Another known unknown – volcanic outgassing of CO2

Medicine Lake Volcano from Schonchin Butte, La...

Medicine Lake Volcano from Schonchin Butte, Lava Beds National Monument (Photo credit: Ray Bouknight)

It seems there’s really no complete measurements on how much CO2 is coming out of volcanoes, both active and inactive.

From Livescience: Long Invisible, Research Shows Volcanic CO2 Levels Are Staggering (Op-Ed)

In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.

These inflating figures, I hasten to add, don’t mean that our planet is suddenly venting more CO2.

Humanity certainly is; but any changes to the volcanic background level would occur over generations, not years. The rise we’re seeing now, therefore, must have been there all along: As scientific progress is widening our perspective, the daunting outline of how little we really know about volcanoes is beginning to loom large.

Quiet monsters

The exhalations of our planet can be spectacularly obvious. The fireworks, though, are only part of the picture. We now know that the CO2 released during volcanic eruptions is almost insignificant compared with what happens after the camera crews get bored. The emissions that really matter are concealed. The silent, silvery plumes which are currently winding their way skyward above the 150 or so active volcanoes on our planet also carry with them the bulk of its carbon dioxide. Their coughing fits might catch the eye — but in between tantrums, the steady breathing of volcanoes quietly sheds upwards of a quarter of a billion tons of CO2 every year.

We think. Scientists’ best estimates, however, are based on an assumption. It might surprise you to learn that, well into the new century, of the 150 smokers I mentioned, almost 80 percent are still as mysterious, in terms of the quantity of CO2 they emit, as they were a generation ago: We’ve only actually measured 33.

If the 117 unsampled peaks follow a similar trend, then the research community’s current projection might stand. But looking through such a small window, there’s no way of knowing if what we have seen until now is typical or not. It’s like shining a light on a darkened globe: randomly, you might hit Australia, and think you’d seen it all – while on the edge of your beam, unnoticed, would be Asia. Our planet’s isolated volcanic frontiers could easily be hiding a monster or two; and with a bit of exploration, our estimate of volcanic CO2 output could rise even higher.

You’d think that would be enough. That might be my fault — I tend to save the weird stuff until the end. Recently, an enigmatic source of volcanic carbon has come to light that isn’t involved with lava — or even craters. It now seems that not only is there CO2 we can’t get to, there’s some we can’t even see.

Even more incredibly, it even seems that some volcanoes which are considered inactive, in terms of their potential to ooze new land, can still make some serious additions to the atmosphere through diffuse CO2 release. Residual magma beneath dormant craters, though it might never reach the surface, can still ‘erupt’ gases from a distance. Amazingly, from what little scientists have measured, it looks like this process might give off as much as half the CO2 put out by fully active volcanoes.

If these additional ‘carbon-active’ volcanoes are included, the number of degassing peaks skyrockets to more than 500. Of which we’ve measured a grand total of nine percent. You can probably fill it in by now — we need to climb more mountains.

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136 Responses to Another known unknown – volcanic outgassing of CO2

  1. Dodgy Geezer says:

    So we don’t know accurately just how much CO2 volcanoes are putting out?

    I suspect that we don’t know accurately how much CO2 humanity is putting out either…

  2. crosspatch says:

    What has amazed me are the volcanoes that quietly emit pure liquid CO2 at depth in the ocean. The high pressure keeps the CO2 liquified. In fact, I read a paper a while back that concluded that it was quite possible that large pools of liquid CO2 could have sat relatively undisturbed on the bottom for tens of thousands of years in places in the South Pacific due to the circulation patterns shutting down during the last glacial.

  3. William Fox says:

    Not to mention the + 100.000 undersea volcanoes , as only 10 % of the deep seas are scanned this could be dtamaticly more.

  4. albertalad says:

    150 volcanoes only? Aren’t there thousands of volcanoes on the ocean floor as active?

  5. Kevin Kilty says:

    crosspatch says:
    November 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Not to mention the midocean ridge vents that are…horrors…acidifying the oceans.

    I’m surprised at how poorly the budgets for most volatiles, such as CO2, sulfur, and chlorine balance. One could probably conclude that there are widely distributed, low density, exhalations from the mantle that we fail to see when there are dramatic sources such as volcanoes, ocean ridges, and so forth to distract us. For instance, where’d the commercial gas deposits containing mainly CO2 and helium come from?

  6. Jimbo says:

    Here is settled science.

    As scientific progress is widening our perspective, the daunting outline of how little we really know about volcanoes is beginning to loom large.

    We think. Scientists’ best estimates, however, are based on an assumption. It might surprise you to learn that, well into the new century, of the 150 smokers I mentioned, almost 80 percent are still as mysterious, in terms of the quantity of CO2 they emit,…..

    What about the deep sea volcanic vents? Are they better understood?

  7. Willis Eschenbach says:

    According to the article, the current best estimate is that volcanoes put out about 600 megatonnes of CO2 per year, which is 0.6 gigatonnes (0.6E+9 tonnes).

    Human activities, on the other hand, annually release on the order of 33 gigatonnes of CO2 …

    That means that if the volcanoes are actually putting out twice the best estimate, which they may be doing, it would still only be about 4% of human emissions.

    w.

  8. A.D. Everard says:

    Shrinking Mankind’s contribution, percentage-wise. How nice. The usual suspects will have to run around and “discover” that some industry somewhere produces sooo much more CO2 than they thought, just to try and balance it up again. Poor dears, it’s just work, work, work nowadays.

  9. A.D. Everard says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    November 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    *

    Your comment came up just as mine went into moderation. Dang, I thought maybe our percentage had shrunk. No matter. :)

  10. milodonharlani says:

    Third type of undersea volcanic eruption discovered:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130121083215.htm

    Up to 80% of all volcanic activity on earth takes place at deep-sea, mid-ocean ridges, so this could make more than bubbles.

  11. Jquip says:

    Six fold? Minor adjustment… Any one have info on how this would effect, or not effect, isotope ratios for c12 and c13? That is, is this just a complete boff of how much is being produced, or are there knock-on effects for source assignment?

    @crosspatch: “What has amazed me are the volcanoes that quietly emit pure liquid CO2 at depth in the ocean.”

    That is ridiculously neat. Thanks for the info.

  12. thingadonta says:

    I would add another important factor the equation of level of C02 emission: that of the CO2 gas which exists in equilibrium with various carbonate minerals and carbonate rich rocks within the subsurface over varying temperatures and pressures around magma chambers, mid ocean ridge volcanic systems, marine and continental volcanic arcs, and active volcanoes.

    The volume of material involved is enormous. Exploration geologists routinely study these carbonate minerals in rocks around volcanos as different carbonate minerals precipitate at different temperatures and so give an idea of the temperature at which any carbonate alteration and precipitation occurred, thereby giving an indicator for other minerals of economic interest formed during such whole rock alteration such as gold and copper.

    Most of the world’s copper derives from extinct volcanic systems, precipitated in rocks around extinct volcanos which also often have varying degrees of associated carbonate alteration. The extent of carbonate alteration around these extinct volcanoes is of the order of several km2 or more. And there are literally tens of thousands of volcanoes, most of which are under the ocean.

    The C02 which exists in equilibrium in huge volumes at varying temperatures around volcanoes will precipitate into a more carbonate-enriched rock as various carbonate mineral types, if there is a temperature and/or pressure change. Lower temperature carbonates include siderite and ankerite, and moderate to higher temperature carbonates include rhodochrosite, calcite, and dolomite. The carbonate can come to make up around 10% of so by volume of the rock, all of which involves removal and/or input of C02 from either seawater, from the surrounding rocks, or from the underlying magma chamber. This is particularly the case within the ocean, as the ocean itself acts as a huge source of dissolved carbonate, and marine volcanic sequences are often enriched in carbonate for that reason. (But there are also carbonate rich rocks associated with some continental volcanoes, so much so that some continental type volcanoes are called ‘carbonitite volcanoes’ but my memory of these from university days is thin).

    The amount of dissolved C02 which exists in equilibrium with subsurface volcanoes far exceeds the small amount which exchanges with the atmosphere due to human activity. As such, it is unlikely that oceans would acidify very much with additional c02 in the atmosphere, but there is a paucity of studies which addresses this question.

  13. Jimbo says:

    More estimations. The science is settled dontcha know.

    Submarine Volcanoes
    Scientists estimate that at least 80% of the world’s volcanism occurs in the oceans!
    http://www.gns.cri.nz/Home/Learning/Science-Topics/Ocean-Floor/Undersea-New-Zealand/Submarine-Volcanoes
    ————————–
    National Geographic – 2011
    Giant Undersea Volcanoes Found Off Antarctica
    Mount Fuji-size peaks unexpected, scientists say.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/07/110715-undersea-volcanoes-antarctica-science-tsunamis/

    Surprise! But we must act now! It’s worse than we thought!

  14. Don’t you get it? The natural CO2 sources are perfectly balanced by natural CO2 sinks–it’s the unnatural human contribution that throws things out of balance. Geez.

  15. Nick Stokes says:

    “It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.”
    I have to wonder if the author here is getting mixed up with estimates quoted in tons of carbon, rather than CO2. He gives no references for his earlier figures. The new paper by Burton (637 Mt/yr) cites older estimates, and there is no such super rapid trend. He quotes Mörner and Etiope (2002) (600 MTons/yr), and Marty and Tolstikhin (1998) 440 Mt/yr.

  16. milodonharlani says:

    Much depends upon what is meant by “active”. As our host sagely notes, even geologically inactive volcanoes are still chemically-active, ie releasing gases. So I wouldn’t put much store in the known known figure of 150 active volcanoes.

    Adapted from “Volcano Discovery” site”

    The exact number of volcanoes is unknown. It also depends on the definition of a “volcano”: for instance, there are “volcanic fields” that comprise hundreds of individual eruption centers (such as conder cones, maars, shield volcanoes) that are all related to the same magma chamber & that may or not be counted as a single “volcano”.

    Millions of volcanoes have probably been active during the whole lifespan of the earth. During the past 10,000 years, about 1500 volcanoes on land have been known active, while the even larger number of submarine volcanoes is unknown. At present, there are about 600 volcanoes with known eruptions during recorded history, while about 50-70 volcanoes are active (erupting) each year. At any given time, an average of about 20 volcanoes is erupting.

  17. Tim Ball says:

    The assumption is that most of the CO2 comes from the crater. The literature shows this is not true. Here are two examples.

    “Furthermore, we find that diffuse emissions of CO2 from the upper flanks of Etna are magma-derived and are of a similar magnitude to those emitted from the crater plume. This observation, as well as others, verifies the idea that extensive diffuse release of magmatic CO2 may occur in volcanically active regions— a process that needs to be taken into account when evaluating the volatile budget of subaerial volcanism.”

    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/232761335_Eruptive_and_diffuse_emissions_of_CO2_from_Mount_Etna

    “Over geological time scales, Earth degassing has a significant impact on atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, which are an important component of global carbon cycle models. In Tibet, structural conditions and associated widespread geothermal systems lead to carbon dioxide degassing during geothermal water migration. We characterized the hydrochemical
conditions of two geothermal fields on the Tibetan Plateau.”

    http://www.researchgate.net/publication/225226304_Carbon_dioxide_degassing_flux_from_two_geothermal_fields_in_Tibet_China

    This is diffusion around phreatic volcanoes with much heavier and denser lava than for ocean crust volcanoes like Hawaii. No wonder Keeling has to make such dramatic manipulative adjustments to his Mauna Loa readings.

  18. markstoval says:

    ” … it would still only be about 4% of human emissions.”

    To be honest Willis, I have real trouble believing the estimates of either category. Given the lies, distortions, guesses, and bias of “climate scientists” for the past several decades there seems to be no reason to believe any estimate they provide.

    Do you have any credible evidence?

  19. milodonharlani says:

    Volcanism increases after ice sheets melt, which is another means by which CO2 trails rather than leads temperature:

    http://www.gizmag.com/climate-volcanic-activity-link/25520/

    “In times of global warming, the glaciers are melting on the continents relatively quickly,” says Dr. Marion Jegen, a geophysicist from GEOMAR. “At the same time the sea level rises. The weight on the continents decreases, while the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. Thus, the stress changes within in the earth to open more routes for ascending magma.”

    Because the rate of global cooling at the end of warm phases is much slower compared to the rate of warming at the beginning of such phases, there are less dramatic stress changes and less volcanic activity during these times.

    “If you follow the natural climate cycles, we are currently at the end of a really warm phase,” says Dr. Steffen Kutterolf, the lead author of the study. “Therefore, things are volcanically quieter now.”

  20. Steve Keohane says:

    Assuming the above refers to Millions of Metric Tons, MMT, comparing this to the IPCC 2001 estimations (Table 3) of total sources and absorption of CO2, the IPCC gives Natural sources as 770,000 MMT and Anthro sources as 23,100 MMT for the 90s. A 2-600 MMT difference is inconsequential if these numbers are real. Is one set of numbers off some orders of magnitude? The whole 600 MMT is less than 0.1% of 800,000 MMT/ year annual input the IPCC claims.

  21. Tonyb says:

    Willis

    But IF a good proportion of co2 stays in the atmosphere for hundreds or thousands of year the volcanic contribution to the co2 atmospheric levels over the centuries will be very large. Mans contributions until recent decades has been rather small
    Tonyb

  22. milodonharlani says:

    Just read the linked article. The authors’ estimate, though higher than past guesses, is most likely very low. They assume more CO2 from land & lake volcanoes than from hydrothermal & other submarine volcanoes, though of course the ocean has not been well sampled, as they admit.

    Also, I’m disturbed by the unrepresentative sample of land volcanoes, which is skewed to Italy & the US. Only one Chilean volcano is included in the small sample, despite the number of highly active volcanoes there, the most earthquake prone region on earth.

  23. Tonyb says:

    David ball

    A couple of years ago I was told by a Cambridge university volcanologist that it was believed that there are ten thousand times more underwater volcanoes than previously believed. I have no way of determining if this is accurate.

    Tonyb

  24. milodonharlani says:

    OK, I’m going to practice “climate science” now & produce my own estimate of volcanic CO2, after the school of Cook & Lewandowsky, only starting from numbers with some basis in observations rather than made up or non-existent figures. If in this study roughly 300 million tonnes come from the land & 300 from the sea, for a total around 600 MT, my consensus climate scientific guess is 2700 MT, thanks to a quadrupling of the maritime component. But given differences in oceanic crust from continental, I’m going to add on another 300 MT as a fudge factor, applying the statistically now accepted best practice of the Cook-Lewandowsky-Mann transform function, for a final estimate of 3 GT of volcanic-origin CO2 per annum. Now I need some pals to review my “work”.

  25. milodonharlani says:

    PS: Using IPCC-approved confidence level calculation methodology, I find my work significant at the 95% certainty level.

  26. Jquip says:

    @Willis: “it would still only be about 4% of human emissions.”

    Ah, missed that. That’s why I’m curious about the isotope ratios. If it doesn’t alter things it’s a big nothing for the A in AGW regardless the scale. Though it will certainly put any optimistically over accurate model or sink/source pairs out of joint.

    @Ball: “No wonder Keeling has to make such dramatic manipulative adjustments to his Mauna Loa readings.”

    Yeh, I’ve been wondering about that since that last mention. May or may not be material to things, but if it’s claimed it’s not, then surely there’s been work done on the problem.

  27. vukcevic says:

    TonyB
    Most of current global warming is concentrated in the Arctic area. There is a magmatic fissure all across Arctic, but quantities of either lava or CO2 discharges is not known. What is known is that nearby Island’s active volcanoes which number just over 1% of the world’s total, it is estimated that they produced more then 30% of the total lava eruption since 1500 A.D.

  28. john robertson says:

    This is what happens when people just make stuff up.
    The so called carbon cycle carbon budget is classic climate science (TM IPCC).
    Numbers pulled out of the hat(polite version),to support a preconceived notion, repeated endlessly and that fail when compared to reality.
    We do not know the number and magnitude of volcanoes on the planet, we have no quantitative measurements of the outgassing, but we can pretend to understand the cycle of atmospheric CO2, fossil Carbon,plant life on global basis..gas release from erosion….
    I need to sell more unicorn fencing to my local government, can’t have any “unprotected” citizen getting run through by any wild unicorns.
    Precautionary principle for principle less people.

  29. milodonharlani says:

    Speaking of isotope ratios, it’s amazing to me, although maybe should not be, how much elementary basic science had not yet been done when the whole complex universe of “climate science” became “settled” c. 1988 or whenever.

    Here’s a attempt actually to measure the C13/C14 ratio in gas being emitted from a volcano in 2004:

    http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?id=83609

    Abstract

    Carbon isotope ratio analysis using a laser-based technique has been performed in the field, on the gaseous emissions from an active volcano. We here describe that 13CO2/12CO2 determinations can be carried out in a quasi-continuous regime using a compact, selective and sensitive diode laser spectrometer at a wavelength of 2 µm. Within the Solfatara crater (near Naples, Italy), in a very harsh environment, we were able to determine relative 13CO2/12CO2 values, on the highest flux fumarole, with an accuracy of 0.5 ‰. Regular and frequent observations of the carbon isotopes in volcanic gases, which become possible with our methodology, are of the utmost importance for geochemical surveillance of volcanoes.

    © 2004 Optical Society of America

  30. RoHa says:

    Well, obviously we have to stop the volcanoes from releasing the CO2 or fit them with “carbon-capture’ technology.

    I prefer the first option. I’m not sure what we need all those volcanoes for, but we should try to find some non-polluting alternative.

  31. Latitude says:

    I have a great idea….let’s put one of those CO2 measuring thingys on top of one…..snark/

    Tell me again….why anyone should care about CO2

  32. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    An interesting presentation on volcanic CO2 by Prof. Ian Plimer from around 2011. Submarine volcanics is the Prof’s focus from about 15:30 onward.

  33. Bob Greene says:

    I love it. In the landfill and landfill gas to electricity industries, you have to account for CO2 using fairly good instruments, have calibration programs, lots of reporting and permits are affected by the amount of landfill gas. All to precisely measure GHG’s so we can control the climate. And here we find that the expert climate scientists don’t have a good handle on major natural sources. Maybe the expert climate scientists ought to get off their duffs, shut down the high-carbon footprint computer modelling and go out into the world and make real measurements.

  34. Sun Spot says:

    @Willis Eschenbach says: November 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm ,

    Willis where do you get the number “on the order of 33 gigatonnes of CO2 ” for human emission’s ?

    Now I have heard numbers for man made CO2 anywhere fro 9 to 33 gigatonnes , who is the central authority for this elusive number and how did they derive this number ?

  35. milodonharlani says:

    Too bad Red Adair is no longer with us, or we could call his crew in to cap them all, at least those 150 known offenders.

  36. Jquip says:

    milodon: “Speaking of isotope ratios, …”

    Ah, brilliant. So yes, a big nothing for the isotope ratios on the whole if that’s at all representative.

  37. Aphan says:

    Willis-from the article-

    “We think. Scientists’ best estimates, however, are based on an assumption. It might surprise you to learn that, well into the new century, of the 150 smokers I mentioned, almost 80 percent are still as mysterious, in terms of the quantity of CO2 they emit, as they were a generation ago: We’ve only actually measured 33.”

    That 4% is based on an estimate taken from 33 surface volcanoes. So if that’s based on 20% of the 150 volcanoes that they know of, and assuming that all the ones they haven’t measured are at the same levels (which we know they aren’t) then aren’t we closer to somewhere like 20% of human emissions? Saturday…math brain is asleep…

  38. thingadonta says:

    As to the number of volcanoes on earth, there is a published paper somewhere that estimates the number under the sea as in the millions.

    Note most volcanos don’t ‘erupt’ or breach the surface, they are simply areas of melted rock, which grades into areas of elevated temperature rocks with distance, and most are under the ocean associated with mid ocean ridge spreading centres (which extend for tens of thousands of kilometres), and island volcanic arcs, such as most of the Philippines or Indonesia. The volumes of rock which are heated or melted are large.

    Periods in earth’s history seem to have more and less tectonic activity, including rates of continental drift, and these times also seem to have more volcanism (as you would expect), and also more abundant proliferation of life, such as in the Cambrian.

    But it’s a balance, if there is too much volcanism there can also be more mass extinction, such as the end Permian, and these periods also seem to exhibit ‘coral reef gaps’ in the extinction record, meaning that coal reefs seem to be sensitive to episodes of higher volcanic activity, which also implies that the ocean’s chemistry is partly influenced by undersea volcanic activity. It is not clear however if these ‘coral reef gaps’ are due to higher temperatures, or higher levels of volcanism, or both.

  39. Aphan says:

    And this too-
    “If these additional ‘carbon-active’ volcanoes are included, the number of degassing peaks skyrockets to more than 500. Of which we’ve measured a grand total of nine percent. You can probably fill it in by now — we need to climb more mountains.”

    90% of the degassing hasn’t even been MEASURED. I’ve wondered about this for a very long time, and read a lot, and what is going on UNDER our oceans is even more interesting. Deep smokers going 24/7, super heated water pouring into the oceans 24/7, magma “baking” the sediments and releasing the same things we release when we burn fossil/carbon/fuel into the water instead of the air, even pools of super critical CO2 in liquid form.

    The research and actual data on volcanic out-gassing is SOOOOOOO pathetically ignored and sparse. Oceanic vulcanologist were STUNNED when they saw a deep floor volcano ERUPT into the water with as much force as one would on land! They thought the pressure would contain the blast. It did NOT.

    http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=83436&tid=3622&cid=44586&c=2

    But people keep telling me that it amounts to practically nothing as far as the climate is concerned. I’m not believing that.

  40. milodonharlani says:

    Jquip says:
    November 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    True, but it would be nice to know how representative the few measurements actually are. I presume there have been more since 2004, but that might be presuming too much.

  41. Khwarizmi says:

    Kevin Kilty says:
    I’m surprised at how poorly the budgets for most volatiles, such as CO2, sulfur, and chlorine balance. One could probably conclude that there are widely distributed, low density, exhalations from the mantle that we fail to see when there are dramatic sources such as volcanoes, ocean ridges, and so forth to distract us.
    For instance, where’d the commercial gas deposits containing mainly CO2 and helium come from?

    = = = = = = =
    Good question. Compare these two maps for a clue to the answer.
    1) Oil fields, gas fields, and hydrocarbon seeps in California:
    http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/seeps/images/image6.jpg
    2) San Andreas fault:
    http://geology.com/articles/images/san-andreas-fault-map.jpg

  42. milodonharlani says:

    thingadonta says:
    November 16, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Oceanographers Hillier & Watts (2007) surveyed 201,055 submarine volcanoes, from which survey they concluded an astounding total of 3,477,403 submarine volcanoes must reasonably exist worldwide. They based this finding on the earlier, well-respected observations of Batiza (1982), who found that at least four per cent of seamounts are active volcanoes.

    http://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/~tony/watts/downloads/HillierWatts2007GL029874.pdf

  43. noaaprogrammer says:

    And what of the other greenhouse gasses that volcanoes belch? … and icehouse gasses like sulfur dioxide? Science estimators are a good source of random numbers.

  44. milodonharlani says:

    Actually it’s more like 440 to 160 than 300/300 land/sea in the authors’ Table 6. Summary of measured volcanic CO2 fluxes and estimated global emissions (Mt/yr).

    From the paper:

    In recent years, measurements of CO2 flux from volcanoes and volcanic areas have
    greatly increased, particularly on persistently degassing volcanoes, of which ~22% have had
    their CO2 flux quantified. Notwithstanding this progress, it is clear that the CO2 emissions
    from the majority of volcanic sources are still unknown. Using the available data from plume
    measurements from 33 degassing volcanoes we determine a total CO2 flux of 59.7 Mt/yr.
    Extrapolating this to ~150 active volcanoes produces a total of 271 Mt/yr CO2. Extrapolation
    of the measured 6.4 Mt/yr of CO2 emitted from the flanks of 30 historically active volcanoes
    to all 550 historically active volcanoes produces a global emission rate of 117 Mt/yr. Perez et
    al. (2011) calculated the global emission from volcanic lakes to be 94 Mt/yr CO2. The sum of
    these fluxes produces an updated estimate of the global subaerial volcanic CO2 flux of 474 Mt/
    yr. Emissions from tectonic, hydrothermal and inactive volcanic areas contribute a further 66
    Mt/yr to this total (Table 6), producing a total subaerial volcanic emission of 540 Mt/yr. An
    extrapolation to a global estimate is not straightforward for tectonic-related degassing, as the
    number of areas which produce such emissions is not known. Given the fact that ~10 Mt/yr is
    produced by Italy alone it is possible that the global total is significant, and this merits further
    investigation. We highlight also that the magnitude of CO2 emissions from both cold and hot
    non-MOR submarine volcanic sources are currently effectively unknown.

  45. bobl says:

    One must wonder then how much CO2 is outgassed in places other than volcanos? For example there’s a fair bit of outgassing in Rotorua NZ does this count as a volcano?

  46. Nick Stokes says:

    Sun Spot says: November 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    “Willis where do you get the number “on the order of 33 gigatonnes of CO2 ” for human emission’s ?

    Now I have heard numbers for man made CO2 anywhere fro 9 to 33 gigatonnes , who is the central authority for this elusive number and how did they derive this number ?”

    I think you’re mixing up numbers quoted in tons C and tons CO2. People often do, including, I think, this OP. Here is an estimate of 34 Gtonnes CO2 for 2011. These are basically economic statistics – mining and burning carbon is big business.

    I think Willis’ 4% is high – 637/34000=1.9%

  47. thingadonta says:

    milodonharlani:
    yes, that a lot of volcanos thanks.

    Volcanos never seem to get much of a mention from the climate alarmists, despite the fact that they have much influence on earth history. Probably because they can’t control them.

  48. Bill Parsons says:

    Whatever else the Keeling curve shows, the (approximate) 1-ppm increase each year, from peak to peak, is less significant than the annual, natural, seasonal fluctuation of around 5 ppm. That fluctuation can only be a result of natural processes, and our knowledge of what those processes are is in its infancy. I’d say the jury is out on whether there are sufficient human contributions to cause what we humans are calling a “long-term increase”, which is pretty small relative to other eras.

  49. milodonharlani says:

    bobl says:
    November 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Good point about geothermal hot springs in volcanic mountain ranges, but not necessarily associated directly with a neighboring volcano.

  50. Jquip says:

    Aphan: “magma “baking” the sediments and releasing the same things we release when we burn fossil/carbon/fuel ”

    Well played, I hadn’t considered that at all. Though if that’s occurring in any great measure and getting itself out of the oceans, then the ratio of isotopes in the water should be trivial for settling that particular matter.

  51. michael hammer says:

    I have been wondering for a long time about the wet chemical determinations of atmospheric CO2 done in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These show strongly fluctuating CO2 levels both up and down. Sure any one individual measurement could be sloppy and in error but the trends over time are duplicated by many different researchers of high repute working in significantly different locations. The CAGW advocates accept the readings that fit with their theory (those done around the end of the 19th century) and discard all the others as flawed (with what justification?). Thats a pretty arrogant position to take without impecable justification. Is it possible that all these scientists were infact correct and maybe undersea volcanic emissions are larger than we thought, causing the fluctuations? Also of course, if the CO2 levels can fall quickly it means the lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere cannot be as long as currently claimed. Maybe its a far fetched theory (given Willis’s 4% claimed contribution from volcanoes) but then what is the justification for so glibly disregarding the work of these earlier scientists? Much of our current knowledge is based on the work of such earlier scientists and to simply dismiss this data just because it does not fit with the current politically fashionable theory to me seems dubious.

  52. SasjaL says:

    In Sweden during the 70′s, we learned in mandatory school that all vulcanos emits carbon dioxide – regardless of any state – active, dormant or dead, so it isn’t news.

  53. ROM says:

    Some more estimates of the number of submarine volcanoes from Oregon State;

    Submarine Volcanoes; http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/book/export/html/138

    quote;
    If an estimate of 4,000 volcanoes per million square kilometers on the floor of the Pacific Ocean is extrapolated for all the oceans than there are more than a million submarine (underwater) volcanoes. Perhaps as many as 75,000 of these volcanoes rise over half a mile (1 kilometer) above the ocean floor. Technology and hard work by a group of tenacious explorers/geologists have allowed us our first detailed glimpses of submarine volcanoes. /
    cont;

    I could perhaps throw in the idea of the great Mid Ocean Ridges and Troughs where the planet’s plate tectonics is most manifest and where the earth’s crust is relatively quite thin and quite close to the hot mantle.
    A lot of CO2 from tectonically buried plate rock such as the carbonate rocks are probably decomposed under the heat and pressure of the great depths back into their basic constituent elements. Which in the case of CO2 and many other plate rock constituents may again be returned to the surface in volcanic magma originating at those great depths in the mantle.
    And the CO2 released from those decomposing tectonically buried carbonate surface rocks then continues to find it’s way up through magma channels from supposedly dormant or even extinct Volcanoes
    A similar process might occur right along the immense lengths of the great Mid Ocean Ridges and troughs
    After all what was once believed to be quite rare smoker fields found on those ridges turn out to be quite common and often square kilometres in extent.
    How much CO2 is expelled from those smoker fields of which most found are supposedly extinct but like the volcanoes, might still be expelling immense amounts of CO2 in steady streams which are immediately taken up by ocean waters and probably released into the atmosphere much later, is an unknown and a complete mystery and has never been researched.

    Any such CO2 emissions from the smoker fields and the great mid ocean ridges and troughs will not be known nor can they be guessed at until many more decades of ocean research starts to reveal more of the details of what lies below those oceans which cover 79% of the planet’s surface.

    Today more is known about the Moon’s surface than is known about the great Deeps of the Earth’s oceans and until a great deal more is known about what lies below those oceans and what can be found on that ocean floor and in the oceans themselves, no even completely honest guess is likely to come close to the true level of the release of even a minor gas such as CO2 from the vast ocean floor and the oceans above into the atmosphere of the planet..

  54. R. de Haan says:

    Have a look at these figures: http://virtualexplorer.com.au/article/2009/227/earth-co-degassing/emissions.html
    Central Appennine – Chiodini et al., 2000 Non volcanic Co2 4-13.2 (12,000) Mt/y Co2 per km2
    Now get your calculator and do the math.

  55. RayG says:

    I don’t see a problem with figuring out the total CO2 output of volcanoes, etc. You state that 33 volcanoes have been sampled. That is more than enough data. Just interpolate a la Jones to account for the remaining population of volcanoes and torture the resulting Climatology data using Mannian Statistical Data Torture Techniques(MSDTT) and voila, you get what ever answer that you desire.

  56. milodonharlani says:

    More climate science, this time using the Mann-Trenberth & Jones-Hansen-Schmidt transform functions. Assume 150 under air volcanoes (although a trivial few were under water) @ mean annual CO2 production of 4 MT times 3.5 million undersea volcanoes, yields 14,000 GT of CO2 per annum, ignoring as trivial the 150 under air volcanoes. OK, assume only 100,000 of the undersea volcanoes are comparable to the 150 land volcanoes & ignore the CO2 contribution of the other 3.4 million calculated under water volcanoes & from the 150 under air volcanoes. That gives us only 400 GT per year. Make it 10,000 undersea volcanoes comparable to the 150 based upon a sample of 33 & it’s 40 GT, again without the land contribution.

    So, even with these massive reductions, the undersea volcanoes still beat the human contribution. In climate science-style extrapolation modeling, that is. I might have made some arithmetic errors, but it doesn’t matter, since I’m not using any sedimentary data upside down or relying on a single tree to dictate global energy, economic & taxation policy, as under climate science practice, I’m perfectly entitled to do. For the good of the cause. And the children. Widows are on their own.

  57. milodonharlani says:

    RayG says:
    November 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks for validating my procedure. You’re one of the Team now.

  58. milodonharlani says:

    But seriously, folks…

    If science is almost literally clueless as to natural CO2 production, how can it estimate the capacity of sinks for the magic gas? Or how long the One True Gas deigns to linger in our atmosphere.

    Climate science is not only unsettled, but deeply unsettling.

  59. M Simon says:

    Super critical CO2? – Don’t get in a conversation with it.

    Re: unicorn fences. How many unicorns per running foot are required?

  60. Luke Warmist says:

    milodonharlani says:
    November 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm
    …….for a final estimate of 3 GT of volcanic-origin CO2 per annum. Now I need some pals to review my “work
    *************************
     In all my years as an Aerospace Engineer I’ve not seen as thoughtful a piece of work as this on volcanoes. 98% of my peers agree.

  61. milodonharlani says:

    Luke Warmist says:
    November 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    You’re hired as staff pal reviewer for the Journal of Climate Science Grant Acquisition!

    But we need to hunt down the non-conforming two percent & send them to reeducation camps.

  62. Tom Trevor says:

    I have never understood why we trust the CO2 readings from one volcano, Mauna Loa, which is near another volcano, Kilauea, which is an active volcano which has been spewing out lava and CO2 since 1983.

  63. milodonharlani says:

    Tom Trevor says:
    November 16, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Don’t forget the two new undersea volcanoes east of the Big Island, erupting as the Pacific Plate passes over the hotspot that made the existing Hawaiian Islands & the Emperor Seamounts.

  64. garym says:

    hmmm. the solubility of c02 in water varies with temperature. The colder the water, the more c02 can be absorbed from the atmosphere, and the warmer the water more c02 is released. Ice, snow, rain, water-table, and sea do exist near many volcanoes and near surface magma (e.g. mammoth mountain area). I would think all c02 is released as the water temperature approaches 100C. So, i wonder it the amount of co2 outgassing from water is significant? hmmm.

  65. Myrrh says:

    The figures given for human produced CO2 v volcanic has been tosh from the beginning -

    The propaganda “data” produced to fuel the global warming bankwagon is deliberate misinformation. That is simply a fact.

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

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

    Mauna Loa is measuring volcanic CO2 – it cannot, and makes no attempt to, distinguish between man-made and volcanic. The station is sitting on top of the world’s biggest active volcano surrounded by active volcanoes and thousands of earthquakes a year in warm seas over a hot spot producing volcanic islands. They call it a pristine site for measuring carbon dioxide, unsullied by local production..

    Callender/Keeling had an anti coal agenda, that too is a fact, and their data were made to fit this green’s agenda which was later hi-jacked by the oil/nuclear industry – the emotional energy of the greens a cheap fuel source as Maggie utilised to great effect.

  66. milodonharlani says:

    garym says:
    November 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    IMO it is. Underwater volcanic eruptions naturally heat the water around them. But in any case, if submarine volcanism increases the concentration of CO2 in ocean water of average temperature, there’s more to release when the water warms, from whatever cause.

    IMO natural sources & sinks of CO2 have been greatly underestimated. The study presented in this blog post is a step in the right direction, but still overlooks many, perhaps most terrestrial volcanic sources of CO2 & the majority of them under water.

    Consider what defensibly could be the case on the high end, or maybe not all that high. Assume, from observation, around 600 “volcanoes” active & inactive but still emitting CO2 on land, rather than the 150 active volcanoes assumed in the study. Add in the volcanic processes that produce CO2 in the absence of identifiable “volcanoes”. IMO there’s no reason why the land could not be releasing a gigaton of CO2 per year on average for the Holocene or even the past century.

    Now if the 140 million square miles IIRC of ocean floor is just as volcanic as the land, that means over three gigatons per year. The fact is, as the paper’s authors acknowledge, we really do not know how volcanic the seafloor is. Without entering the realm of science fiction, it might arguably be twice as volcanic & gaseous, so that annual global emissions approach five GT. What if we’ve missed so much terrestrial volcanism that the land generates two GT per year? Why not? It’s certainly possible. Then if oceanic crust is twice as productive as continental, we’re looking at 10 GT total per year. It’s probably less than that & even less than half that, but really, who knows?

    The fact is that science doesn’t know. Why not spend research funds on trying to find out the answers to questions like these instead of financing yet more alarming, absurd GIGO GCMs, ie doing genuine science instead of rent-seeking, ideologically driven hoaxing?

  67. R. de Haan says:

    Only the Central Apenine area = 1200 km2 x 4 -13,4 Mt CO2 per year per km2 = an average of 8,7 Mt per km2 x 1200 = 10.440 Mt of non volcano related Co2 Emissions per year.
    And this is only a relative small area of italy which totals around 300.000 km2.

  68. ROM says:

    Why not spend research funds, including stripping the billion dollars a day world wide spent on subsidies to the despicable scammers of the renewable energy industry and other so called CO2 emmission mitagation creations and spend that money on Ocean and land research per se.

    Forget and recognise the minor role of CO2 in the atmosphere [ although playing a critical role in the biosphere ] and the attempts to use it as a primary aim of any research and let it just take it’s non important place in ocean and land research projects along with all the other factors to be researched and considered

  69. Nick Stokes says:

    R. de Haan says: November 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm
    “Only the Central Apenine area = 1200 km2 x 4 -13,4 Mt CO2 per year per km2 = an average of 8,7 Mt per km2 x 1200 = 10.440 Mt of non volcano related Co2 Emissions per year.”

    No, the Appenines are not emitting 10 Gtons of CO2/year. It nowhere says that 4-13.4 has units Mt/yr/km2. It says the units are Mt/yr. That’s the total for that site. 12000 is the area.

    You really ought to try sanity checks here. Scientists do not announce major gas effluxes in a line in the middle of a table.

  70. Arno Arrak says:

    vukcevic November 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm says:

    “….Most of current global warming is concentrated in the Arctic area. There is a magmatic fissure all across Arctic, but quantities of either lava or CO2 discharges is not known….”

    You can assume that quantities of lava or CO2 discharges in the Arctic are no different than those in other oceans. Your observation of Arctic warming is correct – the Arctic is actually the only part of the world that is still warming. The globe as a whole has experienced a cessation of warming for the last 15 years. The observed Arctic warming is not greenhouse warming and is not related to any stealth undersea volcanic action. It is caused by warm Gulf Stream water carried into the Arctic Ocean by North Atlantic currents. It started suddenly at the turn of the twentieth century, paused for thirty years in mid-century, then resumed, and is still going strong. Prior to that there was nothing but two thousand years of slow, linear cooling in the Arctic. Checking carbon dioxide history, there was no increase of atmospheric CO2 when the warming began which rules out carbon dioxide as the cause. The thirty year warming pause in mid-century was an actual cooling at the rate of 0.3 degrees per decade. This also is quite impossible for the greenhouse effect to accomplish.

  71. ROM says:

    Nope! Scientists announce it in press releases whose content bears little comparison to the later paper.
    The next grant application is assured if that press release is taken up by the MSM and given wide coverage.
    Nobody but scientists read the later released actual paper. [ as well now an increasing number of skeptics! ]

  72. TomR.Worc.MA.USA says:

    thingadonta says:
    November 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm
    ….
    =======================
    They can’t tax volcanoes either.

  73. milodonharlani says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    November 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    By correcting for the Mosher-Stokes GHG Amplification Theorem, I’ve discovered that man-made annual atmospheric CO2 contribution is really only 13 GT rather than 33 GT, which comports well with my prior Mann-Trenberth & Jones-Hansen-Schmidt & more advanced Cook-Lewandowsky transform function-derived estimates of volcanic-origin CO2 in the range of 10 to 15,000 GT.

    Just kidding, as I hope is obvious.

  74. bushbunny says:

    During the last ice age, Japan was almost uninhabitable due to seismic activity and volcanic eruptions. However there was a land bridge present between Korea (I think) and the present Islands of Japan. But having a land bridge may have affected the tectonic plates movements. I am worried about Baby Krakatoa and Vesuvius. All around that part of the Med, there are numerous undersea vents and activity especially the ancient terrestrial Firey fields that still attract the tourists because of their sulphur bubbling baths and spas. Ancient Romans used them too as health resorts. Vesuvius is murmuring again. Interestingly, the last lava eruption not a Plinian eruption e.g., Pompeii 79 AD., was in 1944. And since the 79 AD disaster, there have been quite a few bad eruptions. Who would be mad enough to live there or in Naples. They can’t ensure their properties either I learned from an Italian.

  75. R. de Haan says:

    According to a Presentation of Prof. Murry Salby, a CO2 expert in Hamburg, Germany, on 18 April 2013 Anthropogenic CO2 emissions is 4% of the total CO2 budget The Ocean is responsible for 90 Gt/y, Land for 60Gt/y, totals 150 Gt/y, compensated by natural sinks, also 150Gt. The human Even a minor imbalance can overrule the human emissions. (0.36 minutes in the video): A must see for anyone who wants answers to the World’s CO2 budget past, present and a perfect analysis of the proxy record. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ROw_cDKwc0

  76. R. de Haan says:

    Sorry, forgot to delete “The human” in the 4th line. Just watch the video.

  77. I’ve been asking questions about volcanic CO2 for 15 years now. As usual, I’ve been laughed at by pompous gits of all kinds.

    All I’ve got from AGW believers were furtive answers of “It’s negligible compared to human output” type, without any reliable experimental data. Very few people would honestly say “We don’t know.”

    If one silent belch of a”dormant” volcano with a cold lake in it’s crater could kill off, overnight, an African village with an invisible cloud of CO2, if we see video records of volcanic fissure on ocean floors emitting streams of CO2 bubbles (huge ones) incessantly, for thousands, maybe tens of thousands of years — and if no phenomena of this sort are taken into account by the pompous gits in the UN and government “scientific” institutions, what are they worth, all their theories?

    I might as well repeat after Michelangelo: “If lies and vice triumph everywhere and all the time, what is it worth, God, the light of thy divine truth?”

  78. Mervyn says:

    So much that we are told about atmospheric CO2 is simply misleading or just lies. For example, one of the concerns about man-made global warming alarmism is that CO2 remains in the atmosphere for millennia, as stated in paragraph 31 of the Royal Society’s guide to the science of climate change (dated 30 September 2010) titled ‘‘Climate Change: A Summary of the Science’’.

    Many peer-reviewed studies, however, report that CO2 remains in the atmosphere for about 12 years, with the half-life of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere being between five and ten years. A half-life of five years means that more than 98% of a substance will disappear in a time span of thirty years.

    Consider this. If carbon dioxide really were to stay in the atmosphere for millennia, then why has its level in the atmosphere not doubled in the last fifteen years, or gone up tenfold-plus over the last one hundred years?

  79. R. de Haan says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    November 16, 2013 at 7:33 pm
    R. de Haan says: November 16, 2013 at 7:26 pm
    “Only the Central Apenine area = 1200 km2 x 4 -13,4 Mt CO2 per year per km2 = an average of 8,7 Mt per km2 x 1200 = 10.440 Mt of non volcano related Co2 Emissions per year.”

    No, the Appenines are not emitting 10 Gtons of CO2/year. It nowhere says that 4-13.4 has units Mt/yr/km2. It says the units are Mt/yr. That’s the total for that site. 12000 is the area.

    You really ought to try sanity checks here. Scientists do not announce major gas effluxes in a line in the middle of a table’.

    Nick, thanks for correcting me.

    I just posted a video from Prof. Murry Salby.
    Approx. total annual Co2 emissions from the land area: 60 Gt/y, Total emissions Ocean: 90 Gt/y
    Human emissions 5 Gt/y = 4% Total sinks approx 150 Gt/y.

    The numbers without any doubt will be subject to further discussions as W has the human Co2 emissions on 33 Gt/y which is a difference of more than a factor 6 from Salby’s 5 Gt/y

  80. JaneHM says:

    The assumption that the volcanic CO2 flux, whatever its true value, is constant with time is unsubstantiated – we don’t have the data. There is no reason to believe it should be constant on decadal or multi-decadal timescales. We know that total global earthquake energy has multi-decadal periodicities and there is suggestion that total volcanic output does too (at least along subduction boundaries).

  81. Nick Stokes says:

    Alexander Feht says: November 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm
    “All I’ve got from AGW believers were furtive answers of “It’s negligible compared to human output” type, without any reliable experimental data.”

    Well, there’s plenty of experimental data in Burton’s paper linked here. But OK, suppose volcanoes were emitting 30 Gton/year CO2. Then they would have been doing that for millennia, maybe millions of years. Think through the implications.

    After a million years, that’s 30 million Gtons. Huge. Where is it?

    Not in the air or biosphere; maybe 7000 Gtons total.

    Not in the sea – total 140,000 Gtons combined CO2 (all dissolved carbonates).

    And of course, 30 million Gtons CO2 in the sea would be quite an acidification. Doesn’t seem to have happened.

    As limestone? There’s 500,000 Gtons Ca in the ocean, not to mention a huge acid-base problem.

    As other rock? Where are the cations? Base? But anyway, 30 Gtons CO2 is 60 gm/sq m over the whole Earth surface. Not so much, but after a million years, its 60 tons/sq m. That’s major geology.

    Burton does actually look to see where his 600 Mtons/year might be going. And he’s reasonably about to account for it in the long term with rock formation etc, But not 50 times as much.

  82. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Tim Ball says:
    November 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    … This is diffusion around phreatic volcanoes with much heavier and denser lava than for ocean crust volcanoes like Hawaii. No wonder Keeling has to make such dramatic manipulative adjustments to his Mauna Loa readings.

    Thanks, Tim. Outgassing of CO2 through various cracks in the crust is definitely an issue for Mauna Loa as you say. However, I’m not sure what you call “manipulative adjustments” made by Keeling.

    Keeling dealt with the question of spurious measurements by noting that the diffusive CO2 is emitted from and generally moves along the ground. Measurements are taken at night, when the winds blow downslope.

    The CO2 measurements are taken simultaneously from high towers and at ground level. If there is a discrepancy, that indicates that the wind is blowing diffusive CO2 over the station, and the resulting measurements are not used. In general, however, this is not the case. In part this is because because the observatory is located on the NW slope, and the volcanic hotspot and the majority of the outgassing is on the SE slope.

    I discussed all of this in my post called “Under the Volcano, Over the Volcano“. I commented on the Beck CO2 measurements, and was pleasantly surprised when Ernst Beck himself commented.

    My best to you,

    w.

  83. All the oxygen in the atmosphere is former CO2 — just for starters.

  84. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Sun Spot says:
    November 16, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    @Willis Eschenbach says: November 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm ,

    Willis where do you get the number “on the order of 33 gigatonnes of CO2 ” for human emission’s ?

    Now I have heard numbers for man made CO2 anywhere fro 9 to 33 gigatonnes , who is the central authority for this elusive number and how did they derive this number ?

    Emissions are calculated by a variety of organizations, plus individual studies. My numbers are from CDIAC, the numbers from EIA are little different.

    The answer to your question is that the 9 and the 33 measure different things. The 9 gigatonnes is the tonnage of carbon, C, emitted per year. The 33 Gtonnes is the tonnage of CO2.

    Regards,

    w.

  85. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Nick Stokes says:
    November 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I think Willis’ 4% is high – 637/34000=1.9%

    Thanks, Nick. The missing link is that I said that IF emissions were twice what the paper says, it would be 4% of human emissions …

    w.

  86. Nick Stokes says:

    Alexander Feht says: November 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm
    “All the oxygen in the atmosphere is former CO2 — just for starters.”

    Well, that took hundreds of millions years. But 30 million Gt CO2, remember (over a million years). There’s only a million Gt oxygen in the atmosphere.

  87. Nick Stokes,

    Your inability to answer your own question proves only one thing: you don’t know the answer.
    It doesn’t mean that the question itself is necessarily incorrect.

  88. BioBob says:

    Considering the small incremental CO2 increase each year in relation to total CO2 flux, really any input is both significant and insignificant at the same time. It all depends on your point of view, doesn’t it ? Each annual increase is on the order of the volcanic contribution, isn’t it ? Murray Salby’s numbers tell us all we need to know.

    In any case, since we don’t have any real accurate data for global CO2 sources and sinks, “What difference, at this point, does it make ?” In the long run, every ounce of coal, oil, natural gas, etc, as well as all carbonate rocks will eventually be recycled by plate tectonics even if not consumed by humans (tho, I bet we use it all).

    Despite all this, it is important to emphasize that CO2, O2, and NH3 fractions in our atmosphere are controlled by life on earth (moderated by temperature and water), of which humans are only a small part.

  89. jorgekafkazar says:

    Alexander Feht says: “If one silent belch of a ”dormant” volcano with a cold lake in its crater could kill off, overnight, an African village with an invisible cloud of CO2, if we see video records of volcanic fissure on ocean floors emitting streams of CO2 bubbles (huge ones) incessantly, for thousands, maybe tens of thousands of years — and if no phenomena of this sort are taken into account by the pompous gits in the UN and government “scientific” institutions, what are they worth, all their theories?”

    You’re referring to Lake Nyos, where the “carbon” capture is 100%…until the lake’s quasistable thermal strata are disturbed in any one spot, quickly turning the lake into a foaming, churning sea of deadly fizz-water. Lake Nyos emits approx. 10,000 tonnes per year of CO2, all by itself.

    See: http://iceagenow.com/Three_Million_Underwater_Volcanoes.htm

    If this is typical for the 3,000,000 undersea volcanoes, the total annual global emissions of volcanic CO2 amount to 30,000 million tonnes, nowhere near the paltry 600 million tonnes cited in the post.

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

    See also Schmid, Halbwachs, & Wuest (2006)

  90. jorgekafkazar says:

    thingadonta says: “Volcanos never seem to get much of a mention from the climate alarmists, despite the fact that they have much influence on earth history. Probably because they can’t control them.”

    Or, more likely, because they don’t want anyone looking in that particular direction and seeing how badly we’ve been misled.

  91. Mike Jonas says:

    Briefly, re some of the comments here:

    1. Fossil fuel CO2 emissions are published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) http://www.iea.org/media/freepublications/2012/CO2Highlights2012.xls

    2. Atmospheric CO2 is similar at all llatitudes, the main differences being seasonal in the NH, and slightly lower average CO2 in the far S.
    http://members.iinet.net.au/~jonas1@westnet.com.au/StationsCO2.jpg
    Station Latitude
    S Pole -90
    Baring Head -41.4
    Xmas Island 2
    Kumukahi 19.5
    La Jolia 32.9
    Barrow 71
    Data is published by Scripps, eg. Barrow is
    http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/data/flask_co2_and_isotopic/monthly_co2/monthly_ptb.csv

    3. Ocean-Atmosphere CO2 imbalance has a half-life of about 13 years. That’s not the whole story, because there is a further delay while it goes through chemical changes in the ocean and/or is transported from surface layer to depth. It is unlikely that much would remain in the atmosphere after a few hundred years, ie. about when we finally run out of fossil fuel anyway.

  92. Brian H says:

    It was always clear from the Big Numbers that Human Emissions were trivial in impact and amount by comparison with all others. This is filling in some of the detail and specifics.

  93. You mention the 150 or so active volcanoes. You omit to mention the thousands of volcanoes on the ocean floors also emitting tons of carbon dioxide(see work of Professor Ian Plimer(Adelaide)

  94. rtj1211 says:

    ‘William Fox says:
    November 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm
    Not to mention the + 100.000 undersea volcanoes , as only 10 % of the deep seas are scanned this could be dtamaticly more.’

    I guess the question there is what percentage of the gas from undersea volcanoes makes it out of the oceans and into the atmosphere??

  95. vukcevic says:

    Arno Arrak says:
    November 16, 2013 at 7:35 pm
    …….
    Hi Arno
    I agree with most of what you wrote, but here are couple of points.
    Some of readers of this blog are familiar with my views on climate change, but if not googling my name + wuwt will provide ample evidence.
    If CO2 has any effect it is minor and if evident anywhere it would be the Arctic Ocean.
    Why ? you may ask.
    Since tiny Iceland with 1% of world volcanoes produces 30% of the lava volume, perhaps it could be assumed and that similar proportion may apply to the production of CO2 volumes.
    For a large part of the year A.O. is covered by ice sheet, so 6 months of the magmatic CO2 emission will be trapped under the ice. Once ice melts, the CO2 concentration in the Arctic atmosphere will increase to a much greater extent than in the rest of the world oceans.
    If the CO2 back radiation has any effect anywhere (and I am not convinced that it does), its magnitude should be greatest in the Arctic in the summer months; if so then the GW is not anthropogenic AGW, but the terragemic or TGW.

  96. Steve Case says:

    So we’ve measured 33 of 150 smokers. I’ve always heard that when analyzing variable data that a sample size of 30 or more delivers a very good approximation of the population. The issue isn’t that we’ve only measured 33 and need to measure more, the issue is the the size of the population. Are there only 150 volcanoes that emit CO2?

  97. janama says:

    here’s a good article on volcanoes and CO2

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

    and here’s his account of Gerlach 1991

    http://gerlach1991.geologist-1011.mobi/

  98. J Martin says:

    “These inflating figures, I hasten to add, don’t mean that our planet is suddenly venting more CO2.”
    It is known that volcanic activity increases during solar minimums. Increased volcanic activity during the little ice age is accepted historical fact. There is a graph somewhere of volcanic activity versus time and it is clear that volcanic maximums correlate with cold periods such as the Maunder minimum. It is reasonable to assume therefore that co2 out-gassing also increases during those periods, one of which we may be entering, so it is quite conceivable that our planet may be venting more co2.

  99. michael hart says:

    Famous video of submarine volcanic bubbles of liquid (supercritical) CO2:

  100. pochas says:

    I have no expertise here, but if I were tasked with estimating natural CO2 emissions, I would want to know the rate of carbonate subduction at the continental margins, thinking this might approximate CO2 emissions from gassy volcanos. I would largely discount volcanos along seafloor spreading zones; these would be basaltic.

  101. Jquip says:
    November 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Any one have info on how this would effect, or not effect, isotope ratios for c12 and c13? That is, is this just a complete boff of how much is being produced, or are there knock-on effects for source assignment?

    Depends where the magma is coming from:
    - subduction volcanoes (like these in Indonesia and Italy) emit CO2 from the calcite deposits at the ocean floor which in general are around zero per mil δ13C. See e.g.:
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00445-010-0423-2?no-access=true
    - deep magma volcanoes (like the Icelandic ones) emit CO2 from the deep earth and are in general lower in δ13C, somewhere between -4 and -7 per mil δ13Cl.
    - the atmosphere currently is at -8 per mil δ13C
    - human emissions are around -24 per mil δ13C

    That means that, with a few exceptions, all volcanic vents emit CO2 that would increase the 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere. See e.g.:
    Italy:
    http://www.springerimages.com/Images/Geosciences/1-10.1007_s00445-010-0423-2-2
    http://www.earth-prints.org/handle/2122/4383
    Mount Reinier:
    http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2004-0128-122010/c6.pdf
    and many more…

    Myrrh says:
    November 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    From the geologist (also referenced by Janama):
    Both tectonic and volcanic CO2 are magmatic and depleted in both 13C & 14C

    Depleted in 13C against subduction volcanoes, but enriched compared to the atmospheric ratio.
    Quite strange that a geologist doensn’t know that…

    Thus whatever the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes, that can’t be responsible for the steady decrease in δ13C over the past 160 years:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif

    Further: most of the CO2 emissions from underwater volcanoes will simply dissolve in the deep oceans and stay there for extremely long periods. The deep ocean δ13C is around zero per mil…

    See further:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/pdf/2011EO240001.pdf

  102. Dodgy Geezer says:

    @Willis

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    November 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    According to the article, the current best estimate is that volcanoes put out about 600 megatonnes of CO2 per year, which is 0.6 gigatonnes (0.6E+9 tonnes).

    Human activities, on the other hand, annually release on the order of 33 gigatonnes of CO2 …

    That means that if the volcanoes are actually putting out twice the best estimate, which they may be doing, it would still only be about 4% of human emissions.

    I had looked up the human emissions and seen the discrepancy. So I wondered how accurate the human emissions figure was.

    It wouldn’t be the first time that Climate Scientists had exaggerated data by orders of magnitude…

  103. Dodgy Geezer says:
    November 17, 2013 at 3:57 am

    I had looked up the human emissions and seen the discrepancy. So I wondered how accurate the human emissions figure was.

    Human emissions are calculated from fossil fuel sales (taxes!) and fuel burning efficiency. Probably more underestimated than overestimated because of under the counter sales…

  104. Pat says:

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    November 17, 2013 at 4:32 am”

    Estimated. Most likely OVER-ESTIMATED due to the fact that (In Australia at least) CO2-e is calculted as 3.76 times the effect 1 tonne of CO2 has on climate (Which is bogus anyway).

  105. daveburton says:

    This is interesting, but, as Steve Keohane notes, 0.6 Gt CO2 per year is still very small compared to other CO2 sources and sinks.

    CO2 is 27.3% carbon and 72.7% oxygen, so 0.6 Gt CO2 is only 0.164 GtC (gigatons carbon). For comparison, AR4 estimates that anthropogenic sources contribute about 7 GtC/yr, and natural sources are about 25x that. That would make the volcanic contribution about 0.1% of the total.

  106. daveburton says:

    Whoops, I see that Willis did essentially the same calculation that Steve and I did, first.

  107. eric1skeptic says:

    It’s fun having all the “volcano alarmists” plus Willis plus Nick in one thread. My question to the the former is: are volcanoes seasonal? Or put another way: what causes the large annual wiggle? It is larger in the NH than in Antarctica, so the explanation must include that fact. Also the annual wiggle measurement was repeated worldwide for decades, so it is not a Keeling invention.

    Second,the observed decrease in pH in the ocean, e.g. http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/envs501/downloads/Wei%20et%20al.%202009.pdf would have to correspond to a very large secular increase in undersea volcanoes in the 20th century. AFAICS, there is no documented evidence of such an increase in undersea volcanoes unless this blog post is evidence. But so far there are other explanations for rise in estimates.

  108. Pat says:
    November 17, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Estimated. Most likely OVER-ESTIMATED due to the fact that (In Australia at least) CO2-e is calculted as 3.76 times the effect 1 tonne of CO2 has on climate (Which is bogus anyway).

    Nothing to do with the effect of CO2 on the climate. Fossil fuel sales are known from taxes on the sales. Burning coal, oil and gas gives specific amounts of CO2, thus the amounts of CO2 from burning fuels is known, within the limits of the sales and burning efficiency. But as humans are pretty smart in avoiding taxes, the CO2 emissions are probably underestimated…
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/aus.html

  109. jim2 says:

    What? You want to collect more data? That really shouldn’t be necessary. We can just krige it, or find some other statistical analysis, or, I KNOW, we can MODEL it! Those are a lot easier and cheaper than having to trek out to some God-foresaken place and do actual science.

  110. Thanks, Anthony. Good reporting.
    I think that natural CO2 dominates, not “man-made” CO2. Moreover, H2O dominates, not CO2.
    We live in a natural world, not a man-made world.

  111. Hans Erren says:

    As long as undersea volcanoes are venting below the carbonate compensation depth, it doesn’t matter how large their co2 flux is. It simply falls out of the equation.

  112. Robert Brown says:

    More climate science, this time using the Mann-Trenberth & Jones-Hansen-Schmidt transform functions. Assume 150 under air volcanoes (although a trivial few were under water) @ mean annual CO2 production of 4 MT times 3.5 million undersea volcanoes, yields 14,000 GT of CO2 per annum, ignoring as trivial the 150 under air volcanoes. OK, assume only 100,000 of the undersea volcanoes are comparable to the 150 land volcanoes & ignore the CO2 contribution of the other 3.4 million calculated under water volcanoes & from the 150 under air volcanoes. That gives us only 400 GT per year. Make it 10,000 undersea volcanoes comparable to the 150 based upon a sample of 33 & it’s 40 GT, again without the land contribution.

    I’m not sure I understand your math here. If we assume the 150 land-based volcanoes are the only significant emitters, and that the density of significant emitters is proportional to area, then the land-based numbers — whatever they are — should be multiplied by 3.33 (to go from 30% of the total surface to 100%). So if you assert 600 Mt/year for the land, you should end up with 2 Gt/year for the entire surface. To assert anything else, you have to have measurements that I don’t think that we have — some very concrete reason to think that there are more significant emitters per square kilometer underwater compared to on land. Maybe there is, I don’t know, but asserting that there are 150 important (enough) land volcanoes and 3.4 million equally active underwater volcanoes seems dubious. Yes, I know about oceanic rifts and subduction zones and all that, but still, you’re basically asserting that e.g. the mid-atlantic rift is an oozing line of naked magma. Perhaps it is, but I’d think one would need to perform a whole lot of active measurements to verify its CO_2 contribution, not simply try to scale a land-based contribution from volcanoes of a completely different structure.

    However I do agree with you that assuming a simple factor of 2 is insufficient. If we assume maximum ignorance, the correct multiplier is 3.33. If we have some sound Bayesian prior, there might be a good reason to increase or decrease this factor, but I’d feel a lot more comfortable basing the estimate on direct measurements in situ instead of scaling measurements that the top article itself is dedicated to asserting are not particularly reliable, yet. “The uncertainty in the volcanic contribution is large” is perhaps the best conclusion from the article, and it could easily be large enough to completely screw up e.g. the Bern model.

    A question — it was asserted that there (could? do?) exist stable pools of liquid CO_2 in the deep ocean. This suggests that there is some ocean depth where liquid CO_2 formation is favored. This in turn suggests that there could actually be liquid CO_2 rain in the deep ocean, places where saturated CO_2 falls out of the surrounding water as droplets. This, in turn, would be a serious alteration to the Bern model, as it could put a cap on the CO_2 concentration of the deep ocean at saturation, after which it falls out as rain, nearly stably sequestered.

    What is the observational evidence for any or all of this? Are there measaured/observed pools of liquid CO_2, and are those pools thermodynamically stable or slowly evaporating? How close is the deep ocean to saturation (or at what depth does it become saturated and hence unstable to CO_2 rain)?

    rgb

  113. Willis Eschenbach says:

    J Martin says:
    November 17, 2013 at 2:49 am

    “These inflating figures, I hasten to add, don’t mean that our planet is suddenly venting more CO2.”

    It is known that volcanic activity increases during solar minimums. Increased volcanic activity during the little ice age is accepted historical fact. There is a graph somewhere of volcanic activity versus time and it is clear that volcanic maximums correlate with cold periods such as the Maunder minimum.

    Sorry, J, but that’s not true in the slightest. There was no “increased volcanic activity during the Little Ice Age”, that’s an urban legend. See my post here for a graph of volcanic activity versus time. There is nothing like what you claim.

    w.

  114. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Pat says:
    November 17, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    November 17, 2013 at 4:32 am”

    Estimated. Most likely OVER-ESTIMATED due to the fact that (In Australia at least) CO2-e is calculted as 3.76 times the effect 1 tonne of CO2 has on climate (Which is bogus anyway).

    Citation? As far as I know, Australia’s emissions are figured out just like the rest of the planet …

    w.

  115. Hoser says:

    Hoser says:
    October 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    I’m wondering a bit where all the CO2 originates. If a great deal of quondam CO2 precipitates via bicarbonate as CaCO3 every year to the bottom of the ocean, is it replenished by the atmosphere? The bicarbonate comes from where? The atmosphere? Of course there would be exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere, and the ocean should be a much larger reservoir of dissolved CO2/bicarbonate than the atmosphere. It seems to me we are failing to recognize the importance of undersea volcanic sources of CO2. Then CO2 liberation from the ocean boosting atmospheric levels makes more sense. The discussion below [2] of C isotope ratios is worth considering. Biological factors are not insignificant; e.g. CO2 -> bicarbonate driven by nitrogen fixation.

    1) http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/08/11/undersea-volcanoes-might-be-more-common-than-previously-thought/
    2) http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/ (interesting, very speculative 3×10^6 underwater volcanoes??)
    3) http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Glossary/SubmarineVolcano/description_submarine_volcano.html
    (the orthodox view)

    Glad we are getting around to this topic.

  116. Willis Eschenbach says:

    eric1skeptic says:
    November 17, 2013 at 5:55 am

    It’s fun having all the “volcano alarmists” plus Willis plus Nick in one thread. My question to the the former is: are volcanoes seasonal? Or put another way: what causes the large annual wiggle?

    The annual “wiggle” in the atmospheric CO2 is generally said to come from the change in the amount of actively growing plants, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. In the summer they absorb CO2, and in the winter they release it. As a result, CO2 peaks in May and is at its smallest in October.

    w.

  117. Hoser says:

    It may be important to consider natural CH4 -> CO2 as well. It is not clear whether the measurements of CH4 production and mapped sources of natural CH4 emissions are sufficiently accurate. Etiope, et al., have estimated geological and wetland emissions of CH4 are about 6 million tons per year in Europe. Could the value be extrapolated to the world? Do we know enough? Is the sea floor also a “wetland” and a major source of methane? Is methane trapped below a certain depth and consequently, can most of the sea bed can be ignored? Or even there, do methanotrophs consume methane directly or in clathrates, releasing CO2?

    ftp://ftp.eol.ucar.edu/pub/temp/users/campos/2012dc3/papers/etiope.atmosEnv2009.natural.ch4.geo.seepage.europe.1-s2.0-S1352231008002483-main.pdf

    http://escholarship.org/uc/item/01k4m30p#page-1

  118. J Martin says:

    The EPA say this However, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reports that human activities now emit more than 135 times as much CO2 as volcanoes each year.

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html

  119. rgbatduke says:

    The annual “wiggle” in the atmospheric CO2 is generally said to come from the change in the amount of actively growing plants, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. In the summer they absorb CO2, and in the winter they release it. As a result, CO2 peaks in May and is at its smallest in October.

    It’s not a thermal variation? I would have expected it to follow the seasonal variation in GAST, or rather global SST as temperature rise/fall affects surface absorption/emission rates (or for that matter phytoplankton consumption rates) as a larger effect. I stand corrected.

    rgb

  120. David, UK says:

    We now know that the CO2 released during volcanic eruptions is almost insignificant compared with what happens after the camera crews get bored. The emissions that really matter are concealed. The silent, silvery plumes which are currently winding their way skyward above the 150 or so active volcanoes on our planet also carry with them the bulk of its carbon dioxide. Their coughing fits might catch the eye [...] It might surprise you to learn that, well into the new century, of the 150 smokers I mentioned, almost 80 percent are still as mysterious, in terms of the quantity of CO2 they emit, as they were a generation ago: We’ve only actually measured 33.

    Haha, I had to read that a few times and follow the link to the picture before I realised the article wasn’t attempting to link the rise in CO2 to cigarette smokers! I even checked for a “satire” tag!

    I know. What a numpty.

  121. milodonharlani says:

    Robert Brown says:
    November 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I wasn’t actually asserting anything. It was meant as a wildly hypothetical joke, to show what volcanic CO2 might be, since in fact science knows essentially nothing about the degree of underwater emission.

    I assumed without evidence (hence the similarity to feedback assumptions in GIGO GCMs) that oceanic crust, being so much thinner than continental & of different composition, would emit more rather than less CO2. I picked twice as much out of thin air, as a possibility that can’t be ruled out in the present state of our lack of knowledge. So if underair & lake volcanoes produce, let’s say, 1 GT, then the oceans could produce {71/29 (oceans cover 71% of the planet, not 67, of which some of course is continental shelf) X 1 GT} = 2.45 GT, for a total of 3.45 GT for land & sea. However, applying my assumption of twice as much emission from the oceans yields (2.45 X 2) = 4.9 sea + 1.0 land = 5.59 GT. If I raise my land assumption to 2 GT & maintain the presumed double for ocean emission rate, then the total would be 11.18. I rounded off in my prior calculations & assumed simple 2:1 sea:land ratio, since it involves such WAG assumptions anyway.

    CO2 emission needn’t occur only with magma lava flows, which fact is yet another source of great uncertainty in estimating volcanic contribution. Even on land, science doesn’t know how much CO2 leaks out of the ground in the vicinity of active & geologically dead volcanoes. IMO whatever the figure might be, it’s liable to be greater in the oceans, where new seafloor is constantly being produced at ridges & where so many giant volcanoes, only now being recognized, exist, thanks perhaps to the thinness of crust there & consequent ease with which smaller impacting bolides (space rocks) can punch through the crust to the mantle, creating hot spots such as that which has made the Hawaiian Islands & Emperor Seamounts.

    You raise good questions about CO2 saturation in the cold, dense depths. I don’t know.

  122. Lars P. says:

    Tonyb says:
    November 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    David ball

    A couple of years ago I was told by a Cambridge university volcanologist that it was believed that there are ten thousand times more underwater volcanoes than previously believed. I have no way of determining if this is accurate.

    Tonyb

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12218#.Uokpa7OYO90
    “The true extent to which the ocean bed is dotted with volcanoes has been revealed by researchers who have counted 201,055 underwater cones. This is over 10 times more than have been found before.

    The team estimates that in total there could be about 3 million submarine volcanoes, 39,000 of which rise more than 1000 metres over the sea bed”

    I understand the seafloor being much thinner then the continental crust, I would not be surprised if more then 90% of the volcanic activity would happen under the sea.

  123. rgbatduke says:
    November 17, 2013 at 11:07 am

    It’s not a thermal variation? I would have expected it to follow the seasonal variation in GAST, or rather global SST as temperature rise/fall affects surface absorption/emission rates (or for that matter phytoplankton consumption rates) as a larger effect. I stand corrected.

    The seasonal T-CO2 fluxes are countercurrent for oceans as for vegetation (land as well as ocean). In the SH, the fluxes are near in equilibrium (very small seasonal variation), but in the NH, (land) plants win the battle, as can be deduced from the opposite CO2 and 13C/12C ratio changes over the months.

    Monthly data can be downloaded from the CDIA website for the same site for both CO2 and δ13C:
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/iso-sio/graphics/iso-graphics.html
    or from NOAA:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/

  124. eric1skeptic says:

    Thanks Willis, rgbatduke, and Ferdinand for the answers about the seasonal wiggle. RGB, I too thought there was a thermal component since the earth is closest to the sun in January and the SH ocean warming would lag that by a few months in line with the peak in CO2.

    This is “WebHubTelescope’s plot of SST and CO2: http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/1332/co2withphaseshift.gif from this thread: http://judithcurry.com/2012/03/15/on-the-adjustments-to-the-hadsst3-data-set-2/ It does not appear to be as simple as I thought and there was some argument over the validity of the his analysis.

  125. tobias says:

    After reading , I feel a GRANT coming on.

  126. rgbatduke & eric1skeptic:

    Here a plot of the NH seasonal variations of CO2 and δ13C at Barrow and Mauna Loa 1990-2012:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/seasonal_CO2_d13C_MLO_BRW.jpg
    January levels fixed at zero ppmv CO2 and zero per mil d13C.
    CO2 in Barrow is at sealevel, while Mauna Loa is at 3,400 m height, where CO2 and δ13C variations are lagging somewhat and more leveled of by mixing with the bulk of the atmosphere.
    The extra absorbance of CO2 in the biosphere during spring-summer is by preference more towards 12CO2, which leads to an increase of the 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere…

  127. John says:

    If we assume, as we should, that volcanic activity, above and below the ocean surface, has been more or less stable over periods of centuries and millennia, then the steady annual rise of CO2 from about 300 ppm about 150 years ago to nearly 400 ppm today (daily values seen in Anthony’s climate widget) is due to something other than volcanos — specifically, the increase in emissions from human economic activities.

    Let’s not try to convince ourselves otherwise. The crucial issues with CO2 have to do with climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2, with the consequences of CO2 increases (a function of climate sensitivity), and to discerning what the appropriate responses should be as well as their time frame. There is plenty of debate, reasonable debate, about whether western governments are impoverishing their peoples with their highly expensive renewable energy policies. See Bishop Hill’s discussion Nov. 17:

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2013/11/17/sober-scary.html

  128. rgbatduke says:

    The extra absorbance of CO2 in the biosphere during spring-summer is by preference more towards 12CO2, which leads to an increase of the 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere…

    Thanks, very informative.

    rgb

  129. Blade says:

    Willis Eschenbach [November 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm] says:

    According to the article, the current best estimate is that volcanoes put out about 600 megatonnes of CO2 per year, which is 0.6 gigatonnes (0.6E+9 tonnes).

    Human activities, on the other hand, annually release on the order of 33 gigatonnes of CO2 …

    That means that if the volcanoes are actually putting out twice the best estimate, which they may be doing, it would still only be about 4% of human emissions.

    And if history is a guide, the smart money is on that man-made number being vastly exaggerated and the natural volcanic amount being vastly underestimated. knowing what we know about modern “science” and the fusion with politics would anyone really bet against that?

    Myrrh November 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm says:

    Mauna Loa is measuring volcanic CO2 – it cannot, and makes no attempt to, distinguish between man-made and volcanic. The station is sitting on top of the world’s biggest active volcano surrounded by active volcanoes and thousands of earthquakes a year in warm seas over a hot spot producing volcanic islands. They call it a pristine site for measuring carbon dioxide, unsullied by local production..

    Exactly. It’s like going to Las Vegas and discovering gambling is going on. In the meantime we notice our two closest planetary neighbors also have a lot of CO2 and of these three planets our own Earth’s atmospheric proportion is the least, bordering on minuscule. Carbon is a very common element, as is Oxygen, and like peanut butter and jelly they blend together nicely except that CO2 doesn’t need human help to appear on the scene.

    TomR.Worc.MA.USA [November 16, 2013 at 7:50 pm] says:

    They can’t tax volcanoes either.

    But they sure as hell can blame us for it. Scapegoating, i.e., assigning blame to someone else to further an agenda is a time-tested strategy used by Socialists and racist Democrats for centuries as blacks and Jews can easily attest.

    You want a real scientific solution? How about developing an accurate and inexpensive CO2 measuring modules and insert them into cellphones ( because you shouldn’t need an expensive dedicated air quality monitor to do this ). Then, all the folks spreading lies about CO2 Armageddon can wet their diapers when they see the little widget showing 800 ppm as they sit in their comfy warm office or even higher numbers in their car. No, I do not trust the “scientific community” to be the gatekeepers of CO2 concentration ( or global temps or arctic sea ice or … ). They have proven themselves agenda driven scoundrels for well over 30 years now and should no longer be called scientists at all.

  130. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Blade says:
    November 18, 2013 at 8:20 am


    Myrrh November 16, 2013 at 7:00 pm says:

    Mauna Loa is measuring volcanic CO2 – it cannot, and makes no attempt to, distinguish between man-made and volcanic. The station is sitting on top of the world’s biggest active volcano surrounded by active volcanoes and thousands of earthquakes a year in warm seas over a hot spot producing volcanic islands. They call it a pristine site for measuring carbon dioxide, unsullied by local production.

    Exactly. It’s like going to Las Vegas and discovering gambling is going on.

    Oh, please. Mauna Loa results agree very well with results from other sites. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Or could it be because they are all measuring the BACKGROUND CO2 levels, not the local variations in CO2. The issues at Mauna Loa are well known. Read the dang link I pointed to above, “Under the Volcano, Over the Volcano” and you can stop embarrassing yourself with this kind of anti-scientific nonsense. There are loads of bad datasets in climate science to complain about, but the Mauna Loa dataset isn’t one of them.

    w.

  131. Blade says:
    November 18, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Please get some more information on what is done at Mauna Loa to supply the best data that can be measured. There are rigorous continuous calibration procedures at work and if the data are contaminated by local disturbances (either volcanic or from vegetation in the valleys), these data are not used for daily to yearly averages. What they publish are the “background” data and nothing else. Here are the procedures:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html
    See here a plot of the raw data and the “cleaned” daily and monthly averages of Mauna Loa and the South Pole:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_mlo_spo_raw_select_2008.jpg
    The direct influence of the volcano is +4 ppmv with downslope wind at maximum and by upwind wind from vegetation in the valley -4 ppmv at minimum. It doesn’t even matter for the average or trend if you include or exclude the “outliers”.

    What you measure at home or in your car or in a forest is interesting, but has nothing to do with what happens in the bulk of the atmosphere. Neither has measuring temperature over an asphalted parking lot anything to do with local, regional or global temperatures…

  132. Blade says:

    Willis Eschenbach [November 18, 2013 at 9:11 am] says:

    … stop embarrassing yourself with this kind of anti-scientific nonsense …

    Ferdinand Engelbeen [November 18, 2013 at 10:44 am] says:

    Please get some more information on what is done at Mauna Loa to supply the best data that can be measured.

    Blah blah blah. You know what, you two can believe whatever the hell you want. You’re apparently not old enough to recognize scammers playing you like a fiddle. Me, I’m nearing the end of the road and have no time or patience to be fooled again.

    One thing I can guarantee Willis, but unfortunately won’t be around to collect on a bet is that those assuredly correct current numbers for CO2 from humans versus volcanoes you offer is wrong on both counts in the same direction as I stated. If they could freeze our heads or something and awaken us in 50, 100, or whatever years when the scam is over and real science re-emerges you would owe me a beer or three. But no hard feelings. You’re still one of the most thoughtful writers I’ve come across.

  133. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Blade says:
    November 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Willis Eschenbach [November 18, 2013 at 9:11 am] says:

    … stop embarrassing yourself with this kind of anti-scientific nonsense …

    Ferdinand Engelbeen [November 18, 2013 at 10:44 am] says:

    Please get some more information on what is done at Mauna Loa to supply the best data that can be measured.

    Blah blah blah. You know what, you two can believe whatever the hell you want. You’re apparently not old enough to recognize scammers playing you like a fiddle. Me, I’m nearing the end of the road and have no time or patience to be fooled again.

    What we believe? Belief has nothing to do with it. We’ve pointed you to the relevant information, documents, citations, and procedures. Instead of showing us where any of that is wrong, incorrect, or improperly implemented, you dismiss it as “blah blah blah” …

    Perhaps that kind of baby talk works with your friends, Blade. It doesn’t work with me. Either come up with some real information or go peddle your specious, citation-free claims and your “blah blah blah” elsewhere.

    w.

  134. Blade says:
    November 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Blade, if you have some information of how one does manipulate the measured CO2 data of some 70+ “background” stations, maintained by different organisations in different countries and hundreds of people involved with some 0.005 ppmv/day, you may have a point.

    If you don’t have such information, the “blah, blah” is entirely at your side…

    BTW, I am old enough to remember the “global cooling” scare of the 70′s, the “acid rain” scare of the ’80′s, the “global warming” scare of the ’90′s and on and a few other scares in between(especially the “dioxin crisis”, where I was directly involved as working in a chlorine/PVC factor at that time)…
    Thus I am quite sceptical about any new scare and related “measurements”, but CO2 measurements are what they are. The scare is by others who abuse the CO2 data to scare people of the “dire consequences”, all based on failed computer models…

  135. Blade says:

    Willis Eschenbach [November 18, 2013 at 11:15 pm]
    Ferdinand Engelbeen [November 19, 2013 at 1:56 am]

    Both of you right now are seamlessly mixing two completely separate issues … alleged CO2 emissions from humans versus volcanoes … and alleged C02 air concentration measurements.

    It is for the latter case that you have your all important PDFs allegedly documenting careful measurements based on real “science” that a few of us have the temerity to question. But about this 400 ppm, measured most famously at a huge volcanic sight in Hawaii I really couldn’t care less about for the simple reason that 400 ppm is nothing short of anemic. Change that to 200 ppm and the food chain collapses and everything dies. People that trumpet this magic 400 ppm ( and you know who they are and what they are attempting ) are like bulimics arguing over how to reduce their calorie count further while flirting with near certain death. 350.org is like anorexia.org.

    It is the former case, with the assuredly bogus numbers you cited Willis, that are complete guesstimates. You couldn’t measure “mere” tons of CO2 without fudging, let alone the billions ( gigatons ) you are apparently happy to accept from those scientists you chose to give automatic reverence. This is why I said “believe whatever the hell you want”. They don’t even know the number of volcanoes out there, and I bet they don’t even know the number of human factories, power plants, and even people … all of these unknowns are sources of CO2 and are necessary quantities even before applying magic formulas.

    So once again, without even knowing the number of CO2 sources, the guesstimates of CO2 emissions you toss around become orders of magnitude removed reality. This is why I said “believe whatever the hell you want”. Oh yes, they could accidentally be correct, like a room full of monkeys banging on typewriters just might hammer out ‘War and Peace’, but I’m going with instinct here – I don’t believe a word of it. And Willis, I wasn’t going to mention it, but leave the “anti-Science” ad hom out of this, it is beneath you. Following the meme of the day is not Science, questioning everything from authority to agenda driven pseudoscience from con-artists is far more scientific than appealing to authority or consensus as you have done here in this thread.

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