Paleo sea level and CO2

From the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK)

New study documents the natural relationship between CO2 concentrations and sea level

By comparing reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and sea level over the past 40 million years, researchers based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton have found that greenhouse gas concentrations similar to the present (almost 400 parts per million) were systematically associated with sea levels at least nine metres above current levels.

The study determined the ‘natural equilibrium’ sea level for CO2 concentrations ranging between ice-age values of 180 parts per million and ice-free values of more than 1,000 parts per million.

It takes many centuries for such an equilibrium to be reached, therefore whilst the study does not predict any sea level value for the coming century, it does illustrate what sea level might be expected if climate were stabilized at a certain CO2 level for several centuries.

Lead author Dr Gavin Foster, from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton which is based at the centre, said, “A specific case of interest is one in which CO2 levels are kept at 400 to 450 parts per million, because that is the requirement for the often mentioned target of a maximum of two degrees global warming.”

The researchers compiled more than two thousand pairs of CO2 and sea level data points, spanning critical periods within the last 40 million years. Some of these had climates warmer than present, some similar, and some colder. They also included periods during which global temperatures were increasing, as well as periods during which temperatures were decreasing.

“This way, we cover a wide variety of climate states, which puts us in the best position to detect systematic relationships and to have the potential for looking at future climate developments,” said co-author Professor Eelco Rohling, also from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton.

The researchers found that the natural relationship displays a strong rise in sea level for CO2 increase from 180 to 400 parts per million, peaking at CO2 levels close to present-day values, with sea level at 24 +7/-15 metres above the present, at 68 per cent confidence limits.

“This strong relationship reflects the climatic sensitivity of the great ice sheets of the ice ages,” said Dr Foster. “It continues above the present level because of the apparently similar sensitivity of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, plus possibly some coastal parts of East Antarctica.”

According to the study, sea level stays more or less constant for CO2 changes between 400 and 650 parts per million and it is only for CO2 levels above 650 parts per million that the researchers again saw a strong sea level response for a given CO2 change.

“This trend reflects the behaviour of the large East Antarctic ice sheet in response to climate changes at these very high CO2 levels. An ice-free planet, with sea level 65 metres above the present, occurred in the past when CO2 levels were around 1200 parts per million.”

Professor Rohling said, “Sea level rises to these high values will take many centuries, or even millennia, but the implications from the geological record are clear – for a future climate with maximum warming of about two degrees Centigrade, that is with CO2 stabilized at 400 to 450 parts per million, sea level is set to steadily rise for many centuries, towards its natural equilibrium position at around 24 +7/-15 metres, at 68 per cent confidence. In Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change terms, this is a likely rise of at least nine metres above the present. Previous research indicates that such rises above present sea level may occur at rates of roughly one metre per century.”

Based on these results, which document how the Earth system has operated in the past, future stabilization of CO2 at 400-450 parts per million is unlikely to be sufficient to avoid a significant steady long-term sea level rise.

 

###

 

The study is published this week online ahead of print in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS manuscript # 2012-16073R).

 

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97 thoughts on “Paleo sea level and CO2

  1. And they did not even think about the possibility, that increased CO2 was the effect and not the cause of ocean temperature increase.

  2. and when cows lay down it’s going to rain. Ducks fly backwards to keep the wind out of their eyes and so on. Just utter BS

  3. “This strong relationship reflects …”

    Since when has relationship ever been causation, and why do I always have to start laughing when reading such wild guesses?

  4. 1. Start with an assumption that CO2 causes sea level change.
    2. Find suitable data points.
    3. Ignore solar activity, sea temperature, plate tectonics, ocean circulation, air temperature, etc etc .
    4. Assume cause and effect to be what you want it to be.
    5. Keep a close watch on the closing date for AR5.
    6. Conclude that 450 ppm will cause sea level rise. (See 1.)

    Babies playing with lego bricks and my taxes are paying their wages. (expletive)

    Ivor |Ward

  5. Repeat until you accept the reality:

    1) correlation does not equal causation….
    2) we do not KNOW that proxies equal actual CO2 atmospheric concentrations of any precision versus comparative concentrations…
    3) non-random, non-replicated samples with n = 1 or less than that required for statistical rigor are useful only for anecdotal conclusions and have unknown variance and error…

  6. When my mother had children in December, it always snowed.

    but the implications from the geological record are clear – for a future climate with maximum warming of about two degrees Centigrade, that is with CO2 stabilized at 400 to 450 parts per million, sea level is set to steadily rise for many centuries, towards its natural equilibrium position at around 24 +7/-15 metres, at 68 per cent confidence. In Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change terms, this is a likely rise of at least nine metres above the present. Previous research indicates that such rises above present sea level may occur at rates of roughly one metre per century.”

    I doubt we have “many centuries” left before we start seeing a significant increase in glacial ice. In fact, over the last 10 years the trend is sea level rise has reduced, not increased. I can not begin to explain how many ways this is wrong. The fundamental assumption here is that CO2 drives sea level with no proof of that given except that they have found periods in the past with higher sea level that also had higher CO2.

    A sibling of mine was born in a snowstorm in December. Good thing my mother had only one in December because that storm was a real doozy and I don’t think people in the region would have appreciated a repeat of it.

  7. Manfred, I think you mean sea-level increase rather than temperature… But I was thinking the same thing. Changes in sea-levels of several meters would create different surface areas across the globe creating different weather patterns effecting plant life which would radically alter the balance of CO2 storage in the oceans and the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by the ocean and plant life on land.

    Seems pretty obvious to me. And studying time-scales in the millions of years, would mean that the mere 800 year lag between temperature rise and then CO2 rise would not be as clear to show cause and effect, meaning it could be fudged.

    Also did they did not take into account solar cycles from millions of years ago.

    This is an incomplete study which presents fudged data designed to support a specific political narrative of “OMG WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!! So give us more taxes and stop using technology you serfs!”

  8. Who cares, really? It is going to be winner-take-all, whichever way the climate shakes loose.

    Adaptation to rising sea levels is cheaper than stopping sea levels from rising. Everyone knows that. Go short property investment in higher elevations, do a bit of prepping on the side, and you can’t go wrong.

  9. When sea levels rise and fall, that changes the volume of water available to dissolve the CO2. Colder water during ice ages can hold more gas, but there is much less of it. Interglacials have much more liquid water, but it’s warmer and can hold less per volume unit. I wonder if that trade off was taken into account.

  10. “…sea level at 24 +7/-15 metres above the present, at 68 per cent confidence limits…”
    “This remains to be seen,” said the cat after pissing into the sugar bowl.

  11. As Manfred said, the CO2-level rises with temperature because the oceans can’t keep it as the get warmer. CO2 is a side effect, not the reason for higher tempertures. Don’t they have some real geologists and chemists in these research groups?

  12. OK, so it takes 100’s of years, but should we be seeing the >10mm/year already?

    If not, why not?

  13. These are the games they have to play to keep the scare alive.

    There is no sea level rise. There is no temperature rise.

    But hey – come with us down this statistical garden path we’ve just made, and you can be reassured that the scare is still alive – rising CO2 will drown the world after all – so we can still have our eco-reich.

  14. I am surprised by the results of this study. Next thing they will be saying that the earth’ts themperature was high at times when the CO2 concentration was high.

  15. I have to say I am ashamed to be British if all we can do is produce quality of work like this.

    As with the carbon dioxide – temperature relationship, this astute professor makes the nieve assumption that sea level is a function of the carbon dioxide level concentration instead of the plainly obvious relationship that both sea level and carbon dioxide concentration are a function of long term temperature. At best, the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn, which is still somewhat tentative, is that the relationship has temporarily been disturbed away from natural equilibrium by our injecting extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which has not yet had the opportunity to equilibrate into the lower levels of the ocean. The professor even admits that his relationship mysteriously breaks down at a carbon dioxide concentration of between 400 and 650 ppm, which to my mind should have been resolved before making such a howler of a claim.

    In short, this work is once more just a piece of pure alarmist propaganda.

  16. I agree with Manfred on the cause/effect relationship which has been amply demonstrated over the past million years as we find that after inter-glacials it takes of the order of ten thousand years for CO2 levels to fall to lower levels after the beginning of a new glaciation thus demonstrating that CO2 does not cause global warming, as does most empirical data.

    This means that if as warmists claim the increases we have seen over the past century in CO2 levels are indeed the result of human activity rather than a result of a warming world then the link as discussed in the above paper has been broken and sea levels will not rise as a result. Alternatively if the CO2 level increases are happening as a result of warming then we can expect sea levels to rise – and all shades of grey in between, i.e. depending on the relative fractions of human/natural CO2 in the atmosphere. This of course is a trend which can be reversed as seems to have happened over the past couple of centuries as measured CO2 levels were much higher in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century seeming to reach a low point roughly a hundred years ago when textbooks were reporting CO2 levels at 400ppm, presumably based on earlier work. In fact the atmospheric measurement history suggests that there are relatively high frequency components to atmospheric CO2 levels which would not show up in ice core data being averaged out.

    It would be worth investigating the early measurement technologies to look for possible sources of systemic measurement error, calibrating old equipment against Mauna Loa. Obviously this should have been done…..

  17. Warmer climate => warmer sea waters & less land ice => higher sea levels & less dissolved C02 => higher atmospheric CO2.

    Not the other way around.

  18. How many times must we go through this? We’ve known for a long time that global temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations have generally moved up or down in concert over the eons as we cycled from between Ice Ages and Warm Periods. The raging controversy has always been whether CO2 drove temperature (greenhouse argument) or temperature drove CO2 (gas solubility in sea water argument).

  19. Throughout the geological record, changes in temperature precede changes in CO2 levels, it is of those inconvenient facts that alarmists like to ignore.

    So the study’s findings could well be correct, so the real question is what made the world warmer in the past?

    1. Changes in the sun’s energy output?
    2. Changes in the Earth’s orbit.
    3. Changes in the ocean currents, triggered by tectonic plate movement, such as the emergence of the Isthmus of Panama?

  20. @ Manfred:Precisely. A warmer ocean fizzes out more CO2. Of COURSE they know this. Truth is not the aim.

  21. Yep it’s worse than we thought. Great headlines for the MSM to pickup as usual. Surely they must have looked hard to make sure they had the cause & effect the right way round?

  22. So the IPCC are wasting their time trying to stop the inevitable. They should be concentrating on a program of teaching everyone how to build house boats and how to swim.

  23. Nope this is an AGW study. They work from the answer down to the question. They need there global warming story’s but temperature is not rising so the make up other story’s like this.

    This story works also that way. The answer is that sea levels rise because global worming and more CO2.
    The question was probably like dos higher CO2 concentrations make sea level rise?

    Then they look for a way to proof that CO2 and higher temperatures make sea levels rise.
    This dos not mean it works that way but they found an likely correlation between the two just like whit CO2 and temperature. At some point they found that there could be a correlation between CO2 rise and temperature rise. And we all know where that whent.

    In this case they found that 400 ppm CO2 what we have now is ideal. But there is a gap of 200 to 250 ppm to the point where the effect will be greater but to what site? Is there a increase of sea level rise or will the sea level go up much higher.

  24. It is interesting what they don’t say. They do not appear to state that CO2 levels rise first followed by temperature, followed by sea-level rises!

  25. How many of the known geocycles other than co2 and temperature did they compare with? In the little I understand I can name quite a few. This study should require peer review in a astrophysics journal.

  26. I thought it was well established that CO2 levels were a lagging indicator of temperature changes by about 600 years. I would also query ‘ice-age values of 180 ppm’. I understood that at this level there was insufficient CO2 for plant growth which would have caused a mass extinction.

    In climate research scientific ignorance seems to be a boon – it seems to mean it is okay to just make it up rather than checking it out. As the sun is acknowledged to have a bigger impact on the climate I am just waiting for a paper saying that CO2 levels in the atmosphere affect the behavior of the sun!

  27. “The researchers compiled more than two thousand pairs of CO2 and sea level data points”
    Does anyone know the total number of possible pairs? Should the selection have been random instead of cherry picked? Briggs?

  28. ‘ CO2 stabilized at 400 to 450 parts per million, sea level is set to steadily rise for many centuries, towards its natural equilibrium position at around 24 +7/-15 metres, at 68 per cent confidence. ‘

    Firstly a 68 confidence is no ‘confidence ‘ at all and secondly using massive time scales means that in effect they can never realistic be proved wrong , given that its impossible to rule out other factors and no one will ever remember the claims in the first place. So an unscientific ‘confidence’ level to back up claims that are not capable of being proved so are themselves not science. A normal day at the office for climate ‘science ‘

  29. As many have already pointed out, CO2 changes were usually driven by changes in ocean temperatures. In other words, CO2 levels tended to be a temperature indicator.

    But of course the 20th century increase in CO2 is not a temperature indicator (probably) because it was caused by human emissions (probably).
    Therefore it is completely false to draw comparisons between ancient CO2 levels and current CO2 levels.
    Chris

  30. @Alexander Feht

    LOL That’s a funny one. I will put it on my famous quotes list.
    And it’s so applicable for most AGW-science these days.

  31. CO2 does not correlate with temperature worth beans on timescales of seeing century-level variation like http://tinyurl.com/3d4mrbt
    and decade-level variation like http://s10.postimage.org/l9gokvp09/composite.jpg

    There is quite a reason more commonly posted plots are so zoomed out as to make a millenium close to a pixel: CO2 correlates with temperature well only when a view is zoomed out enough to hide the lag period, for oceans to warm to their depths and over a few centuries release CO2 (the temperature increase and then the CO2 as a consequence). Even then it doesn’t over the very longest timeframes (as well as short ones), though that’s another topic.

  32. Claude Harvey says:
    January 3, 2013 at 1:21 am
    The raging controversy has always been whether CO2 drove temperature (greenhouse argument) or temperature drove CO2 (gas solubility in sea water argument).
    ============
    1. the ice cores show that CO2 lags temperature by about 800 years. This establishes that temperature drives CO2, by a well accepted principle that cold water can hold more CO2 than warm water.
    2. if CO2 ALSO drove temperature, then as more CO2 dissolved in the cold ocean during an ice age, and global CO2 levels fell, it would be impossible for the ice age.
    3. similarly, if CO2 ALSO drove temperature, then as more CO2 came out of solution as the oceans warmed at the end of an ice age, it would be impossible for there to be a second ice age.
    4. since we have been in a pretty regular series of ice ages every 100k years for a couple of million years, this is strong evidence that CO2 cannot be driving temperature. If it did, then we would either be stuck in a low CO2 ice age, or high CO2 warm age. Transition between the two would not be possible given the small irregularity in the earth’s orbit. Yet we see a regular transition in time with a beat frequency of the earth’s orbit.

  33. Sea Level has been falling for the last 94 million years as the Atlantic has opened up and deepened (it can take 50 to 100 Million years for a new ocean basin to widen, sink in the mantle and reach its mature depth of 5000 metres).

    So here are all the reliable CO2 datapoints over the last 40 million years versus the sea level estimates of Haq Shutter 2008 (which is generally the most accepted sea level estimates). Sea level has been slowly falling while there is no way to match up the sea level datapoints to the CO2 datapoints since there is quite a different resolution.

    Miller 2005 has higher sea level estimate resolution over the last 8 Million years which covers the ice age changes for example, but generally Miller’s estimates should have more of a decline over the last 8 Million years and are not consistent with other estimates. Again, the resolution is different in these two datastreams so it is not possible to tie these together the way the authors claim to do.

    I don’t see CO2 in these numbers. I see Atlantic deepening and ice age/Milankovitch cycles.

  34. knr says:
    January 3, 2013 at 3:12 am
    Firstly a 68 confidence is no ‘confidence ‘ at all
    ========
    68% confidence is very close to 66.7%.

    All too often we see things in terms of black and white or heads and tails. However in nature more often that not we are dealing with 3 states, with a 1/3 chance of each. When you look at things this way, you see that there is not a 50/50 chance that things will get warmer or colder. Rather there is a 2/3 chance (66.7%) that something else will happen.

    Thus, there is a 66.7% chance things will not get warmer, a 66.7% chance things will not get colder, and a 66.7% chance things will not stay the same.

    What the good professor has discovered is the law of probability as they apply to a 3 state system. (ice age, warm age, transition). Next week, the wheel.

  35. 68% is about 1 std deviation to get to 97% you need 2 std devitions this suggests that the error range for 97% confidence would be 24 -30/+14 which includes 0

  36. According to the study, sea level stays more or less constant for CO2 changes between 400 and 650 parts per million
    =========
    Since we are at 400, this study says it is OK to go up to 650 because it will not have much effect. Which will take us well into the next century, leaving lots of time to invent an alternative energy source. Without such an invention there is no way we can support present population levels without fossil fuels, let alone provide the benefits of industrialized society to the billions of people presently living in poverty.

  37. A bit more on the 68% confidence level. One, you can’t do that. You are NOT allowed to adjust your confidence level to create significance. This violates EVERY principle of statistical hypothesis testing. What happened here was that the study FAILED to have significance, so the authors CHANGED the test level to the point where the F-test would show the desired result.

    Imagine for a moment the design phase of the study. “Where shall we place our significance level? 90%, 95%?”.

    “No, let’s put it at 68%”.

    “Sixty-eight? Not 65 or 70?”

    “No, 68. That will show real care and foresight in the design.”

    Sarc off.

  38. Ken Hall says: OMG WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!
    After 6.5 decades of observation, there seems to be strong evidence to support that theory.
    I see they buy into our ability to control the climate by controlling atmospheric CO2 concentration. I keep being amazed that any scientist could believe that one and only one thing controls climatic temperature. I suppose if you buy into our ability to come up with mean global temperature as a meaningful statistic (to multiple decimal places, no less), then you could believe in only one driver of climate.

  39. As every scientist knows, correlation does not mean causation. The sea level changes obviously are the result of temperature changes, which also cause CO2 levels to rise. This study does nothing to enlighten anyone about anything.
    No mention of whether those periods of CO2 rise but no sea level rise were also periods of no temperature rise, the most likely scenario, but one that would undercut the study’s logic to
    a large extent.

  40. So. When Noah had all the animals on the Ark….there was much water, and very little plant life to photosynthetically reduce whatever CO2 was produced by those nasty surviving humans…and their flatulent cattle. A data point from this time period would fit in with the conclusions of this study…without knowing the “rest of the story” as Paul Harvey was famous for saying. But then again, start with a conclusion, gather data that correlates, reaffirm original conclusion. That is called an endless do loop in programming terms.

  41. PNAS difficulties with peer review allows arguing from conclusions to supporting premises to pass as logic.

    [PNAS is Post Normal ?? Science? Mod]

  42. Alan the Brit: Exactly. Has anyone looked at the full paper to see if they make any claims of causation and not only “association”?

  43. 68% is a 1 sigma range, that 68% of the data falls in 1 sigma. Now 2 sigma is I think 95% and 3 is 99%. So they are saying that there is a 1 sigma signifigance/deviation on this. >sigh< I personally have a few other questions, like how do they know that the sea level has fallen rather than land uplifted for some of the older peices, and by how much?

    Also 24 +7/-15 meters? really so add 24 meters of sea level? or did I read that wrong? and from again what is 'zero point'. It all seems fuzzy. And 40 million years ago wasn't solar output higher? There seems to be some data missing here.

    Maybe it is just me, but I suspect there isn't enough cross pollinization in PHD work anymore and thus people can make wags (like this statement) about their data without evaluating enough possible contaminates from other fields.

  44. Rob Boyd , like so much of climate science this ‘confidence’ trick would lead to the work failing this is was student handing in an essay for an undergraduate science course. Is it really much to ask these ‘professional’ scientists to meet the standard they would expect of their own students ?

  45. Words fail. Beyond stupid. We know temp causes sea level, temp causes CO2 level. Therefore sea level and CO2 are correlated. But CO2 doesn’t cause temp, so industrial CO2 output doesn’t change temp, so sea level doesn’t change due to CO2 output by human industry. How did they not notice this? Or should I ask “For how much MONEY did they not notice?”

  46. @Mike McMillan
    “When sea levels rise and fall, that changes the volume of water available to dissolve the CO2. Colder water during ice ages can hold more gas, but there is much less of it. Interglacials have much more liquid water, but it’s warmer and can hold less per volume unit. I wonder if that trade off was taken into account.”

    When considering the huge variations in solid and liquid water they should also consider that melting ice to water absorbs a lot of CO2. I see no mention of this. Consider the mass of CO2 absorbed by ice melt sufficient to raise the oceans by 50 meters! It is far more than the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere at 400 ppm. It would appear that their “outgassing” calculation is out by several hundred per cent. They need to find a heck of a lot more CO2 to have 70 m of sea level rise AND 1000 ppm AND equilibrium. When water warms and it outgasses CO2 it stops when the atmospheric concentration balances the vapour pressure. There seems to be a belief that the oceans can get to 20 ppm and the atmosphere to 1000, the seas vomiting out their adsorbed gases.

    I don’t find the paper alarmist, I find it conceptually incomplete.

  47. Good points above. The key this time would seem to be the ocean basins and the continental arrangement. http://scotese.com/lateeoc1.htm With the shift in the continents, the ocean circulation must have been significantly different through most of the last 40 million years.

    We should keep in mind that, according to Scotese, the end of the Paleocene to the beginning of the Eocene was the warmest period in earth’s history. (Note that most modern mammals came about then–we like warm just like the reptiles and dinosaurs.) And the earth has generally cooled since then. There can be no surprise, nor informative information, in the subject study.

  48. The most amazing invention is the Thermos.It keeps hot things hot and cold things cold.How does it know which is which?(dumb joke)
    CO2 at greater atmos levels makes the Earths temp rise higher.
    But at the termination of interglacial temp periods ,temps dive while CO2 levels continue to rise.
    Then CO2 levels drop after 800 years.
    The exact same levels that once caused warming ,now cause cooling.
    How does CO2 know which is which?(dumb climate science)

  49. I have a newbee question here so don’t be too harsh. If rising CO2 causes oceans to rise, and rising oceans also cause warming of the planet, and warming of the planet causes CO2 to rise, then how would the oceans ever recede once all the ice was gone?

  50. Well, according to the Colorado Sea Level Research Group, average rate of sea level rise during the last decade is 2.28 mm/year. However, glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) correction of 0.3 mm/yr is included, so this rate is in fact only 2 mm/year (8 inch/century). The guys are mixing up sea level and ocean volume a bit, figures they show you are for a hypothetical sea level rise for an ocean put into a basin with constant volume, when in fact basin volume is increasing. Anyway, to have anything close to 1 m/century, this rate should go up four or fivefold eventually.

    It can only be if the sea level response function is very slow, on the order of ~3 centuries. Which means a substantial sea level rise until the end of this century can be excluded with high confidence. And it does NOT make ANY sense to calculate further than that, because technology applied that far in the future will not even resemble today’s one (as today’s technology is a bit more advanced than that of the beginning of last century).

    With the advent of self replicating molecular assemblers airborne carbon will become the prime raw material for everything we would choose to manufacture, which threatens with a serious carbon dioxide depletion. Not a good thing for a large scale technology to compete with plants for a resource.

    Therefore preloading the atmosphere with this stuff as much as possible now, buys us time to replenish it (from limestone) later as needed. Which will have its own repercussions of course, ocean basification, caused by lime milk, the inevitable byproduct in an aqueous environment, being one. Fortunately we have the guts to decrase ocean pH somewhat in thoughtful preparation for such an eventuality.

  51. Their conclusions are ass-backwards (hopefully only to ensure future funding).

    Ice core data indicates:
    1. Temperatures increase
    2. Sea levels rise
    3. Atmospheric CO2 levels increase

    More conclusively, this study demonstrates CO2 equilibrates between the oceans and atmosphere. The rapid Holocene sea level rise has leveled off and the oceans have warmed. Atmospheric CO2 is currently low relative to the warm full oceans. The oceans are off gassing CO2 to bring the atmosphere back into equilibrium. Rising atmospheric CO2 helps warm the planet (slightly), and increases plant growth, which in turn increases habitable areas and biodiversity. Humans are helping the process slightly.

    We’re just fleas on a dog. Climate change is a natural result of a process that will continue with or without us.

  52. Des says:
    January 3, 2013 at 3:30 am

    So why is Alaska heading for an ice age and the Berring sea ice on the increase, is it the CO2?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2256188/What-global-warming-Alaska-headed-ice-age-scientists-report-states-steady-temperature-decline.html#ixzz2GuWMoKCT

    The interesting part about this link is the comment section. A quick run down them (and there are over 200) shows almost no CAGW support with most support being toward AGW being a scam by rent seeking academics and politicians. The real message is getting out to the population despite the efforts of ‘the Team’ to the contrary. Once the politicians who are not making money from the scam see the way the majority are moving and break ranks things will become interesting.

  53. ferd berple says:
    January 3, 2013 at 4:21 am
    According to the study, sea level stays more or less constant for CO2 changes between 400 and 650 parts per million
    =========
    Since we are at 400, this study says it is OK to go up to 650
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Pretty sad, isn’t it! After concluding that nothing much changes between 400 and 650, the blatant political pressure to maintain the narrative is on full display. They babble on about 450 and 2 degrees being some sort of safe limit even though their own results say something completely different. The IPCC position? That 450 and 2 degrees is the safe limit. In other words, do whatever research you want, report any results you get, but put in some verbiage about 450 and 2 degrees being a safe limit or you get no funding.

    One wonders if the safe limit wording has to be approved in advance and they don’t even bother to read the rest of the report to see if it contradicts itself.

  54. Based on these results, which document how the Earth system has operated in the past, future stabilization of CO2 at 400-450 parts per million is unlikely to be sufficient to avoid a significant steady long-term sea level rise.
    Astonishingly Al Gorean logic. They assume the higher C02 levels somehow causes sea levels to rise. For Warmists, C02 really is a magical gas.

  55. George J. says:
    January 3, 2013 at 6:31 am

    I have a newbee question here so don’t be too harsh. If rising CO2 causes oceans to rise, and rising oceans also cause warming of the planet, and warming of the planet causes CO2 to rise, then how would the oceans ever recede once all the ice was gone?

    I got a good laugh out of your question, George–not because it was silly at all, but because as a “newbee” you hit their contradiction right on the head. Welcome to WUWT.

  56. davidmhoffer says:
    January 3, 2013 at 7:26 am


    Since we are at 400, this study says it is OK to go up to 650
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Pretty sad, isn’t it! After concluding that nothing much changes between 400 and 650, the blatant political pressure to maintain the narrative is on full display.

    And I’ve read where if we burned all available fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 would get to ~600ppmv. So what’s the big deal? Where’s the beef? You are absolutely correct, Mr. Hoffer.

  57. We have skewed the natural Carbon dioxide concentration without skewing (very much) the temperature. The natural relationships are between temperature and CO2 and and temperature and sea level. There is no physical relationship between CO2 and sea level.

    The natural temperature corresponding to natural 400ppm CO2 is higher than today’s, so of course their metric will incorrectly predict sea level.

  58. After so too many strike outs, the team has picked a winner, correlation between two symptoms of a warming planet. Here is a correlation that will stand the test of time, team cheerleaders go crazy.
    Sort of like toenail and hair growth as a correlation for the health of the body.

  59. A good example of dumbing down. I find it hard to grasp that a researcher would risk losing whatever credibility they had in publishing this. Does it remind any that of K-12 gradeschool level work?

  60. If the data can be trusted, this is a useful study, the convoluted and egregious attribution of sea levels to CO2 notwithstanding.

    IF the data can be trusted.

    But confidence in the verity of the data is always a problem with authors who evince the ideological bias that all too often adulterates data as part of the “War Against Climate Change”.

  61. Elevated sea levels result in large shallow seas. Shallow seas are great for life. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 is governed by the rate of eukaryote metabolism. Why does everyone forget in discussions regarding CO2, that the composition of the atmosphere is dynamically controlled by life, swamping out physical factors?

  62. Manfred says: January 3, 2013 at 12:17 am
    “And they did not even think about the possibility, that increased CO2 was the effect and not the cause of ocean temperature increase.”

    So why can’t the over educated folks at National Oceanography Centre, Southampton understand what should be obvious to anyone who studied science in high school? When Sea Surface Temperatures rise CO2 solubility falls:

  63. Graph #1 Post Glacial Sea Level Rise

    Graph #2 Western Pacific Post Glacial Sea Level History

    Graph #3 Holocene temperature and snow accumulation GISP2 Ice Core

    Graph #4 Temperature and CO2 over the Past 400 Thousand years
    In the commentary under the last graph note:

    Changes in temperature precede changes in CO2, with a lag of around 800 years….

    Finally, Caillon et al 2003 sought to reduce the potential for error by using argon isotopes to measure temperature, rather than water ice (which gets around the problem of reconciling gas age and ice age). They found a good correlation between CO2 and temperature over Termination II, again with CO2 lagging temperature by around 800 years.

    [And then the BIG LIE gc]
    These results fit well with the standard explanation for the Ice Ages, which is that an initial temperature trigger (for example, changes in the earth’s orbit), result in release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (for example, release of CO2 from the ocean as it warms). As the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere builds up, it results in more warming and further release of greenhouse gases (i.e. a feedback cycle).

    It would seem they are using the axiom
    ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

    One does get really sick of hearing more versions of the “BIG LIE”

    The chemistry behind CO2 and ocean out-gassing link If you have not visited CO2web recently, do so it is greatly expanded.

  64. At the end of the day this seems to be yet another piece of propaganda. If there was any scientific support for the alarmist cause then propaganda would never be required. In fact it would be actively weeded out as it would tarnish and weaken the argument.

    As it is, propaganda is all they have to offer.

  65. I’ve noticed that whenever trees wiggle their branches, there’s a windstorm. [Some trees do so so enthusiastically that branches break off.] The correlation between wiggling trees and wind is 100%. Such a strong correlation makes it evident that windstorms are caused by trees, and thus to prevent windstorms, all we need to is cut down the trees.

    /sarc

  66. I’m extremely skeptical that either their CO2 data or their sea level data can be sufficiently accurate/reliable to form any assessment at all about relationships back much more than a few centuries, much less 40 million years. I doubt that they took tectonics into account either because they probably don’t have good data on that either. What’s the point of peer review if this sort of stuff isn’t filtered out?

    Maybe the study is better than the press release. I’ll check back in a day or so and see if anyone has found a link to it.

  67. George J

    If rising CO2 causes oceans to rise, and rising oceans also cause warming of the planet, and warming of the planet causes CO2 to rise, then how would the oceans ever recede once all the ice was gone?
    ====================================

    I think the answer your question is that we don’t have the slightest idea what causes either glaciations or interglacial warming.

  68. Juraj V. says:

    January 3, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Wearing short sleeves causes summer to come. Proofed.

    ———-
    My finding, in England, is that wearing short sleeves causes winter to come. Again – proofed.
    Guess this is one of those three-state probabilty questions.
    67% that summer won’t come.
    67% hat winter won’t come.
    And 67% that you [or I] won’t die.
    Or am I misunderstanding the work of Foster et al.; does it truly reach insignificant – or merely alarmist?

  69. At least this write up points to a scenario where warmer oceans and more atmospheric carbon dioxide go hand-in-hand and also to the other scenario where colder oceans exist with lower atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

    The question remains: Where are the horse and cart in relation to each other? The ability of the ocean to dissolve and out gas CO2 at various temperatures is the answer.

  70. Has anyone found a link to this actual work? I went to PNAS, and searched under the manuscript number and the lead author’s name and got no results.

    REPLY: I did also, apparently PNAS allows you to make PR before the early edition with this manuscript comes out . They have a disclaimer about it on the web page – Anthony

  71. I am greatly concerned with the slowing of sea level rise. Plotting the rise since the Great Melt, is to reveal a lagging indicator of where we are in the interglacial. To me, a slowing of the rise, as the rise become asymptotic to some maximum level, is a lagging indicator that our time in the integlacial is up.

  72. I have not read the paper yet, but before I do it may be useful to point out some constraints. The first one being resolution. Some of the better proxies include Greenland ice, which gets us back something in the range of ~130kya (~130,000 years ago), and speleothem (stalactite/stalagmite) and flowstone deposits, which arguably can get us back a few million years or so. Beyond that are various isotopes isolated from ostracods etc. in deep sea sediment cores. Some studies for Greenland ice core studies lay fairly credible claim to be able to attain as good as decadal resolution, but more towards the upper cores, not so much the lower sections, where slip planes and other things can complicate matters considerably. There are others, I just decided not to go into them.

    From the Greenland cores there are two really important considerations; (1) ~130k DOES NOT get us back to the start of the last interglacial, from which one can infer that the Greenland sheet may have completely melted away during the inception and early millenia of the Eemian, and (2) the better resolution of Greenland ice (as opposed to Antarctic ice) has repeatedly shown that temperature changes precede CO2 changes.

    According to Mudelsee (2001) (http://manfredmudelsee.com/publ/pdf/The_phase_relations_among_atmospheric_CO2_content_temperature_and_global_ice_volume_over_the_past_420_ka.pdf) from the abstract:

    “Over the full 420 ka of the Vostok record, CO2 variations lag behind atmospheric temperature changes in the Southern Hemisphere by 1.3 +/- 1.0 ka, and lead over global ice-volume variations by 2.7 +/- 1.3 ka.”

    For reference, this was one of the definitive papers establishing which came first, and it was published some 4 years before Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” inversion. Cause and effect unraveled 12 years ago, why this is even an issue now is really quite beyond me.

    Beyond the onset of northern hemisphere glaciations, some ~2.8Mya, which is some 2 or so million years older than we can really guess which came first, it becomes sort of a ‘silly-buggers’ game.

    Others here have already pointed out that coincidence is not causation. Still others have expanded on the degree to which CO2 is better absorbed by cold water than warm. It is somewhat difficult to imagine a world in which sea levels were much higher than today if it was not indeed warmer. What may not have been considered is the increased areal extent of littorals resultant from a sea level increase of +65m (~213 feet). Plot the areas covered up to +65m on coastlines worldwide and see what percent sea surface is increased over present. I know I have seen several papers which have considered this, but I am just not going to take the time this evening to look that up. But it’s big.

    So more surface area to degas, if that means anything here.

    As so often is the case, seemingly especially in this lopsided debate, is a phenomena best illustrated by Ziggy. One of my all time favorite cartoons is of Ziggy standing before three vending machines, scratching his head. The first vending machine says “The Truth – 25c”. The middle vending machine says “The Whole Truth – 50c”. and the last machine is entitled “The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth – $1.00”. The numbers might be memory faded, but you get the point (I hope).

    In terms of “The Truth” this “debate” is about AGW. But “The Whole Truth” might skew closer to that it is about GW, AGW and GC (global cooling), in other words what is our attribution “signal” relative to normal climate “noise”, or signal to noise ratio.

    But what would a buck get us from the climate vending machine? What is “The Truth, The Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth?” That would include the univers of what we do know and what remains to be known about climate. At a minimum it would necessarily include the miserable state the 4 global data sets are in, the various methods and means of which this record consists, loss of ~70% of reporting stations (predominately high latitude, high altitude and rural) post 1990, and what resides in my mind at least as pure horror at the state of the surface stations Anthony et al have and are documenting. To this we must necessarily add when we live, about half a precession cycle since the more or less agreed beginning of the Holocene (termination of the YD event). Five of the past six such interglacials have each lasted about half a precession cycle……

    And the ends of the “extreme” interglacials (those that have achieved at least our sea level, the highstands of which continue to be documented), provide a chilling and robust record of the climate extremes which appear to occasion their ends. An analysis of some of this may be found here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/16/the-end-holocene-or-how-to-make-out-like-a-madoff-climate-change-insurer/

    My initial impression is that this paper, only having read what is here, may fall at the “blue light special” (heavily discounted) end of the 25c The Truth. Meaning to me that I may learn a thing or two by reading it and vetting the cited papers critically. With so much end extreme interglacial normal climate “noise” it is seems like such a LEAP to matheMANNically manufacture CO2 numerical/Nutticelli attribution anywhere near close enough to allow calculation of the ideal gas law concentration.

    I am just not so sure that any correlation drawn prior to the closing of the Panama Seaway (some ~5Mya) is oceanic circulation comparable to the present except in the grossest terms.

    “The onset of the LEAP occurred within less than two decade, demonstrating the existence of a sharp threshold, which must be near 416Wm-2, which is the 65N July insolation for 118 kyr BP (ref. 9). This value is only slightly below today’s value of 428Wm-2. Insolation will remain at this level slightly above the inception for the next 4,000 years before it then increases again.”

    http://einstein.iec.cat/jellebot/documents/articles/Phis.Lett.A_2007.pdf

    Repeating myself:

    So be ever thoughtful of both facts and predictions before leaping to a conclusion. It was in fact a LEAP that terminated the last interglacial, the cold Late Eemian Aridity Pulse which lasted 468 years and ended with a precipitous drop into the Wisconsin ice age. And yes, we were indeed there. We had been on the stage as our stone-age selves about the same length of time during that interglacial that our civilizations have been during this one.

  73. Is it possible to keep a list of individuals who secured degrees with out learning anything? They should be required to defend theories and assertions such as these and either move science ahead or suffer requisite humiliation.

  74. Gail Combs says:
    January 3, 2013 at 9:11 am
    Graph #1 Post Glacial Sea Level Rise

    Graph #2 Western Pacific Post Glacial Sea Level History

    Graph #3 Holocene temperature and snow accumulation GISP2 Ice Core

    Graph #4 Temperature and CO2 over the Past 400 Thousand years
    In the commentary under the last graph note:

    Changes in temperature precede changes in CO2, with a lag of around 800 years….

    Finally, Caillon et al 2003 sought to reduce the potential for error by using argon isotopes to measure temperature, rather than water ice (which gets around the problem of reconciling gas age and ice age). They found a good correlation between CO2 and temperature over Termination II, again with CO2 lagging temperature by around 800 years.

    [And then the BIG LIE gc]
    These results fit well with the standard explanation for the Ice Ages, which is that an initial temperature trigger (for example, changes in the earth’s orbit), result in release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (for example, release of CO2 from the ocean as it warms). As the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere builds up, it results in more warming and further release of greenhouse gases (i.e. a feedback cycle).

    It would seem they are using the axiom
    ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” ~ Joseph Goebbels

    One does get really sick of hearing more versions of the “BIG LIE”

    The chemistry behind CO2 and ocean out-gassing link If you have not visited CO2web recently, do so it is greatly expanded.

    Climate papers are a bit like a lot of movies, they begin differently and might seem at the start to be new and interesting but they all end the same. It is indeed astonishing that the same mantra of CO2 causality keeps getting recited in the face of evidence for the long lag between temperatures and CO2.

    In an oscillatory system like climate, if the positive temp-CO2 feedback they are proposing really did exist, it would cause the oscillation to be a monotonic sine wave. The human heart beat is an example of a nonlinear oscillator dominated by strong positive feedbacks linking myocardial muscle cells. Thus it is (hopefully) a regular beat. By contrast introducing negative feedbacks into the system (damping or friction) adds more complexity to the oscillation. From the well-known dynamics of oscillatory systems it is easy to demonstrate that this hoped-for positive temp-CO2 feedback by which (as Willis Eschenbach puts it) “the effect of the cause affects the cause” – cannot exist.

  75. DesertYote says:
    January 3, 2013 at 8:38 am
    Elevated sea levels result in large shallow seas. Shallow seas are great for life. The concentration of atmospheric CO2 is governed by the rate of eukaryote metabolism. Why does everyone forget in discussions regarding CO2, that the composition of the atmosphere is dynamically controlled by life, swamping out physical factors?

    Generally I agree with you that the climate temperature-CO2 issue is at least as much about biology as it is physics.

    But scientists are profoundly territorial creatures and this is a major obstacle to advance in understanding.

  76. This is excellent work. Current CO2 levels are at 400ppm, but the sea level is lower than at other times in the past when according to the writer. Conclusion anthropogenic CO2 does not cause sea level to rise. This conclusion would make more commonsense based on the data presented.

  77. Back in the old days, once the polls closed on election day, it took time for ballot boxes to arrive at the county courthouse for tabulation. The “early boxes” were always urban, and so were liberal. The later boxes were always suburban, and more conservative. So, election after election, the results from early boxes would make it look like we were doing better than expected.

    Then, the suburban boxes would temper the emerging results.

    No one was ever foolish enough to make any sort of press announcement based on early boxes.

  78. By a web-browser quirk, this comment for another post ended up here. Sorry about that, everyone.

  79. It’s an ill wind that blows no one any good.

    Ridley, Matt. “How Fossil Fuels Have Greened the Planet.” Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2013, sec. Life & Culture. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323374504578217621593679506.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Did you know that the Earth is getting greener, quite literally? Satellites are now confirming that the amount of green vegetation on the planet has been increasing for three decades. This will be news to those accustomed to alarming tales about deforestation, overdevelopment and ecosystem destruction.
    ………………………..
    Satellites are now confirming that the amount of green vegetation on Earth has been increasing for three decades. Matt Ridley investigates why.

  80. I suppose water content of the earth is constant. If the quantity of water that has to be in and on the land surface of the earth is reduced and drained to the sea, then sea level rises. We are draining water from land part of the earth which used to be inside and on land. 400 million years year before land may not have been saturated with water. So how is it possible to correlate with CO¬2? I don’t see any relationship whatsoever.
    And, four walls of a green house can be formed by solid transparent materials like plastics and glasses but HOW they can be made out of any gases? No gases can be GH gases, so no green house effect due to gases. Click my name for details. With regards from me.

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