Carbon counting satellite finally makes it into orbit

The previous mission failed to make orbit, crashed into ocean.

OCO-2 lifts off aboard a Delta II rocket

A Delta II rocket leaps off the launch pad to begin NASA’s OCO-2 mission at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

A Delta II rocket blazed off the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California early Wednesday morning to begin a landmark mission to survey carbon dioxide gas in Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2, is expected to provide insight into how the planet adjusts to the increased production of carbon dioxide from a vantage point in orbit that will allow it to take readings on a scale never achieved before.

While ground stations have been monitoring carbon dioxide concentrations, OCO-2 will be the first spacecraft to conduct a global-scale reading over several seasons. The spacecraft is expected to produce detailed readings to provide regional sources of carbon dioxide as well as sinks for the greenhouse gas.

“There’s quite a lot of urgency to see what we can get from a satellite like OCO-2,” said David Crisp, the science team lead for the mission.

The spacecraft flew into orbit aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The July 2 liftoff came at 5:56 a.m. Eastern time, 2:56 Pacific time. The hexagonal spacecraft is about 6 feet long and 3 feet in diameter and weighs 985 pounds. The Delta II first stage’s single liquid-fueled engine ignited moments before the three solid-fueled boosters roared to life to catapult the rocket and spacecraft off the pad toward space.

The launch was from the west coast so the spacecraft could enter a polar orbit of the Earth, a flight path that will see it cross over the Arctic and Antarctic regions during each revolution and get a complete picture of the Earth. It will fly about 438 miles above the planet’s surface to take its readings.

“The only way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil is to launch from Vandenberg,” said Tim Dunn, NASA’s launch manager for the flight.

The mission is the first of its kind in the agency’s extensive history of Earth-observing spacecraft. The spacecraft was launched to replace the first OCO that did not make it into orbit due to an anomaly in February 2009. The spacecraft carries one instrument and its sole focus is detecting carbon dioxide and watching from space as the Earth “breathes” to see what becomes of the gas.

The instrument is precise enough that researchers will be able to count the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the layers of the atmosphere and use the data to draw conclusions about how the increasing amount of gas will affect things like the global temperature. OCO-2’s mission is to last at least two years.

NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, managed the launch preparation and flight into orbit. The OCO-2 mission is handled by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

“We’ve been preparing for the OCO-2 mission for almost two years now,” Dunn said before launch. “The biggest challenge has been in bringing the Delta II launch vehicle out of retirement. The last time we launched on a Delta II was October 2011, a weather satellite.”

The Delta II has been one of NASA’s most reliable launchers ever, registering more than 150 launches for NASA, the Air Force and commercial satellite makers from 1989 to 2011.

The launch team has been visiting Vandenberg during the preparation and spent the two weeks before launch there, running through the last phases of processing and countdown rehearsals.

With the mission safely begun, Dunn congratulated the team soon after OCO-2 separated from the Delta II’s second stage and opened its pair of solar array wings.

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Now that we have a carbon dioxide spy in the sky, watch for its data to become either secret (if it doesn’t show what they expect) or front page news.

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153 thoughts on “Carbon counting satellite finally makes it into orbit

  1. “The spacecraft carries one instrument and its sole focus is detecting carbon dioxide and watching from space as the Earth “breathes” to see what becomes of the gas.”

    From what they have been telling us, C02 is causing climate change and temperatures are rising faster then predicted. What’s the need for a satellite now?
    Why spend so much money (Anyone know how much for the project?) when C02 is a well mixed gas and simple C02 monitors cost about $300 each. Strap on to a balloon to get all the info wanted.

    Big waist of money is my feeling

  2. Apologies, “It will prove inferred exists. and there where will be inference to other things..

  3. “The biggest challenge has been in bringing the Delta II launch vehicle out of retirement. The last time we launched on a Delta II was October 2011, a weather satellite.”

    So not only can we not launch a person into low Earth orbit, we have to rummage around in the spare rocket bin to launch a half ton satellite? Sigh. I gave up recess at my elementary school to listen to the sub orbital Mercury flights. Those independents are looking pretty good lately.

  4. Chris it’s called “continuity” What’s the need for a satellite now? the science is settled and all that!

  5. Ric Werme says:
    July 2, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Oh, keep your pants on. You won’t have much longer to wait.

  6. Seems like there should be a contest to guess when the first adjustments to the data occur.

  7. Given the way the USHCN temperature data is being overtly massaged to provide the sponsor required results, can anyone have any confidence that the results from this satellite will not be similarly ‘adjusted’?

  8. Ric,that is some spare rocket bin.

    A little about the mission from the supplier

    Once testing is complete( several weeks), the spacecraft will be commanded to maneuver into a 438-mile altitude, near-polar orbit with five other scientific satellites as part of the Afternoon (A-Train) Constellation. This international constellation of Earth-observing satellites circles the globe once every 98 minutes in a Sun-synchronous orbit that crosses the equator near 1:30 p.m. local time and repeats the same ground track every 16 days. OCO-2 will be inserted at the head of the A-Train. Orbital will perform the day-to-day mission operations of OCO-2 for JPL from the company’s Mission Operations Center in Dulles, VA. OCO-2 is a 990-pound (449-kilogram) observatory with single-axis articulated arrays and three-axis attitude control to ensure high precision in positioning.

    from http://www.bloomberg.com/article/2014-06-30/a4NdTDFe29xg.html

    Must require a lot of energy to acquire a polar orbit, it seems that they changed the rocket launcher to the Delta 2 [from] the 2009 launcher

    Both the satellite and launch rocket were built by Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp.
    from http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=av6QSiI5BuOI&refer=us

  9. any accounting of carbon will be strictly for the financialising of CO2 emissions & funding everyone’s pet projects:

    2 July: Forbes: Jeff McMahon: We Can’t Stop Carbon Emissions Without These Four Things
    Two expert economists and an expert engineer endorsed the EPA’s Clean Power Plan at a conference in Washington D.C. Friday, but cautioned that the proposed rule is only a first step, and it affects only one of several sectors of the economy that produce greenhouse gases…
    Branstetter (Lee Branstetter, a professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University and a former senior economist for international trade and investment at the Council of Economic Advisers)
    offered a kind of closing argument to the two-day conference on “China, the West, and the Alternative Energy Innovation Challenge” at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, urging these four necessities to decarbonize the world economy:
    1. More federal funding for alternative-energy technologies…blah blah
    2. A Price On Carbon…blah blah
    3. Global Free Trade…blah blah
    4. China: Whether we like it or not we’re going to have to find a way to work together.”
    For an example, a presenter told the conference earlier that China can build Westinghouse nuclear reactors designed in Pittsburgh at one-half to one-third the cost of construction in the United States.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2014/07/02/we-cant-stop-carbon-emissions-without-these-4-things/

    on Forbes profile, writer Jeff McMahon states: “I cover green technology, energy and the environment from Chicago.” no mention of the following:

    LinkedIn: Jeff McMahon
    Chief Financial Officer / Vice President of Finance at Cornfields, Inc, Illinois
    Past: Principal Financial Analyst
    ComEd2004 – 2006 (2 years)
    ComEd, a subsidiary of Exelon, is a $5 billion energy delivery company in Northern Illinois…
    Senior Business Analyst
    Exelon
    2002 – 2004 (2 years)

    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jeff-mcmahon/4b/400/439

  10. 6 Feb: Bloomberg/Businessweek: Matthew Carr: Ex-Barclays Carbon Chief Trades
    From Home as Prices Surge (1)
    Redshaw, 41, who resigned from Barclays in London after more than eight
    years at the company, is buying and selling European Union permits for his
    own account from his home in the southeast of the capital, he said by phone,
    declining to provide further details…
    “There’s no reason why the market shouldn’t double within the next 18
    months,” said Redshaw, who also worked as a trader at Enron Corp. and
    Electricite de France SA. (EDF) “At 6 euros, it’s still cheap.” …

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-02-06/ex-barclays-carbon-chief-redshaw-trades-from-home-as-prices-jump

    the CO2 ETS dream hasn’t quite worked out for these folks, but they don’t give up easily. reminder from 2007:

    2007: NYT: James Canter: Carbon trading: Where greed is green
    Seeking to match a desire to make money with his environmental instincts,
    Louis Redshaw, a former electricity trader, met with five top investment
    banks to propose trading carbon dioxide. Only one, Barclays Capital, was
    interested in his proposition.
    Three years later, the situation has turned around entirely, and carbon
    experts like Redshaw, 34, are among the rising stars in the City of London
    financial district. Managing emissions is one of the fastest-growing
    segments in financial services, and companies are scrambling for talent.
    Their goal: a slice of a market now worth about $30 billion, but which could
    grow to $1 trillion within a decade…
    “Carbon will be the world’s biggest commodity market, and it could become
    the world’s biggest market overall,” said Redshaw, the head of environmental
    markets at Barclays Capital. But he said that in his current job, unlike
    some of his previous ones, including a stint as a British power trader at
    Enron, “I don’t have to compromise on anything when I get out of bed in the
    morning.”
    If greed is suddenly good for the environment, then the seedbed for this
    vast new financial experiment is London…
    ***Carbon could become “one of the fasting-growing markets ever, with volumes
    comparable to credit derivatives inside of a decade,” said Chris Leeds, 38,
    the head of emissions trading at Merrill Lynch in London, who plans to
    expand his team to five traders from two by the end of this year…
    One of the few items distinguishing Redshaw’s row of desks from hundreds of
    others at Barclays Capital is a picture of an iceberg – an award from an
    environmental finance publication. The way his team blends in is as it
    should be, Redshaw said: “Only when you’re among hard-nosed traders do you
    know that a new commodity has truly arrived.”…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/20/business/worldbusiness/20iht-money.4.6234700.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

  11. I wonder what kind of resolution and frequency it’s going to be able to collect data – I’d like to see if it shows not only greater variation on CO2 spatially than previously assumed, but also if it manages to constrain anthropogenic influence by searching for anthropogenic signals like the 5-day work week (which, according to what I’ve seen, show up as tiny local contamination in Mauna Loa data, but are invisible in South Pole data, begging the question as to whether human activity really has any significant impact on eventual global CO2 averages).

    Any idea if it’ll take daily global snapshots?

  12. “Now that we have a carbon dioxide spy in the sky, watch for its data to become either secret (if it doesn’t show what they expect) or front page news.”

    More CO2 than expected – less time to act.
    Less CO2 than expected – higher climate sensitivity.

    Either way, it’s worse than we thought.

  13. “Now that we have a carbon dioxide spy in the sky, watch for its data to become either secret (if it doesn’t show what they expect) or front page news.”

    hardly.

    it will probably start reporting data in 45-60 days.

    the datasets are already defined

    https://co2.jpl.nasa.gov/#mission=OCO-2

    I suggest folks read the technical docs

    http://disc.sci.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCO-2/documentation/oco-2

    calibration

    http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/science/CalibrationOverview/#

    validation

    http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/science/validation/#

    check here if youre paranoid about data hiding.. its a conspiracy

    http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/science/ocodatacenter/

  14. “The instrument is precise enough that researchers will be able to count the number of carbon dioxide molecules ”

    What stupidity. Measuring gas concentration is hardly “counting molecules”

  15. Correction , they are not even measuring gas concentration, they making spectrograph measurements and inferring gas concentration.

  16. The spacecraft carries one instrument…

    Why no second instrument for backup and verification/calibration purposes?

    What’s the worse that can happen? They fire up both for comparison, get different readings and response curves, and have to admit working in the lab is not the same as working “in the field”?

  17. This should be very interesting in relation to Gosta Pettersson’s calculations about CO2 outgassing and his explanation of the “missing sink”: there isn’t one, it’s an underestimation of the exchange with the oceans.

    Ironic the way the first one failed so the one that is in service is called “Oh-CO2″

    May be they should have called it OH-NO-CO2 .

  18. More money going into a lost cause,,,,there is more than enough money going into Earth sciences…let’s go to Mars sooner rather than later.

    …and cartoonmick, I presume you meant Mann, not Man

  19. Steven Mosher says:
    July 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm
    —————————————–
    Thanks for sharing the link to their main page.

  20. Why do they need a satellite when they already have all the answers?
    OK Mosh, why do they call the place “CO2 Virtual Science”? Really. Why? LOL. Sorry.

  21. “Now that we have a carbon dioxide spy in the sky, watch for its data to become either secret (if it doesn’t show what they expect) or front page news.”

    My prediction is that the reported data will be front page news. If the raw data gives an outcome they do not expect, they will simply adjust it to conform to the alarmist narative.

  22. big in the MSM today, with most headlines a variation of “Caribbean coral reefs could be gone in 20 years” which the public will probably presume to be because of CAGW. however, UK Times’ Ben Webster sees it differently, having remembered previous CAGW scare stories on the subject no doubt:

    3 July: Australian: Climate change wrongly blamed as lead cause of loss of Caribbean coral reefs, scientist says
    by Ben Webster (UK Times)
    A MISPLACED focus on the impact of climate change has delayed vital work to save vanishing coral reefs in the Caribbean, a leading scientist has claimed.
    The area covered by live coral has more than halved since the 1970s, primarily because of overfishing and coastal pollution, according to Carl Gustaf Lundin, director of the global marine programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)…

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/climate-change-wrongly-blamed-as-lead-cause-of-loss-of-caribbean-coral-reefs-scientist-says/story-fnb64oi6-1226976146949?nk=471a10dc950a7ddb70fcedf12c494383#mm-premium

    Guardian still manages to include CAGW as a “major threat”:

    2 July: Guardian: Jessica Aldred: Caribbean coral reefs ‘will be lost within 20 years’ without protection
    Major report warns that loss of grazing fish due to pollution and overfishing is a key driver of region’s coral decline
    While climate change and the resulting ocean acidification and coral bleaching does pose a major threat to the region, the report – Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012 – found that local pressures such as tourism, overfishing and pollution posed the biggest problems…
    “Even if we could somehow make climate change disappear tomorrow, these reefs would continue their decline,” said Jeremy Jackson, lead author of the report and IUCN’s senior adviser on coral reefs. “We must immediately address the grazing problem for the reefs to stand any chance of surviving future climate shifts.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/02/caribbean-coral-reef-lost-fishing-pollution-report

  23. “David says:
    July 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm
    How much carbon footprint did it leave when it launched?,”

    Actually not that much. Liquid oxygen, hydrogen etc with a touch of kerosene. Lot of water vapour though!

    It’s not rocket science………. :-)

  24. ***AP, to their credit, points out “experts” had blamed CAGW:

    3 July: NZ Herald: AP: Colourful parrotfish key to saving Caribbean’s coral reefs?
    Colourful parrotfish and spindly sea urchins are the key to saving the Caribbean’s coral reefs, which may disappear in two decades if no action is taken, a report by several international organisations said.
    The report, which analysed the work of 90 experts over three years, said Caribbean reefs have declined by more than 50 percent since the 1970s.
    ***It said that while many experts have blamed climate change for the problem, a drop in the populations of parrotfish and sea urchins is largely responsible…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11287048

  25. Hurrah! At last! Some good news!

    There has been much fuss about measurements of Arctic ice which have little use. The CO2 measurements address a basic tenet of the AGW-scare.

    Nobody knows the cause(s) of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Some (e.g. the IPCC) say the cause is the small anthropogenic CO2 emission, and others (e.g. M Salby) say the cause is the much larger natural CO2 emission. Meanwhile, some others (e.g. me) point out that the available data does not demonstrate if the cause is anthropogenic, or natural, or some combination of anthropogenic and natural causes.

    In a few years we will have data to analyse which may be able to replace the guesswork of e.g. the IPCC and the unjustifiable faith of e.g. cartoonmick (at July 2, 2014 at 10:53 pm). Science is about evidence and analysis: it is not about guesswork and faith.

    Richard

  26. “The instrument is precise enough that researchers will be able to count the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the layers of the atmosphere…”

    It can measure all points at all times in all locations? Right! I wonder weather their algorythm will work as designed?

  27. I doubt that the satellite’s measurement precision is sharp enough to count individual molecules, but it may help to know where the main natural sinks and sources of CO2 are, which may help to understand the details of the carbon cycle.

    The main transfer is quite well known from O2 and δ13C changes: on seasonal level, there is a back and forth exchange of ~150 GtC (CO2 counted as carbon), of which ~90 GtC with the oceans and ~60 GtC with vegetation. The difference between natural ins and outs is also well known: currently ~4.5 GtC/year more sink than source, of which ~1 GtC/year into vegetation and the rest in the (deep) oceans.
    Humans provide ~9 GtC/year, which means that any natural contribution to the increase is non-existent, despite the theoretical calculations of Salby and others, which violates several observations. See further:

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_origin.html

    What the satellite may help with is to get a detailed insight of where the main natural variability in CO2 rate of change originates: the influence of e.g. an El Niño on intake/respiration/decay of the tropical forests, the influence of volcanic outbursts and similar events.
    I have no problems with the money spent on this kind of satellites: this really increases our knowledge of the earth’s processes. Better spend it on good measurements than on multi-million dollar climate models which fail every time again…

  28. Otto Weinzierl says:
    July 3, 2014 at 12:28 am

    In publications from 2009 you can clearly see that CO2 stems from tropical rainforests:

    The tropical oceans are continuously emitting CO2 due to the upwelling of cold CO2-rich deep ocean waters at the end of the Great Conveyor Belt. At the start in the NE Atlantic a lot of CO2 is absorbed and sinks with the cold salty waters into the deep. The total amount is about 40 GtC/year as CO2 which takes 500-1500 years to return to the surface.

    As long as the sink rates and source rates are equal, that will not influence the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Currently there is more sink than source: because of the increased pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere, some 3 GtC/year more is sinking into the deep than is released from upwelling.

  29. It’s sad that one of the world’s leading science blogs names the wrong substance in a post title.

    Would it be soot, graphite or diamond the satellite’s supposed to be searching for?

  30. Steven Mosher says:
    July 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm
    check here if youre (sic) paranoid about data hiding.. its a conspiracy

    Steve,
    I was doing some research into hard drive failures recently. Know what the # 1 cause of hard drive failures is in the US Internal Revenue Service over the last 5 years?
    A [subpoena] duces tecum…..

    Ask Lois ‘I take The Fifth’ Lerner, the disgraced head of the US Internal Revenue Service, and 5 other key IRS managers that also had improbable ‘hard drive failures’ and ‘required destruction of their hard drives’.

    Check here, if youre (still sic) a snarky ‘conspiracy’ denyar on WUWT.
    Mac

  31. Well that is the good news, and now the bad their already working on ‘adjustments’ that may be needed for its values should those values prove to be ‘problematic ‘

  32. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 3, 2014 at 1:10 am
    The tropical oceans are continuously emitting CO2 due to the upwelling of cold CO2-rich deep ocean waters at the end of the Great Conveyor Belt. At the start in the NE Atlantic a lot of CO2 is absorbed and sinks with the cold salty waters into the deep. The total amount is about 40 GtC/year as CO2 which takes 500-1500 years to return to the surface. …

    It sounds from your posts like you actually understand this stuff. I’ve been trying to sort through the media reporting on this satellite — which seems to me to be not of great quality. What I take away is that the atmospheric CO2 measurement program put into place by Keeling in the 1950s tells us that CO2 (unlike water vapor) is reasonably well mixed across the planet and is increasing. What this satellite is intended to do is tell us exactly where the CO2 originates and exactly where it is being removed from the atmosphere, And the quantities being sourced/sunk. Do I have that right or am I totally confused?

  33. Wayne Delbeke says:
    ….. why do they call the place “CO2 Virtual Science”?

    “CO2 Virtual Science” is what they’ve been doing for the last 30 years.
    Now they can relate that to the USHCN “virtual temperature record”.

  34. “The only way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil is to launch from Vandenberg,” said Tim Dunn, NASA’s launch manager for the flight.

    I’m no rocket surgeon, but this is stupid.

  35. Is there any way a global map of CO2 emissions ‘hot spots’ will be described in alarming press releases showing they coincide with population centers? You bet. It will be wonderful to have a satellite to show us something we already know.

  36. My prediction is that it will find that CO2 is NOT a well mixed gas. It will find large sources of CO2 and lower levels of CO2 in the opposite places of what is expected. The biosphere will show it’s power

  37. My prediction is that they will find Pettersson is right and there is much larger absorption of human emissions that is currently accepted, thus solving the “missing sink” problem…. then they will “correct” the data.

  38. Interesting how the warming enthusiasts don’t believe you can accurately measure temperatures from space but do believe you can measure spatial CO2 concentrations

  39. Gamecock says:
    July 3, 2014 at 3:44 am
    “The only way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil is to launch from Vandenberg,” said Tim Dunn, NASA’s launch manager for the flight.

    “I’m no rocket surgeon, but this is stupid.”

    Polar orbiting satellites are not launched from Kennedy Space Center because the trajectory would take the rocket over land. Hence, all US polar orbiting satellites are launched from Vandenberg AFB.

  40. Gamecock says:
    July 3, 2014 at 3:44 am

    “The only way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil is to launch from Vandenberg,” said Tim Dunn, NASA’s launch manager for the flight.

    I’m no rocket surgeon, but this is stupid.
    ===

    [trimmed. Contribute to reduce the reader's (lack of) knowledge, don't just insult. .mod]

  41. Odd, I quotes Gamecock and it got held in moderation, is “stupid” on the hit list now?

  42. “Dave says:

    July 3, 2014 at 5:23 am”

    No on both counts. Refer to;

    “Greg Goodman says:

    July 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Correction , they are not even measuring gas concentration, they making spectrograph measurements and inferring gas concentration.”

    It will be garbage! just like temperature!

  43. “While ground stations have been monitoring carbon dioxide concentrations, OCO-2 will be the first spacecraft to conduct a global-scale reading over several seasons. The spacecraft is expected to produce detailed readings to provide regional sources of carbon dioxide as well as sinks for the greenhouse gas.”

    Not so, should say the first US spacecraft since ,as FrankSW and Otto Weinzierl have pointed out, the Japanese Space Agency JAXA have had their IBUKI satellite flying since 2009 to measure global methane and carbon dioxide emissions and sinks.

    http://global.jaxa.jp/press/2012/12/20121205_ibuki_e.html

    The latest IBUKI report was in December 2012 and this does not support the IPCC view that the NH countries are responsible for most of the the increased atmospheric carbon dioxide but rather, as been suggested by Professor Salby, it has come from the ocean in the tropical regions. But doubtless the new US satellite will apply corrections to the data to remedy this situation in line with political demands.

  44. Will result in an entire new level of ‘adjustments’……line up for the grant funds now!

  45. I choose to be optimistic that the people putting this up and making sure it works are interested in real science. They are doing practical engineering, and are unlikely to be part of the Political agenda of the agency.

    I am really hoping that we will get some genuine ‘facts’.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one here who wants to know what is really happening with CO2, and not just have my own personal bias confirmed.

    Unfortunately, I have to concede that the people decimating the information ‘will’ be part of the Political agenda.

  46. meant disseminating, but thinking about it. Decimating isn’t a bad word to use when talking about these people.

  47. If the satellite shows more CO2 absorbed than emitted from N Amer as the earlier Japanese satellite showed, wait for the scrambling & attempts to massage the data…

  48. Gamecock says:
    July 3, 2014 at 3:44 am
    “The only way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil is to launch from Vandenberg,” said Tim Dunn, NASA’s launch manager for the flight.

    I’m no rocket surgeon, but this is stupid.

    That is a safety concern of NASA. If you were to make a polar launch from Canaveral the rocket would have to pass over populated land areas on liftoff. If there were an unfortunate malfunction, you could wind up with rocket chunks and toxic debris landing on the I95 corridor – a lot of population in that area. From Vandenberg it flies over the ocean to get to polar orientation. Also Vandenberg is much farther north and that also helps polar launch attitudes. (Alaska would probably be ideal for 2-3 months mid summer, but infrastructure support and the fact of it being too cold for most of the year rules it out.)
    Vandenberg has clear seas to the due south so can launch without worry of a launch failure landing on populated areas.

    [Alaska had a NASA/military research launch site like Wallops Island. It is no longer frequently used. .mod]

  49. I seem to have gotten into the sin bin while discussing polar orbit launch safety issues…I wonder what I said?

  50. Gamecock says:
    July 3, 2014 at 3:44 am

    “The only way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil is to launch from Vandenberg,” said Tim Dunn, NASA’s launch manager for the flight.

    I’m no rocket surgeon, but this is stupid.

    NO, no this statement is correct, but because of safety concerns during the first moments of the flight, not from orbital mechanics calculations. Many, many satellite and rocket launches have gone bad over the years – either needing to be blown up deliberately as they go off course, or because the satellite+rocket+booster+guidance package went wrong and the whole thing blew itself up. And that debris can go a long ways before it lands.

    Fundamentally, the earth rotates from west to east (northern hemisphere), and as you launch closer to the equator, the increased radius you get from the earth’s axis means your velocity increases. That faster relative motion of earth surface to space increases because your baseline (the rocket pad) is further from the earth’s axis. A faster launching pad means the rocket needs to accelerate less to get to orbital velocity. Less acceleration = less fuel, less weight, or more payload. All very good things in a world where grams and fractions of grams count in getting off of the ground.

    Each country wants to launch from within its own borders (facilities cost, jobs, transportation, lodging and services for the thousands of launch crew and technicians and the support employees for those people. And security also for military launches.) So, rocket bases for regular flights from the US are FL. TX was considered a launch spot as well – but debris from a falling rocket would land in TX, LA, MS, AL, and FL (plus the Caribbean islands and Cuba). So TX was ruled out by Jules Verne and the US military in favor of Cape Canaveral, and both chose to launch from FL to get to the moon. NASA has a smaller launch facility on the islands off-shore from VA for the same reason. The French use French Guiana – which is even closer to the equator and so “even faster.” That old French colonial possession means they can launch more payload with the same rocket than the US, and far more than the Soviets. Incidentally, the further away from the equator you launch, the greater the “S” (sine – like) wave your orbit has – and its maximum “S” point is going to match the latitude the satellite was launched from. Again, advantage to the French. Adjusting or changing the fundamental orbit shape requires a lot of fuel – It can be done, but nobody wants to.

    Launching directly south from California SE-NW angled coastline allows the US to get polar orbits from CA by launching south over the Pacific. You lose all of the extra rotational speed of the earth, but there are penalties for anything – even getting out of bed in the morning. Can’t do southern launches like that from Florida without raining rocket debris on Miami, Cuba, or the islands. Or the Everglades – which to this administration would be far worse.

  51. The old system of misinforming grade school students with CO2 religious stories worked just fine.

  52. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Your post at July 3, 2014 at 12:59 am includes this

    I have no problems with the money spent on this kind of satellites: this really increases our knowledge of the earth’s processes. Better spend it on good measurements than on multi-million dollar climate models which fail every time again…

    It is strange that you put so much faith in your flawed CO2 mass balance model when you can see the failings of climate models devised by others.

    Richard

  53. Will NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite be “counting” carbon or carbon dioxide?

    This statement, “The spacecraft carries one instrument and its sole focus is detecting carbon dioxide and watching from space as the Earth “breathes” to see what becomes of the gas.” would seem to imply that the satellite should be named “Orbiting Carbon Dioxide Observatory-2″.

    It is becoming all too typical to see the word “Carbon” used when “Carbon Dioxide” is what is meant. One, many people would reasonably consider a pollutant under certain circumstances, while the other – take a deep breath, exhale – most reasonable people do not.

  54. It said that while many experts have blamed climate change for the problem, a drop in the populations of parrotfish and sea urchins is largely responsible
    =============
    dive PI. In areas where fishing is banned, the corals are spectacular.

    Coral thrives in the Red Sea, in the hottest ocean temperatures on the planet. In contrast there are almost no coral reefs outside the tropics.

    If coral reefs preferred colder water, they would grow in colder waters. Somehow science is baffled by this.

  55. Don K:

    At July 3, 2014 at 2:46 am you ask

    What I take away is that the atmospheric CO2 measurement program put into place by Keeling in the 1950s tells us that CO2 (unlike water vapor) is reasonably well mixed across the planet and is increasing. What this satellite is intended to do is tell us exactly where the CO2 originates and exactly where it is being removed from the atmosphere, And the quantities being sourced/sunk. Do I have that right or am I totally confused?

    You have that right.

    The IPCC reports provide simplified descriptions of the carbon cycle. In of our 2005 papers
    (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) )
    we considered the most important processes in the carbon cycle to be:

    Mechanisms of the carbon cycle

    Short-term processes

    1. Consumption of CO2 by photosynthesis that takes place in green plants on land. CO2 from the air and water from the soil are coupled to form carbohydrates. Oxygen is liberated. This process takes place mostly in spring and summer. A rough distinction can be made:
    1a. The formation of leaves that are short lived (less than a year).
    1b. The formation of tree branches and trunks, that are long lived (decades).

    2. Production of CO2 by the metabolism of animals, and by the decomposition of vegetable matter by micro-organisms including those in the intestines of animals, whereby oxygen is consumed and water and CO2 (and some carbon monoxide and methane that will eventually be oxidised to CO2) are liberated. Again distinctions can be made:
    2a. The decomposition of leaves, that takes place in autumn and continues well into the next winter, spring and summer.
    2b. The decomposition of branches, trunks, etc. that typically has a delay of some decades after their formation.
    2c. The metabolism of animals that goes on throughout the year.

    3. Consumption of CO2 by absorption in cold ocean waters. Part of this is consumed by marine vegetation through photosynthesis.

    4. Production of CO2 by desorption from warm ocean waters. Part of this may be the result of decomposition of organic debris.

    5. Circulation of ocean waters from warm to cold zones, and vice versa, thus promoting processes 3 and 4.

    Longer-term process

    6. Formation of peat from dead leaves and branches (eventually leading to lignite and coal).

    7. Erosion of silicate rocks, whereby carbonates are formed and silica is liberated.

    8. Precipitation of calcium carbonate in the ocean, that sinks to the bottom, together with formation of corals and shells.

    Natural processes that add CO2 to the system:

    9. Production of CO2 from volcanoes (by eruption and gas leakage).

    10. Natural forest fires, coal seam fires and peat fires.

    Anthropogenic processes that add CO2 to the system:

    11. Production of CO2 by burning of vegetation (“biomass”).

    12. Production of CO2 by burning of fossil fuels (and by lime kilns).

    Several of these processes are rate dependant and several of them interact.

    At higher air temperatures, the rates of processes 1, 2, 4 and 5 will increase and the rate of process 3 will decrease. Process 1 is strongly dependent on temperature, so its rate will vary strongly (maybe by a factor of 10) throughout the changing seasons.

    The rates of processes 1, 3 and 4 are dependent on the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. The rates of processes 1 and 3 will increase with higher CO2 concentration, but the rate of process 4 will decrease.

    The rate of process 1 has a complicated dependence on the atmospheric CO2 concentration. At higher concentrations at first there will be an increase that will probably be less than linear (with an “order” <1). But after some time, when more vegetation (more biomass) has been formed, the capacity for photosynthesis will have increased, resulting in a progressive increase of the consumption rate.

    Processes 1 to 5 are obviously coupled by mass balances. Our paper assessed the steady-state situation to be an oversimplification because there are two factors that will never be “steady”:
    I. The removal of CO2 from the system, or its addition to the system.
    II. External factors that are not constant and may influence the process rates, such as varying solar activity.

    Modeling this system is a difficult because so little is known concerning the rate equations. However, some things can be stated from the empirical data.

    At present the yearly increase of the anthropogenic emissions is approximately 0.1 GtC/year. The natural fluctuation of the excess consumption (i.e. consumption processes 1 and 3 minus production processes 2 and 4) is at least 6 ppmv (which corresponds to 12 GtC) in 4 months. This is more than 100 times the yearly increase of human production, which strongly suggests that the dynamics of the natural processes here listed 1-5 can cope easily with the human production of CO2. A serious disruption of the system may be expected when the rate of increase of the anthropogenic emissions becomes larger than the natural variations of CO2. But the above data indicates this is not possible.

    The accumulation rate of CO2 in the atmosphere (1.5 ppmv/year which corresponds to 3 GtC/year) is equal to almost half the human emission (6.5 GtC/year). However, this does not mean that half the human emission accumulates in the atmosphere, as is often stated. There are several other and much larger CO2 flows in and out of the atmosphere. The total CO2 flow into the atmosphere is at least 156.5 GtC/year with 150 GtC/year of this being from natural origin and 6.5 GtC/year from human origin. So, on the average, 3/156.5 = 2% of all emissions accumulate.

    The above qualitative considerations suggest the carbon cycle cannot be very sensitive to relatively small disturbances such as the present anthropogenic emissions of CO2. However, the system could be quite sensitive to temperature. So, our paper considered how the carbon cycle would be disturbed if – for some reason – the temperature of the atmosphere were to rise, as it almost certainly did between 1880 and 1940 (there was an estimated average rise of 0.5 °C in average surface temperature).

    Therefore we used attribution studies to determine what could be excluded as a possible cause of the recent rise to atmospheric CO2 concentration. These studies showed there is no definitive evidence for a mostly anthropogenic or a mostly natural cause.

    Richard

  56. Gamecock says:
    July 3, 2014 at 3:44 am

    “The only way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil is to launch from Vandenberg,” said Tim Dunn, NASA’s launch manager for the flight.

    I’m no rocket surgeon, but this is stupid.

    Not stupid, they just forgot a single word: “The only safe way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil…” There, now not stupid.

  57. Don K says:
    July 3, 2014 at 2:46 am

    What this satellite is intended to do is tell us exactly where the CO2 originates and exactly where it is being removed from the atmosphere, And the quantities being sourced/sunk. Do I have that right or am I totally confused?

    That indeed is the task of this satellite: to measure where and how much CO2 is emitted and absorbed. If it will be accurate enough remains to be seen. If you look at the human emissions, that is about 9 GtC/year or 4.5 ppmv/year. That is measurable over the year by year increase, but not even over a week, as the human induced change over a week is less than 0.1 ppmv, the detection limit of the measurements at Mauna Loa. AIRS had an accuracy of not better than 5 ppmv, I hope this one will be much better.

    Thus this satellite can’t tell you where the human emissions originate (except if concentrated in certain areas), but it may tell you where the bulk of the natural carbon cycle originates and sinks.

  58. Greg Goodman says:

    “Correction , they are not even measuring gas concentration, they making spectrograph measurements and inferring gas concentration.”

    Are they using some kind of an FTIR? [Fourier transformation infrared gas analyser]

    The precision is quite good if the measurement interval is not short. They can detect dozens of gases and molecule types with a single IR cell down to parts per billion. I presume it is connected to a big telescope. You can buy your own if you sell your Tesla.

  59. “Mac the Knife says:
    July 3, 2014 at 1:54 am
    Steven Mosher says:
    July 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm
    check here if youre (sic) paranoid about data hiding.. its a conspiracy

    Steve,
    I was doing some research into hard drive failures recently. Know what the # 1 cause of hard drive failures is in the US Internal Revenue Service over the last 5 years?”

    #####################################
    On the evidence the IRS loss of data looks mighty suspicious. But as skeptics we want to be ruled by the data, not our suspicions, not our theories of how leftists operate. But I do love seeing skeptics jump to conclusions before all the data is in. Kinda what leftist did in the zimmerman case

    But I suppose you think like this. The IRS conspired to lose the data, the IRS is part of the government, therefore all parts of the government will conspire to lose data. JPL is paid by the government, so thats close enough for me. Therefore JPL will conspire to lose data. It all fits.
    its a hoax its a conspiracy.

    Now you go into this thing believing the JPL will conspire to hide data.
    Let’s suppose there is a delay. you will argue they are hiding.. it fits the pattern.
    Let’s suppose the link goes down.. you will say it fits the pattern
    Lets suppose we get the data.. you will argue its fudged..
    now nothing will convince you that the data is real.

    I once talked to a guy who didnt like jews. he thought we ruled the world. He was convinced that
    the holocaust never happened or wasnt as bad as it was. Once he decided this, no evidence could change his mind because he was so invested in being right.

  60. They admit that only ten percent of the data will be reliable. It seems to me that the potential for fraudulent manipulation of the other 90% to prove their AGW conclusions is enormous. I think we’re in for another round of “it’s even worse than we thought” and the CO2 satellite proves it.

  61. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    At July 3, 2014 at 8:02 am you rightly say to Don K

    Thus this satellite can’t tell you where the human emissions originate (except if concentrated in certain areas), but it may tell you where the bulk of the natural carbon cycle originates and sinks.

    But you forgot to add that this is because the natural CO2 emissions and sinks are sufficiently large for the satellite to monitor them but the human CO2 emissions are too small for the satellite to discern them.

    Richard

  62. Wayne Delbeke says:
    July 2, 2014 at 11:50 pm
    Why do they need a satellite when they already have all the answers?
    OK Mosh, why do they call the place “CO2 Virtual Science”? Really. Why? LOL. Sorry.
    E\#############################################

    I can always tell the readers who have never actually looked at data.
    They talk about getting the data
    They explain to all of how it should be done
    They sit at their keyboards and pontificate about how they would do it back in the day.
    but they never actually look at data.

    Having sample virtual data ready before first light is very useful. Basically I have 45 days to
    get a tool chain in place using the virtual data. You’ve probably never worked with this kind of data. When you have, speak up. show your work.

  63. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    July 2, 2014 at 11:19 pm
    The spacecraft carries one instrument…

    Why no second instrument for backup and verification/calibration purposes?
    #########################################################

    yet another arm chair rocket scientist/engineer.

  64. Greg Goodman says:
    July 3, 2014 at 5:19 am

    My prediction is that they will find Pettersson is right and there is much larger absorption of human emissions that is currently accepted, thus solving the “missing sink” problem…

    I don’t think they will find that Pettersson is right: Pettersson used some arbitrary “activity” for the release of CO2 from the oceans, but there is no need to invent such a factor as the pCO2 of the oceans was measured at a lot of places (pCO2 is the equilibrium CO2 pressure of seawater with the atmosphere). The release and uptake of CO2 from/to the oceans is directly in ratio with the pCO2 difference between ocean waters and atmosphere. That gives an area weighted average of 7 microatm more in the atmosphere than in the ocean surface. Thus there is slightly more CO2 uptake by the oceans than release. That is about 0.5 GtC/year in the ocean’s mixed layer and about 3 GtC in the deep oceans from the current about 9 GtC human emissions. Which leaves zero contribution from the oceans to the increase over the past 50+ years. See:

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

  65. richardscourtney says:
    July 3, 2014 at 7:35 am

    At present the yearly increase of the anthropogenic emissions is approximately 0.1 GtC/year. The natural fluctuation of the excess consumption (i.e. consumption processes 1 and 3 minus production processes 2 and 4) is at least 6 ppmv (which corresponds to 12 GtC) in 4 months.

    Richard, I have had a lot of discussions with you about the origin of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. But what you tell here is the most misleading story you have ever told. The increase in the atmosphere is not caused by a year by year increase of anthropogenic emissions, it is caused by the total of the emissions. And the seasonal intake or supply of CO2 has nothing to do with the increase in the atmosphere, it is what is left after a full seasonal cycle which contributes to the increase or sink of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    Both can be plotted, as the human contribution is known from fossil fuel sales and the increase in the atmosphere is known from direct measurements. That shows that nature as a whole is a net sink for CO2 for over 50 years:

    richardscourtney says:
    July 3, 2014 at 7:18 am

    It is strange that you put so much faith in your flawed CO2 mass balance model when you can see the failings of climate models devised by others.

    A mass balance is not a “model”, it is a simple calculation of ins and outs.

    increase in the atmosphere = human emissions + natural releases – natural sinks
    4.5 GtC/year = 9 GtC/year + X – Y
    X – Y = -4.5 GtC/year with a year by year variability of +/- 2 GtC/year

    Thus more total natural sinks than natural sources, how high and wherever these may be…

  66. JohnWho says:
    July 3, 2014 at 7:21 am

    It is becoming all too typical to see the word “Carbon” used when “Carbon Dioxide” is what is meant.

    There is a good reason to use carbon and not carbon dioxide: while it is CO2 in the atmosphere, only 1% is CO2 in the oceans, 90% is bicarbonate and 9% is carbonate. In vegetation it may be sugars, starch, cellulose,… Carbon atoms can’t be destroyed or created from nothing (except by radioactivity, but that is negligible in quantity). Thus if you make a mass balance, all carbon must be preserved in whatever molecule it is bound. It is much easier to follow the mass movements of carbon than of its different forms…

  67. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    I am replying to your post addressed to me at July 3, 2014 at 8:58 am.

    Ferdinand, whatever you may say or think, the annual rise in atmospheric CO2 emission is the residual of the seasonal variation of CO2 within each year. And that variation can be seen for the Mauna Loa data here.

    Wherever the atmospheric CO2 emission is recorded its seasonal variation approximates a saw-tooth and not a sine wave. The saw-tooth is least pronounced at Mauna Loa. This variation demonstrates that the residual of the seasonal variation is NOT because the sinks fill as you claim. During each year the seasonal variation shows a sudden reversal of net sequestration to net emission with no reduction to sequestration rate as the sinks fill; clearly, and contrary to your assertions, the sinks do NOT fill.

    The observations are explicable as being the carbon cycle adjusting to altered equilibrium. The continuing annual rise is a result of adjustment by processes with long rate constants (years and decades) while the seasonal variation is a result of adjustment by processes with short rate constants (hours, days and weeks).

    If the continuing rise is a result of the carbon cycle system adjusting towards an altered equilibrium state then the cause of the rise is whatever induced the altered equilibrium. This cause could be the anthropogenic emission but is more likely to be the temperature rise from the Little Ice Age (LIA).

    Richard

  68. richardscourtney says:
    July 3, 2014 at 8:19 am

    But you forgot to add that this is because the natural CO2 emissions and sinks are sufficiently large for the satellite to monitor them but the human CO2 emissions are too small for the satellite to discern them.

    After reading the specs: better than 1 ppmv over small areas (less than 2.25 km x 0.1-1.3 km) it seems possible to detect large human point sources (power plants) and larger human emission areas (industrial and residential).

    That the natural emissions and sinks are larger than the human emissions doesn’t tell you anything about the cause of the increase. That the natural sinks are larger than the natural emissions is (almost) sufficient to know that the increase in the atmosphere is (near) completely from the human emissions.

    Near: a small increase is caused by the temperature increase since the LIA: maximum 8 ppmv.

    Almost: there is a theoretical possibility (according to Bart and Salby) that the natural cycle increased in lockstep with human emissions over the past 50+ years. That means a threefold increase in natural throughput (each natural emissions and sinks). But that should be visible in several observations: a threefold reduction in residence time, an increase in 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere, an accelerated decrease of the 14C bomb spike, etc. None of these is observed.

  69. Jeff Alberts says:
    July 3, 2014 at 7:43 am
    Not stupid, they just forgot a single word: “The only safe way to accomplish a polar orbit from U.S. soil…” There, now not stupid.

    Not that it’s important, but the primary issue in not using the Florida launch facility for some satellite launches has always been the likelihood that a malfunctioning booster might drop an spy satellite into Cuba where the government is less than totally friendly to the US and the satellite will end up in the hands of some bunch of techs who will disassemble it with great interest. Whereas South of Vandenburg, it is water for thousands of miles. As a result, the infrastructure to track and support high inclination (polar and near polar) satellites is built out around Vandenburg launches.

  70. richardscourtney says:
    July 3, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Wherever the atmospheric CO2 emission is recorded its seasonal variation approximates a saw-tooth and not a sine wave.

    It is a sine wave superimposed over an increasing trend, which gives a false impression of a saw tooth. If you plot the monthly averages over the past decades, zeroed in January, it is clear that the seasonal curve is more sinusoid:

    The “residual” average increase was ~2 ppmv CO2 over a year, the average human emissions were ~4 ppmv/year over the same time span…

    Temperature is definitely not the cause of the increase in the atmosphere: higher temperatures in general increase the uptake by vegetation and the oceans give at maximum 17 ppmv/K more CO2 in the atmosphere at equilibrium. The combination of oceans and vegetation gives 8 ppmv/K over decades to multi-millennia…

  71. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    At July 3, 2014 at 9:40 am you say to me

    That the natural emissions and sinks are larger than the human emissions doesn’t tell you anything about the cause of the increase.

    Yes, and it pleases me that you say something we agree.

    Sadly, you follow that with this piece of fantasy.

    That the natural sinks are larger than the natural emissions is (almost) sufficient to know that the increase in the atmosphere is (near) completely from the human emissions.

    NO!
    The SIZE of the natural sinks and natural emissions for CO2 says nothing about the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere: change to the natural sinks and natural emissions would tell whether or not they have changed the CO2 in the atmosphere, but those sinks and emissions are not quantified so their changes are unknown.

    This goes to the heart of your ‘mass balance’ argument. You assume that nothing has changed except as response to the anthropogenic emission, then you say “the natural sinks are larger than the natural emissions is (almost) sufficient to know that the increase in the atmosphere is (near) completely from the human emissions”. That argument is circular; i.e. your assumption proves itself.

    What really needs to be known is what the change of CO2 in the atmosphere would have been if there were no anthropogenic CO2. And that requires a knowledge of the carbon cycle system which nobody has: your assumption that the system was in stasis – and would be in stasis – except for the anthropogenic emission is implausible and does not agree with proxy data indicating many past changes to atmospheric CO2 concentration.

    Hopefully the satellite data may reduce some of the near total ignorance of mechanisms operating in the carbon cycle.

    And you are being fanciful when you claim to know

    Near: a small increase is caused by the temperature increase since the LIA: maximum 8 ppmv.

    Prove it!

    Richard

  72. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 3, 2014 at 8:58 am

    “A mass balance is not a “model”, it is a simple calculation of ins and outs.”

    And, it has no bearing on the problem. We’ve been over this so many times. Sometimes, you seem to get it, but then you lapse back into proclaiming it as proof. Why do you do that? Is it because it is so effective at convincing uneducated people?

    One more time: the fact that the observed rise is less than the virtual accumulation of anthropogenic inputs does NOT prove that anthropogenic inputs are driving the rise. It all depends on the power of the sinks. Robust sink activity would remove the anthropogenic inputs in short order. Whatever is left would then have to be driven by natural influences.

  73. The concentration of carbon dioxide as reported from Hawaii and other terrestrial monitors is of clean dry air at a standard temperature and pressure. This necessarily elevates the ppm of carbon dioxide (water vapor is removed). Will the satellite be able to subtract the water and adjust for pressure differences?

  74. As I was reading the above post I kept thinking “What if the data contradicts their long held beliefs?” Then I see this.

    Now that we have a carbon dioxide spy in the sky, watch for its data to become either secret (if it doesn’t show what they expect) or front page news.

    If it fails to deliver, they won’t repair.

  75. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    re your post at July 3, 2014 at 9:58 am.

    Any data can be processed to show anything.
    I repeat, this is the Mauna Loa data.
    It shows a series of approximate saw-tooth oscillations with each oscillation being the seasonal variation of a year. The annual rise of each year is the residual of that year’s seasonal oscillation.

    The oscillation shows no reduction to sequestration rate as sinks fill; n.b. no reduction, none, zilch, nada. In each year the net sequestration reverses and becomes net emission before all the emission of the year has been sequestered. You claim the sinks fill and thus provide the residual which is the annual rise. But it is clear that the sinks do NOT fill because net sequestration ceases before the sinks fill and this cessation provides the residual which is the annual rise.

    You process the data and say it shows a different form of seasonal variation. No, a thin man is not made fat by being observed in a distorting mirror.

    At issue is WHY the sinks don’t sequester all the emission of a year – both natural and anthropogenic – when the dynamics of the seasonal variation indicate they can.

    Richard

  76. RACookPE1978 says:
    July 3, 2014 at 7:00 am

    Ahhh, foiled by the Coriolis effect, again! Thanks!

    But as Mod said, they could launch from Alaska. I’m an analytical, and I react to blanket statements that aren’t accurate. 30+ years as a computer jock messed me up.

  77. An important step for carbonistas and all in the Warmist industry.
    For mankind and science, not so much.

  78. Bruce Cobb:

    At July 3, 2014 at 10:24 am you say in total

    An important step for carbonistas and all in the Warmist industry.
    For mankind and science, not so much.

    OK. I will bite because your post is so illogical that I would welcome clarification.

    How is the launch of the satellite “An important step for carbonistas and all in the Warmist industry”?

    Are you saying you think the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has an anthropogenic cause which the satellite data will confirm? If so, then why is such confirmation “An important step” for the industry which has successfully prevented any discussion of their assertion of an anthropogenic cause?

    Alternatively, are you saying you think the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has a natural (n.b. not an anthropogenic cause) which the satellite data will demonstrate? If so, then why is such refutation of an anthropogenic cause “An important step” FOR carbonistas and all in the Warmist industry”?

    And answers to these questions would seem to be important information for “mankind and science”.

    Thanking you in anticipation of your explanations

    Richard

  79. @Richard,
    The answer is neither. It is because “counting carbon” is a distinctly Warmist activity, since neither the origin nor the exact level of CO2 matters one whit to climate. Although it might be nice to know exactly how much man is contributing to the greening of the planet via his CO2, I doubt the warm fuzzy matters much to us, and certainly not to Warmists.
    Their statement “The instrument is precise enough that researchers will be able to count the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the layers of the atmosphere and use the data to draw conclusions about how the increasing amount of gas will affect things like the global temperature. OCO-2′s mission is to last at least two years.” shows the agenda pretty clearly.

  80. Ferdinand says: “It is a sine wave superimposed over an increasing trend, which gives a false impression of a saw tooth. ”

    No. It’s a sawtooth superimposed on an increasing trend, which gives an impression of a saw tooth.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=721

    The ‘saw tooth’ is a combination of 12m and 6mo cycles.

  81. Bruce Cobb:

    Thankyou for the reply you provide to me at July 3, 2014 at 12:44 pm.

    I now understand what you intended – thankyou – and I write to say I disagree. As I see it, the issue is this.

    There are four possible findings from the data obtained by the satellite.
    1.
    The data has no scientific interest and no practical application. This is always a possible outcome of any research, but it seems unlikely in this case. This result changes nothing for warmunism.
    2.
    The data has scientific interest but no practical application. This result changes nothing for warmunists.
    3.
    The data has or does not have scientific interest but it indicates that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is natural. This has great practical application which damages warmunism by indicating no need for changes based on the AGW-scare.
    4.
    The data has or does not have scientific interest but it indicates that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is anthropogenic. This has great practical application which bolsters warmunism by indicating a need for changes based on the AGW-scare.

    Importantly, the actions based on the AGW-scare are being successfully promoted by warmunism and, therefore, there is no practical effect of options 1, 2, and 4. So, only option 3 would have practical effect and it would harm warmunism.

    Anyway, that is how I see it.

    Richard

  82. Greg Goodman:

    In your post at July 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm you say

    Ferdinand says:

    It is a sine wave superimposed over an increasing trend, which gives a false impression of a saw tooth.

    No. It’s a sawtooth superimposed on an increasing trend, which gives an impression of a saw tooth

    I say it is a saw tooth and any data can be processed to look like anything.

    My post at July 3, 2014 at 10:21 am is here and describes what it is and why it is.

    Richard

  83. richardscourtney says:
    July 3, 2014 at 12:15 am
    /////////

    But what if CO2 increases irrespective of whether it is natural or manmade, but there is no rise in temperature anomaly, or even a fall in temperature?

    Surely, the ins and out of CO2 emissions/exchange as will be measured by this satellite will probably tell us little. What we need to know is (1) does a rise in CO2 in real world atmospheric conditions lead to warming, (2) if so how much warming, (3) will warming plus higher C02 in the atmosphere (bearing in mind its fertilising effect) be beneficial, or will it be a significant problem?

    Personally, I do not see that this satellite will cast light on the major issues. I am also a bit surprised that it is launched when the ‘science is settled’ since if it confirms the warmist’s position regarding CO2 exchange etc, it adds nothing to the debate, and if it does not support their position it assists the sceptics. As I see matters, it can only have the potential to undermine the cAGW meme, and very little upside to supporting it.

    I am also a little cynical as to whether there will be adjustments just like there was when ARGO came on stream. The constant data adjustments in all the various data sets undermines confidence, so whilst I share your view that the more data the better, the real issue is: can one have confidence in the data that is released for public consumption?

  84. Steven Mosher says:
    July 3, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Steven,

    You are misconstruing what is.being said.
    It appears from the published results of many observation systems that virtual modeling goes on prior to their instantiation, both to check the various tool sets for data and information extraction and also unfortunately, to identify likely (expected?) values to be reported. In the current.NCDC case with USHCN we see these likely values being used to replace actual measured observations. NCDC then state that this replacement of actual observations by generated likely values is the correct functioning of the system, so the system was designed to remove real data and replace it with modeled data. !!!

    Now you expect everyone to believe that the data extraction and information generation systems for this CO2 sensing satellite, unlike all other such AGW industry funded sensing systems, will not modify the data at source to be in line with the sponsors expectations, and we will not be told that the software is working as designed in modifying the sensed real world data. There is a suspension of belief and lack of trust.

    Trust is one of those things that you cannot take, you can only be given it once you have earned it. Once trust is abused it will be taken back and may never be offered again. NCDC IS abusing the trust they have been given, and trust is being withdrawn from all such government agencies as a result. It will be difficult for these agencies to recover that trust. Full publicly available documentation of systems functional and requirement specs, V & V testing scripts and reports, and an audited QMS to an industry standard woould go some way to help. Secrecy, abuse and ‘Harry readme’ files will not cut it.

  85. Why spend all that money when it will be adjusted to be pro carbon causing ‘increase in heat.

  86. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 3, 2014 at 12:59 am
    ————————————————————
    Thanks for sharing the link. It looks like a great comprehensive outline on co2 dispersements.

  87. Bart says:
    July 3, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Bart, theoretically there is a possibility that the an increase in natural CO2 turnover would have the same effect as the supply of extra CO2 from humans. But there is not the slightest sign that the turnover increased over the past 50 years. To the contrary: the more recent estimates of the residence time are longer than the earlier estimates, which is the case for a rather stable throughput with an increased mass of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    But that is not the main point. The main point is that your use of temperature to match the dCO2/dt curve is only applicable if both the short term variability and long term trend are from the same process or at least caused by the same variable (temperature in this case). Which is proven wrong.

    The short term variability is caused by the influence of temperature on vegetation. That is clear because the δ13C changes and the CO2 changes go in opposite direction. If it was caused by the oceans, the changes would be in the same direction for both. See:

    There is a near perfect opposite match between the CO2 rate of change and the δ13C rate of change with the exact timing for both as is visible for the 1998 El Niño.

    But vegetation is NOT the cause of the trend in the CO2 rate of change: it is an increasing sink for CO2 over time, as can be calculated from the oxygen balance:

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

    Thus anyway, the short term variability and the long term trend are NOT caused by the same process. For the long term trend, there is an obvious candidate: human emissions, which fit all known observations. You can try to find other candidates which are temperature dependent, but as said in the past discussions: these all violate one or more observations and why should you as there is no connection between the cause of the short term variability and the longer term trend?

  88. richard verney and Lil Fella from OZ:

    I am replying to your posts at July 3, 2014 at 1:18 pm and July 3, 2014 at 1:33 pm, respectively. I intend no disrespect by this joint reply which I am providing for convenience because you make the same basic point which Lil Fella from OZ states as

    Why spend all that money when it will be adjusted to be pro carbon causing ‘increase in heat.

    That is an argument to eradicate the corruption: it is not an argument to abandon the progress of true science and seeking for truth.

    Additionally, richard verney says to me

    Surely, the ins and out of CO2 emissions/exchange as will be measured by this satellite will probably tell us little. What we need to know is (1) does a rise in CO2 in real world atmospheric conditions lead to warming, (2) if so how much warming, (3) will warming plus higher C02 in the atmosphere (bearing in mind its fertilising effect) be beneficial, or will it be a significant problem?

    Personally, I do not see that this satellite will cast light on the major issues.

    Well, if you fail to recognise the first of the “major issues” then of course you will not see how the satellite data may inform it.

    I agree the importance of your questions, and I answer them as follows (I could justify my answers but that would be off topic):
    (1) some warming but so little that it will not be discernible.
    (2) too little to be discernible.
    (3) net beneficial.

    However, there is a more fundamental question which is an important input to all your questions.

    The more fundamental question is
    Can anthropogenic (i.e. from human activities) CO2 emissions have a discernible effect on atmospheric CO2 concentration and if so then what is the relationship between the anthropogenic emissions and the change to atmospheric concentration?
    Obtaining an answer to that question requires much more information and the new satellite is intended to provide data which will reduce the needed information.

    Richard

  89. Mission for 2 years!!! Two years in the life of the climate is certainly a waste of money. Better to pay twice as much and have it last a dozen years or more. Also, maybe make it quadruple the price and add all the rest of the significant gases. I have been predicting that the strong paramagnetism of O2 and the diamagnetism (repelled by a mag field) of all other gases in the atmosphere has some effect on distribution. Diatomic oxygen should be somewhat enriched at the poles and the others less so because they are repelled. This should make CO2, N2, O3, noble gases, methane… tend to be proportionately more abundant in the temperate to equatorial zones. Yeah, I understand that other sources and sinks confound the distribution but, lets go with the noble gases as a tracer for the magnitude of the effect. Why is it not interesting scientifically to know the distribution of all the other natural atmospheric gases. My idea has been disputed by smart people on this site using polar vortexes etc to counter my “partial explanation” for the ozone hole (and all the other gases “holes” filled in by O2) but still, I haven’t been convinced that there isn’t a measurable effect.

  90. richardscourtney says: “I say it is a saw tooth and any data can be processed to look like anything. My post at July 3, 2014 at 10:21 am is here and describes what it is and why it is.”

    I’m not clear whether you intend that to disagree, or not, with my statement that it was saw tooth plus linear rise.

    ” In each year the net sequestration reverses and becomes net emission before all the emission of the year has been sequestered. ”

    So are you saying the 2ppm / year rise is totally the result of the unabsorbed residual of hman emissions? Then why does d/dt(CO2) correlate with SST?

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=720

    Also Alert , Canada is dominated by an annual cycle that seems closely linked to temperature and/or ice extent.

    I suggest look at Pettersson’s revised papers on this:
    http://www.false-alarm.net/author/gosta/

  91. Greg Goodman says:
    July 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    No. It’s a sawtooth superimposed on an increasing trend, which gives an impression of a saw tooth.

    Agreed, the downslope is faster than the upslope. The downslope is obviously from the NH start of the growing season, mainly growing new leaves. The upslope is mainly from the decay of leaves in fall and further stems and rotting wood over a longer period. The latter process goes on all year, even under a snow deck, but increasing with higher temperatures.

    How about a combination of two processes: one with an uptake peak in spring and rather constant uptake in summer until fall and then fast dropping out, while the second goes on all year, but increasing and decreasing with temperature?

  92. richardscourtney says:
    July 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

    At issue is WHY the sinks don’t sequester all the emission of a year – both natural and anthropogenic – when the dynamics of the seasonal variation indicate they can.

    Richard, the seasonal CO2 + δ13C data simply show that the CO2 uptake by vegetation in spring-summer is at maximal speed while vegetation decay is ongoing all year long but increasingly in summer-fall is taking over in August (Barrow, Alaska, sea level) or with a lag in September (Mauna Loa, 3,400 m).

    What I don’t understand is why you think that the seasonal uptake can sequester all human emissions, while it is obviously that it can’t as vegetation decay is stronger than vegetation growth for over more than halve the year. If vegetation growth can’t cope with vegetation decay, it can’t cope with even more CO2 from fossil fuel burning…

  93. Greg Goodman:

    Thankyou for your reply to me which you provide at July 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm.

    I will answer each of your points in turn.

    You say

    richardscourtney says:

    I say it is a saw tooth and any data can be processed to look like anything. My post at July 3, 2014 at 10:21 am is here and describes what it is and why it is.

    I’m not clear whether you intend that to disagree, or not, with my statement that it was saw tooth plus linear rise.

    I was merely stating the three different views. My (linked) explanation was of why you rightly discern a near linear rise.

    You quote my having written

    In each year the net sequestration reverses and becomes net emission before all the emission of the year has been sequestered.

    And respond

    So are you saying the 2ppm / year rise is totally the result of the unabsorbed residual of hman emissions? Then why does d/dt(CO2) correlate with SST?

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=720

    Say what!? Where on Earth did you gain the impression that I said, suggested and/or implied “the 2ppm / year rise is totally the result of the unabsorbed residual of hman (sic) emissions”?

    I said “the net sequestration reverses and becomes net emission before all the emission of the year has been sequestered”, and by “all” I meant the total of emissions both natural and anthropogenic.
    The remainder of your post says

    Also Alert , Canada is dominated by an annual cycle that seems closely linked to temperature and/or ice extent.
    I suggest look at Pettersson’s revised papers on this:

    http://www.false-alarm.net/author/gosta/

    Yes, I know all that. It is why I wrote at July 3, 2014 at 9:18 am saying

    If the continuing rise is a result of the carbon cycle system adjusting towards an altered equilibrium state then the cause of the rise is whatever induced the altered equilibrium. This cause could be the anthropogenic emission but is more likely to be the temperature rise from the Little Ice Age (LIA).

    I hope this has cleared up any misunderstandings

    Richard

  94. Ferdi, look at the phase terms for MLO:
    0.279 = 18th April for the peak of the annual cycle at MLO
    0.446 = 12 th June.and 12th Dec for the 6mo cycle.

    The latter is pretty close to the summer solstice in each hemisphere : max insolation.
    The former about a month after spring equinox and Arctic ice max extent.

    The annual cycle is about 3.5 times stronger.

    CO2 at alert seems closely linked to temp / ice extent , not vegitation.

  95. Richard, “This cause could be the anthropogenic emission but is more likely to be the temperature rise from the Little Ice Age (LIA).”

    I don’t know where “more likely” comes from. I think Gosta Pettersson’s paper is fairly convinces and puts it about 50/50. He backs this up with quite a detailed analysis and numbers.

  96. Greg Goodman says:
    July 3, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Then why does d/dt(CO2) correlate with SST?

    Because SST influences in the tropics (ENSO) influences temperatures and rain patterns in the tropical forests: higher temperatures/drought reduce production and/or increase decay. The changes in the CO2 rate of change are from vegetation, not from the oceans as can be seen from the opposite CO2 and δ13C patterns:

    But the long term trend is NOT caused by vegetation, as that is an increasing sink for CO2…

    Also Alert , Canada is dominated by an annual cycle that seems closely linked to temperature and/or ice extent.

    Again, the cycle is from vegetation, not from the oceans, here for Barrow and Mauna Loa:

    But the variation is opposite to the year by year variation: increasing temperature increases spring-summer extra-tropical vegetation growth and opposite in fall-winter…

  97. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Thankyou for your post to me at July 3, 2014 at 2:55 pm.

    I will ignore your point about the isotope data which I have refuted uncountable times because it seems we may – at last – be getting somewhere when you say to me

    What I don’t understand is why you think that the seasonal uptake can sequester all human emissions, while it is obviously that it can’t as vegetation decay is stronger than vegetation growth for over more than halve the year. If vegetation growth can’t cope with vegetation decay, it can’t cope with even more CO2 from fossil fuel burning…

    OK. You make two points which you say you don’t understand.

    Firstly, as I have repeatedly explained, the dynamics of seasonal variation demonstrate that the sinks can easily absorb ALL of the emitted CO2 of a year.

    The atmospheric CO2 concentration plummets at a near linear rate. There is no evidence that sinks are filling: the sequestration rate would reduce as each sink neared its maximum or filled. The rate remains constant until it reverses because net sequestration switches to being net emission. Clearly, the sinks and sources would have continued to net sequester if something had not increased the emission to overwhelm the sequestration rate. That switch is probably the exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean surface layer: the anthropogenic emission is far too small for it to cause the switch.
    The saw-tooth form of the seasonal variation demonstrates that the sinks do not fill.

    Secondly, you say “If vegetation growth can’t cope with vegetation decay, it can’t cope with even more CO2 from fossil fuel burning”.

    That puts things in reverse. If natural sequestration cannot cope with natural emission then there will be a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration whether or not there is any anthropogenic emission. And you are assuming that vegetation growth must match vegetation decay which is a non sequiter: growth and decay of vegetation is not total sequestration and total emission.

    Richard

  98. Greg Goodman:

    At July 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm you say

    Richard,

    This cause could be the anthropogenic emission but is more likely to be the temperature rise from the Little Ice Age (LIA).

    I don’t know where “more likely” comes from.

    It comes from one of our 2005 papers which I have been here arguing and referenced above as being
    Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005)

    Richard

  99. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Forgot to mention: part of the CO2 changes in the high North are from the mid-latitudes, as air is blown in by the Ferrel cells. The summer/winter difference is larger at Schauinsland (Black forest, Germany, 1000 m height) than at Barrow or Alert:

    The delay at Mauna Loa is a matter of mixing speed, some already 40 years old graph shows the delays:

    There is also a delay between latitudes and a long delay between the NH and SH, as the ITCZ allows only a 10% per year exchange of air masses between the hemispheres:

  100. The accumulation of atmospheric CO2 is caused mostly by the annual temperature cycle, IMO.

  101. richardscourtney says:
    July 3, 2014 at 10:21 am
    —————————————————-
    This page has been a very educational read. Thanks for adding so much to the conversation. I see some light to what I had been puzzling over in regards to the differences in yearly co2 growth at ML vs man,s increased co2 output. Your point of the ‘unknown factors’ regarding the ins and outs of co2 makes sense to me. I look forward to seeing the output from OCO2.

  102. “The instrument is precise enough that researchers will be able to count the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the layers of the atmosphere and use the data to draw conclusions about how the increasing amount of gas will affect things like the global temperature.”

    How will they keep from counting a molecule twice? The rascals move as quick as you count them.

  103. The instrument is precise enough that researchers will be able to count the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the layers of the atmosphere and use the data to draw conclusions about how the increasing amount of gas will affect things like the global temperature. OCO-2′s mission is to last at least two years.”

    Are we to believe these conclusions have not already been drawn?

  104. Ferdi: ” The summer/winter difference is larger at Schauinsland (Black forest, Germany, 1000 m height) than at Barrow or Alert:”

    I had not seen Schauinsland, thanks, I just plotted it against Alert.

    It’s not large, it’s almost indentical in timing and magnitude, good matches in each year across the 12y overlap Only diference is at the level of the noise. Now that makes it very “well mixed” between those two locations. MLO is rather different.

    Germany could be said to be “downwind” from Alert, whereas it would have to across Europe, Asia and the tropical Pacific before getting to MLO.

  105. “It comes from one of our 2005 papers which I have been here arguing and referenced above as being Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005)”

    Richard

    ===

    Can we see it?

  106. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    “Bart, theoretically there is a possibility that the an increase in natural CO2 turnover would have the same effect as the supply of extra CO2 from humans. But …”

    No “but”. Either your statement proves what you say it does, or it does not. It does not. Therefore, stop claiming it.

    “…there is not the slightest sign that the turnover increased over the past 50 years.”

    Yes, there is.

    “Which is proven wrong.”

    Isn’t. Watch, and see what they find.

  107. The NASA description is inspiring, but not entirely candid. Beyond the fanfare of government bureaucracy is this reality from http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/science/MeasurementApproach/ :

    “The OCO-2 mission will not, however, directly measure CO2 sources and sinks. Instead, sophisticated computer-based data assimilation models that use column averaged dry air CO2 mole fraction (Xco2) data will infer the location of these sources and sinks.”

    That’s right. They’re going to infer it… from models. Would those be the same models on which the IPCC bases its claim that increased CO2 follows entirely from man? NASA’s new satellite may do it with greater coverage and precision, but it’s still just measuring CO2. That’s what the Japanese have been doing for some time: http://global.jaxa.jp/press/2012/12/20121205_ibuki_e.html

  108. Steven Mosher says:
    July 2, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Steven, you are a smart guy, but don’t you think after climategate, the recent business of estimated data making up such a large proportion of the data for temp in the US, hockey sticks made of selected trees, upside down proxies and inappropriate statistical concoctions, forcings of retractions of bad papers through the single-handed work of McIntyre, the whitewashes of the Team by friendly investigators and other dubious activities in climate (and other) science(s) that an abundance of scepticism is to be desired? There is no check on bad science without it and an overdose of scepticism will do no one any harm. It can be easily shown to be out to lunch if the science is sound and defensible. Who do you know that is actually even trying to defend the CAGW theory these days, other than employment of ridicule and name calling? This house of cards is crumbling now, only because of scepticism. Don’t expect sceptics to be moderate and measured after all the chicanery.

  109. http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/science/MeasurementApproach/ :

    “The OCO-2 mission will not, however, directly measure CO2 sources and sinks. Instead, sophisticated computer-based data assimilation models that use column averaged dry air CO2 mole fraction (Xco2) data will infer the location of these sources and sinks.”

    Hey what? I thought it was going to be “counting molecules” !

    Now I’m wondering how the satellite is going get them a “dry air CO2 mole fraction ” to feed into the model. I guess via another model of how much water vapour and cloud there is !!!

    We just need to estimate a few parameters for water vapour and cloud, based on recent IPCC report and off we go ….

  110. Gary Pearse says:
    July 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Mission for 2 years!!! Two years in the life of the climate is certainly a waste of money.

    See my comment at:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/13/nasa-to-attempt-launching-another-carbon-observatory-the-last-one-burned-up/#comment-1661306

    The meat:

    Mission Duration

    The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 is designed to operate
    for at least two years, long enough to validate a
    novel, space-based measurement approach and analysis
    concept that could be applied to future long-term, spacebased
    carbon dioxide monitoring missions. The spacecraft
    could continue to fly well beyond its nominal two-year lifetime,
    however.

  111. This satellite will only confirm the work done by Princeton scientists at the turn of the 21st century. Since findings were suppressed and ignored by the Warmist marxist watermelons.

    The Princeton peer reviewed papers never challenged showed that the USA is a vast biological Sink for CO2 as our ranchers farmers, lumbermen and farmers bio sequester CO2 blowing in the winds from Eurasia. It is hte greatest bio-sequester CO2 sink in the world. The most developed country in the World consumes and sequesters CO2 as it makes food and fiber and lumber from the inputs. US air is depleted of CO2 as the air travels from West to East across America from Pacific to Atlantic.

    Meanwhile America feeds itself and a good part of the world too; and provides an elevated standard of living for its citizens.

  112. So how does this satellite deal with the factoid that CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere ?

    So perhaps now they can regenerate that graph of the pole to pole three dimensional CO2 variation, that NOAA/NASA magically disappeared some years ago once it was discovered that CO2 isn’t well mixed, or have a 200 year residence time..

    So this thing is only going to work for 1% of the claimed residence time; hardly enough data to get a decay time constant.

  113. “””””…..stas peterson says:

    July 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    This satellite will only confirm the work done by Princeton scientists at the turn of the 21st century. Since findings were suppressed and ignored by the Warmist marxist watermelons. …..”””””

    Small correction stas, The USA is only the largest LAND carbon sink.

    The oceans of course sink more.

  114. “””””…..richardscourtney says:

    July 3, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Don K:

    At July 3, 2014 at 2:46 am you ask

    What I take away is that the atmospheric CO2 measurement program put into place by Keeling in the 1950s tells us that CO2 (unlike water vapor) is reasonably well mixed across the planet and is increasing. What this satellite is intended to do is tell us exactly where the CO2 originates and exactly where it is being removed from the atmosphere, And the quantities being sourced/sunk. Do I have that right or am I totally confused?

    You have that right.

    The IPCC reports provide simplified descriptions of the carbon cycle. In of our 2005 papers
    (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) )
    we considered the most important processes in the carbon cycle to be:

    Mechanisms of the carbon cycle

    Short-term processes ……””””””

    Richard,

    I’m surprised that you do not even mention the annual arctic sea ice melt and refreeze.

    If one assumes that the near surface Arctic Ocean CO2 concentration, is close to the Henry’s law equilibrium value; when the surface refreeze starts, CO2, and also salt, are preferentially excluded from the solid phase by the appropriate segregation coefficients, which favor the liquid phase over the solid.

    So the newly forming sea ice dumps off its salt and CO2 (and other stuff) into the interface ocean waters, which presumably are already at the saturated equilibrium values.

    As a result, the CO2 that was in the now new ice as water, will be immediately vented to the atmosphere driven by Henry’s law. So atmospheric CO2 in the arctic, grows during the refreeze, and of course, when the melt starts, the newly melted fresh water, will uptake salt from the ocean, and CO2 from the atmosphere.

    There isn’t enough greenery growing and dying at the north pole, to explain an 18-20 ppm cyclic change in atmospheric CO2 over the year.

  115. Steven Mosher said on July 3, 2014 at 8:25 am:

    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
    July 2, 2014 at 11:19 pm
    The spacecraft carries one instrument…

    Why no second instrument for backup and verification/calibration purposes?
    #########################################################

    yet another arm chair rocket scientist/engineer.

    Yes Moshy. Of course Moshy.

    Because as all good scientists know, when you can choose between having another instrument for doublechecking your measurements and for backup, or choosing to trust only one that will wear down and someday break, you choose having only the one instrument to do good (climate) science.

  116. Greg Goodman:

    Your post at July 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm asks if “we” can see the 2005 paper I have been reporting here. Sadly, it is behind a paywall and I am now on the Editorial Board of E&E so I cannot ignore the publisher’s policy and provide a copy.

    However, I gave a presentation to Heartland 1 which is almost entirely a ‘copy & paste’ from that paper. If you email me I will send you a copy of the paper I there presented.

    My email is richardscourtneyATaol. com where AT is @.

    Richard

  117. george e. smith:

    re your post at July 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm.

    Yes, you are right about seasonal melt and freeze near the poles, and the observed change to local atmospheric CO2 is large. However, I was discussing the Mauna Loa data obtained from half-a-world away.

    In my opinion, your post emphasises the need for real measurements of atmospheric CO2 which it can be hoped the satellite will provide.

    Richard

  118. richardscourtney says:
    July 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    I will ignore your point about the isotope data which I have refuted uncountable times

    Richard, the past discussions were about the trend in δ13C, not the seasonal changes. These are much larger, both in CO2 change as in δ13C change over the seasons than the trends over a year. The point is that the combination of CO2 change and δ13C change shows what the origin is of the CO2 change: if the CO2 change is from the oceans, the δ13C change is going up with increasing CO2. If the CO2 change is from vegetation, then the δ13C is going down with increasing CO2.

    This is what happens, thus the seasonal CO2 change is dominated by changes in vegetation and mainly the extra-tropical NH vegetation. The oceans may play a role, but that is minor compared to vegetation. That can be seen in the near absent seasonal changes in the SH: less extra-tropical vegetation and lots more ocean:

    The saw-tooth form of the seasonal variation demonstrates that the sinks do not fill.

    Sorry, but the form of any process doesn’t prove that such a process is going on up to infinity. Some processes (like leave formation) may go on extremely fast but may end abrupt when saturated (when all leaves are formed), other processes may start slowly (the formation of wood in stem and roots) and increase over time, reduce when the temperature is above optimal (summer) and increase again in fall until the temperature is too low. That makes the tree rings with high density wood from fall and low density wood from spring-summer.

    If natural sequestration cannot cope with natural emission then there will be a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration whether or not there is any anthropogenic emission.

    Both the downgoing and upgoing CO2 levels are from vegetation. CO2 release from vegetation decay is taking over from vegetation CO2 uptake at about mid-summer. Thus the process of vegetation uptake can’t beat vegetation decay for over halve the year.

    The balance over a year is slightly more uptake than release (based on oxygen production/use). That is about 1 GtC/year for the whole biosphere (ocean + land). Human emissions are 9 GtC/year.

  119. Bart says:
    July 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Come on Bart, the variability around the CO2 rate of change trend is almost completely from the influence of temperature variability on vegetation. The CO2 rate of change trend is certainly NOT from vegetation, as vegetation is an increasing sink for CO2, thus with a zero to negative trend in rate of change.

    Two different processes at work, where the origin of the short term variability is well known, but not the origin of the trend. It still is possible that temperature also causes the trend, but it is very unlikely as none of the temperature connected alternatives fit all observations, while human emissions do.

  120. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Thankyou for your reply to me at July 4, 2014 at 1:30 am.

    You make two points. Firstly, you say

    Richard, the past discussions were about the trend in δ13C, not the seasonal changes. These are much larger, both in CO2 change as in δ13C change over the seasons than the trends over a year. The point is that the combination of CO2 change and δ13C change shows what the origin is of the CO2 change: if the CO2 change is from the oceans, the δ13C change is going up with increasing CO2. If the CO2 change is from vegetation, then the δ13C is going down with increasing CO2.

    No. The arguments about the trend and the seasonal changes are the same. Indeed, this is not surprising because – as with atmospheric CO2 content – the annual rise is the residual of the seasonal variation.

    The direction of the change is as expected by your assertions (there is a 50:50 chance it would be) but its magnitude disagrees with your assertions by a factor of 3. This is NOT a clear indication of “the origin is of the CO2 change”.

    You make assumptions about “dilution” and say, “See I can make the isotope data fit” and I say “So what? An ability to make the data fit only shows your assertions are possible: it does not show your assertions are right”.

    Secondly, I wrote the simple truth that

    The saw-tooth form of the seasonal variation demonstrates that the sinks do not fill.

    And you have replied with

    Sorry, but the form of any process doesn’t prove that such a process is going on up to infinity.

    Ferdinand, you are much better than that that illogical – indeed, silly, – response which is not worthy of you.

    Nobody is claiming anything is “going on up to infinity”. I wrote

    The atmospheric CO2 concentration plummets at a near linear rate. There is no evidence that sinks are filling: the sequestration rate would reduce as each sink neared its maximum or filled. The rate remains constant until it reverses because net sequestration switches to being net emission. Clearly, the sinks and sources would have continued to net sequester if something had not increased the emission to overwhelm the sequestration rate. That switch is probably the exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean surface layer: the anthropogenic emission is far too small for it to cause the switch.
    The saw-tooth form of the seasonal variation demonstrates that the sinks do not fill bold The saw-tooth form of the seasonal variation demonstrates that the sinks do not fill.

    That is not saying anything increases to infinity. It is saying the net sequestration rate shows no indication that there is saturation of any sinks; e.g. as one plant stops growing another starts growing and together they form a sink which continues unabated. In other words, the form of the seasonal variation shows you are plain wrong when you assert that the sinks are being overloaded so that is why they fail to sequester all the CO2 emission of each year.

    I again repeat
    At issue is WHY the sinks don’t sequester all the emission of a year – both natural and anthropogenic – when the dynamics of the seasonal variation indicate they can.

    Richard

  121. Greg Goodman says:
    July 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Germany could be said to be “downwind” from Alert, whereas it would have to across Europe, Asia and the tropical Pacific before getting to MLO.

    Thanks for the Alert vs. Schauinsland plot, I expected that Schauinsland would give a larger fluctuation, but it seems almost identical. The problem at Schauinsland is that there is a lot of local contamination from the nearby forests and the readings are only valid if the station is above inversion.

    Because the seasonal variation is largely from vegetation, I suppose that the mid-latitudes are leading as there is quite a lot more vegetation there than at the tundra near Alert or Barrow. I haven’t looked at plots of the ice/snow extent around Alert (or temperature plots), but I have the impression that CO2 levels there are already dropping before snow/ice is melted near the stations.

    Mauna Loa CO2 variation is lower, as it takes time to reach lower latitudes and higher altitudes via the Hadley cells. Mauna Loa is mostly in the trade winds and also partly influenced by exchanges with the SH via the ITCZ. The lag plot is the variability of CO2 over the seasons, which was based on upper troposphere – lower stratosphere commercial flights between Scandinavia and the USA:

    http://dge.stanford.edu/SCOPE/SCOPE_16/SCOPE_16_1.4.1_Bishoff_113-116.pdf

    The graph was at Scope, but the reference is gone…

  122. richardscourtney says:
    July 4, 2014 at 1:55 am

    No. The arguments about the trend and the seasonal changes are the same.

    Richard, you have a completely wrong interpretation of the seasonal graph:

    It is not about the residual changes, which are quite small (2 ppmv, 0.02 per mil) but about the huge changes over the seasons: Barrow: 15 ppmv, 0.85 per mil. That has nothing to do with human emissions or its “dilution” by exchanges with the deep oceans.

    All what is shown is that the direction of CO2 changes and δ13C are opposite to each other. That proves beyond doubt that the seasonal changes are dominated by vegetation, not the oceans, both for the downslope and the upslope. And it proves that the CO2 uptake by vegetation can’t cope with vegetation decay for more than halve the year.

  123. george e. smith says:
    July 3, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    So the newly forming sea ice dumps off its salt and CO2 (and other stuff) into the interface ocean waters, which presumably are already at the saturated equilibrium values.

    Arctic ocean waters are highly undersaturated in CO2: pCO2(oceans) is at minimum 250 μatm while the atmosphere is around 400 μatm (~ppmv). Thus the flux is into the ocean waters which by the increased density from salt content and lower temperatures sink into the deep.
    See Feely e.a.:

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

  124. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    I write as a courtesy to acknowledge your post addressed to me at July 4, 2014 at 2:36 am.

    You say I “have a completely wrong interpretation of the seasonal graph” and I know you do. Perhaps we are both wrong: time will tell.

    I have stated my views and I am content to allow your comment to remain as being the ‘last word’.

    Richard

  125. The downslope is obviously from the NH start of the growing season, mainly growing new leaves.
    ===========
    how is it “obvious”? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say:

    The downslope is assumed to be from the NH start of the growing season, mainly growing new leaves.

  126. The downslope is obviously from the NH start of the growing season, mainly growing new leaves.
    ==========
    yet we hear that plankton is the major source of CO2 -> O2.

    the amount of annual sunlight reaching each hemisphere follows a sine wave. one would expect CO2 from vegetation to integrate this and return a sine wave.

    on the other hand, when you integrate a square wave you get a triangular waveform, which much more closely resembles the CO2 curve.

    I suspect the CO2 curve is due to something much more interesting than can be explained by vegetation and sunlight alone.

  127. ferdberple says:
    July 4, 2014 at 6:36 am

    I suspect the CO2 curve is due to something much more interesting than can be explained by vegetation and sunlight alone.

    Of course a lot of different processes are at work with the main drivers temperature and sunlight. Both for land and ocean vegetation, temperature makes that it is an integration from the mid-latitudes up to the outmost Northern areas in spring and opposite in fall. But I think that land vegetation is the main cause of the curves, as there is far more CO2 and δ13C variation in the NH than in the SH with its much larger ocean area…

    Anyway, the exact opposite CO2-δ13C curves show that it is vegetation that causes the seasonal CO2 variation, not the oceans…

  128. Concerning why the change in launch vehicles: Orbital Sciences – which normally launches out of Wallops Island – were using Taurus and Minotaur rockets from the Ukraine. They might be a little scarce right now.

  129. “The instrument is precise enough that researchers will be able to count the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the layers of the atmosphere and use the data” That should Keep them busy, given Auagadvo .

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