorry guys I have to do this. I have just read this report and my BS filter just went into overdrive. Words and phrases such as “appears”, “mystery”, “tipping point”, “likely”, ” is not known”, ” modelling”, and the mother of them all ” but we don’t have much hard data”. Jeez. I’m done, have a great day .

  6. Gunter S. says:

    Even if the correlation does exist, correlation does not explain cause.
    Take the financial markets as an example. People trade within their own mindset, for their own motivations, according to their thruth about the markets, …
    Within those trades you can find correlations for sure which are higher than can be explained with the random theory, but this doesn’t mean that those correlating measures are the driving force behind the market moves.
    And yes, even the moon seems to give a higher correlation to the financial markets, but would it be rational to mark the moon as a ‘direct’ driving force?

  7. FergalR says:

    . . . continuous data from a stable area of the ocean is necessary for accurate results . . . Constraints on temperature and nutrient concentrations were achieved through modeling of past circulation . . .
    “The models got it just about right and provided results that matched the information obtained from the core samples,”

    Redundant tautology is redundant.

  8. burnside says:

    It’s fascinating that the mechanism producing the sudden drop in atmospheric CO2 is said to be unknown. I personally suspect it was a significant drop in global temperatures and that, mirabile dictu, we have researchers unwilling to consider they’ve got cause and effect wrong way ’round.

  9. Lloyd says:

    correlation or causation? Can they really see the date so specifically in this proxy to know?

  10. Ian W says:

    Question 1 – what is the main source of CO2 in the atmosphere it produces ~ 96%?
    That’s right nature, plants and animals.
    Question 2. What happens to that natural source of CO2 when it is buried under a ‘mile high ice sheet’?
    That’s right it plants and animals die and stop producing CO2 and what CO2 is produced is ‘buried under a mile high ice sheet’.

    So one would expect a drop in CO2 – claiming that it is the cause displays confirmation bias not logic.

  11. Edmond Walsh says:

    “Mammals and even reptiles and amphibians inhabited the North and South poles, which then had subtropical climates.”
    Is that correct? Doesn’t the North Pole have a long night when the sun is barely seen. Was the earth’s axial tilt different then?

  12. Jeff Wiita says:

    What drove the rise and fall in carbon dioxide levels during the Eocene and Oligocene is not known.

    I think we need to know the answer to this question before we establish policy that may have a detrimental effect on the human race. Besides that I do not think we will be here in 100,000 years to worry about something that may actually be good to the ecosystem.

  13. Bill Illis says:

    They tried a new technique for estimating CO2.

    At 5 of the 7 drill core sites, the CO2 numbers came in near previous estimates of 1,500 to 3,000 ppm with no discernable drop at the Antarctic glaciation time period until millions of years later.

    2 of the 7 sites, however, showed a reduction around the right timeline from 1,000 to 600 ppm. So just using the two contradictory sites, they make a conclusion. Interesting.

  14. H.R. says:

    Huber next plans to investigate the impact of an ice sheet on climate.

    “It seems that the polar ice sheet shaped our modern climate, but we don’t have much hard data on the specifics of how,” he said. “It is important to know by how much it cools the planet and how much warmer the planet would get without an ice sheet.”

    And here I thought the change in climate created/melted ice sheets. The Arctic alarmists say the Arctic will be ice free due to climate change. Will somebody make up their mind?

  15. Surprise! Surprise! I thought that it was reasonably accepted that 65 million years ago CO2 in the atmosphere was about 3000 ppm. Antarctica was a warm wet greenhouse. Despite this CO2 the earth cooled for 20million years when South America had drifted far enough from Antarctica to open Drakes Passage and allow the circumpolar current to freeze the Antarctic and change earth climate to a succession of Ice Ages. In the Vostok cores the CO2 changes lag 6-800 years behind the temperature changes -one of the many reasons to query their role in greenhouse effect. Is all this known only to geologists? There is no “Gulf Stream” equivalent in the southern oceans. Mystified, Geoff Broadbent

  16. Leon Brozyna says:

    Let’s look at just one little quote from Matthew Huber:

    “We went from a warm world without ice to a cooler world with an ice sheet overnight, in geologic terms, because of fluctuations in carbon dioxide levels.”

    What is it with this intense fixation on carbon dioxide being such a powerful climate driver? What if it’s not in the driver’s seat but just a passenger? What if it were the oceans that cooled, which cooled the atmosphere while at the same time becoming a huge sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide? Seen in this light, perhaps one day a climate scientist might just say something like this:

    We went from a warm world without ice to a cooler world with an ice sheet overnight, in geologic terms, resulting in massive fluctuations in carbon dioxide levels.

    Of course, if you drop carbon dioxide as a major climate driver, you’re left with a messy situation … what’s changing the climate with the resultant changes in carbon dioxide levels?

    And one day, the scientists will find that the answer to the climate question is: “All of the above.”

  17. Carl Chapman says:

    “40 percent decrease in carbon dioxide occurred prior to and during the rapid formation of a mile-thick ice sheet over the Antarctic”
    As the oceans cooled, they aborbed more CO2, and the atmospheric CO2 decreased. This is just a rehash of Al Gore’s graph showing CO2 and temperatures go up and down together. Scientists checked and found that the warming occurred 800 years before the CO2 went up.

  18. Sounds to me like they use the same methods as young-earth creationists. They start with many assumptions from authority, limit their data to the two sites they like, and then run models, known to not work, to prove their assumptions are correct, and then assert that the results validate the model.
    Okay, perhaps it is a bit more involved than that. I hope it is. But there are many unsupported assertions in the write-up, and perhaps the assertions are supportable, but they all sound like they are based on assumptions about how the world was so long ago. I suspect the confidence in each of the assumptions and findings is rather low, yielding very low overall confidence that CO2 played a significant role in the ice sheet formation. The old hypothesis had to do mostly with the location of the land masses. That hypothesis seems reasonable still. This is a water world. It is reasonable to suppose land masses affect the water circulation. It is not obvious that CO2, as such a small trace gas in the low-heat value atmosphere is actually ever significant. I also note that most geoscientists discount global warming alarmism entirely.
    Overall, the conclusions are based on a lot of extraordinary claims, and the rule is, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidences.

  19. Latitude says:

    A drop in carbon dioxide appears to be the driving force that led to the Antarctic ice sheet’s formation
    roughly a 40 percent decrease in carbon dioxide occurred prior to and during the rapid formation of a mile-thick ice sheet over the Antarctic approximately 34 million years ago.
    What drove the rise and fall in carbon dioxide levels during the Eocene and Oligocene is not known.

    ================================================
    A drop in temperature caused it…..the drop in temps caused CO2 levels to drop….ice doesn’t form until after that

    Of course weathermen wouldn’t know…….grasses evolved and drove CO2 levels down to where they are limiting today…and have remained limiting ever since

  20. Bertram Felden says:

    So, am I to take it that all the previous research to the effect that changes in CO2 levels have always lagged changes in global climate by almost 1000 years are all wrong?

    This is, therefore, a seminal paper.

  21. Jay Davis says:

    Sounds like an argument for increasing CO2, not decreasing it. Better warm than cold.

  22. Carrie says:

    This is supposed to be funny, right?

  23. Espen says:

    “Tipping” takes many thousand years? Even if they were right about the role of CO2 here, that doesn’t sound scary. We’d have time to adapt to the much nicer and warmer climate, then.

  24. jim hogg says:

    I see possible correlation, but certainly not proof of causation or anything remotely close, and, most obviously, well timed speculation possibly intended to induce fear driven political agreement . . . . . When they’ve produced evidence that the rise and decline of ice follows the rise and decline of CO2 and nothing else throughout most of Earth’s history then we’ll have evidence that might be worth looking at, though even then both the ice and CO2 levels may be the product of some other as yet unknown changing factor . . .. . . All of which is surely very obvious, even to climate scientists . . .

  25. tty says:

    Now it only remans to explain why the Oligocene Ice Age 1 (Oi-1) in Antarctica mostly melted in he Late Oligocene with no noticeable increase in the CO2 level. The definitive freeze-up only happened about 14 million years ago, when the CO2 level was much the same as now.

  26. Steve from Rockwood says:

    These “climate knobs” are out of control.

  27. MAK says:

    I was in impression that Antarctic plate reached south pole around 30 million years ago and THAT was the reason of rapid formation of ice sheets.

  28. Jean Parisot says:

    Bill, What’s new about that technique, seems to be the norm in climate studies.

  29. Blade says:

    ‘Extra, extra, read all about it. Climatologists dismiss plate tectonics and continental drift.’ Alfred Wegener please call your office.

    “The evidence falls in line with what we would expect if carbon dioxide is the main dial that governs global climate; if we crank it up or down there are dramatic changes,” Huber said. “We went from a warm world without ice to a cooler world with an ice sheet overnight, in geologic terms, because of fluctuations in carbon dioxide levels.””

    This statement falls in line with what we would expect if carbon dioxide is the main obsession of your meaningless life. This is classic jumping the shark. The only explanation for this insanity is that they were in a rush to get this out before AGW Climatology completely collapses and found sympathetic pal review. The alternative explanation is that Science was completely destroyed by the AGW cult and is beyond repair.

    “For 100 million years prior to the cooling, which occurred at the end of the Eocene epoch, Earth was warm and wet. Mammals and even reptiles and amphibians inhabited the North and South poles, which then had subtropical climates. Then, over a span of about 100,000 years, temperatures fell dramatically, many species of animals became extinct, ice covered Antarctica and sea levels fell as the Oligocene epoch began.”

    All of the tectonic animations I have seen show Antarctica almost completely outside of the Antarctic circle at 175 MYA (and obviously teeming with life), at which point it begins a 100 million year trek heading straight to the South Pole, and at 70 MYA it appears to be centered there. Needless to say, it is at this geographic point where it receives a scheduled 6-months of dark and below freezing temperatures. This is a fact.

    This geographic shift is the momentous change that occurred, not CO2. This is what allowed 2 mile thick ice to accumulate, solid frozen land within a polar circle with its endless night. All of the life that flourished prior to this event and had the plants at the bottom of their food chain collapse, likewise died. Saying that: “Mammals and even reptiles and amphibians inhabited the North and South poles” is exceedingly ridiculous (perhaps cold blooded reptiles hibernated in the ice for six moths?). Oh yeah, and then their was that other little event at 65 MYA. This one was also kind of important. The event that most likely wiped out all the dinosaurs and many other species, not to mention crushing the food chain itself.

    “The team found the tipping point in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for cooling that initiates ice sheet formation is about 600 parts per million. Prior to the levels dropping this low, it was too warm for the ice sheet to form. At the Earth’s current level of around 390 parts per million, the environment is such that an ice sheet remains, but carbon dioxide levels and temperatures are increasing. The world will likely reach levels between 550 and 1,000 parts per million by 2100. Melting an ice sheet is a different process than its initiation, and it is not known what level would cause the ice sheet to melt away completely, Huber said.”

    550 and 1,000 ppm by 2100. Is that with or without error bars? LOL!

    A crackpot paper that takes a dump on the big three in Earth Science advancements in recent years: (1) Continental Drift from plate tectonics, (2) Orbital Parameters (Milanković, etc), and the (3) K–T boundary Chicxulub Impact. Way to go! Now who are the flat-Earthers again? Who are the Science deniers again? ROTFLMAO!

  30. FergalR says:

    “Bill Illis says:
    December 2, 2011 at 4:15 am

    . . . So just using the two contradictory sites, they make a conclusion.
    Interesting.”
    ——————————-

    But Bill, the model told them that those 2 sites had low ocean circulation in the distant past, which proves that any idiosyncratic changes there must be real, which in turn validates the model. Which is good news apparently.

    The paper was peer-reviewed by a trio of lobotomised chimps. Understand now?

  31. son of mulder says:

    Was the formation of the Antarctic ice sheet a good thing or a bad thing?

  32. Vince Causey says:

    Correlation, correlation, correlation.

    Look you guys who wrote this paper, just because CO2 decreased at the approximate time of cooling, it doesn’t mean that it was the CO2 fall that caused the cooling. Any event that caused cooling would result in a fall in CO2 as more is retained in the oceans. This is probably what happened.

    One cause of rapid cooling could be attributed to cosmic ray increases. It is believed by proponents of this theory, that as the solar system journeys around the galaxy, it passes through areas associated with high rates of star deaths and violent cosmic ray bursts.

    Another reason that makes the CO2 explanation dubious, is the levels involved. CO2 levels are supposed to have fallen from about 1000ppm to 600ppm. But most of the radiative forcing of CO2 is done in the first 100ppm. Going from 1000ppm to 600ppm would not likely have a significant effect on temps.

    All this research shows is that during the period of rapid cooling 37mya, CO2 levels dropped to 600ppm. But as the effect of cooling would be to absorb more CO2 in the oceans anyway, there is no way that you can conclude that it is the CO2 that caused the cooling rather than the other way round.

    It is clearly a fallacy to try and the claim they are making. If they can show CO2 leading temps however, they may have a case. But so far, all the evidence we have from ice core data is the other way round. Why should it be any different during that episode/

  33. Bill Illis says:

    For a little perspective, here is a chart of the last 45 million years of temperatures versus all CO2 estimates at 3.0C per doubling (not including these new estimates – I think if I put ALL of them in, rather than just cherrypicking 2 of 7 sites, it would look very much the same).

    Antarctic glaciation timeline, 33.5 million years ago.

    http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/4927/tempco245mlefttoright.png

    Some other details regarding the timeline.

    http://img844.imageshack.us/img844/6939/tempgeog45mlr.png

  34. Steve Keohane says:

    Apparently the little blip down to the right of 100mya froze Antarctica=crap. At c. 375mya to c. 340mya, CO2 changed -95∆%, to even lower CO2 levels, but Antarctica didn’t freeze then. They obviously have the cause wrong.

    http://i46.tinypic.com/2582sg6.jpg

  35. R Taylor says:

    Bertram Felden says:
    December 2, 2011 at 4:57 am
    ———————————————-
    The CO2 lag is evident in highly resolved measurements in the last 800,000 years of ice cores. While I’d like to see the paper in question, I would be surprised if the authors are able to show a contradictory CO2 lead in 34-million-year-old deep-sea sediments far removed from the ice sheets.

  36. Jer0me says:

    This is the first time I have ever come across a single-word oxymoron: “Science”.

  37. Rob Wilson says:

    “For 100 million years prior to the cooling, which occurred at the end of the Eocene epoch, Earth was warm and wet. Mammals and even reptiles and amphibians inhabited the North and South poles, which then had subtropical climates”

    Can anyone tell me how amphibians inhabited the North pole in the Eocene epoch? As far as I am aware, much like now, there was no land there, and presumably no sea ice if the climate was “subtropical”.

  38. Hu McCulloch says:

    Temperature and CO2 are correlated, but it’s hard to disentangle which causes which — a classic econometric system of equations with endogenous variables problem.

    But for what it’s worth, it might be worth trying to get CO2 up to 400-500 ppm, without going much above 600, in order to ward off the next Ice Age, without melting the big ice sheets. I say “try”, because it’s likely that a) we will soon start to run out of easily accessible fossil fuels, and b) the biosphere may start to gobble up whatever we can put out.

  39. jaypan says:

    So it needs a lack of CO2 to form ice at the south pole … surprising

  40. Barry R says:

    This is the sort of thing that I’m pretty sure is giving the AGW crowd a bad name among scientists outside their little world. The events that lead to Antarctica become the ice continent seem fairly clear. (1) As of 65 million year ago, Antarctica was still connected to Australia and South America and there was a gap between North and South America. Ocean circulation was pushed to the poles. Result: warmer ocean. (at times very warm, and yes for a few hundred thousand years at the start of the Eocene subtropical animals did reach nearly to the arctic circle) (2) When first Australia and then South America broke away from Antarctica that allowed the ocean circulation to be around Antarctica, isolating it from the tropics and allowing it to get colder and colder. Much of Antarctica without the ice is high mountains anyway, and susceptible to glaciation. (3) The process of glaciation was prolonged, with western Antarctica, which is actually a separate rather large island without the ice cover, experiencing temporary reduced ice or ice-free conditions up to 20-25 million years after the glaciation started.

    The picture I piece together for the AGW crowd is that a couple of young politically oriented scientists painted an apocalyptic scenario for global warming. The political powers that be asked the senior scientists in the field if they could prove the scenario. Understanding the complexities of the science, they said no, not for a good twenty to thirty years at least. However a bunch of second-rate younger types rushed in where wiser people knew enough not to tread. The second-raters got money. They got political power. Scientists who know they’re full of cr@p on one piece or another of the AGW picture will say so privately, but mostly hold their tongues in public because they don’t want the cr@pstorm the likes of Romm will unleash on them if they go public, and they don’t want the likes of Jones/Mann trying to get them fired.

    The Jones/Mann crowd are stepping on a lot of toes though, rewriting history (no Medieval Warming Period), rewriting Paleontology (a carbon dioxide-based explanation for Antarctic glaciers) and ‘reinventing’ statistics in ways that leave people with real expertise in statistics biting their tongues.

    None of this is to say that there isn’t or won’t be man-caused global warming. Even a broken clock is right a couple of times a day. Certainly we should be monitoring, getting good quality statistics and measurements and trying to understand how climate actually works. Unfortunately, trying to stuff everything into the current AGW framework is wasting a lot of research money that should be going to understanding the fundamentals.

  41. 1DandyTroll says:

    So, essentially, it is rather lucky we live in an carbon dioxide rich time so as we not go extinct. And by 2100 we may see a normalization of the poles back to their warmer climate.

    That’s good to know.

  42. Owen says:

    WOW, just WOW. If I turned in a thesis paper that included throwing out 5 of 7 samples because they disagreed with the foregone conclusion, I would be looking for another degree program after being dismissed for academic dishonesty. When will people learn that negative results are still good results! Not every hypothesis is correct no matter how beloved.

    Doesn’t the ocean absorb more CO2 as temps decline? (I seem to remember something about that in beer going flat faster when warm due to decreased carrying capacity – boil the beer and there are no bubbles at all). So if ocean temperature declines the ocean takes in more CO2 from the atmosphere, as temperatures increase they out gas CO2 to the atmosphere. It kind of makes sense that the two would track with the phase on the CO2 time-series lagging by some (not necessarily linear) amount. This study appears to be measuring two effects of a common unknown/unmeasured cause and attempting to lay one as the cause of the other. My professor belabored this point on causation in Physics 201 back in the 1980′s, though some of my classmates still asserted false causation in a few labs reports. The prof had a good time publicly ridiculing them in class. Maybe that is what these climate scientists needed when they were undergrads!

  43. beng says:

    *****
    “The system is not linear and there may be a different threshold for melting the ice sheet, but if we continue on our current path of warming we will eventually reach that tipping point,” he said. “Of course after we cross that threshold it will still take many thousands of years to melt an ice sheet.”
    *****

    Well at least that statement is true.

    Funny thing, tho, carbon fuels, if not outdated in a thousand yrs, will mostly be used up by then. CO2 will be declining. So what’s the “worry”, other than, by their own Pretzel Logic, the globe would then begin to slide into a new glaciation?

  44. Owen says:

    Ok, there are bubbles while the beer is boiling – but who would boil a beer anyway? Of course the CO2 content would be miniscule however.

    Wouldn’t want to be too imprecise. This is beer we’re talking about after all! Nothing at all like some pseudoscience that threatens to destroy the economies of the west.

  45. Gee, another long-winded tome about nothing. Astounding how much thought goes into sidestepping the need for data and causation, to produce an uncertainty-saturated speculation. It just doesn’t make any sense. Time to go back to (cold) Kurdish Iraq.

  46. Per says:

    What drove the rise and fall in carbon dioxide levels during the Eocene and Oligocene is not known.

    Say What?

    http://web.me.com/uriarte/Earths_Climate/4._Tertiary_Era.html

    One of the most significant characteristics of this downwards cooling trend is the evolution of the temperature of deep ocean waters, which dropped from around 12º C 50 million years ago to just 6º C at the end of the Eocene, 35 million years ago. Today, deep ocean waters have a temperature of just over 2º C.

    Now, where did the co2 go again? – Oh, that’s right: you don’t know, do you?

    From source above:

    Another, more complex, signal, namely the sudden drop in the lysocline (the depth in the ocean below which the rate of dissolution of calcite increases dramatically), also indicates an abrupt variation in the carbon cycle 34 million years ago, a variation linked to the accumulation of ice on the continents.

    Drop in lysocline – you say?

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

    Oh, so that means the oceans acidified? – Well, I wouldn’t have expected that, now, would I?
    And then again:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oligocene#Oceans

    The opening of the Drake Passage enabled the formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), which would have kept cold, Antarctic waters circulating about the continent and strengthened the formation of Antarctic Bottom Water (ABW).[9][8]

    Isotopic evidence suggests that during the early Oligocene, the main source of deep water was the North Pacific and the Southern Ocean. As the Greenland-Iceland-Faroe (GIR) sill deepened, connecting the Norwegian-Greenland sea with the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Deep Water began to come into play as well.

    I think I know where the carbon went, now:

    Specifically, it is the deep waters that are undersaturated with calcium carbonate primarily because its solubility increases strongly with increasing pressure and salinity and decreasing temperature.

    And as we know from the propaganda and the nice formula on Wiki:

    CaCO3(s) + H2O + CO2 → Ca2+(aq) + 2HCO3-(aq)

    Is also dependant on co2, which increases with the fall in the bottom water temperature.

    http://askville.amazon.com/temperature-water-hold-carbon-dioxide/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=1674443

    So, the carbon went into the oceans as they cooled. Primarily because the equatorial throughflows were narrowing or closing during this period. Driving warm surface waters into polar regions, where they release heat and moisture to the polar atmosphere.

    Now you don’t create a miles thick ice sheet with cold alone. Actually, that is impossible: what you need is plenty of precipitation, which would move heat out of the oceans into the atmosphere and out into space, while depositing tons and tons of albedo increasing ice in the process. The transfer of warm tropical surface waters into polar regions accomplishes (over time) this task. The Ferrel cell will have a field day converting this energy into labour, depositing the resulting presipitation in the mountains, in the form of ice slowly creeping into the lowlands as temperatures drop..

    Which is why we are currently in an ice age, and have very low co2 levels. :-)

    Per

  47. P Wilson says:

    the consensus says – well, infers, that co2 is the source of radiation thus, since they argue that it causes the temperature to change. (evidence: Ice sheet formation caused by c02 decreasing)

    That means that co2 has greater thermal properties than electrically powered radiators, that will heat homes, will melt ice, will theoretically run cars, will effectively run all industry with energy – since even other forces don’t have the energy required to cause ice ages and cause warm periods, according to this *opinion*.

    One can therefore summarize that we don’t use c02 for the above mentioned activities because there just isn’t enough of it, if, indeed decreases in c02 is of such great magnitude that it *causes* ice sheets to form.

  48. Pamela Gray says:

    The paper, once again, has been mortally wounded by 2 epic failures: First they fail to discuss real data on current oceanic oscillation patterns and these affects on algae growth; all of which is well known and fairly well understood. This isn’t like studying extinct dinos. We can study live algae now. Second, the jump to CO2 as the cause was done completely without plausible mechanism. How, pray tell, does CO2 and the miniscule amount of energy it adds, overcome the far stronger natural drivers of weather and oceanic pattern variations and oscillations?????

  49. Gail Combs says:

    A bit of background for the dummies like me who forgot most of our geology: (Courses taken at Purdue, my old Prof would be ashamed of this guy.)

    The key point that is missing from this is continental drift. A picture of the world 65,000,000 years (link below) ago shows South America, Antarctica and another large land mass all connected. North America is connected to Europe and is NOT connected to South America.

    This means the whole ocean circulation would be completely different that it is today.

    I vaguely remember that the change in continent configuration and the resulting change in ocean currents is what was supposed to cause the beginning of the Ice Ages.
    http://anthro.palomar.edu/earlyprimates/early_2.htm

    Interesting facts about increasing oxygen in the atmosphere and the Eocene.

    ….the Eocene Epoch (55.8-33.9 million years ago) coincides with the emergence of early forms of most of the placental mammal orders that are present today. In addition, placental mammals with larger bodies and bigger brains began to appear in the fossil record at this time. Paul Falkowski has suggested that this is due to the fact that the amount of oxygen in the earth’s atmosphere more or less doubled around 50 million years ago. Larger mammals have relatively fewer capillaries for the distribution of oxygen to the cells of their bodies. Subsequently, they must breathe air that is more oxygenated. Brains have especially high oxygen requirements. In addition, pregnant placental mammals must transmit a substantial portion of the oxygen in their blood to their fetuses. Coinciding with the increase in atmospheric oxygen at the beginning of the Eocene Epoch was a relatively abrupt global warming of 9-16° F. (5-9° C.) lasting at least 200,000 years. This also would have been a major factor in the rapid evolution of animals and plants at the time…. http://anthro.palomar.edu/earlyprimates/early_2.htm

    Grasses are C4 and are a response to a much lower atmospheric CO2 level BTW so the lowering of CO2 happened before the Ice Ages.

    Eocene epoch
    Eocene – The first grasses appeared in the Eocene Epoch (from about 54 to 37 million years ago) with growth near the root as opposed to the tip, providing a vastly expanded and renewable food resource for the herbovores; this allowed adaptation to life on the savanna and prairie and the evolution of running animals …. The grazing mammals evolved the teeth enabling a diet of harsh grass. The Eocene Epoch was a period when flowering plants continued a massive radiation that began in the Paleocene Epoch…. Many new species of shrubs, trees and small plants appeared. A variety of trees thrived in a warm Eocene climate, including beech, elm, chestnut, magnolia, redwood, birch, and cedar, and more. The evolution of plants was providing a powerful selective pressure across the entire animal Kingdom, and many new symbiotic systems appeared.
    http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Paleobiology/Cenozoic_Paleobiology.htm

    These guys are really getting pathetic in their attempts to link everything to CO2.

  50. G. Karst says:

    If lack of CO2 caused the ice ages, would someone explain why we are doing, our best, to lower it’s atmospheric concentration. Does anyone really believe that increased glaciation is good? Besides how can we have increasing CO2 concentrations while temperatures have been flat for half a climatic period? Is logic dead? GK

  51. Vince Causey says:

    As an aside, I was watching a tv doc – Nat Geo possibly – about the snowball Earth episode. Much to my amusement, it wasn’t long into the program when the CO2-causes-snowball-earth-then-releases-it theory of climate was presented.

    The deficiencies in the theory were everywhere. I wanted them to explain what levels of CO2 the atmosphere had fallen from and to, in order to precipitate this catastrophe. No figures were ever mentioned. Next, they were forced to explain how CO2 manages to end the icy grip of snowball Earth. Their explanation for how this occured was that eventually, volcanic activity released sufficient CO2 into the atmosphere to raise it to hot house levels.

    I say the volcanoes “eventually” did this, because, remember, the snowball earth episode lasted for more than 20 million years by their own admission. According to the “chilling stars” book, it was a period lasting nearer 100 million years which saw ice expanding and retreating. So why am I unconvinced by the volcano theory? Simply because of the time involved. Volcanic activity was pretty intense 600 million years ago, so why did it take at least 20 million years for volcanoes to release sufficient CO2 to warm the planet? Remember that during snowball earth, there was little plant life to take it up. so any C02 released would just have accumulated. Did volcanic activity go on hold for 20 million years?

    None of these explanations make any sense. None of them stand up to scrutiny. Any scientist worthy of the name would have put aside such childish musings. Yet such times do we live, that CO2 is trotted out as the answer for every change in climate, whether up or down or occurring over decades or millions of years, regardless of the flaws in reasoning. With the onset of Durban, we can only expect an avalanche of this nonsense.

  52. Justin K says:

    Someone please explain to me why there doesn’t seem to be a problem inherent in the fact that we are currently at CO2 levels hovering around 400 ppm, yet the ice sheets are melting” If CO2 drives temperature, CO2 around 1000 ppm would supposedly melt the ice sheets and CO2 at 600 ppm creates ice sheets, why aren’t the ice sheets getting thicker. Is this a dumb question?

  53. Gail Combs says:

    G. Karst says:
    December 2, 2011 at 8:20 am

    If lack of CO2 caused the ice ages, would someone explain why we are doing, our best, to lower it’s atmospheric concentration. Does anyone really believe that increased glaciation is good? Besides how can we have increasing CO2 concentrations while temperatures have been flat for half a climatic period? Is logic dead? GK
    ___________________________________________
    So according to “Scientists” more CO2 causes a DECREASE in glaciation and an INCREASE in plant growth (crops) not to mention an increase in biodiversity.

    I want MORE CO2 not less, bring on the Eocene!

  54. R.M.B. says:

    These people need to be reminded that Australia used to be joined to Antartica and at that time the ocean currents were forced north round Australia into the tropics.Antartica was much warmer and indeed small dinosaurs lived there. Australia has since broken away and is heading for India,you can’t waterski behind it but thats where it’s going. Consequently the climate on Antartica has changed dramatically. Co2 is nonsense.

  55. If the question is which drops first, temperature or CO2, maybe a play on an age old question could be used by alarmists to make the proof – which drops first, a chicken (temperature) or an egg (CO2)?

    I can visualize Bill Nye, on Gore’s next 24 Hours of Reality, holding a chicken by the neck in one hand, and an free range organic egg in the other. “Yes kids, this is an easy, do-it-yourself-at-home science experiment which conclusively proves, when released at the same time, CO2 drops before, and faster than, temperature. Hold the chicken and egg above a hot frying pan, let ‘em go, and graphically see for yourself – (a) which drops fastest, (b) the dire consequences of the fall and (c) what will happen to the planet if we don’t reduce CO2 emissions….Next year, I’ll show you how you can tie carrots to skeptics’ noses and prove they weigh less than ducks, and should therefore be burned at the stake as witches. Isn’t science wonderful?”

    ….oh the humanity of it all….

  56. Billy Liar says:

    Somebody’s got to say it.

    Purdue, they do chicken, right?

  57. Kelvin Vaughan says:

    Earth was warm and wet. Mammals and even reptiles and amphibians inhabited the North and South poles, which then had subtropical climates. Then, over a span of about 100,000 years, temperatures fell dramatically, many species of animals became extinct, ice covered Antarctica and sea levels fell as the Oligocene epoch began.

    And this cold world is where they want to take us back to?

  58. Gail Combs says:

    Billy Liar says:
    December 2, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Somebody’s got to say it.

    Purdue, they do chicken, right?
    __________________________________
    Yes, as a matter of fact they do!

    …Purdue University animal sciences professor Bill Muir was part of an international research team that analyzed the genetic lines of commercial chickens used to produce meat and eggs around the world. Researchers found that commercial birds are missing more than half of the genetic diversity native to the species, possibly leaving them vulnerable to new diseases and raising questions about their long-term sustainability…..

    He said it’s also important to preserve non-commercial breeds and wild birds for the purpose of safeguarding genetic diversity and that interbreeding additional species with commercial lines might help protect the industry…..
    http://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2008b/081103MuirDiversity.html

    Purdue used to be a darn fine agricultural school. Most of the dorm food was from their farms and quite tasty.

  59. Gail Combs says:

    Kelvin Vaughan says:
    December 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Earth was warm and wet. Mammals and even reptiles and amphibians inhabited the North and South poles, which then had subtropical climates. Then, over a span of about 100,000 years, temperatures fell dramatically, many species of animals became extinct, ice covered Antarctica and sea levels fell as the Oligocene epoch began.

    And this cold world is where they want to take us back to?
    _______________________________________
    Yeah, That is my reaction too.

    Warm, wet and teeming with life and these idiots want to kill all possibility of that. Go Figure.

    Even if CO2 has nothing to do with the climate, it has a LOT to do with “teeming with life .” How anyone can vilify a natural plant fertilizer is beyond me but then the People’s Republic of Taxachusetts outlawed my giving manure to my neighbors for their gardens…

  60. Gail Combs says:

    saltspringson says:
    December 2, 2011 at 9:00 am

    If the question is which drops first, temperature or CO2, maybe a play on an age old question could be used by alarmists to make the proof – which drops first, a chicken (temperature) or an egg (CO2)?

    I can visualize Bill Nye, on Gore’s next 24 Hours of Reality, holding a chicken by the neck in one hand, and an free range organic egg in the other……
    ________________________________
    And I can visualize PETA hauling Bill Nye and Al Gore off to court for abusing the chicken and the egg. (snicker)

  61. SteveSadlov says:

    Enough of this bull! Cold kills, full stop.

  62. Elliott althouse says:

    This clearly refutes the idea that current co2 levels are”unprecedented”

  63. Latitude says:

    Gail Combs says:
    December 2, 2011 at 8:02 am
    Grasses are C4 and are a response to a much lower atmospheric CO2 level BTW so the lowering of CO2 happened before the Ice Ages.
    =======================================================
    Gail, the other obvious one was the carboniferous…..and how it was named……..”coal”
    The shallow warm seas gave us limestone then too…………
    Both show up as a rapid decline in CO2 levels.

    Everyone knows that CO2 effects life……but have a hard time with life effecting CO2

  64. higley7 says:

    As CO2 only accounts for 3–5% of the light-heat conversion gases (greenhouse gases do not exist), a decrease in the CO2 or a loss of 1-2% would NOT trigger a cold period. These idiots vastly over-estimate the ability of a trace gas to affect climate. When a trace gas, which already has a limited effect and is already at about 90% of its Beer’s Law limit, decreases, it is not proportionate in effect. A one-third decrease would only cause maybe a 1/6th-1/8th decrease in effect—not enough to cause a huge climate shift. OUr recent CO2 increase is the same as the decrease that they suggest and nothing happened, yep nothing.

    As long as they are willing to use the fabricated thermodynamic constant the IPCC created for CO2, assume water vapor to driven by CO2 as a positive feedback factor, and ignore the water cycle and water vapor’s role in the convectional transfer of heat to altitude, they will continue to fail to reach sensible conclusions.

    AND do not forget that the policies being pushed to “fight” global warming have nothing to do with science or climate. It is all about wealth redistribution, power, money, crippling the Western economies, stunting third world development, and establishing a totalitarian and socialist one-world government based on environment and climate.

    It is a political agenda which does not have the good of the people, the ecology, or the planet in mind. This is a world-level attack of communism, socialism run by a gang. Being based on climate and environmentalism, the ruling class would impose anything they please, always claiming the good of the natural world at the expense and suffering of the evil humans.

  65. Gail Combs says:

    higley7 says:
    December 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm
    …It’s a political agenda….
    ______________________
    Very much so.

    How supposedly intelligent people connected with universities and the new media can go along with a scam designed to return the world to poverty, serfdom and a new type of “feudalism” simply floors me. I guess they hope is to be one of the masters and not one of the serfs.

  66. Interstellar Bill says:

    There never was a Snowball Earth or a hyper CO2 episode.
    THere is a much better theory, due to GE Williams,
    Earth Science Reviews v 34 #1, March 1993 (108 G Scholar citatations)
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/001282529390004Q
    updated again at v 87 #3-4, March 2008, pp 61-93, abstract at
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012825207001808

    This rad idea is discussed in a paper here
    http://www.dgf.uchile.cl/~ronda/GF3004/jen00.pdf
    and another here
    http://www3.geosc.psu.edu/~jfk4/PersonalPage/Pdf/Nature_98.pdf

    Lots more on Google scholar

    High obliquity of the Earth’s axis, about 70 degrees (!) explains
    both the low-latitude glaciation and the Faint Young Sun Paradox,
    along with the high-temperature bottleneck of life’s origin.

    At 70 axial tilt, the poles get more sunlight than the equator,
    so much more solar heat than water temps go to 60C every summer,
    hence the requirement for early life to withstand hot water
    in spite of the sun being only 70% as luminous as it is today.

    Snowball Earth need only be invoked assuming low Proterozoic obliquity,
    so no CO2 rescue need be hypothesized.
    Low obliquity can’t explain the extreme seasonality of Proterozoic sediments.

  67. F. Ross says:

    <


    Geoffrey Donald Broadbent says:
    December 2, 2011 at 4:25 am
    “…I thought that it was reasonably accepted that 65 million years ago CO2 in the atmosphere was about 3000 ppm. Antarctica was a warm wet greenhouse. Despite this CO2 the earth cooled for 20million years when South America had drifted far enough from Antarctica to open Drakes Passage and allow the circumpolar current to freeze the Antarctic
    … Is all this known only to geologists? ”


    Barry R says:
    December 2, 2011 at 6:26 am
    “…The events that lead to Antarctica become the ice continent seem fairly clear.
    … (2) When first Australia and then South America broke away from Antarctica that allowed the ocean circulation to be around Antarctica, isolating it from the tropics and allowing it to get colder and colder.

    I think you guys have it exactly right.

    I’d be willing to bet that this “study” was not peer reviewed by any competent geologists.

  68. Bill Illis says:

    Regarding Snowball Earth, what do you think would happen if Antarctica were 10 times bigger;

    … let’s say, a circular continent covering the South Pole all the way to southern Africa and southern Brazil. Or lets say, continental drift had piled up most of the continents together over the South Pole.

    Where would the glaciers stop?

    I don’t think they would. The centre of the continent would build up glaciers 5 kms high, and they would push out by gravity and local albedo effect all the way to the continental shelves at 35S.

    Sea level would fall 250 metres, the Albedo impact of all that white glacier would reflect enough sunlight to cool the Earth by 15C to 25C. The North Pole would freeze up. Any other landmasses would develop glaciers. Only the tropics would be ice-free but they would be 10C cooler than today.

    This is exactly the conditions and the continental configurations of the last two Snowballs.

    No CO2 needs to be involved in this explanation at all. In fact, it would take CO2 levels of about 200,000 ppm to break up such a Snowball scenario. The only estimates of CO2 in the last two Snowballs is 12,000 ppm and 8,000 ppm, far too low to have any impact on a Snowball at all.

    That is the real factual explanation based on the geologic and proxy evidence available. Snowballs break-up when continental drift eventually moves all of these continents off the South Pole.

  69. Corey S. says:

    When you see phrases like “the mother of all tipping points” and you know this is overhyped control knob science.

    In one of the emails, a postgraduate student tells Briffa about a conversation he had with Tim Lenton about ‘tipping points’:

    Hi Keith, I went to see Tim Lenton yesterday and discussed a few ideas with him. An idea we both really liked was identifying potenital social tipping points arising from physical tipping point forcings. A broad topic, I’ve been thinking about refining it to identifying potential tipping points in politically unstable regimes.

    http://www.ecowho.com/foia.php?file=1126.txt&search=Dissertation+thoughts+and+PhD+application

    If that is what you are looking for, that is what you will find.

  70. davidmhoffer says:

    “Data generated from a mix of sites throughout the world’s oceans caused inaccuracies due to variations in the nutrients present in different locations. This explained conflicting results from earlier papers…”

    So simple. Sites with data that agrees with theory are “good”. Sites with data that disagree with theory are “bad”. Get rid of the bad data, and voila, theory upheld.

    More importantly however, if Antarctica was once a lush tropical paradise teaming with life, there ought to be a sh*tload of coal, oil, natural gas…

  71. Dear David, There are some fine thick coal seams exposed in the cliff faces of Antarctica along with a fine fossil assemblage of glossopteris and gangamopteris leaves. So far the international agreement has been to keep Antarctica a mining free zone, The probable rise of shale gas usage will help to leave Antarctica unmolested, Geoff Broadbent

  72. Maxbert says:

    Another correlational study using computer models. Yawn!

  73. Bill Illis says:

    davidmhoffer says:
    December 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm
    … if Antarctica was once a lush tropical paradise teaming with life, there ought to be a sh*tload of coal, oil, natural gas…
    ——————————————-

    Antarctica is the unlucky continent in that continental drift has left it near the South Pole or connected to other land over the South Pole for most of the last 750 million years. It has been glaciated over in about 5 different epochs.

    It probably has very little coal, oil and gas given this issue.

    Between 250 Mya and 50 Mya, there was little glaciation but the continent would have been very cold in the winter. There are dinosaur, marsupial, marine and tree fossils from the period but there was probably snow on the ground for several months in the winter. There could be some coal, oil and gas reserves from this period but probably not much.

  74. cms says:

    To me the most interesting thing about this study is the finding of synchronicity of ice cover at the two poles. If the a hallmark of CO2 heating is melting and growing simultaneously at both poles than we don’t have it.
    As to CO2 and temperature, it is perhaps instructive to view it in the last 50 years where we have better data and good measures of CO2. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/isolate:60/mean:12/scale:0.2/plot/hadcrut3vgl/isolate:60/mean:12/from:1958

  75. Spector says:

    RE: Main Article
    “The evidence falls in line with what we would expect if carbon dioxide is the main dial that governs global climate; if we crank it up or down there are dramatic changes,” Huber said. “We went from a warm world without ice to a cooler world with an ice sheet overnight, in geologic terms, because of fluctuations in carbon dioxide levels.”

    Yes, this sounds like research intended to prove the carbon-dioxide dial hypothesis. I would hope no public funds were spent on this study which may have been conducted only to support the activist belief that a plausible emergency exists, which demands that we all quit using ‘Carbon Power’ as soon as possible.

    If this is a balanced study, it will include a summary of alternative interpretations of the same data other than the carbon-dioxide dial hypothesis.

    This plot of calculated radiative-forcing of CO2 (sometimes mistakenly called radioactive-forcing) would seem to contradict that hypothesis, as CO2 is seen only to have a limited effect on a narrow central zone of outgoing thermal radiation from the earth at 20 km up:

    File:ModtranRadiativeForcingDoubleCO2.png
    “From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ModtranRadiativeForcingDoubleCO2.png

  76. Brian G Valentine says:

    About the only “tipping point” I have clear evidence of having reached over the last ten years of this nonsense has been my temper.

    Basis for any of the following are not provided:

    - Algae physiology of the epoch was known
    - Average atmospheric pressure was known
    - Average temperature was known
    - Average salinity was known and CO2 solubility was known

    Forty years ago trash like this would see a journal editor’s for all of fifteen minutes before it became the permanent archive of the trash can.

    Yes I’m positive of it, yes.

  77. I totally agree with Gail!! We are designed for Eocene conditions. Do a search for Ice free Earth Now to see the case for returning to it if at all possible and how it might be done.

    Gail Combs says:
    December 2, 2011 at 8:36 am

    G. Karst says:
    December 2, 2011 at 8:20 am

    If lack of CO2 caused the ice ages, would someone explain why we are doing, our best, to lower it’s atmospheric concentration. Does anyone really believe that increased glaciation is good? Besides how can we have increasing CO2 concentrations while temperatures have been flat for half a climatic period? Is logic dead? GK
    ___________________________________________
    So according to “Scientists” more CO2 causes a DECREASE in glaciation and an INCREASE in plant growth (crops) not to mention an increase in biodiversity.

    I want MORE CO2 not less, bring on the Eocene!

  78. Blade says:

    G. Karst [December 2, 2011 at 8:20 am] says:

    If lack of CO2 caused the ice ages, would someone explain why we are doing, our best, to lower it’s atmospheric concentration. Does anyone really believe that increased glaciation is good? Besides how can we have increasing CO2 concentrations while temperatures have been flat for half a climatic period? Is logic dead? GK”

    I just noticed that comment now (thanks to the previous commenter).

    It is one of the best reductions of all the arguments I have ever seen. Brilliant simplicity. Logic defined.

    I’ll be using that one for a while. Thanks G.

  79. LazyTeenager says:

    Rob Wilson says
    Can anyone tell me how amphibians inhabited the North pole in the Eocene epoch? As far as I am aware, much like now, there was no land there, and presumably no sea ice if the climate was “subtropical”.
    ————-
    Don’t know for sure but the arctic ocean was more land locked during the Eocence, so it reasonable to infer that the amphibians occupied sea shores adjacent to the north pole.

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