# What – you mean we aren’t controlling the climate?

Correlation of Net CO2 emissions with climate properties shows that the growth in CO2 may be natural

Story submitted by WUWT reader Steve Brown

The narrative of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming has been challenged at many levels but this presentation by Professor Murry Salby, Chair of Climate at Macquarie University rips up the very foundations of the story.

The talk (in the video below) was given at the Sydney Institute 2nd Aug 2011

He elegantly shows that there is a solid correlation between natural climate factors (global temperature and soil moisture content) and the net gain (or loss) in global atmospheric content when the latter is averaged over a two year period. The hanging question remains, if natural factors drive more than 90% of the growth in CO2 how significant is the contribution of human generated emissions. The answer is simple… not very.

The talk has been covered in the past on Judith Curry’s blog, and an abstract of the talk is here . But this is the first time I have encountered a video of the talk or been able to see the slides which he referenced.

Fascinating.

## 253 thoughts on “What – you mean we aren’t controlling the climate?”

1. Anything is possible says:

Posted this yesterday at TB’s site :

Some figures pertaining to mass, which may (or may not) prove helpful……

Total mass (Ta) of atmosphere = 5.14×10^18 kg.

Mass of CO2 (Tc) in atmosphere = 2.3 x 10^15 kg

Proportion of CO2 in atmosphere by mass (Tc/Ta) = 0,000447 or 447ppm.

This number is somewhat higher than the measured 392ppm by volume, but since CO2 is heavier than air, this makes sense, at least to me.

Now, let’s assume that all other things are equal, and the CO2 emitted by man simply accumulates in the atmosphere.

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions (2009) amounted to 3.0398 x 10^13 kg.

Total mass (Ta1) of atmosphere now = 5.14003 x 10^18 kg

Mass of CO2 (Tc1) in atmosphere now = 2.3304 x 10^15 kg

Proportion of CO2 in atmosphere by mass (Tc1/Ta1) now = 0.000453 or 453ppm.

Theoretical increase in mass of atmospheric CO2 year-on-year (2009-10) =+6 ppm

Actual observed increase in volume of atmospheric CO2 year-on-year (2009-10) = +2.40 ppm.

Interesting……..

2. RERT says:

The short term data is very plain, and I had thought well understood: the data show about 6 GT Carbon emitted for every 1 C rise in temperature, with about a seven month lag, and about half of the human emissions ending in the atmosphere. What is controversial for me about his presentation is the idea that we can get CO2 levels which seem geologically very high by dint of natural processes, when temperatures are really not excessive by that standard.

3. Richard S Courtney says:

Friends:

I remind people that this matter was previously discussed on WUWT at
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/05/the-emily-litella-moment-for-climate-science-and-co2/

There is much interesting discussion there.

For example, and for obvious reasons I draw attention to the following comment I posted there.

Richard

PS I regret that I will be out of contact for at least a week (regulars on WUWT know that this often happens) so I will be unable respond to comments on the present thread.

————————————
Richard S Courtney says:

August 5, 2011 at 6:41 am

Friends:

Several here have pointed out that global temperature has been approximately static for about a decade but CO2 continues to increase in the air. They seem to think that this indicates temperature change is not the cause of the CO2 rise. However, that does not follow as is explained in the one of our papers which I referenced in my above post (at August 5, 2011 at 4:51 am ).

The continuing rise for decades after the temperature has risen is because a temperature increase causes the system of the carbon cycle to obtain a new equilibrium state, and the system takes decades to achieve that new equilibrium.

The short term sequestration processes can easily adapt to sequester the anthropogenic and the natural emissions of any year. But some processes of the system are very slow with rate constants of years and decades. Hence, the system takes decades to fully adjust to a new equilibrium (whatever caused the change to the equilibrium) and, therefore, atmospheric CO2 concentration changes for decades after a change to the system (e.g. a change to global temperature).

I think it is important to note that Salby says very little that is new in his presentation. Only his soil moisture argument is novel. Everything else he says is covered by our paper which I referenced in my above post (at August 5, 2011 at 4:51 am ) and the WUWT articles of Roy Spencer (that Anthony links above). Indeed, Salby uses some of the same words as we use in our paper (please note that this is NOT an accusation of plagiarism: clear statements of the same facts are likely to use the same words).

Richard

4. commieBob says:

I’m getting:

Embedding disabled by request

I can’t find it on YouTube.

5. RichieP says:

commieBob

You just click on the Youtube icon next to the full screen button, bottom right.

6. Scarface says:

@commieBob

7. Thylacine says:

I’m a newbie here, and not a climate scientist, so this might sound naive. But let me give it a try, anyway:

I have long thought it is a relatively settled finding from the Vostok ice cores (among other things?) that atmospheric CO2 concentrations lag temperatures by about 800 years. I thought that the AGW camp has tried to assimilate this finding by claiming (a) that the lag is a consequence of outgassing of dissolved CO2 from the oceans, and (b) it creates a positive feedback that drives the whole thing: higher temps -> more atmospheric CO2 -> higher temps -> more CO2, etc.

Now, I am increasingly encountering the fear from the AGW camp that the oceans are acidifying, and that this is a result of CO2 being absorbed by the oceans due to higher atmospheric concentrations of CO2. My question is simple: Aren’t these AGW conjectures inconsistent? How can the warming oceans be outgassing CO2, creating a positive feedback, at the same time as they are absorbing it from the atmosphere, causing acidification? Presumably, these processes have to be on a “net” basis, and there can’t be a net increase and a net decrease in absorbed CO2 at the same time.

The AGW folks seem to want to suck and blow at the same time when it comes to oceans and CO2. I don’t think one has to be a board-certified climate scientist to assess the merits of that conjecture, does one?

8. AnonyMoose says:

For the video-challenged, it looks like some of the slides are in the second item of this blog entry, with links to a transcript.

9. stpaulchuck says:

I love it. How wonderful to see a clear presentation on the natural component. I was aware of the long term temperature/CO2 coupling from the 450,000 year ice core record, but this is much, much better as it tracks year-on-year changes over the 30 year satellite measurement period.

Still, no matter how cogent this information is, The True Believers will reject it because of it’s heresy.

10. Sparks says:

When you catch up let us know.

11. Lester Via says:

RERT says:
April 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

“What is controversial for me about his presentation is the idea that we can get CO2 levels which seem geologically very high by dint of natural processes, when temperatures are really not excessive by that standard.”

I think is strong evidence that the geological levels are probably underestimated. It makes little sense that the relatively small anthropogenic CO2 contributions compared to the natural sources have caused the atmospheric CO2 levels to be far higher than it has ever been in the last 800,000 years.

This seems nearly as preposterous as the warmist’s contention that natural CO2 sources and sinks are perfectly stable and always in balance even though they are all dependent on the climate which at the same time, they contend is rapidly changing.

12. Jan P. Perlwitz says:

Anything is possible wrote:

“This number is somewhat higher than the measured 392ppm by volume, but since CO2 is heavier than air, this makes sense, at least to me.”

Just multiply the 392 ppm with the ratio between the molar mass of carbon dioxide and the molar mass of air to get the approximate mass ratio:

Mc/Ma=392 * 10-6 * (44.01 g/mol)/(28.97 g/mol) = 0.000596 kg/kg(air)

Now multiply with the mass of air (=5.14*10^18 kg) and you get the mass of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere:

Mc = 3.06 * 10^15 kg.

So you see the mass of carbon dioxide from which you started, was a little bit low.

Then you add about 32 Gt anthropogenic CO2 per year.
http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v3/n12/full/ngeo1022.html

Calculating everything back to ppm. The result would be a CO2-increase of about 4 ppm per year due to anthropogenic emissions alone, if all the CO2 staid in the atmosphere. A little bit less than you calculated.

“Actual observed increase in volume of atmospheric CO2 year-on-year (2009-10) = +2.40 ppm.

Interesting……..”

Yes, it is. These numbers are not reconcilable with the notions that there was a positive net flux – anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide from ocean/biosphere sources to the atmosphere, currently, and that most of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere came from natural sources. Instead, these numbers imply that the net flux – anthropogenic emissions is directed from the atmosphere to the oceans/biosphere, which agrees with the mainstream scientific literature on the carbon cycle that says about 60% or so of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are sequestered (e.g., Knorr, GRL, 2009; doi: 10.1029/2009GL040613) in the oceans/biosphere. If this didn’t happen the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere due to anthropogenic emissions would be much higher already, about 560 ppm, assuming that the sequestation ratio has not changed.

How is this reconcilable with the author’s speculation that only 10% of the 2.4 pm increase in CO2 per year was from anthropogenic sources? It’s not unless it is asserted that anthropogenic emissions weren’t actually 32 Gt per year, but more in the range of less than 2 Gt.

13. The central point should be that, obviously, the rise in CO2 is entirely beneficial. The biosphere is starved of CO2. More is better. I know that will make some folks’ heads explode, but that’s what happens when their cognitive dissonance meets reality.

14. trevor says:

I think this is one of the best posts of WUW I’ve seen. Good scientists present the data and let the audience make their own conclusions – exactly as Salby does in this lecture. It draws out what is assumption and what is the evidence, and clearly shows the current modeling dogma is based on an assumtion the is not supported by the evidence. The so-called smoking gun is demolished by careful work and thinking. So many briliant quotes in this lecture ‘all bets are off’ re the ratio of C12 and C13 in natural net contribution to rising CO2 levels is one of my favourites. Oh and also I like the way he distinguishes scientists and advocates masquerading as scientists.

15. Philip Bradley says:

I was expecting not to be persuaded, and in fact was.

While widely mis-understood, correlation, with certain caveats, is proof of causation. Its just that correlation doesn’t tell us what the causative mechanism is. The annual CO2 emissions correlation with satellite measured surface conditions of 0.93 (as I recall) is conclusive for me. And the argument put forward by Perlwitz above is irrelevant, because surface conditions (mostly temperature) explain almost all of the net CO2 emissions. Thus no other explanation is required and anthropogenic emissions are irrelevant, excepting some small residual.

The only other explanation is that intra-annual CO2 variations cause intra-annual global climate variations, and I have never heard that argument put forward. Rather the opposite, AGWers argue that short term climate variations are natural variation ‘noise’ to the CO2 climate signal.

16. Kasuha says:

Being skeptic means being skeptical about anything, right? While this talk was very interesting to listen to, I actually think it does not prove much. It shows that relation between natural emissions and sinks seems to be modulated by temperature and moisture and that this modulation amplitude is larger than amplitude of human emissions but that does not prove that human emissions don’t put some constant shift upon this modulation. And it sadly does not allow us to see how much of this modulation is due to sources and how much is due to sinks. And even the combination of temperature and moisture is at this level just excersise in regression and while it makes sense, I believe it needs some experimental proofing.

That map of global CO2 concentration was very interesting, though. It kinda shows that using just Mauna Loa measurements for CO2 concentrations is almost like measuring global temperatures using just single meteorological station. Yes it follows global mean somewhat, but not quite. And seeing that highest CO2 concentrations are definitely NOT where most industry and population is situated was priceless. Pity it was land only, seas would sure be interesting too. And pity it was only a static image, seeing it through an El Nino would sure be very interesting.

17. george h. says:

Very fine work by Salby. Without the “A” in AGW, GW becomes moot (particularly the mitigation part) regardless of how sensitive the climate.

18. jimmi_the_dalek says:

Surely the simple arithmetic of the problem as given by Anything is Possible, and Jan P. Perlwitz, showing that mankind is burning enough fossil fuels to raise the CO2 content in the atmosphere by 4-6%, but that the observed increase is only ~2% per annum, means that Prof Salby’s thesis is untenable? The net flow must into the biosystem, not outwards.

19. Jan P. Perlwitz says:

“And the argument put forward by Perlwitz above is irrelevant, because surface conditions (mostly temperature) explain almost all of the net CO2 emissions.”

My argument can only be considered “irrelevant”, if one thinks conservation of mass isn’t part of the laws of nature. The numbers don’t lie.

Where does all the anthropogenic CO2 (32 Gt per year) go, if the observed long-term trend is only 2 ppm increase of CO2 in the atmosphere per year, currently, AND most of the multi-decadal CO2 increase is supposed to come from natural sources? Does the anthropogenic CO2 vanish into a wormhole?

There is a year to year variability in the natural carbon dioxide flux, which is controlled by different things, e.g., ocean temperatures, biosphere activity indeed. There is also a seasonal cycle. This doesn’t say anything about what causes the long-term increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Salby correlates the 2-year flux with atmospheric variables. He has filtered out the long-term trend with this approach. Then he draws a conclusion about the causes for the long-term trend from this? This is methodologically flawed.

20. Jan P. Perlwitz says:
April 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm

There is a year to year variability in the natural carbon dioxide flux, which is controlled by different things, e.g., ocean temperatures, biosphere activity indeed. There is also a seasonal cycle. This doesn’t say anything about what causes the long-term increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Salby correlates the 2-year flux with atmospheric variables. He has filtered out the long-term trend with this approach. Then he draws a conclusion about the causes for the long-term trend from this? This is methodologically flawed.

If short term factors explain the CO2 changes, there is nothing to explain in the longer term. There is no methodological flaw. It is that simple.

21. DocMartyn says:

It should be a relatively easy calculation to do test the hypothesis. We know the termal expansion of water per degree and we know the change in solubility of per degree of temperature rise.
Thus, the maximum amount of CO2 could be released by ocean heating can be calculated using the known change in sea level. As this is quite pathetic, my guess is that the CO2 didn’t come from the oceans and the heat isn’t hiding there either.

22. Paul Deacon says:

Thank you for posting this, Anthony. There is nothing better than seeing the whole presentation, complete with slides. It’s much better than abstracts of papers and the like.

23. Philip Bradley says:

One consequence of this work is that it confirms the accuracy of the satellite lower troposphere temps. Which I had some doubts about.

24. Bart says:

RERT says:
April 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

“The short term data is very plain, and I had thought well understood: the data show about 6 GT Carbon emitted for every 1 C rise in temperature…”

That is the gain at the frequency of 1 cycle/year. But, it is a low pass filter, and the gain is asuredly higher for longer term processes, the only question being, how much higher?

jimmi_the_dalek says:
April 19, 2012 at 5:11 pm

“…showing that mankind is burning enough fossil fuels to raise the CO2 content in the atmosphere by 4-6%, but that the observed increase is only ~2% per annum, means that Prof Salby’s thesis is untenable? The net flow must into the biosystem, not outwards.”

No. Simple accounting like that simply does not prove anything when you are dealing with a dynamic feedback system. You can read through the gory details at my posts in the thread here.

25. commieBob says:

Thanks for the links guys.

26. Half-way through wathing the video … Salby appears not to be aware of the tens of thousands of direct measurements of atmospheric CO2 prior to 1960.

Has Beck’s work in historical analysis of previous, direct measurements of atmospheric CO2 already been buried so deeply?

27. Brian H says:

There was much discussion of this on Climate, Etc. last fall, and this winter some asked if the promised paper had been killed or rejected. I wrote Salby, and got this reponse on Feb. 20:

Dear Brian,

Apologies for the belated reply; we’re on summer break here.

The technical paper underpinning my presentation to the Sydney Institute
has certainly not been withdrawn. The cycle of scientific publication is slow,
typically about a year. For a subject as political as this one, it can
be very slow.
The fiasco surrounding Spencer and Braswell (2011), a thinly-veiled exercise
in coercion, didn’t help. But, with patience, we will eventually get there.

Upon formal release, a notice will be sent to the numerous interested parties.
In the meantime, a couple of matters of possible interest:

(1) About half of the material in the Sydney Institute presentation
is developed in Physics of the Atmosphere & Climate,
a peer-reviewed volume that is now out.
Although developed for a technical audience,
elements should be comprehensible to the non-specialist.
Highlighted in the attached is material of relevance.

(2) In the coming weeks, a video of the presentation will be made available
through the Sydney Institute – inclusive of full graphics. Stay tuned.

Murry Salby

28. jimmi_the_dalek says:

Sorry Bart, but simple maths is exactly what is needed here. The statement 4>2 is all that is required.

29. Allan MacRae says:

Allan M R MacRae (01:13:19) :

For previous work on this subject, please see
MacRae (January 2008)
http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/carbon_dioxide_in_not_the_primary_cause_of_global_warming_the_future_can_no/
I
am still pondering my conclusions in my paper – as some critics have noted, there are two drivers of CO2 – the humanmade component and the natural component, and both can be having a significant effect – critics suggest the humanmade component is dominant. If Earth cools significantly, perhaps we’ll see.

Following my email to him, Roy Spencer also wrote on this subject at
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2/

One more reference on this subject is by climate statistician William Briggs, at
http://wmbriggs.com/blog/2008/04/21/co2-and-temperature-which-predicts-which/

Prior work, which I became aware of after writing my 2008 paper, includes:
Pieter Tans (Dec 2007)
http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/co2conference/agenda.html
Tans noted the [dCO2/dt : Temperature] relationship but did not comment on the ~9 month lag of CO2.

Keeling et al (1995)
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v375/n6533/abs/375666a0.html
Nature 375, 666 – 670 (22 June 1995); doi:10.1038/375666a0
Interannual extremes in the rate of rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1980
C. D. Keeling*, T. P. Whorf*, M. Wahlen* & J. van der Plichtt†
*Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, California 92093-0220, USA
†Center for Isotopic Research, University of Groningen, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands

OBSERVATIONS of atmospheric CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, and at the South Pole over the past four decades show an approximate proportionality between the rising atmospheric concentrations and industrial CO2 emissions1. This proportionality, which is most apparent during the first 20 years of the records, was disturbed in the 1980s by a disproportionately high rate of rise of atmospheric CO2, followed after 1988 by a pronounced slowing down of the growth rate. To probe the causes of these changes, we examine here the changes expected from the variations in the rates of industrial CO2 emissions over this time2, and also from influences of climate such as El Niño events. We use the13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 to distinguish the effects of interannual variations in biospheric and oceanic sources and sinks of carbon. We propose that the recent disproportionate rise and fall in CO2 growth rate were caused mainly by interannual variations in global air temperature (which altered both the terrestrial biospheric and the oceanic carbon sinks), and possibly also by precipitation. We suggest that the anomalous climate-induced rise in CO2 was partially masked by a slowing down in the growth rate of fossil-fuel combustion, and that the latter then exaggerated the subsequent climate-induced fall.

Kuo et al (1990)
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v343/n6260/abs/343709a0.html
Nature 343, 709 – 714 (22 February 1990); doi:10.1038/343709a0
Coherence established between atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature
Cynthia Kuo, Craig Lindberg & David J. Thomson
Mathematical Sciences Research Center, AT&T Bell Labs, Murray Hill, New Jersey 07974, USA

The hypothesis that the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is related to observable changes in the climate is tested using modern methods of time-series analysis. The results confirm that average global temperature is increasing, and that temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide are significantly correlated over the past thirty years. Changes in carbon dioxide content lag those in temperature by five months.

Regards, Allan

30. Bart says:

jimmi_the_dalek says:
April 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Sorry, Jimmi, but that’s just stupid. Read the posts at the link I gave.

31. Colin says:

I saw this video a few weeks ago, and didn’t find it too impressive. As stated in other posts, he shows that there natural perturbations which affect the year to year additions of CO2 to the atmosphere. If you plot the year to year changes in CO2 from the Mauna Loa data, you will see that there is an upward trend in them. Take this plot and add how many ppm CO2 man has been adding and you’ll see that this line accounts for the upward trend. I’ll link where you can find the data you need below. If you subtract the amount of CO2 that humans are adding to the atmosphere you end up with a relatively flat curve whose natural oscillations basically add up to zero (about 8ppm).

This argument is pointless to have anyways, as we know the following to be true.

1) We know that we are adding CO2 to the atmosphere. To claim otherwise is to deny reality.

2) We know that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause some change in temperature (the magnitude of this effect is in question).

Here are the links to the data you need if you want to make the graphs I mentioned:

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

http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob.html

One note on making the plot, I used a went with the assumption that 50% of our CO2 is adsorbed into natural sinks. If you use 40%, you will find that the natural variation would have a total impact of about-4.6ppm.

32. Bart says:

Colin says:
April 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm

It is a fact that the accumulated human emissions curve is basically a trend with some slight positive curvature. It is also a fact that measurements of atmospheric concentration reveal essentially a trend with some slight positive curvature. Beyond that, what can you say?

Is it a major coincidence that you can take two trends with slightly positive curvature and make them look similar to one another through scaling and biasing? No, it is not. Simply do a least squares fit to an affine function, with the one as the dependent variable and the other as the output variable, and you will find the bias and scale factor which makes the one look most like the other in a least squares sense.

The argument is not pointless, but I will agree that it is not the one which will drive a stake through the heart of AGW. Unless and until the two time series start to diverge substantially in morphology, the superficial resemblance will be enough to convince most people that there is a cause and effect relationship.

33. LazyTeenager says:

Thylacine says

April 19, 2012 at 2:35 pm

The AGW folks seem to want to suck and blow at the same time when it comes to oceans and CO2. I don’t think one has to be a board-certified climate scientist to assess the merits of that conjecture, does one?
—————-
Good point in contrasting the decrease in ocean CO2 since the ice age with current concerns about increasing CO2 leading to ocean pH increases.

I think it comes down to the numbers. I’ll have a go even though I have no clue.

CO2 during the ice age was about 250ppm.
After things warmed up it was 350ppm.
So this means there was100ppm equivalent dissolved in the ocean.
It was pushed into the oceans by the low temps.

Currently we are above 450ppm.
If we reduced our consumption so that it stayed at 450ppm, eventually the ocean would absorb 100ppm worth of CO2, in effect returning ocean CO2 to its ice age value..
It is being pushed into the oceans by high atmospheric concentration.

This might be OK if we could ignore temperature. I am not sure we can, since pH and a whole lot of chemical and biological processes have a strong dependency on temps.

The notion that we can keep the value at 450ppm depends on us producing CO2 at the same rate as the ocean absorbs it. Except we are not doing that, we are doing it faster. Therefore it seems likely that we will eventually push more CO2 into the oceans than was present during the ice age. Hence ocean pH rises will happen. How much will depend on how much CO2 we put into the air and any countervailing temperature rise.

There is deep time evidence that this can happen, high temps, high CO2 and low pH. A lot of things died.

34. LazyTeenager says:

Steve Brown says
The hanging question remains, if natural factors drive more than 90% of the growth in CO2 how significant is the contribution of human generated emissions. The answer is simple… not very.
—————–
So we have this strangely persistent belief that bank accounts can’t possibly work.

So how many climate skeptics also subscribe to the bank account skepticism principle?

1. We have a bank account with1000 dollars in it.
2. Each payday we put in 200 and over the week spend 200. Result no change in the balance.
3. So we want to get ahead and find a part time job. Say 20 per week extra.
4. We spend an extra 10 and save the other half, 10.

So here is the test.
How many of you think that after 100 weeks you will now have 2000 in the bank?
How many of you will reason that 10 is so small it makes no difference? You will still have just 1000 in the bank?

The answer should expose a few dumbasses.

35. Ninderthana says:

Jimmi_the_dalek says:

“Sorry Bart, but simple maths is exactly what is needed here. The statement 4>2 is all that is required.”

If I remember the mass flux argument correctly, you start out with a soil dam that is partly full of water. Over a given set period of time, say one month, there are natural losses (e.g. by soil absorption or by evaporation) and gains (e.g. by inflow from the surrounding soil or by water being added to the dam by rainfall and runoff) of water to the dam. These losses and gains either produce a net inflow or a net outflow of water from the dam, with the water level changing accordingly.

The analog of what is observed in the real world.

Someone, adds a small amount of “anthropomorphic” water over the month, half of which is lost (e.g. by soil absorption or by evaporation), and half of which is retained in the dam. The observer notices that at the end of the month, the water level in the dam increases slightly.

The question now becomes, “What type of underlying natural losses and gains must be taking place during that month to produced the observed result when “anthropomorphic” water is added to the dam?

Clearly, If a NET NATURAL GAIN of water to the dam is assumed, then an observed water level rise that is less than that expected by the NET “ANTHROPOMORPHIC” ADDITION of water to the dam, would rule out a NET NATURAL GAIN of water from the dam.

I think that the problem for the Salby model is that the observed rise in CO2 p.p.m.in the atmosphere is less than the NET ADDITION of “anthropomorphic” CO2 in p.p.m. This means that according to the water mass flux dam model, there can be NO NET NATURAL GAIN of CO2 by tthe atmosphere (e.g. by emission of CO2 from the oceans).

Of course, this model assumes that ALL of the natural CO2 has the same sources and sinks
as the “anthropomorphic” CO2, and that all of these sources and sinks were absorbing/emitting both types of CO2 at the same rates. This is the Achilles Heel of this argument.

36. richard verney says:

What I have never seen satisfactorily explained is why the carbon sink today is greater than it was 5 years ago, which in turn was greater than it was 10 years ago, which in turn was greater than it was 15 years ago etc.

I am aware that increases in biomass has something to do with it, but that is to some extent off-set by lower ocean capacity due to increase in ocean temps.

The point I am getting at is: had the capacity of today’s carbon sink been available say 30 years ago, there would in fact have been little, if any, rise in CO2 in the atmosphere. Understanding why that capacity was not available is important.

The carbon cycle and understanding the workings of all carbon sinks needs much more work and attention.

37. Jan P. Perlwitz says:

“If short term factors explain the CO2 changes, there is nothing to explain in the longer term. There is no methodological flaw. It is that simple.”

No, it’s not. Different processes respond on different time scales. The year-to-year variations in the atmospheric CO2 mole ratio have a magnitude of about 3 ppm, compared to the long-term increase of CO2 from 280 ppm from pre-industrial to 394 ppm today. You can’t simply presume that the processes that dominate small magnitude short-term fluctuations also govern long-term changes with the same weight, which have a magnitude the multiple of the short-term fluctuations.

So, if you claim a 0.8 increase in the globally averaged temperature causes an increase in the CO2 atmospheric mole ratio by 114 ppm, where is the Medieval Warm Period in the CO2-record from ice cores then, which many here believe had globally averaged higher temperatures than present day?

And don’t many here claim “global warming has stopped” since 1998? Why is the CO2 mole ratio still increasing year to year, if it was controled by the temperature by such a large degree, then, and if it was true what you say, that when you have explained the short-term fluctuations you have explained the longer-term change?

Also, what was the CO2 mole ratio in the atmosphere during the glacials, when it was 3 to 4 Kelvin colder on global average than today, if a 0.8 K temperature change causes a change of the CO2 ratio of 114 ppm?

38. jimmi_the_dalek says:

“What I have never seen satisfactorily explained is why the carbon sink today is greater than it was 5 years ago, which in turn was greater than it was 10 years ago, which in turn was greater than it was 15 years ago etc.
I am aware that increases in biomass has something to do with it, but that is to some extent off-set by lower ocean capacity due to increase in ocean temps.”

That’s where the error is – the ocean capacity is not lower, because although it is slightly warmer, which means the solubility of CO2 at a constant pressure would be slightly less, the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere has actually increased by nearly 40%. The solubility is directly proportional to the pressure (Henry’s Law) so the oceans are absorbing CO2, not releasing it.

39. Jeff Alberts says:

LazyTeenager says:
April 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Ah, but the bank, seeing you have more money to give away, hires more middle managers and starts charging fees to pay them. So that \$10 a week becomes a \$20 deficit, and by 100 weeks you’ve gotten an overdraft warning.

40. Andrew McRae says:

Hold on a second. The temperature dependence is real, yes, and is a yearly phenomenon, but on multi decadal scales you all know it doesn’t line up.

We put +8Gt up every year, but only +4Gt change is seen in the air at the end of each year. Arithmetic says +4.0 – +8.0 net effect of nature on atmosphere is negative. Nature is presently a net sink of CO2 from the atmosphere, no other conclusion is compatible with observations.

That’s based on numbers used by Dr Tom Quirk (a well known climate skeptic), which he gathered from different sources.
To disagree, you must show either the calculated atmospheric carbon content increase is too low by a factor of 3 or more (good luck showing that), or else the reported anthropogenic carbon release is too high by a factor of 2 (good luck showing that’s wrong based on fossil fuel sales).

Can we stop this “nature is the main source of the rising CO2” nonsense, you are just making us skeptics look bad. Either show the observed numbers are fraudulent, or shut up.

41. Thylacine says:

jimmi_the_dalek says:
April 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm
That’s where the error is – the ocean capacity is not lower, because although it is slightly warmer, which means the solubility of CO2 at a constant pressure would be slightly less, the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere has actually increased by nearly 40%. The solubility is directly proportional to the pressure (Henry’s Law) so the oceans are absorbing CO2, not releasing it.

So getting back to my question: If oceans are absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere now that temps are rising, why were they releasing it (at an 800 year lag) when temps were rising historically (according to the ice cores)? I still do not see how you can have increasing ocean acidification due to net absorption of CO2 at the same time as net outgassing of CO2 due to temperature increases. If the outgassing of CO2 is not correct, then how do the AGW folks account for the lag in the ice core records?

42. Andrew McRae says:

My previous comment has been devoured by the blog for no discernable reason (according to my understanding of your policy page), so please dig it out of the filter bin.

[REPLY: Stuff often finds its way to the spam filter and may take a bit of time to get out. Your patience is appreciated. -REP]

43. jimmi_the_dalek says:

“So getting back to my question: If oceans are absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere now that temps are rising, why were they releasing it (at an 800 year lag) when temps were rising historically (according to the ice cores)? I still do not see how you can have increasing ocean acidification due to net absorption of CO2 at the same time as net outgassing of CO2 due to temperature increases. If the outgassing of CO2 is not correct, then how do the AGW folks account for the lag in the ice core records? ”

I’m not a climate scientist, so no comment on the lag, but the basic point is that the solubility of CO2 depends more on the pressure than on the temperature, and the partial pressure of CO2 was different then.

44. Stephen Wilde says:

“although it is slightly warmer, which means the solubility of CO2 at a constant pressure would be slightly less, the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere has actually increased by nearly 40%. The solubility is directly proportional to the pressure (Henry’s Law) so the oceans are absorbing CO2, not releasing it.”

It doesn’t necessarily follow that the increase in CO2 in the air is enough to offset or overcome the effects of a change in ocean surface temperatures on absorption capability.

Water being so much denser than air the effect of warmer or colder ocean surfaces will be far, far larger than even a 40% change in the concentration of a very minor trace gas.

If jimmi_the_dalek says otherwise would he please produce empirical evidence.

45. Stephen Wilde says:

“We put +8Gt up every year, but only +4Gt change is seen in the air at the end of each year. Arithmetic says +4.0 – +8.0 net effect of nature on atmosphere is negative. Nature is presently a net sink of CO2 from the atmosphere, no other conclusion is compatible with observations.”

That is not evidence that nature is a net sink.

The ocean surfaces have been warming since the LIA so throughout that period of time the capacity of the oceans to hold CO2 has been falling naturally.

It is more likely that ever since the LIA nature has been a net source of CO2 when the warming oceans are taken into account.

Nature itself could be producing the extra 4Gt with the human contribution negligible after it has been taken up by local or regional sinks such as nearby vegetation.

46. Stephen Wilde says:

“where is the Medieval Warm Period in the CO2-record from ice cores then, which many here believe had globally averaged higher temperatures than present day?”

It would appear that the ice core record is too coarse to reproduce the atmospheric CO2 changes during the 1000 year cycle from MWP to LIA to date.

Or possibly the ice core records are not an accurate enough record of atmospheric CO2 due to the time taken for the CO2 to become sealed in the ice column. It is likely that during the sealing process which can take place over many seasons the CO2 quantities in the ice/water gradually depletes as the water repeatedly cools and warms over successive seasons until eventually it becomes permanently frozen.

The absence of a clear MWP/LIA/Current Warm Period signal in the ice cores is not conclusive evidence either way.

The possibility of the ice cores being an inadequate reflection of CO2 amounts in the air is also supported by the observation that the old chemical methods of measurement gave higher readings than those produced by the ice cores.

47. Philip Bradley says:

You can’t simply presume that the processes that dominate small magnitude short-term fluctuations also govern long-term changes with the same weight, which have a magnitude the multiple of the short-term fluctuations.

Explain to me how long-term fluctuations are more or less than the sum of the short term fluctuations for the short time periods that comprise the long-term period.

Until you can do that, I am afraid you have no argument.

48. jimmi_the_dalek says:

“Water being so much denser than air the effect of warmer or colder ocean surfaces will be far, far larger than even a 40% change in the concentration of a very minor trace gas.

If jimmi_the_dalek says otherwise would he please produce empirical evidence.”

Look up the phrases “partial pressure” and “Henry’s Law”, then come back when you have learned that the solubility depends on the partial pressure and that the density of water is irrelevant.

49. Bill UK says:

Professor Salby shows that man’s emissions are not the cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Further, he demonstrates that CO2 rise follows temperature. Our entire energy policy in this country is based upon the opposite of this and Al Gore and his acolytes still dominate the media coverage of weather and climate.
Why has there been no wider coverage of this comprehensive debunking of the whole AGW theory?
Any ideas?

50. Leo G says:

Colin said (April 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm):
“I used … the assumption that 50% of our CO2 is adsorbed into natural sinks. If you use 40%, you will find that the natural variation would have a total impact of about-4.6ppm.”
Does that mean you assumed that a proportion of anthropogenic CO2 emissions (40% or 50%) are immediately taken up by natural sinks and thereafter none of the atmospheric CO2 from those emissions are adsorbed?

51. Stephen Wilde says:

“Look up the phrases “partial pressure” and “Henry’s Law”, then come back when you have learned that the solubility depends on the partial pressure and that the density of water is irrelevant”

The density of water becomes relevant as regards the much larger energy content than air.
The temperature effect on absorption capability for the more dense water is likely to outweigh any pressure effect in the much less dense air.

I want to see empirical evidence that the effect of the increase in CO2 in the air more than outweighs the effect of warmer water temperatures as regards CO2 absorption / emission rates.

Simply referring to Henry’s Law is irrelevant as only half the story.

Which process dominates out in the real world ?

52. Stephen Wilde says:

“Explain to me how long-term fluctuations are more or less than the sum of the short term fluctuations for the short time periods that comprise the long-term period.”

Two or more separate processes operating on different timescales ?

For example, short term fluctuations driven by seasonal changes and ENSO variability as against longer term solar variability on a millennium timescale affecting cloudiness, albedo and the amount of energy getting into the oceans.

53. Allan MacRae says:

Several of you are arguing the “material balance argument” which has been well-ventilated here and elsewhere between Ferdinand Engelbeen (for) Richard Courtney (against). I agree Richard on this question. This is not a static situation where a “bank balance” argument works.

In my opinion, it is more likely a series of dynamic time cycles, in which CO2 lags temperature at ~~1000 years on a long cycle, and ~9 months on a short cycle, and there are possibly other intermediate cycles as well that are not documented (the late Ernst Beck thought there was at least one intermediate cycle with a lag of ~~5? Years, as I recall).

This discussion has been ongoing since 2008 and earlier. Here is a more recent post.

___________

RobRoy says: April 6, 2012 at 8:49 am
“It is my layman’s understanding that seawater, as it warms, releases CO2 dissolved therein. As seawater warms its ability to keep CO2 in solution decreases. This leaching of CO2 as the oceans warm is a great explanation for the correlation between temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration. It explains why CO2 lags warming. Warming first then atmospheric CO2 increase. This is provable in a laboratory..”.
____________

First of all Rob, you are possibly on the right track – see Henry’s Law (1803) and the bit about temperature.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry's_law

Next, Shakun et al is nonsense. The paper is a veritable cornucopia of apples and oranges, grapes and bananas – and let’s not forget the watermelons.

It is interesting how often the global warming alarmists choose to ignore the Uniformitarian Principle AND Occam’s Razor.

CO2 lags temperature at all measured time scales from ~~600-800 years in the ice core records on a long temperature-time cycle, to 9 months on a much shorter time scale.

We really don’t know how much of the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 is natural and how much is manmade – possibilities range from entirely natural (~~600-800 years ago was the Medieval Warm Period) to entirely manmade (the “material balance argument”). I lean towards mostly natural, but I’m not certain.

Although this questions is scientifically crucial, it is not that critical to the current “social debate” about alleged catastrophic manmade global warming (CAGW), since it is obvious to sensible people that IF CO2 truly drives temperature, it is an insignificant driver (climate sensitivity to CO2 is very low; “feedbacks” are negative) and minor increased warmth and increased atmospheric CO2 are both beneficial to humanity AND the environment.

In summary, the “climate skeptics” are trouncing the warming alarmists in the “mainstream CAGW debate”.

Back to the crucial scientific question – is the current increase in atmospheric CO2 largely natural or manmade?

Please see this 15fps AIRS data animation of global CO2 at
[video src="http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4" /]

It is difficult to see the impact of humanity in this impressive display of nature’s power.

All I can see is the bountiful impact of Spring, dominated by the Northern Hemisphere with its larger land mass, and some possible ocean sources and sinks.

I’m pretty sure all the data is there to figure this out, and I suspect some already have – perhaps Jan Veizer and colleagues.

54. Glenn Tamblyn says:

Thylacine

Co2 absorption by the oceans and outgassing from them isn’t a simple either/or question. There are two processes at work. And they don’t operate at the same rate. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere results in an imbalance between air and ocean concentrations, tending to move CO2 into the oceans – this is a way, way simplified description of the chemistry of this process.

Competing with this is the fact that warmer water tends to hold less gas in solution, including CO2. But warming of the oceans happens much more slowly than increases in CO2 in the atmosphere.

So in the Ice Age situation there wasn’t an extra source of CO2 in the form of Fossil Fuels. So the temperature effect is what predominates.

In our current situation, the rate at which CO2 is being added to the atmosphere by human activity is the factor that predominates.

55. Otter says:

lazyteenager~

As of April 5th, CO2 is 394.45 PPM http://co2now.org/ (an alarmist page)

And you are saying 450?

FAIL.

LazyTeenager [April 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm] says:

“I think it comes down to the numbers. I’ll have a go even though I have no clue.

CO2 during the ice age was about 250ppm.
After things warmed up it was 350ppm.
So this means there was100ppm equivalent dissolved in the ocean.
It was pushed into the oceans by the low temps.

Currently we are above 450ppm.”

Where are these numbers from?

The little gadget there in the right hand column says 392 ppm currently.

57. DirkH says:

April 20, 2012 at 3:13 am
“”LazyTeenager [April 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm] says:
Currently we are above 450ppm.”

Where are these numbers from?
The little gadget there in the right hand column says 392 ppm currently.”

His alarmism is getting the better of him. Duck, he’s about to gleick.

By emitting 8 GT a year we increase CO2 partial pressure by a certain amount, increasing the speed of adsorption into the ocean. If we stopped emitting CO2, the balance of adsorption and outgassing would shift. It’s a dynamic process, not some simple fixed sums.

58. cal says:

Some of the posts seem to assume that the release of CO2 by the oceans is the converse of absorption. Surely they are two quite different processes. The release of CO2 is caused by cold water from the deep oceans reaching the surface where excess CO2 is released. In contrast CO2 is scavanged from the atmosphere by organisms like plankton and crustacea. They, or their preditors, die and sink to the bottom. Thus the atmosphere and the oceans will naturally experience a gradual decline in CO2 which, over millions of years, has declined from many thousand parts per million to the few hundred we see today. I can only assume that the reason we have never reached the 150ppm where photosynthesis effectively stops is due to volcanos and presumeably some anaeobic processes in the deep oceans which pumps CO2 into the cold water that eventually releases it back into the atmophere when it reaches the surface. If I am right the balance of CO2 will be largely dependent on the fequency and power of el ninos added to the phase of the AMO and PDO. We are currently adding to this release but, as the lecture points out, it is a very small change and we, as yet, do not know if this will be significant compared with the variation in natural sources and sinks. That is the message I got and it is a very important one.

59. Jan P. Perlwitz says:

Allan McRae wrote:

“Several of you are arguing the “material balance argument” which has been well-ventilated here and elsewhere between Ferdinand Engelbeen (for) Richard Courtney (against). I agree Richard on this question. This is not a static situation where a “bank balance” argument works.”

Who is Richard Courtney?

What you say is equal to saying that first principles, in this case the conservation of mass, do not always apply.

Any change in the balance of the atmospheric carbon dioxide mass needs to be accounted for by the same change in the sum of all the flux terms.

dMc is the change in the total CO2 molar ratio in the atmosphere.

dMc = Fin(a) + Fin(n) – Fout(n)
(Approximations for present day: dMc = 2.4 ppm/a; Fin(a) = 4 ppm/a)

where Fin(a) is the total flux from anthropogenic sources to the atmosphere, Fin(n) the total flux from natural sources to the atmosphere, and Fout the total flux into the natural sinks (ocean/biosphere).

If dMc < Fin(a), like it is the case in present day, then

dMc – Fin(a) = Fin(n) – Fout(n) < 0

If follows that

Fin(n) < Fout(n)

The CO2 mass flux from natural sources to the atmosphere must be smaller then the CO2 mass flux from the atmosphere to natural sinks in present day (with dMc = 2.4 ppm/a and Fin(a) = 4 ppm/a).

q.e.d.

First principle must apply. Always. "Dynamic time cycles" can't help you with going around this.

60. Ed says:

There are a lot of problems with Salby’s theory but the biggest and easiest to show is simple accounting.

Humanity is releasing around 30 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere per year. The observed increase of carbon in the atmosphere is however only 15 billion tonnes. Now unless Salby has overturned the conservation of mass and found a way to make 15 billion tonnes of carbon disappear into nothing, or reinvented arithmetic so that 30 billion minus 15 billion isn’t 15 billion, that means that 15 billion tonnes of carbon is being removed from the atmosphere each year by the fast carbon cycle (evidence shows mostly by dissolution in the oceans).

If natural sinks are removing roughly half the carbon we emit to the atmosphere, as simple conservation of mass demands, that is exactly the opposite of what Salby is proposing. Instead of being the cause of the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, natural processes are in fact acting to moderate it ie without the action of natural carbon sinks the rate of increase of carbon in the atmosphere would be twice what it is, the full 30 billion tonnes/yr.

As usual in science things don’t rely on just one line of evidence though, even if this one is the most compelling. Multiple independent lines of evidence must support a theory.

Perhaps the most elegant is that atmospheric oxygen has declined at the rate one would expect from burning fossil fuels. One would not expect such a decrease in oxygen from natural carbon emissions.

Another compelling independent line is that shown by the decrease in carbon-14 in the atmosphere. C-14 is formed high in the atmosphere, where it forms a minuscule but measurable proportion of carbon atoms, and is taken up by plants just like the other isotopes of carbon. However, it has a half-life of 5730 years and so old organic carbon is depleted in C-14 relative to new organic carbon (hence why carbon dating works). Fossil fuels are so old there is essentially no C-14 left in them. A decrease in the proportion of C-14 in the atmosphere shows that the extra carbon has come from an “old” source ie fossil fuels rather than a “new” one.

To paraphrase my science teacher, maybe Salby has overturned the laws of physics, chemistry and mathematics. If he has, let him publish his results and book his ticket to Stockholm, but first perhaps he should check them thoroughly.

Lastly, Salby contradicts his own theory and doesn’t even seem to notice when he notes that the rate of increase of CO2 in the atmosphere has continued to climb in the last decade while temperature increase has slowed. If, as Salby proposes, CO2 increase was caused solely by increasing temperature then surely CO2 increase should have slowed? Given his theory of a 120ppm CO2 increase for each 0.8C rise in temperature, when average temperatures were 4-6C lower during the last glacial maximum, atmospheric CO2 must have been minus 207-507ppm! Now we know Salby doesn’t care for the ice-core record of CO2 as it doesn’t agree with his theory (it in fact gives about 180ppm), but how exactly does he propose life continued without any CO2 in the atmosphere at all?

61. DirkH says:

Jan P. Perlwitz says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:49 am
“If follows that

Fin(n) < Fout(n)

The CO2 mass flux from natural sources to the atmosphere must be smaller then the CO2 mass flux from the atmosphere to natural sinks in present day (with dMc = 2.4 ppm/a and Fin(a) = 4 ppm/a).

q.e.d.

First principle must apply. Always. "Dynamic time cycles" can't help you with going around this."

Okay, again in simple words for GISS employees:
Fin(n) and Fout(n) are not natural constants.

62. polistra says:

What’s the point of making the video semi-private? It won’t stop the Zwickian 451 firemen, but it does stop people who aren’t interested enough to get through the fence of linkages. The pseudo-science side is instantly heard any time you turn on any radio or TV or look at any magazine. It’s not wise to make the scientific side so hard to reach.

63. Jan P. Perlwitz says:

Stephen Wilde wrote:

“It would appear that the ice core record is too coarse to reproduce the atmospheric CO2 changes during the 1000 year cycle from MWP to LIA to date.”

This was the graphic with the data, which I referenced.

Apparently you didn’t even bother to look at it. You just come up with excuses why the data should be dismissed.

“Trends

The atmospheric CO2 reconstructions presented here offer records of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios from 1006 A.D. to 1978 A.D. The air enclosed in the three ice cores from Law Dome, Antarctica has unparalled age resolution and extends into recent decades, because of the high rate of snow accumulation at the Law Dome drill sites (Etheridge et al. 1996). Etheridge et al. (1996) reported the uncertainty of the ice core CO2 mixing ratios is 1.2 ppm. Preindustrial CO2 mixing ratios were in the range 275-284 ppm, with the lower levels during 1550-1800 A.D., probably as a result of colder global climate (Etheridge et al. 1996). The Law Dome ice core CO2 records show major growth in atmospheric CO2 levels over the industrial period, except during 1935-1945 A.D. when levels stabilized or decreased slightly.”
(http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/lawdome.html)

Well, you seem to do the thing with the hypothesis and the data the other way around. You test the data with the hypothesis. If the data are in contradiction to the hypothesis, you conclude the data must be wrong.

64. Ronald says:

Why do people think that CO2 having been created will remain for ever. Plant life all over the globe, land and ocean, is busy converting CO2 gas to solid hydrocarbons. The more CO2 in the atmosphere the faster they convert it.

65. Jan P. Perlwitz says:

DirkH:

“Okay, again in simple words for GISS employees:
Fin(n) and Fout(n) are not natural constants.”

Your statement does not contain any argument. Of course, they are no constants. Who says they were? Since when does the mass balance equation only needs to be fulfilled, if one, some, or all of the terms were constants? The mass balance equation is one of the most fundamental equations in physics. Like the energy balance equation. The time dependence of the various terms in it doesn’t change this.

66. Espen says:

Really astonishing stuff. There’s still the question of levels of CO2 during earlier warm periods, though. Plant stomata here comes to the rescue and gives higher (and presumably better) estimates than the problematic ice core records. Plant stomata from the Eemian also give slightly higher CO2 levels than ice cores, but still only up to about 300 ppm: http://www.geol.lu.se/personal/msr/bjerknes.pdf

67. rgbatduke says:

The argument is not pointless, but I will agree that it is not the one which will drive a stake through the heart of AGW. Unless and until the two time series start to diverge substantially in morphology, the superficial resemblance will be enough to convince most people that there is a cause and effect relationship.

Well said, Bart. One could go further and note that the function one is plotting is almost certainly multivariate, not single variable, which makes things far worse because your argument applies for each variable for which the superficial relationship exists, and because one then can actually choose which of them to emphasize when making the fit. Correlation is not causality, but often it is all we have, and we’re used to using the former to infer the latter even when we cannot really directly prove it. However, having multiple variables, and having causal relationships and covariance among those variables, is a ripe opportunity for omitted variable fraud — ignoring the other variables to focus attention on the correlation associated with the single variable we want to be the cause.

However, it isn’t really necessary to wait until the two time series diverge in the future, because they already diverge in the past. CO_2 as a sole driver is a lousy explanation — so far — for the climate variation observed over the last 5 million years, let alone the last 600 million. Furthermore, trying to analyze the dynamics of CO_2 balance in the atmosphere over a geological past where atmospheric CO_2 spent hundreds of millions of years at concentrations over 1000 ppm (or one part per thousand, a tenth of a percent or more!) is enough to give one a headache. CO_2 is sequestered in the oceans, in the soil, in the crust, carbon in various organic (non-CO_2) forms is bound up in rocks, in clathrates, in oil and gas and coal deposits. Because biology steadily and “irreversibly” depletes carbon (reversibly only on truly long time scales) without an equally steady source CO_2 levels would drop to where plant biology itself becomes rate limiting. This may have in fact happened at the coldest parts of the last glacial period.

Carbon dioxide does not explain the variability of the climate over paleontological time. It does not explain the variability of the climate over recent paleontological time, e.g. the Holocene. It might be a proximate cause associated with the recent gradual return to ice age conditions 3 million years ago, if long time scale modulation of e.g. volcanic and crustal CO_2 sources (one of the only sources of “new” carbon to replenish that which the biosphere steadily depletes) is a reality, but I find it difficult to assess this given the enormous and somewhat violent disagreement concerning just how much CO_2 is being released now by crustal activity. One group asserts that it is a tiny fraction of human emissions. Other groups point to studies that suggest that it is larger than human emissions (including studies that predate the CAGW controversy, which I am more inclined to believe but assessing bias of this sort is very difficult for a non-expert).

What is certain is that there is a lot of carbon bound up in the dynamic biosphere, and a lot more passively bound into the ocean, and still more bound into the soil and the Earth’s crust, and that many factors affect the way that carbon is moved around as CO_2 or otherwise. It may well be that the greatest impact humans have had on the CO_2 levels of the atmosphere comes from deforestation and land use changes, not from burning fossil fuels, and it may yet be that humans are still not the largest factor in the observed changes.

What is certain is that even when the CO_2 levels were as high as they are projected to rise over the next century if nothing at all is done about them, the Earth did not experience a climate catastrophe. It did, however, experience a serious climate catastrophe the last time CO_2 levels where close to half what they are now — ice age and a perilous dance between land-based plant die off and CO_2. Indeed, it may be that the progressive loss of land flora in ice ages may be the negative feedback that ultimately prevents snowball Earth — the cold increases until biological uptake by photosynthesizing plants cannot match e.g. crustal production of CO_2 and a dynamic equilibrium of sorts is reached. Without new CO_2 the very real greenhouse effect could easily have a negative “catastrophe”, and ice ages might well be the biological/geologically stable cold phase that persists until events that de-sequester large amounts of the stored carbon occur, e.g. increases in volcanism, warming that degasses the oceans and soils.

Calling all of this settled science is a bit of a joke, and trying to look at 200 or 300 years of data and interpreting two generally upward trending curves with very different patterns of fluctuation is proof of cause is a much bigger joke, when those patterns are not persistent and do not explain much larger excursions in the still recent geological past. The data suggest that CO_2 is probably responsible for just about the minimum warming that the GHE theory predicts, that overall climate sensitivity is neutral or even negative, and that something else is responsible for most of the temperature variation observed over geological time scales.

I have yet to see truly convincing data and physical arguments to explain the latter. There is a tantalizing very long time scale correlation between cosmic ray flux and geological temperature over the last 600 or so million years, back to the limits of what we can infer using biologically derived markers in combination with radioactives, but this is hard going and not necessarily clear. There are variations in other proxies (including CO_2) that have some degree of synchronicity with this, but identifying cause and effect is difficult.

One thing that does indeed seem to be a possibility is that if we did reach 1000 ppm of atmospheric CO_2, this might be enough to re-stabilize a warm phase and put an end to the current ice age, so that the Holocene does not end but just keeps on going, as the Earth warms back up to the 1-2C warmer temperatures it had 5 million years ago and which appears to be the stable upper bound of geological temperatures on Earth. However, I suspect that the biosphere and oceanic sinks will not permit the CO_2 levels to remain that high unless whatever natural source was responsible for the high levels observed over most of the last 600 million years comes back into play.

rgb

68. Ed says:

“Why do people think that CO2 having been created will remain for ever. Plant life all over the globe, land and ocean, is busy converting CO2 gas to solid hydrocarbons. The more CO2 in the atmosphere the faster they convert it.”

I’m not aware of any science saying CO2 will last forever. In fact, the fact that half the CO2 we emit burning fossil fuels is removed by nature is precisely what proves Salby wrong. We put 30 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere yet the amount of carbon in the atmosphere only increases by 15 billion tonnes per year – the other 15 billion is taken up by nature. Salby claims the opposite – that nature is causing the increase in carbon in the atmosphere.

If the increase from 280ppm before the industrial revolution to 393ppm today was due to natural sources then what happens to our 30 billion tonnes per year?

69. Matt says:

“This number is somewhat higher than the measured 392ppm by volume, but since CO2 is heavier than air, this makes sense, at least to me.”

And I am afraid only to you ;)
ppm = parts per million. It is irrelevant what the parts are made of, it is a statement as to their number. If I tell you I got 10 coins in my wallet, they will still be ten coins, even if you learn that 5 are Euro coins and 5 are Cents – the fact that the Euros are way havier than the Cents does not magically increase their number in the mix.

70. – as explained right in the first comment 447ppm by MASS, 392ppm by VOLUME as CO2 is heavier than air on average.
– also note the 392ppm is pretty suspect anyway as it’s a guess from measuring one area, it’s not like the whole atmosphere has been measured. (the 447ppm was a calculation)

71. dikranmarsupial says:

That the rise in atmospheric CO2 is purely anthropogenic in origin is demonstrated by the fact that atmospheric CO2 levels are rising more slowly than cumulative anthropogenic emissions, which established beyind reasonable doubt that the natural environment is a net carbon sink. This means that the natural environment annually takes in more CO2 than it emits, and hence is opposing the rise in atmospheric CO2, not causing it.

It is well known that the annual change in atmospheric CO2 is correllated with ENSO for example, because change in ocean temperature causes change in the growth and dieback of terrestrial biota and becuase it affects the exchange of CO2 with the surface ocean. However this does not explain the long term rise in atmospheric CO2, just the inter-annual variability superimposed on top.

72. – just make that clear the entire CO2 pattern comes from that one measuring station in Hawaii.

73. dikranmarsupial says:

Alan MacRae, Ferdinand’s argument does not assume that the carbon cycle is static. Look at the mass balance diagram on his website and you will see that the inferred fluxes are constantly changing.

74. Jan P. Perlwitz says:

Allan MacRae wrote:

“I think Ferdinand’s “material balance argument” is incorrect because it inherently assumes that the climate-CO2 system is static, but it is dynamic, and the relatively small humanmade fraction of total CO2 flux may not be significant in this huge system, as it continues to chase equilibrium into eternity.”

The mass balance equation always applies whether it’s a “static” or a “dynamic” system, whether you write the equation as differential equation with time dependent terms, mass balance still applies, or whether you are writing it as an integral over a time period, it still applies.

There is no way around the laws of physics. A hypothesis that violates the laws of physics is bogus. The increase in carbon dioxide mass in the atmosphere can’t be explained as coming from natural sources, since the flux from anthropogenic sources is larger than the carbon dioxide mass change in the atmosphere. The present day net flux – anthropogenic emissions is directed from the atmosphere to the oceans/biosphere. Not the other way around. It’s basic math. If you think first principle and math don’t apply, then I don’t really know what else to tell you.

75. Chuck Nolan says:

As a non-scientist, I kind of get increasing CO2 from the oceans by increasing temperatures but, there must be a temperature crossover point where the ocean cools and absorbs CO2 then warms and releases that CO2. I don’t recall ever hearing at what temperature that crossover occurs. What temperature “creates” that change in CO2 behavior?

76. Scottish Sceptic says:

Thanks for that Superb video. It inspired me to write a letter to the first minister of Scotland (to which I doubt I’ll get a reply), together with a dozen FOI questions .. along the lines of “has anyone in the government ever met any of the scientists x,y,z. who know anything about this?” … “does the government have a clue what they are doing” … “are you even aware that a quarter of Scots died in the 1690s due to cold, and what’s your best estimate of how many die today and will die in the future if there is a maunder minimum”.

Howmany people in Scotland will die early if it gets warmer?

77. Ulric Lyons says:

Being that soil is the second largest CO2 sink on the planet, deeper ploughing, forest clearance for agriculture, and increase in forest fires in old peat lands such as Indonesia have contributed greatly to increases in CO2 emissions.
http://www.helsinki.fi/vitri/research/Educational_Projects/forrsa/RE_2_Course%20and%20workshop%20proceedings/lecture/8jan/06co2.pdf
Add Indonesia to the Amazon an African tropical regions, and then include changes in land use in the biggest CO2 soil store, the Boreal forests, and there is potential for release much greater than from burning hydrocarbons.

78. Bruce Cobb says:

If the increase from 280ppm before the industrial revolution to 393ppm today was due to natural sources then what happens to our 30 billion tonnes per year?
It is actually only about 5 gt per year according to the ipcc- a nitpick, I know. In any case, what happens to it is the same thing that happens to all C02. It becomes a very small part (roughly 3.3%) of the total C02 emissions available for carbon sinks. The big point here, that Alarmists don’t want to hear is that natural sources and sinks of C02 are dynamic, not static. A very small change in one can and does dramatically affect the overall balance. Man’s very small contribution of C02 simply gets lost in the noise.

79. Scottish Sceptic says:

Philip Bradley says: April 19, 2012 at 4:31 pm I was expecting not to be persuaded, and in fact was.

What I found most persuasive was his unwillingness to speculate. If I had been there, I’d have been so tempted to try to draw far more inferences.

It was the statement: “we scientists are here to provide the facts for policy makers, not tell policy makers what to do” (or something like that) which was very telling.

I had another “damascus” moment on solar-activity climate, when I realised my previous dismissal had been based on warmist propaganda and not a proper look at the facts. Likewise, I’ve seen these suggestions before that not all CO2 is human … and I’ve ignored, possibly because, well we should be sceptical.

But, then I realise, that I’ve been dismissing good research … and doing what I criticise government and scientists for doing (who get paid to go out and find the facts, so maybe I’m being harsh on myself).

80. ferd berple says:

The telling slide in the presentation is the Japanese satellite that shows global CO2 emissions by region. Net CO2 increase is not coming from the industrialized regions of the world. The CO2 increase is coming from the tropical regions. The jungles of the Amazon and the Congo. How can this be due to burning fossil fuels?

81. ferd berple says:

The other graphic that I found compelling was the graph of the net increase in CO2 by year, which varies widely, in step with temperature and soil moisture, while the increase in human CO2 by year is constant.

82. dikranmarsupial says:

The Debunker No 2 BS (@No2BS) says: “just make that clear the entire CO2 pattern comes from that one measuring station in Hawaii.”

No, this is not correct, there is a global network of CO2 monitoring stations, they all say pretty much the same thing, the Mauna Loa series is the one most frequently used, but only because it is the first and hence longest of the reliable observational records.

83. Tom in indy says:

@ Jan P. Perlwitz

Although I am a skeptic regarding the sensitivity of climate change to changes in CO2, I appreciate the level of rigor you bring to the conversation and hope you will continue to do so. Thanks.

84. Ed says:

“It is actually only about 5 gt per year according to the ipcc- a nitpick, I know. In any case, what happens to it is the same thing that happens to all C02. It becomes a very small part (roughly 3.3%) of the total C02 emissions available for carbon sinks. The big point here, that Alarmists don’t want to hear is that natural sources and sinks of C02 are dynamic, not static. A very small change in one can and does dramatically affect the overall balance. Man’s very small contribution of C02 simply gets lost in the noise.”

Sorry, I should have said 30 gt carbon dioxide, not carbon, as 30 gt of carbon dioxide is 5gt of carbon. But anyway, roughly half of that carbon/carbon dioxide is taken out of the atmosphere by carbon sinks, mainly the ocean.

You still haven’t explained how nature can be the source of the roughly 15 gt per year increase in atmospheric CO2, which Salby claims, when we are emitting 30 gt per year, meaning nature must be absorbing the other 15 gt. The dynamism of sinks can’t explain it away – in fact its dynamism surely explains why the more carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere, the more in absolute terms the sinks absorb. Even though we pour more CO2 into the atmosphere, roughly half is still absorbed by the fast carbon cycle.

The other problem for this theory (apart from the declining oxygen, decline in C-14, recent increase in carbon dioxide accumulation but slowing of warming, and need for negative concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere at the last glacial maximum) is that after being relatively stable at around 280 ppm through the Holocene, carbon dioxide started increasing when fossil fuels started being widely burnt in the industrial revolution and then increased in accumulation as more and more fossil fuels have been burnt, and also just happened to match the rate at which the fuels have been burnt.

To believe that it just happened to start increasing then, because of increasing temperatures (no physical reason given for this mysterious warming, which is large enough to warm the Earth but too enigmatic to pinpoint), and to disregard all the other independent lines of evidence isn’t skepticism, it’s plain refusal to accept reality.

The fact that the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is due to anthropogenic emissions is so widely scientifically accepted it isn’t really questioned. I think the onus is on those who want to challenge it to provide evidence against it – are there any peer-reviewed sources that cast doubt on it?

85. dikranmarsupial says:

The key question for Prof. Salby (and indeed anybody that argues that the rise in CO2 is natural) is to explain how atmospheric CO2 rises less each year than the amount of anthropogenic emissions in that year, without the natural environment being a net carbon sink (or alternatively how the natural environment can be causing the rise while taking more CO2 out of the atmosphere than it puts in). Good luck with that.

86. Ed says:

Lets be clear: if nature was a net source of atmospheric CO2, the observed increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would be greater than the rate at which it is emitted by man.

We emit 30 gt of CO2 per year. Therefore for nature to be a net source of CO2 at the moment, we would have to observe more than a 30 gt/yr increase in the atmosphere. Yet we only measure a 15 gt/yr increase. It’s simple arithmetic.

Either the CO2 content of the atmosphere measured by many stations at isolated points all over the world is wildly wrong, or the records of fossil fuel production is wildly wrong or there is some unexplained disappearance of 30 gt/yr of CO2 that isn’t into the atmosphere or rest of the fast carbon cycle, or Salby is wrong. Take your pick.

87. dikranmarsupial says:

To add to what Ed says, Prof. Salby is very clear in his talk that the CO2 measurments and fossil fuel emissions data are reliable. I agree with him there.

88. – isn’t this OLD NEWS : the lecture was in August 2011 & was discussed on Judith Curry’s blog August 4th just as the video came available. ..And the paper has still NOT BEEN PUBLISHED… normally going straight to the media & having a press conference before publishing in a peer reviewed journal is a sure sign of suspect science.
– Although in the video Salby was very very convincing. All through I expected him to come out and say “fooled you I haven’t really been converted, actually I love the IPCC & found no errors in their reports”, but he just continued rubbishing their attitude without being insulting.
– Over on SkS (NON-Skeptical, NON-sense) I expected them to have found flaws in the science, but right from the start without even beginning to get into the lecture their strongest argument was “the guys obviously an idiot cos everyone know in the last 200 years climates been following CO2”.The way they can be SO CERTAIN without debunking the details really knocks their own credibility …as ever.
… I see the same suspects making the same type of posts they did there 8 months ago.
– Pity the paper isn’t out I would have liked to have seen them getting their teeth into it.
… is it being SUPPRESSED cos it’s too hot ? Or HELD BACK cos it’s too flawed ?

89. Myrrh says:

The Debunker No 2 BS (@No2BS) says:
April 20, 2012 at 6:26 am
– just make that clear the entire CO2 pattern comes from that one measuring station in Hawaii.

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

Which is on the Earth’s largest active volcano… There is no way that they can get a ‘background well-mixed’ carbon dioxide reading – they make it up by arbitrarily deciding what is ‘volcanic’ and then saying the rest is ‘background’. It is nonsense. They are supposed to have these stations in “pristine environments without local carbon dioxide interference” – and claim that Mauna Loa is such!

Keeling chose it because it was a place where he could create his own numbers, and it continues. The Keeling curve is created out the imagination, not out of any physical data of ‘background’.

This is one of the world’s most active volcanic areas – actively creating islands. There are thousands of earthquakes every year besides the venting and the ongoing eruptions, and all in a warm sea ..

It is simply ludicrous to think that such a high carbon dioxide production area is capable of providing real logical data on carbon dioxide separate from the local events. Their ‘well-mixed background CO2’ is a fib.

90. Ed says:

“To add to what Ed says, Prof. Salby is very clear in his talk that the CO2 measurments and fossil fuel emissions data are reliable. I agree with him there.”

In that case, the fossil fuel emissions must disappear somewhere outside the carbon cycle, or Salby must have overturned elementary arithmetic if he’s correct that nature is a net source of CO2!

91. Ed says:

[SNIP: If you want to make a substantive reply, check the site policy and drop the insults. -REP]

92. Myrrh says:

Plants breath out carbon dioxide. Which is why the Japanese study makes sense, more plants, more carbon dioxide breathed out and more from all the associated processes and there are more plants than anthropogenic burning of them.

Which is how levels of carbon dioxide lag temperature rises after sudden rises into interglacials, it takes time for plant life to develop from the small beginnings in warmer conditions to the spread of forests. Life produces carbon dioxide and uses it to produce it.

93. Ed says:

“Which is on the Earth’s largest active volcano..”

Mauna Loa is not the only CO2 record, it’s just the longest. There are many others at isolated stations such as Antarctica and the Aleutians and they all agree well with Mauna Loa. The CO2 record isn’t in serious dispute – for example Salby accepts it. If Keeling was just making up the numbers, then all the other agreeing stations must be too… then you’re into mass conspiracy territory.

The Mauna Loa record is characterised by a long, relatively smooth increase with a distinct seasonal cycle superimposed, the seasonal element explained by seasonal plant growth and decay in the northern hemisphere. If it was really contaminated by the volcano it would mean that not only is the volcano smoothly emitting more CO2 year after year since 1959 but also regularly more in the spring than the autumn. That would be a most curious volcanic pattern and not consistent at all with the more random CO2 ‘pulses’ that you might expect.

94. dikranmarsupial says:

Mrrh, I seem to recall that WUWT published a very good series of articles a while back (by Willis?) explaining why the CO2 data are reliable, even though Mauna Loa happens to be a volcano. Note also that Mauna Loa isn’t the only station where CO2 measurements are made, and you get essentially the same result if you look at the other stations not sited on volcanos.

95. Ed says:

“Plants breath out carbon dioxide.”

Well, they do in the sense that they respire, so they take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and they put it back in at the same time. Yet, when growing they take more out than they put back. That’s where the carbon plants are partly made of comes from.

Or are you claiming that plants are a net source of CO2? If so, where do the carbon compounds they are made from come from? Again, it’s elementary conservation of mass and arithmetic.

96. dikranmarsupial says:

@Debunker Actually SkS did point out the flaw in Prof. Salby’s argument. Several articles have been written there addressing this particular canard, one of them was written by myself as a result of having published a peer-reviewed article adressing the errors in a previous paper by Prof. Essenhigh. Prof. Salby’s conclusion, as Ed and others have pointed out violates the principle of conservation of mass. If the natural environment were a net source of CO2 into the atmosphere then CO2 levels would be rising faster than anthropogenic emissions (as both the net natural and anthropogenic sources would be contributing to the rise). However, we know that isn’t the case, so the hypothesis cannot be correct.

97. Rick Powell says:

I hate to say it, but this may be the least compelling argument against AGW that I’ve ever read. Sorry, Prof Salby.

98. Steve Brown says:

I can understand the difficulty some commentators have in accepting that the man-made contribution to the atmospheric CO2 contribution is small, especially given that we have emitted our the past thirty years or so about twice as much as the CO2 level has actually increased. Wny its just not logical.

But the real point of this is that atmospheric CO2 is just a fraction of the CO2 in the oceans: 662 billion tonnes vs 37,200 billion tonnes.

So the amount we add may matter hugely (if equilibrium is reached very slowly) or matter not at all (if equilibrium is reached very quickly). Of course the answer is somewhere in between and the critical parameter is how quickly the CO2 levels in the atmosphere respond to alterations in the climate system. The key point of Salby’s presentation for me is that he seems to have proven that the CO2 interchange between ocean and atmosphere is rapid (a couple of years).

CAGW seems to muddle cause and effect more often than not. An open mind is called for on this one I think.

99. dikranmarsupial says:

Steve Brown wrote “The key point of Salby’s presentation for me is that he seems to have proven that the CO2 interchange between ocean and atmosphere is rapid (a couple of years).

If that is Prof. Salby’s point, then it is entirely uncontraversial. The IPCC WG1 FAR gives the residence time as about 4 years and that is essentially the same value given in AR4, and I suspect the next WG1 report as well. It is also uncontraversial that temperatures are correllated to dCO2/dt, this has been known for some time, but that doesn’t mean that this correlation explains the long term increase in atmospheric CO2 (hint: if you differentiate a linear function you get a constant, and correllations only explain variability, not he constant offset). ISTR that Roy Spencer made exactly the same error a number of years ago and his blog article was republished here. These same canards crop up again and again an again, and as Fred Singer says all they achieve is to give skeptics a bad name (note I do not endorse his terminology).

100. Myrrh says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 20, 2012 at 9:50 am
Mrrh, I seem to recall that WUWT published a very good series of articles a while back (by Willis?) explaining why the CO2 data are reliable, even though Mauna Loa happens to be a volcano. Note also that Mauna Loa isn’t the only station where CO2 measurements are made, and you get essentially the same result if you look at the other stations not sited on volcanos.

=========
If you read the description of how they measure it, in that article by Willis, you’ll see they arbitrarily decide what is volcanic and what the mythical ‘man-made well-mixed background’ that’s supposedly coming in across the ocean to drop into their measuring pots..

Anyway, all ended up being controlled by Keeling and his son and now taken over in ‘central’ control. Has anyone looked at these other stations? I’d read somewhere that several had been taken out of the mix a few years ago, and, some are also not in the claimed “pristine” sites if this geologist has his information right: http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/ From which:

“1.2 The Location of CO2 Monitoring Station in regions enriched by volcanic CO2
Volcanic CO2 emission raises some serious doubts concerning the anthropogenic origins of the rising atmospheric CO2 trend. In fact, the location of key CO2 measuring stations (Keeling et al., 2005; Monroe, 2007) in the vicinity of volcanoes and other CO2 sources may well result in the measurement of magmatic CO2 rather than a representative sample of the Troposphere. For example, Cape Kumukahi is located in a volcanically active province in Eastern Hawaii, while Mauna Loa Observatory is on Mauna Loa, an active volcano – both observatories within 50km of the highly active Kilauea and its permanent 3.2 MtCO2pa plume. Samoa is within 50 km of the active volcanoes Savai’i and/or Upolo, while Kermandec Island observatory is located within 10 km of the active Raoul Island volcano.”

But, my biggest gripe about it is that the AIRS data for both the upper and lower troposphere still hasn’t been released – why not? The scant information which came out with the mid troposphere results was that carbon dioxide was not “well-mixed”, much to their surprise, but lumpy, and that they’d have to go away and look at wind systems to understand what they were seeing. What ‘pictures’ they released are sleight of hand, because not showing this conclusion…

There are two things to bear in mind about carbon dioxide, the first that it is heavier than air – it will not readily rise into the atmosphere, this is very well known and understood in real physics:

“Usually the large amounts of carbon dioxide released by Kilauea get dispersed by winds so we can breathe nice, healthy, oxygen-rich air on the caldera floor. Because CO2 is heavier than air, it doesn’t readily rise into the atmosphere and, instead, tends to pool in low areas.” From – Don’t daydream in low-lying places in Kilauea caldera
http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/archive/2005/05_06_02.html

This happens to all carbon dioxide released by coal burning too. It will sink. It takes wind to disperse it, but when that wind stops, it will sink to the ground, and, it won’t be able to rise back into the air under its own volition, because it is heavier than air. Gravity.

The second thing to bear in mind about carbon dioxide, is that as a real gas and not the imaginary AGW ‘ideal gas’, it has real attraction, and in the atmosphere gets attracted to any water vapour and water, all pure clean rain is carbonic acid – carbon dioxide is fully part of the water cycle – which somewhere I read was 9 days? Whatever, it does not get to stay ‘accumulating in the atmosphere for hundreds and thousands of years well-mixed’, because that is against its nature.

I think the reason we’re not getting the AIRS data released is because the real carbon dioxide is shown. That’s why Beck’s, and the thousands of different measurements over a couple of centuries, show this nature. It will be found in greater number where it is produced in greater number, locally, and dispersed by local winds – which don’t cross hemispheres. The ‘background well-mixed’ is not seen from their data, because they won’t produce the data.

101. Ed_B says:

dikranmarsupial says:

“If the natural environment were a net source of CO2 into the atmosphere then CO2 levels would be rising faster than anthropogenic emissions (as both the net natural and anthropogenic sources would be contributing to the rise). However, we know that isn’t the case, so the hypothesis cannot be correct.”

If plants are accelerating their growth rate as a result of higher CO2 then your statement can be falsified.

102. mwhite says:

“CO2 from fossil fuels discerned from natural sources”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17784055

“Researchers have demonstrated a way of distinguishing between carbon dioxide in the air coming from fossil fuel burning and that from natural sources”

It relies on the fact that Carbon 14 has a half life of 5730 years. the carbon in fossil fuels would have virtual no carbon 14 due to decay.The piece seems to suggest that the only natural source of CO2 is from plants.

So what about the CO2 ejected from volcanos???

103. Ed Dahlgren says:

What – you mean you aren’t controlling the ads?

Between the article and the comments: “Join Michelle and tell Barack you’re in.”

104. Ed_B says:

“The telling slide in the presentation is the Japanese satellite that shows global CO2 emissions by region. Net CO2 increase is not coming from the industrialized regions of the world. The CO2 increase is coming from the tropical regions. The jungles of the Amazon and the Congo. How can this be due to burning fossil fuels?”

Fossil fuel CO2 stimulates tree/plant growth, resulting in higher CO2 from the jungle at night.

105. Steve Brown says:

I think the point is – does the addition of 5 Gigatons per year extra into the atmosphere (nothing controversial here) shift the equilibrium point between the atmosphere and the oceans and the ground or does it just add some additional CO2 causes a perturbation away from the equilibrium point.

If the extra CO2 is absorbed rapidly (I hadn’t realised FAR said 4 years) by natural processes the extra CO2 is adding CO2 to in a combination of the atmosphere, the biosphere and the oceans. The atmosphere is just a small fraction of that so if we get to equilibrium quickly then there is no impact in the long run.

I don’t think this a canard – I think this is a fundamental point which needs a proper investigation

106. Myrrh says:

Ed says:
April 20, 2012 at 9:54 am
“Plants breath out carbon dioxide.”

Well, they do in the sense that they respire, so they take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and they put it back in at the same time. Yet, when growing they take more out than they put back. That’s where the carbon plants are partly made of comes from.

Or are you claiming that plants are a net source of CO2? If so, where do the carbon compounds they are made from come from? Again, it’s elementary conservation of mass and arithmetic.

======

They’re using carbon dioxide in photosynthesis, using visible light for a chemical change to sugars, releasing oxygen in the process, they don’t even do this all the time the Sun’s visible light is available to them, but certainly not in all the hours of darkness. Like us, when they are not creating food out of it, they are breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide.

Are they a net source? Well I think so, but how the heck are we ever going to tell from corrupt data and corrupt physical processes as promoted by the AGWScience Fiction department?

Take us for example, we’re around 20% carbon and the rest mainly water – we need carbon dioxide in large amounts to be able to breathe at all – every lungful of air has to contain an optimum 6% of carbon dioxide to efficiently transport oxygen through the blood, as well as for other processes – we certainly don’t get this from the atmosphere – we create it ourselves, out of our own processes from what we get by eating plants, our Carbon Life Cycle.

As some have pointed out in these discussions, we’re at a historic low in the amount of free carbon available and below a certain level all plant life will die and we with it, and, here’s the rub, there’s a theory among biologists that plants created fauna to diversify their own propagation – if so, that we’re actively introducing more into the atmosphere from the carbon dioxide sequestered in fossil fuels is part of God the Plant’s greater plan… :)

107. Bart says:

I missed alot. I cannot fathom how so many otherwise intelligent people can be misled by this ridiculous “mass balance” argument. We do not know how much CO2 is being exchanged naturally to within limits needed to establish anthropogenic emissions as the culprit of the rise in atmospheric concentration. We do not know the sensitivity of the semi-permanent sinks, which can sequester that mass potentially arbitrarily. These sinks expand and contract dynamically in response to atmospheric partial pressure. You cannot make a mass balance argument without knowing the behavioral characteristics of those sinks, which can absorb mass and lock it away for as good as forever.

LazyTeenager says:
April 19, 2012 at 8:46 pm

“The answer should expose a few dumbasses.”

It did, at least one. You didn’t include results from interest and fees, which vary according to how much you have in your account, and at the whim of your financial institution.

Ninderthana says:
April 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

“…would rule out a NET NATURAL GAIN of water from the dam.”

You guys are stuck on stupid. You are treating a dynamic feedback system as though it were a finite containment vessel.

richard verney says:
April 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm

“…had the capacity of today’s carbon sink been available say 30 years ago, there would in fact have been little, if any, rise in CO2 in the atmosphere.”

Exactly! The sinks expand in response to increasing influx. This is a dynamic feedback system!!!

jimmi_the_dalek says:
April 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

“… the ocean capacity is not lower, because although it is slightly warmer, which means the solubility of CO2 at a constant pressure would be slightly less…”

Solubility is NOT the only way the ocean removes CO2 from the system. There are permanent sinks in the formation of carbonates and living creatures, which effectively capture a large share of the influx and permanently sequester it!!!

April 19, 2012 at 11:43 pm

“Explain to me how long-term fluctuations are more or less than the sum of the short term fluctuations for the short time periods that comprise the long-term period.”

We have a way of quantifying fluctuations. It is called frequency. Natural systems typically respond differently to different frequencies.

Jan P. Perlwitz says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:49 am

Please see the discussion starting here. Your argument is jejune.

dikranmarsupial says:
April 20, 2012 at 6:25 am

“That the rise in atmospheric CO2 is purely anthropogenic in origin is demonstrated by the fact that atmospheric CO2 levels are rising more slowly than cumulative anthropogenic emissions, which established beyind reasonable doubt that the natural environment is a net carbon sink.”

It establishes no such thing. See link provided to Jan above.

Ed says:
April 20, 2012 at 8:47 am

“You still haven’t explained how nature can be the source of the roughly 15 gt per year increase in atmospheric CO2, which Salby claims, when we are emitting 30 gt per year, meaning nature must be absorbing the other 15 gt.”

I explain it thoroughly at the link provided to Jan above.

108. Phil. says:

ferd berple says:
April 20, 2012 at 8:01 am
The other graphic that I found compelling was the graph of the net increase in CO2 by year, which varies widely, in step with temperature and soil moisture, while the increase in human CO2 by year is constant.

Of course it is, that’s what the Mass Balance equation tells you to expect:

d[CO2]/dt= Fa+Fn-Fs (where Fa= human sources, Fn= natural sources, Fs=natural sinks)
Our data tells us that d[CO2]/dt≅Fa/2 so 2(Fn-Fs)≅-Fa, however if Fa increases linearly there’s no reason to suppose that (Fn-Fs) does so and so d[CO2]/dt will fluctuate due to the fluctuations in (Fn-Fs). Without the additional flux, Fa, the [CO2] will decrease because at present the natural Carbon cycle is a net sink.
As pointed out above this is not a static analysis, but a dynamic one (all three fluxes can vary with time, temperature etc.), and should be familiar to anyone who has done a university level chemical kinetics course.

109. Phil. says:

mwhite says:
April 20, 2012 at 11:41 am
So what about the CO2 ejected from volcanos???

It contains no C14, it’s a very small fraction of the natural sources however.

110. Ed says:

Ed_B said:

“If plants are accelerating their growth rate as a result of higher CO2 then your statement [that the natural environment isn’t a net carbon source] can be falsified.”

You’ve got things the wrong way round and are actually arguing the same thing as me and the mainstream view of the carbon cycle and against Salby without realising it!

If plants accelerated their growth they would be *more* of a sink for CO2 rather than less (and there is evidence that this is happening). This is the exact opposite of what Salby claims, that the natural environment is the cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2.

111. Bart says:

I am going to repost the comment from here:

M = measured concentration
A = anthropogenic emissions
N = natural emissions
U = natural uptake

We know M = A + N – U. We measure M. We calculate A. From that, we know N-U, and we know that A is approximately twice M, so we know N-U is negative. As you say, it is a net sink.

But, that’s all we know. We do not know N or U individually.

The reservoirs expand in response to both natural and anthropogenic emissions. This is the nature of a DYNAMIC SYSTEM.

Thus, we can take U as composed of two terms (because it is a dynamic system):

UA = natural uptake of anthropogenic emissions
UN = natural uptake of natural emissions

So, we only know N-UA-UN. Suppose UA = A. Then M = N – UN, N is greater than UN, and the rise is entirely natural. Equality would never be precisely the case, but it depends on the sequestration time. If that time is arbitrarily small, then it is possible to within an arbitrarily small deviation to have UA = A. We simply do not know. As the sequestration time increases, anthropogenic emissions induce a greater share of the measured concentration. But, we do not know the sequestration time.

This is a DYNAMIC SYSTEM. It actively responds to changing inputs. You cannot do a static analysis on such a system and expect generally, or even usually, to get the right answer.

112. Phil. says:

Bruce Cobb says:
April 20, 2012 at 7:22 am
If the increase from 280ppm before the industrial revolution to 393ppm today was due to natural sources then what happens to our 30 billion tonnes per year?
It is actually only about 5 gt per year according to the ipcc- a nitpick, I know. In any case, what happens to it is the same thing that happens to all C02. It becomes a very small part (roughly 3.3%) of the total C02 emissions available for carbon sinks. The big point here, that Alarmists don’t want to hear is that natural sources and sinks of C02 are dynamic, not static. A very small change in one can and does dramatically affect the overall balance. Man’s very small contribution of C02 simply gets lost in the noise.

That’s the point, it doesn’t get lost in the noise, it exceeds the annual growth in atmospheric CO2 by a factor of two, the noise is the fluctuation of the natural sources and sinks. The Dynamic vs Static argument is a canard.

113. Phil. says:

Bart says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm
I am going to repost the comment from here:

Yeah you got it wrong there too!

This is a DYNAMIC SYSTEM. It actively responds to changing inputs. You cannot do a static analysis on such a system and expect generally, or even usually, to get the right answer.

But no-one’s doing a static analysis, which is why your comments are wrong.

114. Bart says:

Phil. says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

“But no-one’s doing a static analysis, which is why your comments are wrong.”

That is exactly what they are doing. They are not taking into account the permanent sequestration into land and ocean sinks which are dynamic with unknown response time. Stop embarrassing yourself. You do not understand the argument. I get it.

115. Phil. says:

Bart says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm
Phil. says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

“But no-one’s doing a static analysis, which is why your comments are wrong.”

That is exactly what they are doing. They are not taking into account the permanent sequestration into land and ocean sinks which are dynamic with unknown response time. Stop embarrassing yourself. You do not understand the argument. I get it.

Unfortunately you don’t! Explain why “the permanent sequestration into land and ocean sinks” are not included in Fn above. We’re talking about what’s happening now and in the near future not in thousands of years time. Permanent sequestration is part of the continuing sinks, Fs, it just isn’t large enough to exceed Fa+Fn.

116. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart, the mass balance argument is as follows:

(i) Assumption: The cabon cycle obeys conservation of mass, such that any carbon that is emitted into the atmosphere that is not taken up by the environment remains in the atmosphere.

[This is essentially saying that carbon dioxide doesn’t spontaneously appear or dissapear, if it is in the atmosphere it had to come from somewhere, if it leaves the atmosphere it has to go somewhere.]

(ii) Assumption: The carbon cycle is a closed system, with natural sources and sinks and anthropogenic sources (anthropogenic uptake of carbon is essentially negligible – we are not doing any significant carbon sequestration at the current time).

[This is a statement of the obvious. If there are other sources or sinks that are not natural and not anthropogenic, then they would have to be either supernatural or extraterrestrial, so if you dis agree with this assumption it is basically like saying space pixies are stealing CO2 from the atmosphere. Note we do not assume we know what the natural sources or sinks are, or how they operate, just that they exist.]

(iii) Assuming conservation of mass and that the carbon cycle is a closed system, then we can write that

dC(t) = Ea(t) + En(t) – Un(t)

where dC(t) is the change in atmospheric CO2 in year t, Ea(t) is anthropogenic emissions in year t, En(t) is total natural emissions (from all natural sources) in year t and Un(t) is total natural uptake (from all natural sinks) in year t.

[This is a simple restatement of (i) and (ii) in mathematical form, and you will find the same thing stated in Prof. Salbys’ presentation, so he would agree with the mass balance argument at least this far. Note that this does not assume any of the sources or sinks are static, nor do we make any assumption about the values or behaviour of En(t) or Un(t). ]

(iv) We can rearrange the equation to give

dC(t) – Ea(t) = En(t) – Un(t)

furthermore if the left hand side is negative (i.e. Ea(t) > dC(t)) then we know that the right hand side must also be negative (i.e. Un(t) > En(t))

[this is basic algebra, so I doubt anyone will question this step]

(v) We have good data for both dC(t) (from the network of CO2 monitoring stations) and of Ea(t) fas fossil fuel use is taxed. Prof. Salby explicitly states in his presentation that both sources of data are reliable. They tell us that the left hand side of the equation IS negative and has been every year for at least the last fifty. Thus we know that for at least fifty years total natural uptake has exceded total natural emissions.

[if you disagree with Salby on the reliability of the data, then make your case. If you doubt the data show what I say they show then download the data from the carbon dioxide information and analysis center and plot them for yourself.]

(vi) if the natural environment has been taking more CO2 out o the atmosphere each year than it has put in then it has been opposing the rise in CO2, not causing it.

[If you disagree with this you are using a non-standard defintion of “causing” something to rise than generally agreed]

There you are, seven steps. If the mass balnce argument is wrong then point out in which step the flaw appears.

117. Bart says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

You could have sorted this out for yourself if you had read my earlier posts. You say

dC(t) – Ea(t) = En(t) – Un(t)

But, what you are not acknowledging is that Un(t) responds dynamically to both Ea(t) and En(t). An increase in either one will cause Un(t) to respond.

Thus, you can separate Un(t) into two components, Una(t) and Unn(t), the part which is in response to Ea(t), and the part which is in response to En(t), respectively. Now, your equation reads

dC(t) – Ea(t) + Una(t) = En(t) – Unn(t)

You do not know Una(t). It can be anything from zero to Ea(t). As a result, the right side can be either positve, or negative.

118. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart, did you not read the bit where I wrote “Note that this does not assume any of the sources or sinks are static, nor do we make any assumption about the values or behaviour of En(t) or Un(t).

The mass balance argument makes no assumptions about the values of En(t) or Un(t). It makes no assumptions about the physical mechanisms governing the behaviour of the natural sources and sinks. The mass balance equation is not a model of the carbon cycle. It is a constraint on the behaviour of En(t) and Un(t) that is imposed by conservation of mass, nothing more. Your repeated efforts to intepret it as a model of HOW the carbon cycle works merely indicates that you don’t understand the argument.

It tells us that if we know that anthripogenic emissions exceed the observed rise in CO2 then natural uptake (whatever it was) must have been greater than natural emissions (whatever they were), because if it didn’t then the principle of conservation of mass would be violated. This ought to be pretty obvious to anyone capable of operating a bank balance.

So, which step (i)-(vi) is incorrect?

119. Bart says:

dC(t) – Ea(t) + Una(t) = En(t) – Unn(t)!!!

120. Bart says:

Why can you not understand? The sinks can absorb whatever mass they like. They are not constant!

If Ea(t) = Una(t), then the increase is entirely natural!

121. dikranmarsupial says:

Sorry Bart, I have made it as easy for you to point out the error in my argument by stating it clearly in small steps. The fact that you are avoiding doing so is a tacit (and rather transparent) admission that you can’t point out a flaw in any of the steps. There is a good reason for that, which is that the mass balance argument is correct. Just consider for a moment that just possibly you don’t actually understand it as well as you think you do (if you did understand it and it was wrong, then you would be able to point out the step that was incorrect).

122. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart, nobody is saying that that the sinks are constant. The mass balance argument makes no assumption whatsoever about the mechansisms governng the natural sources or sinks. If you look at the data, as you were asked to do on the previous thread, you will find that the inferred difference between natural emissions and natural uptake is highly variable.

123. Bart says:

I pointed out your error!!!

En(t) – Un(t) is not entirely natural!!!

124. Bart says:

Un(t) has a part which is responding to the natural forcing, and a part which is responding to the anthropogenic forcing!

If Ea(t) were zero, then and only then would En(t) – Un(t) be entirely natural.

125. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote: “If Ea(t) = Una(t), then the increase is entirely natural!”

The flaw in this argument is easily demonstrated via analogy (indeed as I did on the previous thread):

Assume I share a savings jar with my wife (guarded by a team of loyal ninja to make sure only my wife and I have access to the jar). Assume I put in 4 euro a month (corresponding to Ea) and my wife puts in 90 euro a month (corresponding to En) but also takes out 92 euro a month (corresponding to Un). Our savings would be rising at 2 euros a month, and most rational people would say that I was 100% responsible for the rise as my wife was taking more money out of our savings than she was putting in. It doesn’t matter if her deposits or withdrawals are a response to my depsits, as long as she spends more than she saves, she is opposing the rise in our savings.

The same is true of the carbon cycle, we know that natural uptake is greater than natural emissions, so we know that the natural environment is opposing the rise in atmospheric CO2.

126. dikranmarsupial says:

Here is a plot of the data, produced by Ferdinand Engelbeen:

Note that the difference between natural emissions and natural uptake, inferred from the observations of anthropogenic emissions and atmospheric CO2 using the mass balance argument, are constantly changing. Note however that they are always negative (as the natural environment has been a net carbon sink) and that there is a downward trend, which is the response of natural sources and sinks to increasing atmospheric concentrations. The mass balance doesn’t tell you anything about the mechanism involved, it just telss you what Un(t)-En(t) is if you happen to know what dC(t) – Ea(t) is (which we do). It really isn’t rocket science.

127. Bart says:

There is no flaw on my part. You are again using a flawed analogy of a static system.

128. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote: “En(t) – Un(t) is not entirely natural!!!

En(t) and Un(t) were defined as being total natural emissions (from all natural sources) and total natural uptake (into all natural sinks) then En(t) – Un(t) is the net response of the natural environment. If you think this is not entirly natural it just means that you don’t understand the argument.

129. Bart says:

Un(t)-En(t) is not entirely natural. Un(t) has a part which is induced by anthropogenic forcing Ea(t).

130. Bart says:

Just because the “uptake” is natural does not mean it is taking up only natural emissions. Un(t) has a part which is induced by anthropogenic forcing Ea(t).

131. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote “There is no flaw on my part. You are again using a flawed analogy of a static system.”

The same is true whether the system is static or dynamic. If my wife is taking more out of our savings than she is putting in then she is opposing the rise in our savings. This is true whether her deposits and withdrawals are constant or variable, this is true whether her deposits and withdrawals are a response to my deposits or not.

Likewise if the natural environment is taking more CO2 out of the atmosphere than it is putting in then it is opposing the rise rather than causing it. This is true whether the sources and sinks are constant or variable; it is true whether or not the sources and sinks act in response to our emissions (actually they respond to changes in atmospheric CO2, rather than directly to our emissions).

Now it is obvious that you can’t find a flaw in my argument (if you could you would specify the step involved (i)-(vi) and identify the error) so all you can do instead is point out a flaw in an argument I am not making. That is what is known as a straw man, and it fools nobody.

132. Bart says:

There is a part of Un(t), which I called Unn(t), which takes up natural emissions. There is another part, which I called Una(t), which takes up anthropogenic emissions. Un(t) responds dynamically to both En(t) and Ea(t).

133. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote “Un(t)-En(t) is not entirely natural. Un(t) has a part which is induced by anthropogenic forcing Ea(t).”

Irrelevant, as I have pointed out if my wife is taking more out of our savings that she puts in then she is opposing the rise in our savings, and this is true whether or not her deposits and withdrawals are a response to my deposits or not. Whether the natural environment is causing the rise or opposing it depends only on the difference between natural emissions and natural uptake. The reason for that difference is irrelevant.

134. Thylacine says:

Sorry to be obtuse, but the argument that CO2 absorption into the oceans is a different process than CO2 outgassing from the oceans cannot account for the acidifiction problem. If atmospheric CO2 is being sucked out by plankton in the oceans, which die and take the carbon to the bottom of the oceans, that would not cause ocean acidification. CO2 locked in plankton or other sea life does not change the chemical properties of the ocean water – at least not until the life decays and the molecules are taken up into the water.

The explanation I was looking for seems to be this: Cold, CO2-rich water from the ocean bottom circulates to the surface, and outgasses CO2 as it warms. But when the atmosphere has a higher partial pressure of CO2 due to man-made emissions, LESS CO2 from the CO2-rich cold water outgasses as it warms than it otherwise would. Thus the warmer water that is retained near the surface will retain more CO2 and thus be more acidic. On this explanation, the ocean surface water does not take in atmospheric CO2 on a net basis, causing acidification; it is simply that less outgassing happens, so the formerly colder water retains more CO2 in solution – increasing the acidity near the surface.
Does that make sense to anyone else?

135. Bart says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

“Whether the natural environment is causing the rise or opposing it depends only on the difference between natural emissions and natural uptake.”

No, it depends on the natural uptake of natural emissions ONLY. Apparently, the use of the word “natural” is confusing you. There are two types of natural uptake: natural uptake of natural emissions, and natural uptake of anthropogenic emissions. The natural sinks do not discriminate between the two.

If you still do not get it, then you are hopeless, and there is no way I can breach the impregnable wall of denial you have built up around yourself.

136. Peter says:

Bart, do you agree that once a molecule of CO2 is in the atmosphere, that there is no difference from one CO2 molecule to any other? (other than of course the fact that some are 12CO2 and others are 13CO2)

137. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote: “There is a part of Un(t), which I called Unn(t), which takes up natural emissions. There is another part, which I called Una(t), which takes up anthropogenic emissions. Un(t) responds dynamically to both En(t) and Ea(t).”

You are still ignoring the point. Whether the natural environment is causing or opposing the rise in atmospheric CO2 depends on whether it is putting more CO2 into the atmosphere than it is taking out or vice versa, it is as simple as that. You can slice and dice Un(t) however you like, but that doesn’t change the fact that the environment is a net carbon sink and has been for the last fifty years at the very least. Hence it has been opposing the rise in CO2.

138. Bart says:

“Whether the natural environment is causing the rise or opposing it depends only on the difference between natural emissions and natural uptake of natural emissions ONLY.”

The natural uptake of anthropogenic emissions would not occur without the input of the anthropogenic emissions in the first place. Therefore, that portion is not natural. It is not a given. You are implicitly assuming that the sinks are static, that they only take up natural emissions.

This is your error. This is your flaw. I have stated it explicitly. You are accounting Un(t) as being completely in the “natural” column. But, it ceases to be assignable there when it is taking up unnatural emissions.

139. Colin says:

Bart says

“So, we only know N-UA-UN. Suppose UA = A. Then M = N – UN, N is greater than UN, and the rise is entirely natural.”

This is not true. CO2 in the atmosphere is fungible. You can’t assign the excess CO2 entirely to nature or to man, you can say that both contributed to the increase.

Earlier you said that just because the observed rise in CO2 correlates with the predicted change which would occur based on the amount of carbon based fuels (assuming about 50% sequestration) that it doesn’t imply causality. You’re right correlation isn’t causality. But if you know that something should cause something else, and you see a correlation, then you are probably right. We know that burning things should increase the atmospheric content of CO2. We observe that the change is less than we would expect, so we deduce that some percentage is sequestered into the environment. Likewise we also observe that on a year to year basis natural fluctuations can affect CO2 concentrations, these seem to net to about zero however.

140. Bart says:

Peter says:
April 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

“…do you agree that once a molecule of CO2 is in the atmosphere, that there is no difference from one CO2 molecule to any other?”

You should be asking the other guy that question. The very fact of it underlies my argument. The sinks respond the same to both anthro and natural concentration. They expand to consume all. Only by ignoring the natural uptake of anthropogenic input can you arrive at such a silly argument as this “mass balance”, which isn’t really a mass balance at all.

If you are going to balance them, you have to break it up the way I showed:

dC(t) = (Ea(t) – Una(t)) + (En(t) – Unn(t))

Ea(t) – Una(t) is the net anthropogenic input, and En(t) – Unn(t) is the net natural input. And, we have no idea what the proportions are of one to the other.

141. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote: “No, it depends on the natural uptake of natural emissions ONLY.”

No, again the savings jar analogy reveals this to be specious. I my wife is taking more out of the savings jar than she is putting in then she is opposing the rise in our savings. It doesn’t matter one iota whether she takes out coins I put in or coins that she puts in.

“There are two types of natural uptake: natural uptake of natural emissions, and natural uptake of anthropogenic emissions. The natural sinks do not discriminate between the two.”

No, again that is specious. Once a molecule of CO2 is in the atmosphere it makes no difference whether it is from an anothropogenic source or a natural one, it is just a molecule of CO2, just as a coin in the jar is a coin in the jar. A euro is a euro whether I put it in the jar or my wie did.

142. Bart says:

Colin says:
April 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

“… you can say that both contributed to the increase.”

And, that is ALL you can say. You cannot say how much of one or the other did without knowing the nature of the sink dynamics.

I’ve got things to do. No doubt, more stupid words will be written against what I am explaining. It is really depressing.

143. Bart says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm

“You can slice and dice Un(t) however you like, but that doesn’t change the fact that the environment is a net carbon sink and has been for the last fifty years at the very least. Hence it has been opposing the rise in CO2.”

Of course it has been opposing the rise. That is definitional. Sinks always oppose the rise of whatever item they are sinking. Hence the word “sink”.

It tells us nothing about the source of the rise.

144. Bart says:

I am going to repeat this just once and depart for now:

If you are going to balance them, you have to break it up the way I showed:

dC(t) = (Ea(t) – Una(t)) + (En(t) – Unn(t))

Ea(t) – Una(t) is the net anthropogenic input, and En(t) – Unn(t) is the net natural input. And, we have no idea what the proportions are of one to the other.

145. Myrrh says:

university level chemical kinetics course.

Phil. says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm
mwhite says:
April 20, 2012 at 11:41 am
So what about the CO2 ejected from volcanos???

It contains no C14, it’s a very small fraction of the natural sources however.

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

From the link I gave earlier: http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

“Both tectonic and volcanic CO2 are magmatic and depleted in both 13C & 14C. In the absence of statistically significant isotope determinations for each volcanic province contributing to the atmosphere, this makes CO2 contributions of volcanic origin isotopically indistinguishable from those of fossil fuel consumption. It is therefore unsurprising to find that Segalstad (1998) points out that 96% of atmospheric CO2 is isotopically indistinguishable from volcanic degassing. So much for the Royal Society’s unexplained “chemical analysis”. If you believe that we know enough about volcanic gas compositions to distinguish them chemically from fossil fuel combustion, you have indeed been mislead. As we shall see, the number of active volcanoes is unknown, never mind a tally of gas signatures belonging to every active volcano. We have barely scratched the surface and as such, there is no magic fingerprint that can distinguish between anthropogenic and volcanogenic sources of CO2.”

Do read what he has to say about Keeling and the misuse of the Suess Affect.

146. Bart,

I don’t think they’re capable of understanding what you’re trying to explain.

147. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart, I said the natural environment was opposing the rise, that is the net effect of both the sources and the sinks takes more CO2 out of the atmosphere that it puts in. Pointing out that sinks always oppose the any increase is just an attempt to evade the key point, which is that if total emissions from all natural sources are less than the total uptake by all natural sinks then the natural environment is opposing the rise in atmospheric CO2 not causing it.

148. dikranmarsupial says:

Mrrh, volcanic emissions of CO2 are tiny (I agree that they will be C14 depleted). As Fred Singer points out anyone who thinks vocanic emissions produce significant amounts of CO2 need to explain why there isn’t even a blip in atmospheric CO2 ollowing even major volcanic eruptions. Now if you think that volcanic emissions explain the observed isotopic changes, then run the numbers and see if it pans out.

149. Allan MacRae says:

Imo, the material (mass) balance argument fails both in time and space.

The system is dynamic, not static – the system is not in equilibrium – it is always seeking equilibrium in both time and space.

Further, some locations on the planet are CO2 sources and others are CO2 sinks, and these sources and sinks change location and magnitude with time.

To suggest the material balance argument works is to suggest this planet is the size of a teacup, does not rotate on its axis, and does not orbit the Sun (has no seasons).

Hint:
We do know that CO2 lags temperature at several different time scales. The rest is probably just details.

150. Myrrh says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm
Mrrh, volcanic emissions of CO2 are tiny (I agree that they will be C14 depleted). As Fred Singer points out anyone who thinks vocanic emissions produce significant amounts of CO2 need to explain why there isn’t even a blip in atmospheric CO2 ollowing even major volcanic eruptions. Now if you think that volcanic emissions explain the observed isotopic changes, then run the numbers and see if it pans out.

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

Because, firstly, carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it isn’t capable of ‘accumulating in the atmosphere’ to be measured.. Secondly, Keeling had no way of telling what was his mythical ‘background’ CO2 from the volcanic CO2 produced in great abundance every day in Hawaii.

The conclusion: no one knows what they’re talking about here re the figures because the measurements of CO2 have been corrupted because the basics about it are a mess. For example, again from link above:

—–
It seems that Gerlach (2011) drew his interpretation (quoted above) from a preference for the “global” “magmatic” carbon dioxide emission estimate of Marty and Tolstikhin (1998) which was devoloped from the generalisation of isotope ratios across provinces of varied geochemistry. This multimodal generalisation, as I have shown in the example of Laki (Section 2, above), can be spectacularly inaccurate. Gerlach reports this figure in the following contrastive statement:

“The projected 2010 anthropogenic CO2 emission rate of 35 gigatons per year is 135 times greater than the 0.26-gigaton- per-year preferred estimate for volcanoes.”

In the units I am using here, that translates to a “preferred” estimate of worldwide volcanic carbon emission at 0.071 GtCpa. At this point, I think it worth contrasting this with a quote from Cardellini et al. (2011) who are actually engaged in some real research:

“Quantitative estimates provided a regional CO2 flux of about 9 Gt/y affecting the region (62000 km2), an amount globally relevant, being ~ 10% of the present-day global CO2 discharge from subaerial volcanoes.”

That 9GtCO2pa translates to 2.45 GtCpa for just one region, which is more than 34 times the latest personally “preferred” “global” estimate offered by Gerlach (2011). One may well be keen to ask how it is possible that anyone would prefer to propagate a “global” estimate which is almost 35 times smaller than only one of the many provincial figures that must be summed in order to arrive at a worldwide estimate in the first place?

—–

What does Singer know? He’s pushing AGW fisics without providing any evidence that carbon dioxide is capable of doing what he claims. And, as he is visciously against those questioning this lack of evidence of the physical mechanism, calling them deniers and wanting to shut them out rather than provide answers, he is not someone I would give any credibility in the figures he provides. Your mileage may vary.

151. Bart says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

“…if total emissions from all natural sources are less than the total uptake of natural production by all natural sinks then the natural environment is opposing the rise in atmospheric CO2 not causing it.”

Fixed that for you. However, if total emissions from all natural sources are less than the total uptake of natural and anthropogenic production by all natural sinks, then there is not enough information to establish cause, and you need to gather information on the efficiency of the sinks.

152. Bart says:

Smokey says:
April 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Thanks for the moral support, Smokey. I really am shocked that something so elementary can fly over the heads of so many.

153. Alan D McIntire says:

Myrrh says:
April 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm

“Because, firstly, carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it isn’t capable of ‘accumulating in the atmosphere’ to be measured.. ”

Of course it can accumulate in the air. Check out “Dalton’s Law of partial pressure” . , and Scale Height.
Scale height measures the height over which partial pressure drops to a factor of 1/e, =0.367..
The formula is
H = kT/Mg, where H is scale height, M is the mass of the molecule. N2 has a relative mass of 28, O2 has a relative mass of 32, CO2 has a relative mass of 44. True, CO2 has a lower SCALE height than O2 or N2, it will drop off 44/28 as fast as nitrogen, and 44/32 as fast as oxygen, regardless of the fractions of the 3 gases in the atmosphere.

From Dalton’s law, given 3 gases N2, O2, and CO2, the total atmospheric pressure will be the N2 pressure + the O2 pressure + the CO2. pressure. The CO2 will NOT settle out of the air because it’s heavier, it will reduce in density in direct proportion to its scale height.

154. Brian H says:

Alan;
don’t bother. Many have battered themselves silly trying to educate Myrrh. It can’t be done. In any case, by now he has asserted his idée fixe (one of several) so many times that he can’t possibly change his story, to himself or anyone else.

155. dikranmarsupial says:

Mrrh wrote: “Because, firstly, carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it isn’t capable of ‘accumulating in the atmosphere’ to be measured..”

This is obviously incorrect. If it were true then mining would be impossible as the heavier than air CO2 would fill up the mine and suffocate the miners, but it doesn’t. If it were true then there would be no CO2 measurable on top of mountains, but there is. If it were true then the programs that sample air from the upper atmosphere wouldn’t be able to detect any CO2, but they can and do. If it were true then it wouldn’t be possible to detect the effect of CO2 in outbound IR from different heights in the atmosphere, but it is.

As to Fred Singer, you do know he is a leading skeptic scientist, don’t you?

156. dikranmarsupial says:

Brian H wrote “There was much discussion of this on Climate, Etc. last fall, and this winter some asked if the promised paper had been killed or rejected”

Actually the speculation was that Salby had withdrawn the paper, not that it had been killed or rejected.

157. Allan MacRae says:

Allan MacRae says: April 20, 2012 at 5:44 pm Rev.1

Hint 1:
We do know that atmospheric CO2 lags temperature T at several different time scales.

Hint 2:
We also know that in the “short-term” cycle derived from modern instrument records, the rate of change with time dCO2/dt varies ~contemporaneously with temperature T.

The rest is probably just details.

158. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote “Ea(t) – Una(t) is the net anthropogenic input, and En(t) – Unn(t) is the net natural input. And, we have no idea what the proportions are of one to the other.”

I now see the error in your thinking more clearly. It is straightforward to show by analogy why it is wrong.

Assume I share a savings jar with my wife as before. I put in four euro per month, all in Belgian minted coins [corresponding to Ea(t)] and my wife puts in 90 euro a month [corresponding to En(t)] all in Fench minted coins so you can tell who put them in the jar. However my wife thinks that the jar would be neater if it only contained French coins, so each month she takes out all of the Belgian coins she finds in the jar [i.e. Una(t) = Ea(t)] plus an extra 88 french minted coins [Unn(t)]. Our savings still rise by 2 euros per month, but at the end of the month all of the coins are French, there are no Belgian coins, yet most rational people would agree that I am responsible for the rise in our savings as I am saving more than I take out, and that my wife is opposing the rise because she is taking more out of the jar than she is putting in.

Following you argument, my net input to the savings is Ea(t) – Una(t) = 4 – 4 = 0 euros per month, and my wifes net input is En(t) – Unn(t) = 90 – 88 = 2 euros per month, so you would conclude that my wife is causing the rise in our savings even though she is taking more out of the jar than she is putting in. That is clearly absurd, and shows that your reasoning is faulty.

Note in this analogy I have made it a dynamic system as my wifes withdrawals depend on my deposits. However the argument is valid whether the fluxes are static or dynamic,

Your error is to concentrate on where idvidual molecules of CO2 rather than what is causing the imbalance between total emissions and total uptake, and and Prof. Salby explains very clearly in his presentation, it is this difference that causes atmospheric CO2 to rise or fall. Each year about 1/5 of the atmospheric reservoir is exchanged with CO2 from the oceans and terrestrial biosphere. However this is merely an exchange, it has no effect at all on atmospheric CO2 levels.

If you read my paper in Energy and Fuels, you will find it is very well known that only a small proportion of the additional CO2 is of directly anthropogenic origin as a result of this exchange flux, however it is anthropogenic emissions that cause the difference between total emissions and total uptake to be positive, and hence is responsible for the rise.

[Moderator’s Note: Mr. Marsupial, if you want people to read your paper, you will need to provide a reference or link. Somehow I doubt the paper was published under the nom-de-plume of “Marsupial, D.” -REP]

159. dikranmarsupial says:

Good point REP, indeed it wasn’t by D. Marsupial ;o) For those who didn’t see it on the previous thread, the paper was published here: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef200914u

On the Atmospheric Residence Time of Anthropogenically Sourced Carbon Dioxide
Gavin C. Cawley

A recent paper by Essenhigh (Essenhigh, R. H. Energy Fuels 2009, 23, 2773−2784) (hereafter ES09) concludes that the relatively short residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere (5–15 years) establishes that the long-term (≈100 year) rise in atmospheric concentration is not due to anthropogenic emissions but is instead caused by an environmental response to rising atmospheric temperature, which is attributed in ES09 to “other natural factors”. Clearly, if true, the economic and political significance of that conclusion would be self-evident and indeed most welcome. Unfortunately, however, the conclusion is false; it is straightforward to show, with considerable certainty, that the natural environment has acted as a net carbon sink throughout the industrial era, taking in significantly more carbon than it has emitted, and therefore, the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 cannot be a natural phenomenon. The carbon cycle includes exchange fluxes that constantly redistribute vast quantities of CO2 each year between the atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial reservoirs. As a result, the residence time, which depends upon the total volume of these fluxes, is short. However, the rate at which atmospheric concentrations rise or fall depends upon the net difference between fluxes into and out of the atmosphere, rather than their total volume, and therefore, the long-term rise is essentially independent of the residence time. The aim of this paper is to provide an accessible explanation of why the short residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is completely consistent with the generally accepted anthropogenic origin of the observed post-industrial rise in atmospheric concentration. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the one-box model of the carbon cycle used in ES09 directly gives rise to (i) a short residence time of ≈4 years, (ii) a long adjustment time of ≈74 years, (iii) a constant airborne fraction, of ≈58%, in response to exponential growth in anthropogenic emissions, and (iv) a very low value for the expected proportion of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. This is achieved without environmental uptake ever falling below environmental emissions and, hence, is consistent with the generally accepted anthropogenic origin of the post-industrial increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

I have put the bit of the abstract that relates to Bart’s error in bold. Anybody who understands the carbon cycle understands that the large exchange fluxes means that anthropogenic CO2 is exchanged with CO2 from natural sources within 5 years or so. However an exchange has no effect whatsoever on atmospheric CO2 concentrations as it is just a straight swap. It is the difference in total emissions and total uptake that determines whether CO2 levels rise or fall, as explained by Prof. Salby.

This is one of the canards, which Fred Singer rightly says gives skeptics a bad name, and it is well past the time it was dropped.

160. Dave in Delaware says:

Atmospheric CO2 is a “Catch and Release” system.

Rainwater has the ability to wash CO2 out of the atmosphere, and may be an important mechanism in the ocean – atmosphere exchange. Rainfall over land could contain 49 to 68 Gt CO2/yr (as Carbon so we can compare to the atmospheric CO2 estimates). And for the ocean rainfall, it comes to 183 Gt/yr to 252 Gt/yr (as carbon). Compare with of 6 – 8 Gt/yr man made CO2/yr (as Carbon).

If those estimates are correct, it is likely that virtually ALL of the man made CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, then re-released by natural surface processes. That certainly fits with Dr Salby’s presentation, and would be consistent with a temperature and soil moisture correlation.

The land rainfall could end up ’stored’ in a river or lake, go into the soil or plants, or could splat on a parking lot and re-release the CO2 to the air when the water evaporates. My guess is the ocean rainfall could most likely be incorporated into the ocean and the CO2 with it (there is way more CO2 dissolved in the oceans than ‘free’ in the atmosphere), then released in natural temperature processes, or sequestered in biological exchanges.

My estimates used 10 to 20 deg C rain temperatures. From a global water balance, I found an estimate of total global rainfall that came to about 100,000 Gt/yr (as H2O) over land, and 400,000 Gt/Yr over the oceans.

161. Myrrh says:

elementary can fly over the heads of so many.

Alan D McIntire says:
April 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm
Myrrh says:
April 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm

“Because, firstly, carbon dioxide is heavier than air, it isn’t capable of ‘accumulating in the atmosphere’ to be measured.. ”

Of course it can accumulate in the air. Check out “Dalton’s Law of partial pressure” . , and Scale Height.
Scale height measures the height over which partial pressure drops to a factor of 1/e, =0.367..
The formula is
H = kT/Mg, where H is scale height, M is the mass of the molecule. N2 has a relative mass of 28, O2 has a relative mass of 32, CO2 has a relative mass of 44. True, CO2 has a lower SCALE height than O2 or N2, it will drop off 44/28 as fast as nitrogen, and 44/32 as fast as oxygen, regardless of the fractions of the 3 gases in the atmosphere.

From Dalton’s law, given 3 gases N2, O2, and CO2, the total atmospheric pressure will be the N2 pressure + the O2 pressure + the CO2. pressure. The CO2 will NOT settle out of the air because it’s heavier, it will reduce in density in direct proportion to its scale height.

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

“The total pressure of a mixture of gases is the sum of the partial pressures of each gas in the mixture. The law was established by John Dalton (1766–1844). In his original formulation, the partial pressure of a gas is the pressure of the gas if it alone occupied the container at the same temperature. Dalton’s law may be expressed as P = PA + PB + ···, where PJ is the partial pressure of the gas J, and P is the total pressure of the mixture; this formulation is strictly valid only for mixtures of ideal gases. For real gases, the total pressure is not the sum of the partial pressures (except in the limit of zero pressure) because of interactions between the molecules.”

As I’ve said before in these discussions, AGWScienceFiction has created a world which doesn’t exist. Its molecules are ideal gas, which is an artificial imagined construct there is no such critter.

So, what do we have? We have an atmosphere of empty space of a container of ideal gas in this AGW through the looking glass with Alice world, where molecules zip through empty space at great speed bouncing off each other in elastic collisions off their container greenhouse glass imaginary pressure, there is no attraction, no weight, no gravity, no volume, no convection, no bloody any real world basic bog standard physics because there are no real world molecules and so no real world properties and processes in the real world ocean of heavy gas under gravity pressing down on us a ton a square foot. How do you get clouds in your world?

In the real world, if you’d care to step back through the mirror and look around you, real gases have real weight relative to each other; lighter than air gases will rise and heavier than air gases will displace air and sink, it takes work to change that. Carbon dioxide is one and a half times heavier than air, it will sink.

It will not readily rise into the atmosphere, because it is heavier than air as I posted earlier:

“Usually the large amounts of carbon dioxide released by Kilauea get dispersed by winds so we can breathe nice, healthy, oxygen-rich air on the caldera floor. Because CO2 is heavier than air, it doesn’t readily rise into the atmosphere and, instead, tends to pool in low areas.” From – Don’t daydream in low-lying places in Kilauea caldera
http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/archive/2005/05_06_02.html

My bold. Real gases, real world. The AGWSF comic cartoon energy budget is fictional fisics of a world of fictional properties and processes. You’ve been had.

162. dikranmarsupial says:

@mrrh wrote “In the real world, if you’d care to step back through the mirror and look around you, real gases have real weight relative to each other; lighter than air gases will rise and heavier than air gases will displace air and sink, it takes work to change that. Carbon dioxide is one and a half times heavier than air, it will sink. “

In that case, as I pointed out earlier, why is it that CO2 being heavier than air doesn’t sink into mineshafts and displace the air and suffocate the miners?

163. Ed says:

Myrrh said:

“It will not readily rise into the atmosphere, because it is heavier than air as I posted earlier:”

If you had not noticed, the atmosphere is not still. It’s in constant motion, even on a calm day. Air motion (ie the wind) is constantly mixing it.

If your theory of carbon dioxide sinking was correct, you’d have to worry every time you went into a basement that you’d be suffocated by carbon dioxide that had sunk down there. There would also be no carbon dioxide at hill tops so presumably plants would not grow there.

Besides, your theory is easily falsified by measurements. People have been measuring carbon dioxide concentrations at different altitudes since the 19th Century. You appear to believe this sinking property of carbon dioxide has managed to escape notice for more than a hundred years!

164. Myrrh says:

fisics of a world of fictional properties and processes. You’ve been had.

dikranmarsupial says:
April 21, 2012 at 7:57 am
@mrrh wrote “In the real world, if you’d care to step back through the mirror and look around you, real gases have real weight relative to each other; lighter than air gases will rise and heavier than air gases will displace air and sink, it takes work to change that. Carbon dioxide is one and a half times heavier than air, it will sink. “

In that case, as I pointed out earlier, why is it that CO2 being heavier than air doesn’t sink into mineshafts and displace the air and suffocate the miners?

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

It can do, for those unaware of the dangers that it displaces oxygen to pool on the ground – instant suffocation. So also, if invited to a p*ss up in a brewery don’t fall asleep on the floor.. Methane in mines is a known hazard also, because it is lighter than air and will rise and layer at the ceiling – covering oneself with wet towels and carrying a lighted candle on a long pole to get rid of any used to be standard practice entering new mines.

The extract I posted came from the article titled:
“Don’t daydream in low-lying places in Kilauea caldera”

I really don’t know what to suggest, perhaps if you read it a few times to re-orientate yourself, and checked out other real world examples of gases layering because heavier or lighter than air you’d see how the AGWSF fisics is describing a different world.

This is very much a well known hazard around venting volcanoes, but also quite recently the unusual event at Lake Nyos where carbon dioxide responsible for the deaths of over 1700 people:

http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/Nyos.html

“The CO2-rich cloud was expelled rapidly from the southern floor of Lake Nyos. It rose as a jet with a speed of about 100 km per hour. The cloud quickly enveloped houses within the crater that were 120 meters above the shoreline of the lake. Because CO2 is about 1.5 times the density of air, the gaseous mass hugged the ground surface and descended down valleys along the north side of the crater. The deadly cloud was about 50 meters thick and it advanced downslope at a rate of 20 to 50 km per hour. This deadly mist persisted in a concentrated form over a distance of 23 km, bringing sudden death to the villages of Nyos, Kam, Cha, and Subum.”

Heavier than air, really means that in the real world. In huge quantities like this or smaller volumes in confined spaces such as mines or hollows in the ground in the path of flows from venting volcanoes, it kills by suffocation, displacing oxygen.

http://www.neatorama.com/2007/05/21/the-strangest-disaster-of-the-20th-century/

However, it is absolutely essential to us Carbon Life Forms, without it we can’t live as it is the basic food and necessary for optimum body processes. http://theroadtoemmaus.org/RdLb/11Phl/Sci/CO2&Health.html

165. Because CO2 is heavier than air, it doesn’t readily rise into the atmosphere and, instead, tends to pool in low areas.

Then that begs the question as to why the US Air Force has spent so much taxpayer money investigating the IR absorption properties of CO2 in the atmosphere (where heat-seeking missiles fly).

166. dikranmarsupial says:

mrrh People have been mining for 5,000+ years, and digging tunnel and room pits for over 1,000 years. Can you give me a single doccumented account of a mine that has filled with CO2 and suffocated all the miners?

167. dikranmarsupial says:

@Caerbannog I seem to recall reading that it was US Airforce data on IR absorption at altitude that Gilbert Plass used in the 1950s to produce the first modern numerical model of the greenhouse effect.

168. Myrrh says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 21, 2012 at 7:57 am
@mrrh wrote “In the real world, if you’d care to step back through the mirror and look around you, real gases have real weight relative to each other; lighter than air gases will rise and heavier than air gases will displace air and sink, it takes work to change that. Carbon dioxide is one and a half times heavier than air, it will sink. “

In that case, as I pointed out earlier, why is it that CO2 being heavier than air doesn’t sink into mineshafts and displace the air and suffocate the miners?

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

And as I’ve answered, it’s a well known hazard in mining, it does.

http://www.everything2.com/title/Gas+in+Coal+Mines
“Carbon dioxide Besides being a part of both after damp and black damp, as noted above, carbon dioxide levels increase due to human and (in some cases, particularly in the past) animal respiration. Other sources include burning of candles or torches (less common since electricity came to mining), explosions, chemical reactions with certain rocks/minerals, even the decay of timber. One of the key tasks of a mine ventilation system is to get rid of carbon dioxide (hardly the most deadly, but the one most apt to build up in the day to day operation of a mine).”

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/freakish/smother.asp
“Yet carbon dioxide is also a deadly gas. Countless miners laboring underground have forfeited their lives to “choke damp,” the term for the oxidizing of carbon trapped within coal. When this process takes place in an enclosed space (such as the depths of a mine), the resulting carbon dioxide cannot dissipate and forms an invisible deadly cloud. Accounts given by people who witnessed choke damp in action described deaths that came so quickly the victims had no chance to escape. One person, recounting the fate of eight men and one woman who walked into an area where the gas had accumulated, said they “fell down dead, as if they had been shot.” Another narrative of a different death said the stricken miner was “without access to cry but once ‘God’s mercy.'”

Miners not only walked into deadly accumulations of choke damp; they were also sometimes lowered into them by being let down into mine shafts on ropes. If they hit pockets of carbon dioxide during their descents, they would fall from those ropes dead.”

There’s lots of info available – click a few keys.

169. dikranmarsupial says:

@mrrh both of the examples you give there are a result of carbon dioxide generated within the mine, rather than having sank into the mine from the surface as your hypothesis would suggest.

170. Myrrh says:

caerbannog666 (@caerbannog666) says:
April 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

Because CO2 is heavier than air, it doesn’t readily rise into the atmosphere and, instead, tends to pool in low areas.

Then that begs the question as to why the US Air Force has spent so much taxpayer money investigating the IR absorption properties of CO2 in the atmosphere (where heat-seeking missiles fly).

Yeah, very good question… They still won’t release the AIRS data for upper troposphere – or lower…

What carbon dioxide is found in the atmosphere will either come down because it is heavier than air, (the atmosphere isn’t churning around by constant wind…, looking out of my window now, none of the trees are moving, ah just begun a slight breeze at the very tops, stopped again), or, it comes down as rain, all pure clean rain is carbonic acid. Water vapour and carbon dioxide not being the imaginary ideal gases do not bounce off each other, but as real gases are mutually attracted to each other – so also in fog, dew, and that’s why iron rusts outside.

They really don’t want to produce any data about carbon dioxide. If I recall, a couple of satellites that were going to launched with the main brief of measuring CO2, didn’t make it, exploded or something.

Anyway, carbon dioxide has very low heat capacity, it quickly gets hot and as quickly cools down – if they’re worried about showing a trail or something? At those heights it’s cold, and oxygen and nitrogen also have low heat capacities, a little better than carbon dioxide but for all practical purposes it’s instant from hot to cold – the trails from planes are water vapour condensing out in the cold. Have to say I don’t understand what they’re doing, can you explain? afaik heat seeking missiles hit on, so to speak, the hot spots in the actual body of the plane targetted.

171. Bart says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 21, 2012 at 5:33 am

“I now see the error in your thinking more clearly. It is straightforward to show by analogy why it is wrong.”

There is no error in my thinking. You analogies are facile and inapplicable. It is apparent you have no familiarity with feedback systems, and do not understand how they work.

172. Ed says:

Bart said:

“There is no error in my thinking. You analogies are facile and inapplicable. It is apparent you have no familiarity with feedback systems, and do not understand how they work.”

I thought marsupial’s analogy seemed to fit your theory well and made it much clearer.

Rather than simply dismiss the analogy, if you think it doesn’t represent your theory, why not fix it to show more clearly your thinking? We would understand your thinking much more clearly if you could use the husband/wife coin jar analogy with your own numbers inserted.

Just hand-waving it away as wrong doesn’t help solve the problem.

173. Myrrh says:

Dave in Delaware says:
April 21, 2012 at 7:47 am
Atmospheric CO2 is a “Catch and Release” system.

Rainwater has the ability to wash CO2 out of the atmosphere, and may be an important mechanism in the ocean – atmosphere exchange. Rainfall over land could contain 49 to 68 Gt CO2/yr (as Carbon so we can compare to the atmospheric CO2 estimates). And for the ocean rainfall, it comes to 183 Gt/yr to 252 Gt/yr (as carbon). Compare with of 6 – 8 Gt/yr man made CO2/yr (as Carbon).

If those estimates are correct, it is likely that virtually ALL of the man made CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, then re-released by natural surface processes. That certainly fits with Dr Salby’s presentation, and would be consistent with a temperature and soil moisture correlation.

The land rainfall could end up ’stored’ in a river or lake, go into the soil or plants, or could splat on a parking lot and re-release the CO2 to the air when the water evaporates. My guess is the ocean rainfall could most likely be incorporated into the ocean and the CO2 with it (there is way more CO2 dissolved in the oceans than ‘free’ in the atmosphere), then released in natural temperature processes, or sequestered in biological exchanges.

=========

Hungry microbes share out the carbon in the roots of plants
October 19, 2007

Sugars made by plants are rapidly used by microbes living in their roots, according to new research at the University of York, creating a short cut in the carbon cycle that is vital to life on earth.

The green leaves of plants use the energy of sunlight to make sugar by combining water with carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This sugar fuels the plant’s growth, but scientists in the University’s Department of Biology discovered that some of it goes straight to the roots to feed a surprising variety of microbes.

A study led by Professor Peter Young, of the Department of Biology at York and Dr Philippe Vandenkoornhuyse of the University of Rennes in France is published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS).

In the carbon cycle, plants remove carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere. Eventually, the carbon compounds that plants make are ‘eaten’ by microbes and animals, which release carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere. The rapid cycling demonstrated by the new research is an important link in this process.

Professor Young said: “Our research identifies microbes in roots that create a short cut in the carbon cycle. This is an important development given current interest in reducing outputs of carbon dioxide and the ‘carbon trading’ that is intended to help this.”

Professor Young added: “It is these active organisms that are important because they are turning sugar back into carbon dioxide, which is released into the atmosphere. We were astonished at the wide variety of active bacteria that we discovered. Many of them had not been seen in plant roots before, and we have no idea how they may affect plant growth.”

The role of mycorrhizal fungi is better known. They are particularly important in carbon cycling, because they pump the carbon compounds out of the root into a massive network of fine fungal filaments in the soil, where it becomes available to other microbes and also to larger soil organisms like worms, mites and insects. In return, the fungus gathers phosphorus from the soil and delivers it to the plant, helping the plant to grow better. The research confirmed that there were many different fungi in the roots of each plant, but revealed, for the first time, which of these fungi were most active.

University of York

174. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote “There is no error in my thinking. You analogies are facile and inapplicable. It is apparent you have no familiarity with feedback systems, and do not understand how they work.”

Sorry Bart, this is merely a tacit admission that you can’t address the issue raised by the analogy without making it obvious that your argument is untenable. The ad-hom about not understanding feedback systems is really no substitute for a substantive counter argument. It also demonstrates that you have not read my peer-reviewed journal paper, in which in addition to the mass balance argument, I construct a simple dynamical model of the carbon cycle, descibed by differential equations.

Forgetting for the moment whether the analogy is facile or inapplicable, in the analogy would you say that I was responsible for the rise in our savings, or my wife? If the latter, please give your justification for your answer.

175. Heggs. says:

News on this from Jo Nova. Apologies if this has been posted before.

http://joannenova.com.au/2011/08/blockbuster-planetary-temperature-controls-co2-levels-not-humans/

“The up and coming paper with all the graphs will be released in about six weeks. It has passed peer review, and sounds like it has been a long time coming. Salby says he sat on the results for six months wondering if there was any other interpretation he could arrive at, and then, when he invited scientists he trusted and admired to comment on the paper, they also sat on it for half a year. His speech created waves at the IUGG conference, and word is spreading.”

Heggs.

176. dikranmarsupial says:

It is a shame that Prof. Salby doesn’t read climate blogs. He is not the first to have made this mistake, Roy Spencer put forward essentially the same argument some time ago on his blog (it was republished here) and the “other interpretation” was explained in great detail. It is well known that the variability in the growth rate is well correlated with temperature. However it is not the variability in the growth rate that gives rise to the long term increasing atmospheric CO2, it the long term average value of the growth rate, which is not explained by changes in temperature.

I really hope that Prof. Salby realises his error before the paper is published and withdraws it, it won’t do anyone any good, especially Prof. Salby himself.

177. Bart says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

“Sorry Bart, this is merely a tacit admission that you can’t address the issue…”

This is your usual debating ploy – claim that I have not addressed what I have explicitly addressed time and time again. You’ve got a static model. There is no feedback.It’s idiotic.

Try this analogy. There are three people involved: You, your wife, and your kid (actually, her kid from a previous marriage).

You and your wife both contribute to your kid’s non-interest bearing account. Every month, you put in 300 Euro, and your wife initially does not put any in. You start with a balance of 1200 Euro.

Your kid withdraws 25% of the amount in the account each month, providing him a steady income of 300 Euro/month.

After some time, your wife starts contributing 10 Euro a month. In about a year, the account value is roughly 1240 Euro, as she would expect, and she reasonably concludes that the rise is due to her contributions.

Your wife notices the kid seems to be living rather well. She confronts him, and he confesses that he has actually been taking out 100% very month. She reasons that you have been putting in 1200 Euro a month and, at the time she began contributing, you bumped it up to 1230 Euro per month so that, when she checked on the account in a year, it would show the rise she would expect. The increase is actually 75% from your contributions!

Your wife did not know your kid caught you fooling around with the nextdoor neighbor, and extorted an additional 900 Euro/month from you. Now, you’re busted, and the lawyers are going to be collecting your Euros.

Now, note the variables. Your wife’s contribution over the year is 120 Euro. That is Ea(t) at t = 1 year. The delta in the account is 40 Euro. That is dC(t). dC(t) is less than Ea(t), yet the rise in the account is only 25% due to her. How can this be, when you have assured me it cannot?

It all depends on the power of the sink. When it was thought to be relatively low (25%), the rise was due to the wife. But, as it gets stronger (up to 100%), the relative contribution from her becomes less and less of the total.

178. Bart says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm

“He is not the first to have made this mistake…”

That is so farcical, given that you haven’t a clue what you are talking about.

179. Bart says:

Brian H says:
April 21, 2012 at 1:02 am

“Many have battered themselves silly trying to educate Myrrh.”

Yep. But, “dikranmarsupial” is a viable competitor. I’m not sure which is worse.

180. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote ” You’ve got a static model. There is no feedback.It’s idiotic.”

You clearly didn’t read my post, I deliberately made the analogy with a feedback loop as the wife’s withdrawals are whatever my deposits were plus 88 euros. I even put in a paragraph stating that I had done this so that it would be a dynamic rather than a static example.

Your analogy is obviously an attempt to annoy me by personalising the discussion rather than making a serious point. Sorry I have no time for that sort of behaviour. However if you would like to make the point in a more scientific manner then I will respond to it.

181. dikranmarsupial says:

I see now what you have done. In my analogy I represent anthropogenic emissions but in your analogy you have switched it to be the wife instead and then claimed that I said the wife couldn’t be the cause of the rise “How can this be, when you have assured me it cannot?”.

However the funamental problem with your analogy is that the sources and sinks are either anthropogenic or natural, there is no third player involved, so your analogy does not map onto the carbon cycle. Try making a better analogy where there are only two parties, one representing all anthropogenic influences and one representing all natural influences.

Notice that I am engaging with your analogy, even though you reufused to engage with mine, and wouldn’t even say whether I was responsible for the rise or my wife in that example.

182. Bart says:

“I deliberately made the analogy with a feedback loop as the wife’s withdrawals are whatever my deposits were plus 88 euros.”

That is not a feedback. That is a feed-forward of a constant value, i.e., it is merely a bias input which does not partake in or influence the loop dynamics.

A dynamic feedback would be of the form where the withdrawals change as a function of deposits, e.g., as in an interest rate. That is why I fixed your “analogy” by adding a dynamic factor of the percentage the kid takes out.

The Earth’s climate system, including the CO2 governors, is a dynamic feedback system.

“…there is no third player involved…”

There are three players involved: 1) natural emissions (you) 2) anthropogenic emissions (your wife) 3) sinks (your kid). Period.

Sinks do not discriminate on the basis of “natural” or “anthropogenic,” any more than the kid in this analogy cares whether the money in the account came from his mother or his step-father. The environmental sinks gobble up CO2 from any source. And, they expand and contract dynamically based on how much CO2 is available.

183. Bart says:

Let me repeat this:

“Sinks do not discriminate on the basis of “natural” or “anthropogenic,” any more than the kid in this analogy cares whether the money in the account came from his mother or his step-father. The environmental sinks gobble up CO2 from any source. And, they expand and contract dynamically based on how much CO2 is available.”

This is where you made your error. You assumed the sinks were constant. That, if 100 ppm per day is coming in naturally, they will take 100 ppm per day out, and when humans put in another 3 ppm per day, they will still take on 100 ppm out.

But, that is NOT how dynamic feedback systems work. If humans put in another 3 ppm, then the sinks will expand eventually to take 103 ppm out, and an equilibrium is once again achieved. How much the overall concentration has to rise in order to put enough pressure on the sinks to equalize at 103 ppm determines how much it will rise.

If the feedback is strong, then that delta concentration will be no more than 3%. If it is weak, then it could rise considerably more.

That is the question which has to be answered before we can positively pin the blame for the observed 30% or so rise on humankind: How powerful are the sinks? Nobody really knows.

184. Smerdlap says:

I didn’t really understand this video.

I continue to believe that a drop in human emissions would lead to atmospheric CO2 increasing at a slower rate or dropping. And an increase in human emissions would lead to atmospheric CO2 increasing at a greater rate.

I think to believe otherwise you’d have to overthrow some of these common sense principles:

1. Natural sinks can’t distinguish between CO2 molecules of natural origin and those emitted by humans
2. Natural sinks work to remove CO2 at a rate dependent much more on the current CO2 level than on any of its time derivatives. (For example, plants don’t make plans to grow faster this year because they expect there to be more 0.5% more CO2 next year.)

185. Heggs says:

Bart says:
April 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm
——————————–
@Bart,
Hello man, I’m a layman and I found your comment/explanation very easy to understand, thank you. My question for you if you don’t mind is this. How much does science agree with your explanation and do you have any sites I could learn more about these sinks etc. that I have some chance of understanding ?

thanks again,

Heggs

186. jimmi_the_dalek says:

Bart :” If humans put in another 3 ppm, then the sinks will expand eventually to take 103 ppm out, and an equilibrium is once again achieved. ”

Except that they are not reaching an equilibrium. People arguing with you are not assuming static models, they have several times pointed out that mankind is releasing CO2, but that not all of it is staying in the atmosphere. i.e. the sinks are expanding, but not fast enough. And the data is clear enough that this has been going on for some time now. So where is your equilibrium? Your position appears to be that mankind is releasing extra CO2, but that this not responsible for the observed rise. Instead it is Nature’s fault for not having CO2 sinks with a short enough response time to absorb it. Well you can argue that if you want, but it is not very convincing.

187. Smokey says:

jimmi the d says:

“…the sinks are expanding, but not fast enough.”

It takes trees time to grow.

188. jimmi_the_dalek says:

Yes indeed Smokey, it takes time for trees to grow and the ocean to absorb more CO2 etc, but where did that extra CO2 come from in the first place?

189. Smokey says:

jimmi,

The extra CO2 came from human emissions. So what? That is not the issue; that is a red herring argument.

Here, let me put it as a testable, falsifiable hypothesis:

At current and projected levels, CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere.

I invite you to try and falsify that hypothesis, if you can. Per the scientific method, of course, with verifiable, testable, and falsifiable real world evidence.

Because if CO2 is globally harmless, then the entire “carbon” scare is falsified.

190. jimmi_the_dalek says:

“The extra CO2 came from human emissions. So what?”

So what? The “so what” is that Bart, and the OP, and Prof Salby are denying that.

I don’t see how your hypothesis is testable, as we do not have a control planet available – mind you, I do not see that the converse, that CO2 emissions are harmful, is testable either, except by waiting a 100 years and seeing what happens.

191. rstritmatter says:

Fabulous presentation. Absolutely solid science.

192. Stephen Wilde says:

The natural sink / source varies greatly depending on ocean surface and land moisture temperatures.

The system is well capable of absorbing ALL human emissions in very short order but in reality the natural variability is currently releasing more CO2 to the air entirely naturally and would be doing so even if our emissions were zero.

The AIRS data shows no excess CO2 over human population centres which suggests rapid local and regional reabsorption by natural sinks.

All the higher CO2 levels are over or downwind of areas of warm ocean surfaces which supports the contention that what matters most is ocean surface temperatures.

All the highest concentrations are downwind of warm water.

The Mediterranean gets very warm in summer so you can see the plume across the Middle East.

Australia gets CO2 from the ocean between it and South Africa.

South America gets CO2 from the Pacific upwind.

Western USA from the Pacifdic upwind .

Southern Asia gets CO2 from the Indian Ocean upwind.

There is a plume of CO2 downwind of the warm Gulf of Mexico.

and so on.

There is little or no significant excess CO2 above or downwind of major population centres such as Western Europe or the North Eastern USA.

The relatively low CO2 quantities above the equator are due to the clouds and rain of the Intertropical convergence zone.

The two main bands of higher CO2 concentration are under the subtropical high pressure systems in each hemisphere where most sunshine gets into the oceans to warm the sea surfaces.

Atmospheric CO2 is clearly driven by sea surface temperatures affecting oceanic absorption capacity and the AIRS results are proof but so far as I know no one else has pointed it out as yet.

Sea surface temperatutres are in turn affected by cloudiness and albedo changes and I have extensively described the causes of that elsewhere

The true extent of natural variability does not show up in the ice core record because of the coarsness of the record which really only reproduces large changes over long periods of time and even then much of the detail is lost.

The sensitivity of the ice core record as a proxy is lost during the process of sealing a section into the ice column. During that sealing process there are multiple melts which progressively deplete the CO2 content as the temperature of the sample rises again at each event in the melt cycle.

It is no coincidence that he old chemical methods of measuring CO2 in the air gave higher results than the ice core proxy methods.

I think the ice core proxy record is and always has been way too low and the current concerns are therefore misplaced.

193. Bart says:

jimmi_the_dalek says:
April 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm

“Except that they are not reaching an equilibrium.”

I never said they were. You rarely can reach an equilibrium when inputs are time varying. And, you generally wouldn’t reach an equilibrium instantaneously even if they were constant.

I’ve made the analogy as simple as possible so that you could understand it. The only thing you need be concerned about right now is whether I have, or have not, demonstrated that the argument that nature acting as a net sink necessarily means the source of increase must be wholly or predominatly from anthropogenic forcing only is false. I have. Thus, the phoney “mass balance” argument is kaput.

“…i.e. the sinks are expanding, but not fast enough. “

We do not know that. We do not have data demonstrating it one way or the other. This silly “mass balance” argument neither confirms nor disconfirms it.

Heggs says:
April 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm

“How much does science agree with your explanation …”

If you mean “science” as the application of reason and rigorous mathematics to understand and shape the natural world, it agrees emphatically. I am only relating standard results of control theory. If, however, you mean “Science” as a human enterprise, with all the politics and jockeying for position, cash, and entitlements such enterprises entail, I might not garner a majority in a headcount.

But, make sure you understand my position. I am not saying the rise is positively not anthropogenically induced. I am saying only that the “mass balance” argument does not provide any useful information to resolve the issue.

“…do you have any sites I could learn more about these sinks etc. “

I cannot provide a comprehensive list. Nobody really can. New mechanisms are being found and old quantifications updated all the time, e.g., here and here. Maybe a good place to start is reading about the Carbon Cycle at Wiki.

In searching for the penultimate link (the old one I had from The Resilient Earth website appears to have gone stale), I also came upon this link to a downloadable book. I do not vouch for it because I haven’t looked at it, but am providing it FYI to do with as you will.

194. Bart says:

“Bart says:
April 22, 2012 at 12:07 am

jimmi_the_dalek says:
April 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm

“Except that they are not reaching an equilibrium.”

I never said they were.

Let me clarify that before jimmi… well, let me clarify it. What I said above wiht which he took issue was “then the sinks will expand eventually to take 103 ppm out, and an equilibrium is once again achieved.” Nature is always seeking equilibrium, even if it takes time, and even if it is tracking a moving target.

Please note that I was here talking about 103 ppm per day, and I was tossing up numbers as an example for illustration, not numbers which have any relation to reality, except insofar as I was suggesting anthropogenic emissions which were 3% of natural emissions.

Currently, we are emitting about 3% of natural emissions as they are estimated today. With strong sink feedback, we would quickly settle out to a 3% increase over what nature itself was driving us to. Indeed, we may well have settled out with regard to the anthropogenic input, but still could be being driven higher by natural emissions above and beyond the estimates. That is the whole point.

195. Bart says:

And, one last time, let me reiterate:

The only thing you need be concerned about right now is whether I have, or have not, demonstrated that the argument, that nature acting as a net sink necessarily means the source of increase must be wholly or predominately from anthropogenic forcing only, is false.

The question before us, does the “mass balance” argument, as proferred by Ferdinand Englebeen, Gavin Cawley, and dikranmarsupial settle the argument as to the attribution to humans of the rise in atmospheric concentration of CO2 since at least 1958?

No, it does not.

196. Myrrh says:

Bart says:
April 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm
Brian H says:
April 21, 2012 at 1:02 am

“Many have battered themselves silly trying to educate Myrrh.”

Yep. But, “dikranmarsupial” is a viable competitor. I’m not sure which is worse.

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

And what precisely have you two tried to educate me about where you claim your understanding superior?

I insist on an answer because I have several posts in this thread, your ad hom attack is on all I’ve written in them.

197. Robert S says:

Anything is possible says:

April 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Posted this yesterday at TB’s site :
Some figures pertaining to mass, which may (or may not) prove helpful……
Total mass (Ta) of atmosphere = 5.14×10^18 kg.
Mass of CO2 (Tc) in atmosphere = 2.3 x 10^15 kg.

Is your figure for CO2 calculated? A calculation I used gave me 2887.4 giga tonnes or
2.89 x 10^15 kg which I subsequently used with Henry’s Law to compare the equilibrium figure with a quoted figure for CO2 in seawater.

198. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote: “That is not a feedback. That is a feed-forward of a constant value, i.e., it is merely a bias input which does not partake in or influence the loop dynamics.

A dynamic feedback would be of the form where the withdrawals change as a function of deposits,

Nonsense, the wifes withdrawals do change as a function of deposits, it is just that I made (anthropogenic) deposits constant for the sake of simplicity. The analogy would work just as well if my deposits were variable instead of constant, as indeed I pointed out at the time.

“There are three players involved: 1) natural emissions (you) 2) anthropogenic emissions (your wife) 3) sinks (your kid). Period. “

Nonsense, if you want to know whether the rise is natural or anthropogenic then the natural environment consists of both the natural sources and the natural sinks, and it makes no sense to consider them separately. As Prof. Salby correctly says it is the difference betweens emissions and uptake that affects atmospheric concentrations.

Of course it hasn’t escaped my attention that you have quitely changed your argument from separating natural uptake into uptake of anthropogenic CO2 [Una(t)] and natural CO2 [Unn(t)] and after I explained why that wasn’t valid you are now trying to divide up the natural environment in a different but equally invalid method.

Sinks do not discriminate on the basis of “natural” or “anthropogenic,” any more than the kid in this analogy cares whether the money in the account came from his mother or his step-father. ”

It was you that tried to argue that we should consider them separately [Una(t) and Unn(t)], not me. I was just pointing out that such arguments were ridiculous, but it was your argument not mine.

199. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote “This is where you made your error. You assumed the sinks were constant. “

Nonsense. The natural sinks in my analogy were represented by my wifes withdrawals from the jar which were equaly to my deposits plus 88 euros. They were only constant becuase I chose for the sake of simplicity to make my deposits constant, but the analogy would work just as well if I had made them variable. The reason I didn’t make them variable is that it would have made the analogy more complicated without there being any benefit. However, just to keep you happy, I will do so anyway.

Assume we have a savings jar as before. Each month I put in 1 euro more than in the previous month, starting with four euro in month 1 [representing anthropogenic emissions, such that Ea(t) = t+3] all in Belgian minted coins. My wife puts in 90 Euros a month [representing natural emissions, such that Ea(t) = 90], all in French minted coins (so we can tell who put them in the jar). My wife however decides that the jar would look neater if it only contained French minted coins, so each month she takes out all of the Belgian minted coins [representing natural uptake of anthropogenic CO2, such that Una(t) = Ea(t) = t + 3] and an additional 88 French minted coins (representing natural uptake of natural CO2, such that Unn(t) = 88]. After 12 months, I will have put into the jar 4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15 = 114 euros, my wife has put in 12*90 = 1080 euro, but she has also taken out 92+93+94+95+96+97+98+99+100+101+102+103 = 1170 euro. So at the end of the year there are 114+1080-1170 = 24 additional euros in the jar and all of the euros in the jar are French minted and deposited by my wife as she always takes out any Belgian minted coins she finds in the jar.

Now you said “Ea(t) – Una(t) is the net anthropogenic input, and En(t) – Unn(t) is the net natural input.” (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/19/what-you-mean-we-arent-controlling-the-climate/#comment-962189). Following that logic, then my net input Ea(t) – Una(t) = 0 euros and my wifes net input is En(t) – Unn(t) = 12*90 – 12*88 = 24 euros, so you would conclude that my wife is 100% responsible for the rise of 24 euros in our savings. However, as I pointed out this is absurd as she has actually taken 1170-1080 = 90 euro OUT of the jar more that she has put in!

There you go, uptake is not constant in this analogy, although all that has been achieved is to make the analogy unecessarily complicated, it still shows your argument to be absurd equally clearly.

Now I know you have quietly abandoned this line of argument and are now trying to make an argument based on artificially treating natural sources and natural sinks as separate entities (they aren’t the oceans for example are both a source and a sink of CO2), but this is the argument you were making, which my analogy shows to be absurd.

200. Chuck Nolan says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 22, 2012 at 2:38 am
———————-
If you stopped feeding the jar it would not be long before your wife would have emptied it.
Before CAGW existed, at what point did CO2 go to zero?

201. dikranmarsupial says:

Chuck Nolan: Natural uptake is only in excess of natural emissions because anthropogenic emissions have disturbed atmospheric CO2 levels from their pre-industrial approximate equilibrium level (abou 280ppmv). If we stopped anthropogenic emissions then atmospheric levels would fall, but the rate at which this happened would become smaller and smaller as we approached the new equilibrium, at which point natural emissions and natural uptake would be approximately balance. The jar analogy was only intended to point out why Barts argument was absurd. If you want something more realistic then you would need a differential equation based model, such as the one presented in my paper that I mentioned earlier in the thread.

202. dikran,

You should really stop digging. Bart has been running circles around your arguments.

Here, lighten up by reading some funny comments from your countrymen/women.

203. Bart says:

Myrrh says:
April 22, 2012 at 1:31 am

We had a discussion about Relativity some months ago, if you remember, where you kept insisting it was a bunch of hooey no matter how thoroughly I countered your arguments. You, and this “dikranmarsupial” fellow do not pursue logical, complete, and consistent arguments, and they always devolve into ad nauseam repetition. Come to think of it, I should have just stayed out of the discussion and let you two have at it until you wore each other down.

dikranmarsupial says:
April 22, 2012 at 2:09 am

To tell the truth DM, I never did anything but glance at your scenario. You said: “I deliberately made the analogy with a feedback loop as the wife’s withdrawals are whatever my deposits were plus 88 euros.” I took you at your word. That is most assuredly NOT a dynamic feedback.

I have no intention of wading further into the morass of your fevered imagination. You are the one trying to prove something. It is not proof to offer up a specific scenario which you think supports your point of view, even if it were correct in all its irrelevant details.

But, I can formally disprove your assertion with a single counterexample, as I did at April 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm. Ergo, we are done. You were wrong.

204. Heggs says:

@Bart

Thanks for the reply and links man. This science stuff is interesting indeed :)

Heggs.

205. Bart says:

“If you want something more realistic then you would need a differential equation based model, such as the one presented in my paper that I mentioned earlier in the thread.”

If you want a more rigorous differential equation based model, you can find it here, with notable updates here and here, and here.

206. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart wrote: “To tell the truth DM, I never did anything but glance at your scenario.

Sadly that has been pretty much the story the whole time. While I am willing to engage with your arguments, you have not been willing to engage with mine, and everytime I have pointed out a flaw in your logic you have just evaded discussion of it and tried some other line of argument. The insults an ad-hominems just conform that you are only interested in rhetorical debate rather than seeking the truth of the matter.

If skeptics seriously want to have an effect on the debate in the real world, like Fred Singer says you need to drop the canards and adopt some self-skepticism.

REPLY: And if you want to be known as anything other than an oversized “rodent” like mammal (per your name/avatar) with a fake name who trashes and insults me regularly on other blogs, have the courage and integrity to put your name to your arguments like I do, or even your hero John Cook does. I find it hilarious that you want to be taken seriously while displaying not one iota of personal integrity yourself. – Anthony Watts

207. dikranmarsupial says:

Anthony, If you read my earlier posts, you will find that in fact I have identified my real name on this thread and the previous one (Gavin Cawley).

208. Camburn says:

dikranmarsupial:
Would you be so kind as to send a complete copy of your paper to me?

Thank you.

209. Myrrh says:

Bart says:
April 22, 2012 at 10:49 am
Myrrh says:
April 22, 2012 at 1:31 am

We had a discussion about Relativity some months ago, if you remember, where you kept insisting it was a bunch of hooey no matter how thoroughly I countered your arguments. You, and this “dikranmarsupial” fellow do not pursue logical, complete, and consistent arguments, and they always devolve into ad nauseam repetition. Come to think of it, I should have just stayed out of the discussion and let you two have at it until you wore each other down.

===========

? You think because you think you countered my arguments that you won? Prove Einstein’s relativity. Prove that motion affects time so the faster one travels the slower time gets. Prove that someone running down the corridor of a train will get to the next station slower than someone sitting still in a carriage who will get there faster. Because, sunshine, that is what relativity claims is science fact.

210. dikranmarsupial says:

Anthony, this is the post where I revealed my identity http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/19/what-you-mean-we-arent-controlling-the-climate/#comment-962689 so while I was posting under a pseudonym, I wasn’t posting anonymously (unlike Bart). It is ironic that you take exception to what I wrote given that WUWT republished Fred Singers recent article and I was essentially saying exactly the same thing he did (except that I didn’t use the term denier). The fact that you had publised Fred Singers article established that you do have self-skepticim, hence the comment was not directed at you personally.

OK I didn’t see that post, as I don’t see every post approved on WUWT – welcome to the light Mr. Cawley.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ef200914u

– Anthony

211. dikranmarsupial says:

camburn, contact me via email and I’ll send a pre-print (the email address is given on the publishers website). However, given Anthony’s rather unfair characterisation of me, I don’t think I will discuss the science here any longer.

212. Bart says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

“While I am willing to engage with your arguments…”

You have not. Not even once on a substantive level. There is a reason for that, of course: you do not understand feedback theory.

“I have pointed out a flaw in your logic you have just evaded discussion of it and tried some other line of argument.”

I have no flaws in my argument. You, however, do. And, when I have pointed them out to you, you have evaded them. So, this is merely projection on your part.

“… and tried some other line of argument.”

I have tried different ways of explaining concepts you do not understand, sure. Anything else is repetition ad nauseam, which has been your MO:

The argument from repetition fallacy is where an argument is repeated over and over until no further progress can be made and all points are exhausted. Normally a person will have a belief or position that does not have evidence, is blatantly false, or is fallaciously structured. They will repeat this over and over no matter what contradictory argument is laid before them.

Since we’ve reached the point where there is nothing more to say, it’s time to end this particular shooting match. I will finish with this statement:

But, I can formally disprove your assertion with a single counterexample, as I did at April 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm. Ergo, we are done. You were wrong.

Myrrh says:
April 22, 2012 at 11:40 am

“Prove that motion affects time so the faster one travels the slower time gets.”

Define “time”. Once you come to grips with what the quantity actually is, you will have an easier, er, time with the concepts.

But, thanks anyway for illustrating my point re DM.

213. Bart says:

Let me make one last attempt to communicate the point that appears to have sailed over your head, DM. You are claiming a general property, and trying to prove it with a specific example. That is a formal logical fallacy of “hasty generalization”.

I, on the other hand, can disprove your general assertion with a single specific counter-example. This, I have done.

214. dikranmarsupial says:

Bart, as I said, given Anthony’s unfair characterisation of me, I am disinclined to discuss science here. I am also disinclined to discuss science with someone who openly admits they are not paying any real attention to my replies, it seems rather pointless.

Now I have set out the mass balance argument in small steps earlier in the thread. If you really wanted to refute the mass balance argument, then you would need to show which step in the chain of reasoning is incorrect. However instead of doing this you keep going back to models of the carbon cycle, which are a different issue altogether (the mass balance argument is not a model of the carbon cycle and makes no assumptions about the operation of any part of it). If you can find a flaw in one of the steps, then feel free to to discuss it at SkS (I posted an article about my paper there, so that would be the natural place to discuss it), but Anthony has made it abundently clear I am not welcome here, so this will be my last post.

Tinkerty-tonk!

[REPLY: Anthony did not say you were not welcome here. He takes exception to anonymity. -REP]

[REPLY: I’ll point out that you have made some unfair characterizations of me too. Your self outing is noted and appreciated upthread – Anthony

215. Bart says:

And, finally, I want to repost something from another site where I was trying to explain the concept. I think it is fairly straightforward, and may help people who are unsure understand:

br1 says:
April 22, 2012 at 9:01 am

“…seeing as U is natural, then this makes nature a net sink.”

It is a net sink. But, it sinks both natural and anthropogenic emissions. And, it dynamically changes relative to the overall concentration. Therefore, if anthropogenic emissions ceased, U would become smaller, and nature might then become a net source.

You see, the sinks are opposing both natural and anthropogenic inputs. That they should be taking out more than nature is putting in alone is therefore no surprise. It’s like being shocked that a scale reads more than your weight when someone else has his toe on it.

That is the whole point of the discussion. The sinks are dynamic and respond to anthropogenic forcing. Thus, just because they occur in nature does not mean you can isolate them in the “natural” column, and claim that nature is a net sink of natural inputs alone.

216. Ed says:

Bart, you have made no attempt to fix the husband/wife coin jar analogy in such a way as to make clearer your theory, which would surely have been simpler and certainly more illuminating than blustering and handwaving it away.

By introducing a third person you make a completely different analogy and one that does not reflect the problem at hand. As we are interested in whether the observed increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is natural or anthropogenic, we only need two people in the analogy, one to represent the anthropogenic emissions and the other to represent the natural elements of the carbon cycle be they net sources or sinks.

217. Myrrh says:

Bart says:
April 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm
Myrrh says:
April 22, 2012 at 11:40 am

“Prove that motion affects time so the faster one travels the slower time gets.”

Define “time”. Once you come to grips with what the quantity actually is, you will have an easier, er, time with the concepts.

So all you can come up with is bs attempting to sound oh so clever and belittling me by pretending it is some superior physics which I’m not capable of understanding? And you’ve given this as proof of your superior understanding about, well, everything you disagree with me about since you always make a big show of it in discussions where you think you can con people into believing you’re brilliant with your ad hom attacks against me. Put up or stfu.

Prove time actually slows, as Einstein says it does, the faster one goes. That is Einstein’s relativity, you claim it is fact. Prove it. Prove that someone running down the corridor of a train will take longer to reach the next station than someone sitting still in a carriage who will get there faster.

218. Bart says:

Ed says:
April 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm

“…you have made no attempt to fix the husband/wife coin jar analogy in such a way as to make clearer your theory…”

A) It is not my theory. It is mathematics. I stand on the shoulders of giants.

B) I did fix it. I added a true dynamic feedback in the form of a sink (the kid) who takes out an amount proportional to what is in the account.

“…more illuminating than blustering…”

There is no bluster. The “analogy” was flawed, and had to be fixed.

“By introducing a third person you make a completely different analogy and one that does not reflect the problem at hand.”

No, introducing the third person is what made it applicable to the problem at hand.

“…the other to represent the natural elements of the carbon cycle be they net sources or sinks.”

So, what you are saying is that the sinks know if it is natural or anthropogenic CO2, and only absorb the former?

Wrong-o.

Myrrh says:
April 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Thanks again. But, you have demonstrated what I wanted you to demonstrate, and there is no need for any more effort on your part.

219. jimmi_the_dalek says:
April 21, 2012 at 9:42 pm

“I don’t see how your hypothesis is testable, as we do not have a control planet available…”

Nonsense. It is easily falsifiable. Simply identify global damage or harm due to the rise in CO2, and the hypothesis is falsified. Conversely, no harm = harmless.

We already know from satellite data that the planet is greening due to the rise in CO2. And farmers would not waste their money on CO2 injection in greenhouses unless it produced results.

So once again, please try to falsify my testable hypothesis:

At current and projected levels, CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere.

All you have to do is point to conclusive evidence that the rise in CO2 has caused verifiable global harm. But so far, that hypothesis has withstood every challenge. Because there has been no global harm due to the rise in CO2. A rise, I might add, that is caused by warming.

Rising CO2 isn’t causing the warming; warming is causing CO2 to rise, just like a warming Coke outgases CO2. It is a proven fact that oceans outgas CO2 as they warm. CO2 may add a small amount of warming, but not nearly as much as the oceans, which predominate. Ocean outgasing is evidence, while CO2=AGW is a conjecture. It may be true. Or not.

220. Bart says:

Ed – Let me lay this out for you. One. More. Time.

The sinks are variable. They expand their uptake of CO2 in response to an increase or decrease in atmospheric concentration from any source.

This is not my theory. This is common knowledge. This is how feedback systems work.

As such, there is a part of the “natural” uptake which has expanded to counter the anthropogenic input. Thus, there is a part of what is going into the sinks which is from anthropogenic emissions, and there is a part which is from natural emissions, and the total is greater than what it would be if there were only natural CO2 emissions.

Read that very, very carefully.

Again, I am making no assertion. This is common knowledge.

For a mass balance, you can only assign in the natural column the amounts which are coming in from natural emissions, and the outgoing flux into the sinks which would exist without the anthropogenic input having caused their expansion. We DO NOT KNOW what that particular mass balance is. We only know what the balance is if you include the portion going into the sinks which came about due to their expansion as a response to the anthropogenic inputs.

Again, this is not my theory. This is how feedback systems work.

And, note: I am not saying that the observed rise is not due to anthropogenic inputs. At least a small part of it indubitably is. I AM saying that the mass balance argument, the one which includes the portion of mass going into the expanded sinks, is inconclusive in this regard.

221. Bart says:

“They expand their uptake of CO2 in response to an increase or decrease in atmospheric concentration from any source.”

Should have said:

“They expand their uptake of CO2 in response to an increase (or contract it in response to a decrease) in atmospheric concentration from any source.”

222. Bart says:

And, should have said: “I AM saying that the mass balance argument, the one which includes the portion of mass going into the expanded sinks, is inconclusive in regard to the proportions of natural and anthropogenic fluxes which have contributed to that rise.”

223. John W. Garrett says:

No one should be permitted to comment on the topic of anthropogenic climate change until they have viewed Dr. Salby’s talk.

This is eye-opening stuff. No wonder Judith Curry’s response was, “Wow.”

REPLY – Regardless of how Wow it is or is not, we really mustn’t be saying that no one should be “permitted” to comment on pretty much anything. That sword has two edges. ~ Evan

224. jimmi_the_dalek says:

No Smokey,

“At current and projected levels, CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere.”

” Simply identify global damage or harm due to the rise in CO2, and the hypothesis is falsified. Conversely, no harm = harmless.”

it is not that simple, because your statement contains undefined value judgements in the terms “beneficial” and “global damage or harm”, which makes it non-scientific. You would have to define those, and that would be difficult unless something occurred to threaten all life on the planet, which is quite ridiculously unlikely.

At the moment people cannot even agree on the evidence let alone the consequences. For example your statement

“It is a proven fact that oceans outgas CO2 as they warm”

is not at all proven. This is why I prefer to remain agnostic on this at the moment.

225. jimmi_the_dalek,

You’re squirming around like a fish on a hook. First you said that we don’t have another planet. Now you’re trying to split hairs over global harm. “Harm” means anything detrimental that is specifically caused by the rise in CO2. Get out a dictionary and look up “harm”. You will find that ‘harm’ is not “undefined”, and it is not a “value judgement”. It has a specific definition.

You will also note that the entire global warming debate is over CO2-induced catastrophic AGW. But no one demands to have ‘catastrophic’ defined, because if there is a catastrophe everyone will know it. The same thing is true of global harm: if rising CO2 caused global harm, you can be certain that the entire alarmist contingent would be jumping up and down and pointing to it. The reason that they don’t is simple: there is no harm caused by rising CO2. Therefore, CO2 is harmless. QED

As for ‘beneficial’, only blinkered true believers falsely claim that CO2 is not beneficial. It is necessary for all life on earth [with the tiny exception of some anaerobic bacteria]. Satellite data shows that the earth is greening in lock step with rising CO2. And you could not live without CO2. Now tell us again that CO2 is not beneficial.

The planet is starved of CO2. More is better. I can give you plenty of examples. But 5 should be sufficient to make my point:

Finally, you replied to my asserting that it is a proven fact that oceans outgas CO2 as they warm, by saying that it “…is not at all proven”. Of course it is. You really need to get up to speed on the subject. It is a proven fact that warming oceans outgas CO2. That is where most of the current rise comes from.

But that is beside the point. The fact is that you cannot falsify my hypothesis, so you tapdance around it with statements that are easily deconstructed. It is a testable, falsifiable hypothesis, and all you need to falsify it is to show global harm due specifically to the rise in CO2. But since there is no such harm, the hypothesis remains standing.

226. jimmi_the_dalek says:

Smokey,

Your graph shows the solubility of CO2 AT CONSTANT PRESSURE. Now go and look up Henry’s
Law and the effect of increasing the partial pressure before you go around telling people to ‘get up to speed’

227. Smokey says:

jimmi,

So what? The table proves that the ocean outgases CO2 depending on temperature, which you disputed. Go open a beer. Let it warm. Observe. Then come back and try to explain that warming does not cause CO2 to outgas. Again, you need to get up to speed on the subject.

And naturally you ignored the easy deconstruction of your other arguments. I don’t blame you. I provided a testable, falsifiable hypothesis. Making unrelated arguments doesn’t make the hypothesis any less falsifiable.

228. jimmi_the_dalek says:

Smokey
You really don’t know what you are talking about – warm beer indeed – when you open a bottle of beer, or anything with dissolved CO2, you have changed the pressure. Now, I see you have not checked Henry’s Law, so you have lost that argument. The pressure change easily dominates the temperature for the ranges of partial pressures and temperatures being discussed.

As for the rest, well you came nowhere close – dictionary definition of harm ….
Look, I am not a believer in CAGW, more a luke warmer at most, so I consider that at worst all that will happen is some economic reorganisation (and not even that is definite). So here is a (totally hypothetical) scenario. Supposing rainfall patterns change so that growing corn and wheat in the MIdWest USA becomes uneconomic. Would that be harm? But what if the same change in rainfall patterns enabled wheat to be grown in the Sahara? That is the sort of change that may (completely hypothetically) occur. So can you tell me whether that is net harm or net benefit? I doubt if anyone can, which is why your statement is full of undefined value judgements.

229. Smokey says:

jimmi,

It appears you need hand-holding. OK:

Open the beer, then put it back in the refrigerator for a day. Then take it out and let it assume room temperature. What happens? CO2 outgases as the beer warms, with no change in pressure.

…and my hypothesis remains un-falsified.

And: “Supposing rainfall patterns change so that growing corn and wheat in the MIdWest USA becomes uneconomic. Would that be harm?”

No. The criteria is global harm. Regions constantly fluctuate.

And:

“…your statement is full of undefined value judgements.”

Only to you, because you seem unable to use a dictionary to ‘define’ terms. But don’t feel bad, no one else has been able to falsify the hypothesis either. If it remains standing, eventually it will be elevated to the status of a theory. That is how the scientific method works.

230. jimmi_the_dalek says:

“Open the beer, then put it back in the refrigerator for a day. Then take it out and let it assume room temperature. What happens? CO2 outgases as the beer warms, with no change in pressure.”

That’s not the experiment you need to do. You need to open it in an atmosphere with 280ppm CO2, let it equilibriate, then put it in an atmosphere with 400 ppm CO2, and see which way the CO2 goes. If you like you can raise the temperature by 0.8C at the same time and see which effect dominates.

231. scepticalwombat says:

I may be wrong, because Salby doesn’t give numbers or formulas, but he appears to be saying that net emissions depend largely on temperature and to a lesser extent on soil moisture. Obviously net emissions give us the rate at which atmospheric CO2 is rising. So it is the rate of increase, not the level, of CO2 that varies with temperature.

Most users of this site presumably agree that the mediaeval warm period from 900 AD to 1300 AD was at least as warm as the last quarter of the 20th century. Assuming no enormous difference in soil moisture this means that net emissions during those four centuries should have run, on average, at at least the same rate as for the period 1975 to 2000.

In the last quarter of the 20th century CO2 concentration increased by about 35 ppm. Multiplying this by 16 gives a total increase of 560 ppm during the four centuries of the MWP.

Assuming that Cal is right about the limit for photosynthesis being 150 ppm we can assume that CO2 concentrations at the beginning of the MWP were at least at that level. This yields a minimum level of 710 ppm (a little less than twice current levels) at the end of the MWP. Even allowing for some diffusion it should be possible to detect an increase of this magnitude in ice cores and other proxies. In this way one could firmly establish that the MWP really was warmer than today and that Salby’s theory is correct.

232. Smokey says:

jimmi,

It’s geting late here, and I’m embarassed to be debating with an unarmed opponent. So you get the last word; I’m done posting for the night.

You seem to believe that atmospheric CO2 controls the temperature, rather than accepting the obvious fact that ocean temperatures control atmospheric CO2. Fine, if that is your belief system, there is nothing I can do to overcome it or educate you. True belief is insurmountable, as it is based on emotion, not science. [But for others reading this, the planet’s oceans do control atmospheric CO2, not vice-versa.]

Good night, jimmi. You have consistently failed to falsify my hypothesis with a single example of global harm due to the rise in [harmless, beneficial] CO2, but your consolation prize is that you get to have the last word.

233. jimmi_the_dalek says:

Smokey

“Fine, if that is your belief system, there is nothing I can do to overcome it or educate you. True belief is insurmountable, as it is based on emotion, not science. ”

You do realise you are describing yourself there?

There are competing effects. The partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by roughly 40% in the last couple of centuries. This means basically that the atmospheric CO2 is pushing against the ocean 40% harder and is this 40% more likely to be absorbed (Henry’s Law – absorption is proportional to pressure). The temperature of the ocean has risen by less than a degree in that time. The solubility has therefore decreased by about 3%. i.e. CO2 is 3% less likely to stay in solution. Now which is greater 40% or 3%? To complicate things even more, pushing the gaseous CO2 in the atmosphere into the ocean is a fairly simple process, getting it out again is more complicated as most of the oceanic CO2 is not little bubbles , it is held as bicarbonates (HCO3) or carbonic acid (H2CO3). You still think it is obvious that the net direction is outwards?
Not very sceptical of you (ie you are holding a viewpoint without checking it).

234. Stephen Wilde says:

Although I support the ocean outgassing hypothesis we do still need to resolve the discrepancy between proxy records (especially ice cores) and the sheer size of the apparent CO2 increase in proportionate terms observed during the 20th century.

As scepticalwombat points out the implication of that rate of rise suggests very large proportionate changes in atmospheric CO2 between MWP and LIA and LIA to date.

Likely there is a combination of factors involved such as coarse proxy records unable to reproduce such a high level of natural variability plus CO2 not necessarily being well mixed at all levels, all locations and at all times plus high variability in the efficiency of other local and regional non oceanic sinks and sources but that is an isue that must be resolved if the ocean outgassing process is to be pinned down as the primary global variable.

235. Stephen Wilde says:

“oceanic CO2 is not little bubbles , it is held as bicarbonates (HCO3) or carbonic acid (H2CO3). You still think it is obvious that the net direction is outwards?”

I’d like to see a better analysis as to how variable the oceans can be in their rates of CO2 absorption or emission from place to place and from time to time.

I suspect that biologcal processes within the oceans could be a significant factor in changing the balance of CO2 exchanges with the air over time thus rendering the influence of Henry’s Law less significant than might first be thought.

236. Steve Keohane says:

jimmi_the_dalek says: April 22, 2012 at 10:14 pm You realize 40% of almost zero is ,well, almost zero.

237. Here’s my response, taken from chapter C of my book, THE A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING, which i’m currently updating. CO2 is present in the Earth’s atmosphere at a low concentration, around 0.038% by volume, and is one of many gases that make up Earth’s atmosphere. CO2 is measured in parts per million by volume of air (PPMV). Atmospheric carbon dioxide derives from many natural sources including volcanic eruptions, the combustion of organic matter, the respiration of living aerobic organisms, and unfortunately from manmade (anthropogenic) sources, which we all know from the news is being linked to global warming and climate change.

Since the industrial revolution particularly the mid nineteenth century, the burning of fossil fuels for energy to provide electricity, power factories, homes and for all our transport needs has released massive amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Not only the burning of fossil fuels, but changes in the use of the land for agriculture and deforestation has further added to global manmade CO2 levels. According to the World Wildlife fund some 29 gigatons which is 29 billion metric tons of CO2 was added to the atmosphere in 2004 alone from burning coal, oil and gas.

If we go back 250 years or so, to pre- industrial times, usually taken to be around 1750, CO2 levels in the atmosphere stood at around 280 parts per million by volume (ppmv). However levels of the gas have been increasing steadily ever since.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

Well, pioneering scientist Charles Keeling (1928-2005) started taking atmospheric CO2 measurements in 1958 from Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii. Those measurements have been recorded and are now known as The Keeling Curve. Charles Keeling was the professor of oceanography at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) which is in San Diego, USA, and he followed the work of another eminent scientist and director of the SIO, Roger Revelle. Dr Revelle was instrumental in creating the Geophysical Year in 1958 and SIO’s first programme looking at atmospheric CO2 back in 1956.

Monthly CO2 measurements were collected from a height of 3397 metres (11,140 feet) at the Mauna Loa Observatory situated on the slopes of Earth’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa in Hawaii which was chosen for its remoteness to populations and vegetation so as not to skewer the readings.

Measurements have been taken over a 50 year period between 1958 and present, which show an increase in CO2 levels of 70 ppmv from around 315 ppmv to around their current level of 385 ppmv. The effects of CO2 in the atmosphere can even be measured on a cyclical basis, and this can be seen in the saw toothed keeling graph. Because there is greater land area, and thus far more plant life in the Northern Hemisphere compared to the Southern Hemisphere, there is an annual fluctuation of about 5 ppmv peaking in May and reaching a minimum in October. This corresponds to the Northern Hemisphere growing season. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere drops towards spring when uptake by the plants and trees by photosynthesis is greatest. The opposite occurs in winter when the plants die off and CO2 levels rise again.

Continuous readings in this way have only been taken since 1958, however scientists have discovered that prior to the industrial era, circa 1750, CO2 levels stood at around 280 ppmv and this data has been revealed from air trapped in ice core records, taken from both the Antarctic and Arctic. Perhaps most startling is the fact that CO2 levels are now around 85 ppmv higher than at any time during the last 650,000 years. Records from ice core records go back that far and have shown atmospheric CO2 levels to range from 180-300 ppmv during that period. The level of CO2 in our atmosphere now stands at 385 ppmv, and is increasing steadily.

The Keeling curve has become one of the most recognisable images in modern science as it shows with no uncertainty the effects of humankind’s fossil fuel pollution of Earth’s atmosphere.

CO2 levels have increased by 37% since pre-industrial times and have been increasing by an average of almost 1.4 ppmv a year since measurements began in 1958, although some months the figure has been higher, sometimes lower. In the last ten years however, the average increase appears to be around 1.9 ppmv each year, which indicates the rate of increase is increasing.

Whilst CO2 is a natural greenhouse gas, and important in natural concentrations to maintain Earth’s climate, anthropogenic CO2 is now pushing up Earth’s temperature. Earth’s natural sinks, like the Amazon rainforest and the oceans struggle to absorb the additional CO2 now being added to the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels. It is a know scientific fact that higher levels of greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is a component cause a warming of Earth’s atmosphere. If CO2 is not kept in check and continues to rise at current levels it will eventually cause Earth’s temperature to increase to levels which maybe critical to life on Earth.

Earth’s temperature has already increased by 0.74 degrees Celsius (1.33 Fahrenheit ) over the last 100 years……The USA just experienced the warmest March 2012 since records began, and 2010 tied with 2005 for the warmest year globally on record…

238. Andrew McRae says:

Okay guys I’ve got it. I finally understand what Bart was trying to say. Here is the explanation.

By the mass balance principle, although the net change in Nature (ocean+biosphere) carbon content can be calculated from the Industry content reduction and the Atmospheric content increase, that calculated number by itself says nothing about how this change is divided between the ocean and the biosphere, and therefore says nothing about how much larger the ocean flux is than the anthropogenic flux.
As we divide each bucket into smaller buckets, the sub-buckets can be any amount which adds up to their parent bucket.

In the first step the bucket is the entire world and the sum must equal zero.

In the second step the World bucket is divided into Anthropogenic, Atmosphere, and Nature, and the sum must equal zero. We plug in 2004/2005 data and we calculate that the change in the Nature bucket must have been +4 Gt/y, i.e.- Nature was a net sink of carbon.

In the third step we divide the Nature bucket into Ocean and Biosphere buckets, and their deltas must sum to +4 Gt/y. Bart’s point is that ANY pair of numbers which sum to +4 satisfies this equation.

dikranmarsupial would say the ocean change is positive, perhaps between 1 and 3 Gt/y, that the ocean is a net carbon sink, and the Biosphere change would therefore be between +3 and +1 to balance.

Bart is likely to say that the Ocean annual bucket change is -8 Gt/y (or more) so that the Ocean is a net source of carbon and also a larger contributor than Industry, although this necessarily creates the requirement that the Biosphere must be sinking +12 Gt/y for the result to balance to +4.

Evidence is the discriminator between competing hypotheses. Even knowing the ocean flux is 20 times larger than anthropogenic flux does not tell us the answer. We need to introduce new sources of evidence.

There is no evidence that the Biosphere is sinking 12Gt/y, if there is please show it, and in that case the widely accepted figures of around 2.4Gt/y must be wrong by a factor of 5x.
There is however the observation of global ocean pH reduction over previous decades, which at the very least implies that the Ocean change is positive, not negative.
Thus it is impossible for the ocean to be a net source of carbon based on 2004/2005 data and the ocean pH trend.

We must recognise there are two competing forces operating on the ocean’s carbon content. There is the diffusion / Le Chatelier Principle force which tries to dissolve carbon into the ocean out of the atmosphere due to carbon being artificially injected into it. Oppositely, there is Henry’s Law which is trying to outgas CO2 from the ocean due to the slight late 20th century rise in temperature. Depending on how similar these forces are, they may alternately overpower each other, or one may dominate the whole time.

In 1998 the annual increase in atmospheric C was more than industrial emission, thus it seems likely that the very warm El Nino that year drove Henry’s Law to overcome Le Chatelier’s Principle and make Nature a net source of carbon into the atmosphere. That is the only year in the last 30 years that this happened. The rest of the time both the Biosphere and the Ocean are a net sink of carbon. This implies industry is the main contributor to recent CO2 rise.

I have updated my diagram from earlier with links to evidence, here it is: http://imgur.com/iNmSc
Perhaps that can serve as basis for discussion, but personally I think this is the final answer to the CO2 “whodunnit” question.

239. Ed says:

Skepticalwombat said:

“Assuming that Cal is right about the limit for photosynthesis being 150 ppm we can assume that CO2 concentrations at the beginning of the MWP were at least at that level. This yields a minimum level of 710 ppm (a little less than twice current levels) at the end of the MWP. Even allowing for some diffusion it should be possible to detect an increase of this magnitude in ice cores and other proxies. In this way one could firmly establish that the MWP really was warmer than today and that Salby’s theory is correct.”

Surely more important for Salby’s theory that a 0.8 C rise in temperature causes a 120 ppm increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is what you get working backwards to the last glacial maximum, which was 4-6 C colder than today. With CO2 at 393 ppm today that gives a negative CO2 concentration at the LGM.

One can dismiss the ice cores as much as one likes, but if there was no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the LGM, how did life as we know it survive?

240. Steve Keohane,

jimmi is so far from being up to speed on the subject that the only way I can think of for him to get educated is to begin reading the WUWT archives, keyord: CO2. He is typical of the general public that believes “carbon” is a problem. But as we see, that perception is changing.

jimmi is once again changing the subject instead of trying to falsify my testable hypothesis, which I have been challenging the alarmist crowd [and everyone else, including me] to try and falsify. I would be perfectly happy to have it falsified, because that would add another piece to the puzzle. Scientific truth is what is important, nothing else. But so far no one, including me, has been able to identify any verifiable global harm due to the ≈40% rise in that very tiny trace gas — which as you pointed out, is still a very tiny trace gas.

CO2 has been up to twenty times higher in the geologic past, causing no ill effects [ie: no global harm]. During those times the biosphere teemed with life. And a warmer planet is also a healthier planet, despite the crazed, wild-eyed alarmist arm-waving. Another 2ºC would be just fine. The planet has been warmer than that many times during the Holocene. It is cold that kills.

It’s fun to smoke out chameleons like jimmi, who probably believe that their posts fool anyone. They come here from their thinly trafficked alarmist blogs [which are steadily going out of business] and try to peddle thier nonsene to people here who know better: CO2 is not a problem. More is better. CO2 is harmless and beneficial. The entire “carbon” scare is fabricated nonsense, promoted by a relatively small clique of climate charlatans riding the taxpayer-funded gravy train.

In the end, it all comes down to one central fact: there is no verifiable evidence that the rise in CO2 has caused any harm. None. That is why jimmi keeps trying to change the subject. If he admitted the plain truth — that CO2 is harmless and beneficial — he would have to find a new religious cult to join.

241. Myrrh says:

scepticalwombat says:
April 22, 2012 at 8:50 pm
I may be wrong, because Salby doesn’t give numbers or formulas, but he appears to be saying that net emissions depend largely on temperature and to a lesser extent on soil moisture. Obviously net emissions give us the rate at which atmospheric CO2 is rising. So it is the rate of increase, not the level, of CO2 that varies with temperature.

Most users of this site presumably agree that the mediaeval warm period from 900 AD to 1300 AD was at least as warm as the last quarter of the 20th century. Assuming no enormous difference in soil moisture this means that net emissions during those four centuries should have run, on average, at at least the same rate as for the period 1975 to 2000.

In the last quarter of the 20th century CO2 concentration increased by about 35 ppm. Multiplying this by 16 gives a total increase of 560 ppm during the four centuries of the MWP.

Assuming that Cal is right about the limit for photosynthesis being 150 ppm we can assume that CO2 concentrations at the beginning of the MWP were at least at that level. This yields a minimum level of 710 ppm (a little less than twice current levels) at the end of the MWP. Even allowing for some diffusion it should be possible to detect an increase of this magnitude in ice cores and other proxies. In this way one could firmly establish that the MWP really was warmer than today and that Salby’s theory is correct.

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

I don’t understand why you’re using the increase of a late quarter century to get to your 710 ppm, that carbon dioxide has risen by a certain amount in a particular time frame doesn’t mean that it would keep rising by that amount in every warming period, I think an extrapolation too far. Assuming the MWP was hotter or as hot as now and assuming the plant life was as abundant or more so, the increase should be to the whole length of the period from the end of the LIA to present, which may or may not be the end of our particular warming period, compared with beginning to end of MWP. We’re still uncovering vegetation in existence in the MWP as ice continues to melt which is only now coming to light since the ice of the LIA destroyed it.

Anyway, that still leaves the problem of whose measurements to use. Various plant stomata studies show levels of carbon dioxide that are similar to the chemical analyses done, and here http://debunkhouse.wordpress.com/2010/03/28/co2-ice-cores-vs-plant-stomata/ shows by stomata analysis there there is a distinct lag behind temperature before CO2 rises.

Lots of stuff has to be considered when analysing plant stomata – type of plant, where, etc. – but does make a good proxy for CO2 levels: http://www.concord.org/~btinker/gaiamatters/investigations/stomata.html

“It turns out that in many species, high-altitude ecotypes have a higher stomatal density than their lowland ecotypes. This can correlate with many differences between the two habitats, including temperature, exposure, water conditions, and variations in atmospheric composition. Some experimentation by F. I. Woodward and F. A. Bazzaz has demonstrated that the relevant variable is CO2 partial pressure – the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere. In their experiments, the clearest result was that a reduction of CO2 led to an increase in stomatal density. Further work suggests that CO2 and stomatal density are inversely correlated — more CO2, fewer stomata.”

(The more CO2 available the less the plant has to struggle to get dinner.)

But there’s also that the ice core records could be much too low, without going into all the arguments here, it could simply be because there is no flora producing it in abundance, there’s only mainly from volcanic activity or brought in by wind systems. Here in the first link stomata levels show higher CO2 pre-industrial than ice core, as high as today, and in the second, that ice core also records higher CO2 at the turn of the last century than measurements at Mauna Loa in the 60’s.

http://tucsoncitizen.com/wryheat/tag/carbon-dioxide/

“Another proxy, plant stomata can be used to estimate pre-industrial carbon dioxide content. Stomata are the microscopic pores in leaves and stems of plants that are used for gas exchange. The density of stomata varies inversely with carbon dioxide concentration. These stomata can be empirically calibrated by comparing plant stomata density to known carbon dioxide concentrations. The stomata of fossil plants can be used to estimate past carbon dioxide concentrations. Estimates of carbon dioxide from stomata show much higher and more variable values compared to ice core estimates. The stomata proxy shows that pre-industrial carbon dioxide levels were similar to those today: 360- to 390ppmv.”

http://americasuncommonsense.com/blog/category/science-engineering/climate-change/5-ice-cores/
“In some cases, the trapped “atmosphere” in the ice sheets may not be part of a closed system. To be a closed system for carbon dioxide or methane, no gas components can escape or be added during the burial process; liquid water cannot have interacted with the gases; none of the trapped gas components can combine, separate, diffuse, or solidify; and all components must stay in the same proportions as pressure increases with time due to added ice above. The observational science of ice has demonstrated that for some cores all these conditions do not hold. Further, the process of core extraction from great depth to surface pressure may open and disturb the gas systems.

For example, the Siple Antarctic ice core would suggest that carbon dioxide reached a level of about 330ppm in about 1900. Comparison with the 1960 initial Mauna Loa measurement of 260ppm suggests that either (1) the Siple data is just wrong, or (2) there was a drop of about 60ppm in carbon dioxide level between 1900 and 1960, or (3) it takes 80 some years for the carbon dioxide gas system to close [4]. This discrepancy does not appear to have been resolved by the climate community [5]”

Anyway, just adding it to the mix.

242. jimmi_the_dalek says:

.”Steve Keohane: “You realize 40% of almost zero is ,well, almost zero.”
Do you realise what “partial pressure” is? You, along with various others, have not looked it up have you?

243. Chuck Nolan says:

dikranmarsupial says:
April 22, 2012 at 7:24 am
Chuck Nolan: Natural uptake is only in excess of natural emissions because anthropogenic emissions have disturbed atmospheric CO2 levels from their pre-industrial approximate equilibrium level (abou 280ppmv). If we stopped anthropogenic emissions then atmospheric levels would fall, but the rate at which this happened would become smaller and smaller as we approached the new equilibrium, at which point natural emissions and natural uptake would be approximately balance. The jar analogy was only intended to point out why Barts argument was absurd. If you want something more realistic then you would need a differential equation based model, such as the one presented in my paper that I mentioned earlier in the thread.
————————————–
Oh, I get it DM. The earth adjusts CO2 by using “negative feedback.” Thanks. Now that makes sense.

244. scepticalwombat says:

Ed said
Surely more important for Salby’s theory that a 0.8 C rise in temperature causes a 120 ppm increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is what you get working backwards to the last glacial maximum, which was 4-6 C colder than today. With CO2 at 393 ppm today that gives a negative CO2 concentration at the LGM.

and Myrrh said

Assuming the MWP was hotter or as hot as now and assuming the plant life was as abundant or more so, the increase should be to the whole length of the period from the end of the LIA to present, which may or may not be the end of our particular warming period, compared with beginning to end of MWP.

I thing that either the two of you or I have misunderstood Salby. To me the take away statement from his analysis is :
From the observed behaviour, it is clear that net global emission of CO2 depends intrinsically on temperature.

Now net global emissions are what cause the CO2 concentration to increase. If you increase annual emissions you don’t just increase the level of concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, you increase the rate at which the level is increasing . If you like, net emissions are like water flowing from a tap into a bath. If you turn the tap on harder (increased net emissions) the water in the bath rises faster. If you turn the tap down a bit (decreased net emissions) the water keeps rising but at a slower rate. This is precisely what Salby’s graphs show. Similarly negative emissions would not mean negative CO2 concentrations, it would simply mean decreasing CO2 concentration (letting some water out of the bath).

Now MWP stands for Medieval Warm Period not Medieval Warming Period. That is, as I understand it, the entire period of four centuries is thought to have been warmer than the last quarter century. ( If Myrrh has evidence that the 10th century was similar in temperature to period immediately following the LIA then I would like to see it.) Given this it follows from Salby’s work that net annual emissions for the whole of the MWP should be at least as high as the last quarter century.

Of course it could be argued that I should have used more recent data. For instance I could have used the period from 1975 to January of this year in which case I would have got an increase of 675 ppm for the four centuries of the MWP meaning the CO2 concentrations at the end of the MWP would have been substantially more than double current levels.

Myrrh’s point on stomata and partial pressure are well taken. If the beginning of the MWP did have (as I assumed) CO2 concentrations at the limit of photosynthesis then the partial pressure of CO2 would have been too low in alpine regions to support plant growth – so we would expect vegetation in the early part of the 10th century to be restricted to low lying areas. Alternatively if alpine regions were indeed vegetated then, it would follow that by the end of the 14th century CO2 levels would have been correspondingly higher than my minimum estimate.

Either way we should be able to identify this massive ramp up of CO2 during the MWP either in ice cores or in the vegetative record. Doing this will establish not only that Salby is right, but that it is possible to enjoy a productive climate even with very high CO2 levels.

245. Phil. says:

Phil. says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm
Bart says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm
Phil. says:
April 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

“But no-one’s doing a static analysis, which is why your comments are wrong.”
That is exactly what they are doing. They are not taking into account the permanent sequestration into land and ocean sinks which are dynamic with unknown response time. Stop embarrassing yourself. You do not understand the argument. I get it.

Unfortunately you don’t! Explain why “the permanent sequestration into land and ocean sinks” are not included in Fn above. We’re talking about what’s happening now and in the near future not in thousands of years time. Permanent sequestration is part of the continuing sinks, Fs, it just isn’t large enough to exceed Fa+Fn.

I notice that you made no attempt to back up the bogus assertion you made above. The Mass Balance equation shows that the addition of CO2 of anthropogenic origin is the source of the growth in atmospheric CO2 and that the sinks are unable to expand fast enough to counter that addition in its entirety. In order to counter that you bring in a bogus argument, by trying to split up the natural sinks to differentiate between the sinks of natural and anthropogenic origin CO2. Such obfuscation is nonsense. In another post you also sought to remove half of the anthropogenic CO2 from the system entirely. You also keep trying to portray the differential balance equation as a static analysis by claiming that the flux terms are constant which is a figment of your imagination, which you have been repeatedly told is not the case, but you continue to trot out the same canard.
It is you who is unwilling to address the arguments but keep trotting out the same old canards time and time again.
By the way mods, almost everyone posting on this subject are doing so anonymously, me, Bart, Smokey, Jimmi, Myrrh etc., why pick out dikran (who ironically is not posting anonymously but pseudonymously)?

246. Bart says:

I have been away…

Andrew McRae says:
April 23, 2012 at 7:29 am

“We must recognise there are two competing forces operating on the ocean’s carbon content.”

There are other forces operating on the ocean’s carbon content. Organisms use it to build shells and otherwise convert it to sediments which get deposited on the sea floor effectively permanently. Other organisms simply take it up in their bodies, which also get deposited to the sea floor when they die. These are the effectively permanent sinks which control the entire ballgame. We do not know how powerful they are. We do not know how rapidly they expand their efforts in response to increased CO2 flux. THAT is what I have been trying to explain.

Phil. says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:53 am

“The Mass Balance equation shows that the addition of CO2 of anthropogenic origin is the source of the growth in atmospheric CO2…”

It shows nothing of the kind.

“… and that the sinks are unable to expand fast enough to counter that addition in its entirety.”

We have no way of knowing that.

“In another post you also sought to remove half of the anthropogenic CO2 from the system entirely.”

No, from the atmosphere. The “system” includes oceans, atmosphere, and land. Roughly half of the CO2 from the atmosphere is believed to go directly into the oceans within a relatively short time frame. This is the “fast” part of the CO2 feedback dynamics. The relatively slower part, which governs asymptotic concentration, depends upon the permanent sequestration processes such as I discussed above.

“You also keep trying to portray the differential balance equation as a static analysis by claiming that the flux terms are constant which is a figment of your imagination, which you have been repeatedly told is not the case, but you continue to trot out the same canard.”

It is a static analysis because it does not involve dynamic feedback. You can tell me anything you like. But, when I know it is false, I will call you down on it.

It is difficult to me to imagine that others have such a hard time with feedback concepts which, to me and those I interact with daily, are so basic as to pass with no comment. In a discussion with my peers, the points I have laid out would be met with an “of course”, and brook no denial. It really is a trivial feedback loop problem, which is why I am so nonplussed to see such strenuous resistance to what I have explained in rather excruciating detail.

sirosser says:
April 23, 2012 at 6:37 am

“It is a know scientific fact that higher levels of greenhouse gases, of which CO2 is a component cause a warming of Earth’s atmosphere.”

Holding all other variables constant, and assuming no dynamic feedback. Again, a jejune static analysis which has little relevance to a dynamic system.

247. richardscourtney says:

Friends:

At April 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm above I wrote:

“I remind people that this matter was previously discussed on WUWT at
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/05/the-emily-litella-moment-for-climate-science-and-co2/

There is much interesting discussion there.”

Sadly, it seems that few bothered to read that link because most of the arguments presented above were addressed there.

The important issues are
(a)
The mass balance argument proves nothing (it is an example of the logical fallacy of ‘argument from ignorance’,
(b)
The mass balance argument is refuted by the facts that the annual pulse of anthropogenic CO2 into the atmosphere should relate to the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere if one is directly causal of the other, but their variations greatly differ from year to year. In some years all of the anthropogenic emission seems to be sequestered from the air, and in other years almost none of it.
Furthermore, the annual increase of the anthropogenic emissions is about 0.1 GtC/year. The natural fluctuation of the excess consumption is at least 12 GtC in 4 months. This is more than 100 times the yearly increase of human production, which strongly suggests that the dynamics of the rapid natural sequestration processes can easily cope with the human production of CO2.
(c)
The anthropogenic emission is one of several factors which may have induced the carbon cycle to adjust to provide the observed recent increase to atmospheric CO2 concentration
but
one of our 2005 papers shows the cause of that recent rise is probably natural.

Our paper provides six models that each match the empirical data.

We provide three basic models that each assumes a different mechanism dominates the carbon cycle. The first basic model uses a postulated linear relationship of the sink flow and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. The second used uses a power equation that assumes several different processes determine the flow into the sinks. And the third model assumes that the carbon cycle is dominated by biological effects.

For each basic model we assume the anthropogenic emission
(a) is having insignificant effect on the carbon cycle,
and
(b) is affecting the carbon cycle to induce the observed rise in the Mauna Loa data.
Thus, the total of six models is presented.

The six models do not use the ‘5-year-averaging’ to smooth the data that the IPCC model requires for it to match the data. But all of the six models match the empirical data. However, they provide very different ‘projections’ of future atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration for the same assumed future anthropogenic emission. And other models are probably also possible.

The ability to model the carbon cycle in such a variety of ways (and others are also possible) means that according to the available data
(1) the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is not known,
(2) the future development of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration cannot be known, and
(3) any effect of future anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide on the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration cannot be known.

Nothing in the above discussion alters any of that. Indeed, Salby’s analysis supports it.

All the best

Richard

248. Phil. says:

Bart says:
April 28, 2012 at 11:24 am
I have been away…

Let’s be thankful for small mercies.

Phil. says:
April 24, 2012 at 7:53 am

“The Mass Balance equation shows that the addition of CO2 of anthropogenic origin is the source of the growth in atmospheric CO2…”

It shows nothing of the kind.

“… and that the sinks are unable to expand fast enough to counter that addition in its entirety.”

We have no way of knowing that.

Just that the net increase in the sinks on an annual basis has never been enough to counteract the annual increase in anthropogenic output!

“In another post you also sought to remove half of the anthropogenic CO2 from the system entirely.”

No, from the atmosphere. The “system” includes oceans, atmosphere, and land. Roughly half of the CO2 from the atmosphere is believed to go directly into the oceans within a relatively short time frame. This is the “fast” part of the CO2 feedback dynamics. The relatively slower part, which governs asymptotic concentration, depends upon the permanent sequestration processes such as I discussed above.

However, in that earlier post you failed to show that, you just removed it completely.

“You also keep trying to portray the differential balance equation as a static analysis by claiming that the flux terms are constant which is a figment of your imagination, which you have been repeatedly told is not the case, but you continue to trot out the same canard.”

It is a static analysis because it does not involve dynamic feedback. You can tell me anything you like. But, when I know it is false, I will call you down on it.

The differential equation I posted is a dynamic analysis which does involve dynamic feedback, I’m sure you can see that so I have to conclude that you’re just obfuscating for some agenda. As to what you ‘know is false’ you have consistently failed to answer questions I’ve addressed to you on your analysis, sometimes not answering, sometimes changing the topic, so I conclude that either you don’t know the answers or don’t want to admit you’re wrong.

It is difficult to me to imagine that others have such a hard time with feedback concepts which, to me and those I interact with daily, are so basic as to pass with no comment. In a discussion with my peers, the points I have laid out would be met with an “of course”, and brook no denial. It really is a trivial feedback loop problem, which is why I am so nonplussed to see such strenuous resistance to what I have explained in rather excruciating detail.

That is what you have not done, you have never explained what is wrong with the mass balance equation I posted, your losing your temper and abusing other posters doesn’t help, do you do that when discussing matters with your peers too? We know you ‘brook no denial’, of course that doesn’t mean you’re right.