The oldest ice core – Finding a 1.5 million-year record of Earth’s climate

How far into the past can ice-core records go? Scientists have now identified regions in Antarctica they say could store information about Earth’s climate and greenhouse gases extending as far back as 1.5 million years, almost twice as old as the oldest ice core drilled to date. The results are published in Climate of the Past, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).

Potential oldest ice study areas
Potential oldest ice study areas (Credit: Van Liefferinge and Pattyn)

By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows them to make better predictions about how climate will change in the future.

“Ice cores contain little air bubbles and, thus, represent the only direct archive of the composition of the past atmosphere,” says Hubertus Fischer, an experimental climate physics professor at the University of Bern in Switzerland and lead author of the study. A 3.2-km-long ice core drilled almost a decade ago at Dome Concordia (Dome C) in Antarctica revealed 800,000 years of climate history, showing that greenhouse gases and temperature have mostly moved in lockstep. Now, an international team of scientists wants to know what happened before that.

At the root of their quest is a climate transition that marine-sediment studies reveal happened some 1.2 million years to 900,000 years ago. “The Mid Pleistocene Transition is a most important and enigmatic time interval in the more recent climate history of our planet,” says Fischer. The Earth’s climate naturally varies between times of warming and periods of extreme cooling (ice ages) over thousands of years. Before the transition, the period of variation was about 41 thousand years while afterwards it became 100 thousand years. “The reason for this change is not known.”

Climate scientists suspect greenhouse gases played a role in forcing this transition, but they need to drill into the ice to confirm their suspicions. “The information on greenhouse-gas concentrations at that time can only be gained from an Antarctic ice core covering the last 1.5 million years. Such an ice core does not exist yet, but ice of that age should be in principle hidden in the Antarctic ice sheet.”

As snow falls and settles on the surface of an ice sheet, it is compacted by the weight of new snow falling on top of it and is transformed into solid glacier ice over thousands of years. The weight of the upper layers of the ice sheet causes the deep ice to spread, causing the annual ice layers to become thinner and thinner with depth. This produces very old ice at depths close to the bedrock.

However, drilling deeper to collect a longer ice core does not necessarily mean finding a core that extends further into the past. “If the ice thickness is too high the old ice at the bottom is getting so warm by geothermal heating that it is melted away,” Fischer explains. “This is what happens at Dome C and limits its age to 800,000 years.”

To complicate matters further, horizontal movements of the ice above the bedrock can disturb the bottommost ice, causing its annual layers to mix up.

“To constrain the possible locations where such 1.5 million-year old – and in terms of its layering undisturbed – ice could be found in Antarctica, we compiled the available data on climate and ice conditions in the Antarctic and used a simple ice and heat flow model to locate larger areas where such old ice may exist,” explains co-author Eric Wolff of the British Antarctic Survey, now at the University of Cambridge.

The team concluded that 1.5 million-year old ice should still exist at the bottom of East Antarctica in regions close to the major Domes, the highest points on the ice sheet, and near the South Pole, as described in the new Climate of the Past study. These results confirm those of another study, also recently published in Climate of the Past.

Crucially, they also found that an ice core extending that far into the past should be between 2.4 and 3-km long, shorter than the 800,000-year-old core drilled in the previous expedition.

The next step is to survey the identified drill sites to measure the ice thickness and temperature at the bottom of the ice sheet before selecting a final drill location.

“A deep drilling project in Antarctica could commence within the next 3–5 years,” Fischer states. “This time would also be needed to plan the drilling logistically and create the funding for such an exciting large-scale international research project, which would cost around 50 million euros.”

More information

This research is presented in the paper ‘Where to find 1.5 million yr old ice for the IPICS “Oldest Ice” ice core’ published in the EGU open access journal Climate of the Past on 05 November 2013. Please mention the publication if reporting on this story and, if reporting online, include a link to the paper or to the journal website.

Full citation: Fischer, H. et al.: Where to find 1.5 million yr old ice for the IPICS ‘Oldest-Ice’ ice core, Clim. Past, 9, 2489-2505, doi:10.5194/cp-9-2489-2013, 2013.

The other study mentioned in the release is by Van Liefferinge, B. and Pattyn, F.: Using ice-flow models to evaluate potential sites of million year-old ice in Antarctica, Clim. Past., 9, 2335–2345, 2013.

About these ads

119 thoughts on “The oldest ice core – Finding a 1.5 million-year record of Earth’s climate

  1. “By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows them to make better predictions about how climate will change in the future.”

    This is about as far as I am going to read because it has been discussed over many threads and proven that increases in greenhouse-gas follow increases in temperature

  2. Does the ice core store an information about water vapor? Really?

    This obsession with “greenhouse gases” is not normal. When 6,000 ppm of greenhouse CO2 in Martian atmosphere creates any kind of “greenhouse warming”, then come back.

  3. And the warming effect of CO2 was as strongly logarithmic 1.5million years ago as it is today so finding out how much CO2 there was in the atmosphere is a further waste of time and money.

  4. ‘Climate scientists suspect greenhouse gases played a role in forcing this transition, but they need to drill into the ice to confirm their suspicions. ‘

    Any one want to bet what the result will be regardless of the facts ?
    Still lets hope that unlike the usual approach the probably handle and make public all the data and not take the ‘its mine you can’t have it ‘ one some in this area use.

  5. By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

    They’re starting with an agenda and will learn nothing. Still, that’s hardly the point, is it?

  6. So much time, trouble and money wasted trying to understand “how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere”; so little spent trying to understand how greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere respond to changes in temperature.

  7. By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows them to make better predictions about how climate will change in the future.

    Holy crap. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. At least they stated their agenda up front. I stopped reading at that point.

  8. By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows them to make better predictions about how climate will change in the future.

    Oh really?

  9. “…Showing that greenhouse gases and temperature have mostly moved in lockstep.”

    There was me thinking that the ice cores showed that temperature increase preceded the rise in CO2 by about 800 years. Maybe lockstep applies to parts of the flat temperature periods of the ice record?

  10. By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere respond to changes in temperature.

    There, fixed it for them.

    EDIT: Beaten to it…

  11. Ice that old is probably past the expiration date, but it sounds like a worthy project. What’s the drilling cost compared to a wind turbine?

  12. Too many scientists have a horse in this race. That statement in itself is an apparent travesty and a contradiction in terms but we live in interesting times. I’m finding it hard to remain credulous. Am I alone in thinking that whatever the outcome the published results/data will reflect a carefully scripted and entirely subjective edict?.

  13. Congrats on finding old ice. Can I have some for my whisky?
    Otherwise as per RESnape – I cannot read this after they stated their intentions mixing cause and effect.
    As Bob Carter said, we can study whether lung cancer causes smoking, but that would be a waste of time and money.

  14. “Lockstep” seems to be an intentionally misleading characterization, especially when they preface their CO2-temperature-lockstep claim by saying that a longer record of this kind of data will help scientists to better:

    understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows them to make better predictions about how climate will change in the future.

    The relevance of “lockstep” to that objective disappears if they acknowledge that it is known to come from temperature driving CO2, with any relationship in the other direction being obscured to the point of indetectability by the temperature-drives-CO2 relation.

  15. Science, in the public arena, is commonly used as a source of authority with which to bludgeon political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens. This is what has been done with both the reports of the IPCC and the NAS. It is a reprehensible practice that corrodes our ability to make rational decisions.
    – Richard Lindzen WSJ 2001 http://eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/OpEds/LindzenWSJ.pdf

    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more. It is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
    Signifying nothing.
    – William Shakespeare, circa 1605

  16. I’m sorry, I’m not aware of the evidence that ‘greenhouse gasses’ caused the transition 900,000 years ago.

    Is this controversial or do all reputable scientists (by which I include the NIPCC group as well as some IPCC scientists) agree it to be so?

  17. Don’t these scientists have any dignity. In effect all that’s being said is the same old trite argument:

    “…we got a problem, it’s CO2 but we need more money to find out if CO2 does, and by how much (cause we know it does and by loads), control climate…”

    Once we stop funding this shit the sooner science can resume and academics can regain their dignity.

  18. I don’t get it. Why do they need real data? Don’t we have models we can use for making a hindcast? I also have to confess that as a Lovecraft fan, perhaps they should leave Antarctic ice that old… undisturbed.

    But seriously, the idea of getting ice that old is just amazing. Getting ground truth going that far back could be revolutionary, and one hopes their analysis is unbiased.

  19. “…time would also be needed to plan the drilling logistically and create the funding …. which would cost around 50 million euros”

    Give me some of that rich gravy baby!!! :)

  20. If you actually read the paper You find what they actually say:

    Very old ice may exist at depth in a few areas in East Antarctica
    The old ice will be very compressed
    Empirical data suggests that oxygen isotope record may be so degraded by diffusion that even the 41 000 year glacial cycles may blurred, i. e. probably no reliable temperature data and very difficult dating.
    They are convinced (from modeling) that this will NOT affect CO2.
    A number of other dating methods MIGHT be useful.
    Predicting where very old ice may occur is very difficult – test drilling will be required.

    Strangely they do not seem to be at all interested in searching for very old ice close to the surface in blue-ice areas where it very probably exists. Admittedly such ice would not be exactly datable (unless one was lucky enough to find volcanic ash layers in it), but it would give just as good qualitative data on the “41 kyr world” (I e the period before 800 000 years ago when glacial cycles were short), as would a deep bore, better as a matter of fact as larger amounts of ice would be accessible.

    “Climate scientists suspect greenhouse gases played a role in forcing this transition”
    That is probably just a bid for more cash. There are a number of different theories what caused the transition from short to long glacial periods, but GHG does not figure in any of them.

  21. I’m sure the scientists involved in this project know very well that greenhouse gases are incidental to their study but the only way to secure funding for the project is to trot out the usual trash that it is going to improve crystal ball gazing.

    We all know it won’t but equally we would all like to see and study some million year old ice. I’d rather the money went to the drillers than to some other members of ‘the team’.

  22. Junior-high science class: as the temperature of water rises, CO2 that is dissolved in that water increasingly comes out of solution and escapes into the environment (i.e., temperature of the oceans rises, then rising CO2 concentration in the atmosphere follows).

    (Where did these people go to school?)

    BTW, do none of the gases in those trapped “air bubbles” not diffuse out over the millennia? Can it be said with certainty that the gases found in those bubbles today are in exactly the same concentrations as they were millennia ago? Surely this has been studied/established.

    (Was this posting a test to see whether people are still paying attention?)

  23. A Major Question for Climate Science:

    In 2008 I demonstrated that in the modern data record, the only clear signal in the data is that dCO2/dt varies ~contemporaneously with temperature and atmospheric CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months. Also, others had demonstrated that CO2 lags temperature by ~800 years in the ice core record over much longer time cycles.

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/carbon_dioxide_in_not_the_primary_cause_of_global_warming_the_future_can_no/

    I suggest that CO2 lags temperature at ALL measured time scales.

    Therefore, the IPCC global warming argument requires that the future causes the past. This logical fallacy should be problematic for global warming alarmists. Their rationalization, that my above 2008 observation in the modern data record is a “feedback effect” is, I suggest, a “Cargo Cult” argument [that is, they KNOW that CO2 drives temperature and therefore it MUST BE a feedback effect = nonsense, imo].

    I further suggest that within a decade, conventional climate science wisdom will shift to the view that temperature drives atmospheric CO2, and CO2 does not significantly drive temperature. This observation does not preclude the possibility that human activities, whether the combustion of fossil fuels and/or deforestation and other factors, are also driving the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 (but we cannot rule out the possibility that the increase in CO2 could also be primarily natural).

    For example, please examine the 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.

    So here is my Major Question, which I hope many of you will opine on:

    Since CO2 lags temperature at all measured time sales, does “climate sensitivity to CO2” (defined herein as “macro” ECS, see below*) even exist on Earth?

    Yes or No, based on the probabilities?

    Thanks and regards, Allan

    [ * “macro” ECS wherein temperature drives CO2 and overwhelms any “micro” ECS, the latter defined as any increases in atmospheric temperature that are caused by increased atmospheric CO2, but are not readily detectable due to other more dominant factors.]

  24. RESnape says:
    November 6, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Exactly! That is precisely why Al Gory had those two plots of temperature & atmospheric CO2 separated in that bastion of science fiction, “An Inconvenient Truth”, or “Bollocks, Buggery, & Bullshit”, as it is known in English! That’s why he made that deliberate statement about how you think would fit together! The very last thing he & his useful idiots wanted was to fit the two together, because it would show precisely that!

  25. “If the ice thickness is too high the old ice at the bottom is getting so warm by geothermal heating that it is melted away,” Fischer explains. “This is what happens at Dome C and limits its age to 800,000 years.”

    The same situation exists in Greenland. The ice at the bottom is melted by geothermal heat and the age is limited to 115,000 years to 133,000 years.

    Where the melt water goes I don’t know, but it does indicate there is a general limit to how high glaciers can build.

    This has implications for how far back we can go with ice cores but also what occurred in the deep past when large ice-sheets built up. Geothermal heat will limit how high ice-sheets can build up.

    Furthermore, when an ice age is ending, the temperature memory of the last remnants of the ice-sheet means they melt faster. They are only -2.0C to -8.0C to start with given the geothermal heating of the past.

  26. “…an experimental climate physics professor at the University of Bern…”

    experimental climate physics professor???

    Okaaaaay.

  27. “(T)hey need to drill into the ice to confirm their suspicions.”
    This is not how scientists are supposed to work; this is how prosecuting attorneys work. They are not looking for whatever evidence they can find concerning what *really* happened. They are looking for evidence to support their presuppositions.

  28. The results are published in Climate of the Past, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
    What results? WAGs about oldest/thickest ice are not results.

  29. “By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows them to make better predictions about how climate will change in the future.”

    If THAT is their objective, a dart board would more than suffice and be a LOT less expensive!

  30. It’s a great idea to get accurate climate data going back that far, even if it turns out that the record is reliable for only half that time. In the end we’ll have additional cores to cross check with existing ones. But…

    …I sure hope Steve Mc is still active when this study comes out. This PR lists some of the challenges, such as ice “slippin and slidin”, melting at the base, etc., not to mention gases migrating in the ice column for 1.5 million years. So, whatever results emerge will necessarily be subject to conflicting analyses; however, we should learn something about deep ice in the process, even if it turns out to be unrelated to prevailing expectations.

  31. Allan MacRae says:

    A Major Question for Climate Science:

    In 2008 I demonstrated that in the modern data record, the only clear signal in the data is that dCO2/dt varies ~contemporaneously with temperature and atmospheric CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months. Also, others had demonstrated that CO2 lags temperature by ~800 years in the ice core record over much longer time cycles.

    http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/carbon_dioxide_in_not_the_primary_cause_of_global_warming_the_future_can_no/

    I suggest that CO2 lags temperature at ALL measured time scales.

    ===

    Taking it one step further we can look at dT/dt vs d2/dt2(CO2)

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=225

    This allows us to estimate decadal as well as interannual sensitivity (of CO2 to temp, not the opposite).

    It’s interesting that dCO2 seems to match Arctic Osc. index closer than temp since 1997:

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=227

    Also it would be worth doing your graph with a less distorting filter than the good ole runny mean. The correlation will probably be better.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/triple-running-mean-filters/

    This all needs working out in a thorough engineering fashion. WbbHubTelescope had a go but got it wrong at the end.

    http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.fr/2012/03/co2-outgassing-model.html

  32. (article quotes)
    By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
    [snip]
    “Ice cores contain little air bubbles and, thus, represent the only direct archive of the composition of the past atmosphere,” says Hubertus Fischer, ………..
    [snip]
    As snow falls and settles on the surface of an ice sheet, it is compacted by the weight of new snow falling on top of it and is transformed into solid glacier ice over thousands of years.
    ——————

    Given the above three (3) exerted statements from the article, I have a question, which is: “Just how reliable are the atmospheric CO2 measurements being calculated via those tiny air bubbles that are trapped in the glacial ice?”

    And my reason for asking said question is, to wit:

    Now I have to assume that if it is snowing then the local atmosphere contains a lot of water (H2O) vapor, even at the surface level, otherwise snow would not form and fall as precipitation.

    And if there is a lot of water (H2O) vapor in the air at the surface where the snow is accumulating then I also have to assume that the CO2 ppm in the air at the surface is ….. “anyone’s guess”.

    Now I said “anyone’s guess” because of the results of early studies done by both Charles Keeling and a Scandinavian group of scientists, to wit:

    ———————————-
    The following was exerted from: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

    A Scandinavian group accordingly set up a network of 15 measuring stations in their countries. Their only finding, however, was a high noise level. Their measurements apparently fluctuated from day to day as different air masses passed through, with differences between stations as high as a factor of two.

    Charles David (Dave) Keeling held a different view. As he pursued local measurements of the gas in California, he saw that it might be possible to hunt down and remove the sources of noise. Taking advantage of that, however, would require many costly and exceedingly meticulous measurements, carried out someplace far from disturbances.

    Keeling did much better than that with his new instruments. With painstaking series of measurements in the pristine air of Antarctica and high atop the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, he nailed down precisely a stable baseline level of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    =====================

    And my 2nd reason for saying “anyone’s guess” is that no one knows whether said ice core layers were the result of actual snowfall accumulations during high humidity conditions or the result of wind-blown snow accumulations during extremely low humidity conditions …… or a combination of both.

    Thus said, is my “CO2 ppm reliability” question legitimate or not?

  33. Allan MacRae says at November 6, 2013 at 4:23 am…
    Absolutely. And that is why there has been so much opposiiton to the MWP and so much support for Mann’s discredited Hockeystick.
    It isn’t just that the warming can be questioned as being unexceptional.
    It’s that a 800 year lag behind temperature leaves even the CO2 record as questionable as unexceptional.
    But ice-cores show a flat line until now… and that can’t be due to diffusion through surface films in flaws within the ice crystal structures as ice is perfectly stable at the molecular level over hundreds of square miles and thousands of years.
    That’s me quoting myself as no-one else would be so daft as to say it.

  34. CO2 lags temperature, but not in lockstep. CO2 follows temperature more closely during the rise from glaciation to optimum than after the optimum. Although the processes that release-carbon-from or sequester-carbon-into the surface have received almost no attention, I find it easy to accept that the oxidizing processes of release respond faster to temperature change.
    Politically-driven “scientists” keep trying to blur the shorter glaciation-to-optimum lag, by “revisiting” the dating of air bubbles or specious proxy-selection, but the Dome C results show the lag to be reasonably consistent in every cycle for the last 800,000 years. A pitiful mission, considering the post-optimum lag is also there, consistent, and too large to obscure.

  35. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1979/trend/plot/rss/from:1979/trend/plot/gistemp/from:1979/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1979/trend

    So, what does the actual data tells us:

    1. CO2/GHG cannot be the cause of the observed warming. CO2/GHG warms the planet by warming the atmosphere. This warming of the atmosphere then warms the surface as a result of the lapse rate. As a result the surface cannot warm faster than the atmosphere due to CO2/GHG, which is contradicted by observation. When observations contradict theory, the theory is wrong.

    2. The accuracy of the satellites is better than the surface records due to the smaller absolute error between the signals, and the accuracy of the satellites is increasing (convergence) while the accuracy of the surface records is decreasing (divergence).

  36. Perhaps it’s me not keeping up, but presumably ice at the bottom of the borehole is under considerable pressure.

    Is the structure of the ice at such pressures the same as ice at lower pressure?

    Is anything known concerning the relative diffusion rate (if any) of various gases through ice at such pressures, and the behaviour of the gas when the pressure is released?

  37. There’s a reason for the disclaimer “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” I don’t wonder if estimated past performance from a singe source is more reliable than actual.

  38. techgm says:
    November 6, 2013 at 4:16 am

    I seem to recall reading somewhere, & it may have bee on Doug L Hoffman’s Resilient Earth site, that not only do the bubbles diffuse over time reducing the level of CO2 measured, but that losses occur (as they do with everything) during the drilling process reducing the gas readings further!

    I know it is off topic but it has been allowed here so I will comment as an engineer, & a picky one to boot. The article about Suzuki is partially right but misleading, as is typical of him. Neither the earthquake nor the tsunami took out the plant at Fukushima. The earthquake was several hundred miles away. What the resulting tsunami did, was to take out the back-up power generators that ran the cooling systems for the reactors! It was a cooling system failure that caused the disaster, not an earthquake or tsunami! I presume however that when calmer heads are restored to appropriate levels of authority in the Western world, that in future such back-up systems will be elevated to a sufficiently high level to prevent a similar failure in the future! I also point out that so far, thousands have not been killed by the disaster at Chernobyl, & wild life seems to be flourishing! Hmmmm!

  39. Apologies, I meant to add that as an accolade to the designers of Fukushima, an aging plant at that, that all the back safety systems came on line as designed!

  40. Alan, I agree about Fukushima, however, there have been thousands of deaths attributed to increases in cancer rates attributed to Chernobyl. Wildlife is not useful as a good measure because those animals most affected will die leaving the field to others (those younger or having migrated in from the sides). This leaves an external view that looks relatively pristine.

  41. Comment classification

    Comments asserting or agreeing with sceptical talking point
    Comments attacking scientists
    Off topic
    commenters who actually read the paper.

    I think I will program a WUWT comment bot. No matter what the post you can count on certain classes of response. Let’s see if anyone can spot the comment bot in future threads

    [Reply: "I think I will program a WUWT comment bot." You had better check with Anthony first. ~ mod.]

  42. RESnape: This is about as far as I am going to read because it has been discussed over many threads and proven that increases in greenhouse-gas follow increases in temperature

    Don’t close your mind on purpose. You never know when something new will be discovered.

  43. I really do not have anything good to say about this. Quite the contrary I am sick of the pursuit of
    pursuing for the sake of pursuing that is devouring massive sums while producing imaginary benefits to perpetuate more of same.

    My impression is that the totality of ALL ice research up against the expenditures and policy outcomes has produced perhaps less than nothing for mankind. That it has contributed to what has been and will continue to be worse than useless.

    Perhaps I am confused and someone can give me an encapsulated summary of exactly what authentic NET benefit is being produced from ALL of the ice coring, ice measuring, ice monitoring and speculation about what it all means.

    I am a skeptic who’s cynicism reigns supreme.
    My take on this idea of deeper drilling into older ice is that it is an act of expanding futility.
    What for?
    Because of the multiplying of complexities the further back they go in time it is implausible that researchers will ever be able to draw any truly reliable conclusions about how any of it relates to current observations or may be useful in predicting the future.

    Suppose researchers arrive at a juncture when they know precisely every CO2 level every year going back a billion years. So what? They spent billions and piled up a heap of ice stuff that tells them what exactly? That things have varied throughout the history of the planet?

    Sorry but I am having trouble seeing the lure or any real payoff?
    Ice is not outer space, ocean depths or molecular structure in need of exploration. Is it?

  44. From the caption to figure 10: the simple 1-D model for a geothermal heat flux of
    55 mW m^2 and a mean surface temperature of 213 K similar to the
    the ones at Dome C.

    55 milliwatts?

    Steven Mosher: Off topic

    Will your bot let us know when it has read the paper first?

  45. Plainly, there has been a greenhouse gas “paradigm shift,” and now all of the earth sciences are being re-written. This top down approach by a “community” of “researchers” is legitimized in Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions. “Paradigm shifts” in science certainly can entail wholesale re-construction of the past to suit the new paradigm.

    “Since scientists’ worldview after a paradigm shift is so radically different from the one that came before, the two cannot be compared according to a mutual conception of reality. Kuhn concluded that the path of science through these revolutions is not necessarily toward truth but merely away from previous error.”

    It’s how progressive scientists roll.

  46. ‘At the root of their quest is a climate transition that marine-sediment studies reveal happened some 1.2 million years to 900,000 years ago. “The Mid Pleistocene Transition is a most important and enigmatic time interval in the more recent climate history of our planet,” says Fischer. The Earth’s climate naturally varies between times of warming and periods of extreme cooling (ice ages) over thousands of years. Before the transition, the period of variation was about 41 thousand years while afterwards it became 100 thousand years. “The reason for this change is not known.”’

    JimS comments: Correct. The reasons for this change from 41,000 years to 100,000 in mid-Pleistocene is not known, but there is a clue. According to the Milankovich Cycles, 41,000 years is the complete cycle for the obliquity (tilt) of the earth; and, 100,000 years is the full cycle for the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit. Logic would dictate that the solution rests within a study of these cycles, rather than examining a trace greenhouse gas, such as CO2, and its minimal impact upon climate.

  47. http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=233

    inter-annual 8ppmv/K/year , NB _not_ 8ppmv/K !
    that’s shallow water fast response. Prob mixed layer.

    inter-decadal 4ppmv/K/year , deeper water maybe ~ 100m , possibly to thermocline.

    Making a ballpark guess halve it again for century scale change 2ppmv/K/year (every year).

    SSt rose about 0.7 K in last century. 0.7*2*100=140ppmv , which is not far from the rise since the supposed ‘pre-industrial level of 280ppmv (change of 120 ppmv).

    Water below thermocline is much stiller, so diffusion will be a lot slower. However, this does need working out properly. Not just hand waving comparisons to what ice cores suggest about the last de-glaciation. We are not at the end of several thousand years of equilibration.

    CO2 can diffuse into a solid plastic, so assuming ( as is conveniently done for ice cores ) that there is no diffusion after 10 or 20 years is fallacious.

    As Allan MacRae points out , CO2 lags temperature on annual scale, it lags on millennial scale so on what time-scale does it do a flip to leading SST and when does it flip back again ?

    I am unaware of anyone having shown it _ever_ leads temp change. So suggesting causation is rather problematic.

    Before asking for 50 megabucks for another core they need to work out what use the data will be if and when they get it.

  48. Got me to thinking about when (if ever) Murray Salby is going to produce something for inspection. He’s gone rather quiet since Hamburg.

    I found this, apparently from his lecture:

    Well for notrickzone , that looks a bit tricky to me. Totally incompatible scales used on both graphs we are supposed to compare. Taking a rough check on the axes:
    LHS 5K / 600ppm
    RHS 2.7K / 60 ppm

    So RHS has multiplied the relative scaling by a factor of 5 !!

    No wonder he does not want to publish.

  49. Do you suppose that the entire “climate scientist” field of study is only an affirmative action program for “differentially enabled” wannabes?

    (To think of an individual as “disabled” is to compare them to a culturally biased standard and find them somehow lacking. There is no reason why someone who can neither read nor write nor use an Excel spredsheet should not get a PhD in “climate science”,)

    That would make any criticism of their method or results politically incorrect, I.e. you just can’t expect any better of them and it is totally unfair to mention it!

    (Do I need a //sarc ??)

    Regards,

    SteamboatJack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin.)

  50. On all measured time scales ∆T leads ∆CO2:

    Monthly

    Annual/decadal

    Decadal [WFT]

    Millennial

    Causality shows that changes in temperature forces changes in CO2. Effect cannot precede cause, which is the alarmists’ basic premise: their conjecture claims that ∆CO2 causes ∆T. Empirical evidence shows us that is wrong. Since they started with a false premise, naturally their conclusion is wrong.

    The entire “carbon” scare is based on the premise that a rise in CO2 will cause a rise in global temperature. But the real world itself shows us that they are wrong.

  51. “Climate scientists suspect greenhouse gases played a role in forcing this transition…”

    But they don’t suspect that humans played a role back then, do they? Whatever caused the transition, whether greenhouse gases or something else, it had to be a natural process. So why are warmists so adamant that recent warming is human caused when all previous examples of climate change were clearly a result of natural processes?

  52. Steven Mosher says:
    November 6, 2013 at 7:56 am
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I’m guessing this is the first one and its classification is “Off Topic”?

  53. I thought that it was established that CO2 levels lagged global temperatures.
    Also, there has been no global warming for 17 years despite increases in CO2 levels,
    thereby debunking AGW. No??

    Well then, I plan the following:
    1. Fill up the vacuum space of my vacuum bottle with CO2, and seal it.
    2. Fill the main bottle with luke warm soup. [The CO2 will act like a blanket
    and trap the heat. [the UN IPCC said so].
    3. By the time lunch time rolls around my soup will be really hot from the back
    radiation of the CO2. [the UN IPCC said so.]
    4. Get a patent on this CO2 bottle.
    5 Get filthy rich and buy a mansion near Gore or Suzuki [but higher than 12 meters
    above sea level so as to have beach front property when the ice melts].

    Voila!

  54. Bring more money; 50 megaeuros, to keep us occupied. would this same research reveal what effect ancient Temperatures had on ancient CO2 ??

  55. Of greater interest for many of us is whether these new cores give detailed insight into the atmospheric consequences of the last global magnetic field reversal 780,000 years ago

  56. How’s this for an off-the-wall WAG about the transition? Maybe rather than CO2, the transition had more to do with the fact that the obliquity of Earth’s orbit (ie, the angle between its rotational axis & the normal to the plane of its orbit) oscillates between 22.1 & 24.5 degrees on a 41,000-year cycle?

  57. “””””……Just an engineer says:

    November 6, 2013 at 5:28 am

    “By studying the past climate, scientists can understand better how temperature responds to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations in the atmosphere. This, in turn, allows them to make better predictions about how climate will change in the future.”

    If THAT is their objective, a dart board would more than suffice and be a LOT less expensive!……”””””

    So I don’t know anybody who has much real interest in what the climate is likely to be a million and a half years from now; might not even be anybody to care about it then, just as there wasn’t anybody to care a million and a half years ago.

  58. “Climate scientists suspect greenhouse gases played a role in forcing this transition (periodicity of ice ages changing from 41k to 100k), but they need to drill into the ice to confirm their suspicions. ”

    This is the trouble with these attempts at science. You can be damned sure, I say with 97% confidence, that by seeking to confirm their suspicions, they will succeed in doing so! Moreover, the effect of the CO2 forcing will be robust and unprecedented, an worse, the unprecedented green house gas forcing of today will double the ice period to 200k years and kill everything. Ya know, for 50M euros, I would have hoped that they would drill this thing and find out stuff that they are surely to overlook with tunnel vision or cull out.

    I expected, before the movie came out that Planet of the Apes was going to be a wonderful satire a la Johnathan Swift. It turned out to be more of a Charlton Heston hero story. It could have been prescient with its “Silverback” Science. Here’s an example of it’s worse-than-we-thought look.

    http://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/gorilla/images/pic-inset-eyes.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/gorilla/physical-characteristics.htm&h=315&w=260&sz=38&tbnid=N1mfFyV0pxorIM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=74&zoom=1&usg=__Nw36OmP5Gr1GI_apnpUft_ZdlLg=&docid=60UTXk1cROjwrM&sa=X&ei=OJJ6Upe5DYXPqQHD1YCYDw&ved=0CEEQ9QEwBg

  59. Evgueni says:
    November 6, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Congrats on finding old ice. Can I have some for my whisky?

    Great idea, but I bet it would explode the second it touched the whisky. Formed by intense pressures, very unlike the ice we normally encounter.

  60. “Got me to thinking about when (if ever) Murray Salby … .” (Greg Goodman at 8:46am today)

    I’m assuming you have, by now, Mr. Goodman, watched all of Dr. Salby’s April 18, 2013 Hamburg lecture. Apparently, it doesn’t answer your questions. Not being a technically qualified, I have no idea whether your questions should have been answered by that lecture and all the detailed slides accompanying it.

    *****************************
    FYI (for anyone wanting to watch Salby’s lecture, posted below), some indication (from my notes)of what you will hear in the above-mentioned lecture with approximate times:

    – [10:32] Native (natural) emission of CO2 depends strongly on temperature
    – [10:58] Net CO2 emission has .63 correlation with temperature
    – [11:35] CO2 evolves like the integral of temperature, i.e., it is proportional to the cumulative net emission of CO2 from all sources and sinks
    – [13:52] Temp. and CO2 evolve coherently on all times scales longer than 2 years
    – [14:03] CO2 lags temp. by a quarter cycle (i.e., in quadrature, using cosine and sign, lags by 90 degrees) – Note: Differing periods means no single lag value will align all components, thus, CO2 and temp. must be distributed widely over positive lag [13:22]
    – [14:40] CO2 levels in ice change over time (due to natural modification and to measurement error)
    – [15:56] Conservation Equation (includes non-conservative factor, i.e., CO2 sinks) – illustrated by biomass
    — [17:05] The Conservation Equation includes the total or “effective” damping
    [23:30] from atmospheric damping (i.e., non-conservative influences) of CO2 in the firn (when ice at top) and damping in the ice as it descends.
    – [25:40] Changes in atmospheric CO2 are underestimated in the proxy record (and this underestimation increases radically over time [see graph at 26:11], i.e., the change in the atmosphere is much greater than the apparent change of CO2 in the ice.
    -[27:01] Over time 10,000 years, the ice proxy underestimates atmospheric CO2 by a factor of 2; over 100,000 years, under by factor of 15 [27:29]
    – [27:52] Observed changes in the 20th century are certainly not unprecedented
    – [28:50] Incorporating depth (i.e., time) in ice transforms conservation equation to the Diffusion Equation
    — [30:40] now can see that the proxy CO2 underestimation of atmospheric CO2 increases with frequency (high frequencies with short time scales that are CO2-conservative are suppressed in ice)
    – Cross covariance of Temp. and CO2 equation at [18:02]

    ******************************************

    For anyone wanting to learn about ice core proxies (and lots more!)
    here is ….
    Dr. Murry Salby to speak for himself #(:))

  61. In yesterdays WUWT post on the Nat Geo latest scare piece there was a link to an interactive map; one of the tabs on the map was a timeline ( http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/09/rising-seas/if-ice-melted-map) on this timeline they say the Antarctic ice sheets did not form till ~35 mya and state “no ice” in Antarctica ~70 mya.

    So how does one expect to find 150my old ice where there wasn’t any 70mya? Or is Nat Geo just fos (entirely believable).

  62. Fortunately Canadian geologists in the oil industry will be “enlightened” soon by Susan R. Eaton:

    http://www.cspg.org/CSPG/Technical/Luncheons/2013/TL141210.aspx

    “Today, earth scientists travel to Antarctica — the world’s last remaining wilderness — to research planetary processes, including the impacts of climate change and ocean change. During the past fifty years, the Western Antarctic Peninsula has warmed 3 degrees Celsius, triggering a cascading series of geological and biological changes in this fragile ecosystem which have global implications.”

    Thank you Susan for this gem of circular reasoning.

  63. Mariwarcwm says:
    November 6, 2013 at 12:23 am

    And the warming effect of CO2 was as strongly logarithmic 1.5million years ago as it is today so finding out how much CO2 there was in the atmosphere is a further waste of time and money.

    Only if you are a warming alarmist, which would mean you have pre-determined that you know all you need to. The fact is, that time period was considerably warmer than the present according to available geological and marine data. There was a major step change between the middle and late Pleistocene that saw increasing length of glacical epochs, increasing chill during those epochs and a failure to rebound from the depths of those epochs to temperatures typical of the early and middle Pleistocene, which was still part of the “Ice Age.” We are at present at very close to the coldest that planet has been during the entire Phanerozoic (see here for instance: http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/temperature/). So, unless one considers “the science settled” the study is far from being a waste. What is remarkable is the “cherry picking” you encounter researching Pleistocene temperatures. Nearly all pages addressing the “ice age” focus on the last 500 ky, that is, roughly the latest third to quarter of the Pleistocene. The earlier Quaternary was still a galcial period, but the timing between glacial advances was much shorter and the temperature variation much less intense compared to the last 500 ky.

  64. Richdo says:
    November 6, 2013 at 11:51 am
    In yesterdays WUWT….

    Wow how did that happen. Pretty embarrassing. I’ll stay late and clean the blackboard.

  65. It would certainly be highly valuable to have a continuous ice core reconstruction extending back 1.5 million years, significantly further than the mid-pleistocene revolution (MPR) at about 1 million years ago. This would shed light on the problem of what caused the change from 41 kYr periodicity of interglacials to approximately 100 kYr periodicity at the MPR.

    A widely held view is that these two periodicities, which correspond to the obliquity cycle (41 kYrs) and the eccentricity cycle (100 kYrs), represent a switch from forcing by obliquity to forcing by eccentricity, with the forcings subject in each case to nonlinear amplification. However a contrary view was expressed by Maslin and Ridgewell in 2005:

    http://tracer.env.uea.ac.uk/e114/publications/manuscript_maslin_and_ridgwell.pdf

    who cast doubt on whether the ~100 kYr periodicity of the glacial-interglacial cycle post-MPR is really eccentricity forced. They point to eccentricity being the weakest of the three Milankovich cycles (eccentricity 100 kYr, obliquity 41 Kyr, precession 27 kYr) and also to the mismatch between spectral characteristics of the eccentricity cycle with the glacial-interglacial, as shown by Ruddiman 2003:

    Ruddiman, W. F. 2003. Orbital insolation, ice volume, and greenhouse gases. Quaternary Science Reviews, 22, 1597-1629.

    Maslin and Ridgeway instead proposed that, while the glacial cycle pre-MPR was obliquity forced in a direct way, the timing post-MPR was only “pseudo-100kYr” and that it resulted in fact from more complex forcing by the shorter (27 kYr) precession cycle, which however was only “firing” every 4-5 cycles instead of every cycle. They proposed that eccentricity might be providing “pacing” to the glacial cycle but that the “forcing” was precessional.

    One thing that is clear – as we are often usefully reminded here by William McClenney – is that the glacial-interglacial cycle is phase-locked to precession. For instance, post-MPR, the end of an interglacial ALWAYS takes place in the middle of the down-stroke of precession. (We are currently at precession mid down-stroke.) This is analagous to the fact, for instance, that the el Nino peak in ENSO always happens in December-January and that this is a consequence of the phase-locking of ENSO to the annual cycle.

    A phase-locking signature is strong indirect evidence of the nature of a nonlinear periodic forcing agent. Tziperman, Cane and Zebiak (1995) showed that the annual phase-locking of ENSO is linked to the fact that ENSO is a low-order chaotic system driven by annual forcing.

    http://www.seas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/reprints/Tziperman-Cane-Zebiak-1995.pdf

    The ENSO analogy would suggest that the phase-locking of end-interglacials to the precession mid down-stroke is a strong hint that the nonlinear forcing of the glacial cycle is indeed by the precessional cycle. Lin et al 2004 studied the dynamics of strong and weak periodic nonlinear forcing in the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction:

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/nlin/0401031.pdf?origin=publication_detail

    in their words,

    “The entrainment to the forcing can take place even when the oscillator is detuned from an exact resonance [8, 9, 10]. In this case, a periodic force with a frequency ff shifts the oscillator from its natural frequency, f0, to a new frequency, fr, such that ff/fr is a rational number m:n. When the forcing amplitude is too weak this frequency adjustment or locking does not occur; the ratio ff/fr is irrational and the oscillations are quasi-periodic. In dissipative systems frequency locking is the major signature of resonant response.”

    In other words, where periodic forcing has (a) high enough amplitude and (b) is close to a resonant frequency of a system, then strong nonlinear forcing results, such as biological organism entrainment to the day-night cycle. However when (a) and (b) are not met then you get weak forcing in which the resulting frequency of the system is a more complex and indirect function of the forcing frequency.

    Thus I would characterise the MPR as a change from strong nonlinear periodic forcing of the glacial-integlacial cycle by obliquity, to weak nonlinear forcing by precession.

    A continuous 1.5 Myr ice core would however shed valuable light on this question.

  66. Who needs an ice core when the models have already told what they’ll find? /sarc off

    It’s unfortunate that this sample has been contaminated by a tree ring. (OK. Maybe the sarc wasn’t off.)

  67. The general “consensus” appears to be that Antarctica is the Earth’s largest and one of its driest deserts, but even in that very dry place the slowest accumulating areas still receive at least 1inch pwe (precipitable water equivalent) per annum, at least as near as I have discovered. Although other areas may receive 6 inches or more annually, I will for the purposes of discussion use the 1 inch number as a continental average. Over 1.5 million years 1″/yr = 125,000 feet or 23.67 miles. At the temperatures common there 1 inch w.e. probably equals 1-2 feet of snow and even as highly compressed ice that 23+ miles of w.e. would likely represent something between 25 and 30 miles of ice sheet thickness, but although, except for a very limited coastal periphery, there has been no opportunity at all for the ice sheet to melt away, the Antarctic ice sheet has remained at an average thickness of about 1 mile, with the thickest segments at just over 2 miles. Given the conservative assumptions I’ve used and because it suits my sense of argumentative symmetry, I would suggest that it is quite likely that “97%” of the collective precipitation deposited on Antarctica in the last 1.5 million yrs is now gone, gone, gone. Some may have sublimated, more likely it has extruded out in those Manhattan, Rhode Island, or other geographical unit sized chunks that are routinely shuffled off into the waiting seas, but however it has gone its absence makes the assumption that you can take a drill rig out onto the Antarctic ice sheet at any point on the map and by dropping a shaft to bedrock capture a record of what happened at that location over any but relatively short, at least in geologic terms, timescales extremely dubious.

  68. For 50 million euros I would expect them to find dark matter by the time they finish..
    Having been a diver at one time in my life I always wonder about the pressure release and consequences relating to the trapped gasses when they bring the cores to the surface….suppose I should look it up.

  69. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 6, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Given the above three (3) exerted statements from the article,

    I don’t think this means what you think it means.

  70. re: the Moshbot

    Since Mosher is such an unmitigated genius (shall we say Soooper Geeenyus?), the Moshbot will soon become self-aware. When that happens, it will be easy to spot, since every post it makes will only be in response to actual Moshposts, and will always start with “Mosher you F%@#& moron!”

    And so the mighty shall fall.

    /parody

  71. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 6, 2013 at 6:11 am

    Given the above three (3) exerted statements

    As your post documents, the data required much exertion to fit to the desired plots. But calling it “exerted” is still ungrammatical. <;P

  72. Brian H says:
    November 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    As your post documents, the data required much exertion to fit to the desired plots. But calling it “exerted” is still ungrammatical. <;P
    ——————

    exert – 1. To put to use or effect; put forth:

    Excuse me, but I was the one who exerted (extracted) those three (3) statements from the quoted text …. “To put to use or effect” in my subsequent commentary.

  73. dbstealey says:
    November 6, 2013 at 9:02 am

    “Causality shows that changes in temperature forces changes in CO2. Effect cannot precede cause, which is the alarmists’ basic premise: ”
    ———————————–

    All natural emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere is a function of the temperature of the environment from which the CO2 is being outgassed.

    The extremely low quantity of CO2 in earth’s atmosphere has no measurable effect on the temperature of the environment in which it exists.

    ——————

    And a note regarding what:

    Alberta Slim says:
    November 6, 2013 at 9:15 am
    —————–

    I suggest you forget your “vacuum bottle with CO2” idea ….. and instead consider a real “money-maker” by starting a “home insulation” business and using the CO2 as the insulation that you install in the walls and ceilings. Give your customers a guarantee that it will keep their homes warm because …. “the UN IPCC said so”.

    HA, all of the proponents of CAGW will surely be wanting you to insulate their abode.

  74. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 7, 2013 at 5:46 am

    exert – 1. To put to use or effect; put forth:

    Excuse me, but I was the one who exerted (extracted) those three (3) statements from the quoted text …. “To put to use or effect” in my subsequent commentary.

    Assuming you’re being serious, the word you were looking for is “excerpt”.

    ex·cerpt [n. ek-surpt; v. ik-surpt, ek-surpt] noun
    1. a passage or quotation taken or selected from a book, document, film, or the like; extract.

    verb (used with object)
    2. to take or select (a passage) from a book, film, or the like; extract.
    3. to take or select passages from (a book, film, or the like); abridge by choosing representative sections.

  75. A bit late in the discussion, was yesterday at Murry Salby’s speech in London, House of Parliament. His reaction on my objections was rather evasive and I had no opportunity to ask further, because I wasn’t properly dressed (no tie!) to follow the organisers into the catacombs of the parliament buildings… But I have met a few interesting people like Piers Corbyn (one of the organizers) and Tallbloke.

    But here a few reactions taking Janice Moore’s notes as base:

    - Native (natural) emission of CO2 depends strongly on temperature.
    But that is limited by Henry’s law to maximum 16 ppmv/K (not x ppmv/K/year as Salby and others here think). It is an equilibrium reaction: a temperature increase of seawater increases the pressure of CO2 in the oceans to escape (with 16 microatm/K), that increases the influx of CO2 from the equatorial upwelling deep ocean waters and decreases the uptake by the polar sinking waters. Thus an increase of 16 ppmv in the atmosphere will fully restore the previous fluxes of before the temperature increase:

    - Net CO2 emission has .63 correlation with temperature
    Right, but that is for the short term (2-3 years) variability, not for the slope in the increase over time. Moreover, it is a correlation with the variability in sink capacity, not in emissions. Salby doesn’t show the human emissions and the increase in the atmosphere in the same graph with the same units. That is here:

    Thus his net “emissions” are in fact the “airborne fraction” of the human emissions, that is what rests from the human emissions (as mass), minus the net natural sinks.

    - CO2 evolves like the integral of temperature, i.e., it is proportional to the cumulative net emission of CO2 from all sources and sinks.
    That is curve fitting: by choosing the right offset and factor, one can always fit a linear slope.
    In reality, there is no such influence of temperature if you plot the derivative of temperature without an arbitrary offset and factor on Wood for Trees.
    The full slope is caused by the slightly quadratic increase of human emissions, which is about twice the slope of what is seen in the atmosphere:

    Simply said: all the variability (and thus the correlation) is caused by temperature, while the full slope in the derivative is from human emissions. Of the 70 ppmv increase since 1960 at maximum 4 ppmv is from the temperature increase.

    - CO2 levels in ice change over time (due to natural modification and to measurement error)
    Sorry, but that is wishfull thinking: Because of his theory, there must be migration in the ice. But as migration does flatten the peaks, it doesn’t change the average. A factor 10 peak “shaving” would mean that the rest of the measurements in reality were much lower, thus much lower than the 180 ppmv measured (even negative), effectively destroying all life on earth during a 90 kyr long glacial period… And there are not enough bacteria in ice to eat all that CO2 away (worst case 1 ppmv!).
    There is no measurable migration of CO2 in the ice cores, or the CO2/temperature ratio would decrease with each glacial/interglacial/ transition 100 kyr further back in time.
    Measurement accuracy and repeatability of same places in one ice core: 1.3 ppmv (1 sigma); between different ice cores for same average gas age and very different ice conditions: less than 5 ppmv between averages of the measurements.

    So, I don’t think that Murry Slby is right…

  76. Dave Wendt says:
    November 6, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    That is the reason that they were looking at domes of ice: that are the places with least disturbance of the lowest layers due to ice flow. The only problem is that the lowest layers are the thinnest, which makes ice layer dating (and worse air bubble dating) is increasingly more difficult. I suppose that 1.5 million years is the real limit…

  77. Allan MacRae says:
    November 6, 2013 at 4:23 am

    Since CO2 lags temperature at all measured time sales, does “climate sensitivity to CO2” (defined herein as “macro” ECS, see below*) even exist on Earth?

    Since CO2 leads temperature over the past 50 (/160) years, there may be a “climate sensitivity to CO2″, but as the end of the previous interglacial showed, a CO2 drop of 40 ppmv had no measurable effect on temperature or ice sheet formation:

    where deltaT shows the temperature (from deuterium in the ice as proxy) and delta 18O is measured in N2O of the gas phase as a proxy for ice sheet formation.
    The temperature was already at a new minumum and ice sheet formation at a new maximum before CO2 started to drop…

  78. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 6, 2013 at 6:11 am

    And if there is a lot of water (H2O) vapor in the air at the surface where the snow is accumulating then I also have to assume that the CO2 ppm in the air at the surface is ….. “anyone’s guess”.

    Antarctica is a dry desert, there is very little water left in the atmosphere at -40°C (the average temperature of the Vostok ice core). Moreover the solubility of CO2 at 0.0004 bar in fresh water is extremely low and doesn’t play a role, even when it would be raining (maybe only measurable in the first meter of air without wind)…

    There is an overlap of ~20 years between the high accumulation (1.2 meter ice equivalent/year) Law Dome ice cores and the direct measurements at the South Pole 1960-1980:

  79. Alan the Brit says:
    November 6, 2013 at 7:02 am

    I seem to recall reading somewhere, & it may have bee on Doug L Hoffman’s Resilient Earth site, that not only do the bubbles diffuse over time reducing the level of CO2 measured, but that losses occur (as they do with everything) during the drilling process reducing the gas readings further!

    There is no measurable diffusion in ice cores, but one has made estimations of a probable migration in ice cores, based on the accumulation of CO2 near remelted/refrozen layers in one coastal ice core:

    http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/3773250

    the theoretical migration makes that the about 20-year resolution at medium depth broadens to 22 year and at full depth (70 kyears back in time) to 40 years. Not a big deal. The theoretical migration in the much colder inland ice cores is negligible.

    Think again about losses during drilling etc.: One measures 180-300 ppmv in ice cores. The external air during drilling, extraction and measurements had 350-380 ppmv CO2. In what direction would any migration go?

  80. Much more interesting is that we could have in that core a 1.5 M yr record of Solar Activity
    As has been mentioned on WUWT in the past — Solar Activity correlates with the flux of galactic cosmic rays entering the earth’s atmosphere — as measured real-time by neutron and muon flux.

    This bombardment of the atmosphere also produces two key radio isotopes C-14 and Be-10

    C-14 is not useful much beyond 50k yrs (about 10x the half life of 5,730 years)
    Be-10 on the other hand has a half life of 1.39 × 106 years so it should be good for the oldest ice cores anyone can retrieve

  81. I forgot to mention that the big picture trend over the last 3 million years has been one of deepening glaciation. From 3 Mya to 1 Mya there were glacial-interglacial cycles every 41 kyrs. For the last million years it has been every 100 kyrs, the longest and weakest Milankovich orbital cycle, reflecting a weakening ability of the climate to pop up to the interglacial attractor. The next transition will be to permanent glaciation, possibly for several million years.

  82. Canman says:
    November 6, 2013 at 8:10 am
    “There’s a lot of crappy things done in climate science, but finding new data is not one of them.”

    That’s ridiculous.
    If the cost is immense and the data is useless then finding more data is of course very crappy.

    Climate science is all about wasting millions collecting endless useless measurements to decipher and speculate over.

  83. Allan MacRae says:
    November 6, 2013 at 4:23 am
    Since CO2 lags temperature at all measured time sales, does “climate sensitivity to CO2” (defined herein as “macro” ECS, see below*) even exist on Earth?

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says: November 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm
    Since CO2 leads temperature over the past 50 (/160) years, there may be a “climate sensitivity to CO2″, but as the end of the previous interglacial showed, a CO2 drop of 40 ppmv had no measurable effect on temperature or ice sheet formation

    Allan again:

    Ferdinand, thank you for your insightful response. I think we are in general agreement with one exception (thankfully, we are not discussing the Mass Balance Argument).

    With respect, I disagree with the portion of your above statement that states “CO2 leads temperature over the past 50 (/160) years”.

    Instead, I suggest that atmospheric CO2 rose with temperature for the period circa 1975 to 2000, but the ONLY signal in that modern data record is that CO2 lags temperature by about 9 months. This “CO2 lags temperature” signal is apparent all the way back to 1958, when modern CO2 measurements began at Mauna Loa, and I suggest it would extend back for countless millennia IF we had quality CO2 and temperature data.

    Furthermore, there are two known periods, from circa 1940 to 1975, and circa 2000 to present, when atmospheric CO2 increased and average global temperature either fell or remained about the same. Accordingly, as you also state at “the end of the previous interglacial”, there was no measurable impact of CO2 on temperature, and there was a measureable impact of temperature on CO2.

    I suggest that these observations all demonstrate that CO2 lags temperature at ALL measured time scales, and thus the hypo that CO2 significantly drives temperature is falsified, and the hypo that temperature (among other factors) significantly drives CO2 is demonstrated to be true.

    I have previously stated (typically pre-2008) that climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2, as expressed by ECS, is much less than 1dC. Since my work in January 2008, I suggest that climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 (“macro ECS” as defined above) does not even exist on Earth.

    Conclusions:
    The future cannot cause the past. Atmospheric CO2 does not drive temperature. Temperature (among other factors) drives atmospheric CO2.

    Best personal regards, Allan

  84. Allan MacRae says:
    November 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Allan, we have been there before: the current increase in CO2 is not from temperature but from human emissions. Temperature is fully responsible for the fast variability seen in the data, but that is a transient reaction of not more than 4-5 ppmv/K over seasons to 2-3 years short term year by year variability. The long term response of CO2 to temperature (over millennia) is not more than 8 ppmv/K. But we see an increase of 70 ppmv over the past 50 years for a small increase of temperature of less than 0.5 K. That is physically impossible as Henry’s law shows maximum 16 ppmv/K to reach a new equilibrium and vegetation in general is an increasing sink with higher temperatures (and more CO2).
    It would be a very special response of CO2 to temperature that gives 4-5 ppmv/K over short term, over 100 ppmv/K for medium term and again 8 ppmv/K on (very) long term, eating away the medium term increase of CO2…

    Moreover, the drop of ~0.8 K in temperature between the MWP and LIA shows a drop of not more than 6 ppmv (with a lag of ~50 years) lasting a few hundred years in the Law Dome ice core which has a resolution of ~20 years:

    The problem with the attribution is that there is practically no short term variability in human emissions, only a near monotonic (slightly quadratic) increase over time. That makes that the short term variability in CO2 rate of change (in fact the variability in sink capacity) caused by temperature variability is dominant in the variability and thus the correlation, even if it has a minor contribution to the trend…

    Best regards,

    Ferdinand

  85. In response to:

    Jeff Alberts says:
    November 7, 2013 at 7:16 am
    ——————————————

    I was not looking for a word to use. “Exert” came to mind and I usedd it.

    Like I told someone else the other day, ….. with your “pickyness” you also would have had a Grand Field Day iffen you had been around 40 or so years ago and was reading some of my written commentary on the functioning and diagnostics of computers and their peripheral equipment.

    HA, we were coining lots of new words that didn’t exist in a dictionary …. as well as creating completely new definitions for words that were in the dictionary.

    Discrediting and/or faulting my spelling and verbiage use DOES NOT discredit my science.

  86. Here in Australia, new ice core drilling (Which will take 5 years to extract and being conducted on Australian territory in Antarctic) will, apparently, prove high CO2 drives ice ages. (I can’t find a link to the newscast but that was the thrust of the article).

  87. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 7, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Antarctica is a dry desert, there is very little water left in the atmosphere at -40°C (the average temperature of the Vostok ice core). Moreover the solubility of CO2 at 0.0004 bar in fresh water is extremely low and doesn’t play a role, even when it would be raining (maybe only measurable in the first meter of air without wind)
    ——————————-

    Can you cite supporting evidence that the CO2 ppm quantity in the air at the surface in Antarctica during snowfall accumulations is UNAFFECTED by the potential “noise” caused by the snowflakes themselves. If not, then your argument is void.

    And ps: bout every raindrop that falls to earth contains CO2 in the form of carbonic acid.

    And if “there is very little water left in the atmosphere” in Antarctica …. then why this, to wit:

    —————-
    While in Antarctica, two balloons are launched every day at 00:00 and 12:00 UTC to measure temperature, pressure relative humidity and wind between 20 and 30km high. http://www.climantartide.it/osservatorio/index.php?lang=en

  88. Re Allan MacRae says: November 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says: November 8, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Allan, we have been there before: the current increase in CO2 is not from temperature but from human emissions.

    Allan again:

    Ah Ferdinand, now we are back to the Mass Balance Argument (MBA), which for newcomers is about the cause (source) of increasing atmospheric CO2.

    I specifically excluded discussion of the MBA from my previous post because, while it is of great scientific interest, I strongly suggest that in the global warming policy debate it does not matter – it is, perhaps shocking to some, irrelevant!

    Why? As discussed above, climate sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 (ECS) is demonstrably insignificant or even nonexistent – therefore the only impact of increasing atmospheric CO2 is beneficial – to plants, the environment and humanity. In fact, atmospheric CO2 at this time is too low, dangerously low for the longer term survival of carbon-based life on Earth.

    More Ice Ages, which are inevitable unless geo-engineering can prevent them, will cause atmospheric CO2 concentrations on Earth to decline to the point where photosynthesis ceases. This would devastate the descendants of most current life on Earth, to which, I suggest, we have a significant moral obligation.

    My above conclusion, I suggest, puts the Mass Balance Argument into perspective. You could be correct about the MBA, or your able opponent Richard Courtney could be correct. I don’t know, and as I stated above, it really does not matter for current CO2 abatement policy, since increasing atmospheric CO2 can only benefit the environment, plants and animals, including that interesting subspecies to which Richard, you and I belong.

    Returning to the MBA (because it IS scientifically interesting), I wonder if you have ever quantified the clearing and burning of the rainforest in Brazil and the Far East, which has been done to produce biofuel feedstocks of sugar cane and palm oil. I wonder if in fact this foolish and destructive clear-cutting and burning of the rainforest for nonsensical “green energy” biofuels is a more significant source of increased atmospheric CO2 than the combustion of fossil fuels.

    In addition to the quantities of CO2 involved, there is also the observation that fossil fuel combustion typically occurs in close proximity to humanity and the plants that we co-exist with, and it has been suggested that CO2 is sufficiently rare and heterogeneously distributed that it is quickly consumed by plants close to its source, when present in excess amounts and when the growing season permits.

    As I have stated previously, the humanmade CO2 signature is notably absent in urban environments such as Salt Lake City, where the only observable CO2 signature is natural, despite significant local humanmade CO2 emissions. Conversely , satellite data has shown significant increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations in areas of clear-cut rainforest.

    Finally, if I can digress from the scientific for a moment, the clear-cutting and burning of rainforest for biofuel feedstock is another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. The Greens were clearly responsible for the initiation of this outrage against the environment – a perverse and destructive effect contrary to what was originally intended. This is what happens when you let scoundrels and imbeciles drive the school bus.

    Since about 1990, the Greens have been a highly destructive force, causing great damage to humanity and the environment.

    I suggest that as a society we can do better, very much better.

    Best personal regards, Allan

  89. phlogiston says: @ November 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I forgot to mention that the big picture trend over the last 3 million years has been one of deepening glaciation….
    It has also been a trend of larger oscillations with the cold periods getting ever colder.
    5 million years

    65 million years

    (From Jo Nova)

    Those graphs make “Global Warming” sound like a donkey’s rear end! (Having donkey’s I can tell you you really don’t want to hear that.)

  90. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 8, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Allan, we have been there before: the current increase in CO2 is not from temperature but from human emissions. Temperature is fully responsible for the fast variability seen in the data, but that is a transient reaction of not more than 4-5 ppmv/K over seasons to 2-3 years short term year by year variability. The long term response of CO2 to temperature (over millennia) is not more than 8 ppmv/K. But we see an increase of 70 ppmv over the past 50 years for a small increase of temperature of less than 0.5 K. That is physically impossible as Henry’s law shows maximum 16 ppmv/K to reach a new equilibrium and vegetation in general is an increasing sink with higher temperatures (and more CO2).
    ————————-

    I agree with what Allen stated at/on: November 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    And so does the facts, evidence and Keeling Curve (Mona Loa) data record ALSO agrees with what Allen stated.

    For the past 55 years the data record shows that there has been a STEADY and CONSISTENT bi-yearly average 6 ppm decrease in atmospheric CO2 following the Vernal equinox and an average 8 ppm increase following the Autumnal equinox ….. as well as a STEADY and CONSISTENT yearly average 1 to 2 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2.
    See REF graph @ http://i1019.photobucket.com/albums/af315/SamC_40/keelingcurve.gif

    The above verbiage defines a …… “seasonal adjustment” with a “yearly” increase in CO2 ppm.

    And there has been nothing STEADY and CONSISTENT about humans or their activities during the past 55 years.

    And you are correct about the 71 ppm increase over the past 49 years as defined on the above cited KC graph.

    But you are absolutely incorrect with your assertion as to the physically impossibility regarding Henry’s Law …… because Henry’s Law doesn’t give-a-hoot what your highly questionable average increase in/of near-surface air temperature(s) is/are.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen, you have made a SERIOUS mistake by neglecting to INCLUDE the past 50 years of yearly average increases in the temperature of the ocean’s waters.

    Henry’s Law knows what it is doing so don’t be using it as a “whippingboy” as a means to justify CAGW “junk science” claims.

  91. Samuel, thank you for your comments of November 8, 2013 at 6:57 am.

    Now we have Ferdinand (and others) arguing FOR the Mass Balance Argument (MBA), Samuel (and others) arguing AGAINST the MBA, and Richard Courtney and I UNDECIDED.

    As previously stated, I am politically indifferent to the MBA, because the “fight against global warming” and “CO2 reduction” schemes such as wind power, corn ethanol, and CO2 sequestration are clearly foolish whether the MBA proves true or false.

    Repeating my position, the sensitivity of climate to atmospheric CO2 (ECS) is insignificant or nonexistent. As we clearly stated in 2002:
    “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”

    Furthermore, CO2 concentrations are dangerously low in Earth’s atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 is the feedstock for all carbon-based life on Earth. More atmospheric CO2 is better. Within reasonable limits, a lot more atmospheric CO2 is a lot better.

    As a devoted fan of carbon-based life on Earth, I feel it is my duty to advocate on our behalf. To be clear, I am not prejudiced against non-carbon-based life forms, but I really do not know any of them well enough to form an opinion. They could be very nice. :-)

    Best, Allan

  92. Samuel said to Ferdinand on November 8, 2013 at 6:57 am:

    Henry’s Law knows what it is doing so don’t be using it as a “whippingboy” as a means to justify CAGW “junk science” claims.
    ___________

    Samuel, as you know, it’s probably not just Henry’s Law. Henry is a nice guy and all, but let’s not give him too much credit.

    Please examine the 15fps AIRS data animation of global CO2 at

    [video src="http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4" /]

    Clearly, atmospheric CO2 concentrations vary greatly from season to season on both land and sea.

    From memory:

    The annual “CO2 sawtooth pattern” in the Carbon Cycle is dominated by the larger landmass of the Northern Hemisphere.

    The atmospheric CO2 amplitude is about 16 ppm in the far North at Barrow Alaska, and almost zero at the South Pole. The CO2 sawtooth at Mauna Loa approximates the global average.

    I suggest that we do not really know what is driving the increase in atmospheric CO2. Ferdinand is sure it is human combustion of fossil fuels, according to inferences drawn from his Mass Balance Argument (MBA). Others, particularly Richard Courtney (and I), hold that this conclusion is not adequately supported by the evidence. Ferdinand could be correct, partially correct, or largely in error. I find his MBA unconvincing, but Ferdinand is a very intelligent man and he could be largely correct.

    As Earth enters a natural global cooling cycle, which I think will happen soon, we will learn more.

    It would also be helpful for many reasons if the destructive clear-cutting and burning of the rainforest would stop now. This needless devastation of the rainforest is outrageous, and the Green extremist political movement is largely responsible for this sacrilege.

  93. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 8, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Can you cite supporting evidence that the CO2 ppm quantity in the air at the surface in Antarctica during snowfall accumulations is UNAFFECTED by the potential “noise” caused by the snowflakes themselves. If not, then your argument is void.

    Come on Samuel, CO2 is completely insoluble in ice, no matter if that are snowflakes or rigid ice, it is only soluble in liquid water.

    CO2 is soluble in water: some 3.3 g/l at 0°C and 1 bar pressure. CO2 in the atmosphere is at 0.0004 bar pressure, thus some 1.3 mg/liter water will be dissolved in 1 liter of rainwater.

    1 liter of rainwater per m2 is good for 1 mm water height which thus contains 1.3 mg CO2 at saturation. 1 m3 of air weights 1.293 kg at 0°C. If all of 1 mm of rainwater evaporates, setting all dissolved CO2 free in the adjacent 1 m3 of air, then the atmosphere in the first meter above the ground will be “enriched” with 0.5 ppmv CO2…

    CO2 in snowflakes is present in the air in between the snow/ice crystals not in the ice itself and can freely exchange with CO2 in the free air around the flakes, even years after it has fallen on the ground and under pressure of the above new layers of ice. Thus even IF there was any temporarely noise during snowfall, it is simply averaged over years, as long as the pores inbetween the ice are wide enough to allow exchanges.

  94. Forgot to react on:

    to measure temperature, pressure relative humidity

    Even if the relative humidity at -40°C was 100%, the absolute humidity (the absolute water content per volume of air) at -40°C is extremely low compared to 10% relative humidity at 0°C. Antarctica is dryer than the Sahara: with 80% relative humidity in Antarctica you may dry out completely…

  95. Gail Combs says:
    November 8, 2013 at 6:02 am
    phlogiston says: @ November 7, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for the useful JoNovo image links.

    “It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
    “So it is.”
    “And freezing.”
    “Is it?”
    “Yes,” said Eeyore. “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

    Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne.

  96. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 8, 2013 at 6:57 am

    For the past 55 years the data record shows that there has been a STEADY and CONSISTENT bi-yearly average 6 ppm decrease in atmospheric CO2 following the Vernal equinox and an average 8 ppm increase following the Autumnal equinox

    Look a little deeper:
    – the seasonal flux gives for an increasing temperature: more CO2 release (in fact less uptake) by the oceans and more uptake by vegetation. The latter wins mainly thanks to the extratropical NH forests as can be seen in the opposite d13C record. The opposite happens when temperatures drop.
    – the year by year (2-3 years) variability gives for an increasing temperature: more release from the oceans (less uptake) and some temporarely net release from the tropical forests.
    – the overall CO2/T ratio over huge periods of time is caused by the temperature influence on the oceans (more release / less uptake) and vegetation (net uptake).
    Thus at least three different processes are at work for different periods of time and different variability.
    Add to that human emissions which were in average twice the observed increase in the atmosphere.

    a STEADY and CONSISTENT yearly average 1 to 2 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2.

    Yes at the same time that over the same period human emissions increased from 2 to 4 ppmv/year.

    And there has been nothing STEADY and CONSISTENT about humans or their activities during the past 55 years.

    Human emissions from fossil fuels have been inventoried over decades, which were steady and consistent rising:

    The fit between total human emissions and increase in the atmosphere is an extremely perfect fit:

    while the temperature-CO2 fit is less than perfect:

    look at the difference between short term temperature variability and the trend: a T change of halve the scale has little effect on CO2 but the trend, supposedly caused by temperature should give 70 ppmv increase???

    because Henry’s Law doesn’t give-a-hoot what your highly questionable average increase in/of near-surface air temperature(s) is/are.

    As the ocean temperature drives the atmospheric temperature and we have rather accurate satellite measurements of the atmospheric temerature of the atmosphere, we may assume that the satellite measurements reflect the trend in ocean surface temperature.
    Moreover, the equilibrium CO2 pressure in seawater is regularly measured over the oceans, which give an area weighed average difference of CO2 pressure between the atmosphere and all oceans of 7 ppmv. Thus in average driving CO2 from the atmosphere into the oceans not the other way out:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml

    And the whole biosphere is a net sink for CO2:

    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

    If the oceans are a net sink and the biosphere is a net sink and humans are a net source where is your temperature influenced natural source?

  97. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    CO2 in snowflakes is present in the air in between the snow/ice crystals not in the ice itself and can freely exchange with CO2 in the free air around the flakes, even years after it has fallen on the ground and under pressure of the above new layers of ice. Thus even IF there was any temporarely noise during snowfall, it is simply averaged over years, as long as the pores inbetween the ice are wide enough to allow exchanges.
    ———————-

    Given your above commentary, I am now really confused.

    If the atmospheric CO2 is say 190 ppm during pristine conditions, but potentially less during periods of snowflake formations, how many of the snowflakes that form in the atmosphere will contain a CO2 molecule within its crystal lattice? And if that CO2 molecule “can freely migrate” in and out of that crystal lattice, what are the odds that said molecule will still be in said lattice when the snowflakes accumulates on the surface?

    And if those CO2 molecules “can freely migrate” out of those snowflakes “even years after they have fallen on the ground”, what percentage of said molecules will “freely migrate” back into the atmosphere?

    And if those CO2 molecules “can freely migrate” within and between the different layers of glacial ice, …. via “the pores inbetween the ice” (crystals), ….. for years and years thereafter, … then I would think that after a lapse of 10,000 to 40,000+ years of CO2 molecule migrations within the glacial ice that it would be really “tuff” to determine the atmospheric CO2 ppm for any given decade or century within aforesaid timeframe.

    But whatta I know, I’m not a climate scientist, ….. just an “original thinker” with learned knowledge in/of the sciences.

  98. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 9, 2013 at 9:11 am

    how many of the snowflakes that form in the atmosphere will contain a CO2 molecule within its crystal lattice?

    There are hardly any CO2 molecules within the snow crystal lattice. There is CO2 in the air enclosed by the snow crystal structure. If you look at snow under a microscope you will see a fine nice crystal structure in many forms with air inbetween, open to the atmosphere. Air can simply move in and out the fine snow structure, not in and out the ice crystal lattice. When the lattice is formed most of all air and CO2 is excluded from the lattice…

    The speed of migration of any constituent depends of the porosity, temperature and concentration. The net migration is always from higher levels to lower levels (there are exceptions like reverse osmosis, but that doesn’t play a role here at any depth). Porosity of the snow/firn/ice is a matter of density: when the pressure by the weight of new layers increases, pores get smaller and smaller and at a certain point there is no migration anymore. Somewhat deeper the air is fully enclosed for the first bubbles and again somewhat deeper for the last bubbles.

    The time that air/CO2 and other gases can migrate makes that the average age of the gas composition is younger than the age of the surrounding ice. How much younger strongly depends of the accumulation speed.That ranges from ~30 years for the high accumulation Law Dome ice cores to several thousands of years for Vostok. Another problem is that the resolution gets worse with the reversal of accumulation speed: the longer the migration keeps going, the more years are mixed in in the average. That makes that the Law Dome ice cores have an average resolution of ~10 years but Vostok doesn’t show any variability of less than 600 years.
    As accumulation speed also influences the number of layers, two of the three Law Dome ice cores don’t go back more than 150 years before hitting rock bottom, while Vostok goes back 420,000 years. Fortunately there are a lot of ice cores with different accumulation speeds, which overlap each other over the same time periods:

    Some interesting notes about ice cores can be found at:

    http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf

  99. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Look a little deeper:
    – the seasonal flux gives for an increasing temperature: more CO2 release (in fact less uptake) by the oceans and more uptake by vegetation. The latter wins mainly thanks to the extratropical NH forests as can be seen in the opposite d13C record. The opposite happens when temperatures drop.

    ———————-

    The above is simply wishful thinking on your part. So, best you look a little deeper and a good place to start is the “daily” CO2 ppm data as recorded at Mona Loa (1974-2013) which can be found @: ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt and on which part of my following commentary is based, to wit:

    The Vernal equinox occurs on 20th of March of each year and the “high-point” for atmospheric CO2 ppm occurs in late May of each of those 38 years, …. and which is like 60+ days after the equinox occurred.

    Now given the fact that the CO2 didn’t start decreasing until late in May, one would think this was due to the plant biomass in the NH temperate zone starting their new growth cycle and the up-taking of CO2 for photosynthesis. But the fact is, said new growth process began in late February and early March and was “triggered” by the increasing length of daylight and the warming air temperatures. New root hairs began to grow, and the uptake of water followed and stored sugars in the roots began being transported up to the “new growth” location of each plant.

    Thus by mid to late May, the air temperatures have really warmed up and the majority of plants/shrubs/tree species in the NH temperature zone have added all of their new limb growth and their foliage and canopy cover (leaves) and have been absorbing CO2 from the air for several weeks.

    But on the contrary, those really warm temperatures and the abundant moister have also “triggered” the bacteria, yeast, molds and mildews to start their “digesting” of all the dead plant and animal biomass that has been lying around on the ground and in the soil all winter long and/or since before the past equinox occurred in September. And there are massive amounts of CO2 released into the atmosphere as the waste product of their digesting ….. which replenishes much of the CO2 that the live plants have been absorbing.

    The Autumnal equinox occurs on 22/23rd of September of each year and the “low-point” for atmospheric CO2 ppm occurs in mid to late October of each of those 38 years, …. and which is like 30+ days after the equinox occurred..

    Most all said bacteria, yeast, molds and mildews adhere to the Refrigerator/Freezer Law. They don’t do a lot of “rotting n’ decaying” work if the temperature is below 60F …. or the dead biomass it too dry …… and late August, September and October are normally dry periods of minimal rainfall, …. and then with below 60F temps from mid October thru November. And most will refuse to do much work at all if the temperature is below 42F. (Which is why that is the recommended temperature for the inside of your refrigerator).

    Anyway, there is a “time lag” between the increase in near-surface average air temperatures and the near-surface average water temperature of all large bodies of water. And conversely, a similar “time lag” exists when said near-surface temperatures are decreasing.

    Nuff said for now cause I’m tired …… and I’m sure you have found things to disagree with since I just “winged it” from memory.

  100. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 9, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Have a look at the seasonal d13C record (sheet 12 of the 7 MB .ppt file):

    http://courses.washington.edu/oc583/Figures09/Carbon_A_W07.ppt

    but be aware that Mauna Loa at 3,400 m altitude lags the changes at ground level with about 3 months:

    There is an opposite swing between CO2 uptake by plants and the d13C changes in the atmosphere as plants by preference use 12CO2, leaving relative more 13CO2 in the atmosphere. Ocean warming releases CO2 in summer, which gives a near neutral (slight incease) of d13C in the atmosphere, but the bulk of the 13C and thus the CO2 change is from the growth of vegetation.
    The SH has far less vegetation, this is reflected in a very small seasonal change in CO2 and d13C.

    BTW, photosynthesis shifts in time with latitude and is at maximum in spring but that doesn’t stop in summer and bacteria break down organic debris at maximum in summer, but that doesn’t stop in winter, including under a snow deck…

  101. Continuation of:
    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Yes at the same time that over the same period human emissions increased from 2 to 4 ppmv/year.

    Now that was a prime example of “generating” facts to explain an unknown by use of reverse-mathematical calculations. Constantly massaging the ESTIMATED human caused emissions to insure that they conform to the measured yearly increase in CO2.

    They have been doing the same reverse-mathematics with average temperature increases and CO2 increases but it caught up with them on the last “round” when the CO2 increased another 2 ppm and the average temperature didn’t increase any.

    Human emissions from fossil fuels have been inventoried over decades, which were steady and consistent rising:

    Of course human emissions from burning fossil fuels have been rising, for the past 200+ years, …. BUT NOT steady and consistently. But if you want to claim semi-erratic and exponentially, I will agree with it.

    Ferdinand, there is no correlation whatsoever between humanity and atmospheric CO2 increases and here are eight (8) decades of statistics that proves that fact.

    Increases in World Population & Atmospheric CO2 by Decade
    year — world popul. – % incr. — Dec CO2 ppm – % incr. — avg increase/year
    1940 – 2,300,000,000 est. ___ ____ 300 ppm
    1950 – 2,556,000,053 – 18.9% ____ 310 ppm – 3.1% —— 1.0 ppm/year
    1960 – 3,039,451,023 – 22.0% ____ 316 ppm – 3.2% —— 0.6 ppm/year
    1970 – 3,706,618,163 – 20.2% ____ 325 ppm – 2.7% —— 0.9 ppm/year
    1980 – 4,453,831,714 – 18.5% ____ 338 ppm – 3.8% —– 1.3 ppm/year
    1990 – 5,278,639,789 – 15.2% ____ 354 ppm – 4.5% —– 1.6 ppm/year
    2000 – 6,082,966,429 – 12.6% ____ 369 ppm – 4.3% —– 1.5 ppm/year
    2010 – 6,809,972,000 – 11.9% ____ 389 ppm – 5.1% —– 2.0 ppm/year
    2012 – 7,057,075,000 – 13.8% ____ 394 ppm – 1.3% —– 2.5 ppm/year
    Source CO2 ppm: ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt%20
    —————————

    The fit between total human emissions and increase in the atmosphere is an extremely perfect fit:

    So, wherein the above stats is that “perfect fit”?

    And claiming that “inventoried” thingy about human emissions is akin to me claiming that all illegal immigrants that have crossed the Mexican border into the US during the past 5 decades have been inventoried and accounted for.

    As the ocean temperature drives the atmospheric temperature and we have rather accurate satellite measurements of the atmospheric temerature of the atmosphere, we may assume that the satellite measurements reflect the trend in ocean surface temperature.

    The ocean temperature might drive the atmospheric temperature at night time but that’s about the only time. And you know what “assuming” does for you, right. And assuming past trends are future facts is ridiculous.

    If the oceans are a net sink and the biosphere is a net sink and humans are a net source where is your temperature influenced natural source?

    Ferdinand, that was a strangely worded question. The biosphere includes the other two, ya know.

    Anyway, the oceans can be a “net sink” for CO2 as well as a “natural source” of CO2. And like I told you in yesterday’s post, the greatest temperature influenced natural terrestrial source is the rotting and decaying of animal and plant biomass which is estimated to be 10 times that of human emissions.

  102. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 10, 2013 at 1:49 am

    There is an opposite swing between CO2 uptake by plants and the d13C changes in the atmosphere as plants by preference use 12CO2, leaving relative more 13CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Ferdinand, you are literally beating a dead horse to a pulp by touting that something of scientific value is associated with that fictitious C12/C13 isotope ratio. Me thinks that is/was an actual case of “someone pulling their facts out of thin air”. pun intended.

    Ferdinand, I could elaborate on the “junk science” aspects of that CAGW claim but …. the author of the following cited commentary does an exceptional job at doing said, so ……. you read his commentary and if you have any specific questions I will try to answer them. To wit:

    The Trouble With C12 C13 Ratios – http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-trouble-with-c12-c13-ratios/

    BTW, photosynthesis shifts in time with latitude and is at maximum in spring but that doesn’t stop in summer and bacteria break down organic debris at maximum in summer, but that doesn’t stop in winter, including under a snow deck…

    BTW, to you too, …. and Ferdinand, I am a Biologist first n’ foremost and a Physical Scientist secondly. So believe me when I tell you that all trees have an apical meristem, you “tap” a Sugar Maple tree when nighttime temps are below 32F and/or snow is still on the ground ….. and that people don’t buy refrigerators for the sole purpose of keeping beer cold.

    And yes, winter wheat and Crocuses will grow right up thru snow cover and depending upon the species, food stored in your refrigerator will slowly get “moldy” …. but molds are not bacteria.

    Now I know I am being overly critical sometimes but I really hate seeing someone citing one “junk science” claim to either prove or disprove another “junk science” claim. As they say, … two wrongs don’t make it right.

  103. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 10, 2013 at 6:46 am

    Now that was a prime example of “generating” facts to explain an unknown by use of reverse-mathematical calculations. Constantly massaging the ESTIMATED human caused emissions to insure that they conform to the measured yearly increase in CO2.

    Sorry, but the emission data comes from fossil fuel sales (taxes!) in the past under the supervisory of the statistics cells in the departments of finance (not the environment…). Thus if anything wrong with the data, they may be underestimated (by under the counter sales…), not overestimated. See:

    http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cfm?tid=90&pid=44&aid=8

    Ferdinand, there is no correlation whatsoever between humanity and atmospheric CO2 increases and here are eight (8) decades of statistics that proves that fact.

    You are comparing the increase of world population with the increase in CO2, but you imply that all people in the world increase their energy use / CO2 emissions at the same rate everywhere. That is certainly not the case. Only now the Chinese and Indians are catching up with the Western countries in per capita CO2 emissions. See the differences in per capita emissions between different countries in the above link…

    all illegal immigrants that have crossed the Mexican border into the US during the past 5 decades have been inventoried and accounted for.

    For the same reason as for CO2, the estimate of the growth of the population in the US is certainly underestimated, not overestimated…

    Anyway, the oceans can be a “net sink” for CO2 as well as a “natural source” of CO2. And like I told you in yesterday’s post, the greatest temperature influenced natural terrestrial source is the rotting and decaying of animal and plant biomass which is estimated to be 10 times that of human emissions.

    As long as no matter is destroyed or created from nothing, the oceans are either a net sink of CO2 from the atmosphere or a net source to the atmosphere, not both. But they are anyway a huge source and at the same time a huge sink of CO2. It is the net balance between these two which is important.
    The same for the biosphere: even if rotting of biomass was 100 times that of human emisions, that doesn’t matter at all: if the total uptake by plants is 100.5 times that of human emissions, the human emissions still would be the only cause of the increase in the atmosphere (assuming the oceans in equilibrium).
    According to the oxygen balance, of the about 9 GtC human emissions, some 1 GtC is the net sink in the total biosphere (including biological life in the oceans).

    The Trouble With C12 C13 Ratios –

    I agree with the main points of the article. But that doesn’t change a few facts:

    – all fossil fuels have 13C/12C ratio’s lower to far lower than the ratio in the atmosphere.
    – all current plants (including C4 plants) have 13C/12C ratio’s lower to a lot lower than the ratio in the atmosphere.
    – the decay of plants (or their use for feed and food) releases CO2 with a lower 13C/12C ratio than in the atmosphere.
    – the uptake of CO2 by plants uses referentially 12CO2, leaving relative more 13CO2 in the atmosphere.
    – the oxygen balance shows a net uptake of CO2 by the total biosphere. That means that there is a slight increase of the 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere caused by the total biosphere and thus not the cause of the 13C/12C decline in the atmosphere.

  104. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    The Trouble With C12 C13 Ratios –

    I agree with the main points of the article. But that doesn’t change a few facts:
    —————

    But your noted few facts …… doesn’t change the following fact, to wit:
    ——————————————–
    The technical inadequacy of the carbon isotope ratios as indicators of origin.

    Galimov demonstrated that the carbon isotope ratio of methane can become progressively heavier while at rest in a reservoir in the crust of the Earth, through the action of methane-consuming microbes. ……………. Galimov established that the longer the methane remains in the reservoir, the heavier becomes its carbon isotope ratio..

    The δ13C carbon isotope ratio cannot be considered to determine reliably the origin of a sample of methane, – or any other compound, and no ethical and competent scientist or engineer would try to use them as such, excepting very unusual circumstances.
    Exerted from: http://blueprintsforliving.com/dating-the-earth-and-lifes-beginning/2/
    ——————

    Given the above said, then the oxidizing of natural gas (NG) (CH4) during the past 200+ years has emitted into the atmosphere greater amounts of C13 than that of C12. And given the fact that there has been an ever increasing consumption of NG during the past 40 years …. then there has also been an ever increasing emission of C13 into the atmosphere during the past 40 years.

    Cheers

  105. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    You are comparing the increase of world population with the increase in CO2, but you imply that all people in the world increase their energy use / CO2 emissions at the same rate everywhere.

    No I was not implying that. Energy use be damned. Look at the average % increase in population per decade ….. verses …. the average % increase in CO2 per decade. They don’t correlate, especially the decade ending 1970 and 2010, to wit:

    1970 – 3,706,618,163 – 20.2% ____ 325 ppm – 2.7% —— 0.9 ppm/year
    2010 – 6,809,972,000 – 11.9% ____ 389 ppm – 5.1% —– 2.0 ppm/year

    And decade ending 1970 was the highest population increase and the lowest increase in CO2. Just what happened between 1961 and 1970 to cause that reversal?

  106. Samuel,

    As far as I know, all CH4 of biotic origin is far to extreme far lower in 13C/12C ratio than the atmosphere. The article you linked to doesn’t give ratio’s, so I have to guess if the “enrichment” in 13C is from -60 to -40 per mil or from -40 to -5 per mil. Besides that, how much of that high 13C methane is used compared to the rest of the -40 to -80 per mil methane?

    They don’t correlate, especially the decade ending 1970 and 2010, to wit:

    There is no reason that they should correlate: most of the Western countries with the highest CO2 releases don’t show a population growth, or very modest. The largest growth was in countries like China and India with at that time very little CO2 releases. Now they are catching up with energy use, they also catch up with a smaller population growth…

  107. Ferdinand,

    I searched for an abstract on those studies but couldn’t find one so I don’t know what the ratios were.

    And to answer your question, theoretically 99.9% of all the methane that is outgassed to the surface is that of the “high” 13C type. But to determine how “high” in 13C it is, one would have to test a “sample” from each and every drilled oil and gas well. The following excerpt from my cited reference will explain my response, to wit:

    Columbo, Gazzarini, and Gonfiantini demonstrated conclusively, by a simple experiment the results of which admitted no ambiguity, that the carbon isotope ratios of methane change continuously along its transport path, becoming progressively lighter with distance traveled. Colombo et al. took a sample of natural gas and passed it through a column of crushed rock, chosen to resemble as closely as possible the terrestrial environment. Their results were definitive: The greater the distance of rock through which the sample of methane passes, the lighter becomes its carbon isotope ratio.

    Now you asked how much of that NG was “used”, but I assume you meant “burned”, and that requires a different answer than the one above, to wit:

    To determine how “high” in 13C the NG is that is “burned”, one would have to test a “sample” from each and every “location” that the actual burning process occurs. And that is because most all commercial NG in the US is piped from the “wellhead” to the Gas Transmission Pipeline network and then “pumped” to wherever the demand is for the NG. See map of network, to wit:

    Ferdinand, I live in central WV where gas wells are everywhere, there everywhere. And if you look at the above map you can see the “cluster” of pipelines that originate here. And all those new “deep wells” they are punching into the Marcellus Shale will also be connected to that “network”.

    There is no reason that they should correlate:

    Something should correlate because every human leaves a carbon “footprint”. And the world’s population has tripled (3X) in the past 60 years. And they all have to eat and keep warm.

    Nearly all China’s rural residents and a shrinking fraction of urban residents use solid fuels (biomass and coal) for household cooking and/or heating.” … http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1892127/

    And in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, etc, they burn fuelwood. Fuelwood, therefore, tends to be the dominant fuel in rural areas and is primarily used for cooking. http://www.fao.org/docrep/w7519e/w7519e08.htm

  108. Samuel C Cogar says:
    November 7, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Brian H says:
    November 6, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    As your post documents, the data required much exertion to fit to the desired plots. But calling it “exerted” is still ungrammatical. <;P
    ——————

    exert – 1. To put to use or effect; put forth:

    Excuse me, but I was the one who exerted (extracted) those three (3) statements from the quoted text …. “To put to use or effect” in my subsequent commentary.

    Sorry Sammy, but syntactically “excerpted” is the only word that makes sense; your labored effort use a rare inappropriate sub-meaning to make “exerted” fit is a failure. Is English your native tongue? You can’t just pluck alternate definitions from a dictionary and use them at will; they have narrow contexts in which they apply, usually. Like now and here.

  109. Brian H says:
    November 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Sorry Sammy, but syntactically “excerpted” is the only word that makes sense;

    No need to apologize, Briany, it is a common an oft used tactic by those persons who don’t like the content/context of the “message” to find fault with the verbiage used by the “messenger”.

    Is English your native tongue?

    Actually “No”, but close. It is referred to by some as being Hillbillyease and by others as Appalachian English. It has its roots in Elizabethan English with a touch of Scots-Irish and/or Anglo-Scottish dialects. You would be in your “glory” with your pickiness iffen I was to write in my native oral or spoken language.

    Briany, when I post to forums such as this one, I write for “effect”. And depending upon the “effect” I wish to achieve is dependent upon the verbiage I use.

    Briany, here is the link to commentary that I authored and Seeded to the Newsvine Forums. Read it to see if it “makes any sense” to you.

    http://snvcogar.newsvine.com/_news/2013/01/04/16348804-a-logical-perspective-on-the-origins-of-homo-sapiens-sapiens

    they have narrow contexts in which they apply, usually.

    HA, …. I sure do like that “usually” part ….. cause I usually decide which definition applies to the verbiage I use, …. and I am now too damn old to be trying to impress the likes of you.

    Cheers

Comments are closed.